how I use categories on chromasia

All the entries on chromasia are placed into one of seven primary categories: six to reflect the aspect ratio of the image, and the seventh to indicate that an image isn’t available as a print. Additionally, each photograph may be assigned to one of more additional categories or subcategories, e.g. my travel category, children category, and so on.

about the ‘photo friday’ category

My 'photo friday' category is for my submissions to the weekly Photo Friday challenges.

11 April, 2011 // Four Points Sheraton33 comments

This is a shot from the roof bar of the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Dubai, taken a couple of days after this year's Gulf Photo Plus training event. It's also the image I've posted as this week's Mini-PSD as the processing was quite interesting, i.e. I used 15 separate Curves adjustments. The first of these provided a (mostly) global adjustment to the contrast, the 15th toned the image, while the other 13 altered specific areas of the image, particularly the various buildings. The reason for this, as you can see if you take a look at the original, is that there was quite a lot of atmospheric haze (in the form of low clouds), so the buildings all look soft. By selectively amending the contrast, particularly for the buildings or the left, I was able to make the scene as a whole look a lot clearer. This sounds like a complicated process, but it was just a case of working with each building in turn, then generating a mask to block the effect from the rest of the image.

On a related note, quite a few of you have requested yesterday's image as a Mini-PSD, but I'm going to use if for a Creative Workflow tutorial instead. I'll be working on this over the next couple of days so hope to publish it by Thursday at the latest.

Anyway, tutorial stuff aside, I am pleased with this one but would like to hear from you too.

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6.52pm on14/3/11
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
16mm
f/13.0
15s
shutter priority
+1/3
evaluative
100
no
RAW
Camera Raw
Photoshop CS5
none
minor transformation
30 December, 2009 // Happy New Year20 comments

I've spent the last couple of days wondering what to post to close out the year and then came across this entry on momentaryawe.com (run by my good friend Catalin Marin): his twelve favourite shots from 2009, one from each month. So, with credit to Catalin for the idea, here are my twelve favourites for the preceding year. Had I selected images from the year as a whole I suspect that there would be a couple of changes, and I also suspect that some of you would make different choices from each month, but when I looked back through the images I'd posted this year these are the ones that gave me most pleasure to produce.

As always, let me know what you think.

On a different matter: don't forget that there are just a few days left in which to snap up a 15% discount on our Photoshop tutorials. Further details here:

http://www.chromasia.com/tutorials/online/

And finally: Happy New Year for 2010 :)

23 April, 2009 // souk portrait #623 comments

This is another portrait shot down at the souk in Dubai, shot on the same trip as this one. In some ways, I think I prefer this one – it's certainly more striking – but I do have a soft spot for the old gentleman in my previous shot, not least because I've now photographed him two years in a row.

Anyway, I don't think there's too much else I can tell you about this one other than that it was converted to black and white using the channel mixer (as described in this tutorial) then contrast adjusted and toned with a Curve. I also added a bit more light to his eyes (as described here) using a masked Curve, but that was about all that was done to this one.

As always, let me know what you think.

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12.46pm on 5/4/09
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
70mm
f/4.0
1/60
aperture priority
+1/3
evaluative
100
no
RAW
ACR
minor rotation
3 April, 2009 // the end of play45 comments

It was the penultimate day of the GPP 2009 training event today and I had two one and a half hour sessions: one on 'unlocking the power of aperture' and the other on 'making the web work for you'. The second was a blast, and it was great to team up with Chase Jarvis and David Hobby and talk about blogging, photography, social networking, and a whole load of other web related topics.

The Aperture session was ok too, but got off to a bad start. The basic idea of the session was to provide a work-through of how to use Aperture to manage and edit images, but about three minutes into the session 15 people stood up and said they were in the wrong session. I assumed they meant they should have been in a different session in a different room, but the problem was that they thought the title of the session referred to aperture, not Aperture; i.e. the hole in the lens rather than the programme. Anyway, not a great start, but it did improve after that.

As for this one: it was shot on Wednesday afternoon during my landscape photography class and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. In terms of the post-processing: as it was deliberately underexposed it only needed a slight tweak in terms of contrast, but I did use a Curve to tone it as the natural light was quite flat and grey.

