The Art of Lightroom Workshop

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Lightroom Evolution and The Sharing Circle.

After spending more than a decade processing and evolving images in Lightroom its time to share these skills in a more comprehensive program. The many awards and honours bestowed upon my images and the over whelming support of the many club invitations for my talks has inspired me to open my door and share my inner thoughts and techniques on a more personal one on one level.

The “Image Mentoring Group” has been a concept under development for the past 3+ years. I’ve thought long and hard about how this would look and function but most importantly how each artists would thrive under my support and tutelage. The past years of informal private tutoring and mentoring revealed my existing circle of artists could achieve and exceeding their goals, with some achieving provincial, national and even international recognition.

Recently recognized by my colleagues and the photographic community for my dedication to the development of the photographic arts in Manitoba was a great honour. I’ve been collaborating with an amazing group of photographers development and teaching a new photographic program at Red River College. I was thrilled by this opportunity of a clean slate, open mind and to be on the ground level of exploring and developing a leading edge photographic curriculum for the collage.

These recent developments became the catalyst to complete the image mentoring concept and announce that January 2016 is the right time to launch “The Image Mentoring Group”.

The Image Mentoring Group

This is your invitation to join the first “Image Mentoring Group – Level 1 or 2”

The studio is all set and ready to go, the resources have been refined so the stage set for both creative and technical demonstrations that will help you take your work to the next level. This is not only about gaining a greater understanding about Lightroom, its more about learning how within LR you can developed a stronger creative process. Its about strengthening your vision so you can produce more dynamic images. Its about exploring innovations which will generate more ideas. This workshop is designed to help you conceptualize, visualize and execute more creatively with clarity and effectiveness.

These concepts will be developed through utilizing your own personal body of work with the goal of enhancing your own unique personal style.

Objectives:

  • To hone your image development skills within the Lightroom environment.
  • To develop a greater understanding of your images and how you can bring them to life as interpreted by you within Lightroom.
  • The images used are exclusively from your own portfolios and will be developed by you with my guidance.
  • Upon completion you will have a greater confidence of creative composition and in your own abilities within Lightroom.
  • You will gain a better understand of your own images and how best to process them effectively creating your own unique style.

In Level 2 once the files are completed you will learn to proof and print your image on a large format 44″ printer. The completed print is yours to take home and enjoy.

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Each attendee will have 1 year hot line for any further questions once the course is completed. In addition you will receive a monthly newsletter on new developments, tips and tricks and other cool information.

Sessions:
Session #1 is now open for booking. I’m looking for groups of 3-4 who will meet once a week for 2.5 hours over 5-6 consecutive weeks, this is first come is first served. If you have friends and want to form your own group on a specific day and time that’s more than welcome.

Each group session group creates a “circle”. On the first circle meeting a through group discussion will determine the over all direction of the Lightroom curriculum. Each sessions scheduled has a 30-40 min curriculum study on LR and associated programs with the balance of 2 hours spent on individual person development.

The studio has undergone renovations and there are four work stations ready to go. The environment has a comfortable creative feel with inspiring images to help motivate you. All the network and print equipment is top professional standards.
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Prerequisites Level 1 – 2:

Level 1
This is step one on learning Lightroom and composition. No previous knowledge of LR is needed but an understand of you computer and OS is required. PC and Mac are both covered.  Wifi enabled is required.

Level 2
This is an intermediate level. A basic knowledge in Lightroom, from LR4 forward is needed. A good understanding of your computer is required we don’t want to spend time on technical issues its all about learning the artistic craft of photography.  Wifi enabled is required.

Level 3
For professional and semi professional photographers looking to streamline their workflows and to create dynamic images within a solo file, file batch, collection or series. How to quickly asses image development requirements. Tether shooting for studio and commercial drone studies by mid summer 2016.

