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Posts Tagged ‘Objects’

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

22 Dec

Incorporating translucent elements into your compositions can add an interesting dynamic of luminosity to your photographs. Especially if you can backlight them.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Water spray, smoke, steam, and things such as flags, flowers, and fabric when backlit can take on an almost surreal quality because of the way the light refracts as it passes through these types of semi-transparent elements. In this article, I want to share with you some ideas and examples of how to make the most of backlighting translucent objects.

Front light versus backlight

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

If you light a translucent element from the front it will look pretty normal as the light will reflect naturally. Lighting translucency from behind means the light is refracted, (bent,) and scattered before your camera’s sensor records it.

As you can see from the two example photos of the mad scientist with the red liquid in the flask. Notice how the color of the liquid appears very different in the two photos. See how dark it is above, compared to the bright red color in the image below where it has backlighting.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Any colored liquid in a glass, or even any colored glass containing no liquid, will take on a dramatically different quality when it’s backlit. The colors will appear lighter than if they are lit from the front.

Position yourself to create backlight

Water spray, steam and smoke all provide you with great opportunities to produce creative photos. Backlighting and photographing any of these elements will return very different results than if you position yourself so the light is behind you and the camera.

As the light passes through these elements, (or anything translucent,) the rays are bent and the light is diffused before your camera records it. Backlit semitransparent things tend to glow because of this.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

In the image above, I found a good location where the sun was in front of me to photograph during the Song Khran festival in Chaing Mai, Thailand, (which is one huge water fight). This lit up the water spray as buckets were thrown and hoses sprayed on revelers.

Seeing the monk sweeping leaves and burning them in the temple grounds (below) I carefully positioned myself to photograph the sun coming through from behind the smoke.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Good subjects for backlighting

Flags and flowers are two of my other favorite translucent things to photograph. If you can find an angle where the sun is coming from behind a flag or row of flags the resulting photos can be far more colorful and interesting than if the flag is front-lit.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Photographing flowers where you have the opportunity to light them from behind, or even part of them from behind, (as in this image of the purple orchids,) can really make them pop. However, if you are wanting to get clear and realistic correct color of flowers you are photographing it is probably better to light them from the front.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Exposure notes

When you are photographing any backlit element take care to expose well. Don’t be too concerned about getting a “correct” exposure as often slightly overexposing will enhance the effect. Expose to create a feeling or mood rather than to achieve a technically precise result.

Your camera’s exposure meters measure reflected light. When you photograph refracted light passing through a translucent element your camera may not give you an acceptable result if you are using any of the automatic modes. Being in control of your exposure manually will allow you to experiment and set it to give you the result that you think looks best.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect - colorful drinks

The background matters

If you are able to include a dark background in this style of photograph this can often enhance your pictures as well. The glow of a backlit semitransparent element can really stand out from a dark background where the light is three or more stops lower.

This photo of a Lahu man smoking against the dark background of my outdoor studio is a good example of this.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Processing

Taking a little more time to post-process photos you have made using this technique is advisable. Because of the unusual nature of the lighting and the subject your camera may not always record the photo exactly how you want it. Manipulating the contrast levels, blacks, highlights and using the dehaze feature will allow you to enhance your photos of translucent backlit subjects.

How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect

Please share your photos in the comments below of smoke, spray, steam or any other translucent elements with backlighting that you’ve enjoyed making.

The post How to Backlight Translucent Objects for Dramatic Effect by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

19 Sep

What software do you use to process your digital images? As of the writing of this article, Adobe Lightroom sports over 1.4 million Likes on their official Facebook page. And Photoshop? That Facebook page is pushing 7.7 million Likes. If those numbers are any indication of the overall use of the editing software, then it’s safe to say that you are likely using one of the two programs right now (you’re reading this after all). Lightroom and Photoshop arguably set the standard for all other post-processing software platforms.

If you’re like me you use both of them, in tandem, to edit and process your photos. There are literally limitless possibilities when it comes to using Lightroom and Photoshop together. Out of those possibilities comes the idea of “Smart Objects”.

