Seeing in Black & White Pt II

This is a follow up to the article from last week on seeing in black and white for those who might struggle a bit with creating black and white imagery in a colour world.

In that article, we looked at some of the basics of colour conversion to greyscale and some of the difficulties in creating the desired separation of grey tones and contrast.  We also started to look at some of the ways in which we need to manipulate one colour (e.g., yellow) to affect another (e.g., green). cont’d

Seeing in Black & White

With all due respect to the great songwriter Paul Simon, everything doesn’t look worse in black and white.

So what do I mean by ‘seeing in black and white’? Well, black and white photography is different from colour photography. Some might say, ‘Well, duh!’ But it is. It requires a different way of seeing and viewing. I’ve heard some people say they just can’t get black and white down. Everything just looks muddled. Why is that? It’s because in the technicolour world we live in colour provides visual interest and contrast. In black & white, or rather shades of grey, there is no direct colour to provide that contrast. In most cases, the contrast has to be created. This requires time to learn and requires a different way of seeing. cont’d

The Power of Lightroom, Redux

This is a follow up to my original Power of Lightroom article from just about a year ago.  Lightroom has been improved with each new version and while the black and white capability and the Adjustment Brush capability have been in place before v3, I thought I’d take the opportunity to toss in a new article on Lightroom for black and white.  Probably 80% of what I do with editing photos, I do now with Lightroom.  There are still some things I use Photoshop for and I’d never give up Photoshop but Lightroom is a wonderful piece of software. cont’d

Organising your Photos

I had several questions during the workshop I taught last fall about organising photos. Not surprisingly, some of the attendees were having trouble finding particular images or in developing a good organisational structure for their photos. Some who’d been shooting only in low rez JPEG at the time had never moved their images off the memory card. They had literally hundreds of images sitting on the card. cont’d

My Christmas Wishlist for Adobe

It’s that time of year. The time of snow and presents under the tree. A lump of coal for some of the more naughty. Christmas is the time for wishes. When we were kids, it seemed that magic happened on Christmas day and most of our wishes came true. The big ones at least. Now that we’re adults the wishes are different and more difficult to fulfill. But we wish nonetheless.

So here, in this little piece of the blogoshphere is my Christmas Wishlist for Adobe. I’m only going to cover the two products I use – Photoshop and Lightroom. But if you use others in the Adobe product family, toss your wishes into the comments.  Yes, there’s a lot of HDR stuff in here but, hey, I do HDR and the rest of Photoshop is pretty damn good after 20 years. cont’d

Advanced HDR Editing – Tutorial

When we’re working with tonemapped HDR images, sometimes additional editing is needed or desired.  Why?  Well, if we look at HDR as a way to expand dynamic range and as a way to give us a better starting point; rather than looking at HDR as an endpoint, then it makes sense that additional tweaking may be something we want to do.  In addition to that, the HDR process can sometimes do funny things with colours that we don’t want.  I wrote about HDR being a starting point in an earlier blog post,“The Great HDR Debate” .

What we’re going to look at in this tutorial are a couple methods to work with tonemapped HDR images to give us a the final image we want.  One approach is going to involve layer masks and the other is going to use layer blending modes.  The layer mask adjustment is going to build on my earlier layer mask tutorial.

Earlier this summer I shot some interiors of a well known cathedral in Toronto – St. Michael’s Catholic Cathedral.  My intent when I went into the church was to build on the ‘artistic architectural’ project.  It’s a terrific space with wonderful stained glass and architectural features.  The painting on the ceiling is magnificent. cont’d

HDR Software Review Series Pt X – Picturenaut

This is the last instalment in the series of HDR software reviews. If a new application comes along in the future, I may add it to the set and I’m in the process of looking at some new beta versions of a couple previous applications so will likely update those reviews in the future with new information; but for all intents and purposes this is it. What started out as a list of about 5 applications has grown to a 10 part series. From a purely personal standpoint, if I never see the images that have been used in all these reviews again it’ll be too soon. icon biggrin HDR Software Review Series Pt X – Picturenaut I hope the thoughts I’ve laid out have been useful for some people and perhaps given some insight from the standpoint of a casual user.

