"Raw & Unedited"/by KLMoore
Welcome to my blog. Please keep in mind as you read my blogs (my disclaimer), I’m not a writer and thus the name of my blog, “Raw & Unedited"/by KLMoore. Somebody once compared my writing to a bad novel gone horribly wrong. Also, keep in mind that I would feel more comfortable talking to a room full of people than sit down and write anything and I’m really an introvert. Now is your chance to stop reading if you want. You’ve been warned. I'm just a professional photographer always trying to learn new things and share a little bit of what I've learned along the way.
OK, here's another installment of He Shot_She Shot - Cleburne Style, where my wife and I set out to spend the day taking pictures together and have a little fun. On this day, we went to Cleburne, a small town south of Dallas, to see what we could find. Cleburne is where my Dad grew up and a place that I had been too several times in the past with him. Of course, that means the first stop HAS to be the depot to see if Amtrak's northbound Texas Eagle had come through.
As luck would have it (and this NEVER happens to me), the train was late, and just as we pulled up, the whistle blew announcing its impending arrival. I'm thrilled. I run and grab my camera and try to set up for a shot of the train by the depot. So, of course, here's my version of what I shot, while my wife is laughing at the sight of me running, trying to turn on my camera, dial-in something remotely close in the settings, and all the while wondering if I'm going to remember to take the lens cap off.
My wife is not really interested in photographing the train. Her head doesn't "snap-to" attention like mine does at the sound of a train whistle. So, as I'm out quickly trying to gauge the direction of the sun to compose what will undoubtedly be another "yep, that's a train pic," she's quietly bathing in the luxury of the air-conditioned car shooting this:
Now, the train is gone and it's off to see what we can find in the old downtown area. In a matter of just a few minutes, the beautiful blue sky and white clouds that were present at the depot, are replaced by the ominous look of impending storm clouds. This is OK at first, because sometimes I like the dramatic look that storm clouds can add to a picture. On the edge of downtown, Stacy spots a neat looking, old, 48' Buick sitting in a used-car lot that will be the perfect subject for our He Shot_She Shot challenge. Again, for our challenge, we just use our iPhone cameras to take the pictures and then process the images in whatever software we have on our phones before uploading via Instagram.
As we pull up to park, I can already see the money-shot image of the car dancing inside my head. So, here is my He Shot:
And now, here is her, She Shot:
One challenge down, and I think I've got the winner in the first round. Looking for the next interesting scene/challenge, my wife said she had spotted a wall of tires, at an old tire shop down the street and wanted to go there. As we pulled up to the tire store, my first thought was, "yep, that's a wall of tires," but the more I looked at it, the more I started to see a pattern in the tires developing. Here's my He Shot:
I peeked at her She Shot that she was about to upload and quietly realized that I was potentially going to lose this round. I liked my shot, but I really liked what she had done with her version. Here's her She Shot:
Now, I have to do something drastic. I was going to lose this round and I'm not happy. So now, as we're sitting in the car, about ready to leave, I see one more area on the wall of tires that has peaked my interest. This one's good. I've got the shot now and I'm pretty happy with my resourcefulness to steal a win and here's my second He Shot:
I'm gloating on my shot, as my wife starts to describe the scene directly in front of us, in a way that she thought would make for an interesting image. I was listening intently to her description of this scene, but I just couldn't quite capture it in my mind to see what she saw. So, since I had submitted a second image from our tire challenge, I thought it only fair to let her count another image too, since we hadn't left the parking lot of the tire store. I'm laughing now, holding up the "whatever" sign with my fingers as she's trying to get me to see her scene. I've got this challenge in the bag. I told her to go for it and show me this terrific shot. Ooops, that was a mistake. What I couldn't see directly in front of me was a very neat image that she saw just sitting in the car. Dang, my assured win at the tire challenge was now being taken away with her She Shot:
After the tire challenge, the storm clouds were closing in quickly around us and we headed back to the depot for one last look before the rain came. As we got back to the depot, Amtrak's southbound Texas Eagle was just leaving the depot and I grabbed another couple of shots with this being my favorite of its departure.
As I'm headed back to car and we start to pull away, I see a pile of tie plates that I think would make for one last challenge. In accordance with my tendency to see the overall scene, I took this picture for my He Shot:
And, accordingly, here is her She Shot: (Where was the blue??? I didn't see it.)
What's fun about our trips together, is that not only do we enjoy spending time with each other and taking pictures, but I really enjoy seeing what she sees in a scene that I am a direct participant in. She also inspires me to constantly look at things differently instead of approaching a scene from the same way every time. She ponders for awhile, taking in the little bits and pieces of the puzzle that makes up the overall scene. I realized today, that I need to "ponder" more, before I start automatically composing the scene in my head like I tend to do all the time. It's also fun to look back at our journey on the day to see the moments that I shot the big picture while she shot the small details. That would be typical for us I think, but it's also interesting to see where the reverse occurred too.
Thanks for reading.
If you read my last post, you'll know what I did in the "Before" to get us to the point of where we are now, the "After." This is the fun part for me. When I'm processing the images for my sports pics, I want them to be as perfect as I can make them. It seems I can always find something to change about them later, no matter how much time I spend on editing in the first place (I'm really never totally satisfied with them). As I'm editing the pictures though, I sometimes see a different version of the image in my head than what I'm viewing on the screen. The fun part, is taking an image and trying to creatively edit it, to get it to match what I see in my head. Does it always work? Nope, but it sure is fun trying. Plus, when I can't make it work, I'll look for different options to try and make it work.
That's what happened with this image. I liked the basic action shot just as I captured it below, but I could already see a different image in my head of something that had more of a "painting" look to it, but I needed to find a way to get there.
First of all, the beauty of working in Lightroom4 is that it's all non-destructive editing. That means that you can move the sliders all over the place, but if you don't like what you see, you can just simply click the Reset button or go back some steps in the History.
"Now I'm going to let you in on a little secret," he whispers quietly to not attract unwanted onlookers. This is a really cool little step to tweaking your images. It's what I call my "Double-Baked" process. "Double-Baked" is the term I use when I've worked on an image to bring it to a certain point, then, I'll hit Command-E (on a Mac) or Click on the Photo menu tab on top to open the image for editing in Photoshop. (My disclaimer: I haven't seen anyone else do this before, but I'm sure I didn't invent this, because there are a lot of really talented artists and photographers out there that know a heck of a lot more than I do. So saying that, I'm calling it what I want.)
Huh? Photoshop? Yep! I'll open the image in PS with the LR adjustments added. This gives me the option to use some of the tools in PS to fix a problem area/areas if needed. Most of the time though, I'll just Click to Save the image exactly how it opened and close it out.
By doing this, it does a couple of things. First of all, it does give me the opportunity to tweak the image in PS in a way that I can't do in LR, but secondly, it gives me another image in LR with all the tweaks I initially did in the first place. More importantly, NOW...all the sliders are set at zero so I can tweak it even more than what was originally possible, like bring out more detail in the shadows, knock the highlights down even more, and tweak a whole new spectrum of settings. Below, you can see how it shows up in the Filmstrip at the bottom of your LR window.
Basically, you're building on top of the work that you did previously with a new image to create a whole other dimension and look to your original image. This is one of the creative parts that I love about LR. If I don't like it, I can just Delete the edited image I just created and start again. Now that I've shown you my "Double-Baked" little secret, what do you do with it? Well, just like in the "Before" blog, here are my settings under the Basic panel in the Develop Module.
As you can see above, I increased the exposure a little more to compensate for adjusting the Contrast, Highlights, and Whites. I also opened up the Shadows all the way and pulled back on the Blacks to really bring out even more detail that was hidden in the image, like on the front of the catcher and in the player's uniform. This let me balance out all of the details across the scene. Boosting the Clarity also adds to that "painted" look that I liked for this image. Then, I adjusted the colors to bring out or enhance what I wanted to see. The Orange and Yellow colors will affect the skin tones, so you have to watch what you do to those. I've also learned that there is a lot of Blue in White, so you can adjust for that affect to suit your taste.
Below is the bottom panel where I applied more Sharpening, added a little more Noise Reduction, and adjusted the Vignetting to darken the edges of the image to focus more of the attention to the center.
Finally, here is my "Double-Baked" (remember...this is a secret) image.
As I've said before, this really is a "season to taste" piece. This part of the editing works very differently on each individual image. Some people don't like this look and that's fine too. It's all a matter of personal taste and what I find enjoyable with the creative process in finding new ways to capture in an image, the vision I see in my head. So, now we've come to the "After." Does it end here? No! Are there new things to learn still? Yep! I'm already excited to think about what I'll learn in the next six-months, to see how what I'm doing today, won't be good enough then. Stay tuned!
Welcome to this edition of my blog, "Raw & Unedited"/by KLMoore, on how I create some of the images with my sports pictures in a little "before & after." Today's topic is one that I get asked about all the time, "what did you do to get that look or how did you do that?" The short answer to that is, MAGIC !
Not really, but that's what it feels like to me when I'm able to use some of the capabilities of Lightroom4 to bring about a certain look or vision that I have in my head for an image. I love LR4 for all of the creativity it affords me while working on images. Is there a magical formula or preset for this? No. A Preset may be a good starting point, but each image is a little different. This image was one of those times where I'm processing my pictures from a game and looked at the image and saw a whole other scene in my head.