Starting dates are as follows:

Level 1 Beginner Studies in image composition and Lightroom development techniques.
Starting Sat. Jan 9, 2016 and five consecutive Saturdays ending Feb. 6, 2016. Times 9:30 sharp to 12:00 noon, door opens at 9:00

Level 2 Intermediate studies and mentoring of your images and thorough customization of Lightroom studies relative to your work.
Starting Sun, Jan. 10, 2016 and six consecutive Sundays ending Feb.14, 2016 Times 9:30 sharp to 12:00 noon, door opens at 9:00

Level 3
Starting January private sessions booked at the convenience of the photographer.

At the current time there are only 2 Mac work stations in my studio so having your own laptop is an asset.

Fees:

Level 1 $300 for 5 weeks Includes all LR & Circle documentation.
Level 2 $375 for 6 weeks includes all LR & Circle documents and printing materials.
Level 3 fee determined by the needs of the photographer based on $200 per hour.

The courses are now full. Once completed I will set up a date for the next session likely end of April or beginning of May. If you want to book ahead send me a note via email and you’ll receive the advance notification.

Fees are due on entry and the first four confirm your position in the program.

Contact the studio at ph: 204-654-3176

email: kerrmarketing@mac.com

The Art of Black and White Conversions

B&W Talk 2015

The Art
of
Black & White Conversions

On Tues. Sept 15, 2015 at the Manitoba Camera Club presentation I was invited to do a presentation on B&W conversions with the intent of showing some of the artistic capabilities of Lightroom. The audience was asked to bring image files that I would process live. We had a lot of fun but unfortunately I ran out of time so I promised I would post them at a later date, well here they are.

Let me preface this document by saying that all the images are the copyright of the individuals who kindly submitted them for this particular talk and demo. I want to thank those that shared their files for this purpose of the demonstration and I hope that I did them justice on the conversions. So lets begin, the images appear in no particular order.

The Actor

B&A Actor_This is a nicely exposed stage shot of an Asian character. There is a strong colour cast from stage lighting so its important to start with colour correcting the image to obtain the correct grey scale tones. Once completed, using the “HSL module”, each colour was desaturated. This technique allows for a luminance adjustment of each colour in the scene. In the “Basic module” a minor exposure and shadows adjustment completed this conversion. A border was added in OnOne FX.

Street Dancer

B&A Dancer HybrideThis was a challenging image because of the complex nature of the capture. Quite a busy street scene didn’t allow for a simple B&W conversion so it was produced as a hybrid to help isolate the subject in an interesting way. Utilizing the radial tool in LR6 set to 100% desaturation was the starting point. In LR6 the new brush selector within the radial tool was chosen and set at 100% desaturation erase all the remaining colour. The dancer, now the only colour, stands out against an other wise busy background. A lightening of her and a slight saturation and its done. Border was added in FX.

Environmental Portrait

B&A Dancer PortrateA nice urban portrait but the subject is a bit lost and not the true focal point. Starting with a crop to remove some of the bright area that catches the eye, in addition it make the image more cinematic. Using the HSL and removing all colour with the sliders allows minor adjustments of all the grey tones. Then added an elongated horizontal radial adjustment of exposure, – highlight and clarity. A second vertical radial adjustment with the same sliders of varying settings completed the look. A vignette was added and a frame in OnOne FX.

Sunrise Fog

B&A Fog & SunriseA challenging fog image. Start with the HSL desaturation conversion to B&W. A gradient tool with a strong clarity selected was dragged down from the top and it revealed details at the brightest point. Switched to a radial tool with a strong clarity setting revealing as much detail as possible with out creating unwanted banding effect of the gradient. Two more radial adjustments were set on each side adding more treeline details. Lastly a gradient tool, set with clarity, dragged from the bottom up to expose the dark details in the for ground. Fine details were added with a brush tool, dodging and burning the stick in the foreground. Frame added in OnOne FX.

High Key Portrait

B&A High Key_

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Studio portrait converted with a moderate high key look. Global HSL desaturation colour conversion, a radial tool adjustment with clarity and slight +exposure showed a nice opportunity to go high key. The final has a pushed white and exposure adjustment with some added contrast to retain the details.