This last instalment will look at Picturenaut. I was initially reluctant to include it because unlike all the other applications in the series, Picturenaut isn’t a commercial product. My feeling is that if someone’s offering a piece of software for sale, it’s open to be reviewed and critiqued but if someone’s offering up a piece of software for free it’s a different matter.

Picturenaut can be downloaded from the HDRLabs website which, as many of you probably know, is owned and maintained by Christian Bloch. Christian is well known in HDR circles and is the author of The HDRI Handbook which is highly recommended as one of the two seminal reads for users of HDR both new and advanced along with Practical HDRI. cont’d

Creating Timelapse Videos – Tutorial

I’m likely to slowly migrate most of what’s on my main website to the WordPress format and figured I’d start with this tutorial rather than putting it over there.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of timelapse shooting of late and have had some questions about the process so thought I’d put together a short tutorial. This isn’t going to go into extensive depth on video editing as that’s really beyond the scope of what I’m wanting to outline here.

Timelapse is the opposite of high speed photography. In high speed photography, you capture images at a very fast frame rate and when played back at a normal frame rate, the action appears slowed down. In timelapse, you’re effectively lapsing time or skipping time. You capture at a slower frame rate and when played back at a normal rate, action appears sped up. If you’ve seen, for example, a video of the progression of a flower bud coming into bloom, that’s timelapse. cont’d

HDR Software Review Series Pt VIII – Preview of Oloneo Photo Engine

I received an email from the folks behind Photo Engine a few weeks ago telling me they were going to be launching a new software package that did HDR and a whole lot more and asking if I’d be interested in being part of the beta group. Sure, I said.

I’ve been playing with the software now for a couple weeks. What follows is essentially a review like others in the series but keep in mind that things could change since this is only the first beta of the program.

I’ll say upfront that Photo Engine is a very complex piece of software. It takes a bit of time to get a feel for it. There’s some terrifically complex coding in the background related to the HDR Relight feature to be sure. In general, while what I’ve seen so far is looking like it’s going to be a very good program, there some complexities and features that are superfluous and attention could have been paid elsewhere. More on that as we progress.  I also think that some of what’s in this software is geared toward CG artists and may not be a lot of use to photographers.

There’s a particular feature of Photo Engine that I haven’t tried yet and that won’t be covered in this preview.  It’s the HDR Relight feature.  I’ll state upfront that I’m a bit skeptical as to the applicability of this for photographers – it may be one of those aspects of the software that CG artists will use more – but will keep an open mind and reserve final judgement till I’ve had the chance to try it out. cont’d

Geocoding for Crackberry Users

Geocoding digital photos has become a popular thing to do. It makes sharing of photos in applications like Google Earth very easy. Some suggest that it’s helpful for buyers of stock photos in finding images but I’m not sure I completely see the connection there. Are stock buyers searching based on geo. coordinates? Maybe some folks could weigh in on that one.

Anyway, I began geocoding my photos about a year ago. It’s another step in the workflow but it’s reasonably automated so not terribly onerous. In my case, I used my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx which has route tracking capability and GPicSync. GPicSync uses .gpx track files which is what my eTrex creates. The workflow goes like this – Load images from the CF card to the computer via Lightroom (adding copyright, keywords, etc). Transfer the .gpx track file to the computer. Launch GPicSync, point it at the track file, point it at the folder with the image files, let it do its thing. Easy peasy. I set the eTrex to record a track point every 10 seconds. In GPicSync, I set the threshhold for time difference between track points in the track file and the time code in a particular image file at 10 seconds. GPicSync then writes the long/lat coordinates into the EXIF if the difference between the two is less than 10 seconds.  In order for this to be successful you have to sync the time in your camera with the GPS time in the GPS receiver you’re using, be it something like my eTrex, a smartphone or a small GPS tracker like those from Trackstick. cont’d