Last week I spent a wonderful few days with the family. Williamsburg, VA was the chosen location. We had lots of time to visit (no kids). We were there at the not quite tourist season and the weather was most comfortable.
On the photography side, I stayed mostly with HDR instead of focus stacking for my adventures. I did try the stack on one outdoor flower and there was just too much movement in the air to get a good shot. So I worked on my HDR technique.
One of the best changes I made was to utilize the camera timer. I set it up to delay 1 second after the shutter button was released to fire three shots with a half second in between each shot. At first the one second delay was awkward - but I found after releasing the release, I could focus on steadying the camera. Worked out quite nicely.
I also worked on my back button focus. I like the configuration and have been using it for a few months. I just have not used it enough to be second nature comfortable with the process. I did work on this quite a bit and am getting much faster in getting to the picture.
I did get one photo request - that was to get a frontal picture of the Inn where we were staying.
I was able to get two shots of the Inn. One at night and one early morning.
This is the early morning shot. The particulars: ISO 100, f/Stop f/8, focal length 18mm. There were three shots: 1/60, 1/500 and 1/8. Mode is Aperture priority. Shots were taken hand held.
I put the three shots through Photomatix and chose one of the Smooth settings. I did this to keep the halo between the roof of the building and the sky to a minimum. For the most part, All i want is to set the colors and shadows. i also upped the shadows a bit to bring out some of the red in the shutters. This is what I came out with - and is my starting point.
I know from past experience when this gets to a 5x7 format I will lose quite a bit. I'm not happy with the almost what area on the left in the trees. I have options for removing that area, but I think it will be best to just make that part of the crop. I will also do what I can to get most of the roadway out of the shot as well. The light blue sky is not really what I like, needs to be deeper - and I can do that. Last, being shot at 18mm there is a lot of camera distortion that needs to be corrected.
Working in Photoshop, I will be using the Smart Layer function with the RAW editor.
To darken out the sky a bit, I used the Adjustment brush to mask in a cooler color. Very targeted cooler cast on the sky is just enough. And I don't have to deal with a halo.
Didn't take much, just enough to get the haze look out.
All I need to do now is address the camera distortion before I do a final sizing adjustment. To tackle the camera distortion, I will use the Camera Raw filter again - but this time on a separate layer.
Using the Camera Raw Filter, select the Lens Correction tab. In this tab you will find the tool to correct level, horizontal and vertical perspective corrections.
When this filter is applied, the building with straighten out - and look like a building.
And you would be correct in saying that some of the photo is removed and unusable. But I'm going to crop to a 5x7 format and I need to lose the sky issues on the left. I'm looking at this as a win.
One of the issues I have not yet solved with Photoshop is when an image is re-sized, it re-sizes the entire process, not just the layer. To bypass that problem I will save the layer as a TIFF and open it for editing in a new window.
On this file I will do my final crop/sizing and other final processing.
I think the crop worked out well. I wanted to keep the barrel by the signpost. And I wanted to get rid of the white sky. The right side of the building is cut a bit close, but if that's all that is wrong - I'm good with the picture.
Since this was a request, I didn't go overboard on the effects - this may be the first 'conventional' photo I've every published. Maybe I'll add my version later?