A home for the things I think are worthy of sharing. Will largely be photography based.

Editing

Infrared photography – Nunhead Cemetery

Not having been out and about photographing for the fun of it for a while the thought came to me a while ago that I’d like to give another go at doing some IR photography. I’d bought a Cokin IR filter a while ago and so had the kit already.

Also – living close to it but never having visited I thought that Nunhead Cemetery would be a good spot – Graveyards always look good in IR.

If you’re not interested in techie photography ramble and explanation – just jump to the end to see my photos.

 

Equipment

Equipment used (and had already):

The problem with trying to shoot Infrared with standard D-SLRs is that in front of the sensor they have a IR/Low-pass filter. Although it doesn’t block ALL IR  light – it blocks much of it.  So if you’re not going to go to the effort/expense of converting a camera and taking this out – you need to use an IR filter, which only allws IR and near-IR light in, and have a fairly extended exposure time.

There are numerous filters on the market – I just happen to have a Cokin P-series filter. I bought this a while ago as the advantage of Cokin filters is that you buy adapter rings for the holder and so you can use the filters (panes of glass) for different sized lenses – thus saving on the expense of buying multiple filters. At the time I invested in this system Cokin were only doing A and P-series filters – A being small and P larger in size. They now also have Z and X series which are even larger. P-series are rated up to 82mm – but there are issues when shooting wide-angle lenses.

Reading up online it seems that the Cokin filter isn’t the best of the IR filters available commercially – but it’s the one I have. Sometimes they’re rated in terms of light frequency they will block.

 

Setup

So – I have a D-SLR with a filter to cut out IR wavelengths, and in front of it I have a filter to only allow IR in. This means that exposure times need to be quite long to get enough IR light to give a decent exposure – hence using a tripod and remote shutter release to reduce/stop any camera movement.

I found that when shooting wide-angle alas the Cokin filter holder would cause a vignette – although shooting IR and the camera warm – the Vignette would be light rather than dark.

 

Taking a picture

Tripod – check

Remote shutter release – check

Eventually I changed the camera setup so that it would shoot after a Mirror lock-up just in case that cased vibration.

After a while (it was light out – seeing the LCD screen wasn’t great) I realise that there was some lens flare happening on the filter. Due to the filter holder I was unable to put a lens hood on. Additionally – because there is a slight gap between the filter and the lens – the lens flare (or filter flare) was even happening when pointing away from the sun – the sun was getting into this gap. So I would stand in-between the sun and the camera. However thinking it might be interesting – I also took shots allowing some flare to happen.

Focusing : Because the IR filter is so dark – the camera has no way of focusing using traditional methods – so you have to focus before putting the filter on.

So my procedure for a new shot was:

  1. Set-up tripod + camera
  2. Frame shot (without IR filter)
  3. Focus
  4. Switch focusing to Manual (if using autofocus originally)
  5. Put IR filter in the holder
  6. Close viewfinder cover (in case extra light got in)
  7. Take a picture
  8. Check Picture on LCD. However this was hard to judge in the light so often viewed the histogram and trusted this.
  9. Repeat with exposure changes, and sometimes compostion/orientation changes, and on occasion – allowing flare.

I found that the exposure values I often used were:

All:
ISO: 100
Focusing: Manual
White Balance: Auto (I think – didn’t change it.)
File type: RAW

Wide depth of field:
Aperture: f8
Shutter speed: 20-30seconds

Shallow depth of field:
Aperture: f2.8
Shutter speed: 6sec-10sec

Of course – these values will vary for other cameras depending on their IR sensitivity and the amount of IR light/heat etc.

Should have done:

LCD Loupe: It would have been handy to have a LCD loupe (e.g. Hoodman Loupe) to be able to see the results on the back of the camera.

White Balance: After reading sites online on how to process IR images I realised that I should have, or at least tried to, set a white balance on the camera. With IR filters a little red light still comes through and so pictures usually appear with a red tint. It seems it might be possible to remove this using a custom white balance. It obviously won’t be the standard light colours but should be more interesting than just white. More of this in Processing section.

Focusing: Have read somewhere that focusing should be done differently from my method of focusing without the filter initially – the reason being is that the IR wavelength is significantly different from visible light. Not sure how much of an effect this is. I did notice that if I switched to live-view that the LCD did actually show an approximation of the picture I’d get rather than just dark red! So maybe live view may have done a better job of focusing.

 

Processing

In the past I just converted IR photos to simple Black and White images, probably through Photoshop. However I thought I’d look up alternative methods – or at least the best way of doing it – possibly within Camera Raw – this lead me to all kinds of options – and included the tip about White Balance I mentioned above.

As per so many other things with digital photograph editing – there are SOOO many ways to edit things and so I won’t go into the options here – instead I’ll just cover what I did.

 

White Balance

In the past I’ve accepted the fact that the picture will look totally red because of the near-IR light getting in through the filter. However various guides online suggest it might be possible to set a custom white balance to correct for it in the camera – possibly using Live View. However….. I didn’t do this.

So the usual way I set white balance is with Camera Raw – however within itself Camera raw isn’t sufficient on this occasion – the slider will only go so far – not far enough to correct for the VERY red picture. So this calls for an additional process. Some online guides suggest using an alternative RAW converter but another couple I read pointed at the method I eventually used : Creating a DNG profile, applying this first, then using Camera Raw’s own White Balance correction.

To use a DNG profile you need to:

1. A create a DNG file.

You can convert one of your RAW files to a DNG file using Adobe’s. There’s one for Windows, and one for MAC. It’s free but you need to register with Adobe and get a AodbeID. Creating a DNG file is fairly straight forward.

2. Create the Profile file

To create a profile I used Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor. Again free if you have a Adobe Labs ID, or after you register.

To create the Profile (also known as Recipe):

  1. Open one of your DNG files
  2. Change the controls on the right to the Color Matrices tab
  3. Move the “White Balance Calibration” setting – “Temperature” slider all the way to the left. So the red picture turns more orange.
  4. Export the Profile using “File -> Export” to the Camera Profiles folder of Adobe. Initially it selected the correct folder for me but trying just now it didn’t. On Windows 7 this is : C:\Users\<USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles\ Using a name that represents it’s use i.e. for IR.
  5. Close the editor.

Here’s a picture of the slider:

DNG Converter Slider for IR

Also the picture pre and post doing this.

DNG Profile Converter

DNG Profile Converter

To use this profile you then open your RAW picture in Camera Raw, go to the Camera Calibration tab – and select your new profile there – it should be in the list, e.g. (bottom of the drop-down) :

DNG Profile Camera Raw

See profile: Nikon D800 IR Recipe.

After that the picture in camera RAW looks orangey. You can then use the White Balance sliders as normal – or the white balance sampler tool. Depending on where you sample this will turn parts of your image orange, and parts blue.

 

Standard Raw Processing

After the White Balance work you can continue with RAW editing as you normally would, for me this includes:

  • Clarity
  • Exposure
  • Highlights
  • Blacks

To get the most of the image.

Then open the image into Photoshop.

 

Channel Swap

A lot of blogs/guides then suggest swapping the red and blue channel. Not sure why – but this just works – maybe because it has a tendency to turn the sky blue rather than orange – which makes sense to our unconscious mind.

To do this either create a Channel mixer adjustment – or better a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer. Then on the

Red Channel:  Change Red to 0% andBlue to 100%

Blue Channel: Change Blue to 0% and Red to 100%

So from:

Channel-orig

To:

Channel-new

This changes a picture from:

IR Pre channel swap

 

To:

 

IR Post Channel Swap

There were a couple of images that I didn’t do this to – they just seemed to work in their original state.

 

Other Editing

Then continue with your other editing.

Mine varied from picture to picture but some common edits included:

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Sharpening
  • Adjusting Saturation (mostly reduced)

And that’s it really.

 

 

Pictures

And so finally – my pictures.

As mentioned above – these aren’t perfect – some have accidental lens-flare and some are on purpose – as after all I think it looks quite nice.

Click on them to see a larger image.

 


Lacing Lilith Latex Couture + Colour Toning

Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

It’s been a long while since I’ve put something up on my main site but I’ve finally done it!

I had a shoot with with friends from Lacing Lilith Latex Couture over a year ago now! At the time they said they’d do the editing for their own site and so the set went to the back of my editing queue. But of late I’ve been managing to get through things and so came around to this set. Lacing lilith crew specifically asked me to do a fairly basic setup – with a plain light background which would allow them greater flexibility for edits – and so this also gave me such an opportunity.

Up to now my editing has been if not basic, certainly standard – possibly retouching on some images but on the whole correcting blemishes and lighting – no special or additional styling styling other than possibly turning an image to Black and White. Having seen many a fashion shoot styled with toning I fancied giving it a try.

There seems to be numerous ways to tone an image – some are basic and will usually only offer a single colour in one layer, while others can add multiple colouring options. Some possible options I found :

  • Fill Layer (Solid Colour): Basic, just adding a solid fill colour, however it’s possible to mask it or change the blend mode to affect one area.
  • Curves : Add a curve and adjust it differently only the individual channels – this allows different colour adjustment throughout the lights to darks.
  • Colour Balance : Add a colour balance layer – adjusting the colour by Highlights, Midtones or Shadows.

While Curves gave more control over which luminosity you’d change – a colour Balance layer seemed to give more control, or easier control over which colours you could choose – and so I mainly used this technique. Here’s an example of one of the adjustment layers I added:

Colour Balance Layer

As I’m new to this I won’t go into an in-depth tutorial and as everybody who tries a new technique I’m probably overdoing it, but c’est la vie.

These are the main steps I used to edit the photos:

  1. Duplicate layer and do a general fix such as hairs, major blemishes, etc
  2. Adjust eyes – brighten, whiten, enhance colour.
  3. Skin, hair and eyes: Smooth skin + background (slightly), sharpen eyes and hair.
  4. Lighten & darken some areas of the subject e.g. hair, clothes etc.
  5. Darken the background
  6. Colour/shade

And a selection:

Sohui wearing Lacing Lilith Latex  Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

Guy wearing Lacing Lilith red Latex Jacket Becky Burton wearing Lacing Lilith Latex

The whole set is here : Lacing Lilith Latex Couture.

Links to some involved:

Clothes

Lacing Lilith : https://www.facebook.com/lacinglilithlatexcouture

Models

Sohui : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sohui/105472156166190

Becky : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Becky-Burton-Model/116486168372703

MUA

Roseanna Velin : https://www.facebook.com/roseannamakeupartist?ref=ts


GoPro video fun

In November I went to Kenya to photograph my friends Ed + Poppy’s wedding. Rather than just the wedding we had a week at a beach resort, the wedding on the Friday, and then week after a few of us went on Safari. So watch this space for lots of safari photos and some wedding photos. I’ll probably go into depth about the fortnight in another post.

But thought I’d share this – I also took along a GoPro. Tried it in the pool a few times but there’s only so much you can do with it without creeping people out 😉 However the wedding party (or at least pre-week group) as a whole all went on a Dhow trip. A Dhow is a traditional kind of boat.

This is of course recorded with the waterproof casing.

I recorded at 60fps (Frames per second) which is roughly double speed of what standard videos are – the benefit of doing so is that you can later slow it down without it being too juddery, or that’s the theory at least.

This is a compilation I put together from that footage. Some is real time (and I’ve generally left the sound in a bit on these), some half speed I think and some at a third. (Afraid I did it a while ago so can’t remember exactly).

The shots of guys (Ed the groom + others) jumping in towards the end are the pieces that are slowed down the most. Opening and ending sequence are also slowed down a bit too – although you might not be able to tell. I think it looks a lot better – steady waves or swell of the sea.

All put together in Premiere Pro. I think it’s worked better than the colour on my canal boat timelapse. One thing I had read was that Premiere Pro didn’t cope well with GoPro mp4’s – so I re-encoded them first using Streamclip.  Essentially just open it and then SaveAs “mov” –  it will re-package the video without affecting the actual frames themselves. This video lark is quite complicated.

Oh – it’s also worth updating your Premiere Pro if using CS4 – there are pre-made HD sequence packages that prove quite handy.

Oh – and apologies for the thumb in shot occasionally 😉 Something to remember when using a fisheye gopro next time. Left that in as it’s only a bit of fun video.


Sneak peak – Sophia Set

Sophia Edit

Quick sneak peak at the set I’m currently working on.
I had a mammoth shoot weekend  a few weeks ago that’s keeping me busy in the evenings now. Ive finished the first two sets (fuller blog post to follow on one of them) and now I’m working on the set for Sophia. Taking greater care on these than I have in the past – more care less speed/volume ethos. Think it’s working.

Sophia Edit

Had fun on the shoot and it’s a pleasure to work on photos of someone who’s so photogenic but also knows what they want from the photos. More shoots like this please.


Back Stage funkyness

Elegy Ellem wearing Lady Lucie

When covering friends fashion shows I’ve got into the habit of doing a little back-stage stuff.  Sometimes the back stage stuff is more interesting to shoot and look at than the stage/catwalk stuff (for me anyway – all the stages of preparation, the before and after etc).

Usually I go along with a prime lens (50mm f1.4) that can shoot large apperture so that I don’t have to bother people and loose the feel of the moment by firing off flash at everybody. e

On this last weekend Lady Lucie asked if I’d like to do a quick few shots of the models – of course!  (Although I didn’t have said prime with me) Due to the space available and the fact that it was being shared with 4 other designers – hanging around doing the standard back-stage thing wasn’t an option but I went back there just to do a few shoots before the girls went on stage.