Fishing Boat

B&A Sepia HybridThis beautiful fishing scene cried out for a sepia monochrome conversion. The HSL desaturation technique was used as a baseline. Dodge and burning was used to bring out some of the details and the brightening of the boat in the foreground to give it more prominence. In LR6 presents there is a sepia that works very well. A deepening of the colour was added and using a brush some defined pastel colouring was added with a brush tool. Within the brush tool select  temperature and adjust sliders to obtain the tone your looking for, select flow and density high to see the effect, you can adjust it back once you see the correct colour your looking for. Vignette and a frame were added at the end.

Soft Portrait

B&A Soft Glow Eye detailAnother beautiful studio portrait this time made into a warmed soft conversion. HSL desaturation  conversion with luminance adjustments to highlight key facial structure. Radial tool with slight exposure and dropping of the highlights a push on the shadows and sorted by a negative clarity. Select the brush within the radial tool and erase this effect on the eyes mouth and hairline to bring back the contrast as previously created. Framed in OnOne FX.

Steep Rock Shoreline

B&A Steep RockA nice shoreline scene with an overcast nondescript sky. When one sees a shoreline of water and rocky cliff we conjure up a storm or a dramatic sunset, well in this case a storm prevailed. HSL conversion allow some amazing detail to be revealed in the waters and cliff in the foreground, the sky however remained nondescript. Clarity added more detail and some dodge and burning pretty much completed the majority of the foreground. The sky needed further help and that was accomplished in OnOne FX. A trick I use is to add multiple layers of sky set at different opacities and scale to make it more believable. I also like to invert the dominant sky and use that to create some highlights in the water. Brought back into LR and a slight dodge and burn and that completed this image.

Vintage Aircraft

B&A Vintage AircraftAnother image that cried out to be a monochromatic sepia image. In this case the HSL conversion technique really helped to find details in this image. Really play with the luminance sliders to find out which once work best for the given image, remembering the colours of the original image are key. Lastly a soft white glow was added to the window with the radial tool and the chair was erased from that glow.

Glowing Sunrise

B&A Sunrise Silhoutte_A soft glow of an early morning light with a detailed silhouette of trees and their reflection. Does this defy the basic definition of B&W being one part black and one part white, well, yes it does. HSL adjustment helps to define this automatically. There is a strong black that is obvious but its the subtle grey tones that become just as obvious. This is a great example to use for the sharpening technique with the masking tool. When sharpening for fine detail use a small radius, meaning a smaller pixel cluster, add detail to the amount of your liking but here is the real key. You don’t need or want to sharpen the clouds, sky or refection in this image so use the Masking slider. Press option in Mac and at the same time slide the controller, only the white highlighted areas are being sharpened, nun of the black is being effected. On this image it was set at 100 so only the tree edges were sharpened and nothing else, perfect. No white exists and when the greys were adjusted there was a shore line detail that came to light that was not seen in the original image.

The Storm

B&A Stormy Coast LineIn all due respect to the maker of this image this is one that you don’t want to spend much time on because you know it takes to long. Well here we go. HSL is my starting point in B&W workflow. Try and find any detail in the blown out area -100 in highlights, white clipping -40, try clarity and contrast. It all still leaves this white abyss with no detail. Next is to clone some cloud into the space, not everywhere, just where there could be a strong cloud. Then take the image to a second software package, in this case OnOne FX, and layer in a cloud layer or two. Its the only solution and is left to a whole world of interpretation.

The Bridge

B&A B&W Hybrid   This was sent to me as a B&W image so I had a chance to play. I did a minor crop to add a more linear feel to this image. Took it into OnOne FX and added a texture, frame. I returned back to LR and took the brush with a blue temperature and colourized the bridge, it was intended to be a bit sloppy as an urban grunge.

Vintage Farmstead

 B&A Vintage Farm Pastel

I saved the best for last, well in my books anyway. This is a the B&W conversion using HSL with hand colouring two or three pastel colours. A high key conversion is the base. The colours are added with the brush tool and in effect, select a temperature colour you like, add some clarity and brush over the area you want coloured. A last adjustment of exposure to find that right high key look.

Conclusions.

Introduction to artistic B&W conversions.

•    study the image well before you start.
•    what is the content
•    what is the mood
•    what are the compositions strong points

A good understanding of the image goes a long way in creating an artistic rendering.

The different ways to convert RGB images to B&W in LR6.

1 – “Basic” – use the B&W tab for an automatic conversion.
The RGB channel percentages should theoretically add up to 100% (i.e. 50% Red + 40% Green + 10% Blue = 100%). More than 100% means lighter images and less than 100% means darker images, so it’s really up to you.
The default option is 100% Red, 0% Green, 0% Blue, but 30% Red, 60% Green, 10% Blue is a good starting point.
2 – “HSL”  – desaturate all the colours individually. By using the luminance colour sliders you can adjust the grey scale of every individual colour zones.

4 – Radial Tool drop down – desaturation set at -100.

5 – Brush Tool drop down- desaturation set at -100.

6 – Gradient Tool drop down – desaturation set at -100.

7 – B&W Presets in LR6 are many, each having a variety of interpretations.

There are a lot more ways to do this in LR6 use your imagination and have fun.
Lastly Remember: If you’ve spent a lot of time working with a certain image, take a break for a while and then use a fresh set of eyes to look at it again. Over concentration can be easy to do, if you’ve looked at it for too long taking a break will often help you identify what needs to be done.

B&W conversions should be a lot fun so enjoy yourself.

Magic Moments

Mountain Sheep Shoot

On my Facebook page I posted a sequence of four images of mountain sheep that caught some attention. People were curious about different aspects from capture to post production and I said I would follow up with some additional details on this blog. I hope I’ll cover enough insights here to help you out.

The Shoot

This sequence of mountain sheep images was taken mid August, 2006 during a period when I was deeply involved in observing and capturing wildlife in their natural environment. During my three year quest I was focused on the western foothills of Alberta and the eastern interior British Columbia. I tried to revisit certain areas to capture different seasons which also allowed the possibilities of seeing different migration patterns of the wildlife.
Three sheep vertical
On this mid August trip I was in the Jasper area on a favourite 10 kl. hike that takes me along the Jasper River running adjacent to the Yellow Head Trail near Talbot Lake. August is tourist time and the highway is always busy so I decided to find a more remote back road and head up into the mountains.

I found an East bound gravel road about halfway between Jasper and Hinton that looked to be less traveled and headed East up the mountain. The road ended at an small unmarked gravel pad beside a mountain stream. The stream bed was barely running but I’m sure during the spring or a heavy rain it must swell up given the right circumstances. Looking West there is a deep cut in the rocks with a drop of 20 -30 ft. I thought this would be an amazing water fall with the right flow of water. In any event I started to walk up stream and I found myself in a narrow ravine cradled between to mountains, not exactly sure which mountains these were, I’ve tried to locate the road on satellite maps but to no avail.
Two Sheep on a cutback
There is something to be said about being in a remote area by yourself. You either feel very peaceful or it can scare the crap out of you, this day was a beautiful serine day. One of the first things I like to do is sit a few minutes motionless, maybe feel the warmth of the afternoon sun and just listen, listen to the birds, hear the occasional rock falling in the distance and the trickle of the water just below my feet. Higher up in the mountains there is are unique weather patterns and this day had scattered rain showers that were a joy as the sun continuously broke through illuminating the drops on there decent.

Three + one and a half sheep

It was the sound of some frequent rocks falling that caught my attention. I looked in that direction and saw this small herd of sheep on the opposite side of this ravine. They appeared from behind a rock cut as if they were magically appearing from the rock face. I surveyed possible vantage points that wouldn’t disturb them and slowly made my move. I ended up slightly higher than them but as it turned out it was exactly the right spot as they eventually wandered past just below me. The light source was slightly behind them which allowed for a nice rim lighting effect that worked well in the post production work. I was careful to watch my camera setting so as not to blowout any highlights. According to my metadata the total sequence lasted 3:48 sec so it was quite quick but it was well worth the climbing to this precarious perch I shot from.

