Canary Islands

17 February 2015

Sunrise on Fuerteventura

Posted in: Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, landscape|

Daily photo – Sunrise on Fuerteventura

This is quite an old photo that I processed not that long time ago (you know with photo library containing thousands of photos it’s quite easy to fall behind). This was pretty tricky photo that required me to use slightly different workflow that I normally use. Most of the time I load photos into Photomatix, merge them to HDR, tone-map resulting HDR image and then I work further on tone-mapped image in Photoshop to improve contrast, colours and clarity.

However, in this case moving water was quite tricky to get it right – there were a lot of ghosts in the HDR image. So instead I used manual blending using luminosity masks and simply masked water from one of the source exposures.

Sunrise on Fuerteventura

Camera Info

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 28 mm
Aperture: f/13.0
Exposure time: 1 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: ND8 neutral density filter (3 stops)
Technique: manual blending, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
30 January 2015

Lanzarote – Land of Volcanoes

Posted in: Canary Islands, landscape, panorama|

Daily photo – Lanzarote – Land of Volcanoes

Today I would like to share panorama photo I took more than 2 years ago on island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Below panorama shows Timanfaya National Park, located in southern part of the island. Many of the volcanoes in the park are still active, despite last big eruptions took place in 19th century, and in fact whole park is very geologically active. Due to this activity just a few centimeters under the ground temperature reaches 100 °C. And at about 10 meters it’s already 600 degrees! Walking there is like walking on a ticking bomb. But the views are extraordinary!
After reading above you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that alternative name of the park is Fire Mountains (Montañas del Fuego).
 
BTW make sure to click on the photo to view it in large size as it looks much better this way!
Lanzarote - Land of Volcanoes

Camera Info

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 65 mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure time: 1/160 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: circular polarizing filter
Technique: panorama
Software: Magic Lantern, Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
17 November 2014

Share your best of 2014

Posted in: blog, Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, landscape|

NOTE: Submissions are now closed. You will have next chance at the beginning of 2016 🙂

Share your best photos from 2014

Last year I invited you to share your best photos taken in 2013. Quite a few of my friends took part in that small project and so as current year is slowly coming to an end I decided to start another edition. I hope this year edition will be even better! With more participants and some really great photos!
If you would like to be part of this year’s project, simply send me the links (in comments to this post) to 2 of your best photos and I will share them on my blog on 14th of January 2015. Additionally it would be good if you could email me those images (watermarked if you want) resized to 900px on longer side.

It doesn’t matter whether you are pro or amateur – you will be featured on my blog. If there will be too many photos I will share them in a few turns but I will share all of them.

Some conditions that must be met:

  • The photos should be taken in 2014 (or at least be edited in 2014),
  • The photos must have at least 900px on the longer side,
  • Please provide the link to your page (and/or Facebook profile, 500px profile, SmugMug etc.) as well as the name under which you would like to be credited. You can also write short bio that I will put next to your photos.
  • Links to photos must be sent in the comments under this post,
  • You have to provide links to exactly 2 photos,
  • Please send both photos resized to 900px on longer size to tomanw@gmail.com with subject “Best of 2014”. I will use the photos only to embed them in the post. They can be watermarked of course. If you can’t or don’t want to send the photos – that’s fine 🙂 It would just make my life a little bit easier but it’s not necessary.

Also please share this post with your friends – the more photos, the better 🙂 

Daily photo – Colourful sunrise

Today I would like to share old HDR image I took in 2012 on Fuerteventura. I really like reflection in that puddle as I think it adds a lot of interest to this sunrise image.
If you would like to learn how to create HDR photos yourself, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial which will guide you thru the process – from taking photos to post-processing them on your computer.
HDR photo of sunrise on Fuerteventura

Camera Info

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 24 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 15 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.0 EV
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5, Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
12 January 2014

Post-processing workflow: Dynamic water

Posted in: before/after, Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, post-processing|

It’s been a while since my last post-processing workflow so it’s high time for a new one (for more comparisons like this one go here). Also from now on this series will be known as Post-processing workflow.

Today a photo I took 1.5 years ago on Fuerteventura island. The highlights in the 0 EV photo (Before) are blown out making the sky look almost completely white and very flat even though in reality it was very interesting. Thanks to HDR I was able to restore them, including beautiful yellows just above horizon caused by rising sun. I took 5 photos at 1 EV spacing but I ended up using only -1 EV, 0 EV and +1 EV photos as the remaining 2 didn’t contribute to the image that much.

BTW to learn more about HDR photography, read my HDR tutorial.

As usually, I started my post-processing in Lightroom where I corrected white balance, reduced chromatic aberration and fixed lens distortion on my source photos.

Post-processing in Lightroom
Click on the image to view it in large size on black background.

To be more precise I set White Balance temperature to 6500 and tint to 25 to make the image warmer and add a little of magenta cast to add a little more sunrise feel to the image. I also checked Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration checkboxes in the Lens Correction tab.

After that I exported all my 3 images to Photoshop CC as layers and blended them using manual blending technique with help of luminosity masking. Here is what I got as a result of blending:

Manually blended image
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

The blended image has shadows and highlights correctly exposed but it still is far from what I wanted from this image. I wanted more contrast (especially in the clouds and rocks) and more clarity (especially in the water to make it look more 3-dimensional). I also wanted to add some pop to colours.

