Online Photo CourseCheck out Photographing Flowers, an interactive multi-featured online course by Harold Davis
- Photograph San Francisco in Black and White—also Workshop Updates
- Mandalas from a Crystal Bowl
- Best Of Botanicals: National Juried Photography Exhibition
- Photographic Caravan to Spain and Morocco
- Flowers Squared
- Today’s Nautilus
- Nautilus by Halves
- Otus and me
- Current Harold Davis Photo Workshop offerings
- Tulip Pano
- Opium Poppies
- Louvre Reflection
- Quince by Moon
- Sunrise in the rice fields
- New review of Monochromatic HDR Photography by Harold Davis
- Flowering Quince
- Harold Davis “Red Poppies” on Awagami washi at Paperworld Frankfurt
- Photographing Flowers for Transparency: Only four spots left in February session
- Graced with Light in Grace Cathedral
- Advanced Black & White: Photography and Photoshop
- Broken Arrow and Creating LAB Patterns
- Photographing Flowers Course (with discount link)
- Learn Photoshop This Year!—Second Session by Popular Demand
- Working with my mobile “fun” camera
- Through a glass lightly
- Temple Flags
- Coming into the new year with my books
- My best of 2013
- Kate Rose is doing fine!
- Art Editions
- Abstractions (9)
- Bemusements (572)
- Book Reviews (4)
- Cuba (28)
- Digital Night (251)
- Flickr (13)
- Flowers (586)
- France (27)
- Hardware (32)
- HDR (53)
- Hearts (6)
- High Sierra (26)
- Hiking (28)
- iPhone (27)
- Iris (10)
- Japan (28)
- Katie Rose (125)
- Kids (214)
- Landscape (621)
- Lensbaby (48)
- Models (47)
- Monochrome (182)
- New York (7)
- Paris (39)
- Patterns (84)
- Phoenix Roundtrip (9)
- Photograms (75)
- Photography (2264)
- Photoshop Techniques (228)
- Point Reyes (92)
- Print of the Month (7)
- Road Trip (22)
- San Francisco Area (270)
- Software Reviews (7)
- Still Life (26)
- The Wave (14)
- Tilden Park (16)
- Water Drops (152)
- Workshops (42)
- Writing (141)
- Yoda (4)
- Yosemite (143)
- Zion (14)
- March 2014 (4)
- February 2014 (11)
- January 2014 (17)
- December 2013 (17)
- November 2013 (25)
- October 2013 (25)
- September 2013 (13)
- August 2013 (16)
- July 2013 (11)
- June 2013 (15)
- May 2013 (18)
- April 2013 (15)
- March 2013 (12)
- February 2013 (13)
- January 2013 (15)
- December 2012 (14)
- November 2012 (13)
- October 2012 (12)
- September 2012 (7)
- August 2012 (11)
- July 2012 (13)
- June 2012 (17)
- May 2012 (10)
- April 2012 (8)
- March 2012 (14)
- February 2012 (6)
- January 2012 (9)
- December 2011 (10)
- November 2011 (13)
- October 2011 (14)
- September 2011 (16)
- August 2011 (11)
- July 2011 (18)
- June 2011 (25)
- May 2011 (21)
- April 2011 (18)
- March 2011 (23)
- February 2011 (21)
- January 2011 (25)
- December 2010 (22)
- November 2010 (23)
- October 2010 (15)
- September 2010 (15)
- August 2010 (17)
- July 2010 (19)
- June 2010 (12)
- May 2010 (20)
- April 2010 (19)
- March 2010 (23)
- February 2010 (24)
- January 2010 (24)
- December 2009 (26)
- November 2009 (23)
- October 2009 (20)
- September 2009 (22)
- August 2009 (18)
- July 2009 (25)
- June 2009 (22)
- May 2009 (25)
- April 2009 (17)
- March 2009 (25)
- February 2009 (24)
- January 2009 (34)
- December 2008 (32)
- November 2008 (32)
- October 2008 (25)
- September 2008 (28)
- August 2008 (28)
- July 2008 (33)
- June 2008 (36)
- May 2008 (34)
- April 2008 (25)
- March 2008 (25)
- February 2008 (30)
- January 2008 (35)
- December 2007 (50)
- November 2007 (32)
- October 2007 (39)
- September 2007 (32)
- August 2007 (22)
- July 2007 (34)
- June 2007 (24)
- May 2007 (42)
- April 2007 (31)
- March 2007 (29)
- February 2007 (29)
- January 2007 (31)
- December 2006 (29)
- November 2006 (31)
- October 2006 (31)
- September 2006 (31)
- August 2006 (27)
- July 2006 (26)
- June 2006 (34)
- May 2006 (20)
- April 2006 (39)
- March 2006 (42)
- February 2006 (29)
- January 2006 (53)
- December 2005 (52)
- November 2005 (73)
- October 2005 (44)
- September 2005 (35)
- August 2005 (26)
- July 2005 (27)
- June 2005 (28)
- May 2005 (28)
Category Archives: Photoshop Techniques
Wandering the crowded aisles of Berkeley’s Urban Ore—a somewhat dodgy cross between an upscale junkyard and a down-at-the-heels flea market with an added smidgen of green ideology—with my camera and Otus, I came across a beautiful cut crystal bowl in a locked cabinet. It was love at first sight. Finding the person with the key to unlock the cabinet and negotiating the price took a bit of time, but soon enough Otus and I were making our way home to photograph our new treasure.
