Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Slightly Lighter Touch in HDR

I'm still playing with HDR, just to see what I can do with it and to improve my skills. Here I'm trying to bring a little life into a picture that started out pretty flat. The first picture was taken on a very drab and cloudy day. The light and the setting resulted in some really subdued the colors. So I took a series of pictures of this setting at various exposures and then loaded them into Photoshop's HDR merger. There I brought up the colors using the saturation and vibrance controls. Then with the HDR strength control I tried to add a little more drama to the sky. I think it made the picture look a little more interesting. Also, since this picture was taken through a window, I had to use Photoshop to remove the reflections of the indoor lights in the glass.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Panorama in Photoshop

Once again I'm playing around with some of the fun things I can do with Photoshop and my camera. This time I'm using the photomerge command. First of all, I had to take a series of pictures while panning my camera across the scene. One thing I had to do was to fix the focus and switch it to manual to make sure it didn't change as I moved the camera. To keep the camera level and the pictures all on the same plane, I mounted my camera on the tripod and then panned from left to right, taking shot after shot attempting to include about 40% of the previous shot in the next frame. That gave me a series of pictures to feed into photoshop.In photoshop, I selected the photomerge command and then selected the series of pictures that I wanted to use. I also tweaked the format a bit, the cylindrical layout mode since this was a really wide panorama just to keep the distortion down to a reasonable level. It looks like I may have missed the 40% as I approached the middle but on the other hand I'm glad that the posters hanging on the wall in the background didn't get blocked. I call this picture "Minions Coming and Going." This is another fun technique that I plan to work with more and see what cool things I can create with it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Great Family Portrait Shoot

This time around we did the family portrait shoot in my studio. The place really isn't that large and is probably better suited to taking pictures of objects and individuals but we managed to make it work. On the plus side, it's a very controlled environment and we don't have to worry about things like wind messing up people's hair or unexpected interruptions.They were a fun bunch to work with and so we experimented with a number of different poses. I had a few suggested ideas for posing and they came in with a number of things they wanted to try.
With some very cool results.

And the fact that these people are involved in the local theater and music scene helped to fuel our creativity and gave us more ideas.
Such as this Gladys Knight and the Pips inspired pose. Don't you love it when a photo shoot is this much fun?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Phil's Dragon

Halloween is my friend Phil's favorite holiday, as you can tell. He dresses up as a fancy vampire with a costume that not only includes fangs but red contact lenses as well. But that's only the beginning. The big project that he spends all of October preparing for is converting his front yard into a dragon's castle that includes treasure, witches, a slain knight, the dragons hoard, damsels in distress chained to large rocks and an animatronic mechanical dragon that even breaths fire. It's a very popular stop for trick or treaters of all ages.

This event becomes a fun time for Phil's family and a number of his friends.

I decided to do an HDR image of the dragon. Instead of going for something extreme or surreal, I decided to play with the lighting and go for a more subtle effect. The result looks more like the lighting you would see in a movie.