Schwarzsee

posted in Switzerland, Zermatt on with 3 Replies

10 of my favorite photographers on Ello

If you are following my Photographers to follow on Ello list, you seen that there are already few hundred different photographers. Here are just a few of my personal favorites, who are also all active on Ello (they post regularly) and are actually all landscape photographers, as that’s my favorite type. Also these are all new for me, as I haven’t been following their work before Ello, and only there I found them for the first time. So I suggest you check them out :)

  1. Christian Hoiberg@choiberg
  2. Darek Markiewicz – @darekm101
  3. Kelly DeLay@kellydelay
  4. Michael Bonocore@michaelbonocore
  5. Mike Orso@mikeorso
  1. Peyton Hale@peytonhale
  2. Terence Leezy@terenceleezy
  3. Tessa Kit Zawadzki@tessakit
  4. Toby Harriman@tobyharriman
  5. Zsolt Kiss@zsoltkiss

Of course there are many more great photographers there (again, check out the list to find many more of them) and currently I’m only waiting for Ello to enable re-share, so I can start doing a daily featured photographer (from the list) on my account there. But for that I will still have to wait :)

Schwarzsee

Can you see the lake? It’s so small compared to the Matterhorn behind it. Almost invisible :) The whole area around Matterhorn is just wonderful. It’s going on my list of places to revisit.

This is a single exposure edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. I darkened the sky by using a polarizing filter (as the sun was to my left) and I had no need to do a HDR blending here. There is just no point in using HDR, when it’s not needed.
Schwarzsee

What not to forget

posted in Other on with No Comments

One needs to check a lot of thing before going out to take photos and since I seen many people doing the same mistakes over and over (and I did some myself :)) here is a short list, of what one should check before going out to take photos. This is more for the beginners, as I hope pros don’t do these mistakes :)

1. Check the battery status

First thing that needs to be checked. And not even the battery in the camera, but also all the backup batteries one takes. As batteries can loose their charge over time, if you haven’t used a backup battery for a while, it can be completely empty. Also, cold environments tend to kill the batteries quicker, so have at least one spare.

thirds

2. Check that you have a memory card

First check if you have a memory card in the camera, then if you have at least one spare. Even if a memory card works, that does not mean that it wont fail on you during a photoshoot, and it’s very hard to continue without a new one. Also check if the cards are empty. A card full of photos you haven’t copied to your PC yet, is the same as no card at all.

3. Check that the camera works

One never knows what could happened after the last time you took photos. Always turn the camera on and at least try to focus. Electronics can fail unexpectedly, and finding it out after you spend time and money to get to a location, is just to late.

4. Check the camera settings

This is something that I always forget to do. Especially, if like I, one shoots in the same settings all the time. Especially things that one does not see immediately. A crazy white balance, auto ISO selected, wrong shooting mode, bracketing turned off/on, self-timer and similar. If one had to shoot something different, and then goes back to the regular stuff, it’s very easy to forget about one or more of these being changed.

thirds

5. Check the lens setting

There are actually only two settings here. Auto-focus and image stabilization. Again, checking if these are properly set, can really help avoid one or few bad photos. For instance, if one tends to shoot a lot of landscapes with manual focusing and then goes to shoot some people shots, it’s easy to forget to switch the Auto-focus on. And it’s even easier to forget to switch it back off again afterwards. Same with the images stabilization switch. Forgetting to turn it one when shooting handheld and forgetting to turn it off when shooting from a tripod can really easily happen. Also, don’t forget to clean the lens every time :)

6. Check the tripod

Here I don’t mean to check if you have the proper plate on the camera (even if that’s also important :)), but that one should check if the screws on your tripod are properly tighten. One does not have to do this all the time, but it still should be done regularly. You never want to do a long exposure, just seeing the camera slowly moving down due to a loos tripod leg. Not all tripods are the same, and not all need to have the screws tightened. So do this based on what type you have.

7. Check that you have all you wan’t to use

And last but not least, all the other stuff. Make sure you have your remote, filters, leveling cube, and anything else you think you may need.

Windy evening over Hainburg

posted in Austria on with No Comments

Radian

Radian time-lapse device

Some time ago, I posted about the Radian tile-lapse device, and at that time, it was not available for order. More people asked me where one can get one, and until now it was kind of hard. But just recently the things changed, and one can now order Radian right from the manufacturers page. You can find more about it in my review, or order it on the Alpine Labs page here.

Windy evening over Hainburg

I did a little photo-shooting on Tuesday, at this really nice place above Hainburg in Austria. The weather was not the best, but since it’s the middle of Octorber, that not so surprising. But as the low clouds and the fog low on the horizon reflected a lot of color from the city, it looked quite interesting anyway. Still the photo got a little noisier than I like, but as it was windy, I had to use a higher ISO to try and avoid camera shake.

This is a HDR from 4 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop.
Windy evening over Hainburg

Through the trees

posted in Switzerland, Zermatt on with 2 Replies

Photoshop

Photographers to follow on Ello

My photographers on Ello list just exploded in size and now already consists of over 400 entries. I keep updating it every day, as I get new requests, and I hope there will be even more photographers there. Photos just look great on Ello.

You can find the list as always on its page Photographers to follow on Ello.

Through the trees

While in Zermat, I was running around, trying to find an interesting view of Matterhorn. There are quiet a few areas with a nice view, but I wanted something with a little more interesting composition. And since framing can be that, I chosen two trees to frame it. It worked out very nicely, don’t you think?

This is a HDR from 6 exposures. It look almost nothing like the photo I got directly from the camera, and I’m including a screenshot from Photoshop to prove it. This one is exactly a situation, where HDR excels. HDR was crated in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop.
Through the trees

Most useful blending modes

posted in Other on with 2 Replies

If you have ever worked with Photoshop, you know what blending modes are. One just can’t get around them. If you haven’t, the blending modes are different options how a layer can behave, in the relation to the layers under it. There are many blending modes, varying from very useful, to not so much. And in this post, I will go through some of them, through the ones I think are most useful when editing photos, and what I use them for.

Soft light

Probably the most useful blending mode of them all. Based on the top layer, it either darkens or brightens the bottom layer. There are other that do the same (Overlay, Hard light), but this one creates the softest effect, which blend the most with a photo. It’s very useful when sharpening the photo (using the high pass filter, as 50% grey has no effect), creating glow (just copy layer, blur and choose soft light), dodging and burning (create new layer, set it to soft light, and paint white where you want to dodge and black where you want to burn) and more. Just duplication the layer and setting it to soft light will add you a lot of contrast and color to a photo. Just tweak it with the opacity slider :)

Blend modesSoft light
Blend modesSoft light sharpening

Difference

I don’s use Difference directly as a tool to edit a photo, but it helps in a certain situation. What id does, is to show you the color/brightness difference between two layers. It there is no difference, it is just black. This can be very useful, when trying to align two layers manually. Just set the top layer to difference, and immediately you can see if you are aligned or not. Then just move the top layer with the arrow keys, until you only see a small difference. That will always be there, if you try to align images with different brightness. But you can see on these screenshots, what the difference between aligned and not aligned photos.

Blend modesDifference aligned
Blend modesDifference not aligned

Color/Luminosity

These two are a pair, each doing the opposite of the other. The color will show only the color of the top layer, luminosity only brightness values. This is great when you wan to use only one, but not the other. For instance, in these examples, I applied a strong Color Efex tonal contrast on the duplicate of the bottom layer. Once, set to color, it only added saturation. But the second one is more interesting, just set to luminosity, it will add the detail, but the color will not be affected (of course it will be a little different, as you change the brightness).

This is also very useful, when you apply contrast to a photo. You probably noticed, that adding contrast, will also make a photo more saturated. To correct this, one can change the contrast layer to Luminosity, and then it will only affect the contrast.

Blend modesColor mode
Blend modesLuminosity mode

Multiply/Screen

A second set of inverse modes. What both do, is to multiple the color of the top and bottom layer. The difference is, that screen inverses the colors first. So if you use Multiply, the result will be always darker, if you use screen, it will be lighter. In editing, I tend to use this in two ways. One is if I just want to darken/brighten the image by one exposure stop. I just create a new curves layer, and set it to Multiply/Screen. I of course than also can tweak the curve, to get exactly what I wanted.

The second is in combination with luminosity masks. Just duplicating a layer, putting a brights luminosity mask on it, and setting the blending mode to Multiply. This will very nicely darken all the bright areas, and also add to their color. This can create very nice effects on clouds and the sky. Of course one can also do the opposite with dark’s mask and Screen mode.

Blend modesMultiply
Blend modesScreen

Lighten/Darken

And a last series. Again doing the opposite to each other. Both compare the top and bottom layer. The lighten, will always choose the brigher pixel from each, and use that. The darken, will always choose the darker. In the example, I combined a HDR result with one of the original exposures. This is actually exactly how I use this blending mode. Once you have a HDR, and you want to give it a little more natural feel, you can use this. For instace, if you have white objects in your photos, just use the exposure where they look the best, and use Lighten as the mode. They will be replaced, as in HDR white is usually darker, but other parts of the photo wont be affected.

Blend modesLighten
Blend modesDarken

You can of course tweak all the blend strengths by changing the opacity of the top layer, and also by using layer masks, and painting the effect just where you need it.

Feel free if you have any question about any of this :) And if you can’t find the blend modes in Photoshop, here is a screenshot of where to look for them, and the photo with no modes applied to compare.
Blend modes