The images straight out of the camera were nice, but not really more than snapshots. Although I liked them, I wanted to find a way make them more interesting. My solution was to pull the focus in each imaging using a Photoshop technique that simulates the effect of a tilt-shift lens.
In each of these photos, only the main subject area is in focus and sharp. The rest of the photo is blurred with the blur feathered into the main subject area. When combined with a little creative color work and a mild vignette, these images have a wonder antique or old camera look to them.
All the images below were taken with a Canon 40D and a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens. They were shot as Raw and initially processed using Lightroom 3. From there, each was pulled into Photoshop CS5 to apply the tilt-shift, pulled focus effect and to creatively work their color. The images were then brought back into Lightroom to apply the vignette. Enjoy!!
I set out on my nighttime photo adventure Friday evening after a great dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill on 15th Street, NW. I grabbed my Canon 40D, my Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS lens, and a warm coat. Washington, D.C. gets cold in December, but the walk to the mall and monuments was pleasant. The chill in the air also assured that few people would be out and about.
Reaching the mall and the Washington Monument, I headed east walking a circuit from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and back. The images below, though, are of The Three Servicemen statue near the entrance to the Vietnam Veterans Wall Memorial.
The Three Servicemen statue is one of my favorite statues in Washington, D.C. The faces of the soldiers have such a haunting quality to them or, at least, that is how I have always seen them in my mind. It is this quality I wanted to capture using the blackness of the night to frame the faces of the soldiers.
As I mentioned above, all these images were shot with a Canon 40D and a Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS lens. In addition, I also used the 40D’s built in Speedlite with its intensity dial all the way back for a bit of fill light. In the digital darkroom, I processed all the images using Lightroom 3, applying a vignette to darken the corners and filtering for high ISO noise. Enjoy!!
Ralphie and his trusty Red Rider Carbine-Action Air Rifle were not seen on the streets of Westminster, but I thought I heard Clark Griswold say... “We're gonna have the hap hap happiest christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f*cking Kaye.” (Sorry for the language, I just couldn’t resist...lol)
These images were shot with a Canon 40D and a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens. This year I also brought along and used a Canon 580EX II Speedlite. That was a big rig to shoot with on a crowded street, but fun all the same. All the images were processed with Lightroom 3. I hope you enjoy the images. Happy Holidays!!
This exploration begins with the resulting final image from my previous post. As way of review, this image began as a wonderful snapshot with me cropping the image for composition, removing a few unwanted elements, and generally adding some “pop” and “depth” to create the final.
The images below are variations of the final image above. They were created by using plugins and presets in Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop. The black and white image, Variation 9, was created using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro plugin for Photoshop. The other variations, Variation 1 thru 7, were created using a mix of purchased, tweaked, and custom presets in Lightroom. I added a vignette to some while others not. All images ended with a final pass through Photoshop for sharpening.
Each of the images below have a different look and invoke a different felling. As variations on a theme, they each represent a different interpretation of a common subject. The range and palette of expression and creativity is limitless. There are no rights or wrongs. There is only process. Enjoy!!
With the above in mind, I thought it would be fun to walk though an example of my process and detail my thoughts and some of the tools I use. For an image, I wanted to use one that I did not capture myself. My neighbor just happened to have a wonderful snapshot of his daughter laying on the beach. This image is a typical snapshot but, to my eye, there was more to it than just a nice family snapshot.
The subject matter of this image is wonderfully playful and there is a lot of separation between the subject and both the foreground and the background. The main issues for me with the image and the ones that make it “just” a snapshot are as follows:
- The subject is dead center frame.
- There is a foot in the sand to the left.
- There is a purple beach towel in the sand on the right.
- There is a general lack of contrast in the image.
- The subjects eyes are a little dark.
- The image is soft and the subject slightly out of focus.
With these issues in mind, the first stop in my the digital darkroom is Adobe’s Lightroom. Normally, I use Lightroom to process RAW images. Lightroom, however, can also be used with JPEG images and, in fact, contains tools that make certain tasks easier to perform than in other applications.
For this image, I ran it through Lightroom to do two things. The first and easiest was to crop the image keeping the same aspect ratio as the original. When cropping the image, though, I did not keep the subject dead center. I cropped the image with the subject further to the left. This makes for a more interesting composition. Cropping the image also had the benefit of removing the foot in the sand to the left of the subject. The second task I used Lightroom for was to brighten the subject’s eyes. For this, I used a local adjustment brush to both brighten and add clarity to the eyes.
