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Thread: Frank is my hero

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Frank is my hero

    Many of you have seen Frank Miller's work in his Project 52 and, in particular, his Week 1 activity in blending water. I, and others, commented on what a brilliantly conceived idea it was and praised Frank's vision and skill. And resolved to get out there and do it.

    Well ...........

    Yesterday we went out in the car just to enjoy the winter landscapes in Highland Perthshire here in little old Scotland. We came round by Buchanty, an area northwest of Perth (the Scottish one). One of the notable things about this area is the fact that the river narrows into a very narrow channel (known as Buchanty Spout). In September/October it is one of the best places in the country to see salmon leaping.

    Today I went back there to, firstly, scout out my locations for, probably, every weekend in September and October. I want to make high quality images of salmon leaping.

    But the other reason was to take pictures so that I could try and apply Frank's teaching.

    So .....

    Frank is my hero
    40D, Tokina f2.8 11-16@11mm.
    Blend of two to blur white water:
    1/750 @ f4 ISO 400
    1/30 @f11 ISO 100 (white water). Blended at 20%

    and

    Frank is my hero
    40D, Tokina f2.8 11-16@11mm.
    Blend of two to blur white water:
    1/1000 @ f4 ISO 800
    1/10 @f22 ISO 800 (white water). Blended at 5%

    Thank you Frank. Don't know if I did your teaching justice. But I think this produces a wonderful effect.

    Any comments are welcomed.
    Last edited by Donald; 8th January 2012 at 08:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Nicola's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    I'm a fan of Frank's Project 52, too. can't wait to try something similar!
    Donald, your "interpretation" of his technique has produced a couple of marvellous pictures!!
    this is one of your best job in my humble opinion

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Thank you for commenting Nicola. Project 52 is, I think, going to produce some wonderful and interesting stuff over the next year from all those taking part. Following the various threads will, I'm sure be educational.

    I have already learned something as a result of Frank's contribution. And it's only the first week.

  4. #4
    CougarFool's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Great images. I haven't looked at any project 52 entries yet. Must start!
    Last edited by McQ; 8th January 2012 at 10:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    I like them and it looks like you have completed that task. Have you printed them out yet?

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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Ahhhh Grasshopper, I think Frank will be very pleased. What a great technique and beautifully executed in these two shots. I would love to try this some day - maybe next year or sometime during project 52. I know I'm not ready yet though, I'll watch and read and learn for awhile.

    Wendy

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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Beautiful Photos!!

  8. #8
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    These most impressive photographs take my humble suggestion to a whole new level of excitement, Donald! You really know how to make an image come alive! I can almost hear the water dancing.

    I hope these images will encourage others to explore and experiment with ways to capture the world around us.

  9. #9
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Really nicely done Donald. I am in complete and total awe about everyone's ability to post process here!

  10. #10
    Ricco's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Donald - water blending aside - I think most of your images seem to extract the best out of the black and white format. I love the contrast and composition that you manage to get and can never seem to get the same amount of pop in my photos.

    One of my goals for the year is to photograph a B&W landscape that can be put up and compared to some of these.

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    Re: Frank is my hero

    great idea, can't wait to give it a try myself. keep the creative ideas coming. and great shot.

  12. #12
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    I echo everyone else's comments here. Donald, can you post a picture of the layer masks? I think they would be interesting to see.

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Many thanks for all your comments folks.

    Funnily enough, I wan't sure about them when I'd finished the processing. It was my dearly beloved, whose best praise for my B & W stuff normally reaches he dizzy heights of "Mmm, it's okay", was moved to a "That's really nice" by these (she doesn't do 'wows', or anything approaching that, about my work!). So, I thought I must be onto something.

    I'm quite sure I would never have thought of this technique has Frank not introduced us to it. I think it's got tremendous potential for helping us make flowing water shots that have huge impact. A hugely creative artistic technique.

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    I echo everyone else's comments here. Donald, can you post a picture of the layer masks? I think they would be interesting to see.
    Tommy, I'm at work in Dundee at the moment and have something else on tonight. But I'll try and get it done. I'll do a screenshot from the GIMP to show the layers.
    Last edited by Donald; 9th January 2012 at 04:34 PM.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Jumping salmon; that might work with Franks method. He is my hero for identifying what's wrong with long exposure water, and that is great.

  15. #15
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    Fantastic work Donald! Those defenitly belong on a wall at 20x30 to do them justice.

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    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Tommy, I'm at work in Dundee at the moment and have something else tonight. But I'll try and get it done. I#'ll do a screenshot fropm the GIMP to show the layers.
    No rush Donald

  17. #17
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    In response to Tommy's request, but also hopefully to help others (and to continue from Frank's tutorial in the thread linked to above in post #1), here is a run down of my workflow. I hope it's of some interest.

    Firstly, as stated I took two images (well, I did take a few more (8), but I chose two from those). One was exposed to freeze everything the other exposed to put a bit of blur into the water.

    • I then processed both RAW files in DxO Optics, doing nothing more than allowing the auto functions to work in the same way on both of them.
    • I then deviated from my normal workflow and went, at that stage, into the GIMP. This was for the purposes of blending. As you can see from the screen dump below, I did nothing more than blend at that stage.
    • The first image below is that taken at the higher shutter speed to freeze everything:- 1/750@f4 ISO400.

    Frank is my hero


    • The the second image is that taken at the slower speed - 1/30@f11. ISO 100. (And of course the secret was to change the settings very, very gently so as not to move the camera position).

    Frank is my hero

    Tip - Click on one of these to take it into the Lightroom. And then use the arrows to flip between one and the other. You'll then see the effect of the shutter speed more clearly


    • And then to the blending. I laid the second on top of the first and cropped it to my favoured 1:1 (square) ratio, which is what it was intended to be when I shot it. I then put on a black layer mask and then started to brush back to reveal those parts of the second one that I wanted to show through. But I didn't want to bring all the 'fluffiness' through. I tried to make it more subtle. So I set a soft white brush tool at 20% opacity and, using my Wacom tablet, brushed gently. You can see this in the following screenshot. If I had brushed at 100%, then the lighter bits would be pure white, thus letting all the details from the second image through.

    Frank is my hero


    • Then, once I had my image (New from Visible in the layers above). I saved that as a (GIMP) .xcf and also as a TIF.
    • The TIF was so that I could then take this (still unconverted to B & W) into Silver Efex Pro2 for the conversion.
    • So I did the conversion and then ..................
    • It was back to the GIMP with that then converted TIF for final tidying up, downsizing, output sharpening etc (remember, I've still go my original RAW and my first GIMP .xcf, should I want to go back and re-process.


    And that, as they say, was that.

    That workflow was used for both of the images in my original post above.

    But there's one thing sits above all this. Notwithstanding how good we are with post-processing, it's getting the picture to work with in the first place that is all-important. My own opinion is that the power of these images (and I am grateful that my peers see them having that power), lies in the fact that I did these with the Tokina 11-16 set at 11mm, meaning that I was getting in very, very close. I could never have made these images with a longer lens.

    And that's not about having a cramped space to work in and therefore trying to get as much in as possible. No, it's about getting up close and personal with the subject. I was treading around very carefully on moss-covered wet rock. The roar from the water meant I could hear nothing else. One slip and I would have been in .... and I wouldn't have given much for my chances. Although the location for the one illustrated in this post was much safer than for the second one in my original post above

    The tripod was as low as I could get it and the centre-column (Manfrotto X55PROB) was in the horizontal position. So the centre of the lens was something like 9 inches (225mm) off the ground. I was lying on my stomach on b...... hard rock (Memo to self - Must get fitter). I was firing the shutter with the cable, not pressing the shutter button.
    Last edited by Donald; 9th January 2012 at 02:34 PM.

  18. #18
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: Frank is my hero

    Very interesting Donald. Thanks for taking the time to lay all that out for us.

    It's a very clever way of keeping all the trees sharp, especially if it's windy, and getting motion blur in the water. Very creative indeed. I was at a waterfall over Christmas and I encountered this very difficulty. it was so windy that if I tried for a longer shutter speed then all the foliage was blurred too - not a good look. Next time though, I will know what to do.

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