Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sometimes it's a matter of luck

I was away for the weekend and awoke to find a rainbow beam of light formed on a wall as the sun passed through some cut glass near the window. The colors were intense, but the background was white. Later, in Photoshop, I changed the wall to black to increase the intensity of contrast with the colors. The photo was taken with my Fuji X-T2 and 16-55mm f/2.8 zoom.

The colors did not last very long so I had to work fast. I have tried creating a shot like this in the studio but never arrived at anything I liked because the colors were never intense enough.  On this day, I just lucked out. Mother nature just created the scene for me.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Interpretations of a coming storm with the Fuji X-T2

For the entire month of June, thunderstorms have been passing through daily here in Florida. I've tried to schedule an evening helicopter shoot of Miami only to cancel the flights due to weather. Today I was out photographing with my X-Pro2 and my favorite do-everything lens, the Fuji 18-135mm. I began photographing with the sun blazing in the sky blasting out the image, and ended in a heavy downpour 20 minutes later. The photos below show the progress of this brief shoot. I did do some Photoshop work on all of the images in an attempt to emphasize the changes in the weather.












Friday, June 16, 2017

Slow motion video test with the Fuji X-T2

This test video was taken with the Fuji X-T2 set to HD1080/59.94p. It was edited later in Photoshop, and output as 29.97fps to slow it down.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fuji X-Pro2 Classic Chrome after a storm

A massive thunderstorm blew through my new Florida neighborhood in the early hours of the morning. It dwindled down to a light rain just after sunrise, and I went out to capture these images of the rain drops on nearby tropical plants. I used my Fuji X-Pro2 with the Zeiss 50mm Makro Planar lens. The images were processed in the Fuji Classic Chrome look, with a fairly strong "S" curve added in Photoshop to deepen the contrast and add a bit more punch to the muted colors.










Saturday, June 3, 2017

Keeping it simple with the Fuji X-Pro2 and 18-55mm zoom

I love the vegetation I find here in Florida. So I always try to keep a camera handy to record it when the opportunity arises.  To keep things simple, I settled in on the Fuji X-Pro2 with the original 18-55mm zoom lens.  It doesn't give me the extensive coverage of my other favorite lens, the 18-135mm Fuji zoom, but it is convenient to carry around all the time and tuck into a bag when I don't need it.

Yesterday I happened upon this banyan tree with some vegetation growing around its base.  Its sculptural beauty looked like a perfect companion for the cameras Acros simulation, which is what I used to capture these images.  I did add my favorite platinum toning effect in post processing along with a vignette to deepen the tonality.







Monday, May 29, 2017

Working on a tan in Photoshop

Now that I am living and photographing in Florida, I'm also having to deal with many outdoor subjects in situations I didn't have to face much when photographing up north. Down  here I'll be doing a lot more of my outdoor work around pools and beaches. On a recent lifestyle shoot with one model, I photographed her in a pool. Looking at the shot later in Photoshop, I decided that her skin looked a little too light and also not tan enough. Enhancing a tan in Photoshop is not very difficult. There are many ways of doing it. I have a fairly simple solution I thought might be of interest. So here it is.


Above is the original image. I used the Quick Selection tool to make a select just the model's skin. The selection edges don't have to be perfect. Next, create a separate layer from the selection by pressing CTRL-J.


The skin layer should look like above image. We will use two adjustment layers to enhance both the color and darkness of the tan. These will be placed just above the skin layer. The first adjustment layer is Brightness/Contrast. Click on the small down-arrow at the bottom of the adjustment layer so that is will be only applied to the skin layer below it, and not to the over all image. You can adjust this layer to suit the about of darkness you want. I used a -41 on the brightness and +19 pm the contrast.  



Next add a Color Balance adjustment layer below the Brightness/Contrast layer so that both are being applied only to the skin layer below them. Enhance the tan color by increasing the Cyan/Red and Magenta/Green Midtones.  I used a +32 and +4 as shown below. 


The Layers menu below shows how I had the layers laid out. The little down-arrow on the left indicates that the adjustment layers will only act upon the skin layer immediately below them. You want to keep both of the adjustment layers active at the same time and adjust them in unison. Note also that I painted out some of the effect form some areas that were already a bit dark by painting with a soft black brush on the Brightness/Contrast layer.


The photo below is the completed image with a darker, even tan covering the model. 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Over Manhattan with a Leica SL and 24mm Summilux lens

No sooner had I moved to Florida than I had to return to New York to cover a few assignments. One of the more interesting assignments was to teach a Leica Akadamie Workshop on night photography from a helicopter over Manhattan. After a hands-on afternoon course on the techniques of photographing from a moving helicopter with the doors off and the wind blowing, the whole class went aloft just after sunset to capture the city as the lights were coming on.

We lucked out with the sun breaking through the clouds at sunset to add some color to the sky. Participants were able to use the latest in Leica equipment on the flight, in addition to  carrying another camera of their own.

I wanted to try out the new Leica M10 and fit it with a fast f/1.4 aperture 24mm Summilux lens, definitely my favorite lens for this type of photography. The fast aperture keeps my ISO down and shutter speed high enough to freeze the motion from a handheld shot in a vibrating helicopter at night.

Below are some of the photos I took with my one camera/one lens outfit.

We may be doing a Leica Workshop like this again, both in New York and some other spots around the US. So stay tuned to Leica if you are interested in attending. The workshops have a tendency to sell out quickly.