Flexible Edits

Smart Filter (Non-Destructive Edit)

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Dodge & Burn (Non-Destructive Edit)

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Adjustment Layer (Non-Destructive Edit)

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Process:

For my first photograph of the pumpkin I added a cross process cooling filter to create a more rustic feel and add additional texture. I also sharpened the image a bit. I started out in Lightroom, but ended up doing most of my editing in Photoshop using a smart filter on a non-destructive layer to edit my photograph. I used the dodge and burn editing technique in Photoshop for the next two photographs. I hit shift+command+N on my Mac to create a new non-destructive editing layer for both. I then changed the mode to overlay and checked the box to fill the overlay with 50% gray. For the photograph of the kitten I used the dodge tool to lighten the kitty and bring back that little bit of shine in her eyes. I used the burn tool to darken the background and edges a bit creating a vignette. I also used the sliders in Lightroom to take out some of that yellowish color that was too prominent in the original. The second photograph of my friend Katie Bailey swinging at the pumpkin patch was a bit more difficult to edit. I used the dodge and burn tool just like I did for the kitten photograph to lighten Katie and darken the background and the sky. By darkening the sky a little with the burn tool I was able to illuminate additional texture and color. Darkening the background also helped Katie to stand out a bit more as well as my use of the dodge tool to lighten her image. The difficulty came when I started removing the face of her roommate Rachel that is peeking out from behind Katie on the left side of the photograph. When I used the lasso tool it just kept duplicating Katie’s red sweater in place of Rachel’s face, which looked weird so I had to try something else. I ended up using the spot healing tool at various sizes to remove the majority of Rachel’s face and then went back with the clone stamp and tried to cover up the rest and make it look as natural as possible. Luckily it is a small portion of the image so it isn’t very noticeable. For my last edit I created a non-destructive adjustment layer and used the curves tool to add a little extra red to the photograph. I also used the spot healing tool to remove some filter dust that was on the picture.

Perspective of 12

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Process:

As anyone that has read or looked at many of my blog posts knows I am kind of obsessed with light. Ever since I realized that I could actually shoot into the light and produce interesting sun flares or spots on my photos I have tried to do that as much as possible. I tried a couple of different options before deciding on this idea for my assignment. I wanted to choose a subject that had enough dimensions that would allow me to capture some very different photographs while using the same object. I have to say that this assignment definitely stretched my creativity. I spent a lot of time exploring different ideas and moving myself around to see if I could come up with a different angle or viewpoint that I hadn’t seen at first. As I  got a little over halfway through capturing the 12 photographs I began to struggle for additional inspiration. When I reviewed my photographs in post, however, I was fairly pleased to see the varied details and viewpoints I was able to capture. When it comes to photography I think it can be very easy to get locked into certain perspectives we’re used to shooting or seeing in a lot of other photos. That’s why I am so thankful for this activity that pushed my creative limits. I’m excited to continue to implement this idea in future photo shoots in order to help me to constantly evolve as an artist.

Bannack Ghost Town: Best of Bannack

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Process:

I am not entirely sure if I would classify all of these photographs as my best, but they are definitely some of my favorites that remained after I completed the other aspects of our Bannack projects. As a photographer I am always itching to get just ‘one more shot’ so the first photograph in this post was taken as I headed back to the buses at the end of the day along with the last remaining stragglers. I really wanted to capture the essence of the abandoned ghost town, which was nearly impossible earlier in the day when it was swarming with photographers. I also took several reflection pictures because those windows perfectly captured them. I thought about removing the photographers from that shot, but decided that I liked the story that it told with them in it. I got on the ground and added some grain to the next shot to produce a bit of a creepy vibe. Everything was incredibly dusty in Bannack and I liked it because it added character and an interesting story element to my next two pictures. I chose to do my dusty old mill picture in black and white to draw the focus to the dust and the following picture in sepia to bring out the texture even more. My final picture is another HDR that I really liked particularly because of the fun sun-flare in the corner.

Bannack Ghost Town: HDR

1-shot HDR

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3-shot HDR

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Process:

This was my first time creating HDR shots and I can definitely say that I am now obsessed with this technique! I will be purchasing Photomatix so that I can use it for future photographs and eliminate the watermark. I have seen a few HDR images before and I was always hesitant about this technique because I felt like it often made photographs look unrealistic. However, after using this program I realized that I can customize it to my style and produce a beautiful final product. In class our TA commented that our eyes see in HDR. I never really thought of that before, but it makes me enjoy these photos that much more. I have often looked at a beautiful scene that I wanted to capture in a photograph, but when I shot the photo the result was disappointing because I couldn’t get my camera to capture what I was actually seeing. HDR allows me to capture those images the way my eye sees them. All of the little cabins and houses in Bannack were beautiful and were surrounded by a multidimensional landscape that inspired me to shoot them in HDR. Now that I have a better understanding of how this technique works I am excited to apply it within an array of different situations. I also love that HDR effects can be applied to single shot photographs as well.

Bannack Ghost Town: Macro Abstract

Texture

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I’m always excited when I’m able to catch some fun sun spots in my pictures. The texture in this photograph draws the eye and creates interest. I love the jagged wood and how it practically reaches out of this picture.

