Mar 27, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side…

CS5 HDR, Nik's SilverEFEX Pro, Mystery Ridge, ©Joe Bridwell

Image Capture by Joe Bridwell; Artistry by Eric Jones

It’s been a while since I’ve just played under expert tutelage of a true ‘painting’ master!
Recently, I joined maven Eric Jones to follow up on a question, “Eric, is HDR any better in CS5?”
Eric responded, “Joe, bring up some HDR images and let’s play…”
“Yep, after balancing and synchronizing several HDR images in Adobe Camera Raw, we did a Local Adaptation on the 32-bit file to produce an HDR image.
“And Yep, there are few more sliders in the new dialog box.”
Okay, so we’re going to have more HDR capabilities (among other things) when we receive working copies of CS5; but, as it turned out, that was not the real highlight from our flight of fancy.

Nik’s Silver EFEX Pro
To satisfy his own curiosity and clearly whet my appetite, Eric began playing in EFEX Pro, a piece of software which converts color to black and white. I’d never seen EFEX used; first, I was quite impressed with the workflow path. In particular, I like how effective it is to place a Tonal Control Point to lighten or darken an area with brightness, contrast, and structure (detail). For that matter, the rest of their control panel is on par with Lightroom 3…
Once we were in black and white, we still had a rather pesky problem. Our capture was of a snowcapped mountain. All along sunlit crestal edges, snow was splotchy and blown out. So we used a threshold layer @ 253 to maintain detail, then masked those blown out snow areas with a low opacity black brush to constrain this wretched by-product.
VoilĂ …

As always, I walked away chock-full of new development ideas!
On the way home, I realized EFEX could also be used to create incredibly subtle masks. I’m not a great black and white fan… but this eloquent demonstration gave me a much more real sense of the power of black and white.

If for no other reason ~ there is an incredible amount of information generated in trying to create a truly subtle black mask. And, I think this image is truly beautiful!

I call this image “Mystery Ridge”; although I’ve shown it to a few people, they simply don’t know where it was taken… Do You?


Mar 24, 2010

Content Aware Fill

Content Aware Fill, Release, ©Bryan Hughes

John Nack has just posted a video from Bryan O’Neil Hughes about Content Aware Fill.
If you have ever struggled with removing lens flare, cleaning up an image, removing trees, even either expanding a pano or cropping it to some reduced size – then CAF is on your list of must knows! Who knows, you might even buy a new Photoshop version just for this perk…

Our image, courtesy Bryan Hughes, shows a pano where selection has both pano and ‘outer limits’ chosen. Using Content Aware Fill, Bryan is nearly thru extending the sky and landscape. I urge you to go play the video to thoroughly enjoy this demonstration in real time…

For me, time saved is shootin’ time…
Besides, I’m tired of backbreaking labor to bring an image to the ‘fine art stage’ ~ that is, if I can have software help me create faster.

Mar 23, 2010

Lightroom 3 beta 2

Lightroom 3 beta 2, Release, ©Joe  Bridwell

… hit the deck this morning – 5 months after the original beta. It’s time stamped to expire June 30 about 2 months from now.
Tom Hogarty shows intro lists for videos and blogs about LR3b2. I recommend Julieanne Kost, Sean Duggan, and Victoria Bampton for your consideration. As I learn best by reading – Victoria will give some respite for new concepts.

My Workflow
I am going to benefit from enhanced speed, import features, and better image processing. I tend to shoot HDR and have been going through older photos shot with a noisy Nikon body; noise reduction improvements are clearly shown about 4 minutes into Julieanne’s Adobe video show next.

John Beardsworth sez Noise Ware noise reduction seems to have a limited number of days, once photogs really get into this new beta.

As for me, I will be watching exciting tidbits as new information dribbles out from this release. You might want to take a closer look at Victoria’s book; she writes clearly and has lots of advanced insight.

Simply down load, make a desktop folder, open the file w Winzip, drag setupxx.exe to the new folder (depending on your CPU where xx denotes bits), click on it, and you’ve installed LR3b2. While it will re-write LR3 catalogs, it is yet to touch LR2 catalogs. Of course, if you use a Mac, procedure is the same, only the words change.


Mar 17, 2010

Google Earth Antics – Revised

Google Earth Blog, Flight Simulator, iPhone, Hoover Dam, ©Joe  Bridwell

Yesterday, I wrote, "This morning, Google Earth Blog put meringue on my strawberries…” then, later on, I wrote, "Actually you are in Google Earth.
So, you ask, “What’s so special about that?” with a self satisfied yawn. After all, you are quite the techie…”

A couple of my readers suggested I made a boo-boo ~ specifically, '... it didn't work'.
Indeed, when I look back on it the information was there but not in direct form; lay that to forgetting some niceties of blogging while on sabbatical.

Google Earth Tours
Google Earth Tour's first became available in version 5 February, 2009. When a software provider announces a new version, it's customary to go download it.
So, if you've not downloaded Google Earth 5 yet, click here to download and install GE5 on your computer.

Once that's done, let me repeat: "Yesterday morning, Google Earth Blog put meringue on my strawberries…”.

Now, you can click on meringue or strawberries and fly under that bridge and over Hoover dam!
Mea culpa...for those bereft of Latin, My Bad...

Mar 16, 2010

Google Earth Antics

Google Earth Blog, Flight Simulator, iPhone, Hoover Dam, ©Joe  Bridwell
Image courtesy Google Earth Blog

No, I did not leave our planet; I’ve just been on sabbatical, learning new things. This morning, Google Earth Blog put meringue on my strawberries…
You’re just about to fly under the bridge below Hoover dam.

You might be in a small plane, you might be piloting a small remote drone – in today’s technology driven world, such possibilities seem to grow almost exponentially.

Truth be Told
Actually you are in Google Earth.
So, you ask, “What’s so special about that?” with a self satisfied yawn. After all, you are quite the techie…

Pausing dramatically, the teacher responds, “Because you are piloting thru GE’s terrain imagery with an …iPhone!”

Yep, I had to pick myself up too…

You see, with new Mac technology called EarthGlider (Mac and iPhone) and you add a $4 iPhone app called Flype, you are at the flight sim controls.
So, get yourself over there and take a look at these videos!
The people at Google Earth say a Windows version is in the works.