Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Multiple Exposures and Topaz Restyle in Corel Paintshop ProX5

In the long interim since my last post I have been busy creating multiple exposure images and exploring a new plugin called Topaz Restyle.  Here I combined both and then took things a step further with Paintshop's glowing edges effect.

The multiple exposure image is created digitally by combining several or many individual shots.  I took 21 pics of this set up.  I liked the light shining through the beer bottles but it didn't translate well to what I had imagined.  The background is too busy and this might work better with one or two bottles instead of three.  At any rate I decided to see what I could get from the photos I made.  The camera was hand held and I intentionally moved so that no two shots were exactly the same.


Using Corel's Paintshop Pro X5 I opened all the images and copied them as individual layers into one image.  I made the base image larger by increasing the canvas size.  This allows me to get an edge effect after I re-position each layer.  That doesn't show up very well here but you'll see it in subsequent posts of trees where I have used the same technique.

To blend the layers in this image I simply adjusted the opacity of each.  The top layer is at 5% and the bottom layer at 100%, with about a 5% step for each layer in-between.  Each layer was also re-positioned and had a levels adjustment applied to it.  This next image also had the Topaz plug-in "Restyle" applied to it.  I wanted to shift the colors and by masking the bottles separated them from the bench and windows in the background.

Again, this really wasn't what I had envisioned so I  played with it some more.  Trying several effects I chose glowing edges and cropped in and darkened or painted out some of the distracting bits.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Photo Processing Then and Now

In 1989 I moved from Milwaukee to Sheboygan Falls and began my professional photography career.  I got a job at Central Photo, now NZ's Bar, on Michigan Avenue in Sheboygan.  I had had a darkroom in my parent's basement that I'd been using since my high school days.  Now I was getting paid to do what had once been a hobby.  I've done mostly black and white film processing and printing while working there and at the Motophoto which became Light House Photographic Lab.

As film photography was supplanted by digital imaging, the demand for the work I did dropped to nearly nothing.  I occasionally shoot black and white film, but I do most of my work digitally these days.  I have a few customers that I print custom black and white enlargements for, but it no longer is enough business to pay the bills.   Digital has pushed film photography into a corner, a niche that especially for b&w can be loosely termed "art photography".  

I'm ok with that.  My art photography has grown as my ability has increased.  But it has also changed as I have gradually shifted to more digital imaging.  Finding new methods and exploring untried options keeps it all interesting for me.

Some things haven't changed.  A photographer will always need to understand lighting, composition, color, contrast, and presentation.  Tomorrow I will be teaching a workshop on how to photograph artwork and I have been reflecting on one thought recently.  It was true in the days of film photography and is true today. The average snapshot taker and even some advanced amateur photographers do not realize that the click of the camera does not end the making of the photograph.  Whether the image will be seen as a print or only on a screen, there are many variables that should be controlled by the photographer in order to make that image a "good" one.

As an example, here is a photograph I took yesterday.  My camera has automatic focus and exposure capabilities as well as many programmable settings.  I generally get decent results when adjusting it for the situation I'm in and the result I want.  But hardly ever do I look at a digital image right off my memory card and leave it untouched.
Not bad at all, I'd say.  But for me this is just the starting point.  I did several corrections to it, digitally.  If I had shot film, the technician would have made decisions regarding contrast, density, and color, and perhaps even cropping.

Here is my revised image.


The differences should be obvious.  While a blue color cast is generally accepted for a snow scene, I wanted to take it out.  I cropped the image a bit, and adjusted the density and contrast to bring out some detail on the coat.  I took some control over this image with settings on my camera.  But I took full control over it by decisions I made while editing it.  The software I used was Photoshop Elements 12.  


So, the point I want to make is this.  A person makes a photograph.  Obviously a camera is an essential tool, but the choices made by the photographer or the person printing the pictures at the local minilab are critical to determining the quality of the final picture.  

When I hear people complain about their photos, no matter if they blame their own skill, the camera, or the store that printed them, I think to myself that they know the picture should be better but don't know how to work their camera or are too accepting of poor processing.

Knowledge is Power!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I helped my friend Agata create her blog today.  Please take a look at Agata's Art blog.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tomato Photo Recipe

Here are the steps, (not in order) that I did to create the finished photo.

Before:  As shot with my Sony A 200, underexposed by one f-stop.







After:

  • Straighten
  • Crop
  • Adjust levels and color
  • Adjust sharpness
  • Apply Corel's "Early Color" photo effect
  • Reduce saturation of parts of the background and foreground
  • Fill bottom right corner using clone tool
  • Apply Corel's "Albumen Photo Frame" effect
  • Clean up a few distracting spots
It's not a lot of steps but it took a fairly long time because I try out several degrees of adjustment each step of the way.  
I'm planning on creating some cards from some of my shots.  This one is a candidate, no doubt.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and will post it on my Flickr page in the Corel group as well.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Worldwide Pinhole Day 2013

Each year, the last Sunday in April is Worldwide Pinhole Day.  This year I built a body cap pinhole for my Sony Alpha 200.  Here is my entry for 2013.  More can be seen at http://www.pinholeday.org/


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My driveway thought it had the better of me.

Oh cunning driveway,
How you vex me with ice and snow.
This February winter woe!




You sought to clothe yourself
With sheets slippery and smooth.
Now, look what I've done to you.




A pinch  of salt,
A warmer breeze and sun,
With my chopper, I'm nearly done.