Archive for the ‘Photoshop’ Category

Mwah! Air Kisses   4 comments


A brilliant sunflower blows air kisses to the crowd.

Mwah! Air Kisses

Image © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography, All Rights Reserved

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In an adjunct garden just behind our deck, we’ve planted sunflowers, and their location allows us to come face-to-face with the tall plants. Our intent is to get to the seeds before the birds do. Uh-huh.

A recent rain played around with the fragile flower petals, and we found this one blowing a kiss to the audience.

I was surprised to learn that the onomatopoeic word, Mwah has actually made it into Webster’s dictionary.

Single exposure from Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/800s, 240mm. Photoshop CS5 and Nik Color Efex Pro

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Masnavi   18 comments


Reflection-Solo-Final-web

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Know that the world of created beings
is like pure and clear water, reflecting
the attributes of God.


Their knowledge, justice and kindness
reflects God’s like a heavenly star is
reflected in running water.


Earthly kings reflect God’s kingship.
Scholars mirror the wisdom of God.


People and nations may change as
one generation replaces another;
but the divine attributes are eternal.


The water flowing in the stream
changes many times, but the
reflection of the moon and stars
in the water remains the same.

— Rumi (Masnavi 6: 3172-8)

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A Great Egret admires his reflection at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge near the coast of Delaware. Perhaps this is a good followup to last week’s Narcissus.

As we were driving north to New England for our autumn vacation, one morning we decided to slow down and take a more coastal route. The small road brought us through farmlands, forgotten towns, and beautiful natural areas hosting thousands of birds. At one bend in the road, there were ponds on either side serving as brooding areas for various birds. (You can see another view of this pond at Assembly.)

My good friend from Wales, Anthony Woodhouse, has started a new Flickr group called Weekly Photo Challenge. This image is my entry for this week’s challenge: Reflections.

Single Exposure handheld from Nikon D90, Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/9, 300mm, 1/640s. Processed in Photoshop CS5, Nik Color Efex Pro assisting.

NEWS:

For a short time, I’m running a contest to win a free copy of the recently-released Topaz Lens Effects. To win, all you have to do is drop a comment under this photo, answering the simple question: What was different or unusual about all of my photo-blog entries last week?   It should be obvious to those who have been with me for a while.  A winner will be picked at random from all correct responses, and notified by email, so be sure to include your address (I will send no SPAM.)

Reflections: Narcissus   8 comments


A single wild pony gazes at his reflection, at Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout, North Carolina, NC

Narcissus

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It’s been an interesting week. I’d like to thank all who came by to visit. I’m very happy that you’ve taken the time.

As we wind down a week of pony pics from both Shackleford Banks and Assateague Island, perhaps we can take a pause for “Philosophy Friday.”

For those who stop in briefly, this is the dominant male of a group of wild ponies encountered on Shackleford Banks near Cape Lookout, N.C. He’s the same pony featured earlier in Bad Hair Day. The ponies have been on the island ‘forever’; it’s believed that they swam ashore from distressed Spanish galleons in the 16th century. Not these particular ponies, of course, but their ancestors. 8)

If you’ve been following from earlier in the week, I mentioned this posture that the male was taking. As I very slowly and quietly (yeah, right) moved to get closer to the herd — which included a young foal — this male dropped his head and pawed the ground. Not aggressively, mind you, but enough for me to get the clear message that I shouldn’t get any closer.

I’m good with that.

My friend Mike “Saddleguy” Scott suggests that it was an accurate read of the horse’s behavior, so I feel good about my decision to back away slowly. Shortly after I backed off, the herd sauntered toward the beach, then up and over the dunes. Photo op over.

Now, on to the latest of the ‘Reflections’ series and why I called this “Narcissus.”

You might recall from Greek mythology the story of Narcissus, a young man of not inconsiderable good looks. He was exceptionally proud, and shunned the advances of those who would love him, including the nymph, Echo. Nemesis saw this action and attracted Narcissus to a pool where he saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image.

Any time that Narcissus tried to touch the beautiful image in the water, it vanished, only to return a short time later.

He brought his lips near to take a kiss; he plunged his arms in to embrace the beloved. It fled at the touch, but returned again after a moment and renewed the fascination.

