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Photo Editing On The Cheap by Glenn Euloth

I love pho­tog­ra­phy and as much as I try to get the image right in cam­era when I press the shut­ter release there are just some times when you need adjust some over­ex­posed bits or pos­si­bly do some cus­tom edit­ing to cre­ate a minia­ture look or selec­tive colour­ing. What­ever the rea­son might be there will be times when you need to edit your images. A full out copy of Pho­to­shop is more than $500. Even Pho­to­shop Ele­ments clocks in at $100 or so which is not super expen­sive but still, if I have an extra $100 I’m putting it towards a new lens or maybe that new tri­pod that I need.

In my last blog for Photography.ca I wrote about Picasa. Picasa does a won­der­ful job of basic photo edit­ing, how­ever, it just doesn’t cut it for any­thing really detailed. When I need more detailed edit­ing capa­bil­i­ties I use Gimp. Gimp is a won­der­ful piece of soft­ware avail­able for free use for Win­dows and Mac users as well as the orig­i­nal Unix plat­form. A com­pan­ion prod­uct called ufRAW, also free, allows Gimp to open and edit RAW image files and since I shoot almost exclu­sively in RAW for­mat it was a nec­es­sary add-on.

Gimp will do a lot more than I am capa­ble of doing and I have still used it to do some amaz­ing things. Like Pho­to­shop it allows you to edit images using mul­ti­ple lay­ers, has many dif­fer­ent fil­ters and scripts that can change the look of your images (or parts of it) and also pro­vides many dif­fer­ent tools to work on your images. In this blog post I’ll edit an image and pro­vide some screen shots to give you an idea of the capa­bil­i­ties of this won­der­ful piece of soft­ware, how­ever, to really learn how to use it visit the tuto­ri­als page on the Gimp site.

In order to give you the broad­est tour pos­si­ble I will take an orig­i­nal image where I’ve done a fair bit of work on the image and walk you through the edit­ing steps that I took to get it the way I wanted. Some of you out there may be much bet­ter at photo edit­ing and so you will undoubt­edly see areas where I am doing some­thing wrong. Please feel free to com­ment below so I can learn more about how to do this stuff properly.

Let’s start with this pho­to­graph of a but­ter­fly. Here’s the JPEG ver­sion cre­ated by export­ing from Picasa with default set­tings. All things con­sid­ered it’s not a hor­ri­ble shot of the but­ter­fly but the com­po­si­tion is kind of blah and the butterfly’s cam­ou­flage makes it dif­fi­cult to see. Let’s open it in Gimp to see what we can do with this bor­ing image.

Butterfly on Tree

First up, since it’s a RAW and I have ufRAW installed it auto­mat­i­cally opens in ufRAW for me.  Here I can make adjust­ments to the RAW image before jump­ing into the Gimp edi­tor proper.  For this image I’m going to make a few adjust­ments here so I end up in Gimp with the basics already com­pleted.  This is the gen­eral process for me.

  1. From Picasa I right click and select Open in Gimp.
  2. It auto­mat­i­cally opens in ufRAW because it’s a RAW image.
  3. I’ve clipped a few high­lights 0.1% and so I adjust the black lev­els a touch to elim­i­nate those.
  4. I then adjust the curves to boost the over­all expo­sure to where I like the image.
  5. Using the crop/rotate/size adjust tab I select a pleas­ing crop which puts the but­ter­fly on an inter­sec­tion of thirds and gives him space to “fly into”.  Note the grid lines allow me to do this easily.
  6. Click­ing OK trans­fers the image into Gimp for fur­ther edit­ing where I adjust the colour lev­els and pump up the sat­u­ra­tion on this one to give that but­ter­fly a lit­tle more life.
  7. Next, I’m going to do some selec­tive colour­ing to really make him stand out.  So, I’ll dupli­cate the layer so I now have two butterflies.
  8. Change the top layer to B&W and cre­ate a layer mask that I paint through to expose the butterfly.
  9. I switched to the colour layer and added a touch of unsharp mask to sharpen up the image.
  10. Last, to fin­ish it off, I add a cou­ple of bor­ders, first white, then black and save as a JPEG.


