Monday, June 29, 2009

Tractor Experiment

Recommend clicking to see full size where the vignette looks right
Anyone else unhappy with Blogger's color treatment?

Up in Paso Robles wine country last week and shot this lone tractor. Light was very harsh with the sun almost directly overhead.
I thought it might make an interesting project starting from an HDR base. I shot the tractor with a Canon 5D Mk II and a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens. Three shots at EVs of 0, -2, and +2 as the dynamic range was around 9 to 9.5 stops.

Per my normal workflow, I imported to Lightroom and then applied my HDR preset (sets the Tone Curve to Linear and disables any input sharpening on the Detail tab.) I exported the three shots to Photomatix Pro with the plug-in.

In Photomatix, I tone mapped the image first for a non-photo realistic look with the Details Enhancer. After hitting process, the resultant TIFF is "shot" back to LR and stacked with the first selected image. This is one area where the plug-in could use some help. Everything is fine if you still have your source images selected but if you have moved on in your LR work the processed HDR will stack with whatever image you have selected, definitely an other (Navy fighter pilot speak for "something bad.") After the processed HDR came back to LR I decided to make a photo realistic copy as well.

The plug-in also leaves a little something to be desired on this as well. If you export the same three images back to Photomatix the result will overwrite your first attempt. So in order to process the images in different interpretations you must first rename the initial Tone Mapped image. I did that and then reprocessed for a photo realistic look. After both were in LR, I stacked them into Photoshop CS4 as layers and went to work.

About 10 layers later, the shot above is where I currently stand. There was extensive use of Layer blend modes and plenty of content sharpening. I used low radius/high mount smart sharpen, high radius/low amount smart sharpen, and some high radius High Pass sharpening to get the look I wanted in the tractor. There is also an 80% desaturation of the background with a B&W adjustment layer. Some non-destructive burning and a little vignette.

Not sure if I will take this one further but always fun to play a little.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Infrared HDR

The shot is from a recent photo shoot exploring High Dynamic Range (HDR) with an Infrared converted DSLR. I am fairly happy with the results so far.

I shot three images with a Canon D60 converted to IR and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L. The three images were imported to Lightroom and prepped for merging to HDR in Photomatix Pro. The result was tone mapped with the Details Enhancer method. After going back to Lightroom (happens automatically with LR 2.4 and Photomatix Pro 3.1.3) I cropped slightly.

I have another few hundred shots from that day so I have plenty more to play with.

Looks like we are going to add a week long HDR intensive in August. I'll have the details out soon. But we will learn the theory, process, shooting, merging, tone mapping, and more. As always here at Light we will finish with the proper sizing, sharpening, and printing on our big Canon imagePROGRAF printers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Playing Around

The basic technique. Not so sure about this one.
After another quick adjustment
Playing around with the new Photoshop User magazine. It contains a portrait technique so I thought I would try it on myself.

Photoshop User is the magazine of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals or NAPP. Great organization for the digital photographer or artist.

Another one of the articles "Professionally Sussing Out Sensor Sensibility" by Kevin Ames was shot here at LIGHT earlier this year.

Another Little HDR Panorama

Gloomy day in Morro Bay-HDR Pano (21 shots)
Been shooting a bunch of HDR panorama recently. The one above is a combination of 21 shots total. Upon initially looking at the scene I was surprised by the actual dynamic range present. It wasn't huge but definitely exceeded the sensor's capabilities. I shot each section at 0, -2, and +2 for about 9 stops of total range.

I used the following equipment.

Canon 5D Mk II
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
Induro C213 Tripod
Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead
Really Right Stuff Ultimate-Pro Omni-Pivot Package

There are times and places to shoot handheld but I've found when having so many source images it is much easier to shoot with precision. The Really Right Stuff panorama equipment makes everything so much easier. Incredible, bombproof gear.

All shots were processed with Photomatix Pro and then stitched together with Adobe Photoshop CS4. Post processing consisted of a slight tonal range adjustment, a color cast removal, and a small contrast increase.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Great Lightroom Class

Total Workflow in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom™
19-21 June 2009

We just finished a three day, EPIC Lightroom class. Thanks to all who participated in this weekend's workshop.

