Fun Photographing with Crystal Ball

I took my crystal ball to Spain and we had fun photographing through it at the historic bullring in Rhonda.

My photos show an interesting progression.  It’s hard sometimes to find “the shot” through the crystal ball.

Watch as I try to find the best angle and background.

Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
It’s a reflection through the crystal ball but it’s not an interesting photo.
Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
Better image in the crystal ball and the background is getting better. 
Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
Change to f/22 and the background becomes a bit clearer.  The post on the right is in the way, though.
Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
Getting better!  Now the viewer knows we’re in a bullring.  The post in the crystal ball is in the wrong place in my opinion.
Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
Much better!  That the shot!
Crystal ball, Ronda, Spain,
Mix it up a bit by changing the f/stop.  

It really helps to work a subject to find “the shot”.  Hope you enjoyed.

P.S. — The crystal ball fell and broke in Barcelona.  Luckily, the accident happened at the end of the trip.  I have another one on order.

Transform Tool on Travel 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:

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 12.05.25 PM
Here’s the original photo Iglesia del Salvador.  It’s a lovely church in the Seville’s Santa Cruz neighborhood near the hotel where we stayed.  I included a lot of sky and a lot the building because I knew I’d use the Transform tool in processing.  

The Transform tool is activated in the photo above and ready to go.

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 12.04.51 PM
Here’s the finished photo.  I put a vertical Transform guide on the left and right white column.  Then I put a horizontal Transform guide on the two main horizontal lines.  I finished with a bit of vertical tweaking with the slider to bring the building a bit more upright.

Transform tool to the rescue.

Have you used the Transform tool?  Does it work well for you?

Use The Shadow Slider

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.

Spain; Seville; Plaza de Espana
Well exposed image with no highlights blown out.  The area on the right is in deep shadows, though.
Spain; Seville; Plaza de Espana
Same image with basic processing in Adobe Camera Raw. The shadows on the right have been opened thanks to the Shadow slider in Adobe Camera Raw.  Same slider is in Lightroom and Elements.

Have you used the Shadow slider?  Does it work?

Getting Rid of Pesky Tourists

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.

Here’s how:

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

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 11.52.48 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 11.53.41 AM

Your computer will chug and churn depend on it’s age and capacity.

Seville; Spain; Plaza de Espana
This is ten photos blended together to eliminate most of the tourists in the busy Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain

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.

Seville; Spain; Plaza de Espana
This is ten photos blended together.  Notice some people are blurred and some are solid.  The general throng of tourists in the plaza are gone, though.

Here are single shots from each of the photos above.  Look at these to see how the tourists have been eliminated.

Spain; Seville; Plaza de Espana
One piece of a blended image.  Notice the tourists talking from the right to the fountain.
Spain; Seville; Plaza de Espana
A blend of eight photos.  Notice that the tourists walking around the plaza have been minimized.  

“Use the White Balance Tool in Adobe”

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.

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba KAC0052as shot
Wall of the Mezquita in Seville, Spain photographed using AWB or Auto White Balance on the camera.  Yes, the color doesn’t look great but some people like this color cast.
Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba KAC0052
This the same image processed in Adobe Camera Raw.  I used the White Balance Tool and touched it to the bright area above the second arch.  Viola!  Looks like what I saw with my eye.

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.

Greetings from Spain

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.

La Giralda Seville KAC0243
Our hotel is located near the La Giralda that rises above the cathedral.
La Giralda Seville KAC0268
Another view of La Giralda at twilight.
La Giralda Seville KAC0280
Time to get a little creative with La Giralda.
Flamenco Seville KAC0346
The streets of Seville were lively on Sunday afternoon with flamenco dancing.
Guitar Spain KAC0447
A quiet bit of Spanish guitar at the Plaza de Espana on Sunday.
Metropol Parasol Seville KAC0478
Small section of Metropol Parasol.  This is a massive, modern structure in the Plaza de la Encarnacion.  More of this as our days in Seville continue.

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!

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Stay tuned for more views of Andalusia Spain.

Macphun Tonality

Macphun Tonality is turning out to be a great way to create black-and-white and toned images.

Take a look at the processing I did on my image of a shrine to a holy man in Morocco.

Holy Shrine, burial grounds, shrine, Morocco; Skoura
Here’s the image with basic processing with Adobe Camera Raw.
Holy Shrine, burial grounds, shrine, Morocco; Skoura
I opened the above image in Macphun Tonality.  Then I used the preset “300 bleached.”  No other processing.

 

Holy Shrine, burial grounds, shrine, Morocco; Skoura
My first image processed in Machphun Tonality with the “Bleached Drama” preset.
Holy Shrine, burial grounds, shrine, Morocco; Skoura
The first image processed with Macphun Tonality “Baby Blues” preset.  Nothing hard.  Just push the button and enjoy the image.
Holy Shrine, burial grounds, shrine, Morocco; Skoura
The original image opened in Macphun Tonality.  Then processed in “Monochrome Dreams.”

Tonality is in Macphun’s Creative Kit.  I hope you’ll give it Tonality a try.