Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photo Safari

Now that it is a little warmer and I am found my motivation I plan to do my Photo Safari exercises at least once a week. If you are not familiar with what a photo safari is, it is simply a time where you go out and shoot whatever comes to you. The photos safari gives you a chance to think photographically. The subjects are not particularly beautiful landscapes other breathtaking subjects. They are, however, simple subjects that you have to make interesting.

The photo safari gives me a chance to try new things like play with my white balance. The first thing I did was to take the white balance off of auto and put it on an extreme setting. This way the photo is very cold or very warm and in the right light that can enhance your final print. Sure can so this in Photoshop but for me to get to the final print I don’t want to sit in front of the computer for hours. Get the exposure right as well as the color the less you have to do in Photoshop. Besides the more you mess with it in any program the more you can rip out of the file.

Today instead of going out I saw a photo opportunity at home. We have a hardwood staircase that has two windows, one at the landing and one that is partly covered around the bottom. The sunlight was streaming through the lower window and bouncing around the walls. The direct sunlight was on the stairs and on the wall facing it creating a spot of bright and reflected light. Because the walls are a dark red the light bouncing around was warm. Thus creating a great photo opportunity with the right subject, which was the cat but I moved to much and spooked it off.

So in stood the dog. I had placed the dog on the second step and with the help of my wife, made it sit. Of course it looked staged but that is when the dog moved and I started shooting again. The second round went so much better. I shot this with my Nikon D80 at 50mm f/5 at 1/30th of a sec. With this exposure I was able to catch the details of the shadows while not blowing out the highlights. The dog moves fast so I just kept shooting as long as she put up with it.

Next took it into Photoshop and strengthen the curve in in the layer mask mode found in the layers pallet. I like to do this there because it is the closest to dodging and burning you can get digitally. Now strengthening the curve of the exposure is simply creating a slight S curve in the RGB mode. By doing this you get a nice contrast without ripping out a lot of info in a slider mode. After that I look at what I have done an if I want I can take paint out in the layer mask what I had originally. Like the dogs face got a little to dark and by painting it on the layer mask I can bring color and exposure back. I finished up the touchups, cropped it and saved it as a tiff and jpeg file.

There a few photos of what I shot before and what was done today. Enjoy.