How often do you look back over the photos you’ve taken in a year? Do you look at them more because they’re on your computer than you would if you only had print outs? Does anyone out there find that creating photo books makes you look at your pictures in a different way?
There are five weeks (and two days) until the end of the year, so I’ve decided to review my pictures from the year because I was lucky enough to go on three trips abroad – Marrakech, San Francisco and Tuscany. And in between I’ve taken odds and sods here and there. So for the next five weeks I’ll be posting two or three times a week with what I think are the best of this year’s crop.
I went on a walking weekend to the Isle of Wight in January. By the Sunday I was a bit ‘grouped out’ and rather than joining the hike, I decided to hang back and enjoy the garden of the beautiful place we were staying in. The weather was glorious that morning: clear and crisp. My eye caught the delicate skeleton of these plants and I spent ages trying to the ‘just right’ shot. I really like the result.
There was work in photoshop – I blurred out the background so that the delicate tracery of veins could be more visible. I played with black and white/sepia but in the end a reduced hue and a darkened background as well as the blurring really worked.
I have signed up to a great street photography community. I haven’t had a chance to take any new photos in the past couple of days (a woman has to put her nose to the grindstone, don’t ya know), so I have been revisiting older photos.
I have always loved this early one in my street photography ventures. I was shy of taking people’s photos but plucked up the courage to motion my camera at this chef taking a break, next to the back entrance of Arlington Arcade in London. I love the easy smile he gave me.
This was taken long before I had a good camera and photoshop, so I had a little play to see how I could improve it. I am so pleased with the results. I selected him and adjusted the lighting, contrast and sharpness on him in a new layer. Then, in a duplicate layer I reversed the selection and darkened the background as well as reducing the saturation. Finally I created a third layer and used a mixture of the clone stamp, spot healing and copying to get rid of the steel joist distracting the eye just behind his head.
I was in London at the weekend, to go to the excellent play, Peter and Alice. I didn’t get much time for photos before meeting my friend and I was disappointed by what I did snap. To make up for the lack of good photographs, I decided to have a truly creative play with one that I did take.
I won’t claim that the end result is a great photo but it was a good foundation from which to play.
It’s a ‘spot the difference’ for amateur photographers and burgeoning Photoshop Elements editors out there.
I went to my Dad’s for lunch yesterday. He’s a fantastic amateur photographer and is in a camera club. This means that he has real motivation to get his editing ‘just so’.
I have been struggling with exposure recently – selective areas of photos taken in bright light being too bright, leaving shadowy areas with virtually no detail. I had started to use the ‘fill light’ slider in the RAW editor but Dad helped me even further with a quick tutorial in using the RAW editor a bit more thoroughly and then in Photoshop using the dodge and burn tools.
Here are some results. Dad rightly pointed out that many of my Inle Lake photos from Burma featured the fishermen in silhouette. While this can add drama, in these particular photos, that wasn’t necessarily the case here. Here’s the difference I’ve just made by using the ‘fill light’ (highlights) slider as well as the recovery slider to achieve detail in the background hills. I upped the contrast and also used the clarity slider gently.
Using the dodge and burn tools, I managed to get rid of some of the distracting overblown exposure in these photos. In the first one, it’s the yellow urn that was way too bright. I used the magnetic lassoo to grab the area of the urn I wanted to work on and then used the burn tool to take some of the brightness off. The upshot is that the leaf curling down is now also in contrast and more visible. It’s a tiny bit of work but it makes a big difference to the viewing experience.
I’m still learning, so the results will be patchy for a while, I’m sure. Any other tips gratefully received!
P.s. Here’s another great edit I’ve done since writing this post – cooled the temperature a tiny bit (from a tip in the April edition of Digital Photo), and reduced the blare on the white t-shirt by using recovery and the burn tool
I had to have a go, so I took one of the Bagan Balloon ride pics and put me in it – it’s a pic taken when I did a tandem skydive. It has really made me smile and has given me lots of ideas for birthday cards for friends!