Dual Filters

I have used this method for making large prints for many years and has been very useful. The method produces photographs that have an old world feeling since they are yellowish and slightly faded. For the right image it makes a wonderful image. The type of photograph I have used has been those with people that are working at a task. However, this will work on many other types of image.

The principal of this technique is to make three layers and use a different filter on the top two layers. Blending and Opacity changes are used to balance the result.

The two filters used are the Graphic Pen and Poster Edges using any variety of Photoshop.

1. Open a suitable image. Correct this for brightness, contrast and crop. Then re-size to, say, 2000 pixels on the longest edge.

2. Make two extra layers using Layer > Duplicate Layer from the top menu bar.

3. Click the Eye icon on the top layer to make it invisible and activate layer two.

4. From the Filter menu pick Artistic > Poster Edges. Control the settings to produce the effect a bit like measles or speckles on a face. These setting might be Edge Thickness and Intensity to 10 and Posterization to 0.

5. Now activate the top layer and from the Filter menu pick Sketch > Graphic Pen.

6. Adjust the settings to Stroke Length = 15 and Light/Dark Balance to about 50. The Stroke Direction as you wish but a diagonal looks best.

7. Now the fun part starts. Blending and Opacity.

8. Still on the top layer try reducing the Opacity to 50%. This maybe all you need to do. But ...

9. Click on the Blend mode box that currently reads Normal and from the drop down box select Pin Light. Now this is just one choice and it is worth checking other modes.

10. Having satisfied oneself here activate layer two and open the Blend modes drop down box. This time try picking Screen. Again try other modes.

11. Save this version as a TIFF images. Then Flatten the layers from Layer in the top menu bar > Flatten Image.

12. Save again as a JPG image. Print the result.

November 13, 2015

Infra Red Photography

Making and taking Infra Red photographs is not as daunting as it seems. You do not need a special camera or one that has been converted. The normal compact camera is quite up to the task.

Modern compact cameras can still see some infra red despite the internal filters. To use these
cameras I recommend setting them to the Intelligent Auto mode. This will enable you to hand hold the camera. Otherwise the exposures will be several seconds. The only drawback is that the ISO setting could be very high and so a grainy noisy image can result. 


You do need an Infra Red [IR] filter to remove the visible light however. These are not hard to obtain. Ebay looks a good place to start. 680 to 720 nm filters are needed and the flat square ones possibly with a Cokin style holder would be ideal.

The 680 and 720 figures refer to the wavelength of light at which the filter starts to work. If you check the spectrum or rainbow range here you can see that at the right hand end it is marked 800 Nanometers. So the 680nm filter will remove all the light to the left of 680 on the spectrum and allow other light i.e. Infra red to pass through. The higher the number for a filter the harder to take a photograph because the sensor in the camera falls away and the internal filters will be more effective. So stick to a 680nm filter. This is a very dark deep red if you look through it against a bright light. Do not buy a 620 nm filter since this is merely a red filter.

Not only does the filter appear red the images taken using will be red also.

Original Photo using a Hoya 720nm filter

Original Photo using a Hoya 720nm filter

Potential final result

Potential final result

Capturing IR Images

Although not vital a tripod or some other stable platform can be useful. The best conditions for taking IR photos is a sunny day with fluffy clouds. The subject best suited to IR are landscapes especially with water and scenes with vegetation like trees.  People have a ghostly pale look that can be interesting. Graveyards with wonky gravestones. Pathways through parks and woods. Cloudscapes can be wonderful.
For Winter photography I suggest a bright sunny day with lots of billowing clouds will look great.

Using only a compact camera I would like you to try getting some IR photos. To do this you will need the camera and a tripod or monopod plus a filter and a sunny day. The sunny day may be the hardest part to get!

The filter ideally should be one for IR work say the Hoya 72 [720nm cut off wavelength]. I note that Ebay have them for about £10. You can try dark red filters and you may get some interesting results. This is how started. Others I note will trying cheating by using the Infra Red converter built into PSE under convert to black and white. This may work too. See if you can make me believe that they are genuine IR photos. 

You will probably have to hold the filter in front of the camera -  hence the need for a tripod. Set the camera to an AUTO mode. Later compact cameras have what they term intelligent Auto. This setting certainly works brilliantly with my Sony HX50 camera.

When you have some images downloaded to your computer you need to process the images. Generally they will be red in colour. 

If using the later Elements try opening in RAW. This allows you work on the image before opening Elements to a stage that is almost finished.

This is the starting point. Control sliders centred. White Balance as Shot.

After pressing Auto and pushing Clarity to MAX.

This after moving the sliders to get the best effect. A punchier result can be achieved later in PSE itself using Levels or Curves.

Clouds are white. But they do have texture and shading. It is crucial to retain these details by careful control within the Raw converter. Shadows too should have detail discernible. 
Keeping both these criteria and at the same time making a punchy final result is the tricky part and where some skill is needed.

Here note that Exposure is near the middle as is Whites and Vibrance.

Contrast, Blacks and Clarity are at MAX. This is a good starting condition for many photographs. If you click on the Basic button there a place to save this setting for use on other images.

Note that the Depth is set to 8 bits. Compact cameras have 8 bits so this matches.

Now click on Open Image and it will appear in Elements worksheet. Now you can tweak Levels if needed.


AVs and how to make them

November 10, 2015

Before we have the Members Sequences evening it is a good idea to know the correct method for designing and making them.

Find out the pitfalls prior to falling in them.

This can be done by reading and following the steps on the IAC web site

Please note the rather obscure NEXT to find the following pages is at the bottom right.

Also this method uses a program called Pictures to Exe or PTE.
Version 7.5 can be downloaded HERE

Mention of an audio program called Adobe Audition is made. This costs money but a perfectly adequate FREE  alternative is Audacity


February 03, 2014

Check out this great podcast to help you use Lightroom: