Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Getting the best from your VIVID images

It's that time of year again, VIVID Sydney is back with a tremendous display of lights around the Circular Quay foreshore. And the crowds are back too!  Friday night was busy, but Saturday night was mental, so shooting the lights, without a massive throng of people milling around the exhibits in each shot, was a challenge in itself. But an even greater challenge was to make the illuminations interesting when faced with so much blackness in the night sky.

Here's one technique you can try to combine a daylight shot with a nighttime shot. It requires a bit of patience but I think it's well worth the effort.

- Set the camera up and record a series of daytime shots - in this case the Opera House -  make the most of the light that's available (pic 1 below).
- Then wait for the ambient light level to drop and the lights to begin. Record several examples of VIVID playing on the buildings (pic 2 blow).
- Process the two RAW files, open in Photoshop Elements.
- Copy and paste the VIVID version into the daylight version
- On the daylight layer, use the Magic Wand tool to select the roof as best as you can. I then use the Quick Mask mode (in Photoshop) and the Selection Brush (Elements). Both lay a red mask on the selection which allows you to paint more into the selection, or erase (remove) over-selected areas- sometimes this mask mode is easier than the magic Wand, especially if the Wand over-selects pixels (see demo video below).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Canowindra Photo Shoot

Misty morning by Lucie Loane

The East and North Africa sub-set of the F8 Group organised another annual "ANZAC Day outing", this time for six nights to Canowindra and Cowra, west of Sydney. While taking in the Age of Fishes Museum and some historic buildings in Canowindra, and the Japanese Gardens and various internment camp relics in Cowra, their visit also coincided with the National Hot Air Ballooning Championships.

This spectacle was worth the trip on its own, with early mornings amongst the grape vines and travelling back roads to track down the balloons as they took off just after dawn.

Early morning balloons by Alan Stern
Balloon abstract by Glyn Patrick
Firing up the balloons by Fay Burdon
Lest We Forget by Alan Stern
Local Lad by Fraser Burdon
Rustic Retreat by Glyn Patrick
Old Sheep Farm by Lucie Loane
Rail tracks by Lucie Loane
HDR Landscape by Carolyn Grattan
Balloon rise by Carolyn Grattan
Other highlights for different members of the group of nine included a stop at Lithgow to photograph the old blast furnace, a side trip to historic Carcoar, and some wonderful country hospitality for lunch on ANZAC Day.
The dawn service was photographed at Canowindra, and the march at Cowra. Accommodation was in local self-catering cottages, where some red wine was consumed...
Balloon silhouettes at sunrise by Fay Burdon

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mudgee Photo Workshop: Gulgong shoot

Cafe de Gulgong, HDR + JixiPix Grungetastic
Classic old country town coffee shop, unfortunately closed when we visited Gulgong on a our recent photo workshop!
Gulgong: JixiPix GrungetasticKnown as the town on the 10$ note, Gulgong looks more like a film set.
If it weren't for the telephone wires and cars, this could be the late 1800s
HDR + JixiPix GrungetasticCentre of town, the Commercial Hotel
Commercial Roller Flour Mills. HDR + JixiPix Grungetastic
HDR shot in the small country town of Gulgong
Gulgong house HDR + JixiPix GrungetasticAll of the group were drawn to this property - undoubtedly because of its unusual texture and colour
HDR close up + JixiPix Grungetasticof one of the town's historical buildings
The town centre is so unique it really feels like you have wandered into a historical film set.
Great for photography, HDR shooting, textures and atmosphere, even on a wet, rainy day...