Posts tagged “2011

2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship

My daughters and I can’t wait for NCAA volleyball to start…

At most sporting events I’m in attendance because I want to *watch* the event.  I’m always tempted to carry my camera with me but I generally leave it at home so I’m not distracted.  When I attended the semi-finals of the NCAA volleyball championship this past December I left my camera behind.  However, when I saw that fans were allowed to carry in any camera/lens combo they wanted, I decided to take my camera and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS to the championship match and at least take a few pictures.

While warm ups were going on I experimented a bit with settings.  When shooting any fast-action sport one is generally trying to freeze the action (there are exceptions to this of course).  If you don’t use a relatively fast shutter speed you have no chance of getting a decent photo of a hard kill for instance — unless your goal is to turn the ball into a blur that you can hardly see in the frame.  Manual mode is pretty much a given in a venue like the Alamodome as the light never changes and being very well-lit a fast shutter speed is possible (the gym where my daughters play is not so well-lit and a really fast shutter speed isn’t possible) .  For shots of the action on the court I settled on using manual mode with 1/750s to 1/1000s shutter, f/2.8 aperture, and ISO 2000.  Generally the only time you vary your exposure is if you are taking shots of the crowd as opposed to the court (the crowd near the court was lit a stop or so less than the court).

I was able to convince the elevator operator to allow me and my son upstairs to the skybox area so we could take some pictures from a different perspective.  While there, a pro photog plopped down two seats away from us and we got to chatting a bit.  I asked him what settings he typically used in the stadium and they were 1/1250s, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — not far off what I was shooting.  He said my settings were fine for the lens I was using (70-200mm) but he wanted that slightly faster shutter because he was using a 400mm lens and needed some help compensating for lens movement.  We talked about depth of field (DOF) a bit too.  Up in the balcony we were maybe 200 feet from the net which gave him a DOF of approximately 10-12 feet (depends on the camera body…he had one of the Canon 1D bodies I’m sure).  That really required accurate focus — if he accidentally focused on a back row the action *at* the net would be out of focus.  When I shot at 200mm, I had a great DOF of about 52 feet to work with.

My 5D mkii has great high ISO performance which is nice for these sporting events but one huge deficiency is its (relatively) low frame rate — not so great for sports.  I was kind of jealous of the pro as he machine-gunned frames when a kill was imminent.  Of course, the slow frame rate cuts down on the number of images I need to go through in post 🙂

The Kiddos…


Candid-ish Christmas Group Portrait

Family Christmas 24mm, f/8, 1/160s, ISO ?, flash bounced on wall behind the camera

I was revisiting some of my favorite photos recently  — most of which don’t get shared because they aren’t worth much photographically speaking.  I decided to share this one since it’s a good illustration of a semi-candid shot that one might not consider taking but ends up being a (personally) memorable shot.  After opening all our presents on Christmas Eve morning we gathered all of us (minus the two out-of-town siblings and the baby who was sleeping), threw wrapping paper around, and snapped some photos.  The setup was simple: camera on a tripod with on-camera flash bounced on the wall behind the camera.  I have a remote but I just used the self-timer here.  If I were trying to get the “ideal” shot I would have rearranged the room to allow a longer lens to be used and avoid the distortion from the wide-angle.  I would have also lit up the background (simply by turning on lights in the other rooms) so it wasn’t so dark.  I probably would’ve gotten out an umbrella or two and the remote triggers.  However, I would have also annoyed everyone and made them impatient 🙂  In the end we got a fun picture that we all like.


Not Touching…Still Not Touching…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6705478819/in/photostream/

Not touching...Still not touching... 50mm, f/3.5, 1/100s, ISO 400

Those of you with siblings probably remember putting your finger right next to one of them and taunting with “not touching” — frustrating both that sibling and parents who got to hear the complaining from the one being almost being touched.  The kids sometimes like to join in my photo fun, especially when they get to goof off in them.  I “sold” the concept for this shot to my son and he liked the idea and was patient enough to sit for a few shots.  My goal was to try out a simple composite like this in preparation for a future photo I have in mind.  If it’s not obvious, the subjects are the same son with a different shirt on.

