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Posts tagged ‘Portarlington’

The Efex of Silver

Today’s post is not really a tutorial, but it will be tutorial like.  I thought I would show you what Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik Software looks like and some of the possibilities that can be done with it.

First of all we need to select an image.  Another One Coming Into the CornerWe might start by doing one of the cycling images.

The image needs to be opened in Photoshop as Silver Efex Pro 2 is a plugin and you can get it for Photoshop or Lightroom.

sep1You can see there how to open up Silver Efex, go to Filters, then down to Nik Software, click on Silver Efex Pro 2.

sep2This is what it looks like in Silver Efex.  The image is changed to Black and White straight away.  I have highlighted in red, on the left, all the presets that come with Silver Efex.  There are many more, but you have to keep scrolling down to see them.

sep3I have selected High Key 1 for this, just to show you a different one.  It obviously isn’t any good for this image, so I will change it.

sep4I have decided to go with Low Key 1, which is one of my favourites.  Once the preset you want to use is chosen, then you can make more adjustments about what you want.  I have shown in red where you can make some global adjustments.  I have made a few adjustment.

sep5Another thing you can do is make Selective Adjustments, so select an area to make adjustments too.  To show this better I have darkened the entire image and I am going to attempt to lighten just one section.

sep5-1This is to show you what you see on the screen a little better.

sep6

You can see the area with the circle, that is the area Silver Efex will work in, you can make it smaller or larger, using the slider that extends from yellow dot, that you can see in the previous image.  A video tutorial would show it better.

sep7-1Under the yellow dot are the Brightness, Contrast and Structure.

sep7Hopefully you can see how I have lightened that middle rider so she stands out more than the others.

sep8On the right side there are more changes.  You can add a color filter, which doesn’t give the image any colour, but it will change the colours that were in the image.   Again, it is a matter of playing around and seeing what you get.  I haven’t change any for this image.

sep9One of the things people have loved about film is the different effects you could get from the different films.  Silver Efex allows you to have some of that again.  You can select a film type and the effect of that film will be given to your image.  I recommend you try them all and see what you think.  If you want to go back then merely select none.

sep10You can change the Levels and Curves.  To demonstrate I made it darker, then changed it back, I was fine with how the image was.

sep11Now we can start looking at some of the Finishing Adjustments.

sep12You can add a tone, where that yellow part in the side bar is, if you click on there.  There are a number of tones to choose from.  You can decide on how strong you want it, and if you decide you don’t want it, then just click off.  I did that.  I don’t really want the image toned.

sep13You can add vignetting, choose which type, black or white.  The you can decide the Amount, Circle and Size.  Again, if you choose you don’t want, then simply select off and it goes away.

sep14There is a selection of borders that you can add.  Again, you make decisions abut the size, spread, and clean.  It is good to play.  With all the drop down menus you only have to hover over them and you will be given a preview of the selection.  I decided on off for Border.

That was pretty much all the selections I did.

sep15Once OK is pressed then the image is opened up in Photoshop.  It is saved, resized and ready for you to look at.

Another One Coming into the Corner - B&WThe final image.  I don’t know about a black and white version of this.  I have never been that enthralled with cycling photos done in black and white.  One of the wonderful things about the sport are the colours that they wear.  It is so colourful, so it always seems a shame to take the colour out of it.

I hope those of you considering Silver Efex have enjoyed this tutorial.  I will be doing a video tutorial of this later today, so if you are interested then keep an eye on this page, Video Tutorials.

Criterium Continues in Portarlington

Coming into the CornerThe Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic continued on to Portarlington yesterday.  Another wonderful day as far as the weather went.  Blue skies with lots of fluffy clouds.  Perfect for taking photos.  I have some more for you today, I hope you aren’t getting too bored with them.

I look at the images and think I could do this or that to them, but right now there is no time, I am having a hard time just getting the posts done each day, no time for fancy editing.

The image above was taken from ground level, well almost, and she was coming into the corner.  I love shots like these, and I am getting the impression you do as well.