When I first thought about writing about this subject, I wasn't sure that I wanted to share a process on "how" I did something. As a photographer, I am constantly trying to learn things to get better at the craft I do, to make myself more marketable. Basically, I wanted to try and find my own "style," that would help to distinguish my work from other photographers. So, when I found a technique that I thought was a little bit different or unique, I wasn't really ready to start sharing any new secret recipes with any one.
One night, when my wife and I were talking about my my reluctance to share any tips or tricks in a blog, she told me something that I thought to be pretty profound (which kind of happens a lot). She said that I was an artist and not a photographer. With that being said, the insult alarm bells were starting to ring. I was probably going to say something stupid that would've landed me in hot water, but instead replied simply that I'm a photographer. What I should've said was, "that's an interesting comment, why do you think that?" She went on to clarify her point that she viewed me as an artist, because of what I can see in my head, who uses photography as my medium for expressing these visions through my images. She went on to say, that given the same scene, tools, and settings, no two people see the same thing, nor would their images turn out the same. That's why I take what I learn from other people and apply it to my own style or my own way of seeing it.
The funny thing is, the more I learn, the more I find other people who are more knowledgeable and better with LR and PS than I am. Joel Grimes is a photographer/artist who I really enjoy following and love his work. He mentioned in one of his videos about his reluctance in sharing his techniques with others, until he realized that no two people see the same thing. He was saying the exact same thing that my wife had said. (As she would say, "go figure.") This is all about personal tastes and what works for me and what I like. I have known other photographers who didn't like my "style" and that's fine. I probably didn't like theirs either, but oh well. :) As they say in cooking, "season to taste" and that's what i'm doing here.
Here is the originally edited image from the game. Shooting a game at night introduces a lot of variables into the subject. The lighting, shadows, colors, and a host of other things, varies during the course of a game in relation to where the action is at any given moment.
In LR4, here are what the edited settings look like in the Develop Module for this image under the Basic section.
I start with my Basic Sports Preset on all of the images, which includes things like Contrast and Clarity boosts, a touch of Vibrance, and a little Sharpening for good measure. From there, I start to adjust the sliders to adjust for the highlights, open up any shadows, and increase the blacks. I love adding a touch of black to the images to give them a little deeper/richer look that makes things pop. Again, these are all just personal preferences. Another thing to keep in mind is that each individual image may require a little bit of different tweaking. On this image, I dropped the Highlights to -74, opened up the Shadows to +17 to lighten the player's face, lowered the Whites to bring back some of the detail on his pants, and then dropped the Blacks to -52 to give the colors just a little more pop.
Here's what the lower part of the panel looks like in the Sharpening and Noise Reduction section.
On the above panel, I left the Sharpening right at 50 where it's set from the Preset. The Noise Reduction tool is one that I really like it as it does a wonderful job of getting rid of the "noise" in an image. The NR tool is something that I've learned to incorporate more into my images over these past few months. Be careful though, as the higher amount of NR you use on your image, the more fine detail you lose.
Remember what I've said before about constantly learning new things and how what's good enough today, may not be good enough six-months from now? Learning is an ongoing evolution. I thought my Football pictures from last season were the best I've done yet, but already I can look back and see several things that I'd do differently. So, for today, you've seen how I get to the "before" picture. Next, we'll look at how to get to the "after." Thanks for reading.
If you've been following along with my blog, "Raw Unedited"/by KLMoore, thanks! I wanted to give you a sneak peek on what I've been working on for the next blog.
This is the image that I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago and what we'll be looking at, on how to create this in Lightroom. So, if you've been waiting for this, then it's coming. It should roll out later this week or next week at the latest. I'm trying to figure out the little screen shots I need to go with it.
One of the things that I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs is to always be learning new things. One of the things that I've really learned a lot about in LR is how to better use the Adjustment Brush tools. I'm really appreciating more of the little nuances that LR offers to do things to tweak my images, that before, I could only do in Photoshop.
Here is one of my favorite images that I've had on my logo and web site since I first shot this picture six-months ago:
I love this image, but there was always just something about it that I felt like I could do better, but just really didn't know how to approach it. So, last night, I decided to pull this back in LR4 and look at correcting some of the things that bothered me about it, like the glare on the glass of the store front, just over the fender of the car. It was always a hot-spot for me that every time I looked at this picture, my eye was immediately drawn to it. Another thing that always bothered me too were the reds on the store front just weren't the deep reds that I remembered. Plus, there was too much noise showing on the car that produced little purple specks that I didn't like and the glow of one of the neon signs was too bright that made it look kind of like a blob of light and not a sign. Like I said, it's just the little things that I wanted to work on to try and get back my original image that I saw that night.
