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12/07/2011 - 4:50 PM

gigrin kite

gigrin kiteNice shot Ian,
As Alun says, there is a bit of noise in the form of a fringe but then exposures like this always have either a well exposed Kite but a blown out sky or an underexposed Kite with a well exposed sky. Trying to recover shaddow details can be problematic sometimes so to get round this problem i usualy leave my in flight shots of Kites until winter when there is a decent covering of snow, then the exposures are really nicely balanced with the snow acting as a huge reflector to light up the underside. But of course, you do still have to be able to get to where they are and i'm really lucky to have these beautiful birds virtualy on my doorstep all year round Smile

08/07/2011 - 12:20 AM

Blue on Gold

Blue on GoldHi again Gary Grin

This may take a while to explain and hopefuly you're using Photoshop. Smile

Start by using the magic wand set on 25 to 30 pixels to sellect the OOF background leaving the top part of the pale stem in particular unselected and then right click on the image and feather by 1 pixel to get rid of stray pixels (you'll see them blinking if you now zoom to 100%). If there are areas on the BG that won't select easily then use the lassoo with the tool bar box (top left) set to "add to selection" and then ring these areas with the lassoo and they'll be added to the selection. The reason for this is to protect the top of the stem from the clone tool.

Use the clone stamp tool set on around 50% flow and 50% opacity (it can be set lower but will take longer to cover the green) and choose a soft edged brush (blurred edge) by right clicking on the image to get the pop up menu and set on about 50 pixels radius but this can be less or more depending on how much room you have to work with. Then select a point near the green but far enough away that the brush dosen't pick up any green (alt, click) and run the brush up parallel to the green and reselect where nescessary as you go. Because opacity and flow are set low, it may take two or more passes to get full cover over the green which allows you to select different areas of the BG from the left or right of the green with the clone brush so that it will blend less noticeably. If it's still a bit noticeable then reduce the opacity and flow even more and keep blending. Now do the same with the rest of the green until you are happy that it all looks natural.
Hopefully the stem will be untouched in this process so once you're happy with the cloning covering the green, go to "select" and click "deselect" and then zoom to 200% and reset the clone stamp to 15% opacity and flow and about 5-8 pixels radius (a very small brush). You will see that there may still be a bit too much of a defined edge between the stem and the new cloned area so use the small brush to carefully soften the edge transition very slightly.

Well that's about it and hopefully you should now have a pic without the green distraction. Wink

Now i'm off for some shut-eye Smile
Viking Bay & Pier, Broadstairs at duskHi Chris,
A good first attempt at a panoramic but as Ken says, the tripod must be perfectly leveled for it to work really well. You can do this without a built in level by swinging the camera through the arc whilst looking through the viewfinder and adjusting the tripod until the horizon line stays level throughout the arc. Also, the overlap is important and you should aim for at least a third of frame overlap for each image. If you are on wet sand, try using some driftwood or similar material under each foot to spread the load and prevent the feet sinking in. Also i would suggest never to use too wide a lens as the inherent distortion of wide angles tends to make the stitch process much more difficult. 30mm equates to 48mm with the crop factor so about right in this case but the closer to telephoto you go, the less distortion you will have.
I have done many panoramics but have never used any proprietry photostitch software and instead use layers in PS to join them. I start with the left hand image and increase the canvas size using the crop tool. Uncheck the "resize to fit window" and set the magnifier for minus and reduce the image until you have a large grey border surrounding the image, use the crop tool for the whole of the picture and then drag it out to the right until you have enough space to accomodate all of your frames, any extra can be cropped off later.
Then i drag each frame into this and by reducing the opacity it's possible to align each frame perfectly with the one beneath it, working left to right, then i use a soft edged erasor to create a random zig zag join between frames to further hide any evidence of a join and avoid straight vertical join lines. When it comes to skies, i reduce the opacity and flow of the erasor to help blend the overlap more subtly.
It can be a lengthy process compared to stitch software but the results are often far superior IMO.
I hope this helps Smile
11/08/2010 - 9:24 PM

Watching Me

Watching MeIt's a lovely shot Keith.
But i think the cloning lets it down a bit (i'd be interested to see the original) because there is some bleed-over (darkening on the outline) into the Kingfisher.
There must have been a bright or distracting area you wanted to cover so i would suggest that you work in a duplicate layer and select the BG using magic wand set to around 25 pixels and the lassoo tool for the areas that dont select easily with mw and this should shield the outline of the Kingfisher to prevent bleed-over if you use the clone stamp but any that does occur can be removed using the erasor to reveal the sharp outline on the background layer before merging. Hope this helps!!
As i said, it's a lovely shot so it's well worth the extra time spent cloning it a little more accurately Wink
20/07/2010 - 10:53 AM

Little Fawn Waterfall

Little Fawn WaterfallHi Bill,
Your ND filter did a good job lengthening your exposure and the result is very good.
The only improvement i can think of would be to try using a Polarizing filter along with or instead of the ND, this would allow you control of the reflections in the scene. The rocks, water and even the greenery in the scene are quite reflective and reducing these reflections with careful use of a polarizer would help to intensify the colours generaly and let you see beyond the suface of the water whilst still keeping the overall effect of the flow.
Hope this helps and best of luck to you!!

14/07/2010 - 12:06 AM

Kingy Conundrum

Kingy ConundrumA wonderful shot of the Kingfisher Kieth!! I know that feeling all too well, lots of time waiting..........then........ lots more time waiting Smile

I can't do a mod for you but you could try this if you are using photoshop (and do this on the full original frame prior to cropping):

Layer > Duplicate > then select the background OOF elements of the image using "magic wand" set to around 25 pixels until only the sharp elements are left unselected.

In the layers pallete click the eye on the background layer to make it invisible then use the erasor set at 100% (opacity and flow) and erase the background. then; Select > deselect. (It's important to deselect otherwise the filter will no apply. Then make the Background layer visible again.

Next; Filter > other > high pass..... set to between 2 to 3 pixels. (You should now have a grey mask covering what's left of the duplicate layer and idealy you should see as little colour in it as possible, only texture), then > OK.

Then in the Layers pallete click the drop down menu and choose between "overlay", "Hard light" or "Vivid light (depends on the image and personal preferences) and then use the opacity slider to fine tune the amount of sharpening you want.

Finaly, Layer > merge visible and you're done....whew!!

Sounds complicated i know but it becomes easier once you are familiar with the work flow.

I think this should lift the image sharpness for you and of course this method helps to avoid introducing unwanted noise into the background.

Hope this helps with your lovely Kingfisher.......and i hope i'm not trying to teach you to suck eggs Smile Smile