Monthly Archives: February 2010

Split Toning in a Winter Vista

Winter Vista

Winter Vista, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

To enhance this monochromatic winter vista of Yosemite, I used a split toning effect. I added a deeper sepia tone to the darker tones, and lighter sepia to the brighter areas of the image.

In the analog darkroom, toning was a function of paper, processing and chemistry. Split toning was achieved by altering the process so that highlights were handled differently from the dark areas of the photo; for example, by stopping a chemical bath at an earlier point than normal.

In the Photoshop darkroom toning and split toning are, of course, virtual—like the entire digital monochromatic process. Digital black and white is an aesthetic intention with soul, a willful abnegation of color, and an intentional and anachronistic reference to the historical craft of photography.

You can learn more about toning and split toning techniques in Photoshop in Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Technques.

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Yosemite

Hellebore Medley

Hellebore Medley

Hellebore Medley, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Like Flower Medley, I photographed these Hellebores looking straight down. The Hellebore blossoms from my garden were floating in a pan of water. The pan was lined with black vinyl.

Exposure data: 100m macro, 1/10 of a second at f/16 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Hood Ornament

Hood Ornament

Hood Ornament, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I don’t think I’d want one of these in my belly button, but on this model it creates a pretty interesting landscape.

Posted in Bemusements, Models, Photography

Floral Medley

Floral Medley

Floral Medley, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This floral medley contains roses, a camellia, and three varieties of hellebore. The hellebores and camellia are from my garden, but the roses come from Trader Joe’s.

I photographed these flowers floating in a black tray of water this morning using my 85mm macro stopped down to f/64 for maximum depth-of-field—and hang the diffraction.

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Black & White HDR

Capitolio Nacional

Capitolio Nacional, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a shot—or, more accurately, three shots—of the Cuban Capitolio Nacional in Havana. The elegant building is mostly empty, and was hardly ever used for its intended purpose.

I took the photos that went into this extended range composite on a tripod, using my 10.5mm fisheye lens at f/22 and ISO 100. The captures were made at 0.4 seconds, 0.6 seconds and 1.3 seconds. The fisheye made for a pretty vertiginous effect, and I decided to see if I could amp it up with some black and white HDR processing.

I fed the three captures in RAW form through Photomatix and then played with the tone curve. After processing, I borrowed a trick from Trey Ratcliffe and re-processed. You can do this by hitting the Apple (Ctrl on Windows) key and the ‘T’ key. I used the second tone curve application to lighten the image up. Processing twice (or, hey, even three times) in Photomatix isn’t right for every image, but for some it works wonders.

The Photomatix version of HDR usually doesn’t appeal much to me (Ratcliffe’s images are no exception in this regard). The good news when you convert to black and white is that you lose the garish colors.

I used the Nik Silver Efex Pro High Structure filter to add a little more definition—and a bit more tonal range—to an already pretty highly charged black and white image.

Posted in Cuba, Monochrome, Photography

Sharpening with LAB Color

Ice Storm in Yosemite

Ice Storm in Yosemite, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a photograph of an ice storm in Yosemite Valley. The lines in the ice on the trees could easily have looked “yucky” when they were sharpened. We’ve all seen oversharpened photos. Yucky. Now there’s a technical term for you!

Fortunately, there is a better way than conventional sharpening tools. I use the image of the Yosemite ice storm to demonstrate the sweetness of selective sharpening with LAB color for compositional purposes in my latest column about creativity in the Photoshop darkroom.

Here’s the full description: This tutorial has nothing to do with turning blurry or shaky hand-held images into tack sharp masterpieces. Rather, the point of the article is to teach you how to sharpen selectively or compositionally using LAB color. This can be done to direct the viewer to certain parts of the image. Harold Davis walks you through how to convert to LAB color, and then how to apply a series of sharpen masks and layers to selectively and artistically sharpen your images.

Check out Sharpening in LAB Color, and then try your hand at sharpening your own images with this way cool technique.

Posted in Photography, Photoshop Techniques, Yosemite

Reach for the Sky

Reach for the Sky

Reach for the Sky, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a black and white rendition of my rather dramatic fisheye image of Bristlecone Pines, some of the oldest living things, photographed in the White Mountains along the California-Nevada border.

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography

A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This image is a trick because the convergence of lines depicted is not possible as a matter of perspective. Yet the image is apparently plausible. Can you spot how I pulled it off?

More about my impossible images; La Vie En Rose; my Impossible set on Flickr.

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Infrared Portrait

Infrared Portrait

Infrared Portrait, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

As opposed to Dream and Christianna, which were taken at a high ISO using mostly ambient light, this infrared portrait was lit with (mostly) direct studio strobes for a fairly normal studio exposure (1/160 of a second at f/8 and ISO 200).

The infrared capture makes Christianna’s skin look almost like ivory—very different than a photo made with normal sensitivity to light.

Posted in Models, Monochrome, Photography