It’s interesting. I use StatCounter for tracking my visitors, and the last two days I had visitors who looked at thirty pages or more … and left no single comment. Pretty please: if you like what you see (and I suppose nobody looks at thirty pages without at least a tiny spark of sympathy), leave me a comment, and if you don’t like it, even more so. It’s the inner urge that keeps us going, but it’s your comments that make it easy 🙂
Today I got a parcel from the US: Ted’s prints have finally arrived. He had sent them to Florence, but they arrived one day too late, and so he lugged them back to the US, only to send them again. Now, here they are. Thanks Ted 🙂
This reminds me of my bad conscience. I still have not processed most of the images from Florence. So far no problem, Ted still rambles around San Pietro (and brilliantly so, but that will hardly surprise anyone, will it?) and is far from Firenze, but more and more I feel the need to carry on. Well, three or four of my images from that morning when we both were out shooting together are probably worth the hassle, and at least one of them is something Ted has not seen 🙂
But let’s get back to today. I am still meddling with HDR images, now almost always tone-mapping with Photomatix’ defaults, then applying a levels adjustment for a black point and probably some gamma adjustment (around 0.8 or so), most of the time a vignette (a soft light layer, hand-painted), and a beauty blur.
Hmm … as I have never explained what I mean when I talk of a beauty blur, it’s probably time to do so. For the blur I use a copy of the original tone-mapped layer, once in screen mode and with a 30 pixel Gaussian blur, and then another one in soft light mode with a 5 pixel blur. I may modify each of the two blurred layers with a curves adjustment layer, normally darkening them a bit. This can be fine-tuned by decreasing the opacity of one of the two layers. It depends on the image which one, but most of the time I dial the screen layer a little bit back, to about 80% or so. Then I put the two blurred layers (and their attached curves, if there are any) into a group, fine-tune the opacity of the group, and probably apply a mask to the group.
In this manner I have prepared another variant of the same view that we had twice yesterday. Today it is a morning view. More of the same, yes, but that is the way I think about landscapes in bright light at the moment.
The other image, the Image of the Day, was not shot with the Nikon 18-200, no, for big skies I use a more brutal tool, the Sigma 10-20 at 10mm. This image is from just after sundown, but before the clouds would go red (and, boy, did they go red!).
This time I wanted something theatrical, something unreal, something dominantly blue. The method is basically the same, though I had to use a de-saturation layer in between, or the blue would have clipped.
I already mentioned big skies, but I think I may probably need Kate Bush’s “The Big Sky” for another image, so you find me concentrating on color, albeit the same singer. “Symphony in Blue” is from Kate’s second album, the 1978 release “Lionheart“. See a live version on YouTube.