My friend Brandie (instagram: branvandam_ts) took this photo with her iPhone this week and asked me if I’d like to edit it for her. She was one of my first iPhoneography/photography pupils, so I said yes. I figured this would be a nice, quick challenge for me, on a photo that she really liked. Instead of editing on my iPhone, I used Photoshop so I could do a much better job of turning it into the magical scene I envisioned.
I used a few luminosity masks to target certain tones with curves adjustment layers, painted some light in on a soft light layer, burned some areas a bit, used Topaz Clarity, a Tony Kuyper action to add some glow, and finally, Topaz Simplify to smooth things out just slightly. I think painting with light really made a difference on this one.
(You can click to see it larger on flickr. I’ll also post a large version to FB & 500px later)
I went to SF yesterday. It was pretty disappointing because of the fog. I was hoping for shots of the bridge at sunset, but gave up on that idea when it was socked in before 3pm. I ended up leaving the city and planned on just heading home, but I saw some fog crawling over a ridge and thought I’d pull off the freeway for a shot of it. For some reason, I decided I didn’t like the angle and ended up driving towards Half Moon Bay on 92, then cut across 35, which goes along a ridge line.
I saw some amazing pink light through the fog and nearly stopped, but kept going a little farther. I came around one turn and exited the fog to see this stunning view of the sunset. A few minutes later I noticed lightning striking in the same spot every minute or two. I spent about 20-30 minutes trying to catch one. Finally, with my neutral density filter on, I got one with a 2.5 second exposure. I also got one with 3 strikes, but at an 8 second exposure, they look a bit faint.
Shot with my Nikon D7000 and 18-55mm with a neutral density filter on a tripod. I used Topaz Denoise and Topaz Clarity along with lots of luminosity masks for the edit.
I’m actually disappointed with how this looks online. The version on my computer is way more…striking. 🙂
I’m thinking of giving this one away as a Facebook cover photo. What do you think?
My tutorial of how I edited my Muir Woods photo is up on the Topaz blog. I hope you appreciate this look behind the magician’s curtain. I’m thinking of doing some more tutorials when I have time 🙂
I plan on going out shooting around the bay area on Wednesday, so I should have some new photos to share soon. I haven’t been too motivated to take pics around here yet. It should be nice to explore some more natural places near my aunt’s house.
In the meantime, I’ve been brainstorming and trying to come up with a surreal composite image using the piano photos. This poem, by Pablo Neruda, was posted by one of the pianos and has served as my inspiration.
Ode to the Piano
The piano was sad
during the concert,
forgotten in its gravedigger’s coat,
and then it opened its mouth,
its whale’s mouth:
the pianist entered the piano
flying like a crow;
something happened as if a stone
of silver fell
or a hand
into a hidden
the sweetness slid
over a bell,
the light fell to the bottom
of a locked house,
an emerald went across the abyss
and the sea sounded,
the deepest thunder,
the structure of the rose sang,
the milk of dawn surrounded the silence.
That’s how the music was born
from the piano which was dying,
of the water-nymph
moved up over the coffin
and from its set of teeth
the piano, the pianist
and the concert fell,
and everything became sound,
an elemental torrent,
a pure system, a clear bell ringing.
Then the man returned
from the tree of music.
He flew down like
a lost crow
or a crazy knight:
the piano closed its whale’s mouth
and the pianist walked back from it
towards the silence.
This one is from my Nikon D7000. There were lots of these dust devils out on Soda Lake when we were there. It was surreal.
I used the new Topaz Clarity plugin on this one. I was really amazed at the clarity in the hills in the background compared to the original. I can see myself using this plugin quite a bit now. Go download the free trial here.