Any new fall photos?

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abby
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Any new fall photos?

Postby abby » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:14 am

Do you have any Fall color left where you live?? Here in Southest MA, the trees are mostly bare but there are a few that are still hanging on to some color. Here's a shot I took yesterday not far from my home:

Image

This was shot RAW and converted with ACR/CS3. Any comments or suggestions for improvement would be welcomed.

If you have any recent Fall photos from your neck of the woods, would love to see them.
Thanks,
Carol


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Sharpness

Postby Andy » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:13 am

Carol: Doesn't look sharp to me on my monitor. Sharpening is tricky business. If you sharpen globally, You'll make the sky look worse, the more you sharpen the foreground. I have been doing more and more selective sharpening of my images, lately.

I moved my website and the new site allows much larger images to be displayed (essentially, up to the size your monitor will allow). All the images on the old site were limited in their pixel dimension, so they wouldn't show at the larger sizes, so I have been re-working them all, gradually.

You really need to get some expertise on your selection technique to do this effectively. For example, in your photo, I would select the sky (you could do the opposite--select the foreground--remember you can switch back and forth using "inverse" under the selection menu--there is probably a shortcut for that too) and then sharpen the foreground but not the sky. I even occasionally will apply a touch of "gaussian blur" to the sky (usually .5 +/- pixel or so), so it looks a little smoother. The trick in your photo is selecting the sky around those bare branches at the top left.

I use the "magic wand" tool a lot as my starting point (the "new" "quick selection" tool that is the default tool just doesn't seem to work for me--I may need to adjust some tolerance settings--the original "magic wand" is under that tool--just right click and select it from the drop down). After you click once somewhere on the sky, you hold the shift key and click again and you can add to the collection. If you hold down the alt key and click you can subtract from the selection. You can adjust the tolerance level on the top bar -- what it is doing is selecting the same or similar pixels.

Once I get a rough selection I use the quick mask tool (at the bottom of the tools palette-- and either the brush or eraser tool to clean up the unselected areas. So far, so good.

Now comes the tricky part. If you don't get a good transition between the sky and the edge of, e.g. the trees, you'll get a funky looking line there. In the old days, we used to "feather" the selection. Now I use the refine edge command. The gurus say using the radius slider gives better, smoother results than feathering. You also have a slider to contract or expand the edge. You have to think about what you are doing. When I apply the blur, I leave some "breathing room" so a tiny sliver of the sky won't be blurred (because I don't want to unintentionally blur the edges of the foreground objects). If I am sharpening, it really depends on the nature and look of the transition. Often, I'll do just the opposite, because I am willing to sacrifice a sliver of the sky (your eye won't see the graininess in that) to be sure the foreground object is sharp even at the edges.

There are some even more sophisticated sharpening techniques, which are too complex to discuss here (basically using "masks") which I will do on a "busy" image.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

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Saturation

Postby Andy » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:16 am

The other comment I'll make is to second what Al said about an earlier image. Everything but the sky in this image has some color and interest. The sky--even though there is some blue and some clouds there, is kind of blah. I would think about trying to saturate it a bit.

The selection comment above applies here. Select the sky and work with it. Sometimes its a levels issue, sometimes a saturation issue, sometimes curves. You really need to be careful with the selection edges here so as not to get unnatural looking transitions.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

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Postby Andy » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:18 am

Leaves have been off most of the trees here for a while now. Here's an image I took about an hour north of where I live about 2 weeks ago:

Image
Last edited by Andy on Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

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Postby Andy » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:23 am

This one, also about 2 weeks ago, early in the morning, about a mile from my home:

Image
Last edited by Andy on Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Andy

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abby
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Postby abby » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:09 pm

Thanks so much for the suggestions and instructions Andy. Here's my revised version:

Image

You have previously suggested I push the saturation on my photos so I increased it in this second version. I selected the sky and increased the blue saturation and I also did a minor curves adjustment to the sky. Then I increased the overall saturation on the rest of the photo and I sharpened the rest of the photo with unsharp mask.

Yay or Nay or Eh???? I can take any criticism.

I can't see the photo you posted. Also, I'm glad you got your website moved. I'll have to go check it out. I like the idea of being able to view the photos at a larger size. Congrats!
Carol

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Postby abby » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:06 pm

Okay......I am totally messing things up tonight. Please bare with me.

Original:

Image

The new version I just posted:

Image

The version I was going to post but posted the other one by mistake:

Image

Subtle difference between the last two but the last one is a bit more saturated overall.

