January 2014

Alas No Cycling…

Alas No Cycling, But a Few Hours to Play…

Photoshop and the Art of Self Destruction

Last weekend I had a great ride on Saturday, 2,000 feet of climbing (and calorie burning), over 25 miles, including the famous Horseshoe Pass. The weather was cold and wet, with some wind, but a lovely lunch at Fouzi’s in Llangollen made up for the strain. I had been having some difficulty with my freewheel for several months, and there had been a few events where its slipping had caused problems starting off, especially at temperatures near zero. Last Sunday, I set off for another ride, but the freewheel failed completely. No forward motion, so alas no cycling. My friends walked back with me to the car, and we talked about what next. I had been hoping that I could manage through the winter and get a new bike in the summer months, but this plan has had to be trashed. Spares for the Marin have been hard to get, and a freewheel seems impossible to source at this juncture. So I have ordered a new bike from Halfords, and I’m waiting for it to arrive. I’m going for a Boardman Team CX this time. It should see me through the rest of the winter, once the frame size I require is shipped down from the Leeds store. But that is another story.

The weather has been awful today, so I guess it has been no hardship to stay at home, but I needed a diversion to make up for not having a regular hit of exercise on the Marin. So what was it to be today? I didn’t fancy a trip out to photograph landscapes or wildlife (the weather again), and my inside macro-brain was similarly uninspired. I caught sight of an old book on the shelf in my study, ‘How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3, The Art of Creating Photorealistic Montages’ by Steve Caplin. That’s it I thought, I’ll just play this morning, with Photoshop, just see what I can create. I didn’t have a plan, or any pre-conceptions, it was a spur of the moment thing. I thought about it for a while, and decided that I would edit a photograph of myself, and see what might be possible. That way, nobody would be offended.

Gold Finger…

First off, how about some fun with Curves?

SilverEffectCurve

First convert the image to black and white using your preferred method, then, to get a metal effect, you need a curve with wiggles. From here it is simple enough to color the image with a second curve that does 3 things. Lift the red and green mid-tones and then darken the overall image.

TurnSilverToGold

Layer mask your image to taste and away you go. For this image, I made a cut-out of myself, and jumped it up onto its own layer, in order to simplify the masking. There was already quite a lot of contrast in the image, so I was able to do this fairly straightforwardly using the Quick Selection tool, rather than resorting to a channel mask.

Alas No Cycling

Goldfinger, He’s the Man!

The Next Level

That was fun. It only took a few minutes, but was not intrinsically satisfying. I would definitely like my own weight in gold, but would want to earn it by doing something that was a real test. So what next? Play some more, it’s the only way!!

Having thought of myself as a golden statue, what about being a robot? Perhaps with something removed? What about some missing face? What about an explosion of some sort? Hmm. An idea was taking shape. Smoke and flame, that’s the stuff. Now, I can definitely step you through what I did next, but for this blog it might be sufficient just to show you the finished piece. I’m not claiming that this is perfect, I didn’t spend too long working on it, I way just experimenting after all. I’m certainly not sure that an exploding head merits such an inane smile. But hey, it’s a start.

_DSC2459-Edit_3_Flat_2

Until next time,

R.

 

Food Images for Sale

Food Images

11 New Food Images for Sale at TDI

Released on Sunday 12th January 2014, The Doctor’s Images provides 11 more images as poster and canvas prints, in a range of sizes, at reasonable prices. The range includes the Cream Tea Collection, a selection of Restaurant Food Images and, of course, the Fish! To get your copies of this exciting new range of food images, go to Print Orders, Macro, Food from the TDI homepage.

Best wishes,

R.

New Year, New Profile Photo for LinkedIn

The Making of a New Profile Photo for LinkedIn

The Reason Why…

I have been working on my social media profile for a few weeks now. I have a Google+ account, with a page for TDI, an Instagram account and most recently a LinkedIn account and now Twitter. I am in the process of getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of these, how they work, and how best to engage with them and will be linking. My LinkedIn account is really to support my other career as a psychiatrist but I have previously used the same (branding) image as for TDI and my other accounts. Thinking that I probably need something a little more formal, my wife agreed to help me take a fresh portrait for LinkedIn.

A New Fridge-Freezer, A New Problem

Towards the end of last year our built in Fridge-Freezer decided that it would start freezing everything in the fridge, as well as the freezer, and to make so much ice that the drawers in the freezer wouldn’t open at all. Fearing a fire, and not having enough time to source a reasonably priced built in unit, or re-fit it in the appropriate cupboard, we elected to have a free-standing unit instead. In fairness this has been a great success, my daughter has decorated it with magnets, and uses it as a noticeboard for maths puzzles for her poor old dad to write down and solve. But here’s the rub. I can’t easily move the kitchen table out to the side like I used to, because a third of that space is now Fridge-Freezer!! So using the kitchen as a studio to capture a new profile photo is a world more grief than it used to be. Still, I needed some exercise because the weather had trashed our planned cycle ride today (too much ice this morning, too much rain and gale force winds this afternoon). Plus my bike’s not well at the moment either. So moving a heavy table and running up and down stairs a lot seemed just the ticket.

New Profile Photo

The Area to Clear, Ho Hum..

So here’s the thing, that kitchen table had to go out in the hallway. Would it go out through the doors? Could we lift it? If it was out in the hallway, could we get back in the kitchen? Was I going to be able to carry my equipment from upstairs past the obstruction? Who knew, we had to give it a try. After, that is, Helen had cleaned the floor!!

New Profile Photo

Phew, That Looks Better!!

After much shoving and scraping, and even more hoovering and washing, a space was made available in the now pristine cooking and dining area. So, whilst Helen moved on to pastures new, for further housework opportunities, I set about bringing the necessary equipment downstairs, and stockpiling it into the hallway. Hmm.. That’s a bit of a mess you’ve got there thought I. I wonder how long Helen is going to stay patient with you?

Hallway Carnage...

Hallway Carnage…

So onto the setup and test shots. I went with the D4 with 70-200 f2.8. This was going to be quite heavy for Helen, but she was confident that she could manage anything I threw at her. I decided not to shoot tethered. It was just one portrait and the image on the back of the D4, particularly with the 3 channel histogram, was more than sufficient to judge framing and exposure. I used my favorite portrait set-up of the Lastolite Triflector and Nikon Speedlight fired through a Joe McNally Ezybox with soft white interior and 2 layers of diffusion. For separation I used a second speedlight (an old SB800, in SU4 mode at 1/32 power) fired through a Bowens grid-spot attached via the rather superb Interfit Strobies XS Int326 gizmo. As usual, the camera was connected to the key light using a PocketWizard Flex Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 set up with the AC3 Zone Controller set to -2/3 exposure compensation, with ISO 200, 1/160th second and f8. Finally, my favoured Lastolite black velvet panel, suspended from a suitable stand, completed the picture.

So That's how it's Done!!

So That’s how it’s Done!!

We have daylight balanced LED lighting in our kitchen, so I left those on during the shoot. The only slight problem was teaching Helen to use the back-focus button (I have all my cameras set up this way for my wildlife photography) instead of half pressing the shutter release, but she picked this up really quickly, and didn’t need reminding to focus on the forward eye.

Until next time,

R.