Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Family Pics

Here are a couple of photos I took of family members while we were out running around weekend before last. The photo of my daughter Emma was taken in a gazebo at a park on Toddville Road in Seabrook and the photo of Emma and my wife Laura was taken at Armand Bayou Nature Center on the Prairie Trail. These are just "grab shots" and I know they aren't great portraits but I wanted to include them to demonstrate how HDR (first photo) can be used for portraits in harsh lighting conditions and to show off the beauty of the Prairie Trail (and my family :-) at Armand Bayou Nature Center (second photo)!

Title: "Emma - Seabrook Gazebo"

Camera / Lens: Canon 40D / Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom
Post-processing: Photomatix HDR from three handheld (camera propped up on the ledge of the Gazebo and set to use the two second timer) exposures (-2, 0, +2) > Photoshop CS3 > Curves Adjustment Layer for overall contast enhancement > Levels Adjustment Layer to set a black point > Merge Visible to New Layer > Nik Viveza plugin to brighten the face which was still a little dark even after HDR processing due to the extreme contrast caused by the severe backlighting > Topaz Adjust plugin "Simplify" preset with mask to block the effect from the eyes, nose, mouth, and hair

Title: "Emma and Laura - ABNC"

Camera / Lens: Canon 40D / Canon 100-400mm L zoom
Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > Duplicate Layer > Free Transform to level the horizon > Nik Viveza to brighten the subjects > Curves Adjustment Layer for overall contast enhancement > Merge Visible to New Layer > Topaz Adjust plugin "Simplify" preset > Duplicate Layer > High Pass Sharpening in Hard Light blending mode > Merge Visible to New Layer in Screen mode at 49% opacity to make the whole image brighter


Larry J. Patrick said...

This one is good, and could be really good. What would make it really good? Yes, reach for the crop tool and lose the sky. It adds nothing and introduces another color into the mix that you really don't need. If you crop at top part of the tree it also moves your two ladies into an even better place in the photograph.

Keep up the good work.

Barry Armer said...

Thanks Patrick!

I'll run your crop suggestion up the flag pole and see if it flies! :-)


Anonymous said...

I really like the depth of field in the field image --- the softly focused grass in the foreground and in the background the soft trees are very nice. And I like how the colors all play off each other --- the yellow grass, the pink/purple on Emma and the green on your wife. I agree with Larry that you could lose the sky, or pull a Steve S. and put in a better one.:) He even has cloud brushes that I am sure he would share with you.


Ted said...

The sky in the first image fights a tad too much for my attention Barry. Perhaps its the filter? I keep wanting to focus on the strong portrait you've discovered but wind up glancing away at the heavens. The centered portrait is tough to pull off, but I think you'd do it without those clouds. But.. but... wuhdoo I know?

Barry Armer said...

You know a lot Ted and I agree with you on all points! I should have done both shots differently in camera I think. I don't think any additional post-processing will save them at this point.

Thanks again for your comments.