Archive for the Image Processing and Software Category

The Weekly Photo – November 14, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Image Processing and Software, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2011 by Darwin
Where's the Fire?

©Darwin Wiggett

Here’s the Ice, Where’s the Fire?

This photo was taken on the last morning of the Fire and Ice Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies which ended yesterday. Unlike most November tours, this tour we were given cloudy and snowy conditions. But even with the lack of ‘fire’ (sunrises and sunsets), the group of intrepid photographers made some great images.

One of the tricks I use in ‘bad light’ (e.g. overcast, grey days) is to set my digital camera to ‘monochrome’ so that the LCD of my camera shows B+W photos. I find it helps to strip away the colour to see compositions in B+W. Often there will be great images out there that speak to be taken even in the ‘crappy’ light. The image is a case in point. In colour it had no life but when I saw how it looked on the LCD in monochrome, I decided the photo was worth taking. If you shoot in RAW format the camera will display a B+W image on your LCD but record a full colour image in-camera which you can use to make B+W conversion later in post processing. I use Silver Efex Pro 2 as my default B+W conversion program (for a 15% discount on the software just enter darwin as the discount code on checkout). Stay tuned for great shots from participants in the following weeks most of whom used the monochrome setting on their cameras to mine wonderful B+W images in the moody light

For anyone wanting to see the new ice in the Rockies and hopefully to get a bit of fire to boot, there is one spot left starting this Wednesday (November 16) until Sunday (November 20). Contact Alan at the Aurum Lodge (info@aurumlodge.com) to for more information.

Fabulous Film Fridays – Back to Back Again

Posted in Art of Photography, Fabulous Film Fridays, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, TCBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by Darwin

Last week Sam posted a comparison of the same subject shot with film and digital. Her point was to show that the two media deliver very different results and that neither was ‘true’ to her experience of being there. Of course, we all know that cameras do not record things exactly like we see them. Some capture devices seem ‘truer’ than others but none record the ‘truth’ (5 human observers to the same event will all ‘record’ or remember the event differently – so what is truth anyway?).

Given that there is no universal truth then it simply becomes a question of what tool (camera, film type, digital sensor type, processing workflow etc)  returns results closer to the way you view or want to present the world in your art. Of course you can enhance or alter the capture in processing (either in the digital or chemical darkroom) to get the results even closer to your personal view. I believe it’s always better to use the media that delivers results closest to where you want to end up, rather than shaving a square block down to fit into a round hole (but maybe that is just me, some of you might like the shaving process ;-)).

The two images below were photographed at the Nordegg mine and were taken at the same time as Sam’s shots in her post. The results of the comparison look similar to the Sam’s in terms of colour and contrast. Which you prefer is personal, you might like one better than the other, or you might not like either rendition. Your job as a photographer is to translate what you see and feel about a scene to your viewer. Using the media that gets you the results you want is really all that matters.

©Darwin Wiggett

Above – Shot with a Tachihara 4×5 view camera using Fujichrome Velvia 50 slide film (I used a flashlight to paint light onto the wheels – the orange cast).

Below – Shot with a Canon EOS-1ds digital camera and light-painted as described above.

©Darwin Wiggett

The Weekly Photo – November 7, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Image Processing and Software, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by Darwin

Making photos usually does not stop at pressing the shutter. Image making is a three part process and this process was really popularized by Ansel Adams in his series of books; The Camera, The Negative and The Print. In today’s digital world photography world, we capture images in our camera, we process the resulting image (often a RAW ‘negative’) in the computer and then we output our images to print (or the web) so the process has not changed just the technology of how we do the process.

I would add a fourth component to Ansel Adams equation and that is The Person. The camera does not make the image; it is the photographer. What interests you, what attracts your eye, what you choose to include or exclude, how you compose and ‘see’ are individual and personal. So let’s not forget that the end product is the result of the personal vision of the photographer (and this vision can and should carry through from seeing to capture, development and print).

As a photographer who learned and grew up photographically using slide film, I was mostly denied the luxury of carrying my photographic vision beyond the press of the shutter. The end product was the slide (a piece of positive film). The image was ‘processed’ by a lab and there was little ‘creative’ input at the processing stage (save for altering the the exposure by pushing or pulling the development). Really, the film was developed in a set formula to insure that the exposure captured in-camera was the exposure that came out on the slide. And as far as printing was concerned slide film could be printed but with difficulty and serious photographic printers stuck with negative film. Mostly slides were used to hand to publishers who printed the image in books and magazines and calendars (the printing was out of the photographer’s control). The simple point here is that a slide shooter had to use all his or her craft and art in the capture stage. The image had to be finished in-camera. End of story.

