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Photography and Photoshop Tutorials
 
Day for Night Photography
Reality is not always exactly that...
 

When I was young... I watched western movies. One of the things they would do was shooting Ektachrome several stops underexposed with a blue cooling filter in the late afternoon to create a “night” look. This sat in my head for 30 years as something I had at the time thought cool. One day I was looking at a wonderfully composed shot of the mountains with a clear blue sky. Great photo, wretched sky and I got to thinking…

I have attached the layered Photoshop file (lo res) so that you can see what I did layerwise. What follows is the process…

 

 

 

 

1) Image Capture – 4 frames shot with Really Right Stuff RRS spherical pano head and 17mm lens. Late afternoon sun exp 1/13s f22 ISO 100. Focus was adjusted on each frame to create progressive focus for infinite depth of field.

2) Stitch frames together in CS4. I use the interactive mode patch on stitcher.

3) Correct shape with Edit >Transform>Perspective, the shape rendition of the 17mm is terrible.

4) Some features bothered me so I removed them on a retouch layer. A tree and a log that were not in keeping with my vision of the scene. I also added to the waterfall.

5) Build filter pack that makes the foreground dark and blue. I also burn in the far peaks and some rocks in the waterfall to get a more night time look.

6) Cut a mask for the sky. This took some doing because of the trees so I stomped on the trees at the left in the mask and cut the tree on the right with a fine eraser to allow stars to peek through the branches.

7) Add star field image. I captured this star field at Mono Lake. Exposure was around 30s f4 ISO 1600, I now have a f1.8 lens for capturing star fields and have been able to get my exposure down to 5-15 sec. The short exposure renders the stars as points rather then arcs. Now I am beginning to have a nice library of stars…

8) Edge the mask boundary on the Final Retouch layer (on top of stack). I go back and forth between editing the mask and edging with a brush or clone brush.

9) Draw a shooting star by making two yellow lines. Make then straight up and down vertical. One fat and short and one thin and long. Rasterize and make into smart objects. Group them and use Edit>Transform>Perspective to make one end become a point, this is the tail. Blur the front of the head some and reduce its opacity. I added Gaussien Blur to both lines to make them meld with the sky. Perspective correct the back of the head so it merges with the tail. I am using graduated level layers clipped to the rasterized lines to make the comet get brighter at the head. I then moved and rotated it to place it where I wanted it…

This is digital day-for-night. A new twist on an old concept and best of all it gives us a use for those pictures that we all have of great scenes with boring skies…

Have Fun,

Cooksey

All content is © 2012 cookseytalbottgallery.com, feel free to share with attribution.

Here is a link to a ZIP file containing the layered Photoshop file and this article as a PDF and DOC file.

Click Here to Download the File - DayForNight.zip



Luminance Masking for Contrast Control
Using luminance masks on adjustment layers to control specific tonal ranges in your image.
 

Luminance Masking allows you to control the contrast of your image in specific tonal ranges. In this article you will learn how to use the included set of Actions to make a quantum improvement in the contrast of your images.

These masks will intensify the detail and tonality of your images and add snap and sparkle that is not possible without using either this technique or one of a number of plug-ins that do this under the hood. One big difference is that this process is free.

If you are ready for some intermediate to advanced photoshop discussion continue onwards, read the article, download and use the actions and get excited like I did when I started using this process in 2007…

Read the Complete Article...


HDR Luminance Masking
Using a simple Low Pass Luminance Mask to create a HDR image
 

HDR imaging using a simple LPF type luminance mask.

Luminance masks are a powerful channel chop that you can use to create HDR images from two bracketed frames.

With HDR Luminance Masked Shadows

With HDR Luminance Masked Shadows

Without HDR Luminance Masked Shadows

Loading the composite channel’s selection in the Channels window creates a luminance mask. This causes all values in the image above middle gray to become selected as a continuous tone image rather then a regional selection. This simple mask splits the tonal range in the middle allowing you to take the highlights from one image and the shadows from another and have a great deal of logical control over the blending. Because of the continuous tone nature of the mask there are no masking lines. The highlight mask is then inverted to create a tonal Low Pass Filter with a bandwidth of 128 and a band center of 64. The main difference between this and a standard LPF response is that there is only roll off on the high end of the scale creating a soft transition between the two exposures. There is no roll off on the low end.

This can often produce a superior result to using Photomatix or other HDR compositors as you have a Photoshop workflow which has familiar controls and does not mangle the colors and basic tonalities.  Photomatix can be good but has its foibles. I have been working on HDR methods for use in the context of Photoshop. I have yet to hear a report of the Photoshop compositor functioning so that is not part of any of my solutions.

Read the Complete Article...


HDR Burning and Dodging
Use a HDR photo stack and transparency masks to get excellent results with this burning and dodging like method.
 

By using over and underexposed frames as sources for burning in highlights and dodging shadows major gains can be made in tonality over using adjustment layers to lighten or darken areas.

This is because the shadows in the overexposed frame have a good range of digital densities because they are strongly “exposed to the right”. Highlights in the underexposed frame have full detail and density because they are in the top of the tonal range.

Read the Complete Article...


Profiling Your Digital Camera
Free utility to build and edit profiles from Adobe Labs
 

Here is a link to some further canned camera profiles from the big A. You can use canned profiles if you do not want to get a color checker but do want better results.

You select the camera profile in the Camera Caliberation tab of the Adobe Camera Raw Convertor in Photoshop.

http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/DNG_Profiles

Here is the profile editor link. This is a free utility that will build camera color profiles from an X-Rite McBeth color checker chart.

http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/DNG_Profiles:Editor

In my prior post I discussed using the X-Rite software and color checker to build camera profiles.

This is a free bit of software that performs the same operation if you have a color checker card. You can get color checkers inexpensively from many sellers on the e-bay site.

I highly recommend profiling you camera as the results are superior to the unprofiled rendition of the same image.



Using the X-Rite Color Checker to Create Camera Profiles
This really optimizes the color output of your camera!
 

I tried the X-Rite Color Power profile builder and target set which I got on E-Bay for 100.00 and all I can say is wow.

wow wow wow.

It is another moment where I want to redo all my pictures especially those that have warm colors.

Read the Complete Article...


Using the Photoshop History Palette and Snapshots Effectively...
Or, whos your friend baby...
 

The photoshop history is a beautiful thing… If anything has your back as a photo editor this is it!

I recommend going into the Photoshop Preferences and setting the number of history states up to at least 100. This is how many changes you can undo and as one click on a brush is a change it is good to have this number set to something higher then the default.

Setting this too high can impact your performance so it is wise to be cool and not just set it to something irrational.

Here is a quick breakdown of the different parts of the history palette.

Photoshop History Palette

Read the Complete Article...


Using the Photoshop Threshold adjustment layer to evaluate image density and contrast for digital printing.
This is an easy method to target a files density for printing. It requires a basic knowledge of Photoshop adjustment layers.
 

Take the file to be targeted and add a levels adjustment layer to the top of the stack in the Layers pane click OK without making any changes. This will be used to target the highlights and shadows.

Add a Threshold layer above the Levels layer. Your image will appear in high contrast black and white. Set the threshold to 245 and click ok.

Turn off the threshold layer and observe the image. This targeting method is easy in images that have white values present.

A detailed white value, Zone 7, should have a digital density of 245-249 and a white without detail, Zone 8, should have a density of 250-254.

Read the Complete Article...


Building Photographic Websites
I make websites for artists and find that most folks need some sage advice on the process...
 

I use Dreamweaver, CSS, PHP and MySQL to do websites and I don't recommend trying to do your own if you want to have dynamic uploads and e-commerce sales. The computer science part becomes overwhelming rather quickly.

I have seen some nice sites using frameworks that are available via commodity web hosts like Joomla and Drupal. I have not tried deploying one of these skeletons but I will bet there is some skilled labor in there somewhere.

Read the Complete Article...


I got a new film camera, the Gaoersi 617
Direct from Hong Kong
 

I got the Gaoersi 617GF camera direct from the manufacturer and have been using it with a Schneider 90mm f8 lens.

Because of the width of the format, 6 ½ inches, it is necessary to use a center graduated ND filter to correct for the fall off. I got the Schneider filter to be sure it was correctly graduated.

This filter steps the 67mm front thread up to 86mm so I had to get an 86mm Polarizer, Skylight filter and WA lens shade.

Once I got through all that I shot the first 15 rolls of film. 4 shots per roll.

And… All good!

The camera is tight, well made and at slightly over 1000.00 delivered it is 9000.00 less then certain overpriced German boxes.

Read the Complete Article...


Camera Settings for Digital Photography
How to set your digital camera to get the best images possible
 

Digital cameras have too many settings and modes. It is all to easy to have a setting that makes images that are not right in the end and are difficult to adjust and sharpen when you try to take your picture past the snapshot stage.

Read the Complete Article...


Filters for Color Digital and Film Photography
Use these filters to improve the color and rendition of your photographs.
 

For general photography in digital or on film there are several filters that are most frequently used to improve the rendition or alter the possible range of exposure values.

