We are still at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum this week, and as we started last week off with a vintage piece of fire fighting apparatus, this week starts with a view of SAN B’DINO HOSE No. 1, a horse drawn truck for transporting the fire hose to the fire.
As with the majority of my images, the three frames that make up this image were shot hand-held. The camera raw images were converted to DNG in Lightroom and then processed with Nik Software’s HDR Efrex Pro using a custom preset that I had previously devised. This composited the three images together and tone mapped the result. I used a custom preset in HDR Exfex Pro that I had previously devised, and the composite image only required very minimal “tweaking”. The image was then moved in to Photo Shop and a duplicate background layer was created which then had a Gaussian blur applied. I then masked out the fire truck, removing the blur from the truck. A duplicate layer was created and then processed in Nik’s Color Efex Pro 3, the entire image, except the masked out truck, was modified by applying Color Efex Pro’s Midnight-Bright Sepia filter. There was minor fine tuning along the way, and I spent some time magnifying the image and cleaning up edges of masking that overlapped, or underlapped.
I thoroughly enjoyed post processing this image and I think it has a nice, vintage feel to it, yet retains great clarity and detail on the truck.
Please click on the image to view it in high resolution.
Prior to capturing the image of the “Heritage Boxcar” that I posted this past Monday, I captured a few sets of brackets of the Hale House at Heritage Square, Los Angeles. The Hale House was constructed in 1887 in the Queen Anne and Eastlake styles by George W. Morgan who was a land speculator and real estate developer. The house was moved from its original location to a second location and changed hands a number of times before being purchased by James Gl Hale. Hale lived in the house a few years until he separated from his wife Bessie. After the separation Bessie Hale retained title to the house and lived in it until her death in a rest home in 1967, and ran the house as a boarding home for much of that time. The house was donated to the Cultural Heritage Foundation by Bessie Hale’s heir in 1970 and it was moved to its current location.
I have to say I am fairly proud of this image, I think it demonstrates that I have made some more progress practicing my HDR techniques. I started by mounting the Nikon D7000 on a tripod with the 18-135mm lens and with my Promote Control interfaced to the camera. I had Judy hold up a gray card in front of the house for one shot. I fired off a few sets of seven brackets (-3 EV to +3 EV) with slightly varying perspectives on the house and converted the camera raw files to DNG in Lightroom. Initially in the Lightroom Develop module I used the automatic color correction tool to key on the gray card and set the proper color setting on all the files, and I also used the automatic lens correction tool to correct any distortion. I exported the selected seven brackets to Nik’s HDR Efex Pro and applied one of the Realistic pre-sets which I then tweaked, then I converted to TIFF and sent the image file back to Lightroom. I then opened the HDR TIFF file and the middle bracket (-0-) DNG file in Photoshop. I then used layer masking to overlay the top of the chimney and the sky from the middle bracket to correct the top of the chimney which was blown out in the HDR and to replace a halo-ed sky with a clean sky. I also used content aware fill in Photoshop to remove a water faucet, garden hose, and some scattered cinder blocks from the lawn in front of the house. Back in Lightroom I made a slight crop to remove some of the gravel foreground, sharpened and applied minimal noise filtering.
A little change up this week from street life to a emphasis on color. This tree stands on Wheeler Avenue in La Verne, California, backed up by the San Gabriel Mountains. The image was captured in the late afternoon at 5:46 P.M. on May 21. I really like how the sun plays on the mountains during this time of day, the mountains are oriented on an east-west axis, and when the sun is getting low the light really delineates the contours of the south facing slopes. This always fascinates me as we parallel the face of the mountains when we drive along I-210 during this time of day.
After conversion from NEF to DNG in Lightroom, I tone mapped in Nik’s HDR Effects Pro working off of a preset furnished by Jason P. O’Dell, selectively dodging in, upping the contrast and structure in various areas of the tree using control points, slightly darkening the foliage to the left and right of the tree; using Nik Color Efex Pro, applied the Kodak Ultra Color 400UC film effect. In Photoshop I removed a distracting palm tree, light standard and electrical utility box that stood adjacent to the tree and attempted to mitigate the slight halo-ing effect by color masking in layers, but to no avail. Back in Lightroom I sharpened and did a little noise reduction, and exported the TIFF file that was created by HDR Efex Pro to a JPG file.
