Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

Shoot The Moon

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Shoot The Moon

Shoot The Moon

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.

Photographing Incense Smoke Tutorial – Part 3 – Rainbow Smoke

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

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.

Load up your photo

Load up your photo

Simply select Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient.

New Gradient Fill Layer

New Gradient Fill Layer

In the New Layer dialog, in the mode drop down, select Color and click Ok.

Color Mode

Color Mode

In the Gradient Editor dialog, select the Gradient Preset that you like and click Ok.

Select the Gradient Pattern

Select the Gradient Pattern

That’s it!  There’s nothing to it.  Enjoy!

There ya go!

There ya go!

The Final Product

The Final Product

Photographing Incense Smoke Tutorial – Part 2 – Post Processing

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

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.

Open in Photoshop

Open 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.

Duplicate Background Layer

Duplicate Background Layer

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.

Adjust the levels

Adjust the 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.

Adjust the levels

Adjust the levels

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.

Invert

Invert

(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.

New Adjusment Layer - Hue/Saturation

New Adjusment 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.

Change the Smoke Color

Change the Smoke Color

And here’s what you end up with.

Incense Smoke

Incense Smoke

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.

Rainbow Smoke

Rainbow Smoke

Enjoy!!

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