I was reminded of the ‘getting it right’ in-camera during a recent Creative Expression Masterclass workshop with Royce Howland and Samantha Crysanthou. For some of the exercises in seeing we needed participants to capture images in-camera using JPEG and the images were not to be processed after the fact. Having to capture what to what you see and getting it the best possible in-camera is great exercise in discipline. Even this former slide shooter realized just how much I have come to rely on ‘enhancing’ my personal vision through the development of the digital negative. The image below is an in-camera JPEG capture and this image reminded me how rewarding it was and is to get a completely finished image in-camera. No post-processing was done on this image save for resizing and sharpening for the web.

©Darwin Wiggett

Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, Canon TS-E 24mm lens, 1/4s at f11, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer, Singh-Ray 3 stop soft-edge grad filter.

The Weekly Photo – October 3, 2011

Posted in Image Processing and Software, Instruction, TCBlog, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, Sigma 24-70mm lens at 26mm, base exposure was 1.6s at f14, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer, 5 exposure bracket processed in Oloneo PhotoEngine and then converted to B+W in Nik Silver Efex Pro and then layered back with the PhotoEngine colour image. Click on the image for a larger view. Below is the base exposure to show the before.

©Darwin Wiggett - middle exposure of the series

The Weekly Photo – September 26, 2011

Posted in Image Processing and Software, TCBlog, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

Image was made near Trochu, Alberta. Stay tuned for a new photo workshop TBA in the area where we will photograph old buidlings, old cars and badlands. This image was shot using a Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, Sigma 24-70mm lens at 34mm, 5.0s at f14, Singh-Ray 2-stop hard-edge grad over sky and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer with a Lee 4-stop solid ND to get a longer exposure for movement in the grass. Processed in Oloneo Photo Engine for a slightly ‘grunge’ look. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

The Weekly Photo – August 29, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Image Processing and Software, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by Darwin

I use three HDR programs and each has its strengths. In the past I mostly used Photomatix (the most popular HDR program out there). I really like its ‘exposure fusion’ mechanism to create realistic-looking images from high tonal range subjects. Lately I have been using Oloneo’s Photoengine because I find it simpler and faster to use and it gives wonderful realistic-looking results. If I want the grunge, cartoon-look from HDR I will use PhotoMatix. If I want artsy-looking HDR I will use Nik Efex HDR Pro. This latter gives me lots of control over making images that are less grunge and more painterly. I especially like Nik for making old subjects look nostalgic (hint the preset “Granny’s Attic’ is fantastic). The image below is a single exposure photo run through Nik Efex HDR Pro using “Granny’s Attic” with some customization. The original shot was shot hand-held using a Canon G11 point-n-shoot camera. Click on the photo to see a larger version. The original capture is included for comparison.

If you want a 15% discount on any Nik product, just use my name, darwin, as the discount code on checkout.

©Darwin Wiggett

The original single image capture

The Weekly Photo – August 22, 2011

Posted in Image Processing and Software, Instruction, TCBlog, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2011 by Darwin

I have said it before on this blog but I will say it again, I am really liking Oloneo photoengine for doing realistic HDR images. Royce Howland introduced to me to this software and showed me its potential. I am glad he did, it really does a great job!

Watch for an article by Royce in an upcoming edition of Outdoor Photography Canada on how to make realistic-looking HDR images. Below is a finished image from photoengine. To me it looks the way I remember the scene. Of course the camera can’t record such a high contrast range so I made 5 exposures at 2 EV intervals to record the entire dynamic range in the scene. Below you can see my RAW captures at 1.60 s, 1/15 s, 1/4 s, 1.o s and 4.o s all at f11.

©Darwin Wiggett - click to see a bigger version

©Darwin Wiggett - the RAW images

 

Visual Wilderness Website is Closing

Posted in Books about Photography, eBooks, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Sad News, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by Darwin

One year ago Jay and Varina Patel and Samantha and I started a website called Visual Wilderness where we hosted instructional eBooks for nature photographers. Our eBooks have been well received and we have had many comments about how much people have learned from these products. But… to every thing there is a time and a season. This week we are announcing that Visual Wilderness will close by the end of August. Here is what we wrote over on the Visual Wilderness website:

What a year it has been here at Visual Wilderness!

When we look back, we are humbled by the support of all the photographers who have visited this site and found useful instruction in our eBooks.  Visual Wilderness was begun because we saw a need for accessible, high-quality instructional eBooks on how to photograph natural subjects.  Based on your comments and support, this belief was affirmed.  We truly appreciate your faith in us!

Looking back, we have also learned valuable lessons.  The photography market has changed a lot over the last two years with many new excellent photography products and services proliferating across the internet.   Being a nature photographer and photo instructor requires the wearing of many hats:  entrepreneur, graphic designer, book-keeper and marketer are just some of the skills of a successful modern-day photographer.  All of these roles take time.  Sometimes in a business you need to take an objective look at future directions.  Each one of the contributing photographers on this site has his or her own individual business offering services from stock, assignments, and prints to instructional products like seminars, webinars, workshops, tours, and eBooks. For each of us, making our individual businesses viable is our first priority, and to do so requires much investment into marketing and promotion. In the end there is little energy left for a ‘community’ project like Visual Wilderness.

So it saddens us to announce that we will be closing the Visual Wilderness website  and the Visual Wilderness store by the end of August 2011 to concentrate on our individual projects. We’ll post links here over the next few weeks about where you can find each of us and what we are doing in this new world of photography.

Before we close our store for good, we are having a big sale on all of our eBooks. All eBooks on the Visual Wilderness site are discounted by 15% until August 31 at 11:59 PM EST.  Just use the code THANKS on checkout to use the discount. Thank you for your support and happy shooting!

Jay, Varina, Samantha & Darwin

Be sure to take advantage of the 15% discount to get great instructional eBooks

The Weekly Photo – August 1, 2011

Posted in Filter, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

Here is a shot of Cataract Lake from the headwaters of the Brazeau River in Jasper National Park. This is just below Cataract Pass before humping up over the pass to get into the Whitegoat Wilderness Area (Canon Rebel T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer, f16 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

©Darwin Wiggett

Upper Brazeau River Canyon in Jasper National Park looking back toward Nigel Pass (Canon T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer, f11 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

©Darwin Wiggett

Upper Cataract Creek Valley in the Whitegoat Wilderness (Canon T2i, Sigma 17-50mm lens, f11 – 3 exposure HDR blend using Oloneo PhotoEngine).

The Weekly Photo – July 18, 2010

Posted in Good News, Image Processing and Software, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by Darwin

This week I am posting three photos from Island Lake and Island Lake Lodge in Fernie, British Columbia. Samantha and I are in the process of developing an exciting new photo workshop with Island Lake Lodge that we will announce in the next few months. Suffice to say if you want something completely unique and you like photography, wine, food, outdoor recreation and nature, then do we have a program for you! We can’t wait! In the meantime if you are in the Fernie area do check out Island Lake Lodge as a potential place to stay; you won’t be disappointed!

Also very exciting to me is a new software program introduced to me by Royce Howland called Oloneo PhotoEngine. Royce is the master of HDR and in my opinion is one of the best instructors out there on the making of realistic looking images using HDR. Royce told me he has been using PhotoEngine a lot and loves how simple and intuitive the program is for making HDR images. If Royce recommends something I try it!.

Sure enough I have become hooked on Oloneo’s PhotoEngine. It is super easy to use, has amazing capabilities and is fast. I made sixteen 3-frame HDR images in less than 1/2 hour. Of all the different HDR programs I have tried this one gives results that look the most realistic. Sure you can still make grunge cartoonish HDR’s if you want but the control sliders on this program make it easy to get precisely the image that appeals to you. This is software I recommend to anyone interested in extending the dynamic range of their digital images. I am going to get Samantha to try this program out because if anyone can find a bug or a weakness in a piece of software or a equipment it is Sam! Watch for a more detailed review in the future but my preliminary conclusion is WOW!  (Note: I am not paid not sponsored by Oloneo, I just am thrilled with the software; can you tell?).

Below is a the the middle exposure of a three frame bracket to build an HDR image (0EV, +2EV and -2EV). Yous can see that the image definitely needs more detail in the shadows and highlights that the other two bracketed photos will provide.

RAW image of 0 EV exposure

Here is the final HDR built in Oloneo’s PhotoEngine (click on the photo to see a larger version).

©Darwin Wiggett - 3 image HDR using Oloneo PhotoEngine

Here is another image of Island Lake and the Lizard Range using a 3-exposure HDR using PhotoEngine (click on the image for a larger version).

©Darwin Wiggett - 3-frame HDR using Oloneo's PhotoEngine

And Island Lake Lodge using PhotoEngine as the HDR processing software.

©Darwin Wiggett - Island Lake Lodge

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 958 other followers