This was really simple.  Lighting is just the room’s ambient. [Update…I’m thinking I actually used an on-camera flash pointed back at the wall behind me.  That’s the only way I’d have that glare on the couch.  I’ll check the photo’s exif sometime soon.] I put the camera on a tripod and didn’t move it between shots.  Since I planned to composite two images I sat my son on the coffee table rather than the sofa.  The wrinkles and creases made on the sofa in the different seating positions might be too difficult to merge in the composite.  I took a shot with my son on the left side then used that picture (on the camera’s LCD) to help position my son’s finger in the second shot.  In Photoshop I used one layer as the background and masked in my son from the second layer — very simple.  I gave the final image some extra contrast, etc…just played around until I get something I thought was fun.


Hand Made Christmas Ornaments

2009 (painted on the side of the mailbox) 35mm, f/22

Each year my mom sends hand-made Christmas ornaments to family and friends.  They are usually very intricate in both structure and painting.  It’s a bit harder now with our large family size but ours are typically personalized with our first names painted on the ornament.  She does exceptional work on crafts like this.  We always encouraged her to make a business out of her various crafty things but she was never interested.

Before the tree came down this year I decided to grab quick shots of some of the ornaments.  While the crafts stand on their own artistically I’ll throw out a few comments on how I shot them.  First off, I didn’t light them except with the lights on the tree and the ambient (tungsten) light in the room.  I used a tripod and bracketed the shots thinking that I might even do some HDRs given the large difference between the shadows and the lights on the tree.  In the end the only HDR is shown at the top of the post…it’s just OK photographically IMO.  I didn’t spend any time in Photoshop trying to make it better.  I experimented with aperture.  I didn’t get enough DOF with f/2.8 — even when considering only the ornaments and not the tree and lights.  Using f/22 gave interesting starbursts in the lights of course but required either very long shutter speeds at low ISO or a higher ISO which I avoided since I was planning on HDRs.  Of course I could use any shutter speed I wanted but I was simply too lazy to do manual exposures/bracketing above the 30 second maximum sans “bulb” mode.  I didn’t want to do starburst HDRs that badly.  So, I ended up processing individual frames with apertures ranging from f/6.3 to get some bokeh vs. f/22 to get the starburst effect.  Lightroom was used for some simple adjustments — mainly clarity, contrast, sharpening, and vignette.  A variety of combinations are posted here.

For purposes of scale here’s a (blurry) picture of the above ornament with a quarter held next to it.  Other ornaments are shown below.

2003

The Texas ornament is not hand-made...


Main Street Bethlehem

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Sewing Girl, Main Street Bethlehem 50mm, f/1.4, 1/180s, ISO 3200

Each year in Burnet, TX, the First Baptist Church opens Main Street Bethlehem to the public.  The church has a permanent town of Bethlehem built near the church and for a pair of weekends it comes alive with shepherds, blacksmiths, bakers, rope makers, candle makers, tax collectors, Roman soldiers…and bazillions of visitors from all over Central Texas.  All these actors take on their full character and as you walk through the town they treat you as if you are actually in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.  They ask you if you want to buy their products, taste their bread, and “Did you hear about the Messiah?!?”.  If you try to get them out of character by talking about some modern thing they do a remarkable job of acting as if they have no idea what you’re talking about and they quiz you back with questions fitting the times.  Our children’s favorite spot in the town is the tax collector’s table.  As the townsfolk come to pay their taxes there’s the occasional person whose taxes are delinquent.  The children like to watch the Roman soldiers haul them off to jail.

Most importantly, there is a manger where Mary and Joseph hold a baby to remind us of the gift of Jesus Christ that God gave us many years ago.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6552581771/in/photostream

Baby In A Manger, Main Street Bethlehem 50mm, f/2.5, 1/60s, ISO 3200

Shooting in the low light was difficult as the 50mm f/1.4 lens has a terrible time focusing.  With the place being so crowded I really didn’t have time to fiddle around so I tried to quickly find high contrast points to focus on and snapped away in aperture priority mode.  I also used between minus 1/2 to minus 1-1/2 exposure compensation so the camera properly captured the night scenes.


Merry Christmas!!!