Carol

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Postby Andy » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:53 am

I seem to be having some "issues" with linking to picassa. I copy the link and paste it in here and it works, but I think that's because it is in my own browser cache. Than I have to go back a change the link information, which I am not seeing any pattern on. Hmn.

I do like the more saturated version better. On caveat with saturation. I was doing some reviewing this morning on some of the digital "manipulation" that I do. Boosting saturation has the negative effect of losing detail. So there is a tradeoff. I am seeing it on some of the images I just recently posted on my own website. I need to be a little less quick to create strong saturation and look at what it does to detail. Where I really see it is in the yellow and orange aspen leaves in my NM photos. I read that digital sensors have trouble with detail in yellows and reds (I see it more in the yellows - maybe because red are so contrasty that they give the perception of sharpness and detail).

The other issue is that this stuff will differ from monitor to monitor. I have learned that my current laptop monitor is a terrible monitor to judge an image on. I also have a flat screen in one of my offices that has never been calibrated -- but even so, tends to have a very bright gamma, making everything look too bright and sometimes washed.

As I was working with an image last night with a sky, it reminded me of something I wanted to mention. These days, one of the first things I do is make and save a series of selections, often starting with the sky. Once you have the selection, don't be afraid to try things with it. One thing you can do is try a gentle levels adjustment with just the sky selected. Often, the blackpoint slider can be moved to the right and the sky will darken and become "more blue." Again, watch the transition around the edges and also the overall effect, so it isn't unnatural
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

abby
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Postby abby » Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:26 pm

Thanks for the tip about the sky. Will do.

Hmmmm indeed. You have way more computer knowledge than me and I have no clue as to the problem your having posting photos from Picasa. That's too bad.

My monitor at work is not calibrated and all of the photos look way too dark on it........same thing with the monitors up on the floors when I use them. My photos all look way too dark on them. At home, my laptop is much better than our desktop, but I have to be careful with the lighting in the room and with the position of the screen when I am working on my photos because both of those factors can effect the way things look on the screen.

I never knew you lose detail when you boost saturation. There's always something new to learn.

Thanks for everything,
Carol

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Postby abby » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:46 am

Follow up:
I was just working on some seascapes that I took late day yesterday. I isolated the sky and did some work to it. When I finished, I showed the photo to my daughter and asked her if she liked it. She said "yeah, I like that a lot. I really like the clouds". She didn't previously know that I had just worked on the clouds and sky, so I was thrilled with her comment. :D
Thanks again for the tip and the nudge that I needed.
Carol

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Postby autzig » Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:57 pm

I was in West Virginia last week. The leaves were all gone so I was forced to make the best of it. Here's what I shot:

http://goldimagesphoto.com/water/water1101.html

Al

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Postby abby » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:25 pm

Boy, you sure do get around Al! :D
That is a beautiful picture. I love the composition. Thanks so much for sharing it.
I don't know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but it's really cold here with a chance of ocean effect snow showers tonight. I hope we get em. I'd love to see a little snow.
Thanks again....nice to hear from you,
Carol

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Postby autzig » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:03 am

abby wrote:Boy, you sure do get around Al! :D
That is a beautiful picture. I love the composition. Thanks so much for sharing it.
I don't know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but it's really cold here with a chance of ocean effect snow showers tonight. I hope we get em. I'd love to see a little snow.
Thanks again....nice to hear from you,
Carol


I do get around. In fact I'm in Las Vegas now. (On business, believe it or not.) Upper 70s and sunny today. Tomorrow I go back to Minnesota where we had a little snow on the ground when I left on Monday.

I'm home for Thanksgiving week. Then I go to Nashville and Burlington, VT the following week, Fort Lauderdale the next week and except for a trip to Pierre, SD, I'm home for the rest of the year.

I'm leaving my camera gear home for all of these trips except for Florida.

I'm glad you liked my West Virginia shot.

Al

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Postby abby » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:27 am

Yup, I sure did like your W Virginia shot......*a lot*. :)
I hope you come home from Vegas with more money than you went there with. You said it was a business trip, but I hope you found a little time to have some fun in the casinos too.
We didn't get any snow showers last night, but they did just a little further south from me down on the cape.
Have a safe trip home today,
Carol

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Postby autzig » Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:48 pm

I'm back from Las Vegas and I didn't lose a dime. I don't gamble so no surprise there. I took in a few of the sights like the Belagio water show but I really wasn't there long and didn't have much time for anything but work.

I left 70+ degrees in Las Vegas and returned home to high temperatures in the 20s. Winter will officially arrive with the first meaningful snow.

Al



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