Do you know about Smart Objects? Have you ever used them before in your workflow? If not, I’m going to show you exactly how useful (or not) working with Smart Objects between Lightroom and Photoshop can be. Don’t worry, it’s all easy to understand. Let’s have a look at what Smart Objects can do for you and your photography when it comes to working with both Lightroom and Photoshop.

What are Smart Objects?

Think of Smart Objects as being a larger suitcase. All your edits in Lightroom are non-destructive. This is because you aren’t actually editing your original file in Lightroom. Rather, you are working with a virtual copy of your image. When you go from Lightroom to Photoshop, like this…

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

You package everything into the suitcase and send it off to Photoshop Land. What do you put in your suitcase? You might put your Lightroom edits, the original file information, or a mix of the two. The key is that you don’t want to do anything to your photos that you can’t take back. While you can edit your images between Lightroom and Photoshop non-destructively, there are ways to remain more flexible than others. One of these is by using smart objects.

While you can edit your images between Lightroom and Photoshop non-destructively, there are ways to remain more flexible than others. One of these is by using smart objects.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Smart Objects pack more into the suitcase when you move your editing between Lightroom and Photoshop. When your image opens as a Smart Object in Photoshop, you’ll notice a special little icon on the layer thumbnail.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

This lets you know that you are now working with a Smart Object layer. From here, work with your image in Photoshop as you do normally.

The benefits of using Smart Objects

The great thing about using Smart Objects when jumping from Lightroom to Photoshop is that you are taking an original version of your image with you so that editing becomes much more versatile once in Photoshop. Not only can you change the edits you made in Lightroom but you can also work more effectively when transforming or resizing your photo.

This all sounds a little complicated, but I can assure you it’s not. Let me show you some of the perks of using Smart Objects when working between Lightroom and Photoshop.

Real-time edits of Lightroom adjustments

Using Smart Objects, you can make dynamic changes to your Lightroom edits using Adobe Camera Raw just as you would in Lightroom itself. This lets you augment your Lightroom edits on the fly and when you save your image back to Lightroom there will be less need to make those final tweaks. Double click the Smart Object thumbnail and your photo will open in ACR.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Apply any edits you want while in ACR and they will go back with you if/when you bring your photo back into Lightroom.

Smarter resizing and transforming

There’s a problem that plagues editors when it comes to downsizing and upsizing images in Photoshop. It’s pixelization. Because, spoiler alert, digital images are made up of pixels (except vector images). When you scale an image down in Photoshop, the program removes pixels to make the image smaller. This is all well and good until you decide you want to make the image larger again. Since you’re missing pixels, the photo can lose a lot of quality and look pixelated. Let me show you what I mean.

Here we have that same photo that we imported to Photoshop. I’ve duplicated the image with the one on the left being our regular “Pixel Image” and the one on the right is the same photo only converted to a Smart Object (select layer>layer menu>convert to Smart Object.).

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

I scale both photos down to 10% of their original size.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Then, being the hypothetical indecisive photographer that I am, I decide to then bring the photo back to its original 100% size. Which gives us this.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Not much difference, right? Wrong. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s the regular image after scaling it back to its larger size.

And now look at our Smart Object…

The smart object image has kept its clarity and sharpness because Photoshop didn’t touch the pixels when it was downsized and used the additional information in the Smart Object to edit non-destructively. This is the power of working with Smart Objects when using Lightroom and Photoshop together.

The Downside

No, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when working with Smart Objects. The biggest problem is that since you are including the RAW file information when you jump from Lightroom, the final file sizes can become rather large after you edit your image in Photoshop. Depending on the size of your original image file this can make for a lot of hard drive real estate being consumed resulting in poor performance during your processing.

Final thoughts on Smart Objects

Using Lightroom alongside Photoshop essentially gives you the best of both editing worlds. You have the simplistic adjustment capacity Lightroom while being able to perform more intricate edits using Photoshop. Smart Objects simply sweeten the pot. Using Smart Objects allows you to edit your images more efficiently and completely non-destructively.

