Category Archives: In Practice

The Radian Is In The House


Also see my unboxing post with info about the iOS control app to go with the unit.

I am very excited about the arrival of my new Radian time lapse device.  For those of you that haven’t seen it you can check out their page on Kickstarter.  I helped to fund them last August and they were very diligent about keeping us updated about what was going on.  Unfortunately they had some production delays but I would rather have a viable product than something not ready for release.  I’ll be posting later this week some photos of what I received, and maybe even a sample time lapse video.  My first task will be to look into some time lapse software I can use in concert with Lightroom and photoshop.  I am extremely excited!

More Tinkering With Lightroom and Photoshop HDR Pro

The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens
The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens

This is another image that I ran through Photoshop HDR Pro, and Lightroom.   This was also taken at Longwood Gardens which is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It’s a great place to just walk around even if you don’t shoot any photographs.    I took this in winter so I only chose to walk around the greenhouses that particular day.  If memory serves it was about 20 degrees out which is far to cold to be shooting for my tastes.  For a related post – see this!

Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Winter Afternoon At Longwood Gardens

I wrote in a previous post about using Lightroom to process HDR images.  Until recently I had been using plug-ins within Lightroom to do the tone mapping, and then would apply global adjustments back in Lightroom.. The tone mapping process would generally entail sliding numerous controls around until I got something I  liked.  This kind of process could sometimes lead to heavy handed HDR. You may get the trees to look the way you would like, but the edge of the sky may show hideous halos, or some other unintended artifact.   In many cases I have gone rogue, and shot hand held which is not the ideal way to shoot HDR. As a result I could only shoot 3 brackets instead of the 5 shots when using my tripod.  Depending on the lighting sometimes the exposures would not lend themselves to HDR. In those cases trying to get a decently tone mapped image would be like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Continue reading Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

I always noticed often when performing HDR processing it was difficult to always come up with a realistic image.  I am a fan of the surreal, and hyperrealistic look, but there will be situations where you just want something that looks real.  I have finally stumbled onto a process that works for me…so far.  Adobe has added the ability to edit 32 bit HDR images in Lightroom.  This is huge for me as my workflow is largely Lightroom oriented.  I have Photoshop, but found Lightroom so much easier to use for general photographic tasks.  I know Photoshop is so much more powerful, and I have been taking advantage of the blending of layers, and fine detail/selection tools more of late.  Lightroom is familiar though so it is where I am most comfortable. Continue reading Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

Light Painting Goes Mainstream

I came across this video today.  A group called The Aurora Light Painters auditioned for America’s Got Talent, and blew away the audience, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.  It was pretty cool.  I don’t normally watch these shows, but will be interested to see what they come up with during the course of the competition.

Stadium Experiences – Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks –

The Phanatic Enjoying Some Popcorn With Friends
The Phanatic Enjoying Some Popcorn With Friends

Here’s is just a shot of some fun the Phillie Phanatic was having with some fans during the 8th inning of Sunday’s game vs the Miami marlins.  Generally he will get on the Phillies’ dugout, and play out a bit, or dance with some fans.  It had rained twice on the crowd that day so instead he opted to show up in the suites to dance to some Chuck Berry, and enjoy some popcorn.  Unfortunately for the people below he had a hard time holding on to his popcorn.

I had debated on even bringing my camera that day as rain was expected.  It did shower twice, but my seats were protected enough to stay dry.  Soon after the second rain shower he suddenly appeared, and I scrambled to dig my camera out of my bag.  Luckily I was still set on shutter priority, and snapped off a couple of hundred shots as he danced with popcorn flying everywhere.  I’m planning on trying to do a sequence in Premiere for fun.

Be prepared when you’re out shooting.  You never know when a photo is going to happen.