In the car culture of Southern California some car owners will go to any length to keep their pride and joy from acquiring any scratches or dings.
The f/11 setting helped keep the car and the signs in focus, I then added a layer in Photoshop with a Gaussian blur, then masked out the car and the signs to create a bokeh effect after the fact. Silver Efex Pro 2 was used to convert to black and white, and then to selectively reveal the color in the signs.
This is part of the rolling stock of the Fillmore & Western Railway, alongside the Fillmore Depot, ready to roll on another short excursion. A special hat tip goes out to Dave Wilson for his tip on reducing halos that result in the skies of HDR images. I had come across the same tip in a tutorial I was viewing recently, and after Dave reminded me of it, I tried it out, on this past Monday’s image and this one. Thank you Dave, for coaching me forward one more step in the development of my HDR skills.
As the sun was getting low over Fillmore City Hall the shadows grew longer and the moon began rising in the eastern sky when I captured the brackets for this image.. The scene might suggest that the seat of government in Fillmore has stood the test of time, that would, however, be an incorrect conclusion. Fillmore was first settled around the time that the city’s grid was first laid out in 1887, incorporation occurred in 1914. While the appearance of this photograph would suggest that the Fillmore City Hall may have been erected at about the time of incorporation, in reality, this is the sixth incarnation of the Fillmore City Hall and it was built in 1997.
To arrive at this final image I combined and tone mapped three bracketed exposures using HDR Efex Pro. I used a combination of Viveza and Photoshop to adjust exposure and tone, and an adjustment layer in Photoshop to replace the halo’ed sky that resulted after the HDR process. The original color tones were too garish to my taste and inaccurate to boot, I used the Color Efex Pro Duplex filter to alter the color tones and the Color Efex Pro Vignette Blur filter to soften the focus on the edges of the image. Lightroom was used for final sharpening.
This was another image that I had worked over quite a bit, and only over time was I able to control my urges to produce a “punchy” image, and arrive at a more subtle interpretation and final vision. I really think that it does help to put aside my images after first processing them, and resist the urge to publish them immediately, so that over time I will find my way back to the images, and a different, and hopefully, better perspective. Deliberation is the key to producing memorable images.
This image was captured last January and was made in open shade and it depicts two family members.
What I did to achieve the end result:
- The image came from a single raw (Nikon NEF) file that I converted to DNG using Photoshop.
- Still in raw processing I created three versions, one with the original exposure settings, one 2 EV under exposed, one 2 EV over exposed.
- Using Photomatix Pro, made it a pseudo HDR image by combining and tone mapping the three raw images in to a JPG.
- Using Photoshop (in this and all subsequent steps) corrected the perspective of the vertical elements and slightly modified the horizontal perspective (the original image was made from a low angle that made the door sidelight and the column in the background appear to slant).
- Tightened the crop.
- Intensified the brightness in the model’s eyes.
- Whitened the teeth.
- Removed some facial blemishing/discoloration.
- Intensified the brightness and saturation of the blue finger nails (it was actual blue nail polish).
- Applied some sharpening to the overall image.
I am gradually developing my skills with Photoshop. I’ve been using the video tutorials at lynda.com which are quite helpful at understanding the power of Photoshop.
I acquired a new Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED last week, here is my first shot using it in the backyard. I am lusting over some Adobe products now, they are offering Photoshop CS5 for $300 for users of Elements, and if you buy Lightroom at the same time, they will throw that in for $200 I played Lightroom tutorials this morning and I am getting hooked. Photo gear is my crack.
After HDE processing and tone mapping in PhotomatixPro I manipulated it further in Photoshop Elements. What I did:
- Adjusted the perspective to remove most of the “tilting” of the block wall and the houses in the background.
- Removed the palm tree in the background.
- Changed the texture of the image using the Watercolor filter. (Click on the image to enlarge it and see more of the “watercolor” effect.)
- Brightened the overall image.
- Deepened the color saturation.
- Added posterized edges.