Resizing images from Smart Objects means no loss of quality when you upscale or downscale. Throw in the fact that you have the fluidity of accessing and changing your Lightroom edits while in Photoshop using ACR and you quickly begin to run out of reasons not to incorporate this into your editing workflow. The increased file size, in my opinion, will be well worth the added benefits Smart Objects will bring you.

Have some of your own processing tricks while using Lightroom and Photoshop together? Please share them in the comments below.

The post Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Secrets in the Shadows: Urban Objects Transformed with Sidewalk Paint

29 Aug

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

You might not even notice there’s anything unusual about these shadows until you’re right up on them, wondering why in the world a mailbox looks like a grinning monster, fearing that somebody slipped you a psychedelic drug. There’s nothing wrong with your perception of the world. You’re just lucky enough to spot one of Damon Belanger’s shadow art creations in the wild, painted on urban surfaces all over Redwood City, California. Depending on the time of day, the shadows can be surprisingly convincing, catching passersby off guard.

A public bench becomes a cat, a bicycle has a mind of its own and a cartoon train scoots along the top of a fence. A fire hydrant sprouts a maze, and smiling flowers grow from the bases of bike racks. The work was created in partnership with the Redwood City Improvement Association, and though it may be simple, it’s sweet, and a fun way to liven up public spaces. You can see more on Belanger’s Instagram.

“The shadow art has allowed me to bring out a more whimsical side of my art and allows me to play with shadows,” Belanger told the Daily Journal. “The shadows give regular mundane objects a lively spirit so people can have a little fun in their everyday lives.”

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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Eclipsing Belief: 8 Rare and Amazing Astronomic Objects & Events

22 Aug

[ By SA Rogers in Culture & History & Travel. ]

We don’t even need to go searching for signs of aliens to find incredibly bizarre and unexplainable objects and events in outer space, from a ‘black widow’ pulsar that’s devouring its own mate to a lonely rogue planet doomed to wander alone for all eternity. Now that we’ve witnessed 2017’s much-hyped total solar eclipse, which crossed the entire United States for the first time since 1918, let’s take a look at some other amazing astronomic phenomena that remain mysterious to science.

The Black Widow Pulsar

Officially known as Pulsar J1311-3430, this pulsar weighs as much as two suns, yet it’s only about the size of Washington D.C. It’s getting heavier because it’s feeding on its ‘mate,’ a normal star, stripping layers away from it with its powerful beam. Eventually, it will devour it. (Image via NASA)

The Boötes Void

Discovered in 1981 by astronomer Robert Kirshner and his team, the Boötes Void is a massive expanse of empty space about 700 million light years from Earth. The largest known void in the Universe, it measures an incredible 250 million light years in diameter and contains just 60 galaxies, which is incredibly sparse for its size. It should contain bout 10,000. Astronomers aren’t sure why the void exists, though some theorize that supervoids are caused by the intermingling of smaller voids. (image via Wikipedia)

Gamma Ray Bursts

The most powerful explosions in the universe, gamma ray busts are usually associated with the collapse of a massive star an the birth of a black hole (how metal.) These bursts of high-energy light typically last a minute or less, and occur every couple days. (Image via NASA)

Lonely Rogue Planet

This wandering planet known as CFBDSIR2149 separated from its parent star and wanders around the universe alone. Astronomers believe that it’s just one of billions of such ‘castaway planets,’ which are ostracized from their solar systems during their formative years when other plants’ orbits are establishing themselves (image via European Southern Observatory)

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Eclipsing Belief 8 Rare And Amazing Astronomic Objects Events

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[ By SA Rogers in Culture & History & Travel. ]

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NYC Transformed: Graffiti Artist Turns Urban Objects into 3D Cartoons

29 Jul

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

No street grate, pipe, manhole cover, stack of barrels or concrete blob on the beach is too random and irregular to be transformed into a lighthearted cartoon. Street artist Tom Bob looks for the potential in every alleyway, every sidewalk – seeing all sorts of creatures and scenes and bringing them to life in his signature vivid, playful style. You’ll never see street debris the same way.