“When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckoning with the like.” His tears fell into the water and disturbed the image. As he saw it depart, he exclaimed, “Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you, if I may not touch you.”

By degrees Narcissus lost his color, his vigor, and the beauty which formerly had so charmed the nymph Echo. She kept near him, however, and when he exclaimed, “Alas! Alas!” she answered him with the same words.

Absorbed in his splendid isolation and unwilling to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus withered and died. A flower named for him grew on that spot.

I’ve long believed that there is more to the story of Narcissus, a deeper meaning that we can take away from it. This is the nature of all good fables, myths, and parables: Read between the lines to find something much more than just an interesting story.

We are social animals. We are conditioned to be in contact with one another. To love, to grieve, to share, and to live in relationship with others. This can be seen everywhere among sentient beings — in our own circles of influence; in the way that groups of species move in the environment; in the herd of wild ponies that traveled together and worked carefully to protect the young foal. A pony doesn’t know what he looks like, but he well knows that he should stick together with other ponies instead of hanging with humans.

In our world and modern culture, we sometimes tend to lose that innate sense of contact. The current world environment that we’ve created seems to encourage distancing ourselves from one another. Nations quarrel with, and plot against, other nations. Leaders bark orders from their high places and people suffer as a result. Areas of the planet are now so toxic that we can’t walk near them, separating us from our very environment. Our media culture bifurcates opinion into left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’, and focuses the little attention we still have to give on the friction between the poles. All of this causes a sense of separation between our internal notion of “I”, and the rest of the world. Is it ever more palpable than when contestants on ‘reality’ shows take the solo walk of shame off the set, are voted off the island, or are branded as “The Biggest Loser?”

Even if you care not to buy into that polarization, sometimes it seems we have to work so hard to keep up with life that we simply don’t have time to nurture relationships. Whereas front porches used to be the up-front feature of a house, those have been replaced by the up-front garage, which discourages casual, chance, nurturing discourse between neighbors and isolates us even further as we drive in, hit the zapper, and close the door behind us.

‘Social media’ venues, I think, are a reflection of our attempt to get beyond these influences and make contact with others, to develop relationships that are valuable and rewarding based on similar interests or ideologies. In a world where our culture serves to divide us one from another, it’s a way of reaching out to others to share something that might nurture us.

But perhaps too, I think, it’s our way of not hating ourselves for what we could become…

To go against the grain of what we are — social creatures — by living in the modern world, we sacrifice something very important to us. The singular focus on “I/me” and the exclusion of love killed Narcissus. An interesting interpretation of the story of Narcissus is not that he was so in love with himself that he couldn’t bear to leave his reflection, but that he hated himself for spurning the affections of others. In the self-created absence of healthy, loving relationships with men, women, and nymphs, he retreated to a place at the pool where each approach to his beloved was met with an equally loving response, and yet it was fleeting and unattainable. If he reached out to embrace, the reflection reached back. If he leaned over to kiss the reflection, it was right there for him. But he couldn’t actually make meaningful contact with it.

Without mutual contact and relationship, we suffer negative psychological effects and the brain is rewired. In extreme isolation — without feedback from others — we can begin to doubt that we even exist. We can’t ever see ourselves (physically), and in isolation, we can’t perceive our own sense of self (psychologically.) In a world that sometimes seems to encourage us to backpedal away from one another, we need even more the contact, love, and nurturing relationship that can only be found in healthy social interaction with others.

I think it’s best to do this in person, but sometimes sharing in online activity can bring us partway there.

Do you like what I’ve created here from my imagination? I love what you’ve done, and I’m remiss for not telling you that more often.

Are you a good person? So am I.

You’re trying your best to find your voice in creative work, sharing it with others? Yah… me, too.

Do you see me? I see you!

Can we band together like a herd of ponies — sharing, loving and nurturing one another in the face of a world that would have us attack one another?  God, I sure hope so, or else we might suffer the fate of Narcissus.

You can hit the Like button or ReTweet this if you wish, but I’d much rather hear from you directly. As I said in the first line, I’m so very glad you’ve taken the time to visit.

Love and Peace to you,
Rob

Alone + Nature = Nurture   19 comments


A lone person regards the ocean surf at Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Maine

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This is one of my favorite spots on the coast of Maine.

