Dlugosz Gallery VII

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These images are pictures of models, mostly “location” shots, meaning we go somewhere interesting rather than having a well-controled laboratory (er, studio). These also use the Digital Print Making concepts, meaning I don’t just just scan the picture and call it done. I do doging and burning or advanced correction and retouching to make a good photograph, similarly to how a print maker worked with traditional media. However, I can often take liberties with the original “location”, much more so than one could do with traditional media.

Maya

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I took this photo in July and was thinking of experimenting with an "airbrushed look", but didn't get to it until October of 2000. The idea is that since the raw images from the digital camera, with unsharp-mask disabled, is diffuse, I can leave that alone for the areas I want diffuse, and only sharpen the areas I want crisp. So I started with the Green layer and by starting with a "find edges" filter and messing with it, I got a mask that represented just the edges and face features. I used that mask to bring forward a sharpened version of the original, leaving the rest diffuse.

The hardcopy of this photo is awesome!

Kari

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This was taken at nearly the same spot as some of the others. It seems to be becoming a signature shot for me. The digital processing on this one, though, is a story in itself. At this stage, I'm moving from putting up with lighting conditions and fixing them, to embracing the idea that I can do things with digital that would have required much more elaborate setups and helping hands. The setting and details are just raw material to fit my final vision.

Candace in Park

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These two images were taken at one of my favorite spots near home, the park near the Plano public library. Here, the creek cuts deep walls, and a small patch of grass is all it takes for a scenic background. This was an overcast day, unusual for August, and this spot is shaded by trees too. So, the light is naturally diffuse.

The most unusual thing about these shots is that I had to significantly lighten the black shirt. It seriously under-exposed, showing no visible detail at all.

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Amber at Water Gardens

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This was taken at the Fort Worth Water Gardens, down inside the huge cascade pool. The light was rather odd, moreso than I realized at the time. Because I didn’t have a powerful flash with me, and the reflector wasn’t giving useful results, the background shot much brighter than the foreground, even though I would have thought everything should be evenly lit. So, not only did I need to adjust the brightness of the figure and the background separately, I had to repaint some needed detail around the eyes.

Maya in Park 1

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This was shot at the end of December of 1999 in a park in Plano Texas. It was taken using T-Max 100 film, which I then found out that no scanner can come close to reading in its full glory.

To get the latitude of the image to fit in the display, I lightened the black dress. With the raw scan, it's just a black blob and you can't see any detail. Printing parts of the image brighter or darker is a traditional printmaking technique.

To give an effect similar to the ultra-high contrast of B&W photographic prints, I used a sharpening filter over the image, to emphasize the wood grain and sudden brightness changes.

A non-traditonal technique I used was to make the location more to my liking. The wood walkway was too small, and I could not crop a good picture out without including parts of the street, which is way too light and ruins the effect I'm trying for. So I added more railroad ties, sodded in more grass, and moved the stone structure. All using PhotoShop and a pen tablet, of course. By adding a little more “good” background to the top of the picture, I was able to crop the rectangle I wanted in the final print.

Kristina at Arboretum 1

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This was taken in May 2000, and was one of the first things I took with a digital camera. The outing was using film, but then I shot some digital pictures afterwards, to see how they turned out.

I found that the images are rather diffuse or blurry, and need filtering. Controlling the sharpness is a big part of getting the digital pictures to look good.

The other problem I discovered when I went to retouch this one was that bright spots are overexposed. I can't just “burn” in to make them darker. It requires a different tecnique to actually paint in the detail using a cloning brush.

Kristina at Arboretum 2

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This was the next shot, with the same pose but closer up. I found it hard to crop into a nice head shot because of the way she was leaning into the frame—does that make it “more dynamic” or is it just always off-center no matter how it’s cropped?

Here the post-processing concentrated on making the hair detailed, removing hot-spots and blemishes, and removing the blue cast from eyes and teeth. Interestingly, the sharpness was just fine on this one, as it came off the camera.

This just cries out for better lighting control. This was one of the first pictures I took with the DC-290, and the fill-flash is not very good at all. It’s not diffuse enough, in addition to not doing TTL metering. Several ideas for doing it better, all of which I plan to try: rigging a diffuser over the built-in flash; using an external flash unit; and simply using a reflector with no flash. Stay tuned to this page...

Kiss Crosshatch

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My sister asked me to take pictures when she and her husband renewed their wedding vows. Taken in October of 1999, I used TMAX-400, pushed to 800, so I would not need a flash. I didn't use too powerful of a telephoto lens, so I could shoot hand-held without bluring at low shutter speeds.

To make a keepsake that would symbolize the moment, I started with one of the “you may kiss the bride” shots. However, they were surrounded by family and friends, so just cropping it out would leave a few other heads peeking into the frame or peeking out from behind the kissing couple! As is often the case, the ceremony was not designed with photography in mind.

Even with carefully painting out the other people and putting in my own simple background, the original picture is low-resolution (being a small detail from a larger picture) and grainy (being high-speed film). So I decided to go with a stylized approach, instead.

First I cropped down to the approximate image size. Then I adjusted the contrast and did some burning in of the black tuxedo coat, in the usual manner. Then I painted out the background using a simple random pattern of swirls.

Finally, I tried out some of the style filters I had in Photoshop. I was drawn to more traditional-looking effects, like painting on textured cloth. This one seemed the most pleasing, so I played around with parameters until it seemed just right.

Both of them liked it very much, and display prints on their desks at work.

Maya on Desk I

I'm still working on these...

Jeni at Water Gardens

I'm still working on these...


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