Peony bouquetPeony bouquetPeonies in pastel in a watercolor montage.

October Photography Tips_2013

September 30, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

This month I thought I would review some of my older images. This was prompted by 2 recent sales of some of these prints -from Africa – both of zebras. It is always a good idea to review old images and consider carefully what worked and what didn’t work to gain perspective. It is also a good time to fine tune techniques.

  1. Solarization or polarization effect – Sabatier effect-  with Photoshop and a curve adjustment level to create a colorful background for my “Motherhood” image of a pregnant zebra mare with young zebra from my first trip to Africa. The zebras were masked to exclude the effect on them. This effect was popularized by the surrealist photographer Man Ray in the early twentieth center. This occurred when his darkroom assistant accidentally turned the light on while a print was in the developer causing a partial reversal of the tones in the image. Using a Photoshop curve adjustment level with an inverted V and the other adjustments OR use a duplicated image and blend with the Difference mode can also work. I do not think PS filters work as well. Different images react in different ways, so experiment.  MotherhoodMotherhoodPregnant Zebra mare nursing with colorful solarized background.
  2. Digital Infrared (or Infra Red) photography – with my old Nikon D2 converted to an IR camera by LifePixel which they did by removing the IR blocking (hot mirror) filter in front of the sensor and replacing it with a filter that removes visible light. (These conversions work best on older cameras).  I had a color IR conversion done, so I need to convert my images to B&W or reverse the channels so the sky remains blue and ground is red-orange. I prefer B&W. This “Woods effect” is caused mainly by foliage that strongly reflects so that it appears white while the Sky appears dark black. Focus is less sharp. Landscapes work best. People appear soft and veins become prominent.  Pepsico strollPath to nowhereWinding path along a pond with weeping willows and other trees done with infrared as a B&W.
  3. Light Painting a Landscape or Structure at Night – using long exposures, prefocusing then switch to manual focus, tripod, remote shutter trigger and then lighting part of the subject during the exposure (flashlight or multiple on the flash itself triggering of the flash). This photo was taken late at night during a light drizzle, no other light source anywhere near the scene and total cloud cover. I was surprised to see stairs when I reviewed my images later. Shutter Speed 30 seconds, but longer SS usually needed, f/8 and ISO 400 are starting guidelines. If very long exposures are anticipated, use a higher ISO to freeze the stars. My exposure for this picture was Shutter Speed of 5 seconds (which really is duration), Aperture of f/2.8, ISO 200, 0 EV. Lots of trial and error. Remember to choose a setting with minimal if any available light. Bring a headlamp for setup, but then need to turn it off. The first to try this was Pablo Picasso. Again, experiment and always have fun!  Night at Croton DamNight at Croton DamLight painted bridge over a dam or waterfall with nighttime sky with clouds and stars revealed.
  4. HDR – I am not a big fan of HDL but some images with a wide range of light benefit from HDR. My newer Nikon camera can now do this in camera but requires a switch to jpeg format first. Photoshop as well as other vendors speed the post processing. Enough said. Lots to read if you are interested. May work even better on your B&W images.  Buddha
  5. B&W landscapes – photographed in color and then converted to B&W. Today, there are so many ways to convert to B&W but I usually use Nik Silver Effex Pro recently. This is an individual choice. Shoot in Raw format and look for lines, shadows, shapes and patterns as well as side lighting to enhance texture. Remember to keep the wide tonal contrast range with a black point for some pure black and white point as well as varying tones of grey.  Gathering Storm, YosemiteGathering Storm, YosemiteTunnel View in Yosemite with winter storm and mist looming in B&W.

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