Dec 192008

I’m on the train to Carinthia right now. The choice of images was not exactly lush, I had five images of two subjects, one of each subject usable at all, one subject totally boring, well, that narrowed it down to – this.

Of course we had rain again, the sky in heavy clouds, everything wet, a lot of glare, and a polarizer might have helped … a little. I was in a hurry, I did not use the polarizer, instead I used some Photoshop magic.

It is often said that the effect of a polarizer can’t be replicated in Photoshop, and that’s essentially true, but you can still do interesting things that are not that far away. One is using a “Hue/Saturation” layer in “Multiply” blending mode, blended into the light tones. Due to the nature of glare, this will mostly affect those reflections, that you would be trying to remove with a polarizer. It would darken those areas and strongly increase saturation, and that’s really very similar to the effect of the polarizer. Add some masks to paint on, and you have a lot of control. And the fine thing with this kind of saturation layers is, that you can be sure they won’t ruin your histogram. Of course I have an action that creates a group of these layers in various blending modes.

Speaking of Photoshop actions, my friend Brian Auer, founder of the Fine Art Photoblog, runs another project on his main site Epic Edits. It’s called “Action and Preset Extravaganza“, and the idea is to put together a free collection of Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets. The result will be open source, and there is even something to win. Neil Cowley from Make Light Real will be sponsor and judge. How’s that for an idea for the holidays?

The project runs until January 2. I guess I should polish some of my own actions and submit them, it’d be really about time 🙂

We already had Tom Waits’ “Train Song” as Song of the Day in “133 – Working Mode“, and then I already had refered to Holly Cole’s cover version, but as a lot of Holly’s songs recently have appeared on YouTube, I could not resist using it again. Holly Cole has recorded a whole album of Tom Waits covers (“Temptation”), but my favorite version of the “Train Song” is on the 1996 live album “It Happened One Night”. See her perform on YouTube.

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