Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mr. Blue Sky

There's something odd about Valley Falls State Park near Fairmont.  It seems that the sky is overcast whenever I go there, and that's despite the fact that the sky is clear elsewhere.

The fall colors were probably at their peak on Sunday, and at least the sun was breaking through in places.  Some think that sky adds to the drama of the picture.  Some think that it's a shame that it was overcast.

This is for them:

I have had some experience with using PhotoShop to fix a dull sky, but I had always steered clear of situations where there was a lot of feathery detail like heavy foliage.  You should see the challenge that such a shot would present:  the foliage is difficult to isolate and mask.

I found and tried this tutorial: Photoshop Tutorial: How to Replace a sky in photoshop cs5.  The trick was to use channels, isolating the one channel which presents the greatest contrast between the foliage and the sky.  In this case, I worked with the blue channel.  You then progressively tweak levels to further isolate the difference between foliage and sky.

While the results are nice, I can't help feeling cheap.  I've cheated in some way, improving upon nature.

On that pensive thought, here's my SYTL: ELO - Mr. Blue Sky (official video - 2012 version)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Something from the Oven

Took a recent set of pictures of the Henry Clay iron furnace at Coopers Rock State Park.  This isn't quite an HDR shot.  Rather, it was created with an Adobe Lightroom plugin called LR/Enfuse.

LR/Enfuse does a nice little trick with a number of bracketed shots, creating a well-balanced lighting effect without the intensity of a high dynamic range picture.

While shooting there, I met a photographer from Pittsburgh, who was also shooting the furnace.  We swapped lenses, so I got to try his Tamron 28-80 mm lens.

I learned that this opening has a special name -- it's called a tuyere. That's the name for an entry through which the blast of air enters a furnace.  If you're interested, here's where I got my old iron furnace anatomy lesson:  http://www.oldindustry.org/OH_HTML/OH_Buckeye.html#Description.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Revisiting Illustrator Revisited

Previously, I shared an Adobe Illustrator drawing that I was thinking of using as a subject in the framing/matting course that I'm taking.

I showed it to one of my Ukrainian friends, and her daughter made lots of useful suggestions.  As a result of the suggestions, I completely overhauled the color work of the original, collapsing a variety of disparate colors into a very limited palette of art history colors.  The results are not unpleasing.

First of all, the daughter thought that the white background of the original was too glaring.  Rather than fussing with mat color schemes and conspiracies, the suggestion was to just use a harmonious background color and frame directly to that.  After experimenting with the creamy-yellow color that's in the flower petals, I tried the green that's in the leaves.  That received several thumbs-up.

I just ordered an 8"x10" print through Superior Photo.  I can't wait to make this one of my first framing projects.  Prior to this, all of my classwork has been with cutting mats.  That experience has been frustrating, to say the least.  It was almost an epiphany for me to realize that I didn't have to mat this particular work.

Bang, bang!  Maslow's hammer came down upon my head.