One of the most important attributes of Adobe Lightroom is the fact that it is not an image editor, but an image data base application. Unlike tasks you perform in Adobe Photoshop, which permanently alter files, tasks you perform in Lightroom that are related to editing your image are non-destructive, you are not altering your image, you are simply attaching a series of descriptive attributes to the image file. No matter what you have done to an image file in Lightroom, you can always return it to its original, raw file state. This means that Lightroom allows you to travel back in time, and “re-do” any image in the catalog.
This has proven very useful to me as my skill levels have improved over time and my self-critical eye has become more discerning. The original rendering I made of this image last year used the HDR process, and that processing resulted in a muddy image with no additional dynamic range other than the range of tones that are present in this rendering. The other outcome of my original HDR rendering produced an incorrect color tone on the body of the Cadillac. Today’s image was processed in a straight-forward manner, with minimal adjustment to overall exposure, highlight and shadow detail. Minor boosts in contrast and clarity of the car and a boost in brightness of the chrome and white walls were brushed in. A virtual copy was made of the entire image and that second image had clarity reduced and was darkened. The two images were then composited together in Photoshop, producing the bright, sharp foreground image of the car with a subdued background. I am very happy with the final body color, which to my recollection matches the actual body paint color of the car in life. Suffice it to say, I am now moving in a steady direction away from HDR processing of my automotive images.
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Some more of the eye candy on display at the Chino Fire Foundation Car & Bike show, May 19, 2012 at The Shoppes in Chino Hills, California.
Prints available here: http://goo.gl/EUV3G
Part of the eye candy on display at the Chino Fire Foundation Car & Bike show, May 19, 2012 at The Shoppes in Chino Hills, California.
For a change of pace we are back to automotive images in the blog this week. This image was captured at the Pasadena Police Department Classic Car Show in June of this year. One of the issues that impacts the images that I capture at these events is the fact that all the cars are so close to each other, it can be a challenge when you are trying to capture an image of one specific car. I like to let the viewers of my images appreciate one car at a time. In quite a few cases I resort to employing post processing techniques, and then the likes of Topaz Simplify and Photoshop, among others, come in to play.
Another element that can be distracting in these scenes is the people usually “loitering” around the vehicles. Sometimes I try and wait them out to get an unobstructed view, sometimes I find that if I am patient, the people may position themselves where they can become a part of the narrative of the image. This was one of those times.
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Car Show Fortnight
We begin the wrap up of Car Show Fortnight at the Old Pomona Classic Car & Hot Rod show, in Pomona, California July 2, 2011. I really dug the tuck and roll upholstery in this rod, but my crude tone mapping does not do it justice. The cloth top, steering wheel and upholstery all perfectly complimented each other and played well off the shade of green on the body.
All is right in the world for the man or woman who can park their lovingly hand crafted red hot rod next to a shady tree on a hot summer afternoon, pull up some lawn chairs, a cooler of cold beverages, and shoot the breeze with other automotive aficionados. This scene was captured at the “Old Pomona Hot Rod & Custom Car Show” held at Thomas Plaza just off of Second Street in Pomona, California on July 23, 2011.
This was another one of my painterly exercises achieved using the Topaz Labs Simplify plug-in with Photoshop. While this rendering is obviously a far cry from a purist’s concept of a straight documentary photograph, to me it conveys the beauty of the automobile, and a sense of the person who handcrafted it and a feeling for the time and place where it was displayed on both an analytical and an emotional level.
A closer view and from a slightly different angle of the Green Hot Rod, emphasizing the power plant. I applied an oil paint effect using the Topaz Labs Simplify plug-in for Photoshop. This is part of my exploration of painterly effects used with photographic images. My aim here is not to document, but rather to convey the essence of the scene in a manner that evokes emotional thought.
This is hot rod week at the blog and I am featuring two rods captured on July 2 at the “Old Pomona Hot Rod and Custom Car Show” at Thomas Plaza just off of Second Street in Pomona, California. Initial processing from RAW was done in Lightroom which was also used for sharpening and noise reduction. Nik’s HDR Efex Pro merged and tone mapped the three captures and Photoshop was used to add brightness and saturation adjustment layer that was then masked out of the green hot rod.
One last image from the Pasadena Police 2011 Classic Car show. I said hello to this fellow, but he did not do so much as grunt at me. I think he was concentrating on projecting a “Don’t fuck with me or my car” persona. It is a beautiful restoration and a well maintained vehicle, and probably is a lot of fun to cruise in. I like everything about the car, but somehow, the way the tear drop headlights seem out of place for the era the car is from.
HDR portraits are overkill many times, but the treatment in this image warranted it in my opinion.