From Lightroom, I took the image into Adobe’s Photoshop. This is where the rubber meets the road. I performed the bulk of the work in Photoshop beginning with cleaning up a few unwanted elements in the image. The Photoshop tool used for this is healing tool. What did I remove? I got rid of the purple beach towel in the sand on the right of the subject, as well as a few large gains of sand around the subjects mouth.
The image is really starting to come along. Still, there is a general lack of contrast and definition. To address this, I used a Photoshop filter called Viveza 2 from Nik Software. Viveza 2 allows one to add control points in an image to selectively affect elements for any pixels of a similar color, hue, or brightness. For this image, I laid in five control points, as follows:
- Point 1 (Sky): Darkened the sky. Added saturation.
- Point 2 (Sand): Brightened the sand. Added contrast and structure.
- Point 3 (Skin): Brightened the subjects skin.
- Point 4 (Bathing Suit): Brightened the pink. Added saturation.
- Point 5 (Hair): Brightened the hair. Added structure.
The image is almost there. Playing around with the sky and the subject’s skin, however, created a halo effect around the subjects foot. The fix for that, was a quick pass in Photoshop using the smudge tool to blur and blend the halo effect into the surrounding pixels.
The final step is to sharpen the image. This is probably the most subjective aspect of working an image (along with color) and is dependent on how it will be output. For this example, I sharpened the image for the screen only. The tool I used was Photoshop’s smart sharpen filter.
Forget what the original image looked like? Here it is below. The final image is no longer flat. The final image pops and has greater structure, while the subject’s eyes draw your focus. With the subject off center, the image’s composition is much more interesting.
There it is... From original to final, my process for working an image creatively. As I said above, though, there are no rights or wrongs. There is only the process. This is just my interpretation for this image. If I have done my job well, others will find this image appealing as well.
The reception was hopping, had a great DJ, and was a blast to work. I have to chuckle though... After the wedding, my wife and I ran into the bridal party at our hotel bar. I wish I would have had a camera in the bar!! lol
All these images were captured with older Canon 20D DSLRs and an assortment of lenses, including the Canon EF 24-105mm f/2.8L IS lens, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, and the Tokina SD 12-24mm f/4.0 lens. For processing, I used Adobe’s Lightroom. Enjoy!!
In this blog post, I am showcasing the hard working folks that work at Camden Yards as vendors. These man and women do a fantastic job keeping patrons stocked with food and drink without them having to leave their seats or miss any action on the field. They bust their butts, while putting on a great show themselves. They are also wonderful subjects to photograph.
The images below are just a sampling of the vendor images I captured over the six games I attended this past baseball season. Every one of these games was a night game with the all lighting challenges that brings. For the images displayed here, I used a Canon 40D DSLR and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Lens. No flash was used and all are presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Enjoy!!
This image was shot in the Olympus RAW format. Although I had converted and processed it years ago, I wanted to see what Adobe’s recent Lightroom 3 update could do for the image. The original version is a straight conversion that really only tweaked the basics like exposure, contrast, clarity, and shadow detail. The enhanced version was also run through Adobe’s Photoshop and tweaked using Nik Software’s Viveza 2 filter. As you can see in the enhanced version, I used the Viveza 2 filter to play with the color and tone of the image. I also used the Viveza 2 filter to add some structure and detail to the waves and water. In both versions, Lightroom 3 did a great job with managing the noise in the image.
Here are a few images shot at a family event back in the early spring. These images are presented in a 9:16 format ratio. They were processed with Adobe’s Lightroom and given a springtime sporting edge with a slight vignette. Enjoy!!
As I was sitting on the beach watching my kids play in the sand and at the waters edge, I started to take some photos of others around me. This photo opportunity turned into this subject exploration, Backs to the Beach. Once the idea came to me, I grabbed my gear and took several walks up and down the shoreline to capture the images here.
Shooting conditions were not the greatest. The skies, for most of the time, were grey and overcast with the sun only peaking through every now and then. In those moments, I was there and ready to grab that golden light. These images were all taken with a Canon 40D DSLR and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Lens. The images were processed using Lightroom and enhanced in Photoshop using the Nik Software’s Viveza 2 filter. All images are presented here in a 16:9 letterbox format.
To see the full set of 25 artistically worked images, please stop by my Smugmug site. To get there, just click here. Oh... Team Arsenal won. Final score was 3 to 2.