I photographed my crystal bowl straight down using a light box and a bracketed high-key sequence of exposures. This is the technique I developed to capture flowers for transparency (actually, for translucency), and as I note in my presentation on the subject the technique produces interesting results with many subjects in addition to flowers. In this case, the high key HDR approach emphasized the contrast between the edge lines of the bowl and the negative spaces created by the transparent glass.
My next step playing in Photoshop was to invert the essentially monochromatic image, transforming black lines on a white background to black lines on a white background. It’s hard to get me going on this kind of thing without wanting to play in Photoshop, so I started using LAB adjustments. How do you make a mandala from a crystal bowl?
In this case, in addition to LAB inversions and equalizations, I used Nik Color Efex filters, direct painting on layers, layers, layer masks, and repeated application of some of the oddball blending modes such as Difference. Play around long enough in Photoshop and you never know what you will find!
With this imagery it was visually important to me to “square the circle” with a square crop. With some of the Crystal Mandalas, like the Holographic Mandala, there is almost a three dimensional look—part of the image jumps off the plane. In contrast, with Mandala Inside, the effects create an outer translucent shell or layer, with an inner core that is much bolder and more defined.
These could be small virtual worlds, and have become something completely unrelated to the original sequence of photos. When I first looked in my crystal bowl, I did not know where it would take me!
Here’s my red flowering quince shot, with the moon in an alternate position. Good argument for archiving one’s layers unflattened—that way it is easy to go back and move the moon!
Wandering the pedestrian walk on new San Francisco Bay Bridge span in the waning days of the year, I shot this directional arrow, intended to guide foot and bike traffic, straight down and broken up by strong shadows from the railing.
It’s astoundingly easy to use Photoshop adjustments in LAB color and blending modes to create intricate patterns out of something like the color version of Broken Arrow. Here’s one example:
To get to the pattern from the color photo, in Photoshop I duplicated the image, and converted the duplicate to LAB color mode. I next used Image > Adjust > Invert to invert the LAB color values within the file, and then converted the entire image back to RGB, with results shown below:
Next, I made another duplicate of the original image file, converted it to LAB, selected the L channel only, and inverted the L channel. I flipped the image horizontally, with results shown below:
The last big step is to align the two LAB inversions as layers in one image, and set the Blending Mode to Difference (by the way, they have to be back in RGB, or the Difference mode isn’t available).
There are many possible variations on this technique of course, depending on what channels you invert, how you flip the image, and what blending modes you use. Here’s another variation from the same original image:
To learn more about the LAB color techniques for creative image making I have pioneered, check out The Way of the Digital Photographer (pages 156-163) and The Photoshop Darkroom (pages 148-201). If this really intrigues you, you may want to consider my Mastering Creative Photoshop workshop (January 25-26, one last minute spot available, more space in the second session, May 31 – June 1, 2014).
Star trails are magical. It’s amazing to see the stars circling in the sky, reminding us that our planet is rotating in space. For many folks who want to get started with star trail photography, it’s something of a mystery and seems inherently difficult. Not so!
Click here to read my article Stacking Star Trails in Photoshop Creative Cloud (posted on Peachpit.com) to learn methods for turning night-sky photos into star trails in Photoshop CC.
Vive la différence! In my recent post featured on the Amazon Digital Design blog, I explain how digital photography differs from analog photography, and how you can take advantage of that difference in your work. Click here to read the entire post explaining why digital photography is different.
Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital Photographer
A Two-Day Weekend Workshop with Harold Davis
Overview: Frustrated by Photoshop, and mystified by how to integrate Photoshop into your workflow? This workshop is for you. Learn to live and love Photoshop under the tutelage of Harold Davis, an acknowledged Photoshop guru and the author of The Photoshop Darkroom.
When: Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26, 2014
What: This workshop covers developing a personal digital Photoshop workflow. Topics explained in detail include archiving and checkpoints, RAW processing, multi-RAW processing, HDR, hand-HDR, stacking, LAB color creative effects, monochromatic conversions, using backgrounds and textures, layers, layers masks, working with channels, Photoshop filters, and plugins from Nik Software, onOne Software, and Topaz.
Harold states: “I often get asked about my Photoshop techniques when giving workshops. In a general workshop that involves photography there just isn’t time to cover in depth the vast multitude of creative Photoshop techniques that I use. This workshop will provide a one-time opportunity to explore Photoshop as a creative medium and artistic partner component of digital photography. I will work with each participant to develop their personal Photoshop style and to process one or more of their own images using the techniques demonstrated in this workshop.”
Suggested Reading: You may want to take a look at Harold’s The Way of the Digital Photographer (published by Peachpit Press) before attending this workshop.
Where: The workshop is hosted in Berkeley, California, in a convenient location near the upscale Fourth Street shopping district and close to the University Avenue exit from I80.
Cost: Tuition is $695 per person. Workshop is limited to a maximum of 16 participants.
“Harold Davis’ ethereal floral arrangements have a purity and translucence that borders on spiritual.”—Peter Kolonia, Popular Photo Magazine
“Harold Davis’s Creative Photography series is a great way to start a photography library”—Daniel Fealko, PhotoFidelity.
- What folks have said about Harold Davis workshops and events:
- “A great artist and speaker!”—W. Anglin
- “Harold is genuine, generous, and gracious – He has a world of knowledge and expertise that he loves to share – his wonderful books show his monumental talents and skill set- his workshops shows the depth of his connecting with others in a very real and personal way.”—P. Borrelli
- “Awesome! He patiently addressed questions from the audience which contained photographers of all levels , molding his answers to the level of understanding for each of us. His presentations covered a wonderful range of technical knowledge as well as emphasizing the need for images to have an emotional quality. The images he shares are breathtaking and he is generous in sharing many facets of how he captures such beauty.”—J. Phillips
- “Not all photographers are good verbal communicators. Harold is someone who can DO and TEACH. A rare combination of talents.”—B. Sawyer
- “He was very giving of his talents and time. The course was very organized and thorough. Loved it! Learned so much! … I also wanted to let you know that I have more than paid the cost of the workshops I’ve done with you by selling some photos! I have sold three prints already.”—L. Beck
- “Very creative and a marvelous instructor.”—Kay S.
- Red Poppies © Harold Davis
About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a well-known digital artist and award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of many photography books. His most recent titles are The Way of the Digital Photographer (Peachpit) and Monochromatic HDR Photography (Focal Press).
In addition to his activity as a bestselling book author, Harold is a featured columnist for Photo.net. He has been acknowledged as a Moab Master printmaker and is known as a Master Printer. His limited edition artist book Botanique was featured most recently in Fine Art Printing, the only magazine devoted exclusively to fine art photographic printmaking. Harold’s work is widely collected, licensed by art publishers, and has appeared in numerous magazines and other publications.
Harold’s technique and destination photography workshops to such diverse locations as Paris, France; Heidelberg, Germany; and the ancient Bristlecone Pines of the eastern Sierra Nevada are widely popular and usually sell out quickly.
Focal Press, a leading publisher of media technology books, announced today the availability of Monochromatic HDR Photography by Harold Davis, an award-winning photographer and best-selling author of more than 30 books.
In this beautifully illustrated guide for all levels from advanced amateur to professional, Davis shows photographers how to work at the intersection of two hot trends of the digital revolution: Black & White and High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging.
In my new article on Photo.net, Creatively Using Selective Focus in Photography and Photoshop, I start by explaining how to control focus using exposure settings in the camera. Next, I explain several techniques for adding selective focus effects in Photoshop, and how to use the FocalPoint Photoshop plugin for pinpoint selective focus control in post-production.
