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iPhone 12 Pro Max Photography

Morning Light

The bright sun this Sunday morning motivated me to head over to Moss Beach and one of my favorite locations at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. A few of us were out walking when I turned around and saw this morning glow behind me.

Here’s the original image shot on my iPhone 12 Pro Max in ProRAW format and post processed in Lightroom on my iPhone.

I’m currently taking an iPhone Artistry course from Dan Burkholder and he has taught me some new techniques for image post processing. One of the approaches he taught involves using the app Formulas to create a distressed version of the image:

Next, I used the app InkWork to create a line drawing version of the image:

Using the app Image Blender, I combined the distressed version with the ink version to create the final version. This was over 90% blended to the original image with just a slide amount of the inking being added:

I like how the inking layer added some darker shadows to the tree trunks. And I was finished!

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Filoli iPhone 12 Pro Max Photography

That Camperdown Elm

One of my favorite trees in Filoli is the Camperdown elm that sits between the Pool Pavilion and the base of the tennis court. It’s at the end of a long grass lawn across from the west side of the Garden House.

Here are a couple of earlier posts I’ve shared about this tree including one from 2013 when I first began noticing this tree. I had mistakenly called it an oak tree originally but was quickly educated to learn that it’s really a Camperdown elm.

During a recent visit, I was patiently waiting for some folks to get out of the image I was trying to make when two kids walked into a sunny spot on the edge of the image – and one of them was wearing red. Talk about the decisive moment!

I’ve had fun post-processing the image in different styles all on my iPhone. Here’s the original image shot with the Camera app on my iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Here’s the first processed version – with a lot of white balance tweaking and cropping done using both the Photos app and Snapseed.

Finally, here’s a painterly version – created using Adobe’s Paint Can app on my iPhone and then processed in Snapseed to brighten up a bit and add a border.

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iPhone 12 Pro Max Photography

Photography and the iPhone 12 Pro Max

I’ve had my iPhone 12 Pro Max for a couple of months now – and have gotten familiar with the enhancements that Apple made to the camera system and software on this new phone – (it does seem a bit odd to call it a phone when I’m talking about here is really mostly using it as a camera!).

One of the features I’m using that’s new in iOS 14 is the ability to quickly open one of the camera apps on my iPhone. I tend to use one of three different camera apps when I’m shooting: 1) the built-in Camera app, 2) the Lightroom app, or 3) the Halide app. Each of these camera apps has features that I like to use – and I’ll choose which one based upon the setting when I’m taking the photo.

In iOS 14, it’s possible to quickly open any of those apps so that you can avoid missing a good shot. The Camera app can be opened quickly using the button on the lower right of iPhone’s Lock Screen. in iOS 14, there is a new accessibility feature that you can use to quickly open either Lightroom or Halide by tapping on the back of the phone. Here’s how to set this up.

Back Tap

In the Accessibility settings, you can enable a Touch setting called Back Tap. This setting allows you to setup two separate actions that will be invoked when you tap on the back of the phone – one for a double tap and another for a triple tap.

On my iPhone, I’ve setup Double Tap to use the shortcut Open Lightroom. This opens the Lightroom application – and if you’ve last used the camera in the Lightroom app, then it will reopen directly into the Lightroom camera. I setup this shortcut using the Open App shortcut with it set to open the Lightroom app.

I’ve setup Triple Tap to use the shortcut Backtap Halide. I setup this shortcut using the Shortcuts app. As with the Lightroom shortcut, I’ve setup another shortcut names Backtap Halide which simply opens the Halide app. When opened, it opens in camera mode.

Here are the two very simple shortcuts I created:

Give this setup a try and see if you like using these shortcuts to make your photography faster and easier to access on your iPhone.

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Hong Kong Japan Kyoto Photography Photoshop CC Rome

More Creative Blending in Photoshop

Recently I wrote about a workshop I took from Julieanne Kost and one of the techniques she demonstrated that created a resulting image reminiscent of one of the styles used by artist Pep Ventosa. I included a couple of initial examples in that post.

I’ve continued experimenting with the technique, scouring my Lightroom catalog for multiple images of the same scene that might be good candidates for blending.

