Many times before I took the usual path to Shenandoah mountains. And it's a very beautiful place. But the path became more like a rut. So I pick a new park on the internet and drove there in hope to get a few shots. And this new place brought me quite a few new excitements and shots.
The trends of digital photography require (yes, require!) that the photographer would do some of the post-processing tasks, which by itself are very close to what in film era the photographer did in the darkroom. And either film or digital development/post-processing have the tools to facilitate the tasks.
The usual way for a digital photographer to manipulate the photographs is a mouse (in the worst case scenario - a touchpad). But there are a better tools, such like tablets. Those are the pen-like instruments. And to help you decide between two market leaders there is an article: "Which Wacom graphics tablet is right for me... Intuos or Graphire?" These articles will help you learn more about the basic features of the tablets and make the decision not only between these two options, but may be about whether you need one.
Sure, all of us used Crop tool to get rid of unwanted parts of the photograph and improve the composition. But not many know that you can use Crop tool to increase the size of the canvas and create those white or black borders.
So, first make sure that your image is fully visible in the document window, and there is plenty of space around for the desired canvas increase. Then select the Crop tool in the toolbar and by starting somehwre outside of the image drag the mouse over the image - to end up outside of the image. Photoshop will select the whole image - it will snap to the image size, so you don't have to adjust it.
And the next step is to specify the border around the image. Drag one of the corner of the crop selection outside the image. By holding Alt and dragging you will make the selection simmetrical to the center of the image. By adding Shift, you will make the border proportional to the image itself. Play with it, and you may like it.
Unfortunatelly, there is no precise control over the number of pixels that the border should be.
That's an interesting idea - the whole project, take picture every day (no skipping) and thus create a "imaginable" story of your year. The ideas makes you to think more about things that are important to you or what important things you do every day. At the end it could probably even make you to look at your live differently and re-evaluate it. Actually, I am thinking to do something similar, at least start taking more picture (even silly and simple, like of my cat) and make memory notes.
All it started from the Project 365 - a completed one
This Russian photographer could astonish you with the facial expressions captured in his photographs and digitally retouched into something unreal. It's worthwhile to visit his website and enjoy the photographs.
And you can even see the transformation from the originals to the final artwork.
This photograph is the great example of how the Depth of Field (DOF) allows you to isolate the subject. It allows you to focus the viewer's attention on the details, which matter most. In this instance, it is the flower that is being arranged by the bride's maid. The isolation is created by significant blurring of the out-of-focus elements. The wider the aperture, the stronger the blur and smaller the Depth of Field.
To refresh your memory, the shallow depth of field is achieved by opening the aperture on your lens. It means that the aperture number should be the smallest your lens could allow. To take this photograph I used aperture f1.4 on my 50mm lens. This lens is one of the few, which allow such small aperture number (f1.4). I know of only a couple of other lenses that have wider aperture in the Canon line - 50mm f1.0 and 85mm f1.2. But they cost an arm and a leg.
The shape of the aperture blades as well as the quality of the lens define one closely related quality - the bokeh. The bokeh defines how the out-of-focus sparks (the light dots) will appear in the photograph.
Well, I've wandered away from the real subject of this topic - Shallow Depth of Field. As usual, my interest isn't in the mechanics of the effect or technique, but in the real-life application and benefits to the photographer. So, the shallow DOF allows you to isolate the subject of your photograph. And you can compare it to a frame of smudgy glass atop of your photograph. Where the edges get the blurrier (?) and blurrier . If we break this effect to basic graphics - it makes the photograph much simpler, and makes the eye slide (on those out-of-focus areas) to the subject.
I have to note a few things that will affect your Shallow DOF photography. First, because the DOF at f1.0 to f2.8 could be really shallow (sometimes to a centimeter or so), it makes your focusing job much harder. That was a disadvantage. The benefit is that the wider aperture means more light and you can shoot in much darker room as you would normally do - the shutter speed will decrease about 1 or 2 stops (somewhere from 1/15 to 1/60).
And finally to add to the focusing difficulties. When you shoot weddings (or any other event) the people tend to move freely and a lot. It means that the distance between your lens and the focus point will change. Thus you have to adjust the focus (re-focus), but in dim light focusing could take a couple of seconds. And within those couple of seconds the person could change his/her position once again. So - beware of it and use shallow depth of field in wedding photography sparingly. You don't won't most of your pictures totally out-of-focus.
