Monday, February 28, 2011

About that Spring...

Right after that Spring post, we got dumped with snow. But, it rained again, snow is melting...but I hear the snow is coming...again. Oh well. I got the boys their rubber boots in anticipation of Spring, and it was warm enough to blow some bubbles today. :)

And, I had to work on my back lighting assignment for my natural light workshop. And it just so happens that I got some shots that were not planned at all. It was just a coincidence that they were back lit. LOL 

Jude has been doing this lately. 


He likes danger. He thinks its real funny too. Feet on the table...is he kidding me? I will say, "no" and put his foot back down, and he will get this sly smile and put it back up. Oh boy. Dangerous, yes. Cute, oh yes. 

Then, when we were getting ready for mass, there was all this giggling in the mud room. I peek in and find the boys have ransacked the mitten/hat/scarf drawer. Paul is wearing my hat and gloves, and he is pointing his finger at Joey and Pete, yelling, "clean up the living room boys!" Oh no he didn't. Oh yes, he did. He was imitating me. ME! Joe laughs, saying, "see, you are a nag." LOL As punishment, I asked him to step outside so I can photograph him against the sky, for my assignment. LOL 
 Then I had him clean the living room...just kidding. 

 Now, this one was intentional. I bribed Pete with some candy. I was trying to find some lovely tree bokeh, but with no leaves on the trees, well...not so easy. Oh well. I was going to try again, but the gray skies have rolled in...so, this is what I got.
 Come on Spring!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More fun with film

Color film that is. Developed at CVS again(I know, I know).  Try to spot the green color cast, ay yi yi. But, I am not complaining--for a 3.99 CD. :)  And, it may have been my fault. I was guestimating exposure based on the in camera light meter. I think I do need a light meter. Just playing around again. :)
Kodak 400VC






  

 
Kodak 400NC










Saturday, February 19, 2011

Birthdays!

What? Did I forget to mention that? I now have a 1 and 3 year old...sob sob...
Yes, I am late in posting these. You know, sometimes I think it would be easier to shoot film because I would actually have hard copies of my pictures(as opposed to having pics sit on my hard drive forever, never getting printed), and I would not have the editing time delay...you know, you take the pics, but then they sit in memory card waste land, waiting to get edited and saved on your computer, while you juggle the 110 other things in your life? Nah, with film, you send that roll off for scanning/developing, because you cannot wait to see the results. With digi, you see them, and then they sit there while you remain to busy to edit them...this is a whole other post, this 'digi convenience' (a lil' sarcasm there).
For now, lemme share with you the pics of my sweet birthday boys!

Jude! 1!




Pete! 3!



I told Pete that I ran outta diapers, so he would have to use the potty today. We will see how that goes...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Editing...

I have gotten a few questions about editing, and I decided to finally put together a little tute on it. :) I want to preface this by saying that I do not know a whole lot about editing. I know a little, but I do not pretend to be an expert. I keep it pretty simple, and I still have alot to learn. And, if a pro were editing this pic, they would probably check the skintone numbers, among many other things. But, I don't, so just keep that in mind. These are my babies, and I just make it look pleasing to my eye. ;) Most of what I have learned was from my intermediate PSE class at everyday elements. I learned about sharpening for web by reading the the info palette. I recommend checking out those sites! Anyhow, I like being helpful, so here is the very simple, basic way I edit.  I hope you find it helpful. 
:)
Here is my sweet Pete. He was pretending to be a super hero, and I could not resist pulling him aside for some pics. As you can tell, this is underexposed and the white balance is off. 

I shot it raw, so I opened it in ACR.

Since I will be increasing exposure, I have my highlight clipping warning on. So, if I go too far, the overexposed parts will look like this.

Just using that as an example for ya. Okay, so I am going to first change the whi bal to auto. Then, I am going to move the temperature slider until it looks more natural(if it looked to warm, I would move it towards the blue, if too cool, towards yellow). Then, I am going to move that exposure slider over to the right. 
I want to slide that over to the right, watching my histogram, until it is close to the right but still a teeny gap. I don't want it too touch the right or climb the wall. After I get the exposure where I want it, the histo will look like this(above). I check the red value by running my cursor over the bright parts of skin. I like to have the skin in the 220-240's. Anything higher than 245 will not give me enough pp wiggle room in pse. I am going to brighten it some more, so I need a little wiggle room, which is why I left a tiny gap on the right side of that histo too.
I then click open image to bring into PSE. 
I then do a levels bump. I click the white/black icon in the layers area, click levels, and then click on the adjustment area. I bring in the black slider, the white slider, and then I move the grey slider to the left. Just a hair. As you can see, I brought the black(shadows) in to 8, the grey(midtones) over by 1.10, and the white slider(highlights) in by 246. This just defogs and brightens. You can really see the diff by clicking the eye icon next to this levels layer. The image really pops now.

