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  #106  
Old 24th December 2011
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Week 43 - Abstract

Untitled


Week 43 - Abstract by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
This will somewhat give away the nature of an abstract shot if I say what it is.
Why:
This will somewhat give away the nature of an abstract shot if I say why I shot it.
How:
Abstract photo taken, usual adjustments in LR 3.6 and then blended in CS3 with struckdumb's Film Border that I found on deviantart, before deleting the edges of the original shot layer so that it fitted the border.
Learnt:
Playing around with blending modes and layers to place a "background layer" inside a border.
Although not used in the final edit, I also learnt about how to create an identity plate with transparent space to use as a frame or border in the "Print" tab of LR 3.6.
For details of how to create png files with transparent spaces, see here. The technique involves creating a duplicate layer to work on rather than your background layer. Alternatively, click on the drop down menu on the eraser tool and select Background Eraser Tool or Magic Eraser Tool - using these erasers will reveal a transparent (chequered in Photoshop) space rather than reveal the background colour.
For details of how to use creative borders in Lightroom see Gavin Hoey's tutorial here.
Improvement:
Border. By choosing such an intricate border has drawn the eye from the abstract nature of the intended shot. A simpler, more classic film negative border rather than a distressed border may have been more appropriate.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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  #107  
Old 31st December 2011
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Week 44 - Pair

After and Before


Week 44 - Pair by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Photo of two similar, albeit not identical, Victorian houses along Newton Road in Faversham.
Why:
The renovation of Rose Bank (left) has completed in 2011. I have been fascinated to see the revealing of such a vibrant and colourful building. My view of Victorian buildings has always been that they are dour, dark, coal stained, imposing monoliths of Dickensian suppression. And Rose Bank probably became this in just a matter of months. But also this reveals the truth that when originally built they were sparkling jewels of colour with ornate and intricate detailing.
I have intended to take this photograph since earlier in the year when the renovation was complete as I think it is a magnificent building, as of course is its more classically envisaged neighbour. It was a lousy day with lousy, dull and dreary flat light but I needed to shoot this as my penultimate submission to the 2011 edition of A Year in the Life of Faversham.
How:
Composition: shot from down low which may appear a curious choice given that I knew I would need to deal with both keystoning and distortion in PPing, but it was a purposely choice as I wanted to remove distracting elements behind the garage in the final edit (I suppose I could have shot from a higher vantage point and cloned these out instead).
HDR: a handheld 5 shot HDR covering +/- 2 eV, as I wanted to get as much detail and pop out of this image as possible especially given that it was shot on a dull, flat day. The RAW images were adjusted in LR 3.6 first - this included recovery to ensure as much detail was retained, fill light and blacks, sharpening, noise adjustments, clarity and a little vibrance and saturation - before processing in Photomatix Pro with I hope a degree of subtlety.
Keystoning: the HDR image was then imported as the tif file into CS5 and the keystoning was addressed using a combination of the distortion and skew tools in the Free Transform mode.
Cloning: the telephone wires and street lamp were removed using a combination of the clone stamp tool and the spot healing brush in content aware mode. It was a case of empirically using each depending on the situation.
Removal of wires was made easier using the Pen Tool which by selecting two anchor points will draw a straight line - on a PC you can take your straight line and 'bend' it slightly by adding a third anchor point in the middle and then whilst holding the Ctrl key (to bring up a hand icon) you can then drag the third anchor point so that the straight line curves to match the drooping wires. This creates a path and if you then select the spot healing brush, you can stroke the path with the brush by selecting the Paths tab (to the right of your standard Layers tab in the bottom right hand corner of Photoshop) and clicking the "Stroke path with brush" icon at the bottom (where the "Create fill or adjustment layer" icon is on the Layers tab).
I found that where the wire crossed brick work, roof tiles and sky, it worked best if you dealt with the wire as if there were 3 separate wires rather than attempt to do it in one go.
Removal of the cars in front of the garage was a case of taking small sections and using the clone stamp tool to 'build' the garage door. The right hand side wall was cloned just using the clone stamp tool in small patches rather than resorting to the as ably demonstrated by the excellent Gavin Hoey.
Dodge/burn: the final step was to lighten Rose Bank and darken the neighbouring house as the HDR process had made the two buildings look too similar in their vibrancy. This was a subjective choice, and is based on the several times I have stopped to look at Rose Bank during and following its renovation.
Learnt:
The varied ways of using the clone stamp tool as well as the excellent spot healing brush in content aware mode in my newly upgraded CS5.
How to remove keystoning in CS5.
A number of keyboard short cuts which I have overlooked as I don't tend to use Photoshop a great deal, preferring Lightroom as my standard tool of choice.
Improvement:
Sky. I am unsatisfied with the sky, particularly where the removal of the telephone wires has left some lightening in the sky (that may not be the case, and may be more my imagination).
Composition. I should have shot slightly wider to ensure that once I had removed the keystoning, I would retain the far left pillar of the front wall.
Dodge/burn. I should have applied a touch of the history brush to remove some of the haloing (at least to my eye) around Rose Bank following the dodging to help give the sense of how radiant the building looks next to its neighbour. I also appear to have failed to dodge a little of the top of the gable wall, and not dodged the chimney stack at all.
Distortion. I purposely did not want to shoot ultra wide as the distortion of the Olympus 7-14mm, although not severe, is somewhat complex and I did not want to have to try and correct that. However whilst I have successfully addressed the keystoning at the far left and right, there does appear to be some distortion remaining in the 'internal' edges of the two buildings.
Artistic licence. There was a big decision to be made in the presentation of this image. Whether for a historical 'record shot' of these buildings I should have included the street lamp and telephone wires of the original shot, or to offer an interpretation of the building when it was originally built without these items. I decided to go with the latter as I wanted to not draw the viewer's attention away from the comparison of the buildings which is the purpose of the image. I am very please with the final image, but will not be too distressed if it is not selected for the Faversham 365 as it is an artistic interpretation and not truth.

