Schwarzsee reflection

posted in Switzerland, Zermatt on with No Comments

Vertical photos

Do you take many vertical (portrait) oriented photos? I somehow don’t. Not really sure why it’s like that. I’m just drawn more to wider views, and so my photos are mostly landscape. Also it looks so nice when all the photos are of the same size and aspect ratio. What do you like more? Vertical or horizontal shots?

Schwarzsee reflection

And while on the vertical photos subject, how about one from them. This is a reflection taken at the Schwarzsee under the Matterhorn. The sky was not the best behind the mountain, but the reflection was great, so I took the shot :)

This is a HDR from 4 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop
Schwarzsee reflection

For today I chosen to show you how I edited this photo from the Grand Mosques in Abu Dhabi. This was the main entrance area, so quite busy. That why I chosen this compositin, trying to look more up, so getting a shot over everyone heads. It was also a scene with quite a high dynamic range, so I used 6 exposures, with a -3EV taken for the lights.

So lets look at the final image and the original 0EV exposure.

Entrance to the Grand MosqueFinished photo
Entrance to the Grand MosqueOriginal 0EV exposure

I started as always in Ligthroom. I corrected the lens distortion, removed the chromatic aberrations and corrected the angle. After that I exported all the files as 16-bit tiff files and loaded them into Oloneo Photoengine.

Entrance to the Grand MosqueAll exposures taken
Entrance to the Grand MosqueDistortion corrected in Lightroom 

In Oloneo I just changed the strength and contrast, as I do most of the time. From there I loaded the HDR result and the original exposures into Photoshop, and did the following edits (layers numbered from bottom up):
1. Photoengine result
2.-3EV exposure to darken the lights
3. Curves to brighten the overall image
4. Just a merged layer I needed for Color efex plugin
5. Color efex Detail extractor, to get more detail from the photo. Set to default settings and then 50% opacity.
6. Curve to darken the brightest lists in the photo.
7. Merged layer for noise reuduction
8+9. Added contrast to the whole image
10+11. Desaturated the red color and added more saturation to yellow.
12. Color balance for the shadow areas to remove the red cast.

Entrance to the Grand MosqueHDR in Oloneo Potoengine
Entrance to the Grand MosquePhotoshop editing

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:
banner-master

Autumn Bokeh

posted in Bratislava, Slovakia on with No Comments

90mm TS-eWe have quite a lovely autumn for the last few days, and I somehow missed more autumn color on the blog. And since I also have a Canon 90mm tilt shift lens borrowed right now, with which I wanted to play around more, I though I combine this, by taking some crazy bokeh shots with autumn color.

The 90mm tilt shift is a very nice lens, just not so great for landscapes. The focal length is just to much. But it’s very nice to get detail with a very small DOF and even with blured parts of the image, if one takes advantage of the tilt. So instead of doing landscapes, I visited the Botanical garden here in Bratislava, and took few shots. All are single exposures, edited in Lightroom. Btw. would these make nice phone backgrounds?

And if you don’t know how a 90mm tilt shift lens looks like, I’m including a photo of the camera :) It does not have auto-focus, so it’s quite a lot of fun when taking photos with it handheld.

Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh
Autumn Bokeh

Red hair

posted in Bratislava, Slovakia on with No Comments

Little downtime

Some of you maybe noticed that for the last few hours, the blog was not accessible. I’m very sorry for that, and I still don’t know what happened, but it’s all back up now, and hopefully it stays that way.

Blog tweaks

Some of you maybe also noticed, that there have been few changes to the look of the blog recently. As I mentioned few times before, I keep updating it almost constantly, and trying to find the best look for it. So this time, I removed few not needed decorative elements and background, to make it more bright and modern. I hope you will like the change :)

Red hair

When I posted a photo of Alexandra some time ago, I mentioned, that I still have few more that I want to share with you. And here is another one. It’s very strange for me to use a flash in my photos. You almost never use one for landscapes. For this photo, I went mostly with natural light, but I also used a weaker fill in flash, with a small diffuser on it, so I avoid unwanted shadows.

This is a single exposure, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Red hair

Watermarks: Yes or No?

posted in Other on with No Comments

This is one of those questions I give to myself over and over. Should I or should I not use watermarks in my photos. It’s a hard question, and one that every photographer has to answer for him/herself. But to give you something to think about, here are some of my thoughts on this.
Lamp on the bridge

Why yes?

  • You put your mark on the photo, showing that you are the author.
  • It will discourage some (mostly unskilled) thief’s from using you photo.
  • In some countries, the removal of a watermark is against the law and its then easier if you want to sue someone.
  • It’s easier to find you from any of your photos. Of course that can also be done through search engines, just by searching for a photo, but having the info already there, make it much easier.
  • You are always credited for every use, as the credit is just there

Why no?

  • It can be a really big distraction. You would think that a small watermark on the bottom, or a partially transparent one would not be, but it is. Especially in photos with less detail, or the ones that try to convey a certain mood. Once the eye sees the watermark, you will always notice it.
  • It can degrade the photo, taking away part of the artistic value.

What to do

  • It’s hard to suggest what to do, as everyone has a little different view of this. I would suggest finding yourself a discrete way how to add watermarks to your photos. You can try either, as also I do, to just add your name and a web address to the corner. Or you can bee more elaborate, and be inspired by Klause Herman’s photos where he blends the watermarks directly into the photo.
  • The best way to protect published images, is just not to post a big version. A small photo can’t be really used for much. Of course it takes a little experimenting before one finds a size one is comfortable with. One that is big enough to represent a photo, but small enough so it’s worthless to anyone but you.
  • Try thinking about starting using CC license. You give away some rights, but you have less people to chase because of photo usage. Especially social media shares are a great example here.
  • And in the end, if you are really scared that someone will steal your photos, and really want to prevent that, just stop sharing them. What’s not online, can’t be stolen. For instance, show only prints, never the photos.

Watermark

What not to do

  • Don’t just put a huge watermark over you photo. Just don’t. Once the watermarks becomes more dominant than the photo behind it, the photo has lost all meaning. It’s a little interesting, that I seen this mostly on photos of beginners, which were not always of a very high quality. If you do this, you don’t even respect your own work at that moment.
  • Also don’t bother with blocking right click on webpages. You just making a visit to your page more frustrating and print-screen makes the whole thing worthless anyway. Once you publish a photo on the web, there is no way you can stop people from downloading it.
  • Don’t be crazy protective about your photos. There is such thing as fans, and they share your photos because they like them. They make no profit on it, and they just wan’t for more people to see your work. Attacking them will bring you nothing.

Why I use watermarks

For a long time I haven’t used watermarks. I even started sharing bigger images in that time, as HDR’s just looks better bigger. But around two years ago, there started appearing people, who shared the photos without credit, and even added their own watermark to them. I usually just look the other way when no credit is given (I would have to send many emails every day to notify everyone, and I’m in no mood to do that), but the adding of watermarks just insults me. How can someone think that adding their logo to a photo they didn’t take is OK. So I added my own watermark to my photos, and even that you could actually remove it quite easily, most of these people stopped taking them. Their skill in Photoshop was probably really minimal.

Actually, somewhere there is the line  for me, when it goes for photo usage. Once someone starts modifying them or making profit on them, they better have a bought licence from me :)