Monthly Archives: February 2008

Link Roundup 02-16-2008

Here are some links for the week!

Photoshop Techniques: Cross Process and Redscale

I gotta hand it to the film guys, they sure know how to have a good time. I’m fascinated by the many methods and techniques they can use to produce some very interesting images, all of which are only possible with film. As digital photographers, we can only try to mimic what they can do in hopes that our work will turn out half as interesting. Here are a couple of my favorite film photography techniques that can be (sort of) reproduced with Photoshop.

Base ImageGreen ProcessedRed Processed

Cross processing is a film photography technique whereby the film is deliberately processed in a solution intended for a different type of film. The effect is usually heavy color shifts, increased contrast, over-saturation, and a funky greenish-yellow tint.

Base ImageGreen ProcessedRed Processed

Redscale is another film photography technique whereby the film is loaded into the camera facing the wrong direction. This causes the red layer of the film to be exposed first, thus absorbing more light than it would normally. Blue now becomes the last layer to absorb light, so it’s nearly non-existent. These images have a very distinct red color shift, but can range from yellow to maroon.

Here are some of my previous cross-processed photos.

PED XING Piña Refresco Benched Smoker The Dog in the Bike Reading Material

Keep in mind that these techniques are highly subjective, so many cross processed and redscale images will have similar traits while being drastically different. I’ve put together a couple of Photoshop actions that will help start the process for these techniques. These have been added to the previous actions for LAB Sharpening and LAB Saturation.

DOWNLOAD THE PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS

These actions will lay down three layers to get you in the right direction, but think of them as more of a starting point than an ending point. Dig into it and start tweaking the layers until you find something that works for that image. Since the layers are non-destructive adjustment layers, you can edit one at a time, little by little, until you get the photo where you want it.

CROSS PROCESSING TECHNIQUE

Cross Processing Steps

This is a fairly simple process, it just takes a lot of time if you don’t use the Photoshop Action provided. I picked this up at PhotoshopSupport.com, made a few tweaks, and wrapped it up in a Photoshop Action.

1. PROCESS THE COLOR CURVES

Cross Process Color Curves

A curves adjustment layer (Layer >> New Adjustment Layer >> Curves…) is typically used on the composite channel to boost contrast. We’ll be ignoring the composite channel and working on each of the color channels. As you get into the setup dialog box for the curves, be sure to set the blend mode to “Color” and leave it at 100% opacity for now. So here are what my curves look like in the red, green, and blue channels. This isn’t an exact science, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect — you’ll want to tweak on things differently for each image anyways.

2. ADD THE COLOR CAST

Cross Process Color Fill

Here, we’re just adding a fill layer at a low opacity (Layer >> New Fill Layer >> Solid Color…). Again, in the setup dialog box for the fill layer, be sure to set the blend mode to “Color” and bring the opacity down to about 10 or 15%. Start off using the color “#E1FF00″ and work from there — it’s kind of a lime green/yellow. This will give us that green tint.

3. BOOST THE CONTRAST

Cross Process Contrast

At this point, the image is probably looking pretty close, but a little dull and flat. We’ll use another curves adjustment layer to boost the contrast. Be sure to set the blend mode to “Luminosity” and leave it at 100% — this will ensure that we keep our colors and our brightness separate. Throw in a nice “S” curve and adjust to your liking. Don’t be afraid to blow out some highlights, since that’s fairly common in cross processed photos.

4. (OPTIONAL) SATURATION BOOST

This isn’t usually necessary, but if you want to give the color a little more punch, run my LAB Saturation action (included in the download set) and adjust the parameters until you’re happy with it.

REDSCALE TECHNIQUE

Redscale Steps

I based this one off of the cross processing technique by altering the colors and curves. It may not be the best way to accomplish this, but it works fairly well and it gives you great control over your colors.

1. PROCESS THE COLOR CURVES

Redscale Color Curves

Again, we’ll be ignoring the composite channel and working on each of the color channels. As you get into the setup dialog box for the curves, be sure to set the blend mode to “Color” and leave it at 100% opacity for now. So here are what my curves look like in the red, green, and blue channels. The main thing you need to know here is that the blue channel will give you the most control over the final color of the image. Drag the point in the middle of the curve up and to the left, and you’ll get more of a magenta tone. Drag the point down and to the right, and you’ll get more of an orange or yellow tone. These are all feasible outcomes of redscale film photography.

2. ADD THE COLOR CAST

Redscale Color Fill

Here, we’re just adding a fill layer at a low opacity (Layer >> New Fill Layer >> Solid Color…). Again, in the setup dialog box for the fill layer, be sure to set the blend mode to “Color” and bring the opacity down to about 15 or 25%. Start off using the color “#CC4400″ and work from there — it’s kind of a brick red/orange. Most of the red will come from the previous layer, but this will add some. Here, you can also adjust how yellow or magenta the layer is along with the opacity.

3. BOOST THE CONTRAST

Redscale Contrast

Redscales are typically less contrasty than cross processed photos, but this step will give you control over that and let you play around a little. We’ll use another curves adjustment layer to boost the contrast, just like we did with cross processing — but this one I’ve set the shadows to be less dark. Be sure to set the blend mode to “Luminosity” and leave it at 100% — this will ensure that we keep our colors and our brightness separate. After you’re done with this, you can continue to boost the saturation, sharpen the photo, etc.

So there are two techniques to mess around with. Use them sparingly, otherwise it’ll start to lose it’s magic with your onlookers. I’ve found that street scenes tend to work well with these techniques, but you’d actually be surprised at how many different images could benefit from a little artistic flare such as this.

If you use one of these techniques on some photos in the near future, leave a link in the comments below — I’d like to check them out!

February Challenge: Day 12 – 22 Lanes

22 Lanes

WEEK 3 = RED

Long exposure of traffic on Interstate 5 where it splits into the 5 and 805. Can you believe that there are 22 lanes at this point and it’s backed up during rush hour every day?

I’ve never done one of these long-exposure traffic shots before. It turns out that the white lights are much brighter than the red ones. Plus there wasn’t much traffic, so it probably could’ve turned out better. Here are a few others from that night as I was messing around with different amounts of focus and shutter speed:

14 Point Star 8 Point Star Octogons Short Exposure Moderate Exposure Long Exposure

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

7 Reasons To Love Prime Lenses

A prime lens is one that has a single focal length. A zoom lens is one that has a range of focal lengths. The each have their proper place in the camera bag and on the camera. But the prime has always been, and will continue to be, a favorite among seasoned photographers using interchangeable-lens cameras.

I picked up my first prime lens nearly a year ago (105mm f/2.8 macro), and over the course of the year I’ve grown to consider that lens as my favorite. In the last few months, I’ve hardly taken the lens off my camera body. But then I picked up another prime lens (50mm f/1.4) and I’m absolutely in love with these things. Here’s why:

2. LOWER COST

For the same quality, prime lenses cost less than zoom lenses. They contain fewer elements, less moving parts, and their design is simpler. For the same cost, you can pick up a half-decent zoom lens or you can pick up an outstanding prime lens.

3. FEWER LENS DISTORTIONS

Zooms are designed to work well at most focal lengths in their range, but the all display some type of lens distortion at some point — usually at the extremes. Primes, on the other hand, are designed to work great at a single focal length. The distortions have been minimized by design.

5. SHARPER IMAGES

Similar to the argument for lens distortions, primes have been optimized for sharpness and clarity while zooms must sacrifice these things in order to offer up the convenience of multiple focal lengths.

7. BETTER DOF CONTROL

Again, for the same price point, prime lenses are capable of a wider array of f-numbers. They’re faster, and they offer more options at the low end of the f-number scale.

11. NICER LOOKING BOKEH

Generally, as you lower your f-number your bokeh becomes more apparent. Primes are notorious for producing crazy bokeh on specular highlights when shot wide open. Primes will also generally have better and/or more aperture blades, thus giving you a better bokeh.

13. LOW LIGHT CAPABILITIES

If you’ve never shot with a f/1.4 (or faster) lens, you have no idea what you’re missing. Indoor shots — no flash, no problem. Concerts — fast lenses are a must.

17. THEY MAKE YOU THINK

I suppose my favorite thing about prime lenses is the fact that you have to use your head. Composition becomes a thinking game. You have to move your feet to get that shot you had in mind, so you really start to evaluate what’s important in the scene. Fast primes also make you think a little harder about your f-number. The DOF can be extremely shallow; sometimes too shallow to produce an effective shot. Not only that, but on bright sunny days, you actually can’t use the lens wide open without an ND filter because you’ll let in too much light and max out your shutter speed.

So if you don’t have a good prime lens, you’re really missing out. Zooms are fine, and they have their place, but a prime will open your eyes to a whole new level of photography.

February Challenge: Day 11 – Silver on Red

Silver on Red

WEEK 3 = RED

Silver cup, bowl, and chopsticks on red clock mounted to a wood display. This was a gift from my Grandfather… not sure where he got it from.

Seeing as how it’s Valentines Day this week, I thought Red would be a suiting color.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

February Challenge: Day 10 – Chinese Art

Chinese Art

WEEK 2 = YELLOW

And that concludes week 2 of the February Challenge for me. Still have no idea what color I’m doing for week 3, and I only have about an hour or two left before the clock strikes midnight.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

The Fine Art Photoblog is Officially Here!

Remember way back when I posed the question “Want to Sell Your Art?“, then the overwhelming response from 30 great photographers, and finally we narrowed it down to six outstanding individuals?

Well, the last you guys heard from me on this was early January. We didn’t forget about the project or drop it — not even close. We’ve been working out the kinks, improving the site, and getting the business end of this thing in order. These guys I’m working with have been staying up until 2, 3, 4AM almost every night pouring their time and energy into it. After all the hard work we’ve done, I’m very happy to announce that we’re off and running.

VISIT THE FINE ART PHOTOBLOG

SUBSCRIBE TO THE FEED

Seriously, check it out. All seven of us have different styles and backgrounds, and the photos presented are fairly diverse. We’re displaying images at (or near) 800 pixels, so they’re a treat to look at. And if you think they look good at 800 pixels on your computer screen, you ought to purchase a print — pixels do these images no justice in comparison to a high quality print job.

We’re offering up prints at two different levels: those that are affordable, and those that are collectible. The affordable prints are still very high quality, but they won’t be signed or sold as a limited edition. The collectible prints are signed by the artist and limited in number if that particular artist chooses to do so. For more info on the site, check out the press release.

Even if you’re not in the market for a print right at the moment, the site is worth a browse. So head over there, check it out, and tell your friends!

February Challenge: Day 9 – Pedestrian Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing

WEEK 2 = YELLOW

This photo (and those shown below) came from our recent La Jolla photowalk. I totally overworked the colors on this image and it was completely on purpose, but I like the way it ended up. I’ll be uploading quite a few photos to Flickr over the course of this week, so keep your eyes on my stuff over there if you’re interested in seeing how the day turned out. You can also follow the photos from everybody else, as long as they’re tagged with “photowalking020908“. Honestly, with all this color stuff for the February Challenge, you can expect to see a lot of my photowalk images turning out black & white.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

PhotoDump 02-10-2008

Another great week of photos from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! We had a couple of photophlow sessions with a few people in each, though Sunday seemed to be more popular than Wednesday.

Wonder by mgrovesLakeside Park by THEjdawgVLEI 2 by javiyCable View Panoramic, Golden Gate Bridge by jimgoldsteinUamittuq Qaafani by AlaskaTeacherEureka! by Boris Taratutin by the_wolf_brigadeGoose_08-0208-001 by heyjules45Buddha's Hand by Shama-Lama MamaCALATRAVA AUDITORIO by javiyDid you happen to see? by Aperture Image.comPractice by rh89Sometimes I forget by Chica-X365  38 - Let them eat cake! by aychseablue & yellow by stephiedee6 teeths by pragnyanIxuvik by AlaskaTeacherWaves of Pink by Boris Taratutintravels by wasabifishThe shores of Kewaunee by THEjdawgHellcat! by J Quantz Jr.Yellow Tailsky and machine by wasabifishGrammatics @ Loughborough University Jan 08 - 12 by hitkaiserbright new world by chegs© lisman_-9039_3 by Rex Lisman PhotographyLonely? Shoot some film and make new friends. by the_wolf_brigade20080203-132202_NIKON D3_Flowers_Macro_Perspective__DSC5949-4_SupMacro_violet by geopiratchaos by pragnyanWork in light II by ergatesSeagull choir by lilahpopsBarquitos by javiySurfer at dawn, Venice Beach by secondcareerShot Glass MirrorDave's Beer by rrdphotoStorm's Coming by cabbitkonigstein by p3nB&W Orchid 2 by AIA GUY..Rwoodfamily; Sailing Dreams by javiyJumping Over the Fisheye by neilcreekPine Needles_08-0202-001 by heyjules45waiting to inhale by Illetirresa walk in the park by chegsDay 33 by fodwcaught in a storm by wasabifish_MG_0140 by donnaidh_sidhe

February Challenge: Day 8 – Peppers and Peanuts

Peppers and Peanuts

WEEK 2 = YELLOW

Some colorful handmade decorations at my Grandfather’s house. Not sure what it’s supposed to signify, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with Chinese culture.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.