Dec 252010

Guess what Santa Claus brought me?   A copy of Photoshop Elements 9!

This is a combination of two photos.  I first used Topaz Adjust (from PSE) on the Snowman, which is from a photo I took about a week ago. I then used Topaz ReMask with PSE  to cut this snowman from the photo.  The background is one of the accidental images I captured two nights ago when the parade of lighted vehicles came through the park.  After combining the two photos, I imported the new image into Aperture, tweaked the levels and added vibrancy to the blue sign and the reds, and tweaked the red hues a bit more. (I tried some of this in PSE, but find Aperture easier to use for this kind of work.)

Although I have been a Photoshop Elements user since the first version (and actually from a pre-version),  I still had version 6 on my Mac. I bought Aperture earlier this year and wanted to know it inside and out before I could reward myself with a new version of Photoshop Elements.  Recently, however, I decided to forego the PSE update  in order to take advantage of the discounted bundled price for Topaz. (And am SO glad that I did – let’s call that an early Christmas present!)  Good thing there is a Santa Claus because now I have everything I need.  Guess I better sign up for the 2011 Photowalk!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday!

Dec 242010

Iso 80; f/4; 1.0s; -1ev; 14.2mm (Canon SX10 on tripod)

I was caught by surprise last night when the RV Park next door came through with their vehicles all lit up to bring us holiday cheer.   I grabbed the Canon SX10 and ran out the door… and starting shooting.  I chased the vehicles around the park a few times and reset up.  Most of the photos came out as interesting light blurs.   I couldn’t figure out why the camera seem to take so long to take the picture even when I tried to increase the speed… everything was happening so fast, I didn’t take the time to run through the camera settings.  So, I took a page from Ron’s book, and just continued to shoot assuming something would come out of it.

It wasn’t until I downloaded the photos this morning that I realized my mistake… I had left the camera in bracketed mode from when I went out earlier in the day.  Of course, I could have corrected that if only I had thought to look.  (Note to self:  reset camera after each use to be ready for any shot that might come along.)

The vehicles finally stopped briefly in front of me and I got these bracketed shot in… the surprising thing is, I liked the -1ev better than the 0ev shot because we can see the “WooWee”  license plate better.

This was processed in Topaz Adjust with the Dramatic effect.  Then I brought it back into Aperture and adjusted the Black Point.  I retouched the photo removing the drivers head (it annoyed me), parts of a palm tree, and a few other distractions.  Last step was to run it through Topaz deJpeg. Oh, and then I dodged the bow and the license plate.