BEFORE & AFTER ? Found this street sign end post as is. #bartsimpson #after #streetart #cartoonface #bart #simpson #tombobnyc #stencilart #thesimpsons #? #beforeandafter #tombob

A post shared by Tom Bob (@tombobnyc) on

JUMP ROPE GIRL #??#bikerack #jumpropegirl #sillouette #streetart #newbedford #massachusetts #brockavenue #nbma #southend #tombobnyc #publicart #tombob #jumprope

A post shared by Tom Bob (@tombobnyc) on

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE!! ? RIP #muhammadali #thegreatest #boxer #champion #ali #cassiusclay ? #floatlikeabutterfly ? #stinglikeabee ? #streetart #saltspreader #tombobnyc #bumblebee #bee #?

A post shared by Tom Bob (@tombobnyc) on

The artist posts many of his creations on Instagram, sometimes showing before-and-after shots that give us an idea of just how mundane the scenes looked before he arrived with his cans of paint. Abandoned construction equipment becomes giant insects, a squashed traffic cone is roadkill, utility boxes turn into monkeys or crabs. The pieces seem to send a message that fun is wherever you want to find it.

ROAD KILL!! #splat #trafficcone #streetart #tombobnyc #stencil #tombob #stencilart #roadkill

A post shared by Tom Bob (@tombobnyc) on

Quiney #enjoying her @oreo #cookie @buttonwoodpark #nbma #? #oreocookie #manholecover #oreo #manholecover #streeart #stencil #manholecoverart #tombob @hmimoso4 @dlupe #oreocookies

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? If you are in #newyorkcity tonight, come check out this piece I have in a group show @theskinnybar 174 #orchardstreet #les 7-4am curated by @djpumpkin #menatwork #warning #streetsign #roadsign #catching #gator #? #alligator #croc #sewer #sewergator #streetart #tombobnyc

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With everything going on in the world, it’s good to have some levity to balance out the bad. The artist – whose real name is Thomas Bobrowiecki – was born in Massachusetts and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design at Southeastern Massachusetts University.

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How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

27 Jul

A cornerstone in modern manufacturing, plastic is an amazing thing. Look around and you’ll see an abundance of plastic materials used in an endless variety of products. From pens to planes – yep, even modern commercial aircraft are cutting down on weight by introducing plastic composite components – plastic has revolutionized the way we live. And while much of the plastic we encounter is discarded after the first use – this photography tutorial will give you a good reason to hang onto those plastic knives and forks. By using a polarizing filter, some plastic materials and a computer screen, we can reveal a surprisingly beautiful side to the internal stresses of hard plastic material.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Supplies you will need:

  • Polarizing filter or polarized sunglasses
  • Computer screen
  • Camera
  • Clear sticky tape
  • Sheet of glass
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Transparent plastic objects

Setting up

In basic terms, what we’ll be doing is sandwiching a plastic object between a polarized light source and an on-camera polarizing filter. Polarizing filters that screw into the front of a camera are used by photographers to add contrast and reduce glare.

How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Don’t have a polarizing filter? Use your polarized sunglasses in a pinch.

If you don’t have a polarizing filter, a pair of polarized sunglasses will do the trick. Simply position the sunglasses so that one eye sits over the front of the camera lens like a filter. Keep in mind that the shape of the eyepiece will probably prevent complete coverage of the front lens element. If this is the case, some cropping may be required in Photoshop later. You may also need to do some sticky-taping to ensure the glasses sit correctly.

Now gather some clear plastic materials to photograph. Objects like plastic bags, sticky tape dispensers, plastic food containers, clear plastic cutlery and packaging all turn out well. Basically, any cheap, transparent plastic will work to some degree, so have a good scavenge around!