In the image below you can see what layers exactly I used to create final image. Starting from bottom they are:

  1. Source images – 3 exposures that I blended together to create above blended image. I restored whole sky from the -1 EV image, and shadows in the rocks from +1 EV image.
  2. Midtones contrast – I added some midtones contrast by using Curves adjustments layer. 
  3. Highlights contrast – I added some contrast to highlights using Curves adjustments layer. At the same time I darkened them a little bit.
  4. Shadows contrast – I added some contrast to the darkest parts of the image (rocks in foreground and clouds), brightening them at the same time. I used Curves adjustments layers for this purpose. 
  5. Sky contrast – I added a bit of contrast to the brightest parts of the sky.
  6. Clouds and water contrast – a bit of contrast to the clouds and water
  7. Global color balance – I moved color balance of sky and water towards reds and magenta using Color Balance adjustments layer.
  8. Dodge & burn – using dodge & burn technique I added some 3-dimensionality to the water to make it look more interesting. Basically I darkened the rocks below water and brightened highlights.
  9. Dodge & burn 2 – I used another dodge & burn layer to brighten some too dark rocks.
  10. Global contrast – I added even more contrast. This time globally, using Overlay blending mode and with small opacity (10%).
  11. Sharpening – added some sharpening using high-pass sharpening technique.
Post-processing with luminosity masks
Click on the image to view it in large size on black background.

Finally, here is some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 40 mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure time: 0.6 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 3
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: ND8 neutral density filter
Technique: manual blending, luminosity masks
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC

    11 January 2014

    Colours in the sky

    Posted in: Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, landscape, long-exposure|

    Sunrise on Fuerteventura
    Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

    First of all I would like to remind that you can still share your best photos and be featured on my blog. For more information, read this post. Deadline for sharing your images is 14th January.

    My next trip will be somewhat special. For the first time in 5 or 6 years I will be travelling without my DSLR! It makes me really nervous and causes some nightmares (especially as there will be some great views there)… I keep repeating to myself ‘it’s not only about photos’, ‘it’s not only about photos’… fortunately I will have a camera with me – I decided to get Sony NEX for this trip with a couple of lenses. I don’t think it will work as great for me as Canon 5D MK III (and I’ll probably miss my favourite Canon 24 f/1.4 lens pretty badly…) but it’s still better than nothing 🙂 and maybe this little and light camera will prove me wrong. If you follow +Trey Ratcliff‘s blog: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ than you probably know that he recently SWITCHED to NEX from Nikon DSLRs! It’s a great recommendation I think.

    Technical details:
    Camera: Canon 50D
    Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
    Focal length: 10 mm
    Aperture: f/11.0
    Exposure time: 32 s (“middle” exposure)
    ISO: 400
    Number of exposures: 5
    E.V. Step: 1.0
    Flash used: no
    Tripod: yes
    Filters: no
    Technique: manual blending, luminosity masks
    Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity

    17 December 2013

    Do we really need HDR?

    Posted in: before/after, Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, landscape, thoughts|

    Do we? Or maybe we don’t? And we use it just because of some photography fad?

    Many people claim that HDR technique is not needed. And by HDR I mean any technique of extending dynamic range – no matter it’s true HDR (with creating 32-bit image), Exposure Fusion or Manual Blending. Or even using graduated filters. All these techniques serve the same purpose – restoring details and colours in darkest and brightest part of the image and thus “correcting exposure” of a whole frame. These are just different “implementation” of the idea.

    Such people say that HDR is not true photography, it’s fake, artificial, grungy… in general it would be better if there was no HDR photography.

    But here is example that proves that HDR is sometimes really needed. Before photo is 0 EV exposure. Notice how bright the highlights in the sky are and how dark are the shadows. Details and colours in both these areas are almost completely gone. This exposure is rather unusable on its own. I tried using graduated filter here but the contrast between the sky and the rocks (which were very dark lava rocks) was so high that it didn’t help much. I ended up with some information still being lost. So I ended up taking 7 exposures and after tone-mapping them in Photomatix Pro I got the After image. Details and colours in highlights and shadows are no longer lost.

    Without HDR I would miss some nice photo opportunity. So it’s not a fad. It sometimes can really help making your photos better but often it’s the only way to capture good photo at all.

    BTW sorry for not providing EXIF info today but apparently I accidentally stripped them off from this photo… I only remember I took 7 exposures here and middle exposure was several seconds.

    16 December 2013

    Colours at sunset

    Posted in: Canary Islands, fuerteventura, landscape, panorama|

    Sunset on Fuerteventura

    It was a really beautiful sunset on Fuerteventura island with some amazing colors in the sky. To show its beauty I decided to go with a very wide panorama – original image was close to 360 degree but I cropped it a little bit so it looks better on the blog.

    In this case I really recommend viewing this image in large size by clicking on it.

    Technical details:
    Camera: Canon 5D MK II
    Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
    Focal length: 24 mm
    Aperture: f/7.1
    Exposure time: 1/500 s (“middle” exposure)
    ISO: 640
    Number of exposures: n/a
    E.V. Step: n/a
    Flash used: no
    Tripod: yes
    Filters: no
    Technique: panorama
    Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity
    11 December 2013

    Textures at sunrise

    Posted in: black and white, Canary Islands, fuerteventura, hdr, landscape, long-exposure|

    Black & white HDR photo of sunrise
    Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

    Today I would like to share long exposure b&w HDR photo taken during beautiful sunrise on Fuerteventura. Although the colors were really fantastic I decided to convert this image to monochrome. Why? Because of details and textures in the rocks. They are really great and in colour version you miss them somehow.

    Technical details:
    Camera: Canon 5D MK II
    Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
    Focal length: 28 mm
    Aperture: f/8.0
    Exposure time: 25 s (“middle” exposure)
    ISO: 100
    Number of exposures: 5
    E.V. Step: 1.0
    Flash used: no
    Tripod: yes
    Filters: no
    Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masks
    Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 5 (Details Enhancer), Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz BW Effects, Topaz Clarity