Here's the result of last night:
I used the Adjustment Brush tool to re-work some of the items that I mentioned above. I also worked with the Noise Reduction tool to get rid of some of the "noise" that bothered me in the car itself. The best part was that by "double-baking" the image in LR (we'll talk about that too later), I was able to pull out more of the details in the shadows and even pull out some colors in front of the car that was lost before.
So, what was good six-months ago, is better today. At least in MY opinion it is and I like it (so if you don't, then too bad). That's why learning new things is really a lot of fun. Plus, I learned a new tool in PS6 that I ABSOLUTELY love and gave me the opportunity to correct another image that I loved, but there was just this little nagging piece about it that I didn't like. Now, it's fixed. Hmmmm, that might be a good blog too.
Thanks again for tuning in. Comments, suggestions or ideas are always appreciated. Stay tuned for the "how-to" on the sports image, it's coming.
I learned awhile back that every photographer sees things a little different than someone else and that’s one subject that I want to address in one of the next blogs. One of the things that I really enjoy is spending time with my wife to go out and take pictures together. I’m always curious to see what she sees because our visual interpretations are so different from each other. Sometimes what we see is so totally different from the other that you’d never know in looking at our pictures that we were even in the same place. She sees the little details in a scene whereas I’m always looking at the total scene and wouldn’t notice the little scrap of metal lying along the side of the path. She’ll take a pic of that scrap of metal and make a compelling image out of it. Because of her ability to see the details, she has helped me to see a lot more of the little details in a scene.
Sunday afternoon, we met my mom for lunch at Roosters in Denton. Roosters has an unusually inviting array of comfort food and is a visual assault of colors and details. Just the perfect storm type of place that could both irritate and stimulate our optical senses. Bright, vibrant colors everywhere, both inside and out are present to greet you as you drive up to the building. After we had all finished our meals and started to leave, neither one of us could resist pulling out our iPhones and snapping a few pics.
Here is my wife’s pic:
And here is my parting pic:
The funny thing is, is that we had managed to snap about the same type of pic. That doesn’t ever happen. It did start a discussion however about wouldn’t it be fun for both of us to take a picture of some of the places we visit just in our normal comings and goings. Nothing fancy, but just use our iPhone cameras and related software to record an image of whatever we see when we are out together. Then we would share our images together to see what we come up with and see how different or similar they turn out.
Our discussion soon turned to how we could best share our pictures together for people to see a side-by-side comparison. I would see the overall scene or big picture I thought and she would see down to the tiniest details. We thought of some different, humorous Twitter account names to try and use like; “He Said_She Said,” or ”He Saw_She Saw,” but both of those were taken. Then we thought of “He Shot_She Shot.” That name seemed more appropriate to what we were trying to do anyway, was available, and would fit right in with my web site name MooreShots. If we could use this name for a Twitter account then why couldn’t we check to see if the .com domain name was available. It wasn’t. Someone already had registered it. Turns out, as I was typing it in to the domain search section, that if you pronounce it a little bit differently than what we had intended, you get, “He’s Hot_She’s Hot.” Hmmmm, that’s why that domain was taken, but the challenge was on anyway.
Last night after picking up a pizza, we drove past this nursery like we had done a hundred times before. This nursery has all of these clay pots all over the edge of their property. The clay pots come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Right off the bat, I thought I might lose this challenge. My Superman weakness to Kryptonite is/are colors. Colors are my weakness. I might get sucked right in to the sea of colors the clay pots were presenting and not be able to focus on pulling together an acceptable shot. The sun was just about to go down and there was a beautiful warm glow being cast across the scene. I’m in trouble from the very start as my wife is averse to the screams of the colors flaunting themselves shamelessly at us. She can zoom right on past the noise, deep into the serenity the details bring to her as she focuses her camera. Regardless of the obstacles, it was just too good of a moment to pass up and what a better place than to continue with our “He Shot_She Shot” challenge. So, what did we come up with?
Here are some images my wife shot:
And, here’s what I shot:
I’m curious to see how our “He Shot_She Shot” challenges turn out over time and the similarity or diversity of the images we share. Who knows, it may turn out to be a version of “He’s Hot_She’s Hot.” I will warn you though that I don’t take losing very well and if my wife’s pictures start to get more attention than mine then it may not be a subject we keep updating. Anyway, please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. The subject of different photographers seeing the same scene and the images that may ensue is fascinating to me. At least for now, you’ll get to see what we shot together.