Monthly Archives: March 2011

Bringing Out The Texture

Posted by Caz on Thursday, 17th March 2011

This week’a 52 Themes 2011 Group challenge is Texture.  In photographs, texture is often enhanced by side-lighting coming in from an agle – usually the more acute, the better. This produces longer shadows and so the difference between light and shade is more pronounced. It’s been a pretty grotty week weatherwise, so I thought I better make my own light to complete this challenge. I decided to get the props box out and have a look to see what I could use.

Overhead lighting from a desk lamp

Overhead lighting from a desk lamp

Strong side-lighting from the lamp laying down

Strong side-lighting from the lamp

Having found some rather nice textured and coloured paper in the box, I did some experiments with the desk lamp.

First I tried overhead lighting – which inevitably made for colourful but very “flat” images. Then I lay the lamp on its side and shot with the light coming at a very sharp angle to the paper. Guess which worked out best?

Here are some side-by-side comparison shots with the same composition, in each lighting scenario:

Side view - flat lighting

Side view - flat lighting

Side view - side lighting

Side view - side lighting

Top view - flat lighting

Top view - flat lighting

Top view - side lighting

Top view - side lighting

In the end, I went with a different composition for Day #1172, but still chose the strong side-lighting version to show up the texture to greatest effect.

Of course, when you’re outdoors and want to get better texture pictures, you will either have to wait for the sun to come out, or use flash – but much like the desk lamp, this should be off-camera to one side to give you the best results.

Maker Faire Moments

Posted by Caz on Wednesday, 16th March 2011

I had a great time visiting Newcastle last weekend for the third UK Maker Faire. There were all sorts of science, crafts and technology stuff on show – which made for some great photographs.

Sometimes it was challenging as the lighting wasn’t great, but I’m really pleased with the selection of images I managed to take. I also had time to squeeze in a bit of geocaching with Alistair before heading home late on Monday evening. A fun trip, and I will be back in 2012 if the event returns.

Time For Atonement

Posted by Caz on Tuesday, 8th March 2011

OK, I’ll come straight out and admit that the title is a blatant pun, please forgive me!

Last Sunday I took a picture of a rather nice coat of arms on a lovely old Victorian bridge in Leeds. It was taken on a grey overcast morning, with little light or vibrancy about it. So when I got it to the computer, I had the urge to do some tweaking. First, here’s the original shot:

Original shot, straight out of camera

Original shot, straight out of camera

The colours were a little worn and faded. I wonder what would happen if I tried to beef them up a bit? So I used the original colour layer in my Photoshop document, duplicated it and changed the blending mode of the top layer to be 100% Soft Light instead of Normal. I often play about with duplicate layers and alternative blending modes as I find this can give some very pleasing results:

Soft Light Blending Mode

Soft Light Blending Mode

I liked this better, but still wasn’t happy. Then I had the idea of presenting the image with a more olde-worlde feel. I thought I could make it appear like an old sepia postcard which had a little bit of hand colouring applied. So I tried the Nik Silver Efex Pro “Antique Plate I” filter, which gave me the following base sepia layer:

Antique Plate sepia treatment

Antique Plate sepia treatment

This sepia layer sits between my original layer and the Soft Light version to give me the final result – which achieved exactly the effect I was aiming for:

Final Hand-Coloured effect

Final Hand-Coloured effect

This seemed to go rather well with the subject matter, and I’m pleased it worked out for Day #1161‘s image.