We got back to the hotel, grabbed our wet clothes, and headed to the room. The walk from the parking lot to the hotel lobby seemed long. Did I say, seemed long? It was long and made more so by the fact the elevators in the hotel were not working. I could not believe after riding for hours my wife and I were now looking at a nice stair climb. I started laughing as we headed down the hall to the stairs and started the climb to our room.
We finally got to our floor and our room. Comfort at last. Hot showers were the first order of business followed by a proper face stuffing of chips, soda, and, believe it or not, ice cream. Pure comfort food. My wife settled into watching a little late night television, while I got out the laptop and popped on Facebook and the Twitter.
Then… Sweet sleep.
Sore!! I thought I was sore as I drove to the hotel. Wrong!! Sore is what I was when I woke in the morning… lol. Sunday for me, I knew was a short day. I had to pick up our kids well before the end of the event. My wife, however, was staying and riding the whole day. Knowing how I felt, when I woke, I just looked over at her and smiled. I knew she was sore also, more so even as she rode longer the night before.
We got up. We got dressed. We packed our things and checked out. First order of business was a hot coffee and breakfast at Bootyville. When we arrived, the sky was still overcast with a misty intermittent rain coming down. Bootyville was hopping, though, with a mixture of cyclists that rode through the night and new cyclists coming in or returning to ride on Sunday.
We grabbed a coffee and some eggs and had a quiet breakfast under the mess tent together. My wife was itching to get back on her bike and I was looking forward to capturing some images of the event. We walked back to our Jeep and I helped my wife ready her bike for the day. I wished her well and gave her a kiss before she headed out. I then turned to my camera bag. I grabbed my Canon 40D, my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, slung my bag over my shoulder, and headed out.
Photography for me is a passion, a passion I hope that comes through my images. No, I did not ride on Sunday. It was my hope, though, that my images would capture the passion of others as they rode for such a worthy cause. As my own worst critic, I cannot say if my images do that or not. I will leave that up to others to decide. What I will say is, I am truly in awe of the folks that came out to ride and help to their part to rid the world of Cancer.
For more information:
24 HOURS OF BOOTY
338 S. Sharon-Amity Road
P.O. Box 270
Charlotte, N.C. 28211
The event location for 24 Hours of Booty was in one of the many business parks in Columbia, Maryland. Mostly flat, except for one hill, it was a good location with lots of parking and easy access. When we got to Columbia, we stopped off at our hotel. Briefly checking out our room, we changed into our cycling clothes and left for the event.
Arriving at 24 Hours of Booty, Bootyville greeted us on the way in. Bootyville… The event staging area and freshly created tent town. On one side of the road, Bootyville consisted of the official white tents of the organization and its sponsors. On the other side of the road, Bootyville was home away from home for all those cyclists brave enough to camp out in the cold and rain. Bootyville was not quite, Deadwood, South Dakota, but that thought did cross my mind as we drove in and added to my enjoyment of the event.
My wife and I arrived close to the start at 4:00 p.m. We parked our Jeep, got our bikes down and ready, and headed towards the starting location. A brief look around Bootyville and we walked over to the opening ceremonies. A light rain had already started to fall. It was there in the crowd, that a chill came over me that was not weather related. Like lions on the Serengeti, I noticed kids on BMX bikes sizing up this unconditioned cyclist and singling me out.
Cold and raining, everyone made their way over to the starting line. The spirits were high from all the cyclists. Everyone was ready and excited as we were released to ride. My first cycling event had begun.
My wife, who had been riding all summer and was much more conditioned for the event than I, had promised to ride with me. Our love and marriage being strong and true, she was more than ready to leave my ass behind before the completion of the first lap. Looking back at me at one point, she smiled and shook her head as one of those kids on a BMX bike blew past me. I just laughed and told her to ride at her own pace. And so… My solitary ride began. Not a bad thing, really. Reflection is quite good for the soul.
The circuit seemed easy, to easy. Then, as I was cruising along at 25 miles per hour down a sweet incline, I hit Mount Merkle. Mount Merkle, that seemingly easy hill at the end of the loop. That hill many a cyclist would come to hate in the next 24 hours. That hill one has to mount before comfort can be found in Bootyville. The first few times around, it seemed okay. As the night wore on, however, Mount Merkle became my demon. I dreaded it and that part of the loop. It hurt.