Two Sheep

Post Production:

Lightroom 5 does the vast majority of my post production work. There is no specific workflow that I do its always done by perception and having a sense of what each image portrays to me. At capture I shoot manual and change my settings quite regularly almost frame by frame. When looking through the viewfinder and framing the image, I almost always I have a particular idea how I want the image to look when its done and printed. In this case almost every frame has some in camera adjustment as I shot from splendid warm highlights to high contrast shadow. This one facet of shooting causes me to adapt my post production so that a sequence of images can translate into a similar look and feel, if a sequence is what I desired.

I started using OnOne software just over two years ago and its used mainly to finish and to render a more dynamic look in an image. There is an amazing set of filter that can evolve images in an endless number of ways and with each filter there is a complete set of control to customize the effect. In my images a softer more natural look with a slightly greater dynamic range is what I was trying to accomplish here.

Ian Tamblyn Concert Wpg., Feb 24 2012 Two Sheep

This a before, completed in LR5 and after using OnOne software.

When studying processing I surf the net visiting a variety of photographic and photo competition sites. I look for trends that I like but mostly dislike. I’ve found there is a strong tendency to have images with over pushed sharpening which makes them loose there reality and become to digitized in their feel. When I analyze its more to confirm what I’m visualizing for my images thats important. One must consider and recognize with any desired processing technique it really boils down to beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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The Challenge:

I just participated in the “fivedayblackandwhitechallenge”. This event took place on Facebook and the idea was to create a chain of willing photographers to share 5 images from their portfolios and to invite 5 other photographers into challenge to perpetuate the event. On Oct 21 I was invited in by Anil Sud a good friend and mentor who is an amazing photographer in his own right. A special Thank You for that.

Observations and Objectives:

So the question became what will I bring to the table. On a weekly basis I share a fair bit on Facebook so what would be the idea behind the images I was about to show for this challenge. My thoughts became one of newness. I spent time and looked at some of the images that people were post I realized they were from all over the world so I knew there was a larger audience pool. I decide to share some new images and processing concepts to see what comments this broader audience would yield.

My Submissions:

My first image was posted on Oct 21. This was a shot taken at the Leo Mole sculpture garden in Winnipeg. When I first saw this original colour image I liked the contrast that existed between the dark greens, dark clear waters and the light yellow lilies. When I loaded it into LR5 and did a basic B&W conversion, based on a preset I created, I discovered much more. In B&W this image shows a tremendous amount of character in the depth of blacks in the matte leaves, the bubbles on the waters surface and of course the subtle details of the flowers that once you look into them you see more and more of the details that first look appear to be slightly over exposed.

B&W Lilies

Captured at the Leo Mole Gardens, Winnipeg, Canada.

My second image was posted Oct 22. This was a shot taken in North Eastern Alberta at Elk Island. This location became a favorite haunt of mine for about five years. Arriving predawn I would walk among the bison sleeping in the in the meadows and trees. I got quite used to them over the years and I had a good understanding of their body language so I was comfortable walking among them, stupid maybe, but it allowed me to get some very peaceful morning shots. This was one taken just as the bison were awakening. The setting was very nice with the edge of a forested area behind adding some nice light and vertical contrast to the dark animals and tall light grasses.

Bison Morning #2

Captured at Elk Island, Alberta.

 

My third image was posted on Oct 23. This was taken in the Rockies near Jasper, Alberta. I was on a two day hike in the mountains and I came upon this small alpine lake. Along its shoreline were the roots of fallen trees that had been bleached by the sun and waters. The white sculptural roots strictures were a beautiful contrast to the dark green of the forest and the emerald green waters. The B&W conversion allowed even more depth and the selective highlights I chose created a nice “S” curve to the composition.

 

Taken at an alpine lake near Jasper, Alberta.

Taken at an alpine lake near Jasper, Alberta.

 

My forth image was posted on Oct 24. On my travels to the city of Chicago in 2011 I captured this shot from the Navy Pier. Looking west on a bleak rainy day the sun would breaking through the clouds every once in a while. I lined up the lamp post to be directly in front of the sun so it would illuminate the glass shades. The twin towers were wrapped in a shroud of mist but the dual antennas rose above the mist rendering a classic double elements composition.  In processing I discovered a fortuitous third double of a pair of birds just above the lights. Divine intervention…

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My fifth and final post was on Oct 25. With an international group I thought I would end it with an iconic symbol of the Canadian Prairies and take a step back in time when the history of our country was just being written. The Iron Horse is a imposing machine of iron and steel with a belly full of fire and boiler full of steam on the brink of catastrophe, yet, it intimately wove a steel thread that forged our culture and heritage from coast to coast. The Prairie Dog Central is the oldest functioning steam locomotive in North America, circa 1882, which still runs today. Its an amazing sight to behold as this Hollywood star steams across the prairie landscape as its black smoke plum dissipates into the abyss of the westerly prairie winds. I apologize that I was posting two images but I thought its was appropriate as they symbolize the coming and going of an era in early Canadian history.

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The five colleagues I invited were Alex Morrison ( About Nature Photography ), Tse Li Luk ( Tse Li Luk photography ), Hans Arnold ( Hans Arnold Photography ), Keith Levit ( Keith Levit Photography ) and Rodney Braun ( Rodney Braun Photography ).

Conclusion:

So this concluded my posts for the challenge. During my five days I was determined to share comments with as many photographers as possible. I search “fivedayblackandwhitechallenge” for the five days to see other peoples works and give comments when I was inspired by their images to do so. I must have “liked” upwards of 100 posts and commented on 20-25 that were outside of the community I already knew. There were some great images.

I guess I was an anomaly by doing this but I thought sharing opinions would be something that most would look for. Unfortunately on the receiving end my images rarely earned any comments outside of my known friends and colleagues, which I really appreciated, but it was a bit of a disappointment not hearing from photographers from other countries.

So, would I do it again, of course I would… its a joy to share the art you create.

Some Interesting News:

When I spoke to Rosemarie & Pat Keough about joining in on the fivedayblackandwhitechallenege they gratefully declined because in a few short days they are leaving on another amazing photographic expedition that will see them on a return journey to Antarctica and then on to South America to venture up the Amazon River. I’ll look forward to learning more about these amazing expeditions in the future.

Rosemarie told me about an exciting recent development regarding their book (tome) entitled “Antarctica”. She wrote “Big news for us is that the prestigious Arts + Auction magazine, in its current international edition, highlights our photographic tome Antarctica as being one of the “Three Classics” together with Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail by Ansel Adams (1938) and Henri Cartier- Bresson’s The Decisive Moment (1958).”  Attach is the pdf of the article “Snapshot of Photography Books, The Top Shelf.” Good company indeed! You can read more about their amazing books and travels by clicking on the link above.

Art+Auction – Keough

I’m look forward to the next challenge.

Fall is Upon Us.

Plan for a Fall Harvest.

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We are very lucky to be living in the heart of Canada and specifically Manitoba. The diversity of photo opportunities here is amazing if you just look around you. I’ll bet if you talk to some of your photographic friends there are spots you’ve never heard of, share them and enjoy the bounty we have here.

Ian Tamblyn Concert Wpg., Feb 24 2012

The prairie harvest is one event that takes place all around us. I’ve seen some amazing images in fact there are photographers that dedicate their entire portfolios to farming. Fall is prime time so don’t miss out and maybe even take in a fall supper while your out and about.auto remote camera

I’ve enjoyed shooting the harvest for a number of years now and they’re not difficult to do. There are some things that you want to be aware of. When you see an opportunity don’t just jump in and start shooting, survey the area. Which direction is the wind coming from. Watch the patterns they are using to work the field and pick your spots, whats the back drop etc. Make sure you only bring out the gear your using the rest stays in the car away from the dust, trust me sometimes its a cloud. There’s a good side to this because the dust creates great sunsets or sunrises. Hey and wave to the farmers, they’re out there 12 or more hours mostly by themselves, so be neighborly, cautionary note sometimes they’re not so receptive.

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Enjoy the harvest and maybe have a great meal to boot.

 

I tried some thing new and reprocessed these images to show a soft silky sky. When shooting a very dusty field you’ll notice a haze and that’s what I wanted to replicate, most people will try to get rid of it with clarity or contrast adjustments but I say keep the dreamy hazy look.

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September B&W Photography Month

B&W September Challenge

Being that Sept. was designated as B&W photography month, and now with all my surgeries are behind me I’m starting to feel myself again. So, I thought I would have some fun and begin a post that would challenge everyone that wanted to build on their B&W portfolios.

I’m challenging myself to find as many different image genres in my archives to show you in B&W. I hope it inspires you to build on your own creative ideas and to help you develop your style and techniques in image capturing and processing. If your wanting to share an idea or related image here feel free.

B&W Movement

Goose Berry Falls_-30

One of my personal favourites in B&W is the movement of water in particular water falls. Most water movement expressed in B&W has a magical feel that is simply calming but liberating. When you see a well captured image it takes your breath away then it lulls your senses and feeling of calms prevail. Contrast is of major importance in these images, the back drop of rocks must be deep and dynamic showing strength and structure. The waters movement is the opposite it must be light demonstrating fleeting cascades of movement but should never be over exposed, details must be in the highlights. I like to find in these captures faint details of a rock or a splash or droplet juxtaposed to the main movement of the body of water. You will often find hidden rocks below thin vials of water along the edges, these are seen and appreciated in B&W renditions so pay attention to these fine details.

In processing B&W images never think that a simple third party filter set or global adjustment programs with sliders will suffice, they only create a starting point and you need to spend some time here with a brush, radial tool or point adjustment tool and begin to dodge & burn the details in. Having been a trained painter and pencil sketch artists I find the brush tools have given me the best results but recently I’m working more with a radial tool and creating some amazing results.  auto remote cameraauto remote camera

Remember don’t be in a hurry, spend time with your images and the results will be well worth the effort.

 

Its All About The Light

Its All About The Light…

I’m recovering from heart surgery so I was doing some file surfing tonight passing time and came across this old image taken in Minnesota some five years ago. I’ve always enjoyed this sequence of this Great Blue Heron fishing this small stream. Tonight the creative light went on when I saw this specific image file so I grasped the moment and came up with this predawn interpretation.

I love early morning light and the mood that it creates, still waters with dark shadows with highlighted reflections. I can still hear the sounds of woodland creatures start to awaken, a deer is just upstream grazing in the tall grasses, song birds calling in the distance. The heron moves ever so slowly not making a ripple, stalking its prey beneath the mirrored waters surface. I sat ever so quiet on this walking bridge and watched him for some time, it was so peaceful and tranquil. Now that’s an incredible way to start a day.

This image was processed in Lightroom 5.6 with just a slight contrast adjustment, a vignette added by using the radial tool, contrast in the grasses using an inverted radial tool, and details added to the Heron by brush. A slight global sharpening was added at the end. The dark glow and frame was added in Perfect Effects 8.   

A comprehensive detailed overview of the precessing techniques used to produce this image is available at my new blog “The Academy Of Fine Art Photography

Heron Fishing

Heron Fishing

 

I told you there were deer in the deep grass.

Serendipitously I caught both the deer and heron in the same shot.

Serendipitously I caught both the deer and heron in the same shot.

The Art Of Lightroom 5 – A Walk in the Woods with Liam.

