I took a walk around the neighborhood (Esplanade Ave) while I was waiting for my friends to arrive and I found some neat things to take some shots of. A cemetery, statues, some neat shadows, a park and a particularly entertaining pelican. Have a
Posts Tagged ‘Photo’
I went out to Biff Buzby’s Friday Night Cruise in North San Antonio tonight. It’s basically a bunch of folks with really cool vehicles who show up at this great burger joint and hang out for awhile. So what better time to grab the camera and take some shots? I must admit, I’m not really all that pleased with the shots I got. It got dark much quicker than I thought and I didn’t take a flash. Next time, I’ll try to remember.
There was an Elvis impersonator there (See bottom picture). Now I grew up outside Memphis and lived in Vegas so I take my Elvis impersonator’s very seriously and this guy was pretty good! The whole outing was a complete blast.
Now before we get to the pictures, I just have to put a plug out there for Biff Buzby’s Burgers. The service was great and the food was outstanding! Best turkey sandwich ever! Go check them out at 12702 Toepperwien in San Antonio.
Well, on with the pictures.
There was a gorgeous moon out last night so I drove to the front of the ranch with camera to get a shot. I’ve enjoyed shooting the moon for a couple of years now, but had great trouble capturing it early on. The problem stems from I (and my camera) tried to approach this as if I was shooting in the dark, but from an exposure point of view, I’m not. This shot was taken at f14, 1/320th ISO 800 with the white balance set for daylight. I used a cheap Sigma 70-300 lens that I normally use to shoot motocross. I had the camera on a tripod, but I have gotten decent ones hand held. I took some that I still have to process at f32 which I am hoping will be sharper.
It took some research and experimentation to figure out that even though it’s dark outside, when you photograph a nice moon, you are capturing bright, reflected sunlight, and there is a surprisingly large amount. The problem is the camera meter sees a WHOLE LOT of dark around this one bright spot. Consequently, you HAVE to shoot it fully manual, including focus. It’s impossible for the focusing system to gather enough data to do it’s job, so you have to do it for it.
I think I might time out a future moon night and rent a 500mm L glass and see if I can really do it justice.
It’s that time of year again, and thank God they moved that time of year! I did the first and second Scott Kelby Photowalks when they were held in mid July but in San Antonio, it’s so hot, I skipped out on the next one. Now they have moved it to October and I was ecstatic. I decided to challenge myself and only take my 85mm prime and see what I could come up with. We met up in front of the Alamo (which seems to be where we always meet) and walked around downtown San Antonio. I enjoyed it, but really didn’t like the results. That being said, I usually put up some photos here whether I like them or not, so here’s a few examples of what I got. Point and laugh at will…
Here is the final installment of the ‘Photographing Incense Smoke’ tutorial series. To see how to actually photograph the smoke, see Part 1 or if you want to see the single color post processing technique, see Part 2. This one is just a slight departure from Part 2, where we post processed the smoke to give it some great color. Well, in this one, we’re going to make the smoke multi-colored.
First, load up your smoke picture into photoshop and adjust the brightness, if you need to, as described in Part 2.
Simply select Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient.
In the New Layer dialog, in the mode drop down, select Color and click Ok.
In the Gradient Editor dialog, select the Gradient Preset that you like and click Ok.
That’s it! There’s nothing to it. Enjoy!
This is part 2 of the tutorial on photographing incense smoke. Part 1 covered photographing the smoke. (Here is part 1) In this portion of the tutorial, we will start the topic of post processing. For almost all my photography, I post process in Adobe Lightroom, however, incense smoke is an exception. For smoke, I use Photoshop. The example screens shown here are from Photoshop CS5.5, although it should work at least back to CS4. (For those of you who are using Photoshop Elements, I haven’t tried it, but I think it can be done. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll attempt it and post a tutorial for that if it can be done.)
To start, open your smoke photo in photoshop.
After opening your smoke picture in Photoshop, the first thing to do is to duplicate the background layer. This basically just gives you and easy place to come back to in case something goes haywire.
Next, we want to adjust the brightness of the smoke to make it pop out from the background a bit more. I do this with Levels. Create a new adjustments layer by selecting Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels.
Drag the white arrow directly under the histogram to the left to brighten the image. Be careful not to drag it too far as you want the background to remain solid black.
For the next step, you need to decide what kind of smoke picture you want, black background or white background. If you want a black back ground, congratulations! You’re there, you can skip this step. If you want a white background, select Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Invert. This will invert the color palete and your black background will turn white. Your smoke will also change color, but don’t worry, we’re going to set the color up in the next step.
(I wanted to work on a black background so I didn’t invert, but here is what it would look like if I had.)
To change the smoke color, select Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation.
(Note that the screen shot above has the Adjustment Layer selected. This is an error. You need to select the background copy layer underneath it, as in the next screen shot.)
Click the Colorize box in the lower right. Now, adjust the sliders to get a color and saturation level that you like.
And here’s what you end up with.
Well that’s it! It’s really a pretty simple process in Photoshop. Next time, I’ll show you how to make the smoke multiple colors instead of a single one.
I set the flash on about half power (simply to decrease recycle time) and zoom it in as far as it will go. Remember, you are just trying to light the incense, not a whole scene. I also think it’s a good idea to put a snoot on the flash to really pinpoint the light.
You can improvise a gobo or a snoot with a rubber band and either two small black cards or a large sheet of black construction paper. With the cards, simply place a piece on each side of the flash (front to eliminate lens flare, on the back to keep the background dark) and attach them to the flash with the rubber band. With the paper, simply roll it around the flash and attach with a rubber band for the same effect. For this shoot, I didn’t even use black cards. I had to laminate passes laying around that worked great.
Now, make sure you have some sort of dark background. I use a black poster fold out. They are cheap and readily available at hobby stores and probably wal-mart. It’s like what a kid would use for a science fair display. You could also use a piece of black cloth. Position your incense at least a foot and a half in front of your black background. If you place it to close, you will end up lighting it and the effect of the smoke won’t be as nice.
I use very cheap wireless flash triggers for my flash, but you can use a cable to. I set the shutter speed to just under the flash sync speed of the camera. The reason I go just under is that every once and a while the wireless takes a split second longer to cause the flash to fire, so the lower speed is just insurance. I usually shoot these at ISO 200 anywhere from f8 – f11.
Ok…incense. You want a good quality incense. Not because it’s going to make a difference in the photograph, but you have to smell this stuff up close, so find something you like. Light the incense and turn the room light off. Also, no fans, and you may need to turn off the A/C , depending on the vent location.
With the desk lamp on, you should be able to hand hold and autofocus. (I used to use a tripod, but found it a bit limiting.) Use the single autofocus point in the center. If you have problems getting the autofocus to work, you can cheat a little and focus on the tip of the incense then recompose on the incense.
Now just watch for neat patterns to pop up in the incense. If there is no air movement, the patterns will be straight and boring. Simply lightly wave your hand or gently blow in the direction of the incense and you should get something interesting. Take tons of shots and don’t be disappointed if they aren’t all in perfect focus. Focusing on smoke is a tricky process.
You will end up with something like this:
That’s it for capturing the shot. Next we have to run it through some post processing which I’ll cover next time. Enjoy!
All of these were shot with the T2i at ISO 3200 with a Canon 85mm lens. Black and Whites were processed in SilverEFX Pro 2