The Fan in the Stands – Shooting in a Stadium

The Phanatic at the Phillies Home Opener
The Phanatic at the Phillies Home Opener

One of my most favorite things to do is shoot baseball games.   I do it for fun, although I am often asked if I am a professional.   I get by with my little Canon 55-250 mm shooting from my seats, the concourse, or even the roof top bleachers at Citizen’s Bank Park.  The past few years have afforded me a ton of opportunities to get some great action shots.  Although sometimes I think my best shots are of the crowd.  The image above was one of my favorites  from this year’s home opener.   The little boy with his arms extended Continue reading The Fan in the Stands – Shooting in a Stadium

iPad Synergy With Lightroom Using Photosmith

Thumbnail view of Photosmith images

I stumbled on to an app a few days ago called Photosmith. It’s billed as the iPad’s companion app for Adobe Lightroom. I found it while doing some searches on YouTube for using the iPad in a photographic workflow.  Photosmith doesn’t offer any editing functionality. Rather it allows you to organize, tag, select, or reject photos to later import into your catalog.  You’re probably better off doing any serious photo editing on the desktop, but for review, and selection the iPad works just fine.

Continue reading iPad Synergy With Lightroom Using Photosmith

Where to show off Your Photos? Flickr? ZenFolio? Pinterest?

What are you guys using to display your stuff…comments welcome.  I’m curious to see what else is out there.

I have used Flickr for no particular reason.  Somehow I just landed on it so many years back and stayed.  I guess if I were to begin selling work I would go for a service that had eCommerce built in to the site.  Or even quite possibly host it myself.

What are you guys using?  Why?


Snapseed Can Revive Your Photos

A few years back I visited Monticello in Virginia.  It was the site of Thomas Jefferson’s estate, and is quite an impressive architectural feat.  Jefferson also was an avid gardener importing a variety of plants from all over the world to see if he could cultivate them here in North America.  There were amazing vistas in every direction when looking from his gardens.  A feast for the camera.  Unfortunately the images I took didn’t come out as I expected.  Until now.

I had been curious about using Snapseed.  I had read so many glowing reviews of Snapseed that I was very excited when I was able to finally get it for my first iPad.  It was one of the first apps I downloaded from the App Store.  After tinkering with a couple of photos I had to have it for the Mac as well.  It has a simple interface, and is very easy to use.  Within minutes of opening an image you can transform a blah photograph into something very interesting.

The above image shows the before, and after effects of using Snapseed on my iPad.  The image was originally shot on a very hot, hazy summer afternoon that hid a lot of detail in the sky, and caused the foreground to be underexposed.   I was shooting a lot of HDR at the time, and performed a 3 bracket sequence that never quite materialized the way I thought it would.  Even if you carefully expose you sometimes cannot get anything decent out of the HDR process.  I was pressed for time this day so I used the spray and pray method of shooting    As a result the images I shot that day stayed dormant  in my Lightroom catalog until now.

I exported the original images to my iPad, and began tinkering around in Snapseed.  You can see the results on the right side of the image above.  It’s not technically perfect, and could use some more refinement.  However you can see how a tool with as simple an interface as Snapseed can set you off in a creative direction you may not have discovered previously.  I have experienced this several times over the past decade as I have gotten better at editing, and as the digital darkroom tools have evolved.  Sometimes it’s worth going back to revisit images you thought were long archived.

I am particularly impressed at how well Snapseed handles halos and artifacts of sharpening, and adding structure.  Even zoomed in to this medium quality jpg I don’t see much in the way of artifacting.  I am also impressed at how little noise was introduced by lightening the foreground.  If I had done this as part of my HDR process I would have probably seen chromatic aberration (fringing) of which I see none.  So Snapseed can offer a great way to achieve an HDR look from a single exposure. See below.

I look forward to using Snapseed to quickly come up with ideas for an image.  I’ll probably continue to do most of my editing on the desktop in Photoshop and Lightroom, but will defer to Snapseed occasionally if I think it will help my workflow for a particular image.  Something like this could even be used as a layer, and combined using blending modes, and opacities to come up with something in Photoshop that is novel.  As the tools evolve, and expand so do the limits of our creativity.