6a 

6b  6c 

8a 

8b  8c 

9a  9b 

10a  10b

That’s it!  Here’s the result:

Butterfly Edited

Liv­ing in Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia, Glenn Euloth enjoys trav­el­ling on the pho­to­graphic jour­ney.  Visit www.euloth.com to join him on the trip or find him on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum under the nick­name of Iguanasan.

95 — Larry King family portrait — Interview with Laszlo of Montreal

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #95 fea­tures an inter­view with Cana­dian pho­tog­ra­pher Las­zlo of Mon­treal. In this inter­view Las­zlo talks about a recent por­trait ses­sion with Larry King and his fam­ily. In an effort to illus­trate how keep­ing it sim­ple can yield great results, Las­zlo decon­structs this pho­to­graph while talk­ing about light­ing, com­po­si­tion and technique.

Larry King family portrait by Laszlo of Montreal

Larry King fam­ily © Las­zlo of Montreal

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Show us your parks is the reg­u­lar assign­ment this month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
Macro — closeup  is the level 2 assign­ment this month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
If you liked this pod­cast and want to write a tes­ti­mo­nial, it’s a great way to say “Thanks” and it’s super-appreciated

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca (   A   T  ) G m ail  Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks to forum mem­ber Glenn Euloth (AKA Igua­nasan on our forum) who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes |Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe with Google Reader|Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email
You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Vintage photo of the day March 17, 2011

Today’s image of the day is called Stairs of Mont­martre, Paris by the late mas­ter Hun­gar­ian pho­tog­ra­pher Andre Kertesz, and it was shot in 1925. Kertesz is one of my all time favorite pho­tog­ra­phers and more of his work will surely be fea­tured in the future.

Stairs of Montmartre, Paris - 1925 by Andre Kertesz

Stairs of Mont­martre, Paris — 1925 by Andre Kertesz

What makes this, and tons of other Kertesz images fan­tas­tic is the pre­cise and delib­er­ate com­po­si­tion. Kertesz was sim­ply a mas­ter at guid­ing your eye to inter­est­ing places in the pho­to­graph. The shapes of the shad­ows and the posi­tion of the rail­ings are both delight­ful to look at and they guide your eye per­fectly toward the humans in the photo.

Kertesz was also keenly aware of all planes of focus in an image and how they work together. The con­nec­tion between the fore­ground, midground and the back­ground ele­ments of this image helps to sug­gest a story as well as make the image graph­i­cally striking.

Graven Images – Ideas for Cemetery Photography by Kristen Smith

Strange as it may seem to some, I find ceme­ter­ies peace­ful places and I enjoy spend­ing time in them.  I also enjoy pho­tograph­ing them.  I’m mostly fas­ci­nated by the over­all aes­thetic of a ceme­tery, how the stones are placed, the ways they’ve shifted and changed over time, the carv­ings and motifs through the decades, dec­o­ra­tive arrange­ments like walls and gates; it all fas­ci­nates me and I do my best to cap­ture the essence of a grave­yard when­ever I shoot one.

Haunting the Obscure by Kristen Smith

Haunt­ing the Obscure by Kris­ten Smith

There are some gen­eral guide­lines you should fol­low when shoot­ing bur­ial grounds.  The first thing to remem­ber is to be respect­ful.  These places rep­re­sent lives and his­tory and often sor­row.  If there are mourn­ers or vis­i­tors present, give them space.  Don’t crash a ceremony.

Also don’t touch or move any­thing with respect to the graves them­selves.  If one is dam­aged or fallen over, leave it.  Some­times branches or other debris fall on mon­u­ments and I always leave those as well, unless it is pho­to­graph­i­cally in the way.  I also avoid climb­ing over any­thing I don’t have to like walls or gates. And I never remove any­thing from a gravesite and I can’t imag­ine doing so.

Angle of Repose by Kristen Smith

Angle of Repose by Kris­ten Smith

My main inter­est is in old ceme­ter­ies.  Luck­ily in New Eng­land we have the old­est Euro­pean ceme­ter­ies in the coun­try and I’m never short of sub­jects.  What­ever your par­tic­u­lar inter­est is, find ways to accen­tu­ate what you find inter­est­ing.  It might be par­tic­u­larly mov­ing epi­taphs, or art­work and com­mon dec­o­ra­tive motifs or maybe just find­ing stones of peo­ple with your name.  Per­son­ally I like to show the over­all struc­ture and char­ac­ter of a ceme­tery as well as high­light some of the old­est or most inter­est­ing head­stones.  Decay­ing stones are always ter­rific sub­jects; lichen, cracks, weath­er­ing and even out­right destruc­tion can make for really inter­est­ing images.

Harriet Obscured by Kristen Smith

Har­riet Obscured by Kris­ten Smith

I will admit that after years of shoot­ing in ceme­ter­ies it does get tougher to come up with orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions.  Some­times approach­ing a grave yard in a dif­fer­ent sea­son helps, like win­ter.  Some­times it means get­ting there at a cer­tain time of day so that carv­ings are brought up strongly with shad­ows. Some­times it means find­ing unusual per­spec­tives and includ­ing other things like walls and gates in my com­po­si­tions.  Fre­quently I use dif­fer­ent post-processing tech­niques to bring out what I want in a photo.  This doesn’t always mean black and white or sepia, but I do use them since they espe­cially suit the older bur­ial grounds I haunt.

Keeping Watch by Kristen Smith

Keep­ing Watch by Kris­ten Smith

So don’t be afraid to step into that ceme­tery near your house.  Explore it respect­fully, pho­to­graph it cre­atively and walk away with a sense of history.

Kris­ten Smith is a New Eng­land pho­tog­ra­pher whose ceme­tery work can be found in her Graven Images Gallery

Photographing Cityscapes — A City Mouse in Winter By Jacqueline A. Sheen

I love to pho­to­graph the city in win­ter. The light is like no other time of year since the sun is always low in the sky. Long shad­ows crawl across the snow cre­at­ing inter­est­ing lines. The light often has a sub­tle pink­ish glow that you only see in sum­mer at day­break. There is a clean crisp­ness to the air and the land­scape. The bare trees and snow cov­ered streets cre­ate a clean min­i­mal­ism you don’t have in summer.

I was out wan­der­ing about with my newly pur­chased 8mm fish­eye lens on a crisp Sun­day after­noon. The tem­per­a­ture was hov­er­ing at minus 20 C with the bit of wind chill. It was sunny and the snow was reflect­ing the light back on every sur­face. I was in the skate park with the idea I could try out some inter­est­ing exper­i­ments with the snow cov­ered skate domes. The new C Train over­pass also runs along the edge of the park, so I thought it would work well with the lens’s dis­tor­tion as well.

Urban Trek by Jacqueline A. Sheen

Urban Trek by Jacque­line A. Sheen

The prob­lems that a cityscape pho­tog­ra­pher faces in win­ter are not much dif­fer­ent than what a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher would expe­ri­ence. Our ter­rain is gen­er­ally a bit smoother but it is equally as cold, so I always dress about the same as you would expect to dress if you were out in the moun­tains. I am usu­ally out for a few hours at a time, so I make sure I am pre­pared for the weather.  The advan­tage I have over the rugged land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher is that I can find a Star­bucks to warm up in pretty quickly when the going gets too cold!

If you are out in sub-zero tem­per­a­tures for extended peri­ods of time, you will have to con­sider how to care for your gear.  I usu­ally carry an extra bat­tery in my pocket but so far I have not had to use it. Recently, while out on the street on a crisp day of about minus 10 C, I noticed the sun shin­ing into one of our plus 15s that is acces­si­ble from the street. I thought it might make for an inter­est­ing shot from the inside and climbed up the stairs to go inside. Well– myself, (I wear glasses) the cam­era LCD screen and the lens fil­ter all fogged up as you might expect. After a few min­utes the fog­gi­ness cleared and I was able to get the shot. I am told that hav­ing a fil­ter on the front of your lens helps keep mois­ture off the lens itself so you may want to con­sider a UV fil­ter for that rea­son. Also when I come in from shoot­ing on a cold day,  I remove the mem­ory cards  from my cam­era,  pack up the cam­era and lenses  in the bag, then I zip it up tightly. I let every­thing return to room tem­per­a­ture for sev­eral hours before remov­ing the gear  from my bag. That way I avoid the prob­lem of con­den­sa­tion on my cam­era and lenses.  Hav­ing a well padded cam­era bag is use­ful for this reason.

For this photo, which I call “Urban Trek”, I was lin­ing up the 8mm fish­eye lens to show off the cir­cle of street lights in the park. Some­one walked into my frame and I snapped the pic­ture.  The idea of the urban trekker appealed to me. Here we have an urban­ite fac­ing the harsh cold ele­ments sur­rounded by this stark bright land­scape. His dress and pos­ture fur­ther empha­size the cold tem­per­a­tures as he quickly walks to his destination.

Jacque­line A. Sheen is a pho­tog­ra­pher liv­ing in Cal­gary Alberta, Canada. You can check out more of her work at www.jasphoto.ca and she also goes by the han­dle JAS_Photo on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.

Photography forum image of the month February 2011

Every month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum mem­bers nom­i­nate images that they like. Then at the end of the month I choose an excel­lent image and talk about why it rocks. The photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo con­tests. I just choose a photo that has extremely strong ele­ments that we can learn from.

Junk Yard Cat by Barefoot

Junk Yard Cat by Barefoot

This month’s choice is Junk Yard Cat by Barefoot

I chose this image for sev­eral reasons:

Mood — Light­ing — This image has a great mood due to the won­der­ful light­ing. The light­ing is on the low key side and it’s totally work­ing for me here. Even though the light­ing is low-keyish there’s still quite a bit of deli­cious shadow detail.

Good sug­ges­tion of a story — This is also related to the mood but it looks to me like this car is in an old garage or barn. The car is also way old with loads of rust but it still serves a pur­pose, it’s not dead yet. It serves as a poten­tial favourite rest­ing spot for the cat.

Sub­tlety — Mys­tery — Sur­prise — I love the fact that my eye did NOT go straight to the cat in this shot and this is due to the fact that the bright cir­cu­lar thing on top of the head­light at right is the first thing we look at. I love that. Had the cat been brighter, the shot would have been more about the cat and our eye would have gone straight for the cat. This way, we get a bet­ter sur­prise when we notice the cat.

Com­po­si­tion — I dig the repeat­ing cir­cles and lines in this image as well as the point of view from which the image was taken.

For all these rea­sons, this is my choice for image of the month. Since we all have opin­ions, some mem­bers may dis­agree with my choice. That’s cool but THIS thread is not the place for debate over my pick, NOR is it the place to fur­ther cri­tique the image. The pur­pose here is to sug­gest strong ele­ments in the photo that we may learn from.

Con­grats again Bare­foot for see­ing and cap­tur­ing this won­der­ful scene!

94 — Turning day into night

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #94 teaches how to turn day into night or late after­noon for por­trait pur­poses. This tech­nique is often used by wed­ding, fash­ion and por­trait pho­tog­ra­phers. The goal of the tech­nique is to make the sky look darker so that the model pops against the sky. This often adds mood and/or drama to a shot. We dis­cuss 2 tech­niques; using flash and cam­era in man­ual non TTL (Through the lens) mode as well as TTL mode. We also touch on flash sync speeds.

This image looks like it was shot in the late after­noon but it was shot at 1pm. Cam­era mode was aper­ture pri­or­ity using TTL flash. Expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion was set to –3 on cam­era and +2 for the direct on cam­era flash. I would have taken the flash off cam­era for a bet­ter light­ing pat­tern but it was minus 15 C and my model only had 5 min­utes in her.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Show us your parks is the reg­u­lar assign­ment this month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
Macro — closeup  is the level 2 assign­ment this month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca (   A   T  ) G m ail  Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks to kat, Wicked Dark and Shant M who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes |Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe with Google Reader|Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email
You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!