May 052011

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Backlit, this pussy willow caught my eye while I was running errands the other day. Sunlight glinting off needles and leftover Christmas lights on a hedge in the background created the bokeh with spots of color.

Nikon D300; f8 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 200 (handheld);
18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 200mm (300mm EFL); focus distance .71m

Apr 162011

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Photographed last November, this one sat in the archives because I didn’t have the skills to process. As you can see in the original capture, contrast was low and detail soft:

In the tutorials of Tony Kuyper Photography, I discovered two procedures which helped make the image pop:

1. Curves>Auto>(Options) Enhance Monochromatic Contrast adjustment. Try this early in the editing process, and adjust clipping of black and white points to taste.

2. High Pass sharpening with a large radius. The starting point was 25px, but I bumped it up to 40px. I actually learned this several years ago from Mark Johnson, who used it in his Botanical Dreaming series to bring out detail in soft focus images. However, I didn’t really understand how it works until Tony applied it to clouds—which turn out to be a perfect subject for this approach.

I’m grateful to photographers who share their process with all of us!

Panasonic DMC-FZ40; f8 @ 1/80sec, ISO 80 (handheld);
Focal length: 8.1mm (47mm EFL)