David Nightingale of www.chromasia.com is a world renowned photographer and Photoshop trainer who has mastered just about every form of photography there is, from portraits to abstracts to HDR. He’s so good, he can make a picture of powerlines look good. He’s one of the best I’ve seen! I even had the honor of attending one of his courses here in Austin a few years back. He is also a master of using Photoshop, mainly Photoshop’s curves adjustment to help transform images into great works of art. He has an excellent photoblog as well as a great training site. If you are really interested in getting the most out of your photos, check it out. It’s very much worth it.
All of that being said, he put an image on his training blog that he took recently and challenged others to process it. He was OK with the results he got from it himself, but he wanted to see what others could do. So the following is my take. The first shot is his original straight from his camera and the second is what I’ve done with it. You can visit his post to see what other have done as well.
I have to add that David said he liked this version of which I posted on FB so I guess I know what I’m doing a little… 😉 What do you think?
Recently I’ve been posting black and white shots of some photos I took while my wife and I visited Nantucket Island. The reason for this is two-fold… One is because I’m looking for some new material to post and the other is because I’m channeling my inner David Nightingale. If you’ve ever checked out his website, you’ll see that he’s a master at creating dramatic images. He’s like one of my favorite photographers. Anyway, I’m trying to use some of his techniques to make my stuff a little more dramatic. Of course it helps to have a good subject to start with. His use of curves and masks really helps bring out detail in clouds and other areas of shots that may not be seen in regular processing. Sometimes using curves can get similar results as HDR without having to take so many brackets. And when converting to back and white, it gives the shot an extra dramatic/timeless appeal, at least to me. That’s what I’ve tried for here. I can never tell if I’ve over done it or not, but I may have in this one. Maybe that’s what dramatic means? 😉
(Roll your mouse over the image to see the original straight from the camera.)
>This shot below was one I took during David Nightingale‘s (aka @chromasia) HDR Crash Course here in Austin last week. It was a one day course that primarily went over the use of Photomatix. I attended mainly to find out ways to reduce noise in my shots without losing detail. I think/I hope I was succesful here. I used no noise reduction in this shot whatsoever. Now the colors and stuff may not be quite right, but I’m working on that.
I also tried out one of David’s sample tutorials – the “Tonal range and the Curves tool” one to be precise – on his website at www.chromasia.com. He really explains the powerful Curves tool quite well. From what I’ve heard, he taught Curves as well as other stuff in the subsequent Creating Dramatic Images portion of his workshop that I could not attend. I really wish I could have, but maybe next time.
In this particular shot I used two curves adjustment layers to help with the color and the detail. However, I did have a hard time getting the saturation of the color in the background a bit so I used a saturation adjustment layer for that. I’m sure if I gave the brackets to David, he could make something extraordinary out of this, but I’m pleased with what I have here. The thing I’m amazed about the most is again, no noise reduction was needed on this as far as I could see. So, it made the course worth it for me. I did sharpen it a little with Nik Sharpener, however.
Now, should I spend the cash for his other tutorials? Hmmmm….
>Weather and HDR Crash Course with David Nightingale
Yesterday was an interesting day. I scheduled time off work to attend the HDR Crash Course workshop by David Nightingale. It was an awesome, quick, down and dirty intro to Photomatix. I’ve been using Photomatix for about a year and a half, but still did not know what all of the sliders and controls were for. He really explained those quite well. He even gave some tips on clearing up noise, how to better read histograms and a few other things. I also met some other photographers interested in HDR taking the course. They all were very talented and I enjoyed talking with them. Dave Wilson organized this whole thing and he did a great job! Thanks to both Daves! Today and tomorrow, David Nightingale is putting on his advanced two-day post-processing course with instruction in Photoshop. I would’ve really liked to have attended this as well, but it didn’t work out this time. If he comes back, I will have to find a way to get to it.
Another thing about yesterday was that our class was supposed to start at 9:00am. However, we received a little snow here the night before and the course had to be pushed back a couple of hours. No biggee because a portion of the time was allotted for heading to the capitol and shooting there. We ended up shooting just across the street from where the course was located. This made it really a crash course. However, I don’t feel as though I missed out on anything. It was still worth it! One good thing about the snow is that it closed down a LOT of businesses including mine, so it looks as though I didn’t have to take time off after all! Pretty cool!
Inside the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
This shot here is from the inside of the “Peak 2 Peak” gondola that spans Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains in Whistler, BC, CA. It’s a huge gondola holding upwards of 28 people or so and holds all kinds of records. You don’t even have to ski to ride it. I think it was made for the Olympics in 2010 so it’s still quite new! The views from this thing are spectacular as well. Also, once in a while, when the clouds are low, you can end up going through clouds which makes you unable to see anything and gives a weird sensation of floating. Oh, and one other thing… they have a couple glass bottom gondolas that allow you to see everything below as you are riding. Some friends that went with us to Canada took it and really loved it. If you ever get out there, I highly recommend trying it out!