Monday, July 11, 2011

Chair By The Screen Door

(click on any image to see a larger version)
This image was impossible to properly expose in the camera.  The room was very dark except for the light coming in through the screen door.  I could have exposed for the dark room (which would make the screen door completely white) or exposed for the screen door (which would make the rest of the room completely black).  Bracketing the shot and combining three or more exposure would have worked but I didn't do that.  (Don't ask me why... I don't know!) I decided to take my meter reading off the screen, slightly overexpose the shot (by about half a stop) to give me a little detail in the rest of the room, and hope for the best.

The resulting shot SOOC (straight out of camera) was just awful but I liked the composition and subject matter so I decided to try and salvage it. The fact that I was able to salvage this image is directly attributable to the fact that I shot it in RAW.  There was enough data in the RAW file to recover both the shadows and the highlights in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW).

In added three textures from my new favorite texture artist (Anna Lenabem) and viola!...  I was able to create the image you see at the top of this post.

And, for those that want to know exactly which textures I used, here they are:
     Texture 84 (Blend Mode:  Overlay @15% opacity)
     Texture 124 (Blend Mode:  Color Burn @43% opacity)
     Texture 124 (Blend Mode:  Overlay @97% opacity.... yes, I use the same texture twice)
     Texture 168 (Blend Mode:  Color Burn @15% opacity)

Black-crested Titmouse

My neighbors have graciously offered me use of their wonderful bird blind.  This type of photography is incredibly challenging for me.  I certainly miss a lot more shots than I get but on that rare occasion when I do get something good it's very satisfying.

(click on the image to see a larger version)

Canon 5D with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens at 200mm
ISO 400     f/4.0     1/500
Spot metered on the bird (in order to properly expose the bird since the background was so bright)

You can read more about this bird on my Flickr site.

Crepe Myrtles on a Country Road

I've been busy scouring the Texas Hill Country this summer in search of photographic opportunities.  I'm blessed to have endless possibilities right here in my own backyard.  Here's one:

(click on any image to see a larger version)
Crepe Myrtles on a Country Road

Canon 5D with EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 70mm
ISO 100    f/7.1    1/500

Digital Darkroom...
Normal tweaks in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) - clarity, vibrance, increased contrast, etc. Then opened up the image in Photoshop CS5.

I cloned out a telephone pole and lines going across the road and a few dust spots from my dirty sensor. 

Next, I added a couple of textures:
     Scratchbox 4 (from this Shadowhouse Creations set) - Blend Mode: Color Burn @19% opacity
     Texture 168 (from lenabem_anna) - Blend Mode: Linear Burn @20% opacity

Here's what the image looked like before adding the texture:
That's it! Now, go forth and texturize...

My Most Viewed Flickr Image

I guess it should come as no surprise that the image with the most views on my Flickr Photostream is one of a cat. Cat lovers apparently love not only their own cats but other people's cats, too.

(click on any image to see a larger version)
Canon 5D with EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens
ISO 200     f/1.8     1/160
Spot metered on her furry face right between the eyes because this is definitely a situation where your camera's light meter can be fooled.  I wanted to make sure the cat was properly exposed.

Here's the resulting shot SOOC:
Definitely not the world's greatest shot but oh, those eyes... there was just something about those beautiful golden eyes that appealed to me.  So, I spiffed it up a bit and here's how:

First, I did my normal adjustments in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) - a little bit of exposure adjusting, added some contrast - you know, the usual stuff. I also used the Adjustment Brush in ACR to lighten up her eyes just a little bit. Then, I opened up the image in Photoshop CS5 and cropped it.

Nicky is an outside cat and her fur is a little rough so to soften it up a bit I ran a free Photoshop action called Soft Summer (in the Summer Days set) that I got from Pure Photoshop Actions.  (I masked off the effects of the action on her eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers with a Layer Mask so they remained sharp.)

Next, I added two textures from Shadowhouse Creations:
     Pollution (from this set) - Blend Mode on Multiply at 15% opacity
     Canvas 1 (from this set) - Blend Mode on Multiply at 100% opacity

Finally, I added a grungy border.  That's all there was to it!