I then click on my histogram window, to make sure these adjustments did not overexpose parts of the skin. There is still a teeny tiny gap, so I know I am okay. 
Now, let's assume the histogram showed overexposure. If it did, I would click on info and use the eye dropper tool, placing it over the skin to see if any of the brighter areas were registering 255. If so, I would click back on layers, click on the white box of the levels layer we just tweaked, and using a soft black brush, at 70ish opacity, brush off only those overexposed areas. See the info window?

Next, in the layers area, I click on the white/black icon again and choose 'hue saturation' layer. I put in 20 for saturation. 
It has made his skin way too colorful! But, I like what it did to the other colors. 
So, I will go to the layers area, click on the white box on the hue/sat layer, choose a soft black brush, lower opacity to about 50% and brush it off his skin. 
Then, I am done. I will flatten image, save.
Then, I resize for web. I may crop or just resize. Here, I will crop. In my crop area, I put in resolution of 72, and make it 900 pixels by 900. If I were just resizing, I would make it 600 wide by 900 high. But, I wanted to crop out the painting in the background, which I find distracting, so I made it 900x900. If for facebook, I would make sure the widest part was no more than 700 pixels. 
 Then, I click on my layers area. I have flattened it, so there is only the background layer, I right click it and choose duplicate. Now I have background and background copy.
I bring the pic to 100% view. I go to enhance, unsharp mask, and put in the numbers.
 But, the sharpening has made his chapped lips and dry skin look worse! 
So, I take an eraser, at 100% and just run it over his cheeks, lips, and hair. I avoid the eyes. I then flatten and save. 
 So, here is the original. 
And here is the final edit.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring?

Kinda. Well, kinda sorta. Well, no not really, but let's talk about it. ;) So, the last few days, we have had a warm spell. It has been really nice. So nice, I was able to get outside and shoot some open-shade pics for my light workshop. Score! On that note, I will get back to Spring in a sec. 
Anyhow...my goal was to find some open shade along grungy bricks downtown. Trust me, this town has no shortage of old brick buildings. This is an urban photographers dream, lol. I came across a curious problem though...it seems that there must have been a big sale on yellow hued bricks back in the day, cause nearly every building in town is constructed out of these yellow bricks. I actually like the color. It's pretty. But, Paul, my little model, has some serious olive undertones, and I am tellin' ya, every single yellow hued brick in town is the same color as his skin. 

Yellow bricks, aka Paul's skin tone!

So, when I place him against these bricks...it is like skin camoflauge, and it is not pretty. But, it makes for a great black and white conversion.
See?


I found this neat little spot on the side of a dry cleaners.

And this was in a residential home parking lot. Pete is so funny.
 To make these images pop, I edited them using what they call 'urban grit' or 'urban grunge' techniques, which is not really my style, but when you are dealing with boring bricks, it really is necessary.

Okay, so back to Spring. After months of cold temperatures, snow, and ice, I welcome Spring! But, Spring is bittersweet here. It feels nice outside, so you want to get out and enjoy it. But...this whole place becomes a big mud swamp from the snow thaw. Run barefoot in the grass? Have a picnic in the yard? Only if you like swimming in mud. Okay, so this sounds terribly negative. Not my intent. Really, I just have to record the facts here, that is all. A picture is worth a thousand words, so lemme do some record keeping here. 
Okay, to understand Spring, you must understand the winter here. When I lived in the South, I idolized snow. I pictured a beautiful white wonderland. Kids making snow angels, having snowball fights, eating the fluffy white snow. And, this does happen here...the first day it snows. And to be fair, maybe after every really really big snow. But, no, after that first big snow, this is what the snow looks like the rest of the time, at least in town.
All that black by my feet is the 'big ol'  nasty black snowbank.' 

Here, for reference, lemme give you a bigger picture of this...
This is right outside my house. 
In town, the snowbanks are higher, and in parking lots, the plowed snow is taller than I am. And they are all this grey/black color. Okay, so you got the black snow thing now, right? Okay. :) So, like I said, the last few days have been warm! And, this snow is starting to melt. Which brings us to Spring...this black snow ain't pretty when it starts to melt. Just imagine the amount of grey slop floating around this town. And, the grass...this is how the grass will look as the snow melts. See it under there?
You now understand the mud we deal with come Spring. So, last year, I was not prepared for it, and I ruined a few good shoes and pants. To combat the black snow melt and muddy grass, I am prepared! I got some wellies. Because I am hoping Spring is right around the corner(although I know we have a few more snows, I am sure)
I considered getting a really sensible color, but you know what? I miss the sunshine, and this sunny yellow made me happy. 

No, Spring may not be here yet, but I know it is coming...the black snow banks are melting, my yard is turning into a swamp, and the tell tale sign? A bunch of guys shoveling snow off the playground!
See?