As always, let me know what you think.

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4.16pm on 1/4/09
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
38mm
f/8.0
1/2000
aperture priority
-2
evaluative
100
no
RAW
ACR
minor
27 March, 2009 // DIFC 2009 #121 comments

If you were a visitor at around this time last year you will probably remember that I posted quite a few shots of the Dubai International Financial Centre (The Gate #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). When I shot it last year I was working on a project for a local gallery, and thoroughly enjoyed the shoot, but I certainly didn't expect to be shooting it again this year.

A couple of months ago though the DIFC got in touch as they'd found my 2008 images and wanted to licence them. They also asked me to spend another three days shooting the building and the Gate Village (comprised of shops, restaurants and galleries). So I've spent the last fews days shooting, and have a couple of thousand images to work through over the coming weeks. I probably won't post quite as many as I did last year, as I'm hoping to shoot some personal material while I'm here too, but I did think that this one was worth sharing.

As with a lot of my recent stuff, it's a seven-shot HDR, but in this instance it was processed with FDRTools rather than Photomatix Pro.

As always, let me know what you think, even if it is to tell me that you're totally fed up with me posting HDR images :)

18 September, 2008 // a broken bike16 comments

I got an email earlier today from a photographer who had stumbled across my beachcombing gallery. He said that he was pleased to have found it because he now felt like less of a nut photographing stuff that got washed up on his own beach :-)

And my reason for mentioning that is because I was working on this shot when his email arrived. It's clearly not a beachcombing shot, but it is a photograph of something damaged, and possibly abandoned. What I like about objects like these is that each of them has a story – normally one of damage or neglect – a trajectory that leads up to the point at which the shutter is pressed.

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4.03pm on 7/9/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
130mm
f/2.8
1/80
aperture priority
+1/3
evaluative
100
no
RAW
ACR
3x1
10 August, 2008 // the gathering light17 comments

This is another shot from Fleetwood beach, taken a few minutes before yesterday's, and beyond the fact that I'm pleased with how it turned out I don't have too much to say about this one. I would be interested to hear what you think though, especially since I seem to have drifted away from producing this style of image in recent months.

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2.54pm on 6/8/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
16mm
f/8.0
1/200
aperture priority
+1/3
evaluative
100
no
RAW
ACR
minor
28 July, 2008 // Barcelona #427 comments

This is the first of two HDR images from Barcelona. This one was taken near the Olympic stadium and the tall structure to the left of the image is a communications tower. Of the two Libby prefers this one but I think that tomorrow's has the edge.

As with most of my recent HDR images this was processed with Photomatix Pro using the Details Enhancer method (as described in my HDR images: part two tutorial, but in this case I used a three shot rather than seven shot sequence (the 5D will only auto-bracket three shots while the 1Ds Mark II can shoot seven).

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3.23pm on 23/7/08
Canon 5D
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
40mm
f/8.0
1/160, 1/640 and 1/2500
aperture priority
n/a
evaluative
100
no
RAW
Photomatix Pro
perspective corrected
29 June, 2008 // at the end24 comments

I took part in the annual Fleetwood Wreck Trek today, a six mile walk over the sands of Morecambe Bay with guided visits to the Wyre Light (an abandoned lighthouse) and the site of Stella Marie wreckage on North Wharf Sands. When I got back I discovered that most of my shots of the lighthouse were terrible, which didn't surprise me as it was raining when we got there and the sky was dull and flat, but what did surprise me though is how much my legs ached - I obviously need to get off my bum a bit more often :-)

Anyway, my shots of what's left of the Stella Marie wreck were also pretty hopeless, but I did shoot a series of shots of this structure. As with most of my recent HDRs, this one was constructed from a seven shot sequence using Photomatix Pro.

I'll take another look of the shots I took of the Wyre Light, and the wreck, and will post something tomorrow if I can salvage any of them.

22 May, 2008 // all the time ...48 comments

All the shots I've posted this week were from the Blackpool Pride 2008 festival, and all were shot on Blackpool's North Pier. This one, on the other hand, was taken from the North Pier, and as you can see, the beach was a lot quieter than the pier.