Liam and his Papa Joe were explored this enchanted forest of apple blossoms and wild ferns when they came upon a magical cottage by a creek. Its conical roof and gingerbread shingles and the scent of freshly baked cookies captured their interest. Papa Joe felt compelled to explore inside but Liam was leery and would not enter the open large red door. It was Liam’s instincts that allowed them to escape the diabolical wizardry of the inhabitant. They learned later that two young children named Hansel & Gretal had gone missing and that a woodsman saved them from certain perils of that hauntingly beautiful cottage.

Creating a mood that enhances the story of your image.

Creating a mood that enhances the story of your image.

Creating focus in an obscured setting.

Creating focus in an obscured setting.

 

OK, so what is this all about. Well its about using your imagination and creating a processing formula that transforms your images into what you may have imagined. In this case a enchanted forest and a mystical cottage became the theme and the motivation for this processing technique.

The Capture

Armed with only a cell phone at the time I gathered some images and loaded them into Lightroom 5.  A small capturing detail when you have a small subject, in this case a toddler, get down to their level it helps bring the viewer into their world, these were shot from my knees. Shot in full sunlight was an asset, the contrast helped create the mood in post production.

Starting The Processing

Here is the process I used to transform these into the finished images you see here using Lightroom 5. I started with some basic global contrast adjustments but from that point on its all brush and radial adjustment. The apple blossoms were a key and they needed to have a certain brightness knowing that a glow would be added later. The graphic wall paintings tone was deepened and the ground around Liam brightened. The detail in the path in the forest to his right was brightened but not too much.

Technique

These intermediate processes were created by using a radial tool adjustment with a final touch up using a brush. The radial tool settings were different for each of the four zones selected.

Zone #1 – The apple blossoms had a slight contrast and clarity adjustment which required a negative highlight to bring back the whites a touch.

Zone #2 – The painted wall has a slight positive exposure setting, a dropping of the highlight then a touch of clarity to bring up detail and 28% saturation to deepen the colours.

Zone #3 – Liam had small vertical ellipse with similar setting to zone 2 but I dropped the highlights to a negative 31.

Zone #4 – The distant path on the right needed to be brought forward so a small horizontal elliptical was selected. The settings used were a decent amount of exposure 1 1/2 stops, highlights 18, shadows 29 and clarity 10.

A Touch Beyond

At this stage I moved the image to Perfect FX8 and added a dark glow, erasing around Liam with a 60% brush and added a boarder.  Minor details but its all about the details isn’t it. This is where the high contrast of midday plays its part.

Final Touches

The file was returned to LR5 and final touches were done with a brush tool. When using the brush tool look at the bottom box of the brush adjustments. There is an A, B and erase brush selection. This comes in handy when your doing some transitions of sharpness, glow or anything that warrants a smoothing of the effect that a simple feather won’t perform.  Select “A” brush and create the brush adjustments your looking for then set it up the flow and density at 100% with 50% feather so it will effect your selection quickly. Keeping the same brush settings set the “B” and reduce density and flow to 50% with 50% feather. Now you can blend the effect by switching quickly between the two. If you need to correct, select erase and correct the area. This is how I performed the final selective sharpening of Liam in the woods walking toward the witches hut. Only he and the hut are sharp the area nearest is at 50% the rest of the image has a soft glow. The shot with Liam under the apple tree Liam is sharp and the path leading to the right is sharp, the balance is a glowing image. There are approximately 50-60 brush adjustments to each image. I’ve been asked if these images were HDR, no, these are single image files taken on my iPhone’s regular camera, no special effects used.

Learn how these techniques and more can help you create a more stunning image.

If you are interested in learning more about Lightroom 5 and how this program combined with these and other techniques can effect your images read on.  I’m looking for 3-4 students to teach so I can fine tune my program that will be offered at RRCC this fall. You will receive personal one on one instruction on your images from start to finish and a completed print at the end. This program will also be the base of a new book which will become part of the package. If your interested contact me at Kerrmarketing@mac.com and I will give you more details.