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  • tim.jpg

    Adding Mood to a Photograph

    This may sound a little silly coming from a certified Photoshop junkie, but my tendency when optimizing a photo is actually to try to make it look as close to reality as possible. Sure, I’ll add a slight touch of “what I remember” to take it beyond “what it really was,” but by and large my aim with Photoshop is to produce an image that accurately reflects the beautiful scene I chose to photograph in the first place.

    But sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.

    I find the desire to push a photo beyond reality usually occurs when I’m a little disappointed with a photograph that I really thought would turn out better. Most often that disappointment is a result of having had an emotional response to the scene that can’t adequately be captured in a simple photograph.

    A recent trip to Japan provides a couple great examples of this. I started off in Tokyo, and was fascinated by many of the sights. I found myself particularly drawn to the small temples and shrines that hid behind and between large buildings on major streets in some of the busier parts of Tokyo. These temples and shrines provided a remarkable sanctuary, and some great photographic opportunities.

    In one case there were three shrines that shared a courtyard, and a small cemetery adjacent to the courtyard. I’m always intrigued by cemeteries, particularly to learn about how different cultures honor those who have passed on. In the corner of this cemetery a collection of wooden planks with Japanese writing on them caught my eye. I was later told these were “prayer sticks” that would be placed at the gravesite by family or friends. I captured an image, confident it would convey the solemn tranquility of this place.

    prayersticksbefore.jpg

    Somehow the image simply didn’t elicit the feeling I was expecting. Sure, it is always a very different experience to view a photograph compared to the actual scene. So I started working with the image in Photoshop to see what I could come up with. I tried various adjustments, and then ventured into slightly more creative areas. I tried a black-and-white conversion. That helped. Then I applied a sepia-tone effect. Better. A boost in contrast and a vignette effect, and I was much happier with the image.
    prayersticksafter.jpg
    My next stop was Kyoto, and I knew I was in for a treat. This is a city with over 2,000 shrines and temples, 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a tremendous amount of history. It also contains many wonderful Zen gardens, and it seemed each one I visited was more calming than the one before it.

    One garden in particular got me clicking the shutter more than usual (and “usual” is still

    Kodak has released a host of Photoshop Compatible plug-ins that do everything from reduce digital noise to retouching skin, to color correcting, and more. Best of all, you can download free trial versions and start using them today. You can download them from Kodak's Austin Development Center. By the way; over the years I've had photographers rave about Kodak's "Digital Gem" plug-in for noise, but I guess they had stopped supporting it, but now it's back as one of those plug-ins. I haven't had a chance to take them through the paces myself, but hopefully I'll get a chance this weekend.

    ....prolific photography book author, Photoshop World instructor, and digital imaging expert, my buddy Tim Grey. I've probably got at least half of dozen of Tim's books on my shelves at home, and if you've ever caught one of Tim's sessions at Photoshop World, you know what a great trainer he is. Since I don't give my Guest Bloggers any guidelines as to what they should write about (it's totally "their day"), I have no idea what Tim's got in store, so we'll both have to check back tomorrow and see what he's got up his sleeve.

    First, I want to thank everybody who came out yesterday to help launch my new Lightroom 2 Tour in Dallas (photo above from yesterday's event; by Jeff Leimbach). Anytime you launch something of this scale, it makes you hold your breath a little, but we had a really great day, and the people in Dallas were incredibly gracious, polite, and just plain fun to spend the day with. They were especially patient when, for some reason, my seasonal allergies kicked in big time right before lunch and I nearly blew out the overhead speakers a few times with coughs and sneezes that came on before I could hit the mute button. Despite all that, the real challenge of the day was fitting all the new Lightroom 2 stuff in to a full-day that was already packed to the gills (we actually ended the day…

    Hi everybody! It's Monday, and while it's not a happy day to be a Tampa Bay Sports fan (I watched my Bucs lose live at Texas Stadium, and then went back to my hotel room and watched the Tampa Rays lose another World Series game on TV), I can overlook that for now, 'cause it's time for the news: If you've got a friend into photography; have I got a perfect Holiday Gift for them; Barnes & Noble has put together a special "Boxed Set" of my book, "The Digital Photography Book," where you get both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, along with a set of four 5x7 prints, for just $35.96 (even less if you're a B&N member)--that's it pictured above. You can get this specially boxed set at any Barnes & Noble store, or online at Barnes & Noble.com (link). They printed…

    A great day at the show yesterday; I did three demo sessions (that's me above during my gig at the Adobe booth---photo by Ted Waitt); met some great people, saw some old friends; made some new ones; had dinner with some good friends at my favorite restaurant: Carmine's on West 44th in Manhattan, then watched the Rays win. I'm totally beat, but what a great way to spend the day! :) I didn't get much time to visit booths today, but here's what I saw that was creating a buzz: The Epson booth was insane, and their new printers were getting a lot of attention. When I went by, I saw a long line, and followed it up to the front and found out why; Joe McNally was signing prints. Stopped by the Bogen Imaging Booth (or should I say, "booths" because they had…

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