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Constans' Awesome Photography/Photoshop Thread

Discussion in 'Graphics Discussion' started by Constans, Apr 28, 2013.

?

Which one do you prefer?

Poll closed May 7, 2013.
  1. Photographer Discoveries?

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Share RAW files for you to work on?

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    Are you using Photoshop?
     
  2. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I hope I will be, assuming I can get my, uh, version of it to work right.

    Otherwise I'll be using GIMP.
     
  3. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    Well, to describe it shortly, you would have a few options. Make duplicate layers, for one, fiddle with them in conjunction with some other settings. You can use the B&W adjustment and tweak the output of each color to your satisfaction. You can also use Topaz Labs' various black and white options. As I said, using a few methods in conjunction is the way to go, eg first tweaking the curves and general coloring of the photo, then using maybe Topaz, then using a B&W adjustment layer, then tweaking some more adjustments, then fiddling with your layer settings. My best advice is to become as familiar as possible with how each of the adjustments works, and then realize how they work with each other, and how the various blending options will affect them.

    Not sure how much of what I said makes sense, but I imagine GIMP has a fair amount of parallels.

    We used to have a Photoshop Off thread, would anyone be interested in doing something similar? (not with anime sigs though)
     
  4. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Didn't want to start a new thread for this.

    Do any of these look decent to anyone in terms of... do they look decent? >.> I have a crappy camera and know very, very little about photo manipulation.

    Tree1, Tree2, Longleaf1, Longleaf2
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    The second two look better than the first two, but they are all somewhat lackluster. I think this is largely due to the sharpness/detail of the picture itself, not so much due to the B&W coloring you did. If you wanted to share the original version of one, one of us could do our own edit on it, guided, I'm sure.
     
  6. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I've got several originals -- what's the best way to share those? IMGUR or something else?
     
  7. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, imgur is fine.
     
  8. Constans

    Constans Sixth Year DLP Supporter

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    Almost been a month I know I know, but I've been road tripping pretty hard recently. Came back from a desert the other day (watching an aurora lights show). Got some awesome shots. Anyways, onto a marathon post catching up on stuff.

    Already talked to you in irc, but for the benefit of the thread, here's a short rehash. Black and white is about shapes and contrast. The lines, patterns, etc.

    I once read a brilliant description of what a good black and white photo show, “the bones, the structure, the sculpture” of a subject. And that "By removing the color, something happens. We start paying attention to the lines, the shapes, the textures of things … as if color were the clothing on top of the human body, black-and-white was the structure, the shapes of things.".

    Put better than I ever could. Point is, selectively darken/lighten parts of the image (method described in post 1 of the thread). What this'll do is accentuate what b/w does well - Shapes/patterns/texture/lines. Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    Also, Ash was pretty much right. Oh and I love Topaz. It's freaking awesome. I use Topaz and Nik Software filters personally on just about every photo I do. (Can I do what they do in PS itself? Yes. Do I want to spend 6 hours recreating what would otherwise be a 2 minute preset effect? Hell no.)

    Tried to incorporate both bits in this response World.

    Yes.

    1 and 3 - due to being better cropped. And out of those, 3. Because of the cool lines.

    Once again though, Ash nailed it. They're flat. I want to see stormy darkness and ominous shadows and bright lights in a photo. Not everyday stuff. Take 3 - I'd have added a vignette so that the area around the American flag was darker and the more brightly lit flag was the dramatic center of attention. Of course there are 10 other things too, but that's one possibility.

    And yeah, while not perfect Imgur seems to be the best option.

    Now then, onto new tips and tricks.

    I've found after a lot of reflection, that night sky/star photography is probably my favorite subject around.

    What You Need:

    1. Dark Skies - Light pollution is your enemy. You'll need to go at least 2 hours away from city lights. If you haven't, the first time you see the Milky Way - it's....an experience, let's put it that way. Or you could live in a small town in Nevada or Arizona (the mecca of astrophotography) and go to your nearby neighborhood desert (stares at Poytin). Oh and a new moon/minimal moon night - the moon is so bright that it usually drowns out 75% of the stars. And then just wait for the sky to get darker and the Milky Way to rise/move in position to the angle where you want it to be.
    2. Decent Camera - Night/star/astrophotography is one of the very few types where a good camera makes a difference. You need something that allows you to change the big 3 - ISO/Aperture/Shutter Speed. Also, the better the camera sensor, the more light it captures (which is important because star light is very faint so even a slightly better sensor can make a difference).
    3. Wide Angle - To capture the expanse of the sky.
    4. Tripod - Most people can't hold a camera steady enough for a shutter slower than 1/45th of a second (though I have heard of some who swear they can at like 1/30th). The average star photograph is 20 seconds. The point here is self explanatory. No shortcuts (looks at Oz).

    What To Do

    This is the simple bit. Star photography looks complicated, but is ridiculously simple technically.

    First, set the camera to Manual Mode.

    Second, you need to open your camera's aperture as wide as you can, to let as much light in as possible.

    The ISO should be around 2000 to 5000. Depends upon camera to camera. My D800's sweet spot seems to be ISO 3200-4000, my friend's on the same model is 5000. Just experiment a bit.

    Now here's the tricky bit about shutter speed. Stars move. Very fast. While star trails are beautiful on their own, that one's for another time. This post is limited to still star photos. So to avoid trails, you need to get the shutter speed right.

    So you need to take that into account using the 600 rule. However, I prefer a faster 500 rule for a sharper image. Basically, take 600 (or 500 like me) and divide by the focal length you're shooting at. Those with crop sensors need to take that into account too. Or you can be lazy like me and save this on your phone. ;)

    Sounds complicated but tbh usually I stick to either 15/25/30 just about 99.99% times, so practically the settings are similar for everywhere. Much easier than a lot of other kinds of photography.

    [​IMG]

    (I'm not going into technical details about where this comes from, but the very first result on Google for 600 rule explains pretty well)

    [P.S.: Oh and if you don't know what the terms ISO/Aperture/Shutter Speed/Crop Sensor mean, they're pretty simple. Refer back to Oz's post.]

    Now, put the camera in manual focus and focus to infinity or just very slightly before it (because the stars are at infinity - optics 101 for the curious).

    It's a little problematic to compose given the scene is very dark. Just take a few shots to get a feel of the scene around you and then compose. Also don't trust the camera's replay. Remember to zoom in to check whether the shot is in focus.

    As I said, while all this seems a lot, it's easier than about every other photography situation. Because the settings are practically identical in about every place on...well, Earth.

    Why This Is Cool

    Frankly? Star photography is unique in that your camera usually captures a lot more than your eye can see - whereas everywhere else it's usually the opposite case. The night sky/Milky Way through the camera is so inherently dramatic that it's an eye opener (and makes for easy composition too). If you have not seen it, you should. Seriously.

    Composition tip: Given what I pointed above, you can be lazy here. That said, a general thing to keep in mind is to have some sort of foreground. Putting thought into composition never hurts. Also, you can "light paint" by flashing a light at stuff you want to light (as shown in last image).

    Here are three of my all time favorites illustrating my point:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (And yes, a lot of photographers carry tents not to sleep but to use them as foregrounds. :D )

    Post Processing

    Personally I use less PS in star photography than most of my other photos. Because of the dramatic sky - as I said earlier.

    Here are some general tips. Open the file in Lightroom/Camera RAW and play around with Highlights/Lights/Shadows/Dark sliders. Highlights controls the brights parts - so on in descending order. Using these you can bring out a lot of detail.

    Now I would be more specific but I'm going to take World's advice in this case.

    Here's a photo I took 2-3 weeks ago.

    [​IMG]

    RAW File

    (Full Res. JPEG)

    Here's my final result.

    [​IMG]

    (Full Res. JPEG)

    [Note: In this case, I very highly recc. that you look at the full res version. Imgur lost somewhere around 80% of the detail. In case they're too big to download, I can upload smaller versions - just lemme know in the replies.]

    There's Photoshop fine tuning involved here but you can get about 80% of this done in Lightroom/Camera RAW/Aperture (meaning, almost definitely in any half decent editing software, including GIMP). As I said above, most of this is just playing with sliders and not anything particularly manual.

    I'm not going to be specific because I'd rather not influence you guys (not that there's much to be specific about). I'd love to hear why you do what you're going to do - and why you did/would've done something differently from what I did. Then I'll tell you then why I did what I did.

    That's about it here. I know this one was a rather hyper-specialized post, but I've been really excited about this recently and thought it would be kinda cool to share.

    I promise my next 3 posts will definitely be simpler stuff anyone could do.

    Maybe some iPhonography - which I promise, will not suck? Hmm yeah I like that...Thoughts on the issue?

    Oh and as always, thoughts/critiques/comments welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  9. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Thanks again for the awesome tips on my pics Constans (I ended up sending him 1 & 3 -- not sure if he'll use either, but hey, they were about as good as some of the pictures others sent).

    The pictures you just posted were awesome. Also interesting to hear it put into words about how the lines in black and white stand out so much more.

    I *really* want to get a better camera now. Play with some quality pictures.