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Thread: Project 52 Christina S

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Project 52 Christina S

    I would like to use Project 52

    1. As a means to improve my photography skills, primarily nature photos and usually birds in flight... and improve my focusing skills.
    2. As a means to learn how to edit photos to enhance them... and specifically to replace a washed out sky.
    3. As a means to try some new types of photography, especially my night shots which are really poor.

    Photo 1
    Project 52 Christina S

    Shutter speed priority 1600 iso 720 Exposure +.7 iso 720 matrix metering (And I may have had the tone curve set at -1 - I can't remember)

    My edit
    Project 52 Christina S

    And I think I like the original better, even though it is a little washed out?

    PS I will be moving back to Canada, leaving on Tuesday, so I will likely not get back to this project until we are settled, but I wanted to make the commitment before I left...

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Christina, both the original and the edited versions have their good points. Would something in between the two images work? Welcome back to Canada in a couple of days. Hopefully you'll be living somewhere with lots of flying birds!

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Quote Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
    Christina, both the original and the edited versions have their good points. Would something in between the two images work? Welcome back to Canada in a couple of days. Hopefully you'll be living somewhere with lots of flying birds!
    Thank you Bruce... you know when it comes to editing, I'm still at loss at to if I'm improving the photo or not.. I guess with time, I will learn more..

    Thank you. I hope so. I'm sure going to miss my pelicans, so I'm taking as many photos as I can before I leave... But maybe they will visit Canada in the summer... I saw some white pelicans in Saskatoon.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    As Bruce remarked, somewhere between these two examples would work well.

    Often, editing just requires a slight tweak of the highlights or midtones to achieve a good result. But that is why I frequently do selective editing using adjustment layers and masks.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Thank you Geoff... I am not clear on what you both mean on something in between would work.. I don't yet know how to use layers and masks... are you saying that to improve these photos, my photos this is something I need to learn to do?

    Thank you.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    The thing about editing photos, Christina, is that the more you learn the more you want to know.

    And you then find there are so many different ways to achieve the same result.

    With a shot like the original, I would use Curves to slightly tone down the highlights without making the shadows excessively dark. Which would produce a result which was a subtle variation on the original, but not quite as strong as your edit.

    I don't know if you are familiar with Curves; which work in a similar way to Levels but with a lot more flexibility and user input control. Although this does take a little bit of practice before everything becomes clear and easy to use.

    In this particular case. I would probably add a 'Hide All' mask to a Curves adjustment on a layer which would 'hide' the adjustment. Then painting over the required areas with a soft edged brush with around 20% opacity would gradually make the adjustment appear, but just selectively in the painted areas.

    This allows for the effect to be exactly positioned without affecting the overall image. For example only on the bright area on the side of the bird.

    However, this is a technique which requires a little practice and suitable editing software. In practice, it isn't as difficult as it sounds. But this is something of an extra piece of editing rather than being a necessity.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Thank you Geoff.. I understand now... Yes, I have played with curves but only using the pre-set options.. And indeed I have a lot to learn about editing... I will make this bird my project for my next post on Project 52. Thank you

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    After reading the CinC tutorials, Christina, have a look at this article.

    http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/c...1/curves-1.htm

    There are five sections and it does include a bit of advanced detail but it might prove an interesting read.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Here is my in between edit.. I used curves to lessen the highlights, and a layer, and a quick selection of the left wing to lighten it... I could not find the brush to paint

    Project 52 Christina S

    Geoff, I found the tutorials on curves a little challenging to fully comprehend, except for the fact that if one uses curves it seems to affect the tonal range. I will read both links again.

    Where I am there are not many birds in flight (probably because it is winter and cold) so I will find other subjects to work with to improve my photography and editing skills.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    On that site, there is quite a bit about editing with layers and masks/selections to vary the effects.

    http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/l...1/layers-1.htm

    But this does move into rather complex sounding detail quite quickly. But it isn't that difficult once you grasp the basics.

    One other thing which often works for me when I get problems with adjusting the tone is to use Curves as a layer and vary the layer Blend Mode. By using more than one layer it is possible to adjust Colour, Saturation or Luminosity separately; just by changing the layer blend mode.

    Using normal Curves, which usually works OK, can adjust both Colour and Brightness at the same time which isn't always the best answer.

  11. #11
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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Thank you Geoff,
    I will check out the Ron Bigelow link.

    When you say use curves as a layer, do you mean add a new layer than select just the section you wish to edit, and apply curves only to this layer?

    Did I accomplish an in between edit with this final pelican?

    Christina

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Editing White Balance

    Here is the original of a preying mantis

    Project 52 Christina S

    Here is the edited version for white balance (for which I did not have any grey or white to select from, so I just went with what I thought looked best) Is this colour change an improvement?

    Project 52 Christina S

    Also note that he has 4 eyes.. I am finding it difficult to achieve focus on my macro shots.. Using a tripod with insects seems impossible to me... Is there another trick to achieving sharp focus?

    Also is it correct for me to post my project 52, just by replying to my own thread?

    Thank you.

  13. #13

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Firstly, Christina, the Project 52 threads are for the 'owner' to do whatever they like with them, and several members are using the idea as a learning platform so uploading edits to your own photos is perfectly acceptable.

    I always suggest leaving the original image visible as well as the edit because other viewers can often benefit from seeing the changes.

    Just as an example, I have had a play around with your last image to see what I would do with it. But I'm just guessing on what would be the correct colours etc.

    I'm adding a link (from the Albums page) to my version instead of a direct upload as it is just a suggestion and it is up to you to do whatever suits you in the way of editing.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/for...8&d=1351548045

    My edit procedure was: Select a Curves Adjustment Layer. Reduce the Red channel a little (mostly highlights) and fractionally boost the Blue channel. This was working solely on the insect colours; which I'm guessing. Then boost the full RGB to a suitable brightness level, just to suit the insect.

    Use a second Curves adjustment layer and adjust to suit the background (ignore the insect). I boosted the full RGB levels and slightly reduced the blue channel. I was working mostly to suit the item at the bottom edge.

    Select the Curves Adjustment Layer Mask which was auto set to Reveal All (nothing masked out). I selected a soft edged 'black' brush (from the colour swatches) with a suitable size and opacity (30%) then used this to carefully paint over only the insect so the 2nd Curves adjustment effect was hidden from the insect, which then retained the colour/brightness of the 1st curves layer.

    Painting with a reduced opacity brush means you have to make several passes over the area to gradually edit the mask. This takes a little longer but gives a smoother result.

    Choosing the correct brush 'colour' sounds complicated but is quite straightforward. When a mask is active the colour swatch changes to only 2 options black or white. When using a Reveal All mask (everything is visible) painting with a 'black' brush removes the mask, where painted, and anything underneath can show through.

    A Hide All mask covers up any adjustments which have been made to the layer but painting with a 'white' brush will reveal the adjustments.

    After a little bit of experimentation, everything should become obvious. It really is easy in practice.

    An alternative method if you don't have Adjustment Layers, or don't wish to use them, is to create a duplicate layer from the background. Use the normal Curves option (from Image Adjustments) to make changes. Add a mask (Layer menu) and paint with a 'black/white' brush as above. The mask can be Reveal All or Hide All.

    Duplicate Layers can also be used to create effects by varying the Layer Blend Mode. Something to experiment with. I often do this to selectively apply sharpening. Sharpen the layer then add a mask which can be edited so the sharpening only applies to selected areas.

    There is a lot which can be achieved once this principle is mastered - and it honestly isn't that difficult.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    One other thing. Do get used to using a tripod with all macro shots, it really does make all the difference. Also, mostly use manual focus.

    Moving the tripod around requires a bit of a knack so as to avoid frightening away your subjects but this will come with practice.

    When working in undergrowth, I normally try to keep the legs fairly narrow and short; then use the centre column to gain height. But be careful as the tripod will be unstable and can easily fall over.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Thank you Geoff. Very helpful and appreciated. I like your version a lot.

    I don't think I can adjust select channels with Elements 9 but I will check it out and try... I think I can do it with Lightroom 4.1 but no layers here. I'm finding learning to edit photos with layers very challenging, so I guess it will just take more time (which I'm limited on) and practice... I will try again with this shot, and post later. I have very poor internet connection (I can't even get on the forum and tutorials suggested) in my new home so I am going to have to buy a satellite dish, and report back later when all is up and running well.

    I thought I posted the original photo, but will check again when I post my new edit of the preying mantis which was pretty green... I think you have the colour right... The red came from the roof on our home in Mexico.

    Until later... A BIG thank you.

  16. #16
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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    the original as promised, will come tomorrow... my internet will just not allow me to upload the photo


    Project 52 Christina S


    my edit.. I used a layer and levels and curves... (photoshop elements does not seem to have the fancy colour channels that you mentioned... I can't find them in my book or in the program?) I tried the brush tool, but had no success selecting around the mantis... then I tried the quick selection tool, easier to select but still I could not manage to get around the outline of the preying mantis as you can see by my botched edit.. Still it was a good lesson for me because I now understand the concept of layers and editing a select portion. That said I think it will be a long time before I have good selection skills. Is it really possible to select around an insect or bird perfectly with a mouse?

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Hi Christina, layers and selection masks get easier the more you play with it. I found that some detail things like making a selection and using the Clone Tool much easier once I started using a Bamboo pen and tablet. I got the small inexpensive one but it works great for me.

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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Hi Frank
    Thank you. yes, I think I will have to buy one of those when my budget allows. I feel like a 3 year old kid trying to learn how to draw within the lines. Anyway, I have a ton of birds in flight with washed out skies to practice on, but I think it will take me some time to learn this skill.

    Here is the original photo of the mantis
    Project 52 Christina S

  19. #19
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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    Learning to know what the correct white balance is...

    Yesterday the frost in the trees was very beautiful.

    Here is the original shot (made smaller) which seems bluer
    Project 52 Christina S

    Here is the shot corrected for white balance (selected auto white balance)
    Project 52 Christina S

    1. I read somewhere that if the white balance is correct that the details will stand out more. So in the case the correction for white balance is correct?

    2. It seems to me that it would be better to set the white balance on the camera to reflect the conditions, in this case sunny, rather than auto?

    3. I do have a grey card in my photoshop element book but if I take one shot with the grey card in it, how in the world does one set the white balance for the remainder of the shots with no grey card in the shot?

    4. I read somewhere that when taking shots in snow, one should use center weighted metering so the subject is not underexposed? Is this correct? And in the case of this shot, or a landscape shot this would not apply because the subject fills the entire frame? Is this correct?

    I've never shot photos in snow before so any and all advise is helpful.... I know nothing about snow shots.

    PS Sorry about the different size shots, I'm having challenges with internet connectivity so this upload worked and will have to suffice.

  20. #20
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    Re: Project 52 Christina S

    My simplistic approach to photos in the snow is manually to increase the exposure by one stop or so over what the camera thinks it should be. That helps the snow look white rather than like a gray card (which the camera will think you're aiming at). The same issue arises with photos with a lot of ocean in them. I'm sure others will provide more sophisticated approaches.

    P.S. I like your photo of the frost on a tree.

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