Category Archives: Travel

Scott @ Loftesness

Scott @ Loftesnes

Back in Norway, my last name was spelled with one “s” on the end. Somewhere along the way, after immigrating to the US, my great grandfather decided to add a second “s” to the name – we suspect to make it “easier” to pronouce (ha!).

This is me – at a road sign at Loftesnes, Norway – shot in June 2002 with my first digital camera, a Kodak DC290 with a whopping 2 megapixel sensor. Tweaked a bit in Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film 05. Lots of memories from this trip!

Back to Hawaii in Monochrome with my Canon 5D Mark II

Tree in a Field on Mahukona-Niuli Road - Hawaii - 2009 by Scott Loftesness

One of my favorite things about Flickr is how I get to see some of my older images – just because someone else found them by searching on Flickr or Google! Each day, I enjoy looking at a report that Flickr provides of activity on all of my photos.

A couple of days ago, an earlier color HDR image of this photo turned up. It brought back memories of that place – on the Big Island of Hawaii on the road heading east of of Hawi. I shot this as a 3-image handheld bracketed shot with my Canon 5D Mark II. The original image I posted on Flickr was processed in Photomatix Pro.

Tonight, I opted to process the HDR using Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro. I then brought it into Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, added some control points for tweaking before finishing it back in Photoshop with some dodging and burning using some new techniques we’ve been learning.

I find this composition very pleasing to the eye – with that gradual slope on the hillside, the beautiful angle of the tree and the foggy skies above. Ah, Hawaii indeed!

Sketching in Havana

In the Market (Sketch) - Havana - 2013

In the Market (Sketch) – Havana – 2013

Over breakfast this morning, I stumbled across a recommendation for the iOS application (both iPad and iPhone) My Sketch – which costs $1.99. I installed it and tried it out on one of my recent photos – which took all of about 30 seconds for me to complete and save! I liked the look of the pencil sketch lines coming into the image very much like the rays of light behind him actually did at the time I shot the image.

See more of my shots from Havana and Cuba here.

Adding Depth to an Image using Photoshop and Luminosity Painting

Sunrise - Lee Vining - 2012

As part of my desire to learn more about some advanced techniques in Photoshop, I’ve been concentrating on learning how best to take a flat image out of the camera and add depth to it using various image adjustment techniques – especially, dodging and burning. At one level, I’ve understood the basics of those techniques for a while – but I’ve not attempted to apply them in any serious way before now. Any student of Ansel Adams understands the use he made of those techniques!

So, I set out to explore and learn some more – and I learned a lot. What did we do before the Internet? Seriously, it’s amazing what a resource it’s become!

The basic idea involves being able to select carefully certain parts of an image for adjustment. Typically, luminosity – brightness – is most important but saturation, sharpness and other features follow. Most of the tools in Photoshop are blunt instruments that apply to the whole image – but you can constrain those adjustments to only portions of an image using selections and/or layer masks. In so doing, you can make much more selective adjustments – and create depth in an image that might have originally looked flat.

One of the first to describe a technique for this was Tony Kuyper – who in 2006 wrote about the idea of luminosity masks. A couple of years later, he described luminosity painting – and most recently, cooperated with Sean Bagshaw who has created a comprehensive video tutorial describing how to apply Tony’s techniques and Photoshop Actions/Panels in detail. If you want to understand the details, Tony and Sean’s work seems very comprehensive.

At the other extreme is a short video by Aaron Nace titled “Dodge and Burn Like a Boss: Using Apply Image” I stumbled across on Phlearn.com. In this video, he describes how to do selective dodging and burning using the notion of luminosity masks. His technique is different, in many ways simpler – but also less precise. For many images, that might be fine – it all depends on the level of precision adjustment you might want. And, when you watch the video, fasten your seat belt. Aaron moves along quickly – so be ready to stop and review as he explains his technique!

Tonight I created an example of applying Aaron’s technique to an image I shot last fall in the Eastern Sierras on an amazing photo workshop with Michael Frye. Up top you can see the image after walking through the adjustments – and below is the original, out of the camera image. It’s pretty flat, frankly. The edited image has more color – but, more importantly, more depth and, I think, overall richness.

IMG_0717

But, I’m still learning! Let me know what you think by sharing a comment below!

Crafting an iPad Wallpaper – On South Beach

Easy Rider - Miami Beach - 2013

There’s something about some photos that just grab you. When Doug Kaye and I were exploring South Pointe Park and the beach heading north from there in late January 2013, we came across this bicycle, probably one of the local rentals, hitched up to a post right on the beach. Wow. You start thinking that it’s one of those special moments – where it doesn’t get better than this. So, you take the shot.

As I was looking back at this image today, I thought that it might be a good candidate for an iPad wallpaper – for my lock screen. Seeing it brings me back to that lovely morning – just walking up the beach, a peaceful easy feeling indeed.

So, I decided to try making it into an iPad wallpaper image for my lock screen. I pulled it into a 2048×2048 square image at 264 dpi (for iPad’s with a Retina Display) in Photoshop CS6. I adjust the image placement for the rotation that the iPad does between portrait and landscape – brought down the highlights a bit and then tucked in my contact information.

Here’s a generic version of the result:

Bike at the Beach-iPad Wallpaper-generic

I made a similar image a few years ago – which has been my iPad’s lock screen image from then until today.

A Peaceful Easy Feeling – On the Beach in Miami Beach

Easy Rider - Miami Beach - 2013

Before we headed to Havana for our amazing visit there a month ago, we went into Miami a day early – shooting South Beach late at night and again the next morning.

But before getting to South Beach that Tuesday morning, we went to South Pointe Park – and walked around the point along the beach. It was a beautiful morning – one of those amazing days in the middle of winter where you realize why some folks really like living in Miami – and you’re envious!

Along the way, we captured some beach scenes – including this one above of a bicycle hitched up to a post.

And, below, another shot – of my photo buddy Doug Kaye as we were shooting each other on the beach!

Doug Kaye - Miami Beach - 2013

There’s a Blue Cadillac in Havana…

Blue Cadillac - Havana - 2013

Here’s another image from that very special Sunday morning in Havana a few weeks ago.

We were out in the Central Havana neighborhood when a bit of light drizzle started falling. Not enough to get any of us particular wet – but enough to wet down the streets and make for some nice reflections and saturation – and some beautiful diffuse, soft light.

This image was post-processed using a touch to Topaz Simplify 4 and few of our Lab color tricks to brighten up the colors just a bit.

Fun with Topaz Simplify – Cuban Honor Guard in Havana

Honor Guard #2 - Havana - 2013

This is one of my favorite shots from Havana. As Doug Kaye and I toured the Museum of the Revolution with the rest of our group, some ceremonial music started playing and I peeked out the window to see this honor guard marching across the street. I loved the sun angle and their shadows.

In this version, I did a quick pass through Topaz Simplify 4 – using one of the black and white presets – and then brought it back as into Photoshop using a Luminance blend mode. A beautiful example of how Simplify works its magic!

You can see the original here.