Workflow & Technical Issues

The Big Q

Two questions came out when I posted this month’s wallpaper last week. So it’s a Two-fer this week.

The Big Q
“I like this monochrome look. What was the original color/colors? Do you “see” these monochrome image when you are there shooting? Was this one of those cases where you look at the computer screen and see a grey uninteresting sky and wonder, how can I save this? Just wondering if you had this vision for the picture when shooting, or later.” – Chris

“Love your Wallpaper today.  I’m partial to the blue one, though I like both.  Was wondering how you put the calendar on the image.  Where did you find the calendar template? Or did you create it?” – Lisa

The Big A
Thanks to both of you. This shot was taken first thing in the morning en route to a location. I was truly captivated by Bangladesh. Dawn and dusk were really magical times – the light, the trees, the endless rice patties. Loved it! And as we pulled closer to our location this one morning I saw this and begged the driver to stop. I shot a couple frames with my 70-200/2.8L on my 5D MkII, and then the moment was gone. (EXIF, 200mm, 1/1600 @ f/2.8, ISO 100.)

Chris, you asked about my choices in rendering the tones in these images, so I’ll be straight up with you. The blue was a choice made specifically for this wallpaper. I’d played with it and liked the idea of doing two versions so folks had a choice – blue seemed a natural. And in the end it does echo the peaceful feeling I got from the scene. But my heart is still in the version with the green tones because it’s how I saw the scene. I’m posting the original raw file here so you can see the un-toned image. It’s had contrast added via the tone curve, and I let Lightroom Auto tone it, but other than that, nothing.

But this raw negative doesn’t speak at all to the mood and feel of the place, the greens, the humidity, the back-in-time feel, so I made adjustments to the tone curve, added a couple gradient filters, punch the clarity to boost mid-tone contrasts and then used the Split Toning – blue in the highlights and green in the shadows –  to give it the mood I felt when shooting. I also did some tidying up with the clone tool to get rid of a couple errant branches on the edge of the frame. Here they are side by side:


As you can see there’s nothing wrong with the sky, I could have gone several ways with this image but saw it through, I think, very nostalgic eyes, so wanted to interpret it that way. I don’t ever see it as fixing, but interpretation.

layeredcalendarLisa, you asked about the calendar element. I can’t tell you how much email I get about this. Shocking. :-) It’s a simple Photoshop image with all numbers, etc. on different layers. After I’d done a year of calendars I had versions with all seven variants of which day the month begins on so now it’s as simple as turning on or off the 31st day every now and then. February is a couple extra clicks. Anyways because I like you, I’m going to upload a layered PSD file for all your calendar needs – I’ve changed the fonts to Verdana to be sure you all have the font on your system and to make it a little more generic in an effort to encourage y’all to add your own personality. Click the Calendar thumbnail above – or HERE – to download a zipped PSD file.

Any questions? Class dismissed! Don’t forget that tomorrow the Twitter-view between Peachpit Press and myself, conducted live over the Twittersphere in 140 character bites. More information HERE. It’s a bit of an experiment; should be fun!

Apr 28th


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CategoryPosted in: GEAR, Links, News & Stuff, Workflow & Technical Issues

Sharpen the tools

On the Artist – Geek continuum I am closer to artisty-fartsy than I am to techno-nerd. My eyes gloss over when things get too technical. As a result, my weakness where this craft is concerned, is keeping my chops up and learning new skills. I’m big on vision and I talk ad nauseum about it, […]

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