A Few Quick Pix

I finally made time to do a quick processing job on a few pictures from my light modifier tests.  The goal was to get something acceptably post processed very quickly.

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My First Photo Walk

The usual photo suspects gathered for our first photo walk in the downtown area of Jacksonville.  In-the-moment photography is a weakness of mine and I looked forward to the immediacy of everything.  We set a time limit of about 15 minutes per location and I further limited myself to only using my 16mm lens.

None of these pictures are going to be award winners but it was a fun exercise.

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Self Portrait: Down by the Rrrriver

JPatz_20150115_3J8A6624-Condense_WebIt was foggy and cold when I took this picture (My hands turned bright red over the course of the shoot).  I met some out of town sightseers who were sad that the water taxi wasn’t running that day.  I hope they finish the repairs on the bridge and get the Riverwalk rebuilt in time for spring festivities.  Maybe one day I will find jeans that fit me that aren’t so baggy.

Black Eye Halloween Series Two

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I like the juxtaposition of the creepy dangerous eye with the casual fun expression.  Since this picture was from a high-key glamour shoot, the highlights in her eye are prolific.  It is really cool to me that the super reflective eye picks up the different textures of the reflectors.  One is a crinkly silver and you can distinctly see that if you look very closely.

Part two in a short series that starts here.

Making a Photo Look Old

Most of the work I do with photos involves enhancing the natural appearance of the image.  This is stuff like cropping, adjusting color, removing blemishes, changing eye color, and the like.

In this case I got to make more of a dramatic effect.  A group of friends had gathered for a party and we wanted to get the birthday girl a memento so we all posed for an old timey old west photo.  As long as we bought copies of the official print we were allowed to snap as many extra digital images we wanted.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to try my hand at old-i-fying an image.

Here is what I did to get from start to finish:
1.  Crop the image so most of the “cowboys” couldn’t be seen wearing running shoes.
2.  Sharpen the image and remove some motion blur.  Some folks were moving and some were more out of focus than Melanie and I.
3.  Add in wood walls on the two sides of the image.  This set is not meant to accommodate so many people so you could see the outdoors scene and the pirate ship scene as well.  Obviously these things needed to be covered up.  I should have darkened the wall with a gradient from the back corner.  That would have more firmly placed it in the photo.
4.  Add a white border to the image.
5.  Darken the edge of the image to simulate wear.
6.  Use the noise filter.
7.  Adjust the hue and saturation to remove the original color and add in the sepia-ish/old picture tone.
8.  Adjust the brightness of the image selectively to simulate vignetting and an uneven exposure.
9.  Simulate scratches with a fine white brush (saw this tip online and it really helps sell the effect).
10.  Add more noise to the image and selectively remove it with the magic wand.  This was another tip I saw online.  It is amazing how effectively it simulates the deterioration of an old print.  If had thought of it at the time, I would have selectively applied this layer too.  That way I could have left the effect more strong so that parts of the image would have actually appeared to have flaked off rather than just faded.
11.  Add a tinted grain via that filter.  I probably should have also added Gaussian blur to the grain  to make it a little larger and smoother but didn’t think of that at the time.
12.  Apply a Gaussian blur to the edge of the image so that it softly transitions into the white border.

Point n’ Shoot Portraits

Hi gang,

On the suggestion of a good friend, we decided to check out Washington Oaks State Park.  I’ll have a post with pictures of that excursion sometime soon.

Only those that have known me a long time are aware that I used to really like photography.  When everything shifted over to digital, I wasn’t willing to drop the cash to make the switch and those skills went dormant.  I’ve had an itch to get back into it lately and the light was really nice at the beach so I decided to do what I could with our little point and shoot camera.

It was fun, but I miss the control that an SLR provides.  The pocket-sized convenience of a point and shoot can’t be beat though.

Melanie was positioned facing the light.  I did some images in direct sun and then some using my shadow to soften it.  No fill light, diffusers or reflectors.  The focal length was whatever allowed me to frame the image the way I wanted it.  Hey, I was standing on a bunch of rocks so give me a break.  🙂

I’m pretty happy with them – especially with such a difficult subject.  Melanie hates having her picture taken so I had to work very very quickly before she got crabby.  I can’t blame her though.  Her mom was a pro for many years and would use Melanie as a test subject frequently.  That would wear anyone out.

I converted everything over to black and white and tinted each image in Photoshop.  I usually prefer black and white for portraits but think that the faux sepia and selenium toning warms most images in a pleasing way.  I just wish that I had noticed how uniformly black her sunglasses were in some of the pictures.  If I had, I would have tried popping the flash for a little catchlight.  It might have helped give her dark hair a little more definition too.

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