Two times around the circuit and into Bootyville. That became my routine. After my first two laps, I came into Bootyville seeking something for a pounding headache that had developed. I grab some Advil from a volunteer and a couple of NutriGrain bars and was back to riding. As the night progressed and the light rain turned into heavy downpours, my routine sustained me and gave me a goal. Two laps and Bootyville. Two laps and a rest and hot coffee.
I indicated earlier, I was a solitary rider. Alone for the most part with just my thoughts and the occasional cyclist asking… “Are you okay?” Or, the more frequent… “Left, Left, Left”. Every time I heard, “Left”, I so wanted to callout, “Right”. Yes, this solitary rider owned the “Right”!! The right is where I rode. From the start of the event until I stopped riding later in the night, I was alone, on the right, and in my thoughts.
Although I was doing 24 Hours of Booty in memory of my mother who lost her battle with breast and bone cancer in 1988, my thoughts while riding also involved two other people. The first person was my grandmother on my mother’s side. She was diagnosed with breast cancer back in the 1950’s and by some miracle managed to survive it. She helped raise me in an extended family that consisted of herself, my grandfather, and my mother. She lived to see her 80s. The second was a client of mine from a few years back. She was a lovely woman who had brain cancer. Her family was Irish and she hired me to take candid and locational portraits of her then three year old daughter, Teagan, in traditional Irish clothing. To this day, I consider the images I took of Teagan do be some of my best work.
Staying on the right in the pouring rain, deep in thought, forcing my way up Mount Merkle for my reward every two laps in Bootyville, I rode. Occasionally, I would meet up with my wife. We would ride briefly together and then split. That night I rode from 4:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. My wife from 4:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. When we both stopped, it was pouring rain, we were freezing, and we didn’t have any dry clothes. As we made our way to the hotel for the night, we wished we could have rode longer but were happy with what we accomplished.
For more information:
24 HOURS OF BOOTY
338 S. Sharon-Amity Road
P.O. Box 270
Charlotte, N.C. 28211
The day approached when my wife had to pick up her event package. She asked if I wanted to come along with her. I told her I would, as it was an opportunity to look around and shop at one of the larger cycling stores in our area. The day arrived. We drove over.
On the drive over, I was still thinking she was nuts to do the event. The weather forecast was not good. Rain. She told me about other riders on Twitter talking about the weather… how to prepare… what to wear… Crazy I thought. Ride a bike in the rain for 24 hours?
The mission? Conduct 24-hour cycling events to raise awareness, funds, and support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and local cancer organizations. Life saving work, a great cause, and a wonderful organization.
My wife and I got to the store. I still wasn’t going to ride. When we walked in, however, something changed for me. I started to think about my mother. She battled cancer for over five years before it took her a few weeks before her 50th birthday. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer and then bone cancer.
Seeing the 24 Hours of Booty table in the store and the people there to pick up their event package, I thought about my mother and all her struggles with cancer. I thought of her long battle. I thought of her being totally bedridden at the end. I thought about her life on liquid morphine.
It was then that I knew I had to ride. It didn’t matter to me that I might not be able to ride very long or log a lot of miles. It didn’t matter that I didn’t think I was conditioned enough to ride. It didn’t matter that, unlike my wife, I hadn’t been seeking sponsors for the event. I did matter that I make an effort. And so…I walked over to the table with my wife and registered.
For more information:
24 HOURS OF BOOTY
338 S. Sharon-Amity Road
P.O. Box 270
Charlotte, N.C. 28211
The following images were taken on the last real weekend of summer for my kids. It was the last weekend before school started in late August. I took these with my oldest son in tow as we walked the beach that Saturday morning. All are black and white, digital infrared images captured with a converted Nikon CoolPix 990. I boosted the contrast and cropped them to a 16:9 letterbox format.
The image presented here and its variations are an example of this expression and creativity. The shot is simple… An on location portrait at a poolside birthday party over the summer. The first version is, for the most part, straight out of the camera. The versions that follow are worked and processed, each uniquely different from the other.
Out of Camera
Added Contrast & Rich Black Tones
Reduced Contrast with Enhanced Whites and Light Tones
Desaturated Colors with Red Tones
Classic Black and White
The vast majority of images from these slideshows were shot with a Canon 40D and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. Depending on the soccer field, sometimes I used a Canon 1.4x EF Extender. Capturing between 700 and 1000 images per soccer game, I normally only process the images to “proof” quality using Adobe’s Lightroom. For these slideshows, I used an online service called Animoto.
With all the specifics out of the way... I hope you enjoy the following slideshows from Team Revolution’s 2008 Season!!