Archive for the 'Photoshop' Category


10/31/2010: Cape May Sunrise hdr Panorama

Happy Sunday!

Looking east from the sundeck of the Montreal Inn in Cape May a few moments before sunrise, yesterday.

Sunrises, I think, touch a special place in the soul, and, of course there is noting like a sunrise over the ocean where you can see right out to the edge of the world. On a morning like this, even if just for a second there, it takes a hard heart indeed…or one deeply troubled, beaten well down…not to embrace the cliché: every new day is a miracle. It is easy for the hopeful to take such beauty at the beginning as a promise of the potential of the day. And, of course, part of the wonder comes from the fact that every sunrise is not so spectacular. Our lives don’t always allow us to see the sunrise at all, and there are days when the sun just sneaks up behind clouds (literal or figurative) with no display (or none we can see). So we have reason to celebrate the moments like this one. The moment itself is a gift from the creator, and so is the ability to appreciate it.

On the technical side, this is a 9 exposure HDR panorama: 3 sets of 3 exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix, the results stitched in PhotoShop Elements, and the the panorama final processed in Lightroom. Best viewed as large as your monitor will take it.


9/23/2010: HDR Marsh Pool Panorama

This is another experiment in HDR Panorama…and this time I had a tripod with me! It does make it easier, and, despite the lack of a true panoramic head, I am pleased with the results. I especially like the rendering of the sun on the pines at either side, which would have been quite impossible without the HDR treatment.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. 9 exposures in bracketed sets of 3. All at ISO 80 and Programmed Auto. Bracketed 2 stops, with the center exposure moved down 2/3EV via exposure compensation.

Each set of 3 was blended in Photomatix, using tone mapping. In this case the smoothing had to be adjusted to a minimize the light sky band along the tree line. The 3 HDRs were then taken in to PhotoShop Elements 7’s Panorama engine, where they were automatically combined. I also a darken brush along the tree line to smooth the sky line a bit more. Finally, the image was saved as a PhotoShop file and taken into Lightroom, where some Recovery was applied for the sky, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance, and the Sharpen narrow edges preset. I also used the selective luminance tool to intensify the little bit of fall color in the tree line and bushes on the left. This is a LOT more processing than I generally apply to any image, but perhaps, if you view the Pano at larger sizes on my SmugMug site it was worth it (click the image above, or here, and use the size controls at the top of the window…though it should auto size to your monitor).


9/15/2010: Mousam Marsh HDR Panorama

So, what would happen if you combined HDR with Panorama? This is 12 exposures, 4 sets of 3. I processed each set of 3 exposures in Photomatix for tone-mapped HDR, then the 4 HDRs were stitched in PhotoShop Elements, using its excellent Panorama tool. The pano was then taken into Lightroom for final adjustments (straighten, levels, sharpen, etc). If you look at it large enough (which I recommend anyway as the little image here does it no justice) you will see that the fence posts on the left center are not perfectly aligned (the wind was blowing so hard I had trouble holding the camera still), but, in general, for such a complex process (and no tripod), I am happy with the results, especially for a first experiment. This is a sweep of about 180 degrees, from Great Hill, past the mouth of the Mousam River, and all the way around to the Route 9 bridge…the equivalent of 4 28mm fields of view.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent field of view. Exposure sets separated by 3EV, auto bracket with the center point adjusted to –2/3rds EV using Exposure Compensation. Processed as detailed above.

To view the image in larger sizes, click the image above and use the size controls across the top of the window on the SmugMug site that opens.



Laudholm Pond Panorama

I have a detailed explanation of why and how this shot was taken at Playing With Panoramas: sort of… on Point & Shoot Landscape. I was not really after the panorama effect, but I wanted a wider shot than my 28mm equivalent could provide, in order to frame the pond and sky with the white birch stands. Three shots using the Panorama mode on the SX20IS with the zoom at about 40mms, PhotoShop Elements’ PhotoMerge tool, plus final processing in Lightroom, yields this. Of course, to see it to true advantage you need to click the image and open it in the largest size you monitor will show. For comparison, here is the shot with the unaided 28mm on the Canon SX20IS.