Rather than go into some lengthy prose regarding the image, I thought I’d let the title speak for itself.

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Rest Stop   16 comments


Rest Stop

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It hasn’t rained in eastern North Carolina since April. I mean, it has, but only in homeopathic amounts. It’s a very unusual weather pattern for our part of the country, and it wreaks havoc on animal and foliage alike.

This little girl came along on Saturday evening after we had watered a patch of lawn. She was not to be dissuaded from taking a long drink from the ground, and stayed there for over an hour, sipping from various parts of the area. It was only when I took out the long lens and honed in that I noticed she was dropping water back on the lawn.

Now, I don’t know much about butterfly biology, but either the water is running through her like cheap beer, or she used the infusion to help her lay eggs, which I think is more likely the case. Either way, she seemed desperately in need of hydration, so I made sure she had plenty of water.

Dopes anyone know the species?

Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at ISO 400 f/5.6 1/60s 300mm

News:

Over the weekend, some friends over at One Stop Poetry released the first of a two-part interview with yours truly, featuring a few of my images. The cool thing about this site and their Sunday Photography Interview is that they present a poetry challenge for the members. Using one of the images, the poets apply their own creative interpretation of the image in verse. Each contributor posts their poem and comments in an easy-to-access grid, and I must say, many of the poems just blew me away.

Those who know me know that I value Creativity. The great thing about this challenge is that Creativity didn’t stop when the image was finalized, but continued on in the poetry of those who wrote.  A friend of mine once told me, “The essence of creative expression is taking two or more everyday things and combining them in new and interesting ways.” To witness such talented poets taking two different forms and combining them in a new way was a delight to see, and I appreciate everyone who took part in the challenge.

To see the interview, and more importantly, the poetry that goes with the images, please take a moment to visit One Stop Poetry.

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Hammonassetsunset   13 comments


A stunning sunset over water at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

Hammonassetsunset

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It seemed an appropriate way to close out the week by posting a nice sunset image to go along with yesterday’s “Early One Morning” sunrise.  This also marks my fifth post out of five days, which is likely a record for me.

This was taken while staying at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut, the evening we landed at the campsite. We had been driving all day long, so strolling around to enjoy the quiet and serenity was just what we needed. We fancied that the fisherman came out of the large house on the right to catch his dinner on the jetty.

Six exposure HDR, f/7.1, 11mm, ISO 200. Merged in HDR Express, adjusted using 32 Float in Photoshop CS5, with Nik Color Efex Pro and Topaz DeNoise. This one seemed a real bear to process. Finding the right balance between foreground and background — so that neither looked out of place — was fairly challenging.

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Early One Morning   13 comments


An early sunrise through fog at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

Early One Morning

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In coastal North Carolina, the summers can be absolutely stifling. With temperatures steadily in the upper 90s and humidity levels to match, just moving through the day can prove difficult. Three changes of clothing per day are not unheard of.

It’s no surprise that we usually flee the state late in the season, heading up to New England to camp and hike. As we travel from NC toward New England, each day brings progressively cooler temperatures. Like stepping into a walk-in refrigerator, the relief is palpable, and we breathe a little easier for every degree of latitude we gain.

Two days into our drive north in 2010, we stumbled onto Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut. It was surprisingly nice given its proximity to large metro areas, and if we had more time in the schedule, we would have stayed an extra couple of nights.

Early one morning, I rolled out of the tent to find the sunrise bouncing through a fog bank that had rolled off of Long Island Sound. The grasses were wet with dew, and the local wildlife was just getting started for the day.

It has been dastardly hot in NC for this time of year. Through late May and into this early in June, we’re already breaking temperature records with highs of around 98. I felt I needed a little relief from the weather (and from posting farm and garden shots!), so I dragged this one out of the archives as a reminder — an incentive to get through the upcoming summer months.

Handheld three exposure HDR, f/7.1, ISO 200, 70mm. Merged in HDR Express, adjusted using 32 Float, finished with Nik Color Efex Pro in Photoshop CS5

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Early American Screen Door   11 comments


An Early American Screen Door

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Just one of the many fun things about photography is that in researching your subjects, you can learn new things. I can’t suggest the number of times I’ve taken a picture of something interesting, only to find out more about it when I got home and cruised the internet looking for more information.