For reference, here is the base exposure used for the HDR:


Untitled by morganthecat, on Flickr
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
flickr - Photo52 2011
My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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  #108  
Old 31st December 2011
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Bikie John Bikie John is offline
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Re: David's Photo52 2011

Wow, talk about a labour of love! A fine record of a fine house. In a fine town as well - some friends moved there recently and I'm looking forward to visiting.

Thanks for the tip about using paths for the healing brush. I will have to read your description again several times and try it very carefully before understanding it, but it looks like a very useful technique.

I wonder if you have overdone the de-keystoning a little bit as the right hand house appears to be leaning away slightly.

Ciao ... John
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  #109  
Old 31st December 2011
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David Gethin David Gethin is offline
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Re: David's Photo52 2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Wow, talk about a labour of love! A fine record of a fine house. In a fine town as well - some friends moved there recently and I'm looking forward to visiting.

Thanks for the tip about using paths for the healing brush. I will have to read your description again several times and try it very carefully before understanding it, but it looks like a very useful technique.

I wonder if you have overdone the de-keystoning a little bit as the right hand house appears to be leaning away slightly.

Ciao ... John
Faversham is a nice town, especially on the vintage car rally and hop festival weekends when the town is heaving with people.

I think the 'outside' edges are correctly aligned, but because the 'inside' edges aren't it gives the visual impression that the building is leaning outwards.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
flickr - Photo52 2011
My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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  #110  
Old 31st December 2011
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Week 45 - Safe

One in Six


Week 45 - Safe by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Light trails of cars crossing the zebra crossing whilst I stand in the middle of the crossing.
Why:
One in Six is a reference to the 6 zebra crossings in the town, but also reflects the odds I feel of me being knocked down every time I cross at this crossing to and from work. It is absolutely shocking the number of drivers that fail to stop. I have even been on the crossing before and somebody has gone through. It isn't terribly well lit, and I do tend to wear dark clothes but nonetheless, most drivers are local and know of the crossing. It is just laziness, or plain bloody mindedness or poor driving that leads to this.
I envisaged this shot many months ago and finally committed to taking this as it was my last submission to the 2011 edition of A Year in the Life of Faversham.
How:
This is a composite of 5 photos; 4 were taken with the light trails in mind, whilst the fifth was taken of myself in the middle of the crossing. These were then blended in CS5 using a combination of the lighten blend modes (stacked as layers using Russell Brown's Stack-a-Matic script) for the light trails with the normal blend mode for shot of myself - this last one was added as a layer and the layer mask was applied to remove all elements other than myself from this shot. Some cloning was applied and then finally the usual adjustments in LR 3.6.
Learnt:
Use of Russell Brown's Stack-a-Matic script which I intend to use more extensively in 2012 as an alternative work flow for star trail photography:
Improvement:
Composition. Shooting wide angle means that whilst there are leading lines from the star trails and the road markings, the principal subject of the photograph (namely myself at risk of being run down) is not strong enough in the image.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
flickr - Photo52 2011
My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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  #111  
Old 2nd January 2012
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Week 46 - Living

Living in a Box


Week 46 - Living by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
My current facebook timeline cover photo that extends the profile pic into the cover as one 'seamless image'.
Why:
The idea of "Living in a Box" had popped into my head and I decided I wanted to shoot a series of images in which I was trapped inside a box, in a Marcel Marceau mime kind of way.
Then along came the new facebook timeline and I realised I would be able to apply the idea to my new cover.
How:
Many shots of me in various poses against my bedroom wall were taken. My walls are Dulux Night Jewels 2 which is a dark grey.
Strobist info was as follows:
1. YN460-II (1/8 power) into a 30" reflector umbrella, 48" to the right of the subject and at 30 degrees in front of the subject;
2. Olympus FL-36R (1/16 power) bare, 18" to the right of the subject and at 30 degrees behind.
Both flashes triggered with a PT-04 wireless trigger.
The individual photographs were then combined in a composite using CS5 and arranged using Neal Campbell's excellent facebook timeline cover psd file.
There was quite a lot of light spillage on the walls which I dealt with by burning each individual photo once it was placed on the cover with the burn tool set to 100% exposure and set for shadows.
Photo frames:
The 'photo frames' were created in CS5 by first opening a new square layer with a transparent background that was 10 px larger than the final frame would be.
Onto this transparent background was placed a black square that was layered upon a white rounded square, that was 8 px larger than the black square and with a radius of 3 px, which in turn was layered upon a 50% grey rounded square that was 2 px larger than the white square and which also had a radius of 3 px. This was all done using the 'shapes tool' towards the bottom of the left hand tool bar below the Path Selection Tool.
This can be done haphazardly as the next step involves taking the various shapes and aligning them by selecting all of the background layer then selecting the three 'shapes layers' and using Layer>Align Layers to Selection>Vertical Centres and then repeating this using Layer>Align Layers to Selection>Horizontal Centres.
The black square was selected using the magic wand tool and deleted to reveal a transparent aperture.
Action:
Although the 4 layers had to be created manually because you cannot retrospectively edit the properties of a shape, the selection of the background layer together with the other layers, the alignment, selection of the black aperture and deletion could all be saved as an Action which made this process much quicker.
Saving transparent files as png files:
Each photo frame was saved as a png file to allow the transparent background to be used in the final image - transparent images cannot be saved as jpgs where the transparency will be saved as a white background instead. Useful to know when wanting to create 'borderless' buttons or for watermarks.
Gradient background:
In the final image a gradient background was created by adding a layer filled with green to which a gradient layer was applied.
Cropping:
For the cover:
I used Neal Campbell's psd file as a template for the crop then deselected the layers relating to the template and the 'profile pic' and saved the remaining merged layers for the cover.
For the profile pic:
I used Neal Campbell's psd file as a template for the crop of the layers relating to the profile pic and then deselected the layer relating to the template and saved the remaining merged layers as my profile pic (these are the layers relating to what's inside the box that crosses the main body of the image into the negative space). Although your profile pic is a 125 px square, facebook requires that the minimum size used is 180 px square. As a result the crop I used was a 180 px square to minimise the amount of compression that facebook would apply.
Learnt:
How to create more creative timeline covers.
How to create a transparent border.
Improved my understanding of how powerful and efficient Actions can be in Photoshop.
Improvement:
Lighting. The weakest part of this image is my lighting which was done fairly quickly in order to give me the bank of images to use in the final edit. In particular I have some harsh shadows on my hands and the 'hair light' doesn't provide a great deal of separation from the background. However, as a proof of concept, I am pretty pleased with the outcome.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
flickr - Photo52 2011
My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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