I am a little biased but there is not a better Lightroom course on the planet. As one of the participants stated, "The best workshop I have ever been to."



Friday, June 19, 2009

HDR Workshop In Maui

HDR Panorama (15 shots total) Work in Progess
Canon 5D Mk II, EF 70-200 f/4.0L IS
Induro C213, Really Right Stuff BH-55, and Pano Gear

Just booked a High Dynamic Range workshop in Maui at the Institute of Visual Arts.

The workshop is three days from 30 July to 01 August. This should be an absolute blast. Shooting HDR and HDR pano in paradise!

The above shot is a combination of 15 shots. I shot five vertical segments and each segment bracketed the scene at 0, -2 EV, and +2 EV. The images were batch processed using Photomatix Pro and tone mapped with the Details Enhancer method. Saturation slider was set to only 55. After processing, the images were saved as 8-bit TIFF and then merged to Panorama in Photoshop CS4. I have not yet done any additional work to the image. The morning was amazing. The blue was intense, something that neither George Lepp nor I had seen in quite some time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Morro Bay Timelapse

A quick time lapse from Sunday morning. George Lepp and I hiked to the top of Black Hill in Morro Bay, CA to catch the sunrise and shoot a few panos.

I used a Canon 50D with an EF-17-40 f/4L. To shoot the 1,500+ shots I used the Canon TC-80N3 intervalometer set to a 5" interval. Started the shooting and then didn't come back to the camera for another couple hours. When shooting time lapse I use Aperture priority, daylight white balance, and manual focus. I also shoot the small JPEG quality setting which yields 2352 x 1568 pixels (still HD.)

To put the images together I use Quicktime Pro (a very simple workflow.)

YouTube link is if you prefer that interface.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Tremendous Workshop

George Lepp shooting from on top of Black Hill, Morro Bay, CA.
Image is a 3 shot hand-held, HDR with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Time Lapse and Panorama with George Lepp just finished. We'll update tomorrow with some more images as we are exhausted and ready for some sleep.

Thanks to George, Really Right Stuff, Gigapan, and the incredible class participants for such a great weekend.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

HDR, Panoramas, Gigapan and More!

Today started with a 5am meeting at the top of Black Hill in Morro Bay. The goal was to get some great Time Lapse images of the fog coming in over Morro Rock as George has recorded for years. While George's time lapse series was up and running (for 5 hours, 12 frames every minute taken with a Canon 1D Mark III, 24-105mm and a TC 80N3 timer remote), we instructed our students on how to take proper panoramas in the field. With the gracious donations from Really Right Stuff (of various plates) we were able to get everyone in on some incredible panos from about 600 feet above Morro Bay and the Baywood/Los Osos estuary.

Then, George treated us with 2 set-ups from Gigapan (pictured above). Gigapan takes multiple images (today around 40-70 images per gigapan session) and created awesome high depth, high quality panoramas. It's just like taking 4 panoramas to eventually stitch altogether in one image! But this "Gigapan" get-up does it all for you. You plug in the starting point (upper left of the overall image) then plug in the ending point (lower right point of the overall image). Then you press start and away it goes... taking tons of images to create one very large gigapan.

Take a look at George's website to see a few examples, or go to Gigapan's website where they feature some additional gigapan's that George has done withe their contraption. Thanks to Peggy from The Photoshop in San Luis Obispo, we were able to have 2- Canon G10's on hand to create several Gigapan's of Morro Bay.

After taking several panoramas and HDR images of the area we headed to a greasy spoon called Kathy's Country Kitchen where we were entertained by a surprise drizzle on the patio and some very filling biscuits, omelette's and pancakes..

When we returned to the school, we were able to download the "gigs" of images and started on our next feat. Orchid Gigapans.
By tomorrow we are going to have some incredibly detailed and large panoramas of the beautiful orchids that George and Kathy purchased for this portion of the workshop.

We set up about 2-4 580EXII or 580 Ex strobe flashes against our white studio walls and 1 black background, and were able to isolate three different amazing and locally grown orchids.