Another trip to nowhere. Actually, I like such trips, you drive and enjoy the views - something like a Live TV in your windshield. This time I went north to Pennsylvania, where I haven't traveled for some time.
Initially I was driving to Shenandoah, but realized that my trips to the park became like a custom. So I changed my direction and drove north leaving the I-66 on Exit 40. This exit was mentioned by my friend, he said that there were some nice views. Well, I found nice views, but not the ones he described.
There is a belief that a camera like Canon 30D with crop factor 1.6 will make your 50mm lens into 80mm or will add you focal length. So it's more like an extender, which increases the telephoto capabilities of your existing lenses. And when it comes to specific application (especially for portraiture) of such camera-lens combination, there is a grave misconception. And here I want to stress and explain the simple truth - the crop factor doesn't change the optical characteristics of the lens.
Probably many of you have heard the stories about some professionals photographers who shoot with snap and shoot cameras. For example, the was a rumor and actual photographs of beautiful vistas that some photographer took with disposable camera, which he bought at the nearest gas station. I even heard some stories that a wedding photographer for hire (I cannot call such person a professional) came to a wedding with Canon PowerShot and a Fuji SSCs.
And these cases are actually on oposite ends of the stick. The first one has [allegedly? ] created beautiful photographs, but about the other one I am not that sure. So, here in this post, I will try to look deeper on the differences and capabilities of these two extremes of such cameras: Snap and Shoot cameras vs. Pro DSLRs. Actually by knowing this differences and application of such cameras could help you to choose the camera you want to buy.
Almost always when I have a question to answer or analyze some situation I am looking for the purpose - the goal, which I want to achieve. And in this comparision, let's look at what these cameras are made and intended for.
Snap & Shoot - This is mostly a walk around camera to make memories, which you can easily operate (you don't have to be a photographer at all), and later you would be able to share the pictures (not even photographs) with your friends and family. Of course, some people push it to extremes and expect flawless performance in hard conditions, such as dim light or hasrh weather. Robustness is a plus for such cameras, because people usually will use while skiing or while laying on a beach (the sand) and etc.
Pro DSLRs - If the other cameras were mostly for pleasure, these cameras are for business. And it's not because they cost you an arm and a leg and you have to justify (or return) the investments. But mostly because in the business you have to rely on your tools. And the robustness and reliability are very important. I have to mention that reliability is not only about being able to operate in rain or in snow. But to deliver great photographs in dim light conditions and in almost any other situation. The other aspect is quality - quality of photographs it produces at all times. Add here the advantage of being user friendly. The camera is the tool and the way the photographer operates it could be to the best or to the worst - the camera should respond quickly, and you don't have to twist your arms to change the settings or switch the lens.
One of the routine actions we do in Photoshop is creating a new layer. It seems such a simple action, so we rarely notice that - we just click on that icon and "here it is". But sometimes we do something else... We create the layer and move beneath another one. And such actions (yeah, a few more clicks and drags) have bothered me, until I found the solution. The wise guys at Adobe foreseen this and created a way to do it all with one click.
Should I tell you? OK, you were a good boy (or girl) and here it is - Hold Ctrl while clicking on this "New Layer" icon, and the layer will be created beneath the active layer.
And to throw a few more cookies - you can create a layer by pressing Ctrl-Shift-N. It will ask you for a name of this later though. To avoid it - Ctrl-Shift-Alt-N.
Recently I was looking through some articles and forums to improve visibility of my website. Why do we need this visibility? Because our websites is another channel to reach our potential clients, and thus it is the part of our marketing program.
OK, lets get back on the track. One of the well known measures of website visibility is search engine ranking. It could be associated with page ranking. All of which generaly comes to whether your website will popup in the first 2-3 pages of the search results (not that many people look beyond that) or not. And after learning a few things on those forums (I will list them at the end of the post), it came to me - even my website looks nice and some people even like it, it's not the "search engine material". Come on, I've tried to search for my website and it was far from the third page. Though somehow some individuals manage to find it
And here it is - I have to do something about it. For me it means another almost complete redesign. Do you know why? Read on to find out...
Note: The image here is one of the website mockups, which I am trying to come up with. If I am lucky, it will be the new look of my website, and as always - just for you
The photographs of Rarindra Prakarsa indeed are fine art paintings. It seems there is a lot of post-processing work, which allowed the author to produce such distinguished photographs. Look and judge for yourself.
Note: The photograph shown here is called "Hope". Author: Rarindra Prakarsa
You may know already that PS has guides and the grid. If not, tnen press Ctrl-" to show grid and Ctrl-: to reveal guides (you may have none). To create guides, make the ruller visible (menu View-Rullers or Ctrl-R) and drag the "ruller" (it will create a guide) to your document. You can move the guide by holding Ctrl key and dragging it to the right place, or even turn horizontal one into vertical and backward - by holding Alt key and dragging.
But the idea to write this post was originated by Smart Guides. PS has another feature that helps in day-to-day tasks - aligning the objects. You may have noticed that when you move an object it easily snaps to a position aligned to other objects (center, top, bottom, left and right). This is done in accordance to Smart Guides, which are invisible by default. I suggest that you make them visible (menu View, Show, Smart Guides) and watch how they help you align things.
In the tutorial posted on Phong.com you will find out how to make a perfect selection (via masking) of a one of the most difficult subjects - a tree. With all its branches and leaves it makes it close to impossible to create a selection, but Anson Vogt, the author of this article, explains all necessary steps to achieve it.
When we work with our photographs in Photoshop, oftentimes we need to take a closer look or zoom out and see the whole picture. And the developers of Photoshop has provided us with some nice easy ways to do so. Press Ctrl-'0' to make the image take the all available room in workspace, so no other palette or toolbar would obscure your view. Or press Ctrl-Alt-'0' to take a closer look - 100% view on the image pixels. Don't forget to try Ctrl-'-' and Ctrl-'+' to zoom in and out. And if you use Alt in the previous combination (Ctrl-Alt-'+/-') then the document window will resize as well, to give you a better view.
Do you think that all? Nope Press Alt and roll the mouse wheel - it zooms as well. And here is a secret, you may try to hold either Ctrl or Alt or both keys and roll the mouse wheels in other applications (such as Adobe Reader, MS PowerPoint and even in Firefox) to zoom in/out as well.
Well, this aren't the usual shots of wildlife - usually, wether the animals are shot free or in a zoo, we try to depict their beauty; I tried here to depict their condition of prisoners. Sad, but that's the way it is for those animal friends.
The WebPhotoMag is about photographs and photographers, their goal is to bring the photographers and their art closer to the public. And in the latest issue (PDF 40Mb!) the WebPhotoMag presents us with the porfolio of Simon Larbalestier. In this portfolio you will see the life of people in South-East Asia, which suffer from various disabilities.
You may find the following to articles written by Nicolas Noben of interest and use in your Photoshop manipulations. At least, I do
The photograph here is improved using the techniques mentioned in these articles
Winners of the contest created by photojournalists for photojournalists.
Photograph: Josh Meltzer, The Roanoke Times - Firefighters battle a house fire amidst heavy smoke. All of the entrances in the house were blocked by clothes and paperwork, preventing the firefighters from entering the structure. Arson charges were later filed against the tenant.
Have you seen spirals? Sure, but do you want see more? They are in all kind of shapes and forms, natural and artificial. Quite intersting collection of photographs, I would have to say.
And when you exhausted your interest to this subject, look for other ones: lightning, arch, icicle, ywan and etc.
Note: How many girls in the orange t-shirt you see in the picture?
Sometimes you don't know where you will find another interesting article. In this instance, I was looking at the post "Selling Photos Online" and simply looked deeper in the web pages of the iStockphoto.com, which allows you to sell photos online. But to my surprise, there were articles to read. And one of them is called "Cheap Tricks":
...for those of us who have a long way to go before we quit our day jobs and rent studio space, inexpensive alternatives to high-end equipment are a necessity. Here are just a few tips to make a $3 image look like a million bucks-- each one under $20. Many readers are sure to be familiar with a good deal of these techniques and items, but hopefully you will come away with at least one or two ideas to jumpstart your setup.
When we find something interesting and useful, which we want to return to and share with others, it will be posted here. It could be about composition, digital effects, photoshop, photography business or links to interesting websites.
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