I was experimenting with silhouettes early one morning in Kauai, HI. The camera was triggered with a wireless shutter release (was thankful I didn’t have to scramble back and forth through the sand and rocks using the self-timer). I’m sure that someone thinks that there’s only one right way to shoot silhouettes but my preference is to error on the side of slightly overexposing relative to a completely black silhouette. This varies based on the background but I want to make sure to get enough detail in the non-silhouetted portions of the photo. Of course I could composite multiple exposures but I find it simpler to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop to reduce the exposure in the appropriate areas to get a complete silhouette if that’s what I’m after. Often there’s no need for this extra work though — I usually can get I what I want in-camera (I did with this one). Shooting brackets isn’t a bad idea either if you’re unsure. The textures were added via OnOne Perfect Photo Suite.
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.
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.].
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.
Posting a couple HDRs from the recent HDR Mafia photo shoot at Seaholm Power Plant. This door was at the top of a stairwell where I had hoped to gain access to the crane in the main turbine room. The crane door was locked as was this door which would have provided roof access. Fortunately we had access to the roof via other means but we never did get access to the crane.
Both images were tonemapped in Photomatix (6-7 exposures…don’t remember) then processed mostly via curves in Photoshop. I probably could have used only two exposures and gotten all the image information but I didn’t bother playing with that. The black and white version was simply a matter of adding a B+W adjustment layer to the image and tweaking the red and yellow adjustment. The color image used a series of masked curves, some of which were only applied to the red and/or blue channels. The lighting was actually relatively flat in the original exposures and I used curves to bring out the shadows more. The starburst in the keyhole was obtained by using an aperture of f/22.
I’m not sure whether I like the color or B+W version better.
While out running in our neighborhood last week I witnessed an awesome sunrise. There were low, fast-moving clouds on the eastern horizon which made for lots of color as the sun came up. I wasn’t carrying my camera of course so I couldn’t capture this particular event. The next morning I noticed that there were a few clouds on the horizon again as the sun was rising so I popped out of the house with the camera — the first time in weeks I’ve been out to shoot anything at all. I captured only two scenes (several bracketed exposures of each though).
I initially started out to make a simple HDR with 6 exposures (-4 through +1 in single-stop increments) so I did the usual tonemapping in Photomatix, then brought that into CS4 with some original exposures. I replaced the sky — not for noise reasons but rather due to the blur that had been introduced by the fast-moving clouds. After that, I did some of the usual curves/levels/sharpness and was “finished”. I liked it OK…the lens flare was cool, sunburst was nice…I would enjoy seeing it pop up on my desktop screensaver for sure.
On a whim I started playing around with some textures. I only had 5-6 textures on-hand and wasn’t willing to spend a bunch of time searching for others. Long story made short, I ended up using a canvas texture and another random, blotchy texture. Most of my experimentation involved trying out different layer blending modes and opacities. I used “linear light” for one texture and overlay for the other. I offer you my free texture tutorial: “Play around until you like something”.
I also over-saturated the colors somewhat. I don’t normally add any saturation but I thought it fit the painterly effect I was going for.
When I witness a scene like this I can’t help but think of how amazing God’s creation is. My kids and thought Ps 113:3 fit this one: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”.