Tag Archives: Software

White crested waves and Long exposure

This images was taken in Abraham Lake, Alberta in this summer. I guess I arrived the area evening. The sun was already gone. Kootenay plains area is usually very windy. This day was also windy and the Abraham lake was white with form. Actually, this was the condition I had been waiting for. When attempting long exposure to white crested waves, the surface of lake or sea turns white, rather than black …kind of surreal. I used LEE Bigstopper and achieved 362 sec (6 min) of exposure time.

Abraham Lake - Long After Sunset

By the way, I recently discovered Capture one, excellent Raw converter and photo management software. I have being using Adobe Lightroom for long time. When opening Raw file to Photoshop from Lightroom I noticed many color spots of long-exposure noise was quite visible. On the other hand, the file from Capture one is cleaner. I could see some tiny white spots but they are not so significant. One day, I would to write a more thorough report.From Lightroom

From Capture one

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)


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


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).


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”

Couple portraits – Now I am posting because…

Here are some left over from last year. I wanted to post these photos from the photo session for the fabulous couple. I waited to post these images because I re-processed all images at the end of last year since I bought Nik Color Efex and Topaz B&W Effects. Nik Color Efex has changed my processing work flow totally. I was skeptical of using these digital filters since I felt I would alter me to just a switch pressing machine. But after some practices of using Color Efex, I became able to apply effects to meet my processing plans. Then these digital filters are really useful.

By the way, this couple just got new addition to the family. I wish their long happy life.

Please click the images for larger sizes.

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Lightroom needs computer power

Just recently, I have changed my workflow of digital processing. 90% of the post-processing was done by only Adobe Photoshop, but  I am more rely on Adobe Lightroom lately since I found cropping tool of the LR was more user friendly than PS and I can publish from the process of the cropping tool. I mean I do not have to create extra cropped versions of the image files by PS before publishing. Adjustment  Brush tool of the LR  is…good enough for the most of retouching. I still like masking and curve by PS when changing contrast.

But I did not know the fact Adobe Lightroom was such a computer processor power eater. My 5 years old computer with Core 2 Duo was not usable. If you are trying to selecting area by brushing tool and you can see the covered area 30 second later, how efficient is it? So I gave up the machine and I upgraded computer. Now CPU is Intel Core i5 with 8G memory. Furthermore,  I installed SSD (solid-state-drive) for Windows 7, all programs, and Lightroom catalog and cash area. Now LR is somewhat stress free. PS? Oh, I did not know why I waited for such a long time to upgrade the computer. So I put all new parts together within 1.5 hrs. Having said that I am still working on installing programs. I may be a computer geek but not smart enough to prepare all necessary product keys.

Hell to Heaven  by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Hell to Heaven by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Only minimal digital processing by Adobe photoshop. Please click  the image for the larger size. 

I like shooting portraits, too!

I have been publishing mostly nature photography. But when I got a digital camera at the end of 2008, my favorite photography still was street photography, so actually I like shooting people as well. However, a difference is, compared to 3 years ago, I am more into more sophisticated lighting techniques. Find good light, read the light, it is the nature photography. On the other hand, you can create light; that is fun part of this type of photo session. Also it is collaborative work with models and assistants. It is a great charm.

I had location-model photo-session at the end of August. For the day, I forgot wireless system for flashlights. So I could not try any fancy lighting techniques. But I was lucky enough that I asked my friend to be an assistant so we completed our works with only reflector. One thing I found from this experience was I could keep up shooting tempo with the only reflector. If I had set up multiple lights at different locations, it would have been so time-consuming. The concept of this session was a wondering girl in the city. I may be too shy to be like David Hemmings in “Blow-up“. (Austin Powers must be easier for you to associate with what I want to say.) So I ususaly set up concept for portrait sessions.  

Please let me how you think about these photos.

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For the last two images, I used HDR. I guess Photomatix did decent job, and I kind of like them. But still degraded sharpness looks problematic. So unless I want HDR feel, I would go with proper lighting setup. Or cut and paste the best exposure of the main subject into the HDR image. I should try the technique  when I have time.

I HAVE TO to introduce the model. Her name is Krystal Shuhyta. One of fears of photographers’ side in the cases of photo sessions is poor communication and unprofessional attitude. But I really appreciate her professionalism. Krystal always responded to my email so quickly and she dealt very well with my strange concept. (I am bad one. I had to ask her to wait for me providing images for over 2 months due to the photo gallery.) She is highly recommended. Krystal is also a photographer and she has started her new business, Fly Free Photography. Please check out her Facebook page.

Lastly, while I was processing the photos of this session. I found I had not taken any close-up shot of her due to the concept. Here is her lovely close-up photo.

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The green sweater by eleven:eleven Butique   

Upgrading computer

Recently, my computer has been acting slow since I installed photoshop CS5.   Also spaces of hard drive is getting slim. So I have decided upgrading my computer.  I am planing to install 64bit windows system and debian 64 bit (dual boot), and more memory will be installed. This is really the 2-full-day project at least. I need to organize all image files scattered all over the hard drives. Yes, it is pain, but it can not be avoided for photographers in the digital age

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This image is the one I got 1st position on the contest by a local art gallery. I will talk about infrared photography next time after the upgrade is completed.