Saturday, March 15, 2014

Working At Night

We were staying in a hotel in Lucerne, on the fourth floor. Just after sunset I looked out of the window, and the light was beautiful. Working at Night HDThere were also dramatic cloud formations, which always provide good photo opportunities.  I took my tripod and camera and took a couple of photos. They were busy working on the road, so there was earthmoving equipment on site and red danger lights, which created a nice mood.

Back home when I downloaded the photos they were nice, but not as vivid as I recalled the colours to be. I decided to play around with this picture using HDR, and the photo then really came alive. I used Lightroom to crop and adjust the lighting. I created -2EV, 0EV and +2EV copies of the photo and then exported them to Photomatix to do the HDR magic.  I played around in Photomatix to get the right settings, and now I have a photo that matches my recollection of that scene.

Gerry Steyn

XMas Lights

While travelling through Switzerland, I was very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. We were in the city of Bern, and I was waiting for Anli to join me as she was at a business meeting. We arranged to meet at the square in front of the Bundeshaus, i.e. the Parliament building, at 20h00.

XMas lights HDWhile I was waiting the sun was setting, and I walked around, set up my tripod and took some photos. After a while, a crowd started gathering. I asked around, and a local lady explained to me that a show was about to start and that I should stay as it was very spectacular. I waited for a while and the show started. It was all in German, so I understood nothing, but the music and light show made up for that.

The Bundeshaus is a very old building with lots of character and textures. They used massive projectors to illuminate the building, and a story was projected onto the building. I took over 200 photos, and each one is different. The lighting changed often, with soldiers running around the building, the building filling up with water, you could see the water level rising in the windows, and then the building flooding. Many effects were created on the building, freezing over, on fire, painted in bright blue and red colour, it was just amazing! Everything done with projectors covering the whole building, in vivid detail! I just kept on taking photos, I have many excellent photos from that shoot. Minimal processing was done to the photos and I only had to remove a portion of a crane which was doing work behind the building.

Sometimes we do need lots of luck to get the right photos!

Gerry Steyn

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Since you don’t want to leave me alone.


Centurion Camera Club CCC Club Night February 2014: Chante



On the 5th of Dec 2013 I arranged with Chante and a friend of hers to take some photos. Because I do not have lighting equipment or a studio to shoot indoors we were forced to shoot outside. However my models viewed this as a casual shoot and were not prepared to start early to get the advantage of “good” light. By 01:27:20 PM we were on the roof of Menlyn (at drive-in) as they wanted photos of themselves in the old cars. Obviously at this stage the light was everything but perfect. Luckily some clouds would pass every now and then. We would run out and shoot a few shots before the sun is back. While waiting for the clouds to come we would hide under the “ clip_image002Afdak” at the back of the drive-in. during one of these waits, motivated by boredom more than anything else I told them that since they are in the shade maybe I should try and take some pictures. I took quite a couple of pictures (I always take to many and then hate myself for having to go through all of them). When I looked at the pictures (See original below)I realised that even after cropping  I did not like the background  since it had lines and blemishes on it.


I spend I couple of hour trying to remove the blemishes using the clone tool, brushes and any other tool I could think of. Finally I gave up and started the devious task of “selecting” the model in order to cut or copy her to a new layer as I realised that I will have to create a complete new background. The fact that she has dark hair helped as I have tried doing the same to blond models and it was not very successful as the outer edges of the hair would fade and give a unnatural photo.

New layer model only

clip_image003Next I played and experimented with different colour backgrounds and by I stroke of luck I saw that brown below


Worked well when adding a gradient overlay.


Gradient overlayclip_image005

To be honest it was more luck than skill.

Johan Bester