Make colors snap…

If I had to have only one filter it would be a circular polarizer. I use the polarizer on most of my nature photographs.


The only time that I do not use it is when I am photographing rainbows or handheld in low light. When photographing reflections the filter does not need to be removed just rotated to the correct orientation so that you get the desired degree of reflection. This can be useful in controlling the amounts of reflection from bodies of water as some reflection is nice but the natural amount is usually too much.

The polarizer will darken the sky a variable degree depending on its setting. Plants will be rendered with richer colors because the polarizer cuts the specular reflections off of the moisture in the leaves. Most colors will benefit from the polarizer’s effect.

This is different from turning on the vivid switch in your camera. In-camera processing is always a bad idea as it is better to enhance color saturation and sharpness interactively in post processing.

The exposure compensation for a polarizing filter is 1 2/3 stops. This has been standard across all the polarizers I have owned over the years.

The second filter I carry is an ND or neutral density filter. ND filters are marked with the opacity value as if they were being read on a transmission densitometer. .10 is 1/3 of a stop, .30 is one stop and .90 is three stops. I like the ND .90 as it gets me into a different range of aperture and shutter speed combinations.

Read the Complete Article...


Basic Daylight Exposure (BDE) Calculation
For outdoor photography the light meter is not always your friend...
 

Most mid-day outdoor photography includes areas illuminated by direct sunlight. If you have elements in your picture that have direct sun falling on them the correct exposure is really a foregone conclusion.

If you find the BDE formula in an old photographic technique book it reads like “The reciprocal of the film speed at f16” a terse and potentially confusing statement of a simple calculation.

If you set the film speed, E.I., as the shutter speed and put the lens on f16 you will have the correct exposure for bright sunlight.

With film speed (E.I.) 125 the BDE is 1/125th at f16, E.I. 400 is 1/400th at f16.

But you use your light meter and it gives many different readings in the same situation.

Which is right? Only one… The BDE.

Read the Complete Article...


Film Speed Table
A table of film speeds, E.I.'s in 1/3 stop increments.
 

Knowing the film speeds can be useful in applying filter factors and making general exposure calculations. Following is a listing of the film speeds (E.I.'s) in 1/3 of a stop increments.

Read the Complete Article...


Bellows Extension Calculator
Online bellows extension factor and exposure compensation calculator and printable exposure compensation scale
 

Here is a quick way to calculate the bellows extension factor and exposure compensation amounts for large format view camera users in the studio.

To use the calculator follow this link.

Online bellows extension factor and exposure compensation calculator...

However when you are working in the big room there is no computer or webbernet so the online calculator is not an option...

For years I have calculated my bellows comp in my head for large format. I always enjoyed using my RB-67 partially because of the bully bellows comp scale which made the bellows factor calculation into a non-issue.

I wanted to improve my large format production rate as it is a notoriously slow process. This was one of the points where I saw that it could be better, not that it took me that long to figure out the factor but just having to go into math mode detracted from the experience of vision and visualization.

Read the Complete Article...


Spotting Flecks on Ink Jet Prints
Using Marshalls retouching dyes to remove those occasional flecks
 

With inkjet prints there are occasional spots where the surface flecked off leaving a small white spot. While this happens rarely it usually happens on a larger print.

I guess that is just Murphey doing a really fine job of it!

To fix this problem I use the standard photo retouching methodology...

Read the Complete Article...


Stretching Canvas Photographs
How to stretch photographs printed on canvas with inkjet printers.
 
I have been doing well with prints made on canvas materials.

People like them much better then framed photographs and they are highly viewable as glass-less prints.

However as a photographer stretched canvas was all a mystery to me. I have gone through a learning curve to be able to produce canvas prints. While the requirements for photography is similar to stretching canvas for painting photographs want less tension.

I have been using the LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas with their profile on my Photo Black - UltraChrome Epson 9600 and have been getting fairly good results. I find the profile is sensitive to red in the shadows so I tend to be sure my shadows are a touch on the cool side to avoid red in the blacks.

Read Complete Article...


Articles
 
Day for Night Photography
 
Reality is not always exactly that...

Luminance Masking for Contrast Control
 
Using luminance masks on adjustment layers to control specific tonal ranges in your image.

HDR Luminance Masking
 
Using a simple Low Pass Luminance Mask to create a HDR image

HDR Burning and Dodging
 
Use a HDR photo stack and transparency masks to get excellent results with this burning and dodging like method.

Profiling Your Digital Camera
 
Free utility to build and edit profiles from Adobe Labs

Using the X-Rite Color Checker to Create Camera Profiles
 
This really optimizes the color output of your camera!

Using the Photoshop History Palette and Snapshots Effectively...
 
Or, whos your friend baby...

Using the Photoshop Threshold adjustment layer to evaluate image density and contrast for digital printing.
 
This is an easy method to target a files density for printing. It requires a basic knowledge of Photoshop adjustment layers.

Building Photographic Websites
 
I make websites for artists and find that most folks need some sage advice on the process...

I got a new film camera, the Gaoersi 617
 
Direct from Hong Kong

Camera Settings for Digital Photography
 
How to set your digital camera to get the best images possible

Filters for Color Digital and Film Photography
 
Use these filters to improve the color and rendition of your photographs.

Basic Daylight Exposure (BDE) Calculation
 
For outdoor photography the light meter is not always your friend...

Film Speed Table
 
A table of film speeds, E.I.'s in 1/3 stop increments.

Bellows Extension Calculator
 
Online bellows extension factor and exposure compensation calculator and printable exposure compensation scale

Spotting Flecks on Ink Jet Prints
 
Using Marshalls retouching dyes to remove those occasional flecks

Stretching Canvas Photographs
 
How to stretch photographs printed on canvas with inkjet printers.

 
Links
 
Lamiframe - Reprint Mint
 
LAmiframe is a company that does glassless mounting on wood panels. These images have a vastly superior viewing experience to traditional glazed presentation styles. I can see from my sales breakdowns that the public has voted overwelmingly for the Lamiframe presentations. If you are a photographer you owe it to your work to get to know these folks.
 
Chris Cochems Photography
 
"There is beauty to be found all around us. We need to take the time to look. My goal is to allow you to see the world through my eyes."
 
The Panoramic Network
 
A site about panoramic photography with links to many panoramic phtot sites.
 
Tranquility Images
 
Fine art black and white landscape photography by Craig Wells from the heart of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, rivers and forests.
 
Manipulated Abstract Paintings by Steven Pollard
 
Steven Pollard is a practicing psychologist who uses the rich depth of conflicting and convergent thoughts and emotions of therapy sessions to create abstract oil, acrylic, and water color paintings that he then manipulates digitally.
 
The Lens Flare Gallery
 
A growing photo community with a variety of resources for photographers.
 
Photos by Chris Miller
 
A nice fellow who I met while walking in Yosemite. Chris is a south coast professional photographer.
 
Sierra Nevada - Preston Birdwell
 
Large format photographs of the Sierra and Sonora Pass. Some really nice work!!!!
 
Luminous Landscape
 
A volumous site with lots of helpful information and some really beautiful landscape photographs.
 
Norman Koren
 
Nice photos and lots of great tutorials on digital and analog photographic technique.
 
Earthbound Light
 
Nature photographs from the Pacific Northwest and beyond by Bob Johnson. He has some really breathtaking images as well as educational material.
 
Digital Printing and Imaging
 
DPANDI - The digital imaging source for photographers and printmakers.
 
 
 

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Web Site by Cooksey-Talbott Studio

Fine art photography, free desktops and free e-cards of California by master nature photographer Cooksey-Talbott. Hundreds of beautiful photographs are displayed for sale online as raw or ready to hang images.

Cooksey-Talbott Gallery is an online e-commerce gallery of nature photographs. The collection includes pictures of the High Sierra, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Yosemite, Trinity Alps, Sonora Pass, Santa Barbara Hills, East Bay Hills and Garin Park as well as hundreds of different waterfalls. Many of the images are from medium and large format film taken with the Mamiya RB-67 and a variety of 4x5 view cameras. Some of the more recent work is shot with a Nikon D200 and a Canon 5D Mark II.

We offer archival quality prints in a wide variety of sizes and media. We print on a variety of heavy art papers and canvas using a Canon iPF8100 44 inch 12 color printer with pigmented inks.

Ralph Cooksey-Talbott Thomas has been working as a photographer since 1972 when he moved to California from Michigan. During the 1970’s he studied under Ansel Adams in Yosemite. Ansel published one of his photographs in the portfolio section of his book "Polaroid Land Photography" Ansel and Orah Moore, another of Ansel’s students, suggested that he shorten his name to Cooksey-Talbott, and that is the name he has worked under since. Cooksey also studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the San Francisco Academy of Art. He has lectured in photography at the U.C. Berkeley Extension, Studio One in Oakland and Santa Barbara City College. Cooksey is currently working as a new media artist and facilitating a photographic education and street level art outreach program through the Fremont Art Association in Fremont California.