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04/14/2006 03:01:43 PM · #226
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My flatlight try. I haven't done anything to it yet except resize.
04/14/2006 03:01:53 PM · #227
Originally posted by MadMan2k:

My try for the flat lighting lesson -
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And the 1600px original (630kb):
//www.jonbuder.com/temp/house_flat_orig.jpg

Is the light flat after all? I thought so because it was coming from almost straight behind me and didn't cast any sideways shadows in the shot..


Yes, it's definitely flat light, coming from dead astern of you :-) Makes for a pretty blah image, doesn't it? It's useful as an exercise to show you "understand" the concept of flat light, but of limited use as an image shot in flat light that can then be "enhanced" in PP to have visual interest.

I'm noticing this with most of these examples, actually; that by and large these are not images that anyone would want to "do" anything with, realistically. Whereas the purpose of the lesson, such as it is, would be more to take an image that is decently-composed and can work well in flat light, and then enhance it with careful PP to play up its strengths.

The idea is that where we lack light with any "punch" to give us luminosity and tonal range, we can instead use color itself to introduce the tonal variations we need to make the image pop. Take this earlier example of mine:

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The image itself is interesting; I had a reason to take it. You, as a viewer, have a reason to want to look at it. The lighting was horrible, full overcast day, really blah and flat. But the extreme ebb tide, exposing the sandbars, and the extreme calm (it's usually very windy there) made it worth shooting. Then in PP I did some fairly extreme color work, turning dull gray sand into a reddish-umber and enhancing the steely gray, blue/cyan tonality, plus using localized levels/curves to make the buildings themselves pop a little in the background, with the end result that I got a very satisfying, quite moody shot of Provincetown that's not the typical bright, touristy rendition.

R.
04/14/2006 03:05:46 PM · #228
Originally posted by myra:

Here is one at ISO 100 of the same scene.

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Seems like there would be more of a difference.


Myra,

The differences in noise at high ISO are not all that visible at uncropped, 640-pixel display size. But when I blow the images up, I can see a definite increase in visual acuity at the lower ISO. Try it yourself in PS and see; magnify a section of the trees WAY big and look at the difference.

As for the images themselves, see what I had to say to madman in the previous post; let's all do the best we can to produce well-composed shots that just need local enhancement to overcome the flat light, OK?

R.
04/14/2006 03:11:57 PM · #229
Originally posted by kdsprog:

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My flatlight try. I haven't done anything to it yet except resize.


That's really more of an example of backlight than flat light. It's hazy, diffused backlighting, but the sparkles on the water are evidence that you're shooting into the light. In any case, see my post to madman a little earlier; I'd like to see this exercise working on images that have actual potential in the flat light situation; images in which the flat light can be seen as an asset rather than a liability.

In this shot you just basically have a snapshot of a boat in an undifferentiated mass of water; there's no real elements to enhance or modulate, like the sandbars/sky/buildings/water interplay in my Provincetown shot, or like the surreal devastation and horizontal layering of Skyarcher's image.

R.

Message edited by author 2006-04-14 15:13:26.
04/14/2006 05:00:36 PM · #230
My attempt at flat light, before and after:
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I masked and did two layers of curves, then some hue/sat and contrast. Sharpened the "after" version.
How'd I do?

Edit: I was playing with shooting RAW at the time, and lost my EXIF data for these....sorry!

Message edited by author 2006-04-14 17:58:18.
04/14/2006 05:54:17 PM · #231
Here's a flat light flower shot I did today:

Rotated and saved for web, otherwise straight from the camera
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Slight curves adjustment
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Exposure was 1/50, f2.8, ISO 100. I used the wide end of the lens: 7.9mm, equivalent: 38mm

Any comments are welcome.
04/15/2006 02:36:51 AM · #232
Originally posted by OdysseyF22:

My attempt at flat light, before and after:
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I masked and did two layers of curves, then some hue/sat and contrast. Sharpened the "after" version.
How'd I do?

Edit: I was playing with shooting RAW at the time, and lost my EXIF data for these....sorry!


Wow, you certainly popped that one didn't you? It may be a tad harsh now, but for sure you're in the game. If you have gothic glow, give it a oass. Paste the GG image on top of this one and fade the overlaid image to get a subtle glow and a little softening of the scene with no loss of contrast,

If you don't have it, dind it as "Feivel's Gothic Glow" at //www.atncentral.com/download.htm

Robt.
04/15/2006 02:42:14 AM · #233
Originally posted by Raziel:

Here's a flat light flower shot I did today:

Rotated and saved for web, otherwise straight from the camera
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Slight curves adjustment
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These are pleasant enough, but they're really not "flat light", there's all sorts of shaping going on from the light in this image. It's not bright, glaring light but it's sort of out of the ballpark of this assignment.

