Lens Condensation

_MG_8504_MG_8504-EditIt is a little frightening to see your beloved lens covered with condensation. You get out of your nice air conditioned car and grab your camera only to find moisture on your lens.  Of course you can greatly reduce this problem by storing your equipment in zip lock bags and using silica gel bags. https://www.amazon.com/Silica-Gel-Desiccants-2-1-Inches/dp/B003DKQB02

Our recent humidity has exaggerated this problem and I wasn’t ready one recent morning but liked the result. (not recommending!)  Added a texture in the second shot.

Photoshop for Flowers

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Original

I have been working for some time on a collection of Photoshop techniques specifically for flowers. These range from realistic adjustments to abstract results.

THE IMAGE

For this image I cut some hydrangea blossoms in my garden and put them in a simple clear textured vase. I photographed this on my hardwood floor with beautiful light coming in from the east.

PHOTOSHOP

Then I copied the background layer twice. On the 2nd one I added a Glamour Glow with NIK Color Efex Pro 4.

On the top layer, I used NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and used the preset called Deep 1.

Finally I added a layer filled with 50% Gray and set to a blend mode of Overlay. With the brush at a low opacity (around 20%) I dodged and burned several areas with white and black.

This is a brief overview of the process… more details will be available in the final collection of techniques.

Background Study

 

I was setting up a wine, grapes and cheese shot and trying different backgrounds.  Thought some of you might find it interesting that with the same setup and lights, what a big difference white and black backgrounds make!  You can try this in your house with natural light too.

By using plain backgrounds, you can more easily change them out later or add textures with blend modes.

Slow Shutter

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Circular motion, handheld.

 

There are so many ways to use a slow shutter speed for creative effects. Today  I set up a white piece of foamcore behind some flowers held by a plamp.

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Up and down, texture overlay

 

Then I moved the camera handheld up, down, around… all different motions.

You get all different effects. Since I enjoy creating greeting cards, I did some where I had plenty of white space too.

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I also put the camera on a tripod and moved the flower with my hand in some of the images.  Generally I’m shooting at 100 ISO with 1/3 second and f/8. My lighting was from an overhead tungsten bulb and two softboxes’ modeling lights… no flash.

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Easy impression

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Final image.

I took 5 images of these potted flowers. First in the middle then moved camera to upper right a bit, over to upper left, down to lower left and over to lower right.

Then I made one file in Photoshop and dragged all the images into one file, making 5 layers.  The top 4 layers I changed the blending mode to Soft Light. Then I moved some of them to eliminate areas that had dark empty areas.  You can get really cool results on colored flower beds but this is what I found this morning.

I have shown one of the original files below. Charles Needle’s book Impressionistic Photograph has this outlined along with lots of other cool ideas.

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Greeting Card Design Online Class

Birthday

Birthday

Greeting cards have been my passion for many years and are so much fun for photographers and Photoshop users. My two ebooks on greeting cards have been popular and give a variety of techniques. So I developed this online class to cover all aspects of greeting card design and offer critiques on your assignments.

The Photoshop instruction shows screen captures from Elements 12, but any version above Elements 9 or Photoshop CS and CC versions will work fine. You can use any camera!

Specifics

1 – Basics

2 – Shooting Techniques for cards

3 – Text Effects

4 – Photoshop Enhancements

See complete details at http://www.esunrisedesigns.com

Focus Stacking in Photoshop

_MG_3974-stackI enjoy using focus stacking to get sharper focus in my macro images. I have found Helicon Focus to be a very good way of combining images but thought I would try Photoshop CC’s method.

I started with 5 images of the same subject with the focus set on a different plane for each one. My camera was the Canon 5D with Tamron 180mm macro lens. Settings of 1/30 of a second and f/5.6 on a tripod.

Selected the 5 images in Lightroom… right clicked to Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop. Photoshop will open one file with each image as a separate layer. Now Edit > Auto-Align Layers (making sure you have all 5 highlighted).

For further blending use Edit > Auto-Blend Layers.

Then I Flattened the layers and made a duplicate of the final layer. To sharpen Filter > Other > High Pass and use a value that shows the edges of your subject and set the blend mode to Soft Light. That layer will be gray, no worry! Just flatten with the layer below.

Here’s another from 3 images:

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Have fun working with your images

Final Image

Final Image

I usually shoot RAW which can leave me with a rather flat looking image… that’s the neat part though… you get to make all the creative choices how to develop it.

Yesterday our photo group went to Jordan Lake and photographed in this wonderful field near the lake. It was a great time to experiment with artsy techniques… slow shutter speeds, camera movements, selective focus, etc.  I started with a vertical motion on slow shutter speed to slightly blur these flowers.

I liked this image but it needed help. Here are the steps I took briefly. I know Photoshop work isn’t for everyone but these software applications can be a lot of fun.

1- Crop
2 – Levels Adjustment to bring out highlights and shadows
3 – Flaming Pear’s Flood software on duplicate layer – then a mask to soften the horizontal edge of the flood – Flatten
4 – Photoshop’s Oil Paint filter on very low settings on duplicate layer – Flatten
5 – Topaz – Adjust – Equalize for more separation of lights and darks
6 – Photoshop – Filter – Other – High Pass on duplicate layer – Soft Light blending mode for a little extra sharpness
7 – Flatten!

Original

 

Hint: When you are experimenting with effects, use the History palette to keep track of your steps. Click on the Camera icon at the bottom of that palette often to keep different versions of your work.