Tag Archives: Landscape

Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (1)

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I will share how I edited the black and white photo, “Island” posted in the previous blog.  First of all, I should talk about B&W conversion software I am using. Many photographers use software to convert a color image to monochrome image. It is very convenient since the software allows adding an effect of the color filter, (such as red filter for darkening sky or green filter for pleasant skin tone), mimicking many different types of B&W film, controlling grain level and adding toning such as sepia or selenium. Currently, I am using following three B&W converters.

Nik Silver Efex is the most popular B&W converter. It has many functions and some parameters can be locally adjusted by NIk’s famous “control points” method. Many types of film are listed for film mimicking. But I see “digital flavor” still remains. I would say It gives contemporary B&W image so I use the Silver Efex predominantly for my portrait works.

Topaz B&W effect doesn’t have film mimicking but is has many fancy toning so I occasionally use the software for toning at the end of process.

TrueGrain is very simple B&W converter; only I can do with the software are selecting a film type, adding an effect of the color filter, and controlling grain level. It allows modifying characteristic contrast curve of the selected film. It doesn’t have local adjustment or toning. Possibly, this is why nobody use (or knows) this software. But its film mimicking is very close to real film; it gives a kind of Lo-fi feel of the film. I use TrueGrain for my landscape photography since I would like keep natural feel to the images.

The original image was taken in foggy morning so the contrast of the entire image is somewhat low for B&W image.  I tried the B&W conversion with TrueGrain and I applied red filter but the sky is not dark enough and the “Island”, woods in the center of image was not standing out well. (photo 1)

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Photo 1

So I had to apply some preparation to the color image before the conversion. Now I should explain how the color filter works for B&W photography. When a color is mixed with a particular different color, the mixed color will be black (or white but ignore at this point). This is called complementary color. For example, the complementary color of blue is yellow; that is why a yellow filter darkens the sky. On the other hand, when the same color of the filter exists in an image, that part will be brightened. I use this idea to enhance certain parts of the image. This time, I planned using orange filter, complementary color of the orange is between blue and cyan.

First of all, I needed to darken the sky. So I have to select (mask) the sky and change its color to more blue / cyan (photo 2). Please click the image for larger view.

Photo 2

Photo 2

Next, I wanted to add a little more contrast to the trees in the island to enhance the drama and separate the island from its surroundings. Again I applied mask to the trees (Photo 3). Then the color of the trees were change to blue/cyan but the intensity of the change was not as high as the sky since I expected a little more subtle changes of the contrast (photo 4)

Photo 3

Photo 3

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Photo 4

At the same time, I felt trunks of the trees needed to be more distinctive, so orange (yellow and red) was added the trunks to lighten them (Photo 4).

Photo 5

Photo 5

Lastly, I brightened the whole island by “Curves” (photo 5).

Untitled-5

Now all preparation is done. Save the file as Tiff and convert the image with TrueGrain. I chose Ilford HP5 as film mimicking and applied orange filter. I added grain as well.L1050414-2 HP5

So this is the result. Please compare to the photo 1. Now the B&W image has more contrast and drama. Getting closer to the concept when I shot the image at the scene.

Actually, this is not done; real cooking will be done on the B&W image. It will be shared in the next post. Stay tuned.

Related post: Black and white photo – “Island”

Black and white photo – “Island”

This photo was taken in August, 2013 in Banff national park. I knew it would be foggy in the morning, so I prepared my camera gear for the next morning to shoot waterfowl lake. When I woke up, my tent was surrounded by mist. I rushed to the waterfowl lake. Well, usually, when I plan a shoot for a particular scene and am aiming a specific image, I don’t get images “I” feel wow. I sometimes say landscape photography is like Symphony but I have been thinking lately I still improvise a lot of time like playing jazz.
After I left the Waterfowl Lake, I drove up to Saskatchewan crossing. Then this scenery came to my eye. I stopped my car and snapped some shots. I didn’t apply any special techniques but I had particular final image in my head. The woods in the swap looked like floating island. Possibly, the idea was come from Japanese animation, unconsciously. I see it in black and white.

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Please click the image for the larger size.

Although the shooting was easy and quick, post-processing was a difficult delivery. I needed to start from scratch for 3 times to meet my inner view “Floating Island”. I am planing to share the post-processing I have applied to this in the next post.

This photo will be exhibited in my next gallery show titled “Wabi-sabi Wanderlust” in February at “Framed on Fifth” in Calgary.

A happy new year!

Sunrise in the Abraham Lake,

I have been going through landscape photos I have taken since 2009. I have to select some images for my upcoming exhibition in February, 2014 and hopefully, I am planning to publish a book at the same time. Then I realized the images I think interesting were taken in bad weather….can be cloudy, raining, snowing or very cold.

When I took this photo, it was warmer day, -6C! But it was windy and cold enough to have made my camera stop working. (I had to keep camera batteries warm and switch them frequently). But when the moment comes like this scene, adrenaline is pumping in, and I just keep clicking a shutter.


Sunrise in the Abraham Lake by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com

Sunrise in the Abraham Lake
by
Hiroaki Kobayashi

I like this photo but I don’t think I will put this one for the exhibition in February. This image is a little too dramatic to meet the title of the gallery show, which is “Wabi-sabi Wanderlust”. The photos at the show will be more melancholic and kind of spiritual. They could be said “Oriental mood”.  More details will be announced. Stay tuned.

Fall trip to Kootenay Plains

Discovering a new location is always exciting for photographers. I visited Kootenay Plains first time in fall last year. Along Highway 11, I saw variety of sceneries. I am sure I can spend days to explore over there. In fall, aspen trees in prairies type of open land is beautiful and kind of unique to me. A difference from Jasper is I saw leaves of aspen trees turned to not only yellow but also orange in Kootenay plains. This year, i visited Kootenay Plains again. This year was wired. I saw both yellow and still green. Also some aspen trees had already lost their leaves.

Some people say not to visit the same place again and explore new places. But I like revisiting familiar locations. Things changes year by year; also something never changes. The picture on left is taken in 2012 and one on right is in 2013.

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By the way, Kootenay Plains is known to be quite windy. When I see motions and nice cloud pattern, it is time to try Lee Big Stopper ND filter. This image was from the trip in 2012, last year.


Windy day in Kootenay Plains by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Windy day in Kootenay Plains
by
Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for larger size.

Snowy afternoon in MAY – Bow Lake

I visited Banff, Alberta at the end of May. Unfortunately, I had a very cloudy morning, which is considered to be not ideal for landscape photography. But I believed I still can capture something. Then while I was driving to Lake Louise, snow started hitting the window shield of my car. When I reached to Icefield park way, I found a sign saying “The load is winter condition”. Again it was the end of MAY. Anyway, I decided driving up to Bow Lake, about 30 min drive from Lake, Louise. Snow was getting harder and actually trees covered by snow were pretty beautiful.

When I get to Bow Lake, the lake was re-frozen. obviously, I could not expect big shots. I was walking around the lake shore and looking for something to come to eyes. This photo is the one I found interesting.

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Please click the image for the larger size.

I used TrueGrain for B&W convertion and added structure and toning by Nik Silverefex. I would like to talk about my waorflow for B&W process in the future.

I really think my landscape photos are getting more subtle. How does this photo appeal to you?

Visiting old, Learn new

In my last post, I share my current approach I have been trying lately. However, I am still using the composition technique I am familiar with. You can find the similar compositions in my landscape photos in my website. This photo was taken at the same day as the photo in my last post.

Giant steps by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Giant steps by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Related post  :Keep it simple

 

 

Revisiting Pyramid Lake in Jasper

This place is a super popular location for photographers and I meet some photographer whenever I visited this location. In early October, I don’t have to wake up 6 am to catch sunrise, but, for this location, I have be there by 6:30 to set up a tripod to get a good spot, otherwise it’s been taken.

The reason I kept trying this scene is I have not gotten the image I expect. Last year, it was raining, and this year, it was cloudy. I want to capture beautiful morning glow reflecting on the foggy lake. Well, I have to wait until next year. Having said that, I can still do something in cloudy morning. I knew the sun would come out and the light would hit the mountain so I stayed longer even after another photographer left. I set my infrared camera and filters. I waited for the moment. This is the shot I got.

Pyramid Lake - Infrared

Please click the image for the larger size. I tried a little different composition I usually do; everything line up on center from bottom to top.

Talking about tripod, I bought a new tripod, Gitzo 3541XLS, which is super tall. I can literally make a tent with this tripod. The newer version, 3542 was just released so I got this tripod for bargain price at the Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. This is great investment since it allows me to raise view point much higher. That makes huge difference in composition. Please check my old blog about disadvantage of lower tripods as well.

Related post: Gallery show at Mount Royal University – Size matters, but be gentle (man)

Flash light in Landscape photographey.

I had a vacation this fall again. I visit Lake O’Hara and Jasper every year to pursue leaves changes. Although I had bad weather last two years, the sun was smiling at me most of the time this year in Lake O’Hara. However, it means light condition was a little harsh for photography. So I had to use HDR a lot in Lake O’Hara.

In Jasper, the weather was not as beautiful as when I had been in Lake O’Hara. But lighting condition at the golden time is usually difficult. I did not want to use HDR for this shot. Instead of the HDR, I tried off-camera flash light to the boats. I added tinge of colour with gels.
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Rainy Evening in Japser, Alberta – 2 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the photo for the larger size.

Sunset and boats – Lake O’Hara

One more photo from the Lake O’Hara trip about 2 weeks ago. I have taken so many sunset images from the viewpoint around the shelter area. Also I was leading some photographers. I wanted to show something a little more creative and different. So I took them to a boat dock as I predicted we could play with long exposure. I always think female photographers have more free thinking. Each of them created their own images.

In this trip, I opened my tripod only 3 times…infrared photography, night photography and this shot. Shutter speed is 8 sec.

Sunset and boats - Lake O'Hara by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Sunset and boats – Lake O’Hara by Hiroaki Kobayashi

My first photo workshop guide experience

Last week end, I visited Lake O’Hara, British Columbia. It was workshop by Brian Merry and I was one of leading guides. We started hike around 2 pm and it was beautiful sunny afternoon. The sky was spotless. This condition is perfect for hikers but for photographers….it is boring. I would be taking a nap in my car or searching  good subjects for  better lighting condition coming up later. Although I took my group to some iconic locations, the condition was not for open-dynamic-view type of images. Needless to say,  I have to show them something we can do without a tripod. As an instructor, I did not have time to set up a tripod. I was looking around and I got an idea.

Well…this is not super creative. Many people try the same thing. But this is fun and still some of viewers can tell where the scene is. I think documentary part of photography is also powerful tool to communicate with viewers. Having said that, I felt I had to add some effects to convey my languid feeling in the bright and warm Indian summer afternoon.

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I tried Darton Drake‘s techniques. I hope the result is more special than Instagram. Lastly, thank you, Brian, for giving me the opportunity.