Coming out of the CornerFor me, this is a fantastic shot, there are lots of cyclists around, but you really only see one.  It is also a very hard shot to get.  You have to be good at panning, but more on that tomorrow.

While there yesterday, I decided to play with my Holga lens and the fish-eye attachment that I got with it.  I really haven’t done that enough, so I wanted to see if it was possible with cycling.

Through the HolgaThis is probably the best shot I got.  It doesn’t do very well with speed.  It was so hard to get shots that were in focus.  Perhaps it is more of a still life sort of camera, good for things that aren’t moving.

Holga Fish-EyeThis was with the fish-eye attachment, which worked better.  Though it was better conditions as well.  Great effect and I might have to try it more, but not today.

I just want to show you two images that I have did some editing to, but not a lot.  The next two images were taken on the first day in Geelong.

EmmaThis is Emma, she is only 15 and racing with the Elite women, pretty amazing for a girl so young.  I don’t know if many of you are aware of this, but juniors have to race on restricted gearing, I think it is to protect them, so they don’t get injured from pushing really big gears before their bodies are ready.  It also puts them on a fairly fair playing ground with their peers.  Emma is Under 17, so she rides with restricted gearing, even when she is the only one, her gears are still restricted. A tough ask, but it was great to see her out there doing what she could.

LaraThis is Lara and she is from NSW.  She has recently gone up to U19, so gears still restricted, though not much.

With these last two images I have just blurred the back grounds, more to make them stand out.  I wanted to make them the focus of the images.   These are more individual portrait shots, I would call them, rather than shots of the racing.

Today is the last day.  We are off to Williamstown today.  It is going to be hot, 36C or 97F, so not great, but we are expecting southerly sea breezes, so that should make it bearable.  Williamstown always has massive crowds, so it should make for an interesting day.  Am I looking forward to it, I don’t know.

More on Portarlington

I have been sorting my photos from the bay crits, I need to get them up on my website, but thought that today I would show you the HDR images that I like from Portarlington.

The sky in this one isn’t as dramatic, but I like the pier, the people fishing off the end and  how that leads you to the city in the very far distance.  It gives you an idea of how far away the city of Melbourne is.

Again the sky isn’t as moody as ones to follow, but you can see the boats.  You can see how far the tide was out that you could walk a long way out and the water wouldn’t even be up to your ankles.  You can also see that it is raining somewhere between there and the city.

If I zoom out and take in more, then you can see more of the cloudy sky.  You can’t see much detail of the pier and the water and the boats, but does that matter?  I think images like this are more about the sky rather than the foreground and perhaps the foreground is only necessary to give the image some context.

Same goes with this one.

I have to say that this is probably one of the best cloudy skies I took that day.  I also think the pier leading out to the boats is probably better because it is very simple and your eye isn’t trying to make out everything on it.

This is probably my favourite of all the HDR images I did yesterday,  I like the way the images lend themselves really way to the HDR process.

Now, I must get back to the photos from the bay crits.

Waiting for a Cool Change

Yesterday while I was in Portarlington the cool change came through, as predicted, though no rain, very stormy looking skies though.

I took this image out the back of the racing, just as it finished.  It was nice looking at the darkening skies.  Such a change after what we went through the day before.  It was refreshing to see.

This is a HDR image with a series of 5 bracketed shots.  I am still working on making them not so surreal, but somehow I can’t seem to stop, well, sometimes it seems to suit the images.

You can see in the image that it is raining, but looks like it is raining on the water.  It didn’t stop people from enjoying the beach.

I went down to the beach on my way to my car.  It was so nice and cool down there.

This was one of the last images I took.  The clouds were so dark but it really didn’t stop anyone from having a good time.

I love cloudy dark skies and I have emphasised them as much as I thought I could get away with.  They are all HDR images with 5 bracketed shots.  I have taken creative liberty, I think as the owner of the image I can do that.

I do have to confess that I didn’t pick these images, my husband did.  I actually worked on 8 images and these are the 3 he choose.  I will put more up tomorrow.  It is getting late, sorry for the late post.

Missed Opportunities

Often when I go away to photograph cycling events, I see things that I think will be good images, but, I either don’t have the time to stop and take photos, or it is the wrong time of the day.  Cycling outside always seems to happen in the middle of the day, the worse time for photography.  Imagine really early morning races, the amazing shots you could get, or late in the day.

This is from Portarlington, and this shot was taken during the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, a 4 day event with criteriums each day, and in different places.  This year stage 2 was in Portarlington.  I believe next year stage 3 is.

This image could be interesting, but the city is too far away and a better sky might have made for a more interesting shot.  One of the things I have always liked about Melbourne is how the only real high rises we have are in the city, so you can always tell where the city is.  We are across the bay here, no idea how many kilometres away it is, though according to the scale on google maps it is about 40kms.

I was positioned beside this house when I was photographing the Time Trial for the Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour.  I was there around lunch time again, and the light was all wrong.  It would have been better to have got some shots very early in the morning.  When the sun was on it.  Of course I didn’t know that at the time, well didn’t know that the house was even there.

I tried doing a HDR image using just one image.  I did what Lightbox3d suggested in the comments section a couple of days ago.  I exposed the image so one would be under exposed, one over and one as is.  Not sure about the effect.  I need to find some time to sit down and really play with HDR.  I have seen some amazing images done with it, have I said that before?

I hate missing these chances to take photos, or being there at the wrong time.  I need to start taking notes of where these places are and going back at times when it would be good to photograph them.  So right now I am debating whether to stay overnight between stage 2 and stage 3 so I can go out early in the morning to get the shots I want to get.  Or do I just leave very early in the morning, that will make it a very long day.  Perhaps that is just what I have to do.

2011 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic

The first big cycling event for 2011.  Lots and lots of riders, and lots and lots of spectators, and of course lots and lots of photographers.  Seems like every second person there had a camera.  There were many official photographers there, as always, from various media outlets and some freelancers like me.  There seemed to be people with blue bibs everywhere, the blue bibs indicating that they have media accreditation.  I had one as well for each day.

This was my second year at the bay crits.  Last year when I did it I felt I had a lot to learn, being one of the first real events that I had photographed.  At that time I had only had my camera for less than a month and still didn’t really know what I was doing.  I’ve learned a lot since then and my goals have changed for taking photos at events like this.  I was keen to have another go and had been waiting for this event for the last few months.  Though, having said that, with all the crap that has happened recently, regarding other photographers, my keenness did deteriorate somewhat.   Even once I got there I was nervous.  With what happened at the Tour of Geelong, I didn’t want to be the cause of anything.

I also know when I go to events like this my agenda is very different to the other photographers.  Of course, I want to sell photos, but I also know that the likelihood of that is very slim, I’m not known well enough in those circles to get the people wanting to buy images from me.  Though, really I went there to get images for myself.  I got some good shots last year that have been turned into lino cuts and one is being transformed into a painting.  I wanted to get more shots this year.  I know more about what type of shots I need now.

The people organising the event were fantastic.  As Amy’s ride was on in the morning for the first day I volunteered to help, Dave and Briony were doing that, so I had quite a few hours to fill in and volunteering to help seemed a good way to pass the time.  I got put in charge of the VIP car park.  I had to let people in and turn people away.  It is not the best job, but luckily only a few people got angry with me.  I had to let Phil Liggett in and that gave me an opportunity to speak to him and say hello.  I was on car park duty for about 4 hours before I had to go and get ready for the crits.  I should also say thank you to Kylie for staying with me, catching up and keeping each other company while there.  It was great seeing her again.

The person from Jump Media was also great, David.  Once I found him and got my media vest from him each day, then I was on my own to photograph whatever I wanted, well of the racing anyway.

One of the biggest differences between last year and this is that I know have the second camera and the wide angle lens.  I would be able to vary what type of shots I took.  It was going to be interesting comparing the shots from last year with this year.

