As photographers we often say we travel to create incredible images. In reality, though, I think we travel to learn.
I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a photo tour to Andalusia and Barcelona Spain this past October. We arrived in the country right as Barcelona was scheduled to have a vote to secede from Spain. The vote took place and the majority of people who went to the polls voted to leave. (I’ve selected my words carefully because this was a very complicated election.)
When my group arrived in Barcelona days later the voting was over but the politics remained. People in Barcelona showed their side in the debate by hanging a flag from their balcony. Flags for Spain, secession, or Catalonia seemed to be everywhere. Neighbors were divided and we could see the division by the flags hanging from apartment balconies and across narrow street.
Yet, as we walked the streets of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona we got a glimpse of Spanish history.
I saw those 80-year old bullet holes and it reminded me that ideological divisions between neighbors can eventually lead to armed conflict. Our guide told us that the bullet holes have been left in this church as a reminder to what happens when neighbor goes against neighbor.
I was reminded once again that we travel to learn — not just to take photos.
I’m working through the thousands of photos I took in Spain during my recent photo tour to Andalusia and Barcelona.
Buildings were our most common subject. Often it was hard to get right in front of the building. Many times we were shooting straight up when we really needed to be higher like on the second floor of the building across the street.
The Transform tool in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom is really coming in handy.
Take a look at this before and after:
The Transform tool is activated in the photo above and ready to go.
Transform tool to the rescue.
Have you used the Transform tool? Does it work well for you?
When traveling, we don’t always get to choose when we can be at a location. Harsh light can get in the way of a good photo. That’s why I suggest you make friends with the Shadow slider in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, or Elements.
The downside to visiting the wonderful treasures of the world is that everyone else is visiting the same wonderful treasures of the world. I like to be alone or with a few close friends when I’m out seeing the sites of the world. Unfortunately, thousands of other sightseers are trying to do the same.
It’s crowded out there. Hoards of people have the time and money to visit world heritage sites and other popular destinations. It seems impossible to take a photo today without getting someone in the shot.
Photoshop to the rescue. It’s possible to take eight or ten photos of the same scene and then ask Photoshop to eliminate the people who strolled through the photo.
In the field take eight or ten photos of the same thing. Use a tripod or hold your camera steady. Space the photos a few seconds apart so no one is standing in the same location in each photo. If using a tripod, take the photos minutes apart. (Damn those people who decide to eat a sandwich while standing still out in the open. This technique won’t eliminate them.)
Later open Photoshop. Click on File>Scripts>Statistics
That leads of a new screen. Select Median at the top. Then Browse your computer for the series of images. Check “Attempt of Automatically Align Source Images.” Click OK.
Your computer will chug and churn depend on it’s age and capacity.
Here’s another one from the same location. This was taken on a busy Sunday afternoon when the plaza was filled with tourists and locals.
Here are single shots from each of the photos above. Look at these to see how the tourists have been eliminated.
We were photographing at twilight on the my recent photo tour to Seville, Spain. The natural light was mixing with the man-made light illuminating the walls of the Mezquita.
A member of our group said that she hated the color she was getting on her photos. In unison, five of use said, “Use the white balance tool in Lightroom or Photoshop later on.” I was one of those voices. Take a look.
The White Balance Tool in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom is a powerful tool. I suggest leaving the cameras set to Auto White Balance (AWB) and the make any corrections later on in processing.
I find Auto White Balance in the camera to be right most of the time. In those instances where it’s off, then a simple touch of the White Balance Tool puts things back in order.
My photo tour through Spain begins today in Seville. John has been here for a few days. Teddie came in yesterday. Carol arrived this morning. Alice and Anthony will be here this afternoon. Later tonight, Bud, Bruce and Pam will be here. Then the fun begins as we explore Andalusia and Barcelona!!
I arrived in Seville a few days ago. It’s been fun to photograph and explore.
October 1st was the big separatist vote. On Saturday, September 30th, there was a massive showing of the colors. What a day to be out on the streets of Spain!