A Good Day for Infrared!

A few more from the Sony Rx100 plus R72 filter – on a very good day for infrared. All hand held at 800ISO 1/8th to 1/25th of a second at 28mm f1.8 +1.3 exposure compensation. The image stabilisation seems to work well most of the time even at these slow speeds. Shot in Raw at 20MP, then via DNG format and ACR to Photoshop and converted to B/W using one of the presets which seems to provide the best contrast.

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This is the road to an old Dorset bridge near Sturminster Marshall (White Mill Bridge). The sky this morning was superb!

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Here’s the Mill – taken from the same location as the lens tests earlier in the year. The vegetation has well and truly taken over and reflecting IR like crazy.

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Slightly different view and a nice contrast between the bright greenery and the shadows.

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Finally the bridge from the other side – the signpost is nice and sharp so all in all a good result.

If I can only leave the IR filter at home I’ll try to take some normal shots soon…..

Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Texture Layers Part Four

Time for a few more layered shots, this time a little less subtle than some of the previous ones.

First up, a fountain in a park – the dark layer added a sense of drama to an otherwise cold winter scene.00177107

Similarly here – this was shot on a truly dreadful day – cold, wet and frozen.

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Next one from the same day and the layer adds to the wet misty atmosphere.

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Finally one from the heath nearby – the layer adds an ‘aged’ look to an otherwise so-so image. Might be better in black and white…

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All shots for the book cover market – thanks for looking and hope you like them!

Infrareds – yet more…

(Five images) Well, you can’t have too many! This set is all taken in the typical ‘IR genre’ – graveyards and their monuments. All taken on a converted Fuji F810 and R72 filter.

First – an impressive angel in a rural church. The form of the wings makes the shot.

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Next – layered to add to the effect, and the figure on the pillar gives it a vaguely ‘roman’ look. The hexagonal flare is quite nice too.

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Different angel – similar effect. Unfortunately one of the wings has been broken off or vandalised.00178424

This was very odd – a nautical monument miles inland. An odd place to find an anchor.00177103

Finally a favourite location – an overgrown graveyard with some very grand monuments. IR helps distinguish the metalwork from the undergrowth. 00175971

Right – not that many IR’s left – thank goodness. Summer is coming, and it’ll soon be IR season for 4 months so get ready!

Hope you like them and thanks for looking!

Spooky Monuments Part 2

(Four Images). This is the second of a short series about very odd, some might say macabre, monuments which attract the ‘odd eye’ of a book cover photographer. The first part is here.

Poking around some old places usually yields some good results – the best shots are hardly taken in the most obvious locations or from the easiest viewpoints.

First one – taken with a Canon 60D and an ordinary kit zoom, toned in Photoshop. That eye is oddly mesmerising!

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Next a subject made for Rollei Blackbird film and a 17mm lens on an OM1N  – spooky, what more can I say?

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Next one of those gruesome 18th century monuments involving flying skulls – vignetted and converted to mono after shooting on a Canon G9.

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This final one seems to have been squeezed in by 1/2 cm – the laurel wreath is particularly odd. Extensively layered, taken on a 60D.

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All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Texture Layers Part Three

The last (for the time being) of the layer posts and this time it’s about even more subtle layering.

This was taken as a simple abstract but a light blue/brown helped it along nicely. Not too obvious, but then that’s the theme of the post…

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Next a Lensbaby shot which was taken on a stormy day by the coast. The post-processing added an extra boost to an otherwise so-so image.

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Finally one with a vignette, and the same image as number one layered to add something to an otherwise grey featureless sky. 00182158

Layering is a useful technique to add a bit of extra mystery and atmosphere to a shot which is graphically promising but lacks a certain ‘something’ – especially shots taken under flat skies. Give it a try using the hundreds of free layer/texture images on the web, or even better, shoot or create your own.

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Texture Layers Part Two

Following on from part one of this layers series, this on is dedicated to a more subtle (but not too subtle!) use of texture layers in post processing.

This first layer is almost like one of those odd Hoya filters from the 1980’s with a strong colour bias to one side. Combined  with a Lensbaby Sweet 35 at max aperture it makes a nice combination!