“…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Phil 2:5(b)-11


Christmas Lights, Circle C Ranch

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Christmas Light Portrait 65mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 1000, flash with blue gel

Circle C Ranch is a development near our house and the neighborhood is known for its great Christmas light displays.  I took three of the kids out last night and drove the streets (along with lots of other cars).  We stopped at two locations to grab a quick portrait.  I brought red, blue, and green gels in hopes of matching the flash to the lights somewhat — I had mixed success but since our purpose was to view the lights I didn’t spend any extra time attempting to perfect the shots.  I dialed down the flash way down in hopes of making the images look more like they were lit by the surrounding Christmas lights.  There’s a tell-tale shadow of course but I’m not trying *hide* the fact that flash was used, just match the lighting (and its brightness) to the environment.

The kid’s favorite house is one they call “the jungle”.  The displays (front and back yards) are walk-through and have all manner of decorations from a nativity scene to Elvis to the Grinch to Winnie the Pooh to…everything you can think of.  For as long as I can remember, the neighbor to the jungle has put up a “Ditto” sign.  Funny.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6557988085/in/photostream

The Jungle 27mm, f/5, 1/40s, ISO 1000

The next shots were taken in the backyard of “the jungle”.  The nativity scene used bare flash handheld on a sync cord and the other shot used a red gel on the flash to match the lights.  I could have used a different color — the main idea was to prevent the flash from lighting the kids with daylight (bare flash) while they were standing in the middle of the colored lights.  I wish I’d had a red gel which was slightly weaker…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6557986527/in/photostream

Nativity Portrait 30mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 1600, bare flash

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6557984839/in/photostream

In The Jungle 30mm, f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 1600, flash with red gel

Finally, an out of focus shot in the back yard of “the jungle”.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6557983417/in/photostream

Obligatory Bokeh Shot


Gulf of Mexico Sunrise

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Gulf of Mexico Sunrise 50mm, f22, 1/60s

A recent sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico along Padre Island National Seashore.  The image was processed with 4 or 5 different textures in OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite.  After that I did a few Photoshop curves adjustments…that’s it.


Alamodome Reflections In HDR

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Alamodome Reflections 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 250

Most people who like to do HDRs are suckers for reflections.  I’m no exception and when my children and I walked into San Antonio’s Alamodome for the NCAA volleyball championship I saw these shiny floors and decided to fire off some brackets.  I set up the camera to fire 3 brackets (the max on Canon) with the auto timer and set the camera on the floor.  It would’ve been nearly impossible to change the settings without moving the camera so I didn’t even try.  I took another set of brackets with more crowds in the picture but the motion was too great to process reasonably.

I ran this through Photomatix and then brought the tonemapped image into Photoshop along with the brightest exposure.  I used a few adjustment layers on the bright exposure to semi-match it to what I wanted to fix — the people in the hallway and a few other areas where ghosting had caused some weirdness in the tonemapped image.  After blending those areas in, I went to work on the result with a half-dozen other adjustment layers (mostly curves).  There are some missing people-parts but I don’t really mind as it gives a sense of motion and the work to clone in new pieces wouldn’t be worth it.


The Lord Is My Shepherd

Focus, 3-exp HDR

Busy, busy, busy these days and no time for (much) photography.  Posting my own photographic reminder of where I need to focus first…


Longhorn Volleyball…NCAA Tournament

NCAA Volleyball Tournament Second Round Action - Texas vs. Michigan State

I was saving this so I could post it in honor of the Longhorns making the final four in the NCAA tournament but…they lost in the regional final over the weekend.  Illinois managed to win and will face USC on Thursday.

Here it is:

Just for fun, here are some pics from the University of Texas Longhorns vs. Michigan State match in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.  I hadn’t ever brought my camera to Gregory Gym but decided to for this last home match of the year.  I used only my 17-40 f/4L (“long” lenses are not allowed) and took most pictures from my seat.  Right away I discovered that the color temperature is not consistent throughout the place — something I hadn’t noticed until I took pictures — but  I didn’t attempt to fix the color at all.  It’s amazing how our eyes just adjust to the situation but the camera cannot.  Most (all?) of the images were shot in manual mode at f/4, 1/500s, and at ISO 3200 since I didn’t have the benefit of using any strobes like the official photographer (he has four strobes mounted in the rafters).  I chose the fast shutter speed in hopes of freezing the action reasonably well.  For shots in between the fast action (preparing for service for example) I could have switched to a smaller aperture and slower shutter but I was mostly there to enjoy watching the match and didn’t want to fiddle with settings.  “Photography” wasn’t number one on the agenda for the night.  The pictures are by no means awesome but in any case recorded a fun evening watching volleyball with my girls.

Of course we cheer for the Longhorns…for now.  However, my alma mater (Illinois — the #3 seed) is still in the tournament and should they meet Texas in the finals we’ll be behind the Fighting Illini (we already have our tickets!).  My kids know they will be grounded if they choose to favor the Longhorns 🙂

Warmups

Team Introductions

Michigan State Serves To Begin The Match

Longhorns Serve For Set Point

Check Out That High Toss On The Jump Serve

Missed Block (But Still Looks Cool)

Longhorns Celebrate Winning The Second Set

And finally, what happens when your shutter is open and the stadium photographer triggers the strobes in the rafters.

Overexposed...


Replacing Color In Photoshop

Portrait, Color Replaced

Portrait, Color Replaced

I recently posted our Thanksgiving Day family portrait and today wanted to show how I modified it.  The only direction I gave to the family for the picture was “wear something solid-ish on top, and something denim on the bottom”.  As you see in the picture at this link, we all ended up in rather muted colors except my youngest son who had a bright yellow shirt on.  I was busy thinking about how to add fill to the shot, position us reasonably without taking all day to do it, etc. (I should have spent a bit more time on the positioning).  So, when the bright yellow shirt was pointed out to me I thought to myself, “Whatever…it won’t matter”.  Of course, when editing the photos it bugged me to death and I wished I had changed it.

The solution?  Photoshop’s “Replace Color” adjustment.  I used the tutorial linked below as a starting point to learn about it and experimented from there.  Other than choosing the new color, the key setting for me was the “fuzziness”.  This determines how aggressive the automatic selection is.  What I found is that because of the variation in saturation throughout the shirt I had to slide the fuzziness way up which causes other parts of the image to also be selected (trying to automatically select the shirt’s colors reveals how much variation is really there).  I thought the checkbox for ‘Localized Color Clusters” (not shown in the tutorial but exists in CS5 at least) would help minimize the selection but I didn’t see a lot of difference once the the fuzziness was increased much. I also used the +/- eye droppers to add/subtract from the selection. Finally I needed a bit of manual masking to only change the shirt and not other areas of the image.  Something which is more solid in color would far easier to use this tool with.  The resulting photo is above — a 5-minute edit.  I will probably do another version and use a color picked from someone else’s shirt so that it matches even better with the rest of us.  When I look at the new image I kind of think it doesn’t look right because *I* know that I made the edit but in my brief survey of people who didn’t know about it, not a single person noticed anything.

Here’s the link to the tutorial I started with.


The Blue Ghost, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, And My Fabulous Grandfather

The Blue Ghost

Many of these pictures are reruns but I thought I’d post them in honor of Pearl Harbor Day.  The aircraft carrier in the top image is the USS Lexington (CV-16) which was in service from 1943 through 1991 and now sits as a (very cool) museum in Corpus Christi, TX.  This image is a 3-exposure HDR.  I’m getting some odd pixelization on export from Lightroom which I can’t figure out but the point of posting this is not for the image’s sake itself anyway.

My grandfather joined the Navy during WWII (sometime after Pearl Harbor due to his age) and went through training to become a Navy pilot. I am very fortunate to have a 90-minute recording of him recounting his Navy experiences. My favorite quote: “I graduated from flight school on August 14th, 1945. The Japanese heard I was coming and surrendered the next day.” This is the most recent snapshot I have of him.

My Grandfather - Navy Veteran

Hope you enjoy the rest of these photos from various air shows I’ve attended.

Thunderbirds Headed To The Flight Line

Thunderbirds In Flight

B-1 Bomber (Handheld 3-exposure HDR)

B-1 Bomber

F-18 Engines (HDR)

F-15

Vintage Navy

Modern Navy

Blue Angels In Formation

Navy Trainers

The Golden Knights (Army)


“I Will Live In Montana…” (Capt. Borodin)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6401522161/in/photostream/

“I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck… maybe even a “recreational vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?”, Captain Borodin, Hunt For Red October.

I always think of that quote when I think of Montana.  It cracks me up.  I thought I’d post a few more of my favorite pictures from our summer Montana trip.  A very friendly horse and some very green fields with a background of snow-capped mountains at sunrise.

Both images were processed with a series of curves adjustment layers to balance out various areas of the image. Nothing fancy…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6401484467/in/photostream/

Green Fields At Sunrise In Montana 60mm, f/13, 1/20s, ISO 100


P-51 Mustang

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6457331429/in/photostream/

I was fortunate to be able to grab some pictures of this P-51 Mustang on the ground at the Alliance Air Show in Fort Worth before the general public was allowed in the show.  I wanted to get more angles but I was already encroaching on an off-limits area and wasn’t going to push it.

I used 8 exposures for this and took a few liberties in processing to amp up the colors just a bit.  I wanted to clone out the light pole above the plane but as simple as that looks it can be hard to get it right when there are slight gradients in the sky colors.  I’ll work on it…


Shooting In Fluorescent Lighting

Kind of a boring post today but maybe it will save someone some trouble.  While snapping pictures in the hospital recently I learned a lesson about shooting in fluorescent lighting situations.  I already “knew” about this but had never experienced it firsthand and didn’t think about it ahead of time. The problem boils down to the fact that certain types of fluorescent light fixtures do not produce steady light. It may generally appear to be a constant light but is actually flickering at some multiple of the electrical supply frequency (the dominant frequency depends on the ballast, type and age of the bulbs, etc.).  I forgot about this and snapped a bunch of pictures without chimping and ended up with a bunch of wigged-out shots.

How does that affect your pictures? In the image above notice that my wife’s hand is not color matched to the rest of the image (I attempted to make corrections in this image — it was worse to begin with).  Also check out the images below (sorry for the boring subject matter). The images were shot in sequence with the same settings  (f/2.8, 1/350s) but you can see extreme variations in the frames.  What happens is that if you use a shutter speed that is faster than the length of one “flicker” (one power cycle of the light) you get variations in the image depending when your shutter opens up relative to the light variation. One time the shutter opens when the light is at its brightest and all looks normal-ish (as much as it can under fluorescents). Another time the shutter opens as the light is dimming and so forth. In actuality the color temperature also varies at different points of the power cycle which causes the weird color banding you see in these shots.

Once I bumped my shutter speed down to 1/30s (and went to f/11) I consistently reproduced the image below.

After a little research I found that most newer fluorescents are designed to operate in a way which avoids most of these problems.  However, if you run into issues with old lights you can work around them. Ideally, just turn off the fluorescents and use natural light and/or flash. If your camera works reasonably well at high ISO use it to your advantage and crank it up in order to turn off those lights. If turning them off is not practical you can add light with a flash to reduce the effects or use a shutter speed which is longer than the period of the light. In other words, if the light is flickering at 120 Hz (120 times a second), use a shutter speed somewhat slower than 1/120s. This makes sure the shutter is open during at least one full cycle of the light. I found that 1/60s eliminated the problem at the hospital although with some lights you might have to slow it up even further.

Hopefully that made some sense to somebody.  I tried to explain what can be pretty technical, in non-technical-ish terms.  Shooting flash and balancing its color with fluorescent lighting is a whole other topic too…go to to strobist.blogspot.com or your favorite internet photo resource for info on that.  There’s also some interesting info on this on Nikon’s site (includes a nice visual using a gray card).


Shooting The Rapids

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Stillwater River Rapids Along the Sioux Charley Trail    35mm, f/11, various shutter speeds, ISO 320

Although it was an overcast morning when I was photographing these rapids, an HDR was necessary to capture the whole dynamic range of the scene.  Of course an overcast sky is easy to blow out but you’ll find that whitewater reflects so much light that it’s often completely blown out also.  Or, if you’re letting your camera choose your exposure and your subject is anything other than the whitewater, your subject will likely be way underexposed.  There are still a few tiny portions of my image which are blown out but it wasn’t my goal to prevent that — it was just to present the image in a way which more represented what the eye could see as opposed to what the camera could capture in a single frame.

Note that this image was shot at ISO 320.  There’s nothing magical about 320 per se but when you’re shooting fast-moving water, you’ll find a certain shutter speed which gives the “look” you want.  If you’re shutter speed is too long, the water is simply a blur.  If it’s too short, you lose some sense of the motion.  Of course freezing motion or completely blurred water may very well be the “look” you want but in this case I wanted somewhere in the middle.  I chose f/11 as my aperture because it’s in the sweet spot of the lens yet gives reasonable depth of field when the focus distance is relatively long.  With the aperture fixed, ISO became my main lever for setting the range of shutter speeds I’d capture in my brackets.  I shot brackets from ISO 100 up to 1600 and chose this ISO 320 value for the final image based on how the water looked.  This allowed me to keep some detail in the water such as what you see in the water pouring over the smallish rock outcropping near the center of the image.


Mother and Child (Portrait Outtake)

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

We *tried* to take some portraits of my wife and daughter but not everyone was cooperating.  Eden was a bit fussy when we posed her but I snapped off some frames anyway.  This is image is one — the ONLY one — worth keeping.  Despite being the only good image I call it an outtake because it’s not at all the image I was after.  I like the expression on my wife’s face and Eden’s outstretched arms but it has a few technical issues.  For starters, because I was shooting near wide-open and my wife was moving back and forth to rock the baby, the focus is a bit off.  We’ll try again soon.

This was shot with two lights: a Canon 580EXii at about 1/16 power in a small softbox at camera left for the key light and a Canon 430EXii high, behind my wife at camera right for hair/highlight (1/64 power and gel’ed with some ND to kill more of the power).  The background is a sheet we hung in the hallway (yep, I need to get some backgrounds).  I started by setting an exposure which killed the ambient.  Using my older daughter as a test subject I then added the key light followed by the hair light.  The background is not lit because my intent was to make it pitch black.

Before even shooting this my intent was to process in black and white but I haven’t even attempted to go that route in processing yet.  I tweaked some areas in Lightroom then brought the image into Photoshop.  I used masked curves to brighten the hair, eyes (a tad), and a few areas of skin.  I also used curves to darken a few areas.  One final curve dropped the red channel ever so slightly.  I sharpened the hair and used noise reduction on the rest of the image.  That’s all I can remember anyway…

Here’s another version of the same image which I processed slightly differently.  I can’t personally decide which I like best although I lean toward the one at the top of the post which blends subject/background relatively seamlessly.

Mother and Child (Alternate Processing)

Mother and Child (Alternate Processing)


Quick Take On Perfect Photo Suite 6 From OnOne

Cows In A Fog

Some time ago I took the plunge and purchased OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 6.  I finally got time to try it out so I grabbed the image (original below) of some cows in pasture to try it out OnOne’s tools.  It was a very small jpg (only 344k) but it was conveniently sitting around on my desktop.  [Regarding the shot itself: I was traveling in east Texas recently and while heading out to work early one morning saw these cows and took the shot.  I liked the peaceful, foggy scene.].

Cows 70mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO ?

I opened up this image in Perfect Photo Suite 6 in the software’s standalone mode (previous versions required opening from Photoshop I believe).  I first used the Effects panel and the Textures sub-panel to add several texture layers (there are layer and masking capabilities similar to Photoshop) , adjusting “strength”, masking out a few spots, and changing blending modes.  There are additional settings as well.  For instance, you can select “normal”, “subtle”, “lighter”, and “darker” options in a “Mode” drop down which change the initial effect.

I then went into the Frames panel and added the film border which included the decay effect along the edges.  There are roughly 1500 individual frames to choose from and a myriad of options which can be tweaked for each.  Of course you can combine effects as well…ENDLESS options.

My impression based on this 15-minute experimental session?  Good stuff.  There are some things which will take getting used to regarding the particulars of using the masks and such.  I’m not implying anything negative though — I’m just used to Photoshop and it will take a little practice to become proficient in the subtleties of OnOne’s tools.  There is clearly a lot of potential and I will definitely be digging into Perfect Photo Suite 6 more deeply.


I Am Thankful For…

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Tuuk Family Portrait - Thanksgiving Day 2011 45mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO 400

I’m thankful for:

Jesus dying in my place…I’m glad I don’t have to pay the eternal price for the garbage I’ve done.
Family…wife of nearly 25 years, 10 wonderful children, great extended family.
Friends…*good* friends, more than we can count.
Employment…21+ years in the same company.
Shelter…middle class by American standards…nicer than most of the world lives in.
Health…my back/knee problems are piddly compared to the problems of others.

I could go on but you get the idea.  My son says that he’s thankful for the five F’s: forgiveness, family, friends, food, and football.

The portrait was lit with some fill through an umbrella at camera right, triggered via Elinchrom Skyports. I wanted to place the light on-axis just above the camera but the tree situation makes it impossible. The camera-right placement gives some odd shadows but it works well enough.


And Then There Were Ten…

Baby Feet - Two Hours Old

This week we adopted a beautiful baby girl named Eden Joy (our tenth child, sixth adopted). She is absolutely precious (and all those other mushy words). Eden’s birth mother said after her birth, “Today I am going to give the greatest gift I could ever give”.  We agree — Eden is truly a great gift from God and a great responsibility which God will help us fulfill. “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”, James 1:17.

No real “photography” stuff in this post.  The pictures aren’t contrived or posed.  I paid (a little) attention to composition, reflections in the nursery window,  and what aperture I used but otherwise was just caught up in the excitement of the day.  Post-processing was minimal with white balance being the most necessary adjustment.  I did re-learn a lesson about shooting in fluorescent lighting but more on that some other time.  Some random pictures below…

Perspective -- Big Brother and New Little Sister, Five Days Old

Eight Hours Old

Nursery

Proud Adoptive Momma

One Day Old


Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6350371223/in/photostream

Splash! 190mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 1600

Finally some rain in Austin.  I grabbed a bunch of shots of my son playing in the rain but I decided to post some faceless, could-be-any-young-boy pictures.  I’m sure that many children in Austin took advantage of the rain to do what boys like to do – splash in the water in mud.  For a time there was some nasty lightning so I had to have the kids come under the cover of the porch for a while.  Fortunately the lightning cleared up and much fun was had again.

The black and white shot was processed in Lightroom — simply playing with sliders until I liked it. I brought the color shot into Photoshop and put a little more work into it.  I cloned out a few things and used a series of curves and some sharpening in an attempt to enhance the falling rain and the drops rolling off the raincoat.  I’d like the falling rain to stand out a bit more but simply did not want to put more work into it (things are busy around here).  The clouds were thick and there was very little light so I cranked up the ISO for these shots.  There isn’t that much noise in the shots but what little there was I decided to keep and didn’t use any noise reduction.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6351117858/in/photostream/

135mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 1600


Searching

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6329033492/in/photostream

Searching 90mm, f/8, 1/320s, ISO 200

I posted this picture a long time back in a post about candid shots but I decided to re-post since it’s one of my favorites.  We were visiting friends in Rockport, TX and my son spent much of his time picking up little things on the waterfront.  As the sun headed toward the horizon one afternoon I spotted him intently searching the beach again and grabbed this shot.

What have I come to like about this one?  For starters, parents just like pictures of their kids. Second, he has that cute little look of concentration on his face.  Third, from a photographic standpoint I like that there’s just enough of his face showing to include him personally in the picture as opposed to some faceless “subject” (umm, yeah…I planned that…sure).  Finally the light and surroundings are just nice IMO.  As always, there are a few things I’d change if I were planning/posing this but I won’t dwell on those 🙂

I processed this picture differently this time.  I first cloned out a few things (a piece of plastic on the shore, a pole in the water, and a tiny clump of grass).  I then used several curves layers to selectively adjust areas of the shot and to add some vignette.  These layers were in luminosity mode since I wanted to pretty much leave the colors (which were very warm due to the setting sun) intact.  In Lightroom I did a few more minor tweaks with clarity and very specific exposure adjustments.


Last Light At The Lake

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6324916208/in/photostream

Last Light At The Lake 70mm, f/2.8, 1/750s, ISO 200

A few weeks ago our family and some friends camped at the Vineyard Campground in Grapevine, TX (while attending the Alliance Air Show).  Snapped this shot of the girls watching the sunset from the dock behind our campsite.

Did some basic adjustments in Lightroom (mainly crop, contrast, clarity and some desaturation) then pulled it into Photoshop and combined it with a couple of subtle textures from Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations.