Category Archives: Image Processing

Where You Start May Not Be Where You End

As you know, half the effort of creating an image happens in post processing. While this is a necessary task it can also be an exciting process of watching an image transform. many times I started out with an idea in mind and in the end, I was nowhere close to what I envisioned. 

This final image is an example of just that. I was up at McKenzie Pass hoping for a normal but great sunset. On the way there I saw the horrible haze of thick smoke from the many forest fires in the NW.  Initially I was disappointed but as I started to look around ideas hit me and I started shooting.

The sun was several hours until it set and was a bright orange ball against the smoky sky. That gave me the idea to shoot one of the dead tree snag in the lava fields with a long lens and get a huge red ball of the sun. The problem was I could not frame that shot due to the shape of the land. I just could not get back far enough.


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Vegas Baby!

As I pass through Las Vegas on my way to Arizona for the warm winter months, I cant help but stop in Vegas and do a little shooting. This image is from the Fremont Street area, which has been totally revitalized since my first visit to Las Vegas in 1985. 

One of the cool things they have been doing here is preserving the old neon signs from hotels and motels that are no longer standing. So right outside the Fremont Experience areas are these awesome old signs and symbols. 


So I shot the old sign, hand held by the way, and opened in ACR where I added a little contrast, lightened shadows, tiny bit of Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation. Then I opened in Photoshop and added several luminosity masks for shadows and highlights. 

This allowed me to darken a few areas, lighten specific areas, and then selectively saturate more specifics. Then I straightened the angles and removed a light pole that was in the shots and Voila!

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Romos ‘Rainbow’ Diner

This is Romos Mexican Restaurant in Holbrook AZ on a chilly rainy night. I titled it Rainbow due to the obvious rainbow of color but that is not an official name. The rain ‘makes’ this image so colorful with the color reflections. I processed this with HDR software first and lightly to avoid the Grunge look and then blended back some parts with the original file. Shot with a 70D and 24-70 lens.

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Selective Blending B&W and Color

I was teaching at the Black Hills Photo Shootout a few years ago and had half a day to kill so I went on a marathon shooting visit to Badlands NP. I have been there many times and like many places you visit over the years, returning can be like you have never been there before with fresh eyes and new perspectives.

The light was not that great when I got there but I shot anyway and it was fall, so there was a tiny bit of color. I like the idea of B&W with some color remaining because it really emphasizes the color when you do this and directs the eye where you want it to go.



Here’s the Photoshop screen showing the B&W and a mask to brush back the color area which keeps the bush in its original color. I also added contrast with a Curves adjustment and also used High Pass Filter. 


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Whether or Not to Use HDR in Death Valley

I have told myself more than once that I am burned out on Grungy looking HDR and dont want to look at it let alone create it. But that appears to never be true since I continue to create a few HDR images from time to time. This is Death Valley at sunrise and it made for a great HDR and it is not to grungy, at least by my definition of grungy. Which is hyper color and lotsa noise and halos on the edges.

Fortunately for those of us using HDR software, you can create images that look perfectly normal and even push them a little without hyper color and noise and halos. That was my goal here. Add substantial drama. The ground here is not dark like this but rather very light salt pan. The clouds weren’t that dark either, but HDR is famous for making them look threatening.

So carefully moving the settings added a lot of drama here while avoiding over-done color and noise and other HDR issues that can arise. It is almost like a negative effect, and I am happy with it.


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