Message to All

Plus (and I blame myself for this) I don't really wanna see this turn into a flowers thread, we're a landscape thread. I used some flowers of my own sort of as an aside to show how flat light can be very good for detail natural light shots, but they're really not where we want to go here. That's a wholeother learning thread.

So let's get back to the big picture, if we can.

R.
04/15/2006 03:20:38 AM · #234
Nobody's ever accused me of being good at subject selection when I shoot landscapes.. I thought the foreground objects and low camera angle might look cool for that shot, but I guess it ends up looking cluttered and distracting.

Is this shot from my Texas trip any nicer? It's flat lighting also, but more colorful stuff on the ground and the skys are more cloudy..
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04/15/2006 08:18:18 AM · #235
Originally posted by MadMan2k:

Nobody's ever accused me of being good at subject selection when I shoot landscapes.. I thought the foreground objects and low camera angle might look cool for that shot, but I guess it ends up looking cluttered and distracting.

Is this shot from my Texas trip any nicer? It's flat lighting also, but more colorful stuff on the ground and the skys are more cloudy..
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Yah, the the first one was pretty cluttered, and that one blade of OOF grass was killer, too. Judging from this latest, you do have a fondness for "bleak", don't you? I've done a quick makeover on it. Autolevels cleaned up the greenish color cast. Contrast masking, followed by hue/sat bumps in red and yellow, followed by levels, then a sky gradient from blue-gray to transparent, and a new hue/sat pushing the blues and cyans a smidge, plus the sharpening.

There's a limit to what we can get out of this, obviously, but it's arguably a little more interesting now? In your version, you had a color cast to the green/cyan side that was hurting it, plus the clouds, while dramatic, are completely out of character with the light on the landscape itself, it doesn't look natural at all to me.

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R.

Message edited by author 2006-04-15 08:21:39.
04/15/2006 11:38:32 AM · #236
Good morning. Here is a photo I took at 8:30 this morning. It is very cloudy. I took this photo facing the west.

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04/15/2006 11:45:58 AM · #237
Originally posted by myra:

Good morning. Here is a photo I took at 8:30 this morning. It is very cloudy. I took this photo facing the west.

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That's very nice. If you work soem more at i8t, you can pull up some separation of tree trunks from BG and this would be a huge plus. Also, I'm detecting a slight, overall magenta cast to the image. I notice that the original is WAY blue; what'd you do, leave the camera on tungsten WB? It's really hard to recover from that much of a color throw in PS without other inaccuracies creeping in.

By and large, you're better off parking your WB in "auto" and then manually setting it whenever you feel the urge, but always remembering to go back to auto as soon as the urge passes. As long as you're parked in auto, you can't have any real disasters when you grab the cam on the fly before your first cup of coffee :-)

Original seems underexposed as well, you'd be better off exposing more to the right on the histogram and bringing the sky down in PP, rather than trying to bring the dark areas up. You get more useful detail throughout that way.

R.
04/15/2006 11:56:45 AM · #238
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Wow, you certainly popped that one didn't you? It may be a tad harsh now, but for sure you're in the game. If you have gothic glow, give it a oass. Paste the GG image on top of this one and fade the overlaid image to get a subtle glow and a little softening of the scene with no loss of contrast,

If you don't have it, dind it as "Feivel's Gothic Glow" at //www.atncentral.com/download.htm

Robt.

Thanks Robert! I just downloaded Gothic Glow and applied it at 24% opacity, which looked about right. Here it is:
First Edit: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/320913.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/320913.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' Gothic Glow: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/321280.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/321280.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2006-04-15 12:16:47.
04/15/2006 12:27:26 PM · #239
The hardest thing in post processing of landscapes for me is proper sharpening. I'm interested how others get their images to "proper" sharpness.

I fight three battles when sharpening landscapes:
1-Noise sharpening
2-Haloing and artifacts
3-Unnatural over sharpening and digitalization, particularly with landscapes containing a lot of fine detail.

How do you overcome these problems?
04/15/2006 12:58:22 PM · #240
Originally posted by stdavidson:

The hardest thing in post processing of landscapes for me is proper sharpening. I'm interested how others get their images to "proper" sharpness.

I fight three battles when sharpening landscapes:
1-Noise sharpening
2-Haloing and artifacts
3-Unnatural over sharpening and digitalization, particularly with landscapes containing a lot of fine detail.

How do you overcome these problems?


Steve,

If it's OK with you we'll table this discussion for a while? We'll be discussing sharpening a little further down the road. It would be a little off-track here.

Thanks, Robt.
04/15/2006 01:00:16 PM · #241
Originally posted by OdysseyF22:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Wow, you certainly popped that one didn't you? It may be a tad harsh now, but for sure you're in the game. If you have gothic glow, give it a oass. Paste the GG image on top of this one and fade the overlaid image to get a subtle glow and a little softening of the scene with no loss of contrast,

If you don't have it, dind it as "Feivel's Gothic Glow" at //www.atncentral.com/download.htm

Robt.

Thanks Robert! I just downloaded Gothic Glow and applied it at 24% opacity, which looked about right. Here it is:
First Edit: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/320913.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/320913.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' Gothic Glow: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/321280.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/40355/thumb/321280.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


That's fun, isn't it? Now, if you have glow on a layer of its own on top of the regular image, try using the history brush to recover some detail in the trees right and BG.

R.
04/15/2006 01:32:20 PM · #242
Robert,

Here is an original image taken after a storm front, ~2.00 pm and light breaking through clouds lightening the stubble in the field.
12mm, f14, 1/400, iso200. Auto levels only.
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I wanted to bring out more of the lighting in the foreground but retain cloud detail. Here is version 2.
Contrast masking for shadows, set to screen. Contrast masking for highlights set to hard light. Adjust curves for shadow and hilight layers. Blue gradient layer applied with color burn. Saturation adjustment layer to take away some of the yellow in the clouds. Both images unsharp @110%, .5, 9.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321295.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321295.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I like the new version but still doesn't look like it did when i tripped the shutter.
04/15/2006 01:39:50 PM · #243
I took 5 photos this morning, all in AWB. They were exposed at -2, -1, 0, +1, & +2. I believe the one I showed you earlier was 0. Here is my +2. I will work on it to see what I can do.

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04/15/2006 01:54:19 PM · #244
Here's a shot of a Drakensberg river taken in cloudy weather.

Straight from camera

Touched up version
04/15/2006 02:40:34 PM · #245
Here is my edited +2 exposure flat landscape compared to my 0 exposure flat landscape.

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04/15/2006 03:41:45 PM · #246
Originally posted by Raziel:

Here's a shot of a Drakensberg river taken in cloudy weather.

Straight from camera

Touched up version


That's a nice job :-)

R.
04/15/2006 03:46:57 PM · #247
Thanks.
Any tips on how I could further improve the shot?
04/15/2006 03:50:26 PM · #248
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Yah, the the first one was pretty cluttered, and that one blade of OOF grass was killer, too. Judging from this latest, you do have a fondness for "bleak", don't you? I've done a quick makeover on it. Autolevels cleaned up the greenish color cast. Contrast masking, followed by hue/sat bumps in red and yellow, followed by levels, then a sky gradient from blue-gray to transparent, and a new hue/sat pushing the blues and cyans a smidge, plus the sharpening.

There's a limit to what we can get out of this, obviously, but it's arguably a little more interesting now? In your version, you had a color cast to the green/cyan side that was hurting it, plus the clouds, while dramatic, are completely out of character with the light on the landscape itself, it doesn't look natural at all to me.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30861/thumb/321228.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30861/thumb/321228.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

R.


Thanks for the edit.. I didn't want to push the reds very much because they looked kind of unnatural but I see what you mean about the color cast. The clouds were actually pretty dark, maybe not as dark as in the edit I did though.

I guess you're right about the fondness for 'bleak'... people will call a picture that and I think it's just fine. I'll go try to hunt down something better when the lighting gets better (overcast today, that can't help)

Any tips on what might make a scene not look 'bleak' though? heh
04/15/2006 03:54:03 PM · #249
Originally posted by mpeters:

Robert,

Here is an original image taken after a storm front, ~2.00 pm and light breaking through clouds lightening the stubble in the field.
12mm, f14, 1/400, iso200. Auto levels only.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321294.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321294.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I wanted to bring out more of the lighting in the foreground but retain cloud detail. Here is version 2.
Contrast masking for shadows, set to screen. Contrast masking for highlights set to hard light. Adjust curves for shadow and hilight layers. Blue gradient layer applied with color burn. Saturation adjustment layer to take away some of the yellow in the clouds. Both images unsharp @110%, .5, 9.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321295.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/42013/thumb/321295.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I like the new version but still doesn't look like it did when i tripped the shutter.


Is this any closer to what you're looking for?

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Robt.
04/15/2006 03:57:30 PM · #250
Originally posted by MadMan2k:


I guess you're right about the fondness for 'bleak'... people will call a picture that and I think it's just fine. I'll go try to hunt down something better when the lighting gets better (overcast today, that can't help)

Any tips on what might make a scene not look 'bleak' though? heh


There's nothing wrong with "bleak" as long as you're not counting on it to win ribbons for you. I have done many, many bleak photos in my day; some would say I still do :-) It's pretty much a question of subject matter; to some degree it's also how you depict the subject, but basically flat dessicated-looking landscapes with power pylons and red-dirt roads are sort of bleak by definition, eh? The whole thing reminds me vaguely of "Mad max" and stuff like that.

Robt.
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