South Beach in Miami is something else. Wish I could walk there every sunrise and sunset!
On our way to Havana, Doug Kaye and I arrived a day early so that we could shoot South Beach in the late evening just after our flight arrived and then the next morning. It’s such a great place for photography – street photography at its finest.
Shortly after we arrived that morning, we walked past this couple on our way to the beach. Seemed to me there was some interesting conversation going on – so we walked past and I turned and captured this shot.
Shot with a Nikon D600. Post-processed in Lightroom 5 with VSCO Film.
Earlier this week, I finished up a print version of my Faces of Cuba portfolio and sent it off to Blurb for printing. This was an end of summer personal project where I went back through my photos from our trip to Cuba in late January and tried to create twenty portraits that captured some of the moods we experienced there. These kinds of projects help keep me fresh – and, when I can’t be out shooting a lot of new things, then working on photos from my existing archive is very therapeutic!
About half way through that Faces of Cuba project, I began experimenting with a couple of the black and white film emulations in the VSCO Film presets. For most of them, I settled on the Agfa Scala 200 that in VSCO Film 04. I love the look it has – although I do back down the grain.
This is a tightly cropped (and, thus, perhaps not as sharp) image from our very first afternoon upon arrival in Havana. After briefly settling out stuff in the hotel, we headed down the Prado, the main street just next to the hotel and we quickly felt immersed in Cuba! I love his look – “attitude” I called it – and think it looks great as a monochrome with some subtle platinum toning in the shadows. He didn’t make it into the first print edition of Faces of Cuba – but perhaps he’ll be in the second edition!
On our return from Las Terrazas to Havana, I started shooting some images out of our tour bus window. At one point, this local “bus” pulled up alongside us and I captured this image. Unlike the other images in this series which are cropped square, this one is cropped 2:1 for a better effect.
These riders are part of my Faces of Cuba portfolio. Shot with a Nikon D600. Post-processed using Lightroom 5, VSCO 04 Film, and Photoshop CC.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, on our last day in Havana we went into a multi-family apartment across from Parque Central. We had a great time there – great people, great light – just a wonderful 40 minutes or so.
Earlier I posted “The Beauty“. This is her aunt – who’s very proud of her niece and a very happy woman in her own right!
The Aunt is part of my Faces of Cuba portfolio. Post-processed using Lightroom 5, VSCO Film 04, and Photoshop CC.
This is another image from our last day in Havana last January. We were out walking the neighborhoods in Central Havana when we came across this woman waiting along the street. She had full command of her small corner there! The bright sun was flowing in over her right shoulder making this grab shot a bit tricky – perhaps this is one great example of the dynamic range of the sensor in the Nikon D600 I was shooting with.
Another in my Faces of Cuba portfolio. Post-processed using Lightroom 5, VSCO Film 04, and Photoshop CC.
I’m increasingly using the techniques originally pioneered by Tony Kuyper known as “luminosity masking” when editing images in Photoshop. The basic idea behind luminosity masking is to take advantage of the luminosity levels in an image and to use that information to enable much more selective editing of the image.
Imagine, for example, dividing the range of luminosity levels into 10 ranges – from pure which to pure black. Tony’s techniques allow you to easily isolate each of those luminosity ranges so that you can make adjustments to just that portion of an image. Tony’s got some free tutorials on his website and also sells a set of Photoshop actions and a panel that make using his techniques much faster and easier. Along with his stuff, Sean Bagshaw has worked with Tony to create an excellent set of video tutorials that shows how to apply these techniques. Sean’s a great teacher – and the videos are crisp and to the point – also highly recommended!
Here’s an example. Earlier today I visited the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach just north of Half Moon Bay along the great Pacific Coast south of San Francisco. It was a drizzly wet day on the coast today – and that’s what I was hoping for.
The image above is straight out of the camera (a Nikon D600). Using just a few simple steps applying Tony’s actions, I edited the image into the version below. The tonal contrast is so much better – and it’s also a bit sharper thanks to Don Margulis’ excellent Sharpen 2013 actions (part of his Picture Postcard Workflow). I’ve titled the image “Fallen” – if you look closely you’ll see why – and that’s what caught my eye while walking by this morning.
Back in early April, Doug Kaye and I met for one of our photo walks at San Francisco’s Civic Center. We met in the plaza outside City Hall, shot for a while inside City Hall, and then headed across the plaza to the Asian Art Museum – my first time there.
The museum’s Terracotta Warriors exhibition was underway (it closed May 27, 2013) – and, amidst a busy crowd in a room in near darkness, we wandered this exhibition. These terracotta warriors are something to behold – and the museum’s display with its great positioning and lighting made it quite an experience.
I wasn’t sure what kind of shots I’d be able to get in such low light. I kicked my Nikon D600 into auto everything mode – with no flash – and shot what I could. As it turns out, the D600 is a superb low light camera – and I got some incredible images while expecting almost nothing to be worthwhile.
I experimented a bit post-processing this warrior in Photoshop. First of all, isolating him from other stuff in the image and then moving him to a solid, dark purple background. I adjusted the composition a bit – moving him to the left half and leaving the expanse of dark space on the right. Then I tried some really unusual moves – adding a subtle oil paint layer to add the texture and shading on his face. If you look closely (click on the image for larger version), you can see his cheeks are more fluid than carved out of stone – that’s the oil paint layer at work. A couple of selective sharpening steps further defined the edges of his profile.
I just love how this warrior image turned out – one of my recent favorites! Hope you do too!