When I first developed this image, I decided to call it ‘Early American Screen Door.’ I figured that the wood slats on this shed door had deteriorated to the point that you could see through, and the wind would whistle through.

I showed the finished image to my neighbor — the one whose family farm is featured in GOAL!!, Cooning Boat, and Put Me In, Coach! The neighbor said, “The door is made that way deliberately in order to ventilate the corn crib.”

Call me a city boy, but I never knew that. Now it makes perfect sense.

I seem to always be pleasantly surprised at the ingenuity of previous generations during a time when there weren’t the amenities and conveniences that today we take too much for granted.

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Cooning Boat   8 comments


Cooning Boat

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On the same coastal farm where GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! was found, I noticed a small, old boat poking out the side of a barn. The peeling paint and deteriorating wood was too good to resist.

After seeing this picture, the owner told me, “The boat is one me and my father used to go ‘cooning’ in. Cooning is gathering the young oysters on free bottom and transplanting them into lease gardens.”

I had never heard the term before, so I did a little poking around on the internet and found this:

“Watching a person wading a coastal flat, hunched over, arms submerged to the shoulders while trying to locate and dislodge clumps of live oyster, it’s easy to see why this activity is called ‘cooning.’ The heavy-gloved oyster gatherer bears a somewhat humorous resemblance to a raccoon grubbing in the water along a shoreline, using its paws to ferret crawfish and other unseen critters from beneath the surface.”

Ah, now it makes sense.

Single frame, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 100, 26mm. Treated in Photoshop CS5 with Nik Color Efex Pro, and Alien Skin Bokeh for a miniature effect… there is no real reference for determining the size of the boat.

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Also: I’d like to thank all those who dropped by to view my new, free HDR Processing Techniques tutorial stored over on YouTube. Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. Due to the success of the video, and at the urging of some, I do plan to create more video tutorials in the future, so please stay tuned.  Once again, thank you all very much for your support and encouragement.

HDR Processing Techniques – A New Video Tutorial   25 comments


Pismo Beach pier sunset, image by Mark Patton, post-processed by Rob Hanson

Pier Pressure - Image by Mark "KonaFlyer" Patton

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It’s finally here!

I’ve long wanted to create a video tutorial as a way of passing along ideas that others have contributed along the path of learning HDR processing. It took the urging of one Mark “Konaflyer” Patton to have me get down to business on the project. (Hence, the title of the image, “Pier Pressure.”) Mark had emailed, wanting to know how I achieved a certain “glossy” look to some of my HDR images. As it turns out, creating the video — and working on Mark’s brackets — was a lot more fun than I expected! Best of all, Mark has graciously agreed to let me post his image and the video for all to see in the interests of passing along knowledge to others. Thanks, Mark! Please be sure to visit Mark’s great Flickr photostream.

Perhaps… it was a bit too much fun. The resulting video turned out to be an hour long as I took Mark’s brackets from the original RAW files to the final product you see here. Although Mark has viewed this in its entirety, I had to break it into five different parts in order to satisfy the 15-minute restriction on YouTube.  That’s okay, I figure; In between segments you can get a cup of joe, slap yourself awake, or otherwise lift your spirits as we get down to some of the fine points of post-processing. I promise that next time I create a video, I’ll make it 15 minutes, or less.

I’ve included the embedded YouTube videos here. Later, when this blog post gets buried in the archives, you can access the videos via my Tutorials page. Or, if you’d like to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you can receive updates whenever new videos are posted.

You can view the videos directly from this blog page, or view them on YouTube. Either way, please remember to view them in 720p mode if your system is capable of that.

This is my first go at creating a video and posting it. So, if you see anything amiss, please let me know right away.  If you find anything useful or helpful in all of this, I’d love to hear about that as well. Comments and feedback are always welcomed here.

Cheers, and happy viewing.

Rob

Part 1: Includes Introduction, Image Analysis, Creating multiple tonemaps in Photomatix Pro

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Part 2: Includes Layering & Blending Tonemap Files in Photoshop CS5, Image Cleanup Techniques

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Part 3: Includes Defringing, Denoise, LAHR Sharpening

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Part 4: Includes Nik Color Efex Pro, Color Fixing

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Part 5: Includes Cropping, Finishing, Output Sharpening, Saving, and Conclusion

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