Monthly Archives: September 2007

PhotoDump 09-23-2007

Another great week of photos from my contacts, along with a few new friends. Here are my selections — Visit the artists — show them some appreciation. And be sure to check out last week’s PhotoDump if you missed it.

19 new favorites from Flickr and 79 contacts.

28 new favorites from Zooomr and 35 contacts.


From ezee as hellFrom UnfurledFrom harpyFrom jimgoldsteinFrom kk+From RandyFrom toledogirl51From joiseyshowaaFrom *Fly*From cabbitFrom RandyFrom RedHeadedBratFrom jimgoldsteinFrom kwerfeldeinFrom UltraSpiritFrom KaddyFrom mark.osFrom Sigh Lens


Another Old Fence at the CoastCome and Find MeMad GamesCity Livingdie ruhe vor dem sturmNobody But Myself in This Here CanoeHow Carefully ArrangedUntil Next Time This is GoodbyeSave the WorldDivided We StandKings RiverMoody Blues!City HallOPENAs It Cools DownWheeliesAdd It UpTake a BreakNight TrafficSad Summer BreathThe BathsTaxi Boats, VeniceDeep Mad SilenceThe sun within the flowerIt Could Be Me

Top Tips and Tricks: Project Results

Last week I participated in another group writing project from Daily Blog Tips on the topic of “Tips and Tricks”. The article I submitted to this project was titled “Warning: These 9 Photoshop Techniques May Result in Great Photos“. The project had over 120 entries, and there were actually a few photography related articles in there.

If you want to browse through the rest of the project entries, head over to the Daily Blog Tips final list.

Link Roundup 09-22-2007

And here’s a great quote from one of my favorite photographers:

Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy–the tone range isn’t right and things like that–but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.

-Elliott Erwitt

So if nothing else, remember that It’s got to do with intention.

Any thoughts on that quote? Let’s hear the opinions.

Quick-Tip: Save Your Photoshop Workspace

If you spend much time in Photoshop, you probably have a certain set of palettes, menus, and keyboard shortcuts that you must have in order to get anything accomplished. I’m not too picky about the menus or shortcuts, but I like to have a specific set of palettes on the right side of my workspace. I like my histogram at the top, my history below that, and my layers below that with my channels tabbed on the same panel. I don’t need the color, info, navigator, paths, swatches, etc., so I get rid of them.

Once you get your workspace setup, save it so you don’t have to mess with it anymore. It takes two seconds, and once you do it Photoshop will remember where all your stuff goes.

Window >> Workspace >> Save Workspace…

That’s it. Then give your workspace a name and you’re set.

Watching and Waiting

I kind of gave away a sneak peak at my own final results from the photo used in the “Edit My Photo” project in yesterday’s article on Using Photoshop to Add Vignette. So I figured I might as well post the real deal.

This photo was taken on the beach while I was at Trevor Carpenter’s photowalk in Santa Monica. It was approaching evening and we all headed down to the beach for some more photo-ops. I kind of wandered off down the beach on my own with my macro lens attached. I took a few shots of some birds on the beach, but I wasn’t too impressed with what I was getting at the time. I was a little disappointed that the yellow buoys were sticking out in the background, but I took the shots anyway. When I got back and saw this photo, it sparked my interest. I then realized that the buoys could easily be taken care of, and I was glad I took the shot. Lesson of the day: don’t let little imperfections in the scene prevent you from getting the shot.

Watching and Waiting Process

The JPEG (1) looks pretty dull, and gives the impression of slight underexposure (but it’s actually exposed fine). I adjusted the RAW (2) file to brighten it up a little bit, add some contrast, and increase the color saturation. I also used the straighten tool to level the horizon and crop. The first thing I did inside Photoshop was some Touch-Up Work (3) to clone out the buoys and some dust spots. Then I duplicated the resulting image into a new layer and applied a Hard Mix Layer Blend (4) at 30% opacity and 30% fill to help out with the color and contrast. I still wasn’t impressed with the contrast, so I applied a Levels Adjustment Layer (5) with a black point of 49 and a white point of 245. Taking the contrast to another stage, I used a Curves Adjustment Layer (6) to bring the lower mid-tones darker while keeping the upper mid-tones near their original value. For the levels and curves adjustment layers, I applied a mask over the bird to keep the small amount of detail to be found in the feathers — without the mask, the bird becomes a silhouette. Liking the contrast at this point, I looked toward the color saturation as a possible improvement. I didn’t want it terribly saturated, but I wanted the colors to look a little cleaner. I increased the saturation using a Hue/Saturation Layer Adjustment (7) with +12 on the saturation — not a huge difference, but noticeable at larger scales. Then I made a copy layer of the resulting image and sharpened using the Unsharp Mask (8) at 120%, 5.4 pixels, and a threshold of 2. I didn’t like how it made the entire image look, so I masked out the water and sky, leaving the beach. I also lightly masked the edges of the bird because the sharpening gave it a halo. The last thing I did to this image was the addition of Vignette (9) using the method outlined in yesterday’s article with an amount of -55 and a midpoint of 20.

All of this took maybe 1.5 hours to complete (which includes going back and re-adjusting previous layers), but what I didn’t tell you about was the other 2 or 3 hours of messing with it and trying things out over the course of two weeks. So I’d consider this a 4 hour photo.

Watching and Waiting

** You can also see this photo at Zooomr and Flickr **

Photo by Brian Auer
08/04/07 Santa Monica, CA
Watching and Waiting
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/2.8 * 1/125s * ISO100

How Many Hours Do You Post-Process?

We’re kind of on a roll here with the post-processing stuff, so I’m curious how much time you spend on the computer (or darkroom) with your photos. I know each image requires a different amount of time, but you must have some notion of an average. Most of us probably spend different amounts of time on different types of photos too, so base your answer on your “public work” rather than the everyday family pics — but if family shots are what you do most of the time, then base if off that. I tend to process my photos for about 3 hours each; some take 30 minutes, while others take 6 hours, but 3 is average for me.

How Many Hours Do You Post-Process?

Also take a look at the poll from last week on “Which Photo-Sharing Site Do You Use?” It looks like Flickr cleaned up on Zooomr and others with 50% of the votes. It’s also interesting to note that 8% of you don’t use any photo-sharing site — what’s up with that? Get on board folks!

Quick Tip: Using Photoshop to Add Vignette

Vignette (pronounced vin-’yet) is a sort of framing element that you’ll sometimes see in photos (particularly older photos or Lomo shots), in which the image fades out toward the corners. It’s most commonly seen as a fade out to black, but white is also used sometimes. The vignette can be a powerful element of the photo because it has a natural tendency to draw the eye toward the center of the photo.

Comparison of vignette versus no vignette

Vignette can be produced naturally if you’re using a lens intended for a smaller medium (like using a dSLR lens on a film SLR), because parts of the lens actually block out some of the light from hitting the sensor or film. There are a few other methods of getting the vignette effect, but the simplest of them is with Photoshop. Also, using Photoshop will allow you a wider range of control since it can be adjusted many times without destroying pixels.

The following Photoshop techniques are non-destructive (destroying pixels is a bad thing, and it’s downright mean) and easy to adjust. Now listen closely, and do as I do:

  2. Create a new empty layer on top of the stack. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N
  3. Fill the layer with pure white. Shift + Backspace
  4. Set the blend mode to “Multiply”. Alt + Shift + M
  5. Apply the vignette filter to the new layer.
    Filter >> Distort >> Lens Correction…
  6. Mess with the “Amount” and “Midpoint” sliders in the “Vignette” section.
  7. Press “OK”, and now you have art!

You’ve officially added vignette to the photo in a non-destructive manner using Photoshop. If you decide to come back to the photo at a later time and you want to change the vignette, just refill the top layer with white and repeat lens correction. This isn’t the only way to do this (and I apologize to those who don’t use Photoshop), but its the easiest and safest way that I know of.


Sorry folks, this project is over and done. The good news is that you can see the results at “28 Ways To Interpret A Photo“. Stay tuned for the next project!

The last project (overexposure) was focused on YOUR photos. But this time around, the focus is on MY photo. I have to give credit to my Grandfather (Ron McCoy) for the project topic — he suggested it after I asked for ideas following the last project. I want you to edit my photo and show off what you can do in the digital darkroom, and to remove the subject variation we’ll all be using the same photo. Here it is:

Edit My Photo

It’s not the perfect image, nor is it extremely awe inspiring, but it has some potential if placed in the right hands. I think it will be very interesting and inspiring to see how many different interpretations of the same image we turn up. Everybody sees things differently, and I’m sure we all see varying potentials for a photo. There are no wrong answers and you don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to participate in this project/experiment. I want to see this photo the way you see it.

If you need a little inspiration take a look at yesterday’s article on Photoshop techniques, and if you need some technical guidance on post-processing head over to my Photoshop Tips archive. You can use whatever software you want, and you can do anything you’d like to (not with) the image. So if you’re interested, here’s how to enter the project:

  1. Send me an email and request the JPEG and/or RAW files (tell me which one or I’ll just send the JPEG).
  2. I’ll send you the full resolution image you requested (the JPEG is 2MB and the RAW is 9MB, so make sure your email can handle it).
  3. Process my photo until you’re satisfied.
  4. Publish a low-resolution version of the image (600 pixels max) to:
    • Your own blog or website
    • A photo sharing site like Flickr or Zooomr
    • My blog (I’ll explain below)
  5. Email me again and let me know where you posted it (or email a 600px image back to me if you have nowhere else to publish).
  6. Don’t forget to write about how you processed it, and make sure you give credit to the photographer for his photo ;)
  7. Watch for the results on October 9th.
  8. Vote for the results on October 10th.
  • DEADLINE: October 15th, 2007

So to recap, I need you to email me so I have somewhere to send the full resolution photo — don’t try to edit the photo posted on this page, it’s really not a good starting place. When you’re done processing it, publish the image with a description of the work done. If you don’t have anywhere to publish to, email me a 600px image with your write-up and I’ll publish it as soon as I get a chance.

Also, when I say publish I only mean for the sake of the project. The photo is not yours to use for any other purpose than this project. I retain the copyright on the image, and all rights to sell my work. I DON’T have the right to take your post-processing work as my own, so don’t worry — I’m not planning on stealing anything from you. I’ve already done the post-processing on this photo and I’ll be publishing the results on Friday, so I’m not planning on stealing ideas either — those are also yours.

The deadline for the project is end of day Monday, October 15th. I’ll publish the final results at the wee hours of October 16th (central time since that’s what my server is on), so don’t cut things close — you have almost 4 weeks to do less than 4 hours of work. We’ll also be voting for the winners as soon as it’s posted. In addition to the voting, you can also publish links on your own sites back to your favorite project entries.

Any prizes for getting first place? I’d love to be able to give out a decent prize for added “inspiration”, but the site isn’t exactly rolling in cash yet. Anybody else have some ideas for a sub-$50 prize? I was thinking of keeping it with the theme, like a piece of editing software or Photoshop plugins, but that stuff is a bit more than $50. Maybe a Photoshop or photo editing book? Any ideas? Whatever it is, I’ll do something.

Warning: These 9 Photoshop Techniques May Result In Great Photos

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[tweetmeme]Post-Processing (or photo editing) is what makes a good photo great. Cameras produce a good starting point, but post-processing is where the magic happens. If you’re feeling a little bored with your current arsenal of Photoshop techniques, try out some of these creative post-processing tricks to boost your artistic style.

As you can see, many of these photos apply multiple Photoshop techniques in addition to other techniques not listed here. So if you see a photo that intrigues you, ask yourself why. If you like it partly due to the post-processing, try to imitate the technique on your own photos.

[tweetmeme]And as for how to do some of these things… maybe we’ll save that for another day (update: I’ve actually added links to each of the main points).

If you enjoyed reading this article, take a look at the other Photoshop Tips in my archives.

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PhotoDump 09-16-2007

Good week full of great images and lots of new friends. Here are my selections. I thought there would be fewer — maybe I need to be a little pickier. Visit the artists; show them some appreciation. And be sure to check out last week’s PhotoDump if you missed it.

39 new favorites from Flickr and 76 contacts.

27 new favorites from Zooomr and 34 contacts.


From xoeiFrom ezee as hellFrom xoeiFrom Waqas AhmedFrom TyrebaggerFrom It'sGregFrom kwerfeldeinFrom xoeiFrom harpyFrom andariaFrom |\/|attFrom Benoît J. SchecterFrom UnfurledFrom cabbitFrom EyejarFrom *Fly*From Steve CraneFrom Waqas AhmedFrom privatepiggFrom HuskerFrom daveraleighFrom NDLJFrom Daniel HellermanFrom Jon of SMAFrom the_wolf_brigadeFrom |\/|attFrom peasapFrom the_wolf_brigadeFrom ezee as hellFrom kwerfeldeinFrom anesthezeaFrom xysmasFrom xysmasFrom xysmasFrom BrianLarterFrom mattsimpson.nameFrom cutfarm33From kk+From Unfurled


R0018842A Lot of LivingClinicaldivideedit_pt_20070904_104_hdrbΩ / omegaTreesOnenessFlowersfirst class transportUnspoken dreams!ManarolaHomewardTime Out of MindsymbolicDying LovefollowSickle MowerSkirmishvalley_bw_03risingStand Talltributeheavenly lightsstep inSoft Like Her Lips2004-09-29_strand_sunset