Archive for the ‘Topside’ Category

Portrait – Post Process

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Hi All,

Promised in shutterbug to go through some of the Post Process (PP) work on recent portrait.
This is a fairly “standard” set of portrait touch up work with the exclusion of skin smoothing which I haven’t done here.
Please keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do this, this is just the way I do it.

Original Image

EXIF etc..
Canon 350D, Sigma 50mm
1/1000 sec, f1.4 (Av mode), ISO 100
Flash off camera on 2ft bracket mounted on camera right, zoomed to 105mm. High Speed Sync (Camera normal 1/200 sec). 1/2 Cut CTO (Orange) gel.

First step I duplicate the layer and switch it off, there by preserving the layer.

Then I duplicate the layer again and use a partial soft light blend, this helps gently boost the saturation and contrast. I think this step is the single easiest and most effective step (in a subtle way).

Now next step is to move into the face and most particularly the eyes which are the key to any portrait.


We have already done the duplication of lay with soft light blend now lets sharpen the eyes.
Use a soft lasso to copy the eyes to a new layer then use the unsharp mask to sharpen to a point you like (be careful not to much.) You can also adjust the effect by controlling the overall opacity of this new layer.

Now lets touch up the whites of the eye.
New layer, with soft white brush, in soft light blending mode gently paint the whites in, adjust the opacity to get desired effect.

Now lets help the color of the eyes, create a saturation layer and mask, only highlight the iris and boost the saturation.

Now lets do the same trick for the whites of the eyes to the teeth.

Now lets just help the background blur a touch.
Select with soft lasso, copy to a new layer and then big Gaussian blur.

Then adjust the levels / curve if needed. (Not in this image.)
Add a watermark and job done.
This is what the Layers look like.

An this is the final image.

However you will notice that the effects are very very subtle, and may not be easily noticeable in these Low Res files. I believe that this level of subtlety should be your aim for effective PP.

Any comments, questions, critique always welcome etc

= = = = EDIT = = = =
I have been asked about the camera bracket used, here it is.

It allows the flash to be about 2 foot off to camera left, not a massive amount but when close abotu 45 degrees, much better option than just on top of camera and still works with a changing dynamic subject.
This is triggered by cable and not my STE-2 (Infrared) controler as cable is 100% relaible. Also you can see the Orange Gel on the flash.

Richard B.
Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Habari, Sunset Strips

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Hi All,

Or maybe I should say “anybody” as not sure there is anybody out there, however, I digress. On to some photos.

Some recent shots from a work trip I took and had to sail from Galle (Sri Lanka) to Fujairah (UAE) onboard one of the companies ships.

These are all stitched panoramas, and the sunset ones are HDR as well. I’ll post more technical details separately, however, hope you like.
(As always double click to download a bigger version, although not full res as they are BIG files.)

And one of outside, quality and stitching not good as taken from a moving / rocking boat.

And one of the aft end of the main engine, again not great as just shot with my little pocket camera but you get the idea.


Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


WWW – Links, Blogs and Forums

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Following a recent question I thought I’d put together a list of links with some of my favorite photo related web sites.
So here you go, hope you like :-

Shutterbug Dubai
A group of friends and I setting ourselves monthly challenges, the results and our critiques.

Local Photo forum, some good, some bad but local. A good source for finding out where to get hold of stuff out here.

David Hobby (aka Strobist)
Founder of the small flash movement, another great teacher with a very informative blog. Also there is a Strobist 101 and 102 series on the website for learning to light.

Joe McNally
The Guru of light. Has photo graphed for all the big boys but is also amazing at sharing his skills. Two amazing books also, “The moment it clicks” and “Hot Shoe diary’s”.

Chase Jarvis
Edge US based photographer, very good on the multimedia / social networking side, marketing himself. Recently shot the new SanDisk commercial (very cool) and posted a daily video diary about how it was done.

Zack Arias
Another stunning people photographer from the USA.

Canon Rumors
Good site with various rumors on new Canon (and some third party compatible) products, handy if your about to buy. Avoid that replaced the day you buy syndrome of consumer electronics.

Photoshop Disasters
Photoshop Oops from around the world. Learn by others mistakes and see how extreme some of the main stream model retouching is.

Leading Forum on underwater photography, some of the top UW photographers in the world float around here.

Big Picture
Blog from one of the photo editors of the Boston globe. Just truly amazing photos from around the world. Good source of varied inspiration.

A world class Post Processing expert, and one of the leaders in HDR David Nightingale.

Gulf Photo Plus
Local company who organizes annual photography symposium and courses, including McNally, Hobby etc..

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Miniature / Small world

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Another in the shutterbug series, “Miniature / Small world”.
Following a friends “certified photoshop free” I thought I’d be brave and bare all!
These are all straight out of camera, not even a watermark, so DON’T steal.

“Out the toy box”
16mm, 1/13sec, F5.6, Av
Manual Focus (measured)
Tripod (yes inside the box)
Off camera flash top right.

16mm, 1/5sec, F5.6, Av
Off camera flash top center, to help texture.

50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -2/3 ev.
Flash low left.

“Back Step”
50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -1/3 ev.
Flash high right -1ev.

“Long grass”
100mm Macro, f2.8, 2.5 sec, Av
Flash top right

50mm, f5.6, 25sec, Av, ISO 200.
(it was dark hence 25s & ISO200).
Flash low right.

As always, comments, abuse and questions welcome.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Wild Oryx

Monday, January 4th, 2010

During a recent drive into the desert of Dubai we were lucky enough to see some wild Arabian Oryx.

Canon 350D
Sigma 170-500mm at 500mm
1/2000 sec (lucky for lots of desert sun)
f5.6 wide open for this lens
ISO 200 to keep shutter speed high
No significant PP and no crops, hence 500mm.

And yes it is me in the last photo, they may have horns but not big teeth so get close.
It’s typical that when you get to see something like this you’ve lent your long lens out ! Easy I just stole it and the body it was attached to back.

Richard B.

Night time

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

As part of a photo project with freinds “Shutterbug Dubai” shot a few slow night shots.
Hope you like.

Canon 350D (Santa PLEASE help !)
Sigma 10-20mm
Av Mode, f22 min, about 13 sec.
-1/3 EV
ISO 100
Normal WB

Canon 350D (Santa PLEASE help !)
Canon 28-300 IS L
Av Mode, f22 min, about 8 sec.
-1/3 EV
ISO 100
Custom manual WB, shot the "white" off the track sides then tweaked in camera.

There has been some photoshop in these but not much by my standards ;-)
A sort of manual HDR composite.

These are Shiek Zhaid Road, Marina area in Dubai.

Richard B.