Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek, Sierra National Forest, California 2009
0.3 sec at f/5.6, focal length: 200mm, ISO 400, Aperture Priority, -2/3 EV - May 31, 2009 8:32am PDT. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D MarkII, EF 70-200mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted
*If you're in a hurry, the download is at the bottom of this post!
I've tossed around the idea of putting together some online photoshop/lightroom tutorials and ultimately, have decided against it. There is just too much time and effort involved given how much content is already available on the net. But, I do believe in sharing knowledge and, obviously, with just how much instructional content is available there seems to be a high demand for it. The problem was finding a good way to contribute to the learning machine without saying what's been said and becoming redundant. Enter David Nightingale, aka Chromasia. He's published his "tutorial schedule" for the year and has included "mini-PSDs" as a new feature. I thought this was a great idea and the perfect way for me to contribute.
The basic concept is to provide a low-res layered .psd file with no further write up or tutorial. You can download the file, poke around through the layers and hopefully learn some new techniques to apply to your own files.
Although I won't be writing an accompanying tutorial for these example .psd's, I do, however, welcome any questions you may have. I'll try to name each layer as a sort of note as to what each layer is doing.
Some tips on exploring .psd files:
option(alt) + click on the eye next to a layer in the layers palette to "turn off" all other layers
option(alt) + click on a layer mask to show that mask
shift + click on a layer mask to disable that mask and reveal the adjustment layer's effect on all pixels
double click on a layer to the right of the layer's name to display the "Layer Style" window. Be sure to check the "Blend If" sliders found under "Blending Options". I use this fairly often.
Now, with that said, "Spring reflections and fallen pine, Willow Creek..." will be the first example PSD available. This file was chosen for it's relatively simple processing but at the same time not so common processing. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments so that everyone will be able to see them, and the answer.
Click on the download link below to get started, and just in case it needs to be said, you will need Adobe Photoshop to view this file. You can download a free trial here.
1/25 sec at f/5.6, focal length: 22mm, ISO 320, Aperture Priority, - January 8, 2010 6:02pm PST. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D MarkII, EF 17-40mm f/4L, hand held
Friday evening gave one of the best light shows I think I've ever seen here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. So why would I photograph it hand held therefore sacrificing image quality? Because I was being lazy. I didn't want to bother with my tripod and honestly I wasn't even planning on photographing in the first place. I was having fun with my kids and sometimes things are just better experienced without a camera in hand. I thought this was going to be one of those times but then I saw this...
So I finally grabbed my camera, switched to a custom setting that is basically aperture priority with auto ISO and ran out into the yard. You can see that it's still just a record shot of an incredible rainbow (double rainbow if you look close enough) and incredible light. But then the clouds started to break and progress towards what you see above and I just went with it. There was no time to grab a tripod. Light and clouds were changing rapidly. It was exciting, loose, and liberating all at the same time. The camera truly became an extension of completely experiencing nature's amazing display. There was no need to focus on technique or nitpick the composition. I could drop the camera to my side, out of view, feel the light rain fall on my face, breathe in the fresh smell of water on earth and hear the silence that occurs as a storm is breaking. Then I could bring the camera back to my eye and discover what there was to see.