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Learn photography


Sun at the horizon

I really like the lighthouse at the Neusidlersee. Probably because it’s the only one that is relatively close. Not that many lighthouses in central Europe :). I took this photo few weeks ago during a very cold and windy evening there. I just set the camera to do a long exposure and tried not to freeze my finger off as I forgot my gloves. But the results were nice.

For this photo I did the double processing technique. That is you edit the photo twice from the RAW and then blend the results together. Here I did one edit to get the sky and most of the photo how I liked. But the lighthouse looked dirty. It’s white, so when it’s dark it does not look so great. So I did a second edit, just for the lighthouse, and the blended these two together using layers in Photoshop.

This is a two shot panorama, taken with the VFfoto 10 stop ND filter.

Sun at the horizon, Podersdorf, Austria

Selective edits in Color Efex

Color Efex is still one of the best photo editing plugins you can get for Photoshop, and with the recent DxO update, we hopefully will also get new features in it soon. But what I noticed is, that many times it’s filters are being used on the whole photo, where it’s very easy to be much more selective and use the filters only when there are needed. And you don’t have to do it with Photoshop with layers, but right inside Color Efex. So let’s have a look at it today.

Control Points

Each time you add a filter, you will see the control points under the filter settings. There are two options, + or -. You choose the one you want, and place it where you want it. If you choose the plus one, the filter opacity will be changed to 0% and only affect where the control point is. If you add a minus one, the filter opacity will be set to 100% and it will be removed where the control point selects.

On each control point you can change it’s size and opacity of filter. You will notice, it does not effect the whole selected area the same. This is because it works differently. It samples the area under the center point of the selection and then only affects all similar areas inside the selection. This works similarly as the wand selection in Photoshop.

Selective edits in Color Efex

If you click on the little triangle next to the Control points text, few more options will open. First you will see all the applied control points and you can turn them on and off. You see what size of the filter they apply, and if you click on the little square next to that, you will see the selection they effect.

There is also an opacity slider. This is the opacity of the filter effect overall, on spots that have no control points. The plus and minus actually adds or subtracts from this opacity. It’s actually easier to use just plus or minus, not both at the same time. Makes it less confusing. Just set the overall photo you want, and then just remove where it is too much. I do it that most of the time.

Selective edits in Color Efex

You can add multiple points quickly, just by holding down the Alt key and dragging a point. That will duplicate it with all it’s settings. You can also group points, that when you modify the fist one, all are changed.

When to use them?

There are many cases when to use this functionality. For instance, you want to use the polarization filter but it adds color to more things than the sky. Just use it, and then add the plus control points on the sky only. Like this that will limit the effect.

Or you want to add a lot of local contrast to one area, but not to other. Like in this photo of fireworks, I wanted more detail in them, but nothing else. So I used tonal contrast filter with high settings and using a plus point, I added it only on the fireworks.

Selective edits in Color Efex

There are many other situations, and I think you will find them yourself quite quickly. Btw. in the screenshots you can see which filters I set to be in my Favorites, that means I use them the most :)

Calm morning in Hallstatt

Let’s go with another very early morning photo. This one of course from Hallstatt in Austria. It’s again from the very famous spot there. I do have photo from different views, but since I have been here for the sunrise and sunset, the other ones are not that great. I will go definitively go back here, so next time I plan mostly to take photos of the other views :)

This is a two shot vertorama (but cropped down a lot), merged in Lightroom, finished in Photoshop.

Calm morning in Hallstatt, Austria

High Tatras in the morning fog

I did not have yet many oportunities to take photos from above the fog, so when I did I did a lot of the. This one is from last year, when I visited Lesnica in Eastern Slovakia, close to the Polish border. From there the view of the High Tatras is great, if it’s not covered by fog. And it was, but it cleared up a bit and I got a shot.

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

High Tatras in the morning fog

Night traffic in Astana

A shot from Astana, Kazakhstan is the photo for today. I was already slowly finishing for that evening, where I was crossing one of the two pedestrian bridges in the center. So from one, I took a photo of the second one. And this is it.

This is a blend of three exposures, done in Photoshop.

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