Photo Notes

July 28, 2014

Retouching with Deep Etch

Filed under: Post-Processing — John Siskin @ 9:45 am

My books and my classes give me a reason to keep doing this blog. If you’re in Indiana I hope you’ll consider taking my Portfolio Workshop. You can see a little more information about this workshop if you check out this blog post . I’ve listed my BetterPhoto classes at the end of this post. Thanks so much for your attention.
My relationship with post-production has evolved over the years. When I first started capturing images with a digital back (a leaf DCB II) I was suspicious of Photoshop. I’d been working with transparency film for years, and with transparency film if you didn’t get the image just right in camera then it was never going to be right. It took me a while to understand that making good images didn’t stop when you pressed the button. I’ve been buying updates of Photoshop since version 3 or 4, but I don’t think I’ve ever been an expert user. Photoshop requires practice and regular use to achieve mastery. I’m quite good at the things I do regularly, practice will do that, but there are things I don’t do very often or at all. In addition Photoshop requires some hand skills that I never seem to get good at. Finally all post-production work takes time. Sometimes I’d rather do other things than spend hours retouching.

Fortunately there are companies that will do handle some of this for me. I’ve been sending out some retouching to Deepetch.com. There are many companies that do this work, but Deepetch came to me for some content for their site when they were starting out. I came to understand that post-production is like lab work was when I shot transparencies: yes I can do it, but others do it better and cheaper. I’m attaching a couple of before and after shots that Deepetch worked on for me. These images were just placed on the updated web site. Right now I’m usually sending Deepetch images for clipping paths and retouching, but they do provide other services. By the way Deepetch hasn’t asked for this blog post, I just wanted it to post it. You can send me any thoughts you have about retouching. You can always send at e-mail to john@siskinphoto.com

240Z: Adjusted the color. Smoothed out the light on the side of the car. Darkened the ground in front of the car.

Retouched version

Retouched version

Before Deepetch

Before Deepetch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Airport, New Terminal: Removed crane, porta-potties and exit sign.

Retouched version

Retouched version

Before Deepetch

Before Deepetch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse: Removed the fence and sharpening.

 

Retouched version

Retouched version

Before Deepetch

Before Deepetch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site now has 695 subscribers, and more join everyday! Frankly I don’t know why since nobody posts. If you have any thoughts about this blog please let me know. I appreciate your membership. Of course there are other ways of improving your photograsphs, like taking a BetterPhoto course. Here are the three I teach, perhaps you’d like to take another one or share them with a friend.
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Getting Started in Commercial Photography
One other note about BetterPhoto: I’ve been in the habit of sending out a private note to all my former students at BetterPhoto (Almost a thousand people!) each month. There’s some sort of hang up in the e-mail system for this so, for a while anyway, I won’t be sending that note. I hope no one is too disappointed.
Thanks, John

July 6, 2014

Changing Your Way of Seeing

My books and my classes give me a reason to keep doing this blog. If you’re in Indiana I hope you’ll consider taking my Portfolio Workshop. You can see a little more information about this workshop if you check out this blog post . I’ve listed my BetterPhoto classes at the end of this post. Thanks so much for your attention.

Frame 16

I see as a photographer, constantly breaking the world into still images. I think that most people who spend a big chunk of life doing photography see a little differently from people who aren’t involved in static art forms. I’ll look at something and think: “I’d shoot that, maybe a little warmer and with more contrast” or maybe: “That was a really great instant” and: “Look at that design.” I think this is part of being a good photographer. I once heard a guy say that he always adjusted a TV to look like Kodachrome, since that was the way he saw the world. Of course this illustrates one of the problems with this way of seeing: you start to see everything the same way. I’ve been known to walk by an interesting subject while thinking that’s not the kind of shot I do. I often make my shots warmer, even my black and white shots, but I can’t remember the last time I made a shot cooler.

Frame 22

So I’m always looking for ways to break out of my way of seeing. I know that many people want to have a style, but not me. I’m a photographer, not a painter, so I can be prolific and do work that’s new. I want to push myself to see in different ways. One of the ways I do this is to work with different tools: cameras, lenses and software. I just got a Horizon Perfekt, which is really helping me to see differently. This camera shoots a 120º image, horizontally anyway. It’s really different from other wide-angle images because the lens actually moves during the shot.Frame 12

 

I shot with a Koni-Omega camera last week. It’s a medium format film camera. This is a manual camera with range finder. Shooting it reminded me of the acronym FAST: Focus, Aperture, Shutter and Think. I think that my digital camera has allowed me to get a little sloppy with technique. Of course shooting with a new camera is not the only way to open yourself to new ways of seeing, but it can be fun as well as enlightening.

Frame 15

I got an 11X14 camera recently, but I haven’t shot with it yet. I still have to build a lens board and order some film, but it should be a quite an experience. Whenever you work with a very large camera the difficulties increase and so does the expense. But if 11X14 is anything like 8X10 getting a good result will be really fun. Sometimes just getting a good exposure can make you feel great. There’s another practice tool I want to work with. I have an old Spiratone 400 mm f6.3 lens. I’ve really only used it a couple of times because I’m more interested in wide-angle lenses. But in an effort to expand my vision I’m going to put in on the digital camera and start shooting. Who knows how that will affect my seeing? By the way I’ve included a couple of panoramas from the Horizon camera and one more from the Koni-Omega. Also I recently updated my website so you can get an idea of how I’m seeing now. Please check it out at www.siskinphoto.com

Of course there are other ways of expanding your seeing, like taking a BetterPhoto course. Here are the three I teach, perhaps you’d like to take another one or share them with a friend.
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Getting Started in Commercial Photography
One other note about BetterPhoto: I’ve been in the habit of sending out a private note to all my former students at BetterPhoto (Almost a thousand people!) each month. There’s some sort of hang up in the e-mail system for thst so, for a while anyway, I won’t be sending that note. I hope no one is too disappointed.
Thanks,  John

 

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