Category Archives: Software Techniques

An Historic Post-Processing Look for a Ghost Town Photo

I have thing for photographing through windows of old west ghost towns and taking pictures through the old glass. I get my lens as close as I can to the glass without risking damage, then shade the lens as best I can to remove external reflections , and bracket exposures like crazy.

Here is the barbershop in Randsburg, CA shot a few weeks ago. You can see some of the outside reflections around the left side and that is due to my hands not blocking all the glare. I shot a two image pano: left and right side as vertical images, then let Photoshop stitch them. Next I went into Photomatix and gave it a medium HDR grunge look. Then opened in Topaz B&W Effects and used the filter: Flavescent which added the yellowed newspaper look I wanted. I finished with another layer using the Blueprint effect and set that to 30% opacity to add a dark edginess.

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When I like what I created, I abandon it for the next image. 

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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. 

nv_vegas_fremont_st_MG_4968

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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Post Processing Adventures

I photographed this image at Red Rock Conservation Area, North of Las Vegas, about 6 weeks ago. I was zipping down the road from Mt. Charleston when I spotted the cactus starting to bloom. I guessed that I was about 1 week to early for full bloom, but I was not going to be here in a week, so I shot anyway.

I used a flash to fill in the shadows on the cactus and that worked great. But since it was 4 pm the light was not that great yet, so when I opened the image in Photoshop it looked like a basic snap. That’s where the fun begins. You get started and you never know where you are going in creating. Are these images ever DONE? No, they are abandoned when you are happy with the results.

I always bracket exposures so the first thing I did was HDR process it with the only intention to add drama to the clouds. Then I opened Topaz B&W Effects and used the Cerulean set to colorize the image. Once I got here I decided I had what I wanted and subsequently ‘abandoned’ this image to go start the process all over another. If you want to know about Topaz, here’s the link: http://www.topazlabs.com/aff/idevaffiliate.php?id=196

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