One set up had two strobes blowing out the wall, two strobes with our amazingly creative diffusers to light the orchids with a beautiful soft light (made from plastic plates and tissue paper left over from our on-the-scenes family Christmas photo in Virginia...just for the fun of it) and one strobe back lighting the orchids. 5D Mark2 with a 180mm Macro lens all rigged up with a series of Really Right Stuff plates (ask RRS for details on the specific plates used this weekend.)

The second set-up was another white wall, but this time the orchids had a slightly harsher light from the MT-24 twin lights on our 180mm macro lens. Two strobes to blow out the background and one strobe to back light the orchids.

The final set up was a black background, 180mm Macro with the twin light set up an one strobe to back light, and our Induro tripod from MAC group. Lessons were truly learned and we are still processing our images in time to print tomorrow with Canon Rep Scott Jo. We are expecting to print our images at about 4'x12' prints (depending on a traditional pano or gigapan) on our Canon iPF 8100.

Stay Tuned to see our final images!

Thanks for reading!


P.s. Are you following us yet?...c'mon! Join in on the list! Also, check us out on twitter! I'm photoshopv and Hal updates LightWorkshops.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Canon Explorer of Light Jennifer Wu!

We just confirmed Jennifer Wu's workshop coming up this September 25-27. Jennifer has been recently accepted as a Canon Explorer of Light! She specializes in unusual techniques in Landscape photography and has been teaching all over the world. She teams up with long time Canon gear representative Jim Rose. Jim has been a big supporter of both Jennifer Wu and a long time friend of George Lepp.

Check out their workshop page here for more information.

This is going to be such a great class!

For those of you who haven't seen our summer schedule it is filling up fast so get these masters while you can in one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Rick Sammon, Hanson Fong and Hal Schmitt...none are to be missed!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On-Line Radio Interview

I'll be online tomorrow morning for a web radio interview. Check it out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Photoshop Fun

Hal Schmitt...the Winemaker.
Just a little more Photoshop fun for you!
Obviously using an Induro Tripod sponsored by MAC Group and ball head from Really Right Stuff, I believe it was the BH55 which is great for bigger lenses (a little overkill the day I was using it.)
This is a great image of Hal drinking to his passion for wine at Midnight Cellars. We did check out his '05 Volatus currently in barrel...needing to get bottled soon! It will debut at the Central Coast Wine Classic in Pismo Beach this July. We'll see how the fundraiser goes! It should be really fun!
Anyway, let me know if you guys have questions or comments about the image. Lots of masking, lots of layers...
Hope to see you all here soon,

Tonight's Free Monday Night Light

Click the link below to gain entry into our exciting Monday Night Light program. Only requirements are a high speed internet connection and speakers.

See you online.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Victoria just gave a great speech to the Cal Poly Art Dept graduating seniors.

Very well done, we're proud of you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

HDR Interior and Exterior

All images shot by Janet Penn-Franks

Spent part of today working with a client on some HDR images of her home, both exterior and interior.

The attached images show a couple different methods of making the final image. The exterior shot is what I call "old school" Photoshop. I take the different exposures and layer them in a single PS document (stacking.) After that, I spend some quality time with my Intuos 4 tablet and get to masking.

The interior shots are all merged to HDR via Photomatix Pro. After tone mapping the images were saved as TIFFs and then sent back to PS for final processing. In most cases the final processing is limited to contrast addition and overall midtone tonal adjustments.

All images in this post were shot by Janet Penn-Franks. If you are looking for a good architectural or vineyard photographer contact Janet through LIGHT.

We're having our End of an Era eagle photography grand opening tonight down in Arroyo Grande. Check out the website for more information.

Have a great weekend.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rembrandt Soft Focus Effect

The attached YouTube video is a simple retouch/finishing option.

Monday, June 1, 2009

End of an Era Grand Opening

Victoria and I are hosting a Grand Opening for our eagle photography currently on display at Gather Wine Bar in Arroyo Grande, CA.

The following link has the details. Come join us this Friday, 5 June from 6-10 PM.