Archive for the ‘layers’ Tag

Back Whence It Came   6 comments


Back Whence It Came

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Tree. Wood. Ore. Metal. A wagon forged by the hand of a man. All will decay. Nothing lasts forever.

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We descended to the bottom of the trail shortly before 5PM, knowing our target. Placed near the equipment shed for the old Stone House, these wagons have been in place and deteriorating beautifully for years.

Unfortunately, since it was 5 o’clock, a few maintenance people were converging on the shed, parking their trucks in all the good spots. Problem. I didn’t think twice before walking up to one of them and jocularly saying, “You know, I traveled over 1,000 miles just to shoot these wagons.” Oh… you’ll move your truck? Why, thanks!

The guys were talking together, but surely also sizing up these people from ‘Away.’ One of them, an older gentleman in bright red suspenders who looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Kris Kringle, was Frank. I know this because he had a huge sign made of welded pipe running across the back window of his pickup truck – his “Office”.

The sign said, “F – R – A – N – K

I asked him, “Are you Frank?”

“Nope. I’m Ernest,” he replied in a deep New England accent.

“Somehow I doubt that,” I said as we shared a knowing laugh.

And with that, we were introduced to Frank Eastman, a colorful local who has tended the grounds of the Stone House for several decades. After the other guys went home, we chatted with Frank for quite a while. He had worked with the Maine DOT for many years. We talked about how someone had once offered to restore the wagons for display, but Frank had declined, preferring to see them decay in their natural form. After a time, he felt comfortable enough to let us in on a local trail secret — a waterfall that most people don’t know about — and he asked if I could shoot it for him someday.

That’s for next year, when I’ll likely meet up with Frank again. Some people you just want to keep in touch with.

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

Big Back Yard   2 comments


Sunrise over Whiting Bay from Cobscook Bay State Park, northern Maine

Big Back Yard

With sunrises like this, it’s hard to leave the place. This was taken one morning at Cobscook Bay State Park in northern Maine, not far from Lubec.

Our tent is just a few feet behind this point of view, making morning shooting very convenient. We often joke about our new campsites having a much bigger back yard than we have at home, and we find no greater pleasure than to just sit and watch nature do its thing, or to capture it in the process.

On a side note, I often think twice about posting in portrait orientation due to the limits of today’s monitors, but in this case, I think it suits the subject well, although I may next try a vertical panorama.

Click on the image to see it larger in a new window in the Waterscapes Gallery.

Once again, this image was composited in Photoshop by layering outputs from seven brackets in Photomatix Pro 4, HDR Expose/32-Float, and HDR Efex Pro. Each had something interesting and unique to offer to the final image, and none really created what I wanted in and of itself. Beyond that layering and masking, there was very little done in the way of color or saturation. In fact, I knocked back the saturation a bit using Topaz Adjust ‘Neutralizer’. In the end, this image represents what I saw that morning, but sometimes you have to coax it out of the brackets.

Dominance   Leave a comment


Image of old barn overgrown with weeds and vines, North Carolina

Dominance

Click here for a larger version from my Landscape gallery. Opens in new window.

One of the best things about living in North Carolina is that you can drive down rural roads and pretty much guarantee that you’ll find interesting old barns, houses, or tractors to shoot.  When I once complained that this sort of agricultural scene seemed to be the only interesting stuff around here, a photographer friend told me, “Shoot what you have available and make the best of it.”  Wise words.

Sometimes in post-processing, you have to return to the basics.  Although I often (read: usually) process with HDR, it’s not always called for, requiring a fallback to another strategy. The fact that it’s time-tested is just a bonus.

In this situation, there are two elements that did not allow this image to be processed with the usual HDR programs.  First, the wind was blowing very hard, so any HDR program had a problem with ghosting on the foreground tree branches as well as on some of the background foliage. (I’ve heard that the next release of Photomatix Pro will address this.  Yay!)  Second, this was taken with a Nikkor 70-300mm lens, so the amount of fine detail (leaves, pine needles, grasses) caused a microcontrast nightmare due to compression of the scene.

This image started out with Adobe Camera Raw in order to make it look as good as possible going into Photoshop.  Once in Photoshop, I applied a basic curves adjustment layer and a few Hue/Saturation layers to tone down or bring up some color. Layering on two different textures in Multiply mode added an interesting element, particularly to the sky, but also brought a bit of sepia tone to the subject area. Finally, I used NIK Color Efex Pro to adjust color contrast, and to add a darken/lighten center adjustment, bringing the eye to the building.

I don’t think this could have been done better with HDR, but then again, it isn’t a very high-contrast scene.

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