Here are a few more examples – from Kyoto and Mumbai – along with my initial examples from Rome and Hong Kong.

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Cuba Lightroom CC Photography Photoshop CC

Colors of Place – Cuba

Last week I took an online seminar taught by Julieanne Kost and hosted by Santa Fe Workshops. She walked us through many of her creative techniques for image processing including one significant project she did last year called Color of Place.

In this project she wanted to explore the differences in color between various locales around the world that she’s visited during her travels. She put together a portfolio of 25 cities and the colors that she found from her photography in those locales. The results are a series of wonderfully colorful abstract images that display 50 narrow strips of color for each location.

In an online article and video she shared more about her technique using Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. Following her approach I put together my version of the colors of Cuba derived from the images I made during my visit there in 2013.

Colors of Place – Cuba – 2013

Categories
Photography Photoshop Photoshop CC

Creative Blending in Photoshop

One of my favorite photographers/artists is Pep Ventosa. He’s known for some very creative Photoshop techniques that blend images in unique and unusual ways. I fell in love with a couple of his styles when I discovered him years ago – and later met him at an Open Studios event he held in San Francisco. We now own several of his prints and have given a couple away as gifts.

Another great photographer who utilizes some very creative techniques for her images is Roxanne Overton – here’s her Instagram feed – she provides me with regular creative inspiration! From time to time she uses techniques similar to what I’m describing here.

Earlier this week, I took an online seminar from Santa Fe Workshops taught by Julieanne Kost, the long-time evangelist for Adobe. Titled “Beyond the Single Image” this workshop focused on Julieanne’s creative process – primarily her approach to compositing multiple images together in Photoshop. She showed a number of techniques – it was a great learning experience. She has an excellent blog where she frequently covers her techniques as well as having been featured in several YouTube videos that cover many of them as well. In addition, she’s an excellent teacher and has several online courses available on LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com.

One of the most interesting to me was a technique to blend multiple images together in a unique way that, as it turns out, results in an image with some of the same look as one of Pep Ventosa’s styles. When she showed the technique, she used it initially with video – using Photoshop’s video editing capabilities to blend together multiple images from a video to simulate a long exposure image with smooth water. This technique opened my eyes to how Photoshop could be used to perform frame captures from a video file and how she used a technique to blend them together.

The technique can also be used with still images – instead of a video file – to create a blended image that is somewhat analogous to one of Pep Ventosa’s styles. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of this technique that I used to create the blend above that I made from four photos taken during a recent visit to Hong Kong. All of my originals are kept in Lightroom Classic – so the process starts there.

  1. Select 3+ (your choice how many) images in grid view in Lightroom Classic. With the images selected, right-click and choose Open as Layers in Photoshop.
  2. In Photoshop, after the layers are all open (may take a minute), select all the layers. Then choose Layer/Smart Objects/Convert to Smart Object.
  3. After the layers have been converted to a Smart Object, choose Layer/Smart Objects/Stack Mode/Mean. This will create a blend of all of the images with a look similar to one of Pep Ventosa’s styles.
  4. Now, you’ll typically want to feature just one element in one of the images – in other words, you will want to bring out some specific details from the blend. To do that, you’ll want to select the appropriate layer with the details that you want to use and then paste it as a new layer on top of the Mean version and begin to do some blending. To do that, double click on the smart object icon in the layers panel. This will open a new Photoshop document with all of the layers shown individually. Select the specific layer that you want and do copy all. Then switch back to the Mean version image and paste – this will create a new layer on top with your selected image. After that you can add a layer mask and you can begin blending as you normally would. Typically I start with a black layer mask and use a brush with white and reduced flow to paint in where I want the details to show.
  5. Once you’re done with blending, flatten the layers and save the image – which will bring the final version back into Lightroom. Or, if you think you may want to re-edit again, you could just save without flattening which will bring it back into LR – but it will be a very large file with all of the layers embedded, etc.

That’s it. It’s a fun technique to experiment with. I’m sure there’s some skill involved in selected the right few images to blend with this technique. You will need to play a bit to learn what strikes your fancy in applying this technique.

Thanks very much to Julieanne for sharing her techniques and helping me learn! Below are some other images I’ve created using this technique. Enjoy!