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Next a shot of the same tower as the first post – but the rain and condensation in the inside of a car window added to the fogged effect. This was one of only a few shots from a wet and cold day which was worth the effort.

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And finally a narrow alley with a ‘daguerreotype’ layer added – that bricked up window makes the shot. Converging lines again….00178893

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.’

Infrared Easter

(Three images). Not that Easter is traditionally infrared…. Hopefully we’ll be getting more green foliage soon – though it’s late coming this year in the UK – which means its infrared season again at last. Here’s a few from the Fuji F810 converted to IR.

This one is gently layered and vignetted for the classic IR look. The faded trees in the distance contrast nicely with the dark sharp railings in the foreground.

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Next is a lane nearby and a narrow lane curving away – the tree on the left is huge. This turned out better than anticipated as it wasn’t that bright.

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Last an open gate and some leaves – the colour channel and desaturation controls creating the final effect leaving just a bit of colour.

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All shots taken for the book cover market, hope you like them!

Texture Layers

It’s about time something was posted about using texture layers – I’ve already posted loads of shots with this type of post processing, sometimes so subtle that it’s hardly visible.

Starting with a few where it’s very visible:-

There are two main layer images added to this Lensbaby shot – one to enhance the stonework (which was a shot of rust), and one to give the brighter tones some texture. The images are blended together and then the layers ‘flattened’ to give the final effect. The interaction of the out of focus areas and the layers is very attractive.00182163

To achieve this effect you’ll need to ‘layer’ one or more shot on top of the other in Photoshop.

The easiest way I’ve found is to open the main picture and the texture images then drag a texture image over the main image from the ‘Projects’ floating toolbar. Resize the texture image to be the same size as the main image beforehand – this helps a lot!

The ‘Layers’ floating toolbar will then give various blending options such as ‘Overlay’ and ‘Soft Light’ – just have a play about with the options and the opacity of the layers and you’ll get the hang of it.

This next one is another Lensbaby shot with some strong layering to give a scratched/blotchy appearance. The Lensbaby plus layers combination is very nice!

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And finally a more subtle one – a soft green texture with a vignette around the edge. The texture has the effect of altering the tone curve and the colours which, if you get it right, can make the image look a lot better without looking over processed.

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I’ve gone a bit ‘Gothic’ here – probably because these types of shot suit more extreme layering. One you get used to this as a normal part of post processing it’s easy to build up a library of textures from free downloads or texture shots you take yourself.

There’s a detailed free tutorial here if anyone wants to see the process in more detail.

Give it a try – it can really add a special look to your images – especially for book cover stock. It’s also good for hiding dust and scratches on film images, and for adding some colour to black and white shots.

Hope you find this useful and thanks for looking!

Tree Tuesday Part Thirteen

Been in a bit of a mood for abstracts at the moment, so here’s a few for Tree Tuesday in a similar vein, hope you like them.

First one taken on the ever reliable Zuiko 50mm f1.4 – a thorn bush on the 60D. With these sort of shots the background, even though out of focus, is just as important as the main subject – a difficult thing to remember for me at least. Layered in Photoshop.

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Next – a Lensbaby shot taken with a quarry in the background and just an image of vague shapes really.

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Finally, a ‘frame’ shot of, well not very much really – these are for book covers after all. Imagine it with the title and author and you get the idea – at least a I hope a cover designer will!

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography. Have a good Tree Tuesday!

A Few in the Crime Genre

The agency I shoot for specialises in creative publication imagery and crime novels are a bit of a speciality of theirs, so inevitably you end up taking some unusual shots…

Onto the first one, shot after a vintage photo shoot in abandoned building (obviously). Toned and textured in Photoshop, the fallen chair in the deserted building  is something of a crime book cover classic subject.

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This one’s  in a different vein –  thanks Pete for standing in the doorway. It’s a ‘frame within a frame’ shot of a reflection in a mirror and hopefully conveys some implied surprise or tension. This has just some basic toning to bring out some greys in the white paintwork surround.00217850

Finally a shot taken in some tunnels and a figure running towards the light with a slow shutter speed. A classic cover shot if ever there was one..