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Macro

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Blended

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Process:

As the title of my blog suggests, I’m all about the details and texture is one of my favorite details to highlight. It is rare that shooting portraits draws my interest over the huge assortment of details that surround me, but with the access to interesting and talented models that this trip provided my focus was definitely divided. At the conclusion of the trip I was concerned that I had spent too much time shooting portraits which caused me to neglect the beautiful details and textures that were usually my favorite. Fortunately I found that I had captured several interesting macro and texture shots as shown above. I was amazed at how beautiful wood could be when shot up close. The texture and colors of the wood were incredibly eye catching. My goal with each of these photographs was to capture the vintage, rustic feel of Bannack and I think these pictures do a pretty good job of that. I created a shallow depth of field in most of these pictures to accentuate every detail as much as possible. The last two photographs displayed are an editing example of blending that I did in Photoshop. For the first one I decided to use all of each picture, but for the second one I erased parts of the lace background so that it would only be displayed on that first jar.

Bannack Ghost Town: Motion & Depth

Blurred Motion

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I took this photograph inside of one of the old cabins because it was nice and dark which made it perfect for a slow shutter speed. Pictured is our TA for the day who helped out my group when we first arrived at Bannack. This photograph was one of the first ghost ones I took and afterwords my group all agreed that she should stand in the frame a bit longer so that we could capture a better image of her. However, in post production I really liked this creepy half ghost because it looks like she’s fading away. I added a split tone filter in Lightroom to enhance the spooky feel of this photo and even brightened up the ghostly image to really make her pop. Creepy!

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For some reason the blurred motion photographs produced the best chill factor for me so I ended up adding black and white based filters to add to the ghostly feel. I imagine little unseen ghost children riding this merry-go-round in old abandoned Bannack.

Frozen Action

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Natural window light is some of my favorite light to work with! To me this picture has captured a whimsical moment when a school teacher dances around at the end of a long school year. Photography is all about telling stories and this photograph definitely has one to tell.

Depth

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Process: 

Motion is one of my new favorite things to experiment with when it comes to photography. The blurred motion photographs I captured for this assignment were particularly fun because I feel like they really embody the whole ghost town feel. For each of the blurred motion photos I kept my shutter open for upwards of 6 seconds and used a tripod to help retain the clarity of the non-moving objects in both pictures. For my frozen action photo I shot continuously as the teacher danced and twirled by the window in order to get the best shot that I felt illustrated frozen motion. When it came to my depth shots I was looking to capture two objects that were far enough apart to provide two distinctly obvious focus points, but close enough together to allow for a nice blurred second point. The fence and the house you see pictured turned out to be the perfect combination! It is interesting to me how the change in focus also seems to change how to colors in each photo appear ever so slightly.

Bannack Ghost Town: Portraits

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I shot this photograph as I was on my way out of one of the buildings and another photographer was posing Michael. It was an opportunity shot that I didn’t think much of at the time, but during post production I recognized the perfect moment I was able to capture. I added a Cross Process filter in Lightroom as well as a few other edits.

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These next two photographs of Jake and Dusty are the same, but I liked the black and white and colored versions equally so I couldn’t decide between the two. These guys were hilarious and two of the best models I’ve ever worked with! We continuously threw out requests that they happily fulfilled which allowed us to get some great shots. I absolutely love this cowboy action shot.

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I took a ton of photographs of these two interacting, but this was one of the few landscape shots I ended up with. I like the way that it causes your eyes to flow through it from the customer’s face, up the barber’s arm and down through his other arm which brings you in a full circle back to the customer’s face. I added a split tone filter in Lightroom along with various other edits to produce the final product. I wanted to create a vintage feel with this shot.

Reflector Portraits

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Continuous Light

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Process:

Wow, what a blast! My trip to Bannack Ghost Town in Montana was phenomenal to say the least. I have been looking forward to this trip ever since I registered for the class several months ago and it did not disappoint! In the weeks leading up to Bannack I was definitely excited, but also filled with anxiety at the thought of the huge assignment required of us. I am obsessed with photography and could literally be out shooting all day every day, but that doesn’t always mean that I am able to produce large amounts of quality photos from those shoots. With the time constraint, assignment requirements, and endless photographic possibilities the pressure was on in Bannack. However, being around so many creative, like-minded people produced a contagious energy and excitement that got my own creative juices flowing. I decided to push myself and only shoot in Manual mode all day for the first time. Up until this point I have been afraid of using manual mode because I still feel like I lack some of the knowledge I need to capture quality photographs so I’ve been playing it safe in aperture or shutter priority modes. Taking test shot after test shot was my MO for most of the day as I continued to constantly adjust my settings so that my lighting was correct. As the day progressed I realized that I was actually starting to understand how my camera worked better than I ever had before. It took me less and less time to adjust my settings because I had a general idea of what I needed in an array of different lighting conditions. To the more experienced photographer this may seem silly, but I was ecstatic and ridiculously proud of what I accomplished that day. I can now say that I’m fairly comfortable shooting in manual mode, although I know that I still have a long way to go.

I felt like a member of the paparazzi as I shot the above portraits because I was constantly surrounded by several other photographers shooting pictures of the same subject I was shooting. We spent our time trying to stay out of each other’s shots and taking turns giving our models direction, although they were so good that they rarely needed it. The importance of shooting even when you’re not shooting was reinforced to me as I was able to capture several candid images of our models.