From Around Home 2010.



Cacti Filling Frames

Okay, so this is maybe cheating a little bit because this is not a pic of the day, it is three pics of the day rolled into one. Sort of. I took these images seconds apart, without moving more than a step and a half turn. There is is a display of native cacti just below the Terrace Restaurant at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The sun had gone behind a momentary cloud…just enough, and just long enough, to provide some filtration for these shots…a softening of the light that brought out the patterns. The first two were shot at about 180mm equivalent for framing. The third was taken from the same spot, but I zoomed up to almost 300mm equivalent to frame a slightly more distant clump. They form a kind of triptych study of the way light interacts with these spiny shapes.

Sony DSC H50 at 180mm and 300mm equivalents. F4, F3.5, F4 @ 1/125th, 1/60th, 1/40th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Punch and Sharpen Landscape presets in Lightroom. >> Clarity and > Vibrance.

And here they are, actually arranged as a classical triptych panel.





Glencoe (Glenshiel) Scotland: click for other sizes on SmugMug

Glencoe (Glenshiel) Scotland: click for other sizes on SmugMug

As promised, more brooding Scottish scenery.


One of the most famous views in Scotland, maybe in the world. The pass at Glencoe, with the view of the Seven Sisters (weather permitting), looking out over Fort William. Site of one of the most infamous battles in the world, the massacre of the McDonnalds by the Campbells in 1692, apparently at the order of the King of England.

Take a long look at the image before reading any further please. 

The trouble with flying visits, most visits to anywhere really interesting for that matter, is that you only get one chance, one day, often one moment, to capture something that, in reality, you would prefer to spend a lot of time with, over days and weeks, to get a really satisfying image. Maybe even that “you would need to spend a lot of time with” etc.

We did stop here for about 10 minutes, and I was able to get out away from the car, up a little trail through the heather to grab this shot. But the ferry from Skye was waiting, and we had a schedule to keep.

It a case like this you take the light and the weather you get. End of story.

This was not an easy shot. The range of light in the sky was too great and exposing for the highlights left the foreground way too dark. Believe me, I tried it. Then too, the camera was not working at its best aperture and I knew there was danger of Chromatic Aberration and Purple Fringing on the exposed edge of the mountain on the left. (One of the limitations of any long zoom and most Point and Shoot sensors.) Still… got to try.

The result took a lot of work in post. Ligthtroom dealt with the CA and PF fairly well, and I could bring up the foreground with Fill Light and curve adjustments, but I had a large area of over saturated sky that I did not like. I exported the file as a Photoshop document and opened it in Photoshop Elements 7.0 (simple as choosing Edit in External Program from the Picture menu). There I used the clone stamp, set at 10% transparency, to paint some clouds over the burned out section of the sky. I don’t like to do this, but needs must. I will very likely never get back to Glencoe again. I saved the file, again, as a Photoshop document to preserve all the detail, and finished editing in Lightroom, adding some Clarity and Vibrance and using the Sharpen Landscape preset, pulling up the luminance of the purples and greens a bit in the HSL panel.

The final image is a close approximation of what I really saw, and what I wanted to capture in the fleeting moments I had there. Best I could do.

It is shots like this that make me think long and hard about whether I should be carrying a DSLR on these trips. ???

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F4.0 @ 1/125 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

From the Scotland gallery.



Loch Lochy Improved?

Loch Lochy Improved?

After a few comments on today’s Pic of the Day, please see Loch Lochy, I decided to edit out the gravel heap and tree in the center, just to see how it looked? I used the clone tool in Photoshop Elements 7.0 and carefully painted out the both the pile and the tree.

What do you think?

It is certainly a different image. I am not sure which I like best.

See it larger here. Loch Lochy Improved.

And for a really extreme tweak, take a look at this.