Nature Notes

December 28, 2008

Organizing Your Photos

Filed under: Processing Tips — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

After submitting some images for a new field guide, I was pleased to have a half dozen accepted, my next step was to send the publishers full size files. Now I had to find them. Some were on my internal hard drive, some were on an external hard drive and perhaps they were on some of the many CDs and DVDs I had in my office. I finally found them after hours of work but I realized I was in an organizational mess.

I had a copy of Lightroom and I had Bridge with my Photoshop software. Both pieces of software had excellent search and keywording facilities if I could set them up right. Here are the steps I took.

Get all of the images accessible on my computer.

Storage in the form of large external hard drives has become very inexpensive. I found I would have plenty of space for eight years of photography on two 500gb External drives. To this I added a 1 Terabyte drive to regularly back everything up to. It would be easy to add additional memory to the system as I needed it if I had things set up in a logical and consistent manner. That was the next step.

Setting up a Logical Directory System.

The next step was to move all the files into a logical system of folders. I decided to use the date they were taken. I set up a folder for each year (eg. 2008). I then set up 12 sub folders, one for each month (eg, 2008-03) Under each monthly sub folder I set up a daily sub folder for each day’s set of images I had (eg. 2008-03-22). This took me many weeks, working a few hours at a time, but it worked like a charm.

The default sorting for my computer operating system automatically was from oldest files to newest files, and when I loaded them into Lightroom or Bridge, it maintained this order. Have a look at the folders in the Lightroom screen shot above and you’ll see it is automatically in this order.

The only thing I added to the this structure was that on the daily folder names, I would often add the name of a place if I had gone away, for example Amherst was added to the 2008-12-11 folder. This serves as an easy visual reference to a special days shooting.

After each new days shooting, it was an easy matter to download the files to a new daily folder, and use Lightroom or Bridge to upload the new folder with its contents.

My next step was to have a system of rating and keywording.


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December 24, 2008

The Evolution of Mona Lisa

Filed under: Tips — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Public Domain

Public Domain

A fellow named Roger Alsing did a programing experiment in Genetic Programing. He coded a program to give a slight mutation to a random string of DNA which was used to render polygons on a canvas. But, never mind, let him tell you about it:

Genetic Programming: Evolution of Mona Lisa

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December 22, 2008

Canada’s Largest Greenhouse Gas Emitter

Filed under: Conservation — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario

Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario

The Nanticoke Generating Station produces more greenhouse gases than the Alberta Tar Sands, more than any other source in Canada. It is coal burning, and demonstrates that there are no easy answers to providing energy to consumers.

It has been on death row for years, first scheduled for closure in 2007, then 2009, and currently pushed backed to 2014. Its extended life is due to its convenience. It delivers 8% of the Ontario’s power on it’s slow days and when demand peaks, it delivers up to 16%. Unlike hydro and nuclear energy sources, it can be ramped up in a hurry when needed, going to full throttle in about four hours.

Over its years of operation, many measures have been taken to reduce the pollutants from this plant, lowering particulates and converting the nitrous oxide emissions to harmless gas. However it still produces carbon dioxide emissions thought to be a major cause of global warming.

There are current proposals to replace this plant with a nuclear generating plant.


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December 21, 2008

December 20, 2008

Developing a Workflow in Photoshop

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

I have been developing a systematic workflow to processing images in Photoshop, and have tried to make sure I make a habit of using the best practices I can. This means things like

  • Starting with Raw files
  • Converting to 16 bit files
  • Doing each adjustment in an adjustment layer
  • Saving a master which includes all layers and adjustments

I have a preliminary summary of this workflow along with some companion tutorials here:

Photoshop Workflow


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December 18, 2008

Point Iroquois Light, Michigan

Filed under: Lighthouse,Michigan — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Point Iroquois Light

Point Iroquois Light

After a trip to Sault Ste Marie, I spent some time on Michigan’s upper peninsula, a place I would like to visit again when I have more time to devote to it.

This lighthouse looked gorgeous in the sun, but a touch of HDR treatment was needed to overcome the harsh light, and get back to the natural look of the scene.

The other problem that needed to be dealt with in processing was the prospective. Due to the vertical nature of the scene their was severe keystoning. If you are interested in the fix for this see Fixing Perspective.

Point Iroquois Light

Point Iroquois Light


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December 16, 2008

Herding Cats

Filed under: Animals,Video — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

I ran across this amusing video. Have a look.


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December 14, 2008

Photoshop Tutorial – Processing a Backlit Image

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Before

Before

After

After

For nature photographers, this might commonly happen with an image of a bird in flight.

I like this image of a Rough-legged Hawk but the bird, especially the whites, look too dark, and the background seems a bit washed out. I could try the Levels command or Shadow/Highlight but they may not provide the fine control we would like. Lets try something else.

If you worked through the Photoshop Tutorial – Understanding Curves, you will have a good basic knowledge of how this function works, and this is what we will use.

First lets create an additional layer {Layer-Duplicate Layer}

Then lets select the bird only. We could use the Polygonal Lasso to make a gross selection, then use the Magic Wand set on subtract, to fine tune it. Once you have it selected nicely, Deselect it. We come back to it later.

Subject selected

Subject selected

With the copy layer selected, lets open the curves menu {Ctrl-m or Image-Adjust-Curves} Take the Eyedrop tool and, while holding down the control key, click on a light portion of the underwing. You will see a dot appear on the curves line representing that exposure value. Now grab that dot with your mouse held down and drag it it up and left away from the line until the subject is lightened as you would like it. (Make sure preview is checked). See below.

Curves menu

Curves menu

You’ll see the background is even lighter. You can leave it if you wish, or darken and saturate it. To do the later, Reselect your previous selection { Select-Reselect or Shift-Ctrl-D}. Inverse the Selection {Select-Inverse or Shift-Ctrl-I} and hit delete to get the original background. Flatten your Image {Layers-Flatten Image}.

With the background still selected,  open your Hue/Saturation menu to deal with the sky. {Ctrl-U or Image-Adjustments-Hue/Saturation}. Slide the Saturation lever to the right till you are happy with it. You can also slide the Lightness level to the right to darken it.

When you are happy with the level, click OK, Deselect, and sharpen to suit.If you want a good method to Selectively Sharpen, tune in to our next Photoshop Tutorial.

After

After

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


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