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Finding good backlighting

Next, you’ll need a polarized light source to shine through the transparent plastic material. Conveniently, modern desktop and laptop computer screens emit linearly polarized light. First, you need to maximize the white light emitting from our computer screen. To do this, download a plain white background from Google Images. Once downloaded, open the file in a default image viewer and set the image to Full-Screen Mode. This will spread the white backdrop over the entirety of the functional computer screen, providing the backdrop for our polarized objects.

Once downloaded, open the file in a default image viewer and set the image to full-screen mode. This will spread the white backdrop over the entirety of the functional computer screen, providing the backdrop for your polarized objects.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Set the viewing mode of a clean white image to full-screen so that it completely covers the screen.

Arrange the subjects

Once the white background is set, you can start arranging your plastic items on the computer screen. If you have a choice between using a desktop or laptop computer, I recommend going with the laptop. Unlike a desktop computer, you can turn an open laptop upside down, so the screen lays flat on a surface. This turns your laptop into a home-made light box of sorts, perfect for sitting your plastic objects on.

Keep in mind however that laptops with touchscreen capabilities may not work as effectively. From my own experience, these laptop screens deliver far less pronounced results. Note: A large tablet or iPad may work as well.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Viewed through a polarizing filter, this transparent stencil is placed on the top of a touchscreen laptop. While the polarizing effect can still be seen, the finished image falls flat.

Workaround for desktop screens

Because the screen is upright, using a desktop computer for this project can seem a little trickier. Rather than tipping a full sized computer screen on it’s back, I’ve been fixing my plastic materials to a sheet of glass with tiny pieces of clear sticky tape. Easily recovered from old photo frames, the glass sheet means you can avoid sticking tape directly to your computer screen, without blocking out any light. For best coverage, a larger sheet of glass is preferable, just make sure that it’s dust free. Once you are finished taking your photographs, you can remove any evidence of the sticky tape with the “Clone Stamp” in Photoshop.

For best coverage, a larger sheet of glass is preferable, just make sure that it’s dust free. Once you are finished taking your photographs, you can remove any evidence of the sticky tape with the “Clone Stamp” in Photoshop.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

I’ve affixed this transparent stencil to a pane of glass to keep it upright against the computer screen. The small amount of tape can be removed easily in Photoshop later.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

In this image, a small piece of the clear sticky tape can be seen.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Taking advantage of the solid black background, any trace of the sticky tape can be removed by using the paintbrush tool with a black swatch selected

Getting the shot

Once you have assembled your objects against the computer screen, it’s time to see some results!  Grab the camera you outfitted earlier with either the polarizing filter or the polarized sunglasses. While looking through the viewfinder (or LiveView Mode) point the camera at your plastic assemblage. Like magic, the boring clear plastic materials are filled with a beautiful array of colors.

Change the angle – change the background

Depending on the angle of the polarizing filter, you’ll notice that the backdrop of your image ranges from the white computer screen to jet black. The degree of polarization you see through the lens is dictated by the angle of the filter in relation to the wavelengths emitted by the computer screen. This means that by changing the angle of the polarizing medium, you can adjust the brightness of the computer screen without impacting the color of the plastic objects.

Simply hold the camera in one hand (or use a tripod) and use the other to slowly rotate the filter around. The same effect can be achieved by manually tilting the polarized sunglasses from side-to-side.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

An image of a pretty shell shaped container I had on my dresser. The polarization effect highlights the stresses in a plastic material, rendering them as beautiful arrays of color.

The same shell container, this time with the filter angled so that the white light passes through to the camera sensor, rendering a white background

Your turn!

Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s time to raid the recycling bin! Post your results below and have fun.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

The polarizing effect caused this plastic bag to take on a rugged, mountainous appearance.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

The post How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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10 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can do at Home with Everyday Objects

26 Jun

Here is a quick video showing you 10 photography tricks or projects you can try at home using everyday objects. You may have some of these things lying around your house, if not most are inexpensive to buy.

Try some of these ideas:

  • Make it snow indoors
  • Use a magnifying glass for fun effects
  • Create your own light flare
  • Try some refraction using water drops or a glass

Have any others? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

The post 10 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can do at Home with Everyday Objects by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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How to Remove Objects and Add Punch to Your Images with Photoshop

31 May

In this article, we’ll look at an image I reprocessed after my initial edit. I’ll also share with you some tips on how to use Photoshop to remove objects from your scene that are unwanted and add some punch to your image.

Original processed version

Have you ever created an image, processed it, shared it with the world, and then decided it wasn’t quite finished? I have! In fact, I do it more often than I’d like to admit. A while back, I created a video tutorial for On1 Software showing how I used that software to process an image I took at Queen’s Bath on the island of Kauai. I was super excited to share the image because it was an incredible sunset, at an incredible location, shot during some incredible conditions, with a completely random and unscripted local in the scene to top it all off. Here’s a look at the image after processing it and creating the initial video.

How to Remove Objects and Add Punch to Your Images with Photoshop

After watching the video and looking at the final image, I decided I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the edit. I’ve used On1 Software for nearly a decade now, and still use it in my everyday workflow. It wasn’t any fault of On1, I just felt the image could be taken up another notch so decided to take it over into Photoshop to give it another go. I decided the image needed two adjustments…

#1 Remove the local at the bottom climbing up the rocks.

  • Queen’s Bath is notorious for the massive waves that crash against the shore in the winter. Nearly 30 people have drowned at this location from being washed out to sea and this guy was close to being added to the list! I decided to remove him because his movements caused him to become blurred and I felt he ended up being more of a distraction in the image than a complementary part of it.

#2 Add a bit more contrast and punch to the overall image.

  • I felt the sky and rocks were still a bit too washed out and needed a very subtle boost to bring it all together.

Second edited version completed in Photoshop

After a few minutes in Photoshop, I came up with this final (really this time!) result.

How to Remove Objects and Add Punch to Your Images with Photoshop

After working extensively in Photoshop over the past decade, I’ve developed a few tricks along the way. I’m not sure how mainstream some of them are, so I like to share them in hopes that they’ll help you as well. One of those tricks is how I remove objects that are up against other objects(as opposed to being out in the open). To do this, I use a combination of the Quick Selection Tool, Masking, and the Clone Stamp. Adding contrast and punch to the image is a bit more basic in this case, but still advanced if you aren’t super familiar with masking and brush techniques.

Here’s the video where I walk through the process step-by-step.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions please put them in the comments section below.

Get James’ video course POST II where he walks through his entire workflow in Lightroom, Photoshop, and more from start to finish with 10 of his favorite portfolio images. Be sure to use coupon code DPS25 at checkout for an exclusive DPS discount!

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How Including People or Manmade Objects in Your Landscapes Can Add a Sense of Scale

25 May

My natural instinct as a landscape photographer has always been to keep people and manmade objects out of my images. I want to create images of nature that are pure and free (or at least appear to be free) of human interference. That said, over the past few years, I have started to backtrack on this a bit, especially when the camera fails to show the true scale of a landscape. In this article, I’ll share a small collection of images from my portfolio that include situations where allowing people or objects into the scene made the image a success.

Add a manmade object to show size

Na Pali Coast Sunset Sony A7RII and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 500, f/4.5, 1/800th.

Here is (quite possibly) the most beautiful and rugged stretch of coastline on Earth, the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. I’ve photographed it from land, sea and air and still there is just no way to truly capture how incredible it is in person. On my most recent trip to the Garden Isle, I took my workshop group on a sunset cruise up to photograph whales and the Na Pali Coast.

As we were taking in the incredible scenery, I noticed one of the many helicopters that tour the coastline cutting through the scene. Using my Sony FE 16-35 f/4 lens, I framed a shot with the helicopter (flying right to left) on the right side of the frame (it’s the tiny little white spot) with plenty of space on the left side to see where it was headed. Take away the helicopter and it’s still an incredible scene, but without the helicopter, there’s just no way to accurately communicate how massive these cliffs are.

Use tourists to show scale

Balanced Rock Sunset Sony A7 and Canon 16-35 f/2.8 | ISO 100, f/11, 1/20th.

One of the easiest to reach landmarks in Arches National Park (located in Moab, Utah) is Balanced Rock. You just drive to the parking lot, and you’re pretty much there. But to get the sunset in the background, you’ll need to walk to the other side.

As our group was getting into position for what was turning out to be a beautiful sunset, a tourist climbed right up onto the rocks and started taking selfies. Ugh. Well, instead of getting upset, I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons and yelled over to him, asking if he’d mind throwing his hands up in the air. We were able to get a shot showing just how huge this sandstone rock formation really is, and the pose of the tourist turned out quite nice.

Go with the flow

Grand Canyon Lookout Sony A7RII and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/10th.

Like the previous image, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As Bruce Lee so famously said, “Be water, my friend.”

As the sun set over Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, I was in position to walk away with some really nice shots of the pink glow over the canyon. And just like in Moab, I saw a tourist walk right into the frame as I was about to press the shutter. This time though, he was much closer to the camera and as luck would have it, he was dressed in a cowboy hat, boots, and a leather backpack. Perfect! I never said a single word to this guy, he just stood there looking out over the canyon holding onto the tip of his cowboy hat. I assume he posing for someone else, but I was plenty happy to steal a few frames for myself.

Add yourself into the shot

Delicate Arch Beneath the Milky Way Sony A7S and Sony 16-35 f/4 | ISO 4000, f/4, 30 seconds.

You can’t always have people walk into your frame at the perfect time, wearing clothing that perfectly matches the location you’re photographing. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands, as I did here at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

My workshop group and co-instructor Mike were down inside the “bowl” beneath the arch and I stayed up top to light paint the arch for them during their 30-second exposures. We had walkie-talkies and Mike would give me a countdown to begin painting the arch in different ways. Since I couldn’t really concentrate on getting any of my own shots, I set my Sony A7S on a tripod, put it in time-lapse mode and just hoped to come out with one or two shots at the end of the night.

In the image above, that light shining under the arch is yours truly. I was standing beneath it, wearing a headlamp, so the students could get a silhouette of me looking up at the arch. After the shot, I looked over toward my camera (not on purpose though) and the direct light caused a starburst effect. This turned out to be my favorite image I’ve taken at this location by far. Not bad for the “set it and forget it” method!

Conclusion

 

Sometimes there just isn’t a good way to transfer a three-dimensional landscape to a two-dimensional photograph. Things always get lost in translation to some extent. At the end of the day, we are part of nature and if including a human or manmade object into an image help give the viewer a more accurate sense of scale, I say go for it.

The post How Including People or Manmade Objects in Your Landscapes Can Add a Sense of Scale by James Brandon appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Google demos technology that scrubs objects from photographs

19 May

During its I/O 2017 conference yesterday, Google demonstrated a new algorithm-based technology that can remove unwanted objects from existing photographs. The demonstration showed the technology removing a chainlink fence from the foreground of an image, with the final result offering no discernible indications that the fence had ever existed (around 10:45 in the video below).

The technology was demonstrated on stage by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during a conversation about the company’s expanding visual technology. ‘Coming very soon,’ Pichai explained, ‘if you take a picture of your daughter at a baseball game and there’s something obstructing it, we can do the hard work and remove that structure and have the picture of what matters to you in front of you.’

It looks to be an evolution of the research Google and MIT have been collaborating on for some time – in fact, their demonstration from 2015 includes a very similar chain-link fence demo. This method takes advantage of the parallax effect to identify and remove obstructions from photos. 

Unfortunately, Pichai didn’t elaborate on when this technology will be made available aside from ‘very soon,’ nor did he specify where the technology will be available. Given the company’s Google Photos announcements, however, it seems likely the technology will be implemented within that product.

Via: Google

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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