Update: following a couple of the comments below I re-evaluated the composition and decided that it would look better if the horizon wasn't placed in the centre of the frame. So, I've gone for a 16x9 crop this time instead of the original 2x1. If you're interested, the original crop is here:

.../archives/all_the_time.php

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12.44pm on 17/5/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
165mm
f/5.6
1/320
aperture priority
+2/3
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
2x1
13 May, 2008 // souk portrait #322 comments

This is my penultimate shot from Dubai, and probably my favourite portrait in quite some time. If you're interested, the original is here:

.../archives/souk_portrait_3.php

As you can see, I haven't done much in terms of the content (a bit of minor cloning in the background), but did spend quite some time getting the black and white conversion right. In this instance, I used the Channel Mixer, biased towards the blue channel, to accentuate the details in his face and hair.

I'd be interested to hear how you think this one compares to yesterday's.

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2..31pm on 27/4/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
67mm
f/5.6
1/50
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
RAW Developer
no
2 May, 2008 // on balance11 comments

This was taken at Al Seef in Dubai, and I think I would have liked the shot anyway, but the fact that they're all standing on one leg meant that this was a shot I couldn't resist.

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5.26pm on 23/4/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
70mm
f/5.6
1/85
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
no
28 April, 2008 // from on high33 comments

When I was younger I used to enjoy climbing – not in a north face of the Eiger sort of way, but I did enjoy it. The older I've got though, the more I really don't like heights, so struggled a bit with this one. It was taken from the helipad of the building I shot the Burj Dubai from, and what made it especially unnerving was that there were absolutely no safety measures: no guard rails, no netting, just a long drop down.

Anyway, I was perfectly safe, and didn't get within five feet of the edge, but my knees were feeling decidedly rubbery by the time I'd composed the shot and taken the three images I used for the HDR. And if you're interested, the building on the right of this image is the one that was on the left of my shot of the Burj Dubai; i.e. this one was taken about 90° to the left.

The shot I'm going to put up tomorrow, while nowhere near as dramatic, is probably one of my favourite HDRs in recent months. It was also taken from much nearer the ground :-)

8 February, 2008 // riverdance #732 comments

As I mentioned yesterday, unless something especially exciting happens, or I come up with a new way to photograph this scene, this will be the last of the shots of the stranded ferry Riverdance.

As for this one: it's another attempt to capture the scale of the scene, but this time I wanted to focus on the salvage going on in and around the boat, rather than just the boat itself.

In terms of post-production, this one was relatively straightforward other than the fact that I altered the colour temperature when I processed the RAW file (as described in my first digital workflow tutorial); i.e. it's considerably warmer than the actual scene.

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4.48pm on 6/2/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
70mm
f/4.0
1/640
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
2x1
6 February, 2008 // riverdance #572 comments

When I post a shot in my beachcombing category it's normally quite a safe bet that nobody else has photographed the bucket, or piece of driftwood, or whatever else it is I happen to stumble across as I wander along the beach; i.e. there's no competition, and the shot stands or falls on its own merits (or lack of them).

In this case though, there are hundreds of photographers taking photographs of this stranded ferry, so I wanted to make sure that I got at least one decent shot today – and I'm pleased with this one. Because of the angle it was taken from, it doesn't do a great job of conveying the scale of this boat, but I'm pretty pleased with the end result nonetheless.

I haven't posted the EXIF data, as this was an HDR constructed from three bracketed exposures, but all were taken at around 180mm with my 70-200mm zoom.

As always, let me know what you think.

26 November, 2007 // the snow queen61 comments

It's not often that I put up a shot that I'd like to be remembered by, but this may well turn out to be one of them. And as with yesterday's shot, this was taken outside our house as Rhowan and I waited for everyone else to get ready for a walk.

The original shot is here:

.../iblog/archives/the_snow_queen.php

The post-processing was similar to yesterday's, insofar as I added some blur to the outer areas, but this one was processed in LAB Color mode (the topic of next month's tutorial), hence the unusual colouring. I may well include this in the LAB Color tutorial as it is a good example of how a LAB Curve can be used to dramatically change the colours and colour balance of a photograph.

Update: Paul left an interesting comment earlier when he said "If it wasn't for those 3 or 4 stray hairs over her eye I would rate this as your best", so here's another version, minus the stray hairs. If you'd like to see the slightly hairier version, it's here:

.../iblog/archives/the_snow_queen_v1.php

And on a totally different note …

You may well remember a spate of baby shots back in January of this year (this one, for example), that we were shooting for a book. The book – Baby Photography Now – has now been published and we should take delivery of 70 copies some time over the next few days. If you’re interested in buying a signed copy you can purchase one from our new ‘store’ page here:

www.chromasia.com/store.php

24 October, 2007 // little planet #235 comments

Yesterday, I said that I wasn't especially happy with the first 'little planet' I put up. I'm much happier with this one :-)

And again, it was constructed using the instructions on daily dose of imagery.

Update: just a quick note to let you know that I won't be posting anything new today (15.10.07). I'll get something up tomorrow.

captured
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RAW converter
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around 3.45pm on 23/10/07
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
16mm
f/8.0
1/1000 (and thereabouts)
aperture priority
-1/3 to -1
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
5x4
25 July, 2007 // 'summer' holiday #425 comments

Five of the six shots I'll be putting up from our holiday last week were processed using Raw Developer, with very little additional work within Photoshop. This one, on the other hand, was post-processed a little more extensively. And I know, this sort of soft-focus effect is a bit of a cliché, but I think it suits this image.

Oh, and this is the more angelic shot of Rhowan that I mentioned on Monday, and even I have a hard time believing that it's a photograph of the same child ;-)

captured
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aperture
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5.45pm on 17/7/07
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
160mm
f/2.8
1/320
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
RAW Developer
1x1
4 June, 2007 // dream of the sea71 comments

Libby suggested that I should explain this one, as the reality of the situation isn't immediately apparent, but I'd rather not, at least not immediately. Suffice to say that it's a shot of Rhowan, it wasn't posed, and despite appearances to the contrary, she's very much alive and well ;-)

Update: following warwick's comment below, perhaps I should explain ...

Libby and I took Milly, Rhowan, and Harmony to the beach today, and in amongst all the other games they played, they buried each other in the sand. The bow around Rhowan's neck was decorative, as was the seaweed around her waist ( you can't see it in this shot). Anyway, the bottom line is that the reality is somewhat less traumatic than warwick's first impression.

captured
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3.02pm on 4/6/07
Canon 5D
EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM
59mm
f/5.6
1/250
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
1x1
2 May, 2007 // 1, 2, 3, GO!76 comments

I'm not entirely convinced I've got this one right, but it is a technique I'll use again. What I do like about it though is way it clearly demonstrates the difference between Rhowan and Harmony's physical competence. Rhowan, who will be six this August, is quite capable, while Harmony (who turned four in February) clearly has some way to go :-)

Update: thanks for all the great comments, they're much appreciated, not least because I wasn't sure that I'd got this one right – so it's good to hear that most of you disagree with me.

On another matter: I probably won't be posting many new entries over the next week or so as I'm concentrating on getting the online tutorials sorted out. If you haven't already seen it, I'm about half way through a basic Curves tutorial. I'm pleased with it so far, but if you do have any constructive comments I'd really like to here them.

Update #2: my apologies for the continuing lack of new material, but things have been a bit hectic here. Libby and I, and our three youngest, have all had colds – which really hasn't helped – and yesterday my new laptop died. Well, it looks like the hard drive has failed, which is bordering on a major catastrophe. I have all my recent images backed up, but haven't run a full back since the start of March; i.e. I've lost lots of emails, some work I was doing that needed to be completed by yesterday, the latest section of the new Curves tutorial, and so on.

So, today I need to go over to Manchester to let an Apple Genius look at my MacBook Pro and I really hope that they can recover some of the data I've lost :-/

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that there won't be any new material in the short-term. I'll keep you posted.

captured
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shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
ISO
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image quality
RAW converter
cropped?
around 2.27pm on 27/4/07
Canon 5D
EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM
40mm
f/5.6
mostly 1/1300
aperture priority
+0.0
evaluative
100
no
RAW
C1 Pro
minor
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