Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC - Photography Walking Tour

One of my favorite times of the year is late March / early April when the cherry blossom blooms are at peak levels.  This year they are expected to peak about April 2 - 6.  Of course, it is really a guessing game as any change in weather patterns can alter that target window.  That is part of the fun, of course -- watching and waiting for the right time to head out and capture a scene that is rather unique to our area.

The early morning is a great time to photograph the cherry blossoms and the nearby monuments.  You do not have to contend with the literally thousands of people that flock to the tidal basin after sunrise this time of year.
For the past few years I have been leading dedicated photographers out long before sunrise to help them learn how to take fabulous photographs using both long-exposure and flash.  This year is no different.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Its all in the bits... Why edit in 16bit mode when your image is 8bit.

8 bit v.s. 16 bit

Today I look at whether we should edit our photos in 8 bit or 16 bit mode?

We all know that JPEG images are 8 bit images.  Meaning that the color of each pixel made from 256 levels of Red, Green and Blue (16 million color in all) . Most of us also know that RAW images may have 12 or even 14 bits per color potentially giving each pixel over 16,000 levels of each Red, Green and Blue (nearly 4.4 Trillion colors).  It therefore seems obvious that if you shoot in RAW that you are probably going to edit in 16bit mode to retain that extra information rather than throw away 4+ trillion colors..

But lets say you're not ready to jump into taking photos in RAW mode, or perhaps you have decided for whatever reasons that JPEG is the best method for shooting for your style and workflow.   Does that mean that just because your photos are 8bit images that you should also edit those photos in 8bit mode?
Of course not!  Silly question.  Forget I asked. I wouldn't be wasting time with this post if that was the answer. :-)

What were they Thinking? No. 1: Remembering How Masking Works in Photoshop

Photography like any specialty has its own sets of buzzwords, phrases and rules that just make you ask "What were they Thinking"?  I have a few that I swear were created merely to confuse novices and make people in training videos sound like they have something relevant to say.

Lets start, for example, my least favorite phrase regards use of masks in Photoshop.  It is very simple and goes something like this,

 "white reveals and black conceals".

Or is it "black reveals and white conceals"?

Its a quick little phrase to help you remember whether you want to paint in black or white in the layer mask to hide or expose what is underneath.   I don't know where it started, but popular training professionals regurgitate the phrase like its a message from the Heavens to save humanity from their confusion.