May 19, 2010

May 19: Bah! Hamas

Sometimes my high expectations come crashing down. Of the 1000 images I shot in the Bahamas, very few are any good.

For example, here's my best image from our snorkeling adventure.

I jacked up the underwater ones. Something about my soft-focus fishes makes them rather uninteresting.

We had a good time though.
We ate (a lot of) good food.
We relaxed outside.

As the sun set over the harbour.

And told jokes as night arrived.

When the camera can't do it, let photoshop do it.
1, nice water reflections, but the boats are too soft. (check masts, poles, rigging, etc.)

2, nice boats, but the water is too hard.

3, combo. Layer mask. Gradient tool. 10 seconds. (It takes longer to load them into PS than to combine them.)

Okay, well, it doesn't really show up very well at this scale. The third is noticeably different than the first. Unless you're really into "Where's Waldo" just trust me and move on.

Back to the beach, where it was windy. 24 hrs/day, 7 days straight. Wind.
The skies cleared and we finally saw a nice sunrise on the last morning, on the way to the airport.

Another PS trick.
When your split ND filter is buried in your bag, packed for travel, but you still want to shoot something with an 8-stop range, try this:
Take a shot to get the sunrise.

Note the foreground is rather black.
Now shoot one for the foreground (+2 compared to the first).

Now, combine in PS.
Align Layers (since you shot it handheld, stupid), Layer Mask, Gradient.
(Effectively, this is my digital 2 stop ND graduated filter)

(Obviously, it's not very clean, since it's hand held and quick'n'dirty.)
I'm not yet a fan of HDR, but a simple grad filter can do a lot for landscapes. PS makes it awfully easy to get away with errors/laziness too.

Now for something different.
My favorite image from the weak week.

Now, back from vacation, it's time to get things rolling on the bike trip. One month to go, before 400 miles of Oregon Coast.

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