Reader – Rome
Pals – Rome
Mirage – Hong Kong
Categories
Filoli iPhone 11 Pro Max Living Photography

Back to Filoli

After weeks of staying very close to home during this pandemic, we were looking forward to taking a break and getting out for an afternoon stroll through one of our favorite gardens at Filoli.

On a beautiful Friday afternoon, we booked our tickets online (a requirement during this period), stood in a socially distanced waiting line to enter, and then walked the prescribed loop through the gardens – all while wearing a face mask as prescribed by San Mateo County’s health director.

All in all, a very therapeutic afternoon!

Categories
Photography Zines zines,mini-zines,mini-portfolio

Zine Day

This morning I got one of Austin Kleon’s weekly emails (every Friday morning) which triggered an interest in experimenting with ‘zines as mini-photography portfolios.

Experimenting with ‘zines seemed like something that might help distract me from some of the endless negativity from the current coronavirus pandemic!

Thanks to Austin’s post, I used the PDF file from this post on how to make mini-comics. After watching Austin’s quick video, I printed the mini-comic example and created my first mini-zine.

When it came time to try to create my own mini ‘zine using some of my content, I experimented with two approaches: using Word and using a custom print template in Lightroom Classic.

In Word, I modified an example file I found here on the web to use US Letter paper (instead of A4 that it’s setup for). One of the things that’s tricky is that you need to rotate four of the images/text blocks on the page so that it works correctly.

In Lightroom Classic, I tried two approaches using the Print module. One was using the contact sheet approach and the other was setting up a custom template – which worked better as it gave me better control over the image block sizes, borders, etc.

In Lightroom, I created a sample collection of eight images, sequenced them appropriately (also a bit tricky as the order isn’t what you might think – see the mini-comic example, and then brought them into the Print module using the custom template. From their I printed the page – being careful to use the print setting on my particular laser printer that avoids any margins or scaling.

After that it’s a simple matter of folding the page, making one cut, and then folding the book. It take a bit to get the hang of it, but the result is fun – and charming! See examples below:

All in all, this project proved to be a good distraction to take my mind away from the coronavirus happenings today!

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Black and White Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Max Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White

Ocean View

Here’s an example of the kind of both photography and photo editing that I’ve been doing using my iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Heading south from Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 a couple of miles on the right is Miramontes Point Road which heads down to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and, along the way, a parking turnout for coastal access to a paved walkway that winds through a golf course to a cliff area above Manhattan Beach.

On a recent overcast morning, I parked my car at the turnout and walked on a portion of this walkway where, along the way, it crossed a bridge which spanned a creek leading out to the beach. I used the built-in Camera app in the iPhone 11 Pro Max to make this initial photo:

I liked the framing that the tree provided but also, being a street photographer at heart, wanted to better capture the sole individual walking along the beach in the distance. So I switched to the telephoto lens on the iPhone 11 Pro Max and made this photo:

I found the composition of this image intriguing and opted to process it in black and white to remove some of the distraction of the colors – especially the green vegetation in the lower right. Using both the Photos app on my iPhone 11 Pro Max along with the Snapseed app I made this edited and framed version of that image:

As it turns out, I completely cropped out the lower portion of the image to remove all of the distracting vegetation and to better isolate the beach walker at the top of the image. I also removed the distant sky and much of the ocean to better balance the image.

It is amazing just how much fun photography on the iPhone is with the capabilities of these recent models! Being able to make images and edit them anywhere on my phone is a delight.

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Black and White Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Max Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White

Back to Fitzgerald

One of my favorite places to visit for a peaceful quiet time is the forest area at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, California – just north from Half Moon Bay along Highway 1. I especially enjoy visiting Fitzgerald’s forest on overcast mornings – there’s something special about the soft light that adds to the moodiness of the place. Most days there aren’t others around – making the stillness and solitude of this location a real joy. With all of the current hubbub around the coronavirus outbreak, this was a wonderful place to just get away and enjoy some time outside and alone!

Here’s an image I made on a recent overcast morning visit using my iPhone 11 Pro Max. Edited in the Photos app and Snapped on my iPhone.

Below is another image made at Fitzgerald – this time looking 180 degrees behind where I was standing for the image above. This image was made with my Fujifilm X100V.