Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lighthouse, New Brighton

Lighthouse, New Brighton was taken in - well, I'll let you hazard a wild guess where it was taken - during the "blue hour" on an October evening.  The tide was coming in rather rapidly, so each exposure was a race between composing the shot and seeing the tripod sink slowly into the sand!  As with Wharfedale Hillside I knew that I'd want to lighten the image and print it on a soft, textured art paper.  In fact, the processing of this image is pretty well identical to the other one, with the obvious exception that there weren't any trees growing in the the River Mersey...

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  Photoshop was used to level the horizon and clone out the lights from shipping and the Liverpool side of the river.  The image was then blended with a lightened, softened copy of itself before adding grain and fixing the tonal balance in Nik Colour Efex Pro.  A small amount of dodging and burning was used to emphasise the texture in the sky and the water, and to bring out details in the lighthouse itself.  Canon 5DmkII, EF 24-105/4L, 37s @ f/22, ISO 100.

#NikSoftware #ColorEfexPro

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Got the T-Shirt

Got the T-Shirt was taken while in Bristol visiting my daughter.  I was walking along the Gloucester Road when I spotted a couple of T-Shirts - one of a cat and the other of a dog - in a shop window.  I only had my iPhone at the time, thereby proving the old saying that the best camera for a job is the one you have with you.

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  A small amount of cloning in Photoshop was necessary to remove distractions on the right and at the bottom, but the colour cast, vignette and "grunge" were added in Nik Snapseed.  I mourn the day that Google took over Nik Software and canned the desktop version of Snapseed: it was a very easy and powerful tool to use, and therefore one which was perfectly suited for teaching purposes.  While it's still possible to use the application on the iPad and iPhone, it's not quite the same.  Come on, Google - let's have Snapseed Desktop back.  Please...

#NikSoftware #SnapSeed

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Abandon Hope

Abandon Hope was taken on a gloomy, overcast October afternoon in West Kirby on The Wirral. My first thoughts related to the credits at the beginning of the original  Star Wars film, but the gritty treatment and the tiny, solitary figure (who had ignored the warnings aimed at "all ye who enter here") resulted in something rather more sinister.  Needless to say, how this picture is received depends very much on whether judges and selectors actually see the figure.  It appears to be too subtle for some...

This is the original image straight out of the camera, and was always one of those pictures where a bit of Photoshop work was going to be inevitable.  The combination of the angle of the pathway and the position of the words written on it meant that either the writing or the horizon would end up level!  I chose the writing, so had to rotate the horizon to match.  The image was then cropped before being tone-mapped in Nik HDR Efex Pro.  Two versions were made: pure monochrome; and this one with a small amount of colour.  Unusually for me I prefer the colour version.  Canon 5DmkII, EF 17-40/4L, 1/50s @ f/11, ISO 200.

#NikSoftware #HDREfexPro

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mirror, Mirror...

Mirror, Mirror... was taken on a freezing cold Sunday morning in Bristol while visiting my daughter.  The original plan had been to go for a walk, but the temperature and biting wind resulted in us heading for a Flea Market which is held regularly at Bristol City Football Ground (indoors!).  It was crowded and dingy, so I put the 85/1.8 lens on the camera and cranked the ISO up to 3200.  There was a wonderful old lady there, dressed up to the nines, applying bright red lipstick with the tip of her finger.  Who could resist?

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  Although shot at very high ISO, with  some careful (selective) noise reduction using Nik Dfine I was able to produce something which prints perfectly at A3 with virtually no noise visible.  There was a small amount of cloning in Photoshop to remove the corner of the table on the left, followed by some selective darkening and desaturation in Nik Viveza in order to make the background clutter less obtrusive.  Canon 5DmkII, 85/1.8, 1/60s @ f/5.6, ISO 3200.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Two Way Traffic

Two Way Traffic was taken one evening while walking around the town of Certaldo in Tuscany.  I'd watched an old lady for a few minutes as she struggled to force her fluffy white dog to do her bidding.  While in the middle of shooting a panorama (vertical orientation) I spotted the priceless sight of the woman and the dog at loggerheads, right next to two signs with arrows pointing in opposite directions.  No time to compose properly, so a quick snap was all I had time for.

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  As well as cropping there was quite a bit of tidying up to do, such as removing the multi-coloured banner.  I also took the liberty of moving the shutter to the left slightly so that it didn't interfere with the lady's face and extending the canvas on the far left from one of the other images in the panorama.  The monochrome conversion was done in Photoshop, as this image dates from the time before I discovered Silver Efex Pro.  Canon 20D, 17-40/4L, 1/160s @ f/8, ISO 400.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Wharfedale Hillside

Wharfedale Hillside was taken while driving through one of my favourite parts of the country having just had an excellent lunch at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes.  It was September and the sun was fairly high in the sky, so I decided to soften and lighten the image before printing it on a textured art paper.

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  There were a small number of boulders to be cloned out before blending the picture with a gently softened version of itself and adding "grain".  It was then down to good old-fashioned dodging and burning in order to emphasise the contours of the land and bring out the branches of the three trees.  Canon 50D, 100-400/4.5-5.6L, 1/500s @ f/8, ISO 400.