Wednesday Inspiration: Mike McFarlane

As spring still seems to be a little ahead, and the photographic possibilities are a little limited at the moment still, I keep out looking for some inspiring landscape photography and websites for inspiration and to improve myself.

As I have a interest for british landscapes, especially coastal photography, I discovered the site from landscape photographer Mike McFarlane. Not only does he have his beautiful galleries on his site, he also features very insightful technique articles on topics like shooting panoramas, a very interesting article on composition and more.

I highly encourage you to go over and have a look at his work and maybe take the time to read his insightful articles.

My Colour Adjustment Workflow

I have received several questions and requests related to the way I get these rich colours on my images. If you are a regular visitor on my blog you might have noticed that I usually write something along the lines of “I did some adjustments in Lightroom and some finishing touches in Photoshop in LAB mode”. Here I try to demonstrate what I usually do. Not always, but often.

This post was originally written in german as a guest post for the “Fotoholiker” blog and this one is now the english version.

In this little video I show you my workflow within Lightroom and Photoshop. The actual workflow though starts naturally in camera. I always have an eye on the cameras histogram and try to get a decent exposure capturing all the shadow and highlight details, if possible of course. In my landscape photography I almost always use graduated neutral density (GND) filters which help me achieving that. If it’s possible I sometimes try to underexpose slightly to get some richer colours already in camera. Also I try to have in mind, that the camera’s meter might be fooled by too bright or too dark scenes, meaning it sometimes over- or underexposes depending on the lightness of the scene. A little exposure compensation helps in this case.

The colour adjustments in LAB mode is of course no secret. I ran into some tutorials a while ago on Brian Auer’s blog, where he provides a tutorial and a Photoshop action for that and I also did once one of the tutorials by David Nightingale of Chromasia. And just the other night I saw David Cross doing a little tutorial on this in Photoshop User TV ep.180 (I guess).

The LAB colour space is a fairly complex thing and I would be a bad, bad liar would I say I understand it. Truth to be told, I know that what I’m doing here, but not much more. I’m planning to learn more about this powerful colour space, but time is limited and I think it has to wait a little.

After my german video, I got a email asking why I do it this way since the adjustment doesn’t look so much different and whether or not I could have done it in Lightroom alone. I have to say that I tried to get the same adjustment in Lightroom and somehow didn’t manage to. I’m not saying that it’s not possible, but at least I couldn’t. The effect isn’t that big in this example because that’s what I intended to do. It is of course possible to go way over the top with this method. Another benefit of adjusting the colours this way, is that by using the LAB colour space, the adjustments affect only the colour channels and not the Lightness channel. Something you can’t achieve otherwise.

I excuse myself already now for some “noises” that I do on this clip, I had a little flu behind me and wasn’t still totally fine.

Since it is not clearly visible in the clip you can see the before and after versions of the images here.

Before:

After:

If you have any questions, remarks or did find any crucial errors in here I encourage you to leave a comment.

I hope you like it and thanks for watching.

Stuff That Inspires: Tim Parkin – Still Developing

Another post in my new “Stuff that Inspires” series.

I ran into Tim Parkin’s website and photography a few days ago and enjoyed his images and stories. So it was just natural to include this in my new series.

Tim Parkin is a british landscape photographer who started on digital but then converted to using large format film exclusively. While I myself I have no intention to go away from digital, I’m still fasciated by large format film. He has a beautiful gallery and shares stories and insights about his work on his blog. I would incourage all of you to take a few minutes of your time and enjoy some beautiful photography in his gallery and his writings on his blog.

Here are some examples of his work:

If you like this please head over to his site and enjoy.

Additionally I would like to thank Tim for generously allowing me to use his images here on my blog.

More Guest Blogging Activities

I have been guest blogging again….

Julia from German photography blog Fotoholiker asked me again if I could contribute an article for her blog. Since I have been busy recently doing more and more videos and screencasts here I thought I will do one for that purpose.

So for those who are interested and speak german, or are just interested, please head over to Fotoholiker and have a look at the article.

I will post the same article here also in English language during the next week I hope, but now I will enjoy the weekend. Happy easter to everybody.

Stuff That Inspires: PixelatedImage-David DuChemins Blog

For a while now I have had the idea for a series with things that have some sort of inspiring value to me and maybe to others, but somehow I haven’t had the chance to kick it off. I have a few, severely unfinished posts in my drafts folder related to the topic of “inspiration” and how I try to find exactly that, but … well..what can I say.. the posts are getting longer and longer, but I have not the feeling it gets any better. I will have to make my mind about those a little more.

But the reason I kick off this series is the re-discovery of a blog that I had been following a while ago, but somehow due to extensive feed reader changes (gReader, FeedDemon, gReader again, something else in the middle, gReader and now finally NetNewsWire) I think I lost some of my subscriptions and most likely this one.

Long story short, yesterday I ran into a Tweet by Scott Bourne mentioning an article from this blog and this morning I finally found the time to read a little. And then I read more and more. Somehow his articles hit a nerve.

It’s the blog Pixelated Image from photographer David duChemin. It has just that kind of content which is just very interesting in general and to me at the moment and I’m sure I will spend some more time tonight to reading on his blog. Not only is he fantastic photographer (be sure to have a look at his portfolio) he is also a very good writer. From what I have read it’s a mix of advice, ideas, some personal things. Just right.

So, I don’t want to waste your time with my humble writing attempts and if you have some time for some very good information go over and have a look at his blog.

A Little Clip About My Geared Head…

Today I would like to tell you a little about my new tripod head that I got just a few weeks ago, and with which I’m very satisfied with. I usually don’t do reviews of any kind here simply because I don’t have the feeling that I’m the right person to do something like this.

I’t a Manfrotto Junior Geared Head 410. But don’t let the term Junior mislead you, there’s nothing really “junior” about it. I kind of knew what kind of head this is, but I had never seen a clear example of it. Since I consider this head so useful I thought a tiny little demo could be nice, in case someone would like to have a little info on this one.

It’s a three way head, with adjustments screws which make absolute precise adjustments possible. With my other, and now retired Tripodhead, I always had some issues to get the composition right as it always moved back a little after adjusting. This one is different. I adjust it the rough position I want it to have using the control ring, and then can do some fine tuning using the control knobs. It’s just pure fun and enables me to simply focus on the composition of the image. One thing less to worry about in the field.

Since it’s a little weird talking about adjusting things, I though you might have as well a look at it. Hopefully you enjoy my little video straight out of my kitchen again.

Now I just wish spring would show up so that I can use it a little more than recently.

I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for viewing.

Creating a Poster-like Print

A little more serious clip today than the last one.

After my little contest here I received a question from a long time reader/visitor of this blog asking how I did get a print layout like the one for my give-away print of “Where The Rainbows Are At Home“.

Since there’s absolutely nothing secret about this I quickly decided to put together a little screencast to demonstrate what I’ve done there. I once read a tutorial by Scott Kelby on how to do this, but I’m not sure anymore is my workflow the same or different. Either way the credit belongs to him.

I don’t claim this is the best or only way to do, but it’s the way I do it and if you find some crucial errors or have ideas on how create one easier you’re welcome to leave a note in the comments.

I hope you like it and thanks for viewing.