The first day was not special.  I found it a bit hard to adapt.  The racing was so fast and I couldn’t seem to keep up with it.  I had photographed the race on the same circuit last year, so I was familiar with it and had even used one of the photos for a linocut.  I had expectations of what I wanted, but once I got there I felt lost.  Strange, to be somewhere that is known, but not really knowing what to do.  Could I even expect to get new photos.

I had the new flash on the camera with the larger telephoto and the old flash with the wide angle.  I had hoped that with the flashes I would be able to get rid of the harsh shadows, didn’t really work.  Sometimes it did.  Really something I need to practice.

The next day was in Portarlington, and somewhere I had never been before.  It was all new and I have to admit that I was looking forward to it, though not looking forward to dealing with all the other photographers.   My favourite photos of the day were taken on corner one.  I used the wide angle and the flash (photo right).  I really like the surreal aspect of them.  The lighting doesn’t seem natural, and in a way it isn’t.  I love the sky in the background over the bay.

I got quite a few shots like this, and some  with more than one cyclist in it.  I don’t know about using them for prints, but I would like to have a go at using them for paintings.  I think large scale, though I don’t have the room for that, but maybe one day.  It is nice to see some images that would work as paintings, I hope so anyway.  I just need to get over my fear of painting.

Stage 3 was back in Geelong and was the hot dog circuit that I didn’t do last year.  It was right on the beach and should have been a gorgeous place to get some scenic shots, but with all the barriers, the port-a-lous and whatnot spaced out on the beach side, it meant it was too hard to get any good shots.  Let me show you what I mean.  See the photo on the left, you can see what is in the background.  However, on the other side of these obstacles there was some lovely scenery.

If I want to use any of the photos then I’m going to have to use photoshop to get rid of a lot of things in the background.  Though if I use them as paintings then I can construct the background as I choose.  There is red tape all along the side of the road and some barriers and lots of people.  I need to delete those things from the image to make them better to look at.  I suppose that is one of the disadvantages of using images from races, there are always going to be obstacles in the photos.

I didn’t enjoy the hotdog circuit, I found it a bit repetitive and was struggling to keep coming up with new things to do.  In the end I ended up doing the same sort of photos and used it as practice to get better at certain types of photos.  I do love photos on corners.  There weren’t a lot of corners, only 2 really, so I didn’t have much choice as far as variety went.

The last day was at Williamstown.  I always think of Williamstown as the day it all started to make sense for me last year.  I started experimenting with the settings on the camera and stuff started to change in my photos from then on.

This year I wanted to try more shots, concentrate on the actual cyclists.  I found the course really restrictive this year.  There weren’t many places to actually get in to take photos.  There seemed to be barriers up everywhere and no where to take photos, except over the barriers.  I was allowed out on a couple of corners, though one overzealous marshal was convinced that I wasn’t allowed around one, however someone must have spoken to her and the next time I tried she didn’t say anything.  It was a scary spot with them coming very close to me, but I followed Grant’s instructions, the commissaire, on that corner, and knew I would safe.  Still the adrenalin was pumping.  I saw a couple of photographers doing it last year and I wasn’t game to try it then, but this year it was definitely something I wanted to try.

Over the four days some of the best shots I took were at Williamstown and they came about from me feeling constricted by the barriers. I started using the wide angle and taking photos over the barrier.  Check out a couple.

The angles are really strange and when I was going through the photos I was getting really dizzy looking at them one after another.  I think the angle is great and would like to do something with them.  I have a lot of them, so not sure yet what I will use them for, whether they will end up as paintings, or prints, but I know I want to use them in something.

Again I like the surreal affect of them, or even the abstract nature of them.  The angle they are taken seems all wrong, I think that is what makes them work.

So overall photographing the Bay Crits was a good experience, I found it a lot more difficult than last year.  I did end up with a range of photos and some that I’m really happy with, even some I love.  I would do it again, I think, though after doing all four days this time, not sure if I would do the same again.

Lastly I would like to thank all the commissaires for being really good to me and helping me out.  They answered my questions and let me know where I could go and couldn’t.  It was great also when I didn’t know anyone they let me hang around where they were.  I really appreciate their support.  They do a fantastic job.

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