Yesterday we had a day of clear skies and sun, although it was still pretty cold. I headed down to Granton Harbour to get some shots of the breakwater, but instead I ended up wandering around the sand looking for shells. I hadn’t done any macro stuff in a while so it was a refreshing change.
When I was editing these pictures I didn’t like the bland browns and yellows that the sand provided as a background, but I wanted to keep the colour in the shell, hence the colour selection. I was amazed when I started bringing the colour back through the black and white images as the colours stood out som much more without the sandy background. I didn’t manage to get everything I wanted in focus, but I like the shots anyway. I might give it another shot and merge some images to get the whole shell in focus next time.
Anyway hope you all have a nice weekend!
Just (another) quick post tonight, I was in work until 9pm and I’m back in at 10am, finsh at 6pm and then I’m catching up with some friends I haven’t seen in a while. I took this shot a week or so ago. It’s a flower me and Vicky bought from Tesco, which we have so far managed to keep alive. I know this shot is a bit of a cliché, but I love the vibrancy of the red and the detail.
All I really did for this shot was to sharpen up the centre of the flower, and adjust the colour curves in PS, so not much to say. As amazing as Photoshop is, It’s nice to have a shot that just comes out great.
Anyway I’m off to bed, goodnight!
I would just like to say thanks for all the happy birthday messages posted for Vicky yesterday. She was really happy to get a happy birthday from all these different places around the world, so cheers guys, you made her one happy lady
Anyway, another shot from Granton Harbour, sure you aren’t getting bored yet?! This is another shot that was going to be black and white but I really liked the blue streaks in the background and the red and faint greens on the rock and barnacles.
One of the main reasons I like black and white so much is the details you can get through focusing just on shadows and tones, something which I find a bit harder tog et as much with colour pictures. What I did with this shot to bring out the shadows and detail in all the little barnacles was to first apply a smart sharpening mask to the area of the shot which is in focus. I then used SilverEfex Pro with a high structure/contrast control point over the in focus area of the pictures. I placed this layer on top of the colour version and then brought the opacity down to about 25%. This left a lot of the detail and shadow showing over the colour, but with the colours looking a bit drained, so I turned up the saturation by about 2% and the vibrance up by about 20% on the colour shot to bring the colours back through. It’s a new technique I’ve developed and I’m quite enjoying using so I thought I would share. There’s probably similar techniques out there (I think there’s a similar one used in portrait photography), but this is one I kind of stumbled across from messing around with PS.
Another quick post, work all day and more work tomorrow unfortunately! I’m really struggling to keep up the post a day at the moment, but I’m trying my best. It helps that I have loads of edited and unedited images sitting on my hard drive so getting out and taking pictures isn’t an issue (although I still wish I could get out and get some new pictures!), but even just finding the time and energy to post is a problem! The sunset tonight was amazing, even more beautiful than usual. One of my supervisors was kind enough to open the curtains in the call centre so we could see it from up on the 4th floor. I don’t know if this made it better or worse, since there was no way I could get a shot of it. I’m actually considering taking my camera into work as the window in the toilet opens and I could just sneak off with my bag to get some fly sunset picks from up there. Vicky thinks this might be a little obsessive, she could be right.
This another shot from Granton Harbour, this time from the breakwater itself. The centre of the pier that makes up the breakwater is just lots of rocks thrown in at funny angles, only the edges are laid out in any order which makes it useful to walk on. I hope you all aren’t getting sick of the seaside shots from Granton Harbour because there are more to come, they’re all quite different though. Just a couple of more macro/close up shots then I’m going to post some more landscape shots that I took. This one was going to be a B&W, but I really liked the yellow on the rock, plus I think i may be overdoing the B&W a bit lately…. Enjoy!
Just a quick post today because I have to go to work soon and I don’t finish until 9pm. This is another shot from Granton Harbour. I think these shells look like mountains, and the stone around them looks like some of the glaciers you see in colder regions. It’s funny how nature can be so similar in a large and small scale.
I wasn’t as sure about these two images as I was about the one I posted yesterday, especially the second one. I like the way that the surface of the petals looks almost silky, but in the second image I think the mixture of petals which are in and out of focus is a little distracting. If there’s one thing I’m learning about macro photography it’s that focus is everything. I was considering not posting these shots, but I wanted everyone’s opinion on them, so what do you think?
I was over in the graveyard behind my flat yesterday doing some macro shots, but I had to go back today to redo some. Another thing I’ve learned about macro photography: hand held isn’t an option at shutter speeds below about 60/sec, which is a struggle in the dull cloudy weather we’re having at the moment since it requires slower shutter speeds, even at low f stops like f/4 and f/5.6. Tripod to the rescue!
I would never have previously considered using black and white for a macro flower shot. However, in keeping with my current black and white fixation, I decided to give it a go with this picture because I really wanted to keep the focus on the shape and detail in the petals, rather than the colours. The flowers are cherry blossoms, of which there are lots where I live so I don’t think these ones will be missed from the tree next to my flat. I used two flowers in this shot because I liked the way it worked in my previous post centre of attention. I did do a couple of more shots with just one of the flowers, which I’ll post later on.
This shot was just converted to black and white in PS, no SilverEfex pro for a change! I used a sharpening layer mask to bring out the detail on the in-focus petals, and a reduce noise layer mask to get rid of pixel noise on the flatter blurred areas. I’m just getting into using layer masks and I’m finding them to be pretty useful tools, especially in fixing noise/sharpening and exposure problems.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a massive child when it comes to being down the beach, I can’t actually help myself from picking up every interesting looking piece of shell or stone. Me and my girlfriend where down Portobello beach last week and where the tide had stopped and started to recede there were loads of shells left of the sand in a line, so we collected a few, and now the side pockets of my bag smells (and feels) like the sea.
I waited until now to take some pictures of them because I had bought a (very) cheap macro lens from Ebay. I call it a macro lens but it’s essentially just a glorified magnifying glass that fits onto the front of my existing lens. Now I don’t know if this is a problem, or if this problem is as severe, with all macro lenses (cheap ones and the proper Canon/Sigma/Tamron etc ones) but I’m having real problems getting more than a very narrow area of focus, regardless of aperture setting. You can probably see in the pictures above that some of the shell is in focus but an area right next to it isn’t. It’s an effect that can look quite nice if used well, but I think I need more practice.
Anyway after messing around with it for a while I got these three shots which I’m quite happy with, especially some of the textures. All three were put through a minimal amount of single image HDR toning in Photoshop CS5 to bring out detail, shadows and highlights. After that I converted them all to black and white and then further adjusted the shadows and highlights and also the brightness and contrast in Photoshop.