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.

Shooting Doors Part Five

A few more for the Legion – hope you like them!

First one taken with a Vivitar 17mm with an OM1N on Ilford PAN F (to see how well this lens does on a DSLR look here). All very dark and mysterious.

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Next a shot on the much missed Adox CHS ART 50 film, and a door next to an oddly curved wall. A texture layer was added in Photoshop to enhance the shadow fall off to the left of the frame.

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Finally a neglected terrace door and gate, layered/textured as per the previous one. This was taken on an Oly EPL3 with the kit lens.

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.

Lensbaby Magic

The Lensbaby is an unpredictable beast – the results you think you’re going don’t often appear.

So with that intro, some shots which were pre-visualised as a particular image but ended up as something better – Lensbaby ‘fairy dust’ if you like, and hypnotically good as you play around in Photoshop and watch the results emerge!

First then – one of ‘those’ shots taken by instinct on a Sweet 35 mounted on an EPL3 in the winter. I could look at the wave patterns for hours…

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Next on the plastic lens and this was vaguely what I had in mind, just better than I’d imagined.

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Finally the best example – I can’t even recognise where this was taken, just sunlight off a road somewhere and, well much more impressively abstract that whatever I’d thought of!

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.

A Final Few from the Vintage Clothing Shoots

Last year I wrote several posts about fashion shoots using vintage clothing. These are a few shots which slipped through the net.

First one – a black dress and lace gloves holding  a silver heart. The thing I remember most about this is the hours of editing to remove all of the distracting reflections from the metallic surface. In the end I wasn’t entirely happy with the result but decided I wasn’t going to do any better!

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Next one – Emily on a bridge taken with the plastic lens on a Lensbaby. It was the end of a long day, and to be honest I was feeling a bit tired and hungry so this was the best of that short session.

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This one I particularly liked – Emily looking defiant is the corner of run down building. It’s the textures and the way the light falls which makes the shot, enhanced by the use of the Canon ‘clear’ colour profile which is really useful.

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Finally, Mary doing a typical ‘book cover’ pose – tweaked post processing to add a vignette and give it a blue/green hue.

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If you’d like to see the results from the last shoot see here.

As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking!

In Camera Processing – Misusing the ‘Miniature’ Effect

Many digital cameras offer a ‘miniature’ effect to make city scapes and landscapes look like model villages. It’s all a bit naff, but there’s a real use for this effect – a sort of ‘ Lensbaby on the cheap’ if you like.

You may be able to control the orientation and focus zone -the Canon 60D allows this and the orientation has been switched to vertical for this shot to focus attention in the window’s axis.

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 Same here – plus a layer and some post-processing to add some drama.00177109

Vertical again – there’s a pattern emerging here – looks quite ‘Lensbabyish’.00180138

Finally one I was really pleased with – but horizontal orientation this time. The light was almost horizontal and illuminating the plastic kid’s playhouse against a dark background.

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography

More In Camera Processing

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Why my first image won’t appear in the reader is anyone’s guess – always used to work – any ideas out there? Following on from the last post about using the Olympus PEN ‘Dramatic Tone’ effect, I’ve had a bit more of a play around using it on some Lensbaby Sweet 35 shots.

These first three were taken on a very stormy day on the coast – it was worth the effort despite getting soaked.

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The weather has mostly been dark and overcast over the last few weeks, and the effect drags some lovely cloud detail out from an otherwise grey sky.

00274808It all lends itself to some dark, moody (maybe melodramatic!) landscapes, enhanced by DXO Filmpack post processing and maybe the odd layer here and there. There’s been a few birds added here as well – blurred in a layer using the ‘motion blur’ tool.

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This is a milennium beacon inland – shows the ‘burnt in’ sky nicely – I used to do this on B/W prints with bits of card on sticks!

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Might as well finish on a gothic feel – been trying to take a decent shot of this monument for years and this is my best attempt yet.

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.

p.s. Apologies – haven’t been posting much lately – been too busy taking pictures!