Category Archives: How To

Just Because You Push A Slider – Should You?

When I first posted this image I got a lot of interest, so I decided to share my thought process and steps I completed.

This shot of the city skyline was pretty boring, given the weather at the time. I had gone to Bradley’s Head for a meetup with some members of the Landscape Photographers Network. It was supposed to be a long-exposure sunset shoot, but the prevailing weather has other ideas! After chatting with Dean, the shoot coordinator I thought that I would get a few “warm up” shots to begin. With a wide-angle shot I needed some foreground interest so I included the  sandstone wharf.

 

Final image

Final image

Step 1 - Original image

Step 1 – Original image

Step 2 - Add extra contrast & check overall exposure

Step 2 – Add extra contrast & check overall exposure

Step 3 - Crop image & open up shadow details

Step 3 – Crop image & open up shadow details

Step 4 - Adjust colour balance by making warmer & shift colour hues of yellows toward green.

Step 4 – Adjust colour balance by making warmer & shift colour hues of yellows toward green.

Step 5 - Apply graduated filter to sky to make darker and shift colour to match sandstone.

Step 5 – Apply graduated filter to sky to make darker and shift colour to match sandstone.

Step 6 - Use brush to change water colour hue more green & increase brightness.

Step 6 – Use brush to change water colour hue more green & increase brightness.

I used Capture One image processing software, but I think you could achieve a similar result in Adobe LightRoom, Apple Aperture etc.

After these preliminary edits I would generally export a 16bit file in .tiff format to then make more refined changes in Adobe PhotoShop. In this case the image is still a “work in progress”

#bradleyshead #phaseone #captureone #sydney

Photographic Scales

I was recently on a landscape workshop and commented that I was often slow to get started. Someone said that’s ok, it is all part of performing your photographic scales. I have heard this term before and it makes perfect sense. Any pursuit requires regular practice. This idea translates easily to photography. If it has been some time since you have taken an image do you find that you sometimes struggle to capture an image that you are happy with.

Practice not only involves getting technically better, but extending creativity. You have to exercise your eye and your imagination.

These are not intended to be award-winning images, just an exercise in photographic scales. I am happy with the results.

How often do you practice your photographic scales?

 

MKImages Photographic Scales_56

Photographic Scales #56

Photographic Scales #52

Photographic Scales #50

Photographic Scales #49

Photographic Scales #48

Photographic Scales #45

Photographic Scales #40

Photographic Scales #38

#landscape #abstract #wabisabi

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Fine Art Photos That Look Like Etchings

In an earlier post I outlined the steps to convert a photograph into a fine art etching. Below are some more examples of the technique.

Waratah

“Waratah I”

 

Kangaroo Paw

“Kangaroo Paw”

 

Paper Daisies

“Paper Daisies II”

 

Sun Orchid

“Sun Orchid”

 

Flannel Flowers

“Flannel Flowers”

 

Fallen Gums

“Fallen Gums”

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How To Make Fine Art Photos That Appear As Etchings

As part of a TAFE poster assignment, I had mocked up a couple of different layouts. I thought rather than spend a lot of time and effort on an idea that may not work, I would complete a rough sketch. Unfortunately, I could not find a sketch that suited my needs but I found a suitable photo that I converted into a sketch instead.

I remembered that I had some time ago developed a method of taking making a fine art photo that appeared as if it were an etching. I certainly do not claim to be the first, or that this technique is unique, just that it can give interesting results when the following these steps.

Step 1A – Take photo (subjects that are sharp and contain a lot of detail generally work best).

Step 1B – Make 2 x copies of the background – (this will leave a spare copy of the colour to re-arrange layers in Step 6)

Step 2 – On the second copy of background Use “Find Edges” filter (result will depend on each image).

Step 3 – Use “Find Edges” filter again (optional – may give an improved result when filter is applied again).

Step 4 – Convert to monochrome (lots of different techniques available – try image->adjust->desaturate or for greater flexibility add a Black and White adjustment layer).

Step 5 – Increase contrast (again lots of different techniques available – try adjusting curves by making an “S” bend or using levels).

Step 6 – Flatten all layers (EXCEPT the spare coloured one), then re-arrange layer order so the monochrome etch layer is sitting below the original coloured photo, and start painting some of the colour visibility.

(NOTE I use a black and white copy of the image as a mask. I then paint on the mask using a 10-20% opacity soft brush to gradually reveal the colour. I find multiple applications of a low opacity often give a better result than a single brush stroke at high opacity. Also the colour layer has reduced opacity to give colours that “watery” look)

Step 7 – Continue using a low-opacity soft brush to brush through colour from underlying photo.

Step 8 – Finish image with sepia background

NOTE there is no “right” or “wrong” way, you just have to experiment. Sorry, if you are looking for an automated conversion, this is not it. What I like about the technique is that the hand-painted colour has a very attractive artistic  style.

Also somewhere between Steps 4 and 5 you could also consider removing or fading any distracting elements (such as messy backgrounds)

I have also discovered that some images just do not work well with this technique. It is a case of just experimenting to see what works for you and hopefully this article will help getting you started.

 

Waratah etching step 01

Step 0 – take photo

Waratah etching step 02

Step 2 – apply filter “find edges”

Waratah etching step 03

Step 3 – try applying “find edges” filter again

Waratah etching step 04

Step 4 – convert to monochrome

Waratah etching step 05

Step 5 – increase contrast

Waratah etching step 06

Step 6 – start hand painting to reveal colour

Waratah etching step 07

Step 7 – continue brushing through colour

Waratah etching step 08

Step 8 – finish with sepia background

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