Tag Archives: digital photo editing

What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with

Opinion

My wise old grandmotherWhen I was young and living with my wise old grandmother (picture ►), she used to sit at the dining room table during the day creating her scrapbooks and photo albums. Her sons used to chastise her because she would cut up her pictures to create what she wanted. As she used to say: “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” I can only imagine how much fun she would have in today’s world with Photoshop.

I bought Photoshop when it hit the PC market in the early 1990s. Throughout the years, my photo editing skills have continued to improve. Since I know what I can do with Photoshop, as well as video editing programs, basically I don’t believe anything I see on the Internet. Instead, if I like it, I enjoy it, perhaps even sharing it. But there is so much stuff that I know is fake, most, but not all, of it involving still pictures.

That reminds me of the broadcast from Times Square on December 31, 1999. The broadcast, of course, was live, as had been all the New Year’s Eve broadcasts for as long as I can remember. Not until later, though, was it disclosed that the broadcast wasn’t as live as we thought. Turns out that a big lighting display in Times Square was broadcasting an advertisement by a competitor of the television station that I was watching. I never saw the advertisement because it was being edited out as the video was being broadcast “live.” So even live events might not be the truth!

A couple of years ago I experimented with my own video editing. Watch this one minutes video of a Coaster train in the Miramar area of San Diego and tell me which way the train is traveling.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you think the train is traveling left to right, well, only in the video. In actuality, it was traveling from right to left. I changed it in about five seconds and one click of the mouse using Corel Video Studio Pro.

Here in San Diego, commuter trains are of the push/pull configuration. In other words, sometimes the engine is at the front, pulling the train, and sometimes the engine is at the rear, pushing the train. I have never liked the push configuration; it just looks wrong. So when I discovered the “reverse” function in Video Studio Pro, well, I couldn’t help but click on it. Voilá!

I have had fun with still pictures, too, like this one:

Sandstone arch at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In that one, there actually is only one bridge. The hole looked like an eye, so I thought that two eyes were better than one. Here is the original with just the one eye:

Sandstone arch at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So remember: Just because you see it on the Internet and it’s been shared by 159,472 people and viewed 9,471,002 times doesn’t mean it’s true. That doesn’t mean you can’t simply enjoy it. As Edgar Degas said a century ago: “Art is not what you see but what you make others see.”

Abraham Lincoln

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Inquiring minds want to know

How I Did It

Many decades ago when I had several years experience with photography, my goal was to have a huge collection of lenses for all purposes—fisheye, wide angle, super wide angle, zoom, ultra zoom, double ultra zoom, triple ultra zoom………

Although it might be nice to have all those lenses in today’s world, I find that I am completely satisfied with my Tamron 28-300mm lens and Photoshop. Photoshop has so many cool features that allow me to simulate all those lenses so well that no one would know what I had done unless I told them.

A good example is this Photographic Art creation:

Two ladies at the window

That is based on a picture of a mural in the Little Italy area of San Diego. Ah, but I lie to you. That is based on FOUR pictures of a mural in the Little Italy area of San Diego. It was a wide mural, so it would not fit in my camera considering I couldn’t stand across the street because cars and utility poles would have been in the picture. I could have stood in the street, but it’s a busy street, and I know what typically happens when a 200-pound human takes on a 4,000-pound car. My only choice, then, was to take four pictures while standing on the walkway, just three feet or so from the mural. Here are the four original pictures:

IMG_7133 145IMG_7134 145IMG_7135 145IMG_7136 145

Along with the mismatch in color contrast, brightness, exposure, etc., you can see that the perspective is going to be weird, especially for the two end pictures. This pretty much tells you where I was standing in order to leave cars, people, and poles out of the picture—right between the two ladies if you can’t tell.

First I corrected the perspective of the pictures, which gave me these four pictures:

IMG_7133 (Custom)IMG_7134 (Custom)IMG_7135 (Custom)IMG_7136 (Custom)

Then I used Photoshop’s Photomerge function to merge the four pictures into one picture, giving me this:

img_7133 panorama (Custom)

After that it was just a question of making it into Photographic Art.

The one question that Julian had is why does the woman who is sitting down have a mustache. The attire certainly leads to one believing that it is a woman… Do Italian women have mustaches? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Pedicabs

Making something out of nothing at all

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I am a firm believer in what my wise old grandmother always used to tell me: “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Here is a picture as it came out of the camera:

Cruddy picture

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s a pretty cruddy picture. It’s out of focus and noisy, to say the least. However, I really liked the colors of those two pedicabs and decided to try to make something out of the picture.

I took the picture to Photoshop CC and, seeking to take the easy way out, just started applying filters at their default settings. I quickly found one I liked: the plastic wrap filter (Filter ► Filter Gallery ► Artistic ► Plastic Wrap). The Plastic Wrap settings were Highlight Strength 15, Detail 5, and Smoothness 5. Here is the result:

Pedicabs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The original picture would be considered a throwaway by many photographers who still seek to “get it right in the camera,” those who seemingly don’t understand that getting it right in the camera often means accepting what the camera software programmers think is “right.”

Never give up on a picture. As with all things in life, try to make something, even if you’re trying to make it out of nothing at all.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Creating an orb in Photoshop

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I use Photoshop CS6 for most of my photo editing work — adding contrast, sharpening, correcting exposure, bringing back highlights, cropping, and so much more.

Once I finish editing, though, it’s fun to find out what other things Photoshop can do.

To me, Photoshop filters are the most fun, and recently I learned how to create an interesting orb, like this:

Flower orb

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Not everything makes a good orb. The more little things in the picture, the better looking the orb will be.

Here’s how to do it, step by step.

Open your picture and crop it to a square, or a ratio of 1:1. Click on the crop icon. In your crop options bar, it probably says “Ratio.” Click on that and change it to 1:1 (Square). Your crop marks will move to the center of the image to create a square from your picture. You can move the crop area around if you want it somewhere else. (Click on the image below for a larger image.)

Crop in Photoshop CS6

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next, click on Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Polar to Rectangular ► Okay

My flower now looks like this:

Photoshop distort polar coordinates

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That creates an interesting item in and of itself, but we’re going to go further.

Now click on Image ► Image Rotation ► Flip Canvas Vertical. That gives me this:

Photoshop Flip Canvast Verticle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Again, you could stop there and have something interesting. We’re still going further, though!

Click on Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Rectangular to Polar ► Okay.

That gives you an orb!

If you don’t crop your picture to a square, you won’t get an orb. Instead, if your picture is wider than it is tall, you’ll get an oval on its side. If your picture is taller than it is wide, you’ll get an oval on end.

Have fun!

Lastly, guess who is in this orb?

Zoey the Cool Cat in an orb

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I would approve this post
if I wasn’t dreaming of catching birds.Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

House finches at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Look this way! Please look this way!

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On a recent hike in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, I found three house finches sitting on a wire. I took five pictures before they flew away. My intent was to get all three of them looking at me, or at least looking forward. They refused to cooperate. There was always at least one bird that was looking the other way. Begging all three birds to “look this way, please, look this way!” didn’t have any effect on them.

I got up the courage to do something about it as I was looking at the five pictures this morning. Originally, I was going to simply replace the one bird that wasn’t looking at me with one that was. Then I thought, why stop at three birds? After playing around, I came up with a nice picture of six house finches:

House finches at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me which three birds originally were not in that picture. Let us number the birds 1 through 6 from bottom left to top right. And as all good teachers would do, I require that you “show your work,” i.e., explain your decision.

My wise old grandmotherThis little exercise reminds me of my wise old grandmother. She carried her Kodak Instamatic camera in her purse everywhere she went, and she didn’t hesitate to pull it out and snap a picture. Once she got home she took all her pictures and mounted them in her scrapbooks and photo albums. However, she didn’t hesitate to crop them, cut them in two, whatever, in order to make the pictures better or make them fit the theme of her pages.

She used to always tell me, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” It’s still like that, so if you aren’t using Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Serif PhotoPlus, Photo Studio, PaintShop Pro, Photo-Paint, ACDSee, Gimp, Picmonkey, etc., you’re missing out on a lot of fun. The ones I use are Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, Photo-Paint X6, and PaintShop Pro X5.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

It’s all in the eyes!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I joined the seventh grade debate team, my wise old grandmother told me to look. “Look at your opponent, look at the moderator, look at the audience. It’s all in the eyes!” she said. She was right.

Obama lost the first presidential debate because he did not look at Romney, did not look at the moderator, did not look at the audience, did not look at the camera. He looked down, almost as if he were sleeping, disinterested, maybe even hanging his head in shame.

In the vice-presidential debate, Ryan (some of my friends call him “Lyin’ Ryan”) did much of the same thing. He drank so much that I thought he was drinking margaritas because I’m pretty sure mere water wouldn’t be worth a drink every five seconds. He spent a lot of time taking notes. For what? It’s not like there would be a test afterwards, and surely his memory could remember something said 30 seconds earlier. When he did look at Biden, he had this weird smirk on his face. And that Eddie Munster hairline doesn’t help matters any……….

Republicans say Biden was rude by interrupting. Better to interrupt those lies rather than let them be spouted out as fact! (Go Joe!) Joe even looked directly at the camera several times, saying, “Folks, listen to me….” or “Folks, here are the facts…..” or “Folks, who do you trust here?” That’s another area where Obama failed. He let Romney spout all those lies as if they were fact, and unfortunately the public believed them. That’s why it’s important to interrupt those lies.

Now on to serious things.

When I was at a photographic art exhibit a couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the photographer. His work was of flowers and birds. I learned from him how to get my pictures of red and yellow flowers to be more realistic than what my camera was giving me (remember that my wise old grandmother also said “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”). I also learned from him why I liked his bird pictures so much. It’s all in the eyes!

To wit, here is a picture of a monkey at the San Diego Zoo:

Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s a good picture but I wanted something a little more from it. After realizing that a lot of that monkey’s emotions is in the eyes, I knew what had to be done. I needed to photoshop those eyes so you could see what’s in them:

Oh, no! I see a Twit!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Subtle, yet seeing those eyes adds a lot to the picture, to the emotions of the monkey and to the emotions of the viewer. All I did was highlight the two eyes and then increase the brightness some. Took all of 30 seconds in Photoshop.

It’s all in the eyes!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinnochio

I lied (must mean I’m a Republican)

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In a recent post of mine (Imperial Beach, the most southwesterly city in the continental U.S.), I lied! I was misleading to my readers. I’ll let you decide if I should be punished by having to vote for Romney & Ryan.

Pictures in my post:

Tijuana Estuary National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, most southwestern city

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Original, unaltered pictures:

Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought the original pictures were too cluttered so I tried to clean them up using Photoshop CS6. Cluttered….. Hmmm. Sounds just like politics, doesn’t it? What’s my punishment?Liar!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos