Before and After: Purple Sky, Purple Sunset Pano

I took a picture, standing at my front door. It was evening. The sun was still up but hidden behind clouds.

Predictably, I got a darkish result.

But I knew I could turn this into something beautiful, so I set to work. I made basic adjustments in Photoshop, then opened the Luminar plugin and really made it sing.

Finally, I used Topaz Glow to add a little light to those palm fronds, masking it away everywhere else.  Continue reading

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Baby Cardinal

It landed on the wire only a few feet away. It didn’t seem unduly frightened at my presence, and I got several shots of it.

Incredible detail, eh? The light was almost exactly right. 

I love shots like this. They happen rarely, and when everything comes together, you know it in your gut. This was taken with the Canon.

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Color Correction

Remember the iguana?

Here’s what I started with.

That shot is straight out of the camera. Ugly as hell, isn’t it?

It has that strong green color cast because I didn’t check my white balance. As you can see, that setting on your camera is important. I’d put it on evaluative for some reason, forgot I changed it, and took pics without remembering that. Everything I shot that morning had a strong green color cast because I was an idiot. But my screwup is an opportunity to learn something.

Leave white balance on auto if you can’t remember to check it, but best to peek at it before you start shooting.

So… what to do about this? Fix the color cast, of course, and here’s an easy way to do it if you have Photoshop. Tip of the hat to Blake Rudis, who has a video on YouTube that takes you through the process step by step. He’s really sharp when it comes to Photoshop. Check him out if you like messing with pictures. 🙂

  1. Duplicate the original.
  2. With the duplicated layer highlighted, press Ctrl + I to invert. A strange-looking “reverse” image will appear.
  3. Click on Filter/Blur/Average. The color that layer changes to is the one you need to correct the photo. I need purple to fix my acid green.
  4. Change the blending mode on that layer to Soft Light. If you forget this step, you can’t see the original photo.
  5. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (click on the half black/half white circle at the bottom of the layers panel and choose Hue/Saturation) and “clip” it to the color correction layer by holding down Alt and clicking between the layers. You should have three layers now: the background layer on the bottom, the color correction layer in the middle, and the hue/saturation adjustment layer on top, clipped to the middle layer. Here’s a screenshot from Photoshop. Keep in mind that your setup will likely be different. What you want to pay attention to are the layers and the Hue/Saturation sliders in the upper lefthand corner. 
  6. Now the fun begins. Slide Saturation and Lightness around until you get something that looks good. Then play with the Hue slider. The clipping mask will affect only that second layer, not your original! You’ll be able to see the changes to your photo as you move the sliders around. Stop when you get something that looks good.
  7. Process normally.

Here’s what my photo looked like after I played with the sliders. Compare this to the original at the top. 

It’s like magic!

After processing, it looked like this.

See you next time.

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Duck Drama

I was chasing that iguana around a few days ago, and after it disappeared in a tree, my friend and I walked back to my car along the canal. She pointed out these ducks, and I took a couple shots of them. The lighting was interesting, and I thought it might result in something striking.

Here’s the original: cropped, denoised, and curves adjusted. Can we say GREEN? Oy.

It had a terrible thick soppy green color cast. My white balance was off. Let this be a lesson to you: check your white balance!  Continue reading

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New at RedBubble: Canal Ducks

I was on the moped, riding alongside a canal, when I saw this family of mottled ducks paddling along. They saw me too. 🙂

I stopped and took a few pics. 

A nice photo but nothing special. I had to play with it!

Now it’s art. 🙂 Continue reading

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