A Kananaskis Cowboy
(As always, please click on any image to view a higher resolution version)
I was at a ranch for a photography workshop put on by The Camera Store on the weekend. The workshop was with William Albert Allard and it proved to be n educational and very enjoyable weekend. On Saturday the group went to Kananaskis where access had been granted to shoot on a long-standing ranch back in the High Country. The venue was full of character and the cowboys, lady and cowgirls that came up to model for us had the same in ample supply. I will post some more images from the day soon but wanted to start with a concept image that I worked on in post a bit. During the Sunday critiques, one of the participants had shown a few sepia toned images and that got some ideas rolling around in my head. I had completed my work keeping most of the portraits in straight colour. With this photograph of Tom, one of two lifelong ranching brothers that own the ranch and rode up for the day, I wanted to make a desaturated and almost metallic look to this tight portrait. I used Lightroom’s Develop suite for the post-processing and leaned heavily on dropping saturation and increasing the clarity to realize the look. For reference, here is one of Tom as he really looked in the warm light bouncing off of the exposed wood beams inside the barn.
Went by this old truck for another visit on the weekend. The last time I was there the morning light was pretty warm, today it was harsh but still fun to shoot and then play with the image.
Nice subject even in the middle of the day under a lot of bright light.
Truck World – a stereoscopic effect
I have been playing with a new photo processing app called Tiny Planets. It processes photographs into a stereoscopic image which can look really cool. This image above shows how the app transformed the image below into a tiny planet.
Here is a slideshow with some of the warps made from my image library
This is a free app on iTunes, so if you have an Apple device, check it out.
If you are on Facebook, check out my new photography page
Bel Air Wreck on the Prairie
This beaten down shell is on a salt pan in the middle of a barren stretch of prairie near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan. The country roads that connect all parts of the Canadian prairie hold many long forgotten photographic treasures like this car, farmsteads and weathered buildings. I love finding these great locations and try to re-visit them whenever I can. I have visited this car and a neighboring broken down farm several times over the past five years.
With a little down time so far this holiday, I have been working with some different software to test them out. Here, I’m using Topaz Adjust 4 to process the photos for a saturated, over the top look. The software integrates seamlessly into Adobe’s Lightroom (my main developing and cataloging software) and is reasonably priced at $50. I am usually less garish in my post processing but it is nice to try some different looks.
In these images I have started with the Topaz Spicify preset as a starting point, then adjusted some of the levels to my taste within each picture and then re-imported into Lightroom to adjust some of the color channels and the edge smoothness.
It could be a Canadian rock band but here I am talking about a duotone process for creating black and white images of a moose I photographed yesterday.
Lately I have been experimenting with using the split toning controls to replace my black and white conversion workflow. The slightly metallic look appeals to me and I like the dimensionality that I can create using this technique. I have applied this technique to people and landscapes and wanted to try it on a wildlife subject. This moose looked great among the warm fall colors so it was fun to take that starting point and try to create a different feel to the images.
The specific process I follow starts in Adobe Lightroom’s Develop module but is applicable to Photoshop or any other editing program where you can set the colors. First I zero out the import settings so that I am starting with the unaltered RAW file and then I build the image following these are the steps to create this look.
Split Tone Color:
I like to set my highlight color to a shade between gold and silver (in LR I adjust the hue and saturation to get the tone I like). For the shadows, I set the color to some shade between blue and grey.
I apply an S curve and then tweak it to find the balance of shadow and highlight that works for me on that image.
Next, I adjust the Blacks, Fill, Clarity and Exposure to find the final look that I am looking for.
To finish I, like many, apply any noise reduction and sharpening that I feel adds to the image. I don’t use either very much but here with the fine detail in the moose’s coat, I found raising the sharpening amount and detail added to my enjoyment of the images.
Usually I have a pretty good idea of what I want the image to look like with this technique but a change to the tone colors or the mix of settings can make a surprising change to the feel of the image.