About the image: Standing precariously high above the valley on the verge of this Littleton, Colorado trestle bridge, I focused my Zeiss Distagon 15mm f/2.8 tightly on the foreground. Using a fairly wide-open aperture (f/4.5) put the background of the hills very slightly our of focus, despite the naturally high depth-of-field of this extreme wide angle lens. In post-production I added a little extra motion blur to the trees, to further visually distinguish them from the bridge.
Flowers of Late Summer was shot on a lightbox using my Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 lens and the full-frame Nikon D800. Layering the 36MP RAW captures brought my computer down to a crawl begging for mercy (EXIF and processing info below). Upgrade one piece of hardware and, alas, the logic of workflow implies that other upgrades will follow!
Exposure data: 35mm, six exposures at shutter speeds from 10 seconds to 1/10 of a second, all exposures at f/13 and ISO 100, tripod mounted; exposures combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro and hand-HDR in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop; this version added to a scanned paper background and lightly texturized.
Please note that I will be on assignment next week in Colorado, so don’t expect to hear too much from me!
I’m giving a workshop that will cover Photographing Flowers for Transparency in December, 2013 it is sold out, but I may add a second section (add your name to the Waiting List and/or send me an email if you’d be interested).
I’ll also be giving a workshop in Heidelberg, Germany in June, 2014 that will cover this technique as well as other kinds of flower photography (more info will be posted on my Workshops page as it is available).
Please also consider joining my email list if you are interested in keeping up with what I am doing!
In workshops I repeatedly get asked to explain my creative Photoshop techniques in more detail than is really possible in the course of a normal photography workshop. So I’ve decided to offer an intensive Photoshop-only two-day weekend workshop. Click here for more information and registration, or see below.
If you want to learn in detail what I do, and get my feedback on your Photoshop workflow and creative zeitgeist, this is your opportunity!
What: Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital Photographer covers developing a personal digital Photoshop workflow. Topics explained in detail include archiving and checkpoints, RAW processing, multi-RAW processing, HDR, hand-HDR, stacking, LAB color creative effects, monochromatic conversions, using backgrounds and textures, layers, layers masks, working with channels, Photoshop filters, and plugins from Nik Software, onOne Software, and Topaz.
Prerequisites: Participants are expected to know how to use their computers and to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop. You will get the most out of the workshop if you read The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop post-production path to more creative photography before attending.
When: A Two-Day Weekend Workshop with Harold Davis, Saturday January 25 and Sunday January 26, 2014.
Where: Berkeley, California.
Tuition: $695.00 per person, limited to 16 participants.
Click here to register for Mastering Creative Photoshop: The Way of the Digital Photographer.
I have a new column out on Photo.net, Adding Textures to Flower Photos. Here’s the description of what you’ll learn: This column explains all you need to know to get started adding textures in Photoshop to your photos, starting with the concept of “texturizing.” I’ll explain the mechanics of adding the texture overlay, choosing a blending mode, and masking the texture (if desired). You’ll also need to know where to find textures to license, and how to make your own textures if you are interested.
About the image: With this shot of a setting sun seen through a cherry blossom, I focused on the flower blossoms, relying on the fact that throwing the sun way out-of-focus made it appear much larger; I added artistic impact using a textural overlay as I explain in Adding Textures to Flower Photos on Photo.net.
I plead guilty to an affaire de coeur with Photoshop. I am passionate about the Photoshop darkroom. Indeed, there comes a point in every workshop I give that I am asked, “Did you Photoshop that?”
The answer is always Yes. Every photo of mine passes through Photoshop, and it can fairly be said that much of my work is one part photography, and one part digital painting with photography.
To Photoshop, or not to Photoshop? For me, that is hardly a question. But it is worth bearing in mind that it all starts with a photographic composition. It’s often much easier to get striking photos right in the camera than to attempt to embellish things in post-production.
I believe—and I teach my students—that using camera technique to further one’s vision is one of the most important aspects of being a photographer in the digital era. The take away from the digital darkroom should be to inform one’s photography, not to take its place!
Being such a fervent Photoshop evangelist can lead to assumptions that my photos have been Photoshopped—even when they have not.
A case in point is this image of the glass pyramid in the central court of the Louvre in Paris, France, shot during a night photography session of a workshop I was leading. A number of people have assumed that the reflection is a post-production transformation—or, as one person put it with delightful humor, “I detect a bit of Photoshop wizardry herEreh yrdraziw pohsotohP fo tib a tceted I”.
Shades of the Mirror of Erised!
In this case, however, there’s no compositing or changing the composition around. There were three shots, bracketed for exposure, and I used a polarizer, and that’s it. The three RAW files are shown in Adobe Bridge CC below, along with the exposure data for the image.