The space was crammed with models, makeup, hair and designers so options were a bit limited but I went on a rekkie to find a good location. Initially it seemed an option between brick walled fire exit, plain wall, or plain stairs – but then I realised that the wall just to the left of where Lucie and the girls were getting ready was fantastic! Couldn’t have found a better wall if I’d go looking! So below are the shots from that quick 10min session.

Unfortunately my camera was all set up for nighclub work (since the show was during a night club event) and I didn’t think to change it  so I’ve had to tweak a few things in post – inc taking the saturation down to suit the mood of the background – but on the whole I think these have come out quite well 🙂

Also had to clone out a conduit pipe and plug box here and there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also thought I’d test the slide-show gallery doobrie  on this blog theme – not tried it before – so here goes.  See above.

Will have a go at putting a different sort of Gallery at the end.

Some links /credit

Designer – Lady Lucie

Makeup – Tabby Adams

Wigs – Kezia

Models:

Said Gallery doobrie. Not sure which I prefer – slideshow or gallery. Slideshow is more visual but you can click on the individual items in gallery.


Hi-Key variations

So I’ve already given a teaser  on my shoot with Samantha Stone, I’ve finished editing half the set.

Originally the purpose of the shoot was to experiment with dark and gritty B&W photos, however towards the end we started playing around with Hi-Key photos. We moved on to a medical theme and so I think the “whiteness” suited it. Although most Hi-Key pictures tend to be clean, crisp and light in atmosphere we still wanted the grittiness to the feel.

Now as you’re probably aware – my usual style tends to be dark, hi-contrast (so not strictly low-key, but close) with fairly punchy colours. I occasionally think I should move away from that but often think – hey why push to be something that your not – or do something that isn’t your natural style – so on the whole I’m happy with it BUT variety is also good – so I sometimes like to have a play in other areas. This leads me on to these pictures and the editing of this part of the shoot – not being used to editing in this way I did a fair few variations. Initially this was limited to Black & White – variations such as : even contrast, high Contrast, various curves,  shading (I usually prefer sepia and/or blue – which I guess you could describe as “silver” since I tone down the Saturation) – but then later on I had a play at keeping it in colour.

So there are some of those examples – just for one image. I have my favourite and so does Sam, but wondered what others liked. Of course there are no right and wrong answers – just personal preference – but I’m always curious to know what these tend to be.

Sam - Original HiKey

Original / Basic Edit

Sam - soft light edit

"Soft Light" Edit

Sam Stone - Harsh Emboss

Harsh Emboss

Sam Stone JL edit

"JL" Edit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can click on them to get a larger image.

 

To give you a brief description (Photoshop geek stuff) ….

Basic – Just the basic stuff really – nothing too over the top. Less punchy than my usual style.

Soft light – As Basic but with a duplicated layer changed to Soft light. What I think this does is causes the dark areas to go darker, and the light areas lighter. I don’t really use Blending modes much. Don’t know what the difference between this and just upping the contrast.

Harsh Emboss – Some De-saturation with a High-Pass filter to make it look edgy.

“JL” – Both the Emboss and the “JL” methods (and Soft Light to a certain degree) are inspired from tutorials I’ve seen from a great (and young!) photographer called Joey Lawrence.  His stuff however is usually fairly dark so a lot more gritty – but I adjusted the techniques for my own liking. Great photographer/retucher though – check out his stuff.

Preference from colour edits:

 

Actually what the hell, here are some B&W edits.

 

Sam Stone B&W Basic Edit

B&W Basic Edit

Sam Stone - B&W Basic + Sepia

B&W Basic + Sepia

Sam Stone - B&W Basic + Silver

B&W Basic + Silver

Samantha Stone - B&W SoftLight

B&W SoftLight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…that’s it.


Sam B&W shoot editing

Task tonight (in addition to re-theming this blog) is to start editing the shoot I did with Sam (http://www.samanthastone.co.uk/) a week or so ago. Afraid this is overdue but I’ve been rather busy.

Primary purpose of the shoot was to have a go at doing some Black and White photos – not something I’ve done a huge amount of – and also do something a bit more gritty even though it was at home in my “studio”. We also got around to trying some Hi-Key shots – not something I’ve done a lot of since I naturally gravitate towards Hi-contrast / low-key lighting.

I had recce’ed out a grity location in central London thanks to Sean – but with no light or heating Sam and I thought best leave it for a lighter time and warmer time of year – hopefully use it soon though.

With Sam only living a short train journey away – hopefully have a few regular shoots.  I have after all been promising to do a lot more shoots now I have my own place – but been procrastinating up to now.

A quickie edit before I cook dinner

Samantha Stone