Alpine peaks

posted in Switzerland, Zermatt on with No Comments

Windows 10

Playing around with Windows 10

One of the more interesting technical news recently, was the announcement of the next Windows version, the Windows 10. And I just love playing around with new software, even in beta form. So of course I immediately downloaded the test version and installed it. But since I still have to use Photoshop regularly, I only put it on a virtual machine, just to be sure.

And right now, I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised. The system looks cleaner, the installation was simple and quick, and for such an early build, it works really fine. My biggest fear was, that they would move away from the Windows 8 interface too much, returning to the one from Windows 7, but luckily, they included both.

What do you think? Have you tried the system? Or plan to?

Alpine peaks

Most of the photos I took in the Alps, I took with the wide-angle lens. The views are just so wide, and you see so much, that it’s hard to zoom in. You just always feel you are loosing something. But I forced myself to put on also the 70-200mm lens, but only for a moment. And this is one of the photos I took :)

This are the peaks of Alps, as seen on the opposing side of Zermatt, when looking from the Schwarzsee. This is a single exposure (I used a polarizing filter to darken the sky), edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Alpine peaks

Mountain living

posted in Switzerland, Zermatt on with No Comments

Best vs Worst on Ello?

I’ve been using Ello for a few days now, and there are things I like and things I don’t like, so here is a little list of those:

Ello

Best:

  • wonderful clean responsive design, it can fill up the screen
  • high-quality images.. and big, really big
  • gif support is really nice
  • no ads, no sponsored posts, no suggested posts, even the Ello account posts are in noise by default

Worst:

  • little buggy, my feed stooped updating for few hours today, or better said, its few hours late to show me updates
  • easy to miss comments, as there is no notification list
  • no dedicated mobile app (but the website is not so bad anyway)
  • no way to directly reply to a comment
  • invite system
  • no preview on links (but this could be also a plus.. as it looks cleaner :))

My overall impression of Ello after few days is very positive, and I’m quite curious if it catches on and keeps growing. Let’s wait and see.

Photographers to follow on Ello

And while on the subject of Ello, yesterday I created a new page on the blog, which is a list of photographers that are already there. So if you are there and would like to have a constant stream of great photos, check the list out, and follow the ones you like.

Also, if you are a photographer, and would like to be included, just message me, or comment on the list with a link to your profile. I’m trying to continually add those who request it :)
The list can be found here:

http://www.hdrshooter.com/photographers-to-follow-on-ello/

Mountain living

The photo for today, is of course another one from Switzerland. I took this one on the road, while leaving Zermatt. Of course we shopped on a nearby parking lot, which was so nicely above the city. It’s quite interesting how people live there, on the hills. I think I seen a cable car in every city and every village :)

This is a HDR from 5 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop.
Mountain living

HDR in Lightroom

posted in Other on with 2 Replies

When I was writing the 11 tips for Lightroom, I also thought to include how one works with 32-bit files in Lightroom. But as this is a little bigger subject, in the end I decided to give it a separate blog post. So here it is.

Lightroom is a great photo editing too, and since few versions ago, it can also edit 32-bit tiff files. If you remember my What is HDR post, 32-bit files can contain a huge dynamic range, so being able to edit them directly can create some very nice results.

Of course, same as with all the different ways of editing, it’s not perfect, and does not work well for every photo. But it’s an interesting technique and I suggest you give it a try.

So how to do it?

1. Merge the files in Photoshop

Yes, you still need Photoshop (or Photomatix Pro or other program that can create 32-bit files), as Lightroom can edit 32-bit files, but can’t create them. So first, once you select the files you want to merge, I would suggest correcting chromatic aberrations and lens distortions. You can do this also alter, but the results are not so good.

HDR in LightroomChoose merge to HDR Pro
HDR in LightroomMerge to HDR dialog

After that, select all the brackets, right click on one and choose Merge to HDR in Photoshop. Once you do this, all the files will be exported into Photoshop and the Merge to HDR dialog will open. Here you will probably see the 16-bit version, but that’s not what we need. Change to the 32-bit mode and just confirm (in the case you need to remove ghosting, choose also that option).

HDR in Lightroom32-bit file in Photoshop
HDR in LightroomSave as 32-bit

The file will be opened in Photoshop in 32-bit mode, and can be saved as a 32-bit tiff file from there.

2. Merge the files in Photomatix Pro

Another option to create a 32-bit tiff file, is to use Photomatix Pro. Just exporet the files you want to merge from Lightroom, or use RAW, and open them in Photomatix. What you need to do, is check the Show 32-bit image and choose merge. In few seconds, you will see the 32-bit file, which you can save as 32-bit tiff.

HDR in LightroomMerge in Photomatix
HDR in LightroomSave as 32-bit tiff

You can also find a Lightroom plugin from Photomatix, that does this step directly and you never have to leave Lightroom. You can find it here: Merge to 32-bit Plugin

3. Edit the 32-bit file in Lightroom

Once you have the 32-bit tiff file, you can import it back into Lightroom. You will see that nothing changes in the interface, and you can edit it as any other photo. The only change that is there, is that the Exposure slider goes from -10 to +10 instead of -5 to +5.

HDR in LightroomNegative exposure
HDR in LightroomPositive exposure

You will notice, that you can go really to extremes with all the sliders, and still you get a lot of detail and very little noise. That’s because, where Lightroom normally tries to works with information, that is not in a photo. But with the 32-bit file, there is just much more of it there.

HDR in Lightroom32-bit tiff file, with no edits
HDR in LightroomAfter few edits (but could be better :))

So from here you can use any of the tools available in Lightroom, to get the result you want. But before you start, I suggest playing a little with the Exposure, and find a good start in that huge dynamic range. For some photos it can happen, that you will start with a completely dark or white photo, so just move the slider up/down until it’s ok.

As every Monday, also this one I’m sharing with you another processing post. For today I chosen a photo from Paris, of the Eiffel tower, taken from the Tour Montparnasse. So let’s start.

As always here is first a look at the finished and the starting image. As you can see, I didn’t need that much to change, as the photo was quite alright already from the start. It just needed more detail, contrast, and few tweaks here and there.

Soft sunset in ParisFinished photo
Soft sunset in ParisOriginal photo

For this photo, I took 5 exposures, but I didn’t need all of them. In the end I just used two. I think I mentioned it in my Oloneo Photoengine tips, that if one does not need exposures, one should not use them. More exposures will just lead to more ghosting and a less sharper image.

Soft sunset in ParisAll 5 exposures
Soft sunset in ParisEditing in Oloneo Photoengine

So I continued by few tweaks in Lightroom, removed chromatic aberations and corrected the horizon line. I then exported the two exposures I needed and opened them in Oloneo Photoengine. There I created two versions, one for the city (natural mode on) and one for the sky (natural mode off). I could have of course use also a different approach, like manual blend, but this is what I did :)

Soft sunset in Paris1st Photoengine result
Soft sunset in Paris2nd Photoengine result

From there I loaded these two versions and the -1EV image into Photoshop. There I did the following edits (layers numbered from bottom up)

1. 1st Oloneo Photoengine result
2. 2nd Oloneo Photoengine resutls, masked out to only show the sky and the tower
3. -1EV exposure, to correct a little ghosting of the cars in the foreground
4. Retouched out the light streak that was on the bottom of the photo.
5. Noise reduction using Imagenomic Noiseware.
6. Added more overall contrast
7. Added more contrast to the buildings in the distance, to make them more dominant
8. Removed a little color from the tower by using the 1st Oloneo result
9. Color efex Pro contrast to add a little more detail to the city (but I ended changing the opacity of the layer to 25% :))

Soft sunset in Paris
 
And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here:
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Blue hour in Zurich

posted in Switzerland, Zurich on with No Comments

Ello

Follow me on Ello

For the last few days I’ve been hearing about the new social network ello.co, so I thought I give it a try. My first impressions, are really very positive. Very clean UI, no visible compression on the images, nice responsive design. If you compare it to Facebook, it’s like comparing Google to Yahoo. One is clean and simple, the second is a huge pile of random stuff. Ello is currently invite only, but I hope they open it up soon.

So since I like the style, I will be posting to it for some time, you can say on a trial basis :). Let’s see where this network goes. You can find me there under https://ello.co/miroslavpetrasko and if you already have an account, feel free to follow me.

Blue hour in Zurich

Somehow, my photos from Zurinch are not that great. Somehow the light was just not the best. And since I was there only 2 days, I could not really wait for better one. But still, with a lot of tweaking, there will be few nice ones. There always are.

So for today, here is a blue hour shot taken in the center of Zurich, one, with a nice reflection to it. This is a HDR from 4 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop.
Blue hour in Zurich