Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PotD: Rocky Mountain

So I'm still not sure if I'm headed on the right direction. I'm still editing my old shots and trying to make something out of it. But as everyone knows, you can't do shit to your photo if your photo is shitty in the first place. I spent roughly 2 days on this photo and this is the best I could do. However, I still think it is good practice. It's better to make mistakes and learn all the pitfalls you need to avoid so that when you get to edit a portfolio worthy shot, it will be epic.
  Rock Mountain

Here is how this image started. As you can tell it's a complete mess but a wonderful practice on blending exposures manually. The darkest exposure looks nice for the sky while the middle exposure is good for the mountains in the back and finally the lightest exposure is good for the foreground to mid-ground.

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After blending for about half an hour, I usual start with balancing the tonal range of the image. My favorite is using the dodge and burn layer so I could easily target the areas I want to brighten/darken quickly and hassle free. After which, I would proceed with color correction and/or saturation. At the end of day one I was already happy with my shot so I proceeded to save and upload to my SmugMug site.

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The following day, I checked my image at work (ooppss sorry boss) with my uncalibrated monitor and found a bland image. I was pretty pissed on the thought of working on an image the whole day and finding it shitty. I don't quite understand this yet, but when I see other people's works on the same monitor, they still look amazing. My monitor back at home is properly calibrated so it's definitely my image that sucks. I think I have to learn how to edit in such a way that even with a bad monitor it would still look good.

Once I got home, I checked my image and surprisingly found it indeed lifeless and boring. This lead me to think that I should not spend hours and hours looking at the same image. I think my eyes have already adjusted to it and thus I could not see how bad it was. So, I did a 2nd pass of editing to adjust color and contrast once again. I am hoping this time it will look good in any monitor.

I think my approach to leveling-up my photoshop game is a little misguided. I should stop staring at the same image for a very long time. I guess it would help if I took a break and edit it again on a different day to give my eyes a rest and avoid adjusting to the image. If my image still looks good after I let it settle for a while, then probably it is worth posting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PotD: Still Broken Up About It

It's fun browsing old rejected images and finding something that you can edit because of your newly learnt techniques. For this one, I went crazy with photoshop. For a few weeks now, I've been upping my game with photoshop. Usually I would just add a few filters and be done with it. I was very reliant to 3rd party software like Photomatix and Nik Software to make my images. But after learning about luminosity masking, I've cut down my usage to almost none. 

Here is a shot taken from one of many colorful flower farms in Hokkaido, Japan. The tree looked like a heart with a chip on the upper left hence the title.

This is not one of the best images in the world but it's a good practice for blending manually as seen first part of my layers.

Here is the before image if you're curious.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spaceship Tokyo

It's my second time to be in this building and it never fails to blow my mind. The architecture from the inside looks like a spaceship's deck. How cool is that?! I didn't bring a tripod that day because it was raining. Having a tripod while holding an umbrella is like juggling to me. So, I had to find flat surfaces where I can balance my camera to do long exposures. I was thinking of investing on table tripods or gorillapods that could easily fit in my bag for instances like this.

The first time I was here, it was in the morning the lights were kinda boring. This was shot during blue hour which I think is the perfect time to shoot this place. The colors of the lights and the blue sky makes a good color contrast.
  Spaceship Tokyo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dynamic Tokyo

It's been a while since I posted and image. I've been struggling with my work schedule for the past few weeks because my gf was coming to Tokyo and I had to finish most of my work before I take a well-deserved 9 day vacation. Now that I am in my work place, I feel bored and empty. Last week was pretty amazing. We went from Yokohama to Osaka then Nara, Yoshino, Kobe and then back to Tokyo. It was expensive but having a credit card attached to you bank account makes losing money oblivious.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug I shot this from Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills. It was a weekday so it was easy to grab one of the best viewing angles of the Tokyo Tower. I let my gf sit on the bench so she could guard the position until the Tokyo lights lit up while I roam around looking for other interesting shots.

Anyways, here is the map where I shot this. I've always wanted to know where awesome pictures are taken so I'm taking the initiative of posting the locations of some of my shots for those who want to take the same picture. I hope it helps

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Snooker Table

TED Talks: The Paradox of Choice

This is currently my favorite TED talk because this is exactly how I feel every time I wanted to purchase any item that has tons of options. For example, if I wanted a new camera, I get paralyzed with all the choices there is the market, SLR, digicams, lenses, Nikon, Canon, Sony etc. By the time I made my decision, I always feel that buyers remorse because I make this stupid concoction in my head that there are other cameras better that what I bought. Choices doesn't usually liberate us, it actually paralyzes us and in some cases make us feel worse even in hindsight we made the right choice.

Image of the Day: The Snooker Table
Last weekend I attended the Japan Photofest 2011 in Yokohama. It was a 3-day event of pure photography and fun but it came at a hefty price of 45k yen. Unfortunately, I can only afford to go on a single day so I attended the last day which was all about post processing. At first I was hesitant of joining because I feel I wouldn't learn as much as those who just started photography but as the day progressed, even though I didn't learn quite that much, I enjoyed meeting very interesting people and learning about their philosophies in photography. 

One of the events that I was eager to attend was of the HDR workshop from Alfie Goodrich. I've always wanted to know where I stand against the professionals in terms of high dynamic range photography and I'm proud to say I feel like I'm quite there already. Below is the shot I got from the workshop. People who were with me also was able to produce the same quality or for some even better. So my conclusion for this is, people learn faster when somebody teaches it rather than learning it by yourself. But for me, I think it is more gratifying to know that I almost have the same knowledge as the pros despite being self-taught. 


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