So the art here is primarily in the seeing, and the craft is in the photographic technique—as much as I love Photoshop, this is an image that could have been accomplished using a film camera. Not that there would be anything wrong with using Photoshop to create this, it just isn’t the case.
I like to teach being the best we can be, whether in the camera photographically, or in the Photoshop darkroom in post-production.
Exposure data: 12mm, circular polarizer, three exposures at 2.5, 5 and 10 seconds, each exposure at f/7.1 and ISO 100, tripod mounted; RAW exposures shown below in Adobe Bridge CC; processed in Adobe Camera RAW, Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 and Photoshop CC; converted to monochromatic using Photoshop CC, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and Topaz Adjust 5.
Please check out my new column on Photo.net, Placing a Flower Photo on a Background. Stay tuned for the sequel, coming next month to Photo.net, explaining how to add a texture to a flower photo to get painterly effects.
Have you ever wanted to turn your flower photos into fine art design pieces? With a little bit of Photoshop know-how, a few inexpensive tools, and the techniques explained in this column, it’s easy to create unique art imagery, guided only by your vision and creativity. Read more.
You may not be aware of the extensive archive of my columns available on Photo.net on a wide variety of topics related to creativity, photography, Photoshop techniques, and marketing your photography. Links to this material can be found below the image.
Photo.net columns by Harold Davis
- Placing a Flower Photo on a Background, June 2013
- A Spiral Model of Creativity, Aug 21, 2009
- Advanced Photoshop Tutorial: Hand HDR, Aug 21, 2009
- Aging Photos Roundup, Sep 13, 2010
- Becoming Composition Conscious, Jul 08, 2009
- Becoming a More Creative Photographer, Apr 20, 2009
- Converting to Black and White, Feb 17, 2010
- Creating HDR Images by Hand: Part I, Dec 09, 2009
- Creating HDR Images by Hand: Part II, Jan 14, 2010
- Creating Photo Books, Nov 02, 2010
- Creating a Photo Book Proposal, Dec 07, 2010
- Creativity in the Photoshop Darkroom, Dec 15, 2009
- Expecting the Unexpected, May 18, 2009
- Finding an Audience for Your Photos, Jan 19, 2011
- Focusing on What Matters, Jun 09, 2009
- HDR in Adobe Photoshop CS5, Jun 28, 2010
- Harnessing the Power of Flickr, Apr 17, 2011
- Harold Davis Column, Aug 21, 2009
- Intro to Compositing, Jun 02, 2010
- Inverting Backgrounds with LAB, Apr 28, 2010
- Knowing When to Quit, Aug 21, 2009
- Making Colors Pop in Photoshop, Oct 08, 2010
- Making the Unseen Visible, Aug 11, 2009
- Multi-RAW Processing, Sep 15, 2009
- Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 Review, May 12, 2010
- Setting Limits, Aug 21, 2009
- Sharpening in LAB Color, Feb 03, 2010
- Using Email to Find an Audience, Mar 11, 2011
- Using Image Apply Image, Aug 05, 2010
- Using LAB Color Adjustments, Mar 17, 2010
- Using Twitter to Find an Audience for Your Photos, Jun 09, 2011
In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle ice-nine is a crystal with the power to freeze all life on earth, perhaps as I did with these yellow roses. Not really! Nor were they shot through a wet shower door.
For the past several days we’ve had very wet and windy weather—the epitome of winter’s rainy season in the San Francisco Bay area. During an interlude in this weather I saw the Japanese maple leaf shown in the image plastered to the outside of an upstairs window.
To shoot the wet maple leaf, I positioned the camera on a tripod inside looking out—so the image is looking through a wet window to the leaf on the exterior. I used a macro lens, and shot two exposure sequences, one at moderate depth-of-field (f/10) for the window glass, and one stopped down (to f/22) to get the leaf itself maximally in focus.
The image you see combined four of the low-depth-of-field exposures (using Nik HDR Efex Pro) for the window pane. I then painted-in two exposures of the f/25 leaf exposures using layering and the Brush Tool in Photoshop.
Exposure data: 40mm macro, six exposures, all exposures at ISO 200, 4 exposures shot using shutter speeds between 1/15 of a second and 2.5 seconds at f/10, 2 exposures shot at shutter speeds of 2 seconds and 5 seconds with an aperture of f/25, tripod mounted, exposures combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop.