Monday, 28 July 2014

Sunset in Tatra mountains

Daily photo - Sunset in Tatra Mountains

I'm still very busy (I don't know why but generally speaking in summer I have always much less free time than in the other parts of the year) so once again I have to post an image with very little text. I hate that and I intended to avoid this but... without these short posts my blog would be pretty much dead at this time of the year. Hopefully I will be able to write more in a few days or weeks from now.

Ok, today photo shows sunset in Tatra mountains captured last autumn. I was really tired at this stage, hiking for almost whole day so I even didn't set up my tripod to get this shot. To reduce camera shake caused by trembling hands I set very fast shutter speed (1/640 s) and it did the trick - image has satisfactory sharpness.
Sunset in Tatra mountains

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Post-processing Wednesday: Big Ben in the evening

before after

Time for another post in my Post-processing Wednesday series. For more posts from this series go here.

In this case Before photo is 0 EV photo without any adjustments and After image is tone-mapped and finished HDR image.

About source images

Today image showing some of the London iconic buildings, Big Ben and House of Parliament, is one of my favourite HDR images taken recently. It was beautiful blue hour with the sky being really blue and with some nice orange lights of the House of Parliament and Big Ben contrasting with water and sky.

You can read more about the image in this post. In that very post not only I show exact location and EXIF of the image but I also share some compositional tips.

As you can see in the Before photo above, some highlights were slightly blown out. At the same time some areas were darker than I intended them to be (especially House of Parliament and Westminster Bridge). So I decided to capture HDR image and for that purpose I took 5 exposure at 1 EV spacing. You can see all exposures below. Going from left to right and top to bottom they are: 0 EV, -1 EV, +1 EV, -2 EV and +2 EV.
Bracketed photos in Lightroom

Darkest exposure (-2 EV) have all lights correctly exposed and brightest one (+2 EV) exposes shadows correctly.

Editing in Lightroom

As always I started my editing in Lightroom. This time, however, the only adjustment I made was applying lens correction by going to Lens Correction tab and checking both Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration checkboxes.

Editing in Photomatix Pro

After applying lens corrections to all my source images I opened them in Photomatix Pro 5 by using export plugin to Photomatix. In Photomatix I selected Contrast Optimizer processing method with following settings:
Contrast Optimizer

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Royal Palace in Madrid (B&W)

Daily photo - Royal Palace in Madrid

Unfortunately I'm very busy recently and despite the fact I still have a few thousand photos to process (and a few tutorials to share) I hardly have time to finish them. So today post will contain just a photo.

This photo is black & white version of image from Madrid I shared in the past. Black & white version has really nice contrast I think - something that I missed in the original colour image. You can view original HDR image here.
Royal Palace in Madrid (B&W)

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

8 million views of my photos

8 million views of my photos

First of all, I'm very happy to share with you something that I have just discovered about one of my online accounts - my photos and other posts on Google+ (you can view my profile here) were viewed a total number of 8 million times. Yes, 8 million - quite a lot :)

It's a great achievement especially as I only have 6.5 thousand "constant" followers (and quite frankly I have no idea how to improve this).

BTW I'd like to remind you about my Newsletter. In case you don't want to miss any interesting content from my blog, make sure to subscribe to it by visiting this link.  

Daily photo - London in the evening

Today photo is another HDR image taken in London. I captured this one during blue hour. I used exposure of 1.3 second for middle photo to blur water a little bit
Evening in London

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tutorial: Add sunset glow

Sometimes sunsets aren't as warm as we would like them to be, they miss this very nice warm glow around the sun... But fortunately adding this glow (or making it more pronounced) is very easy and today I'll show you how to do this in Photoshop.

Written version

If you don't want to watch video tutorial or prefer tutorials in written form, here are the steps I took to create this effect in the video above:
  1. Create new empty layer by selecting Layer -> New Layer from main menu and change its name to Sunset glow.
  2. Add layer mask to Sunset glow layer.
  3. Select newly added layer mask, make sure you have white colour for Foreground and black for Background selected.
  4. Select Gradient tool and make sure Radial Gradient is selected.
  5. Draw gradient starting from the sun down. This is to limit effect of your sunset glow effect.
  6. Select your Background layer and sample it near the sun area using Eyedropper Tool. Basically you should get golden, orange, yellow or other warm tone.
  7. Select Sunset glow layer again, select Paint Bucket tool and fill layer with previously selected golden colour.
  8. Change blending mode of Sunset glow layer to Overlay or Soft Light and decrease its opacity to around 20 - 40% depending on the effect you want to achieve.
  9. Now you're done. However, you might want to adjust layer mask of Sunset glow layer to further limit the range of this effect.
Below you can see sample image to which I applied this easy technique. If you would like to see original image simply move your mouse pointer over the image. Image is much warmer and in my opinion simply looks more pleasant.

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