Day 30 Assignment – Eliminate Digital Noise

For this assignment I selected the three photos of a martial arts demonstration by the Darwin Chung Wah Society I used for Day 22 Assignment – Capture the Decisive Moment. Jim remarked that they were a little noisy due to the wide aperture and high ISO necessary for the high shutter speed needed to stop the action.
I used the Noise Reduction slider in Lightroom and tweaked the results a bit to try to maintain as much detail as possible. The second photo of each pair is the noise-reduced version.

Day 29 – Work in Black and White

My assignment on removing colour cast didn’t get much of a reaction, so I’m just going to go ahead and post the next one.

I’m hoping the lack of activity indicates that everyone is busy getting on with life as much as possible under the circumstances and keeping well. Having this course to concentrate on has definitely helped keep me sane despite the restrictions. I am grateful for it.

For this assignment we were to select our favourite photo from this course and convert it to black and white. I chose two, Elizabeth River Bridge and Finn Road, both of which I used in the leading lines assignment.

When I Googled Nik Silver Efex Pro it said Google had made it available free of charge for a couple of years but they don’t anymore so I wasn’t able to use it. I experimented with Photoshop Express and Lightroom. I found the tools in Lightroom easier to use.

Below are the edited originals of each followed by the Photoshop and Lightroom versions.

Elizabeth River Bridge f5.6 1/1251s ISO 100 4.10 mm

Finn Road f5.6 1/1061s IO 80 21.66 mm

Day 28 Assignment — Remove Colour Cast

For this assignment we were to check our landmark photos from Days 21 and 22 for colour casts and remove them using the tools in Lightroom or ACR.
As I have been unable to complete those assignments due to Covid 19 restrictions, I practised on some recent photos taken at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve near Darwin.
I experimented with Auto and eye-dropper tools in Lightroom with some interesting results. Overall, Auto on its own was too extreme and needed tweaking and the eye-dropper results depended on the neutral area selected.
Here I am showing the original, one of my attempts and the end result for four photos.

Billabong 1

Billabong 2

Two Jabiru, one Egret

Single Jabiru

Day 27 Assignment – Enhance your Colour

For this assignment we were to enhance the colour of the sunset photo we took for our assignment on Day 3.

This photo was so dark that increasing the vibrance did little to improve it:

So, I made adjustments in Lightroom to contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks, then increased the vibrance:

I took it into Photoshop and cropped it to get rid of the footpath, then used the spot heal and clone stamp tools to remove the signpost.

Day 26 Assignment – Fix Dynamic Range 2

Jim Hamel commented that he wasn’t sure that my clinging tree example had anything to do with dynamic range but that it did improve the photo, so I submitted another and asked if it was a better example.

Original 1/1000 f7.1 ISO200

Day 26 Assignment – Fix Dynamic Range

I call this the Clinging Tree because it has been clinging to the edge of the cliff by its roots for years and has even survived cyclones. This photo was taken with the sun setting to the left.

I watched Jim’s entire video but only used Lightroom to restore this photo. I made adjustments to the highlights, shadows, blacks and exposure and reduced the luminance of light blue, dark blue and yellow, while slightly increasing the orange.

1/80 f/8 ISO 3200 54mm

Day 25 Assignment – Add Contrast

For this assignment we were to add texture and punch to one of our pictures by adding contrast.

I wasn’t happy with my first attempt where I started in Photoshop then made adjustments in Lightroom, so I started again from scratch using Lightroom first then only used Photoshop to clean up the jetty and remove the lamp posts.

Nightcliff Jetty – Original 1/1000 f3.5 ISO 80 24mm

First attempt – lamp posts left in

I didn’t like the white patch in the sky when I removed the lamp posts, but I didn’t like the result when I tried to fix it either so I started again:

End results with and without lamp posts.

Day 24 Assignment – Use the Power of Local Adjustment

For this assignment we were to make changes to discrete portions of a photo using tools in Lightroom and Photoshop.

I spent a lot of time trying to change the colour of the sky but was unhappy with the results and ended up cropping out most of the sky and using the clone stamp tool to extend the tree line instead.
I removed a lamp post, a few magpie geese in the background and leaf litter in the grass and on the dirt using the healing brush. I played around with the contrast, saturation, highlights sharpness and whites and lightened the horse’s tail to match the mane and make it look cleaner.
My undo/redo functions got a good workout with this. Whenever I looked at the finished product I found something else I wanted to change!

This is the original f3.5 1/2000 410 mm ISO 1600

Befor crop

End result

Re-posting after Jim suggested applying a light vignette instead of cropping.

Re-posting with vignette feathered out so it’s barely noticeable.

Day 15 Assignment – A Walk in the Park

For this assignment  we were to go to a local park and

  • identify subjects to photograph – Ask ‘What is this a picture of?’
  • decide on the context it goes in by asking ‘Does this support the subject?’.  If it does it’s in; if it doesn’t it’s out.

  • I found this assignment anything but a ‘walk in the park’. For a start it was difficult to decide on a subject. The choices were: children’s play equipment; a lot of greenery; and water features.
    Then, although I had spent most of the day revising what we had covered until now, I froze and felt almost as hopeless as I was on the first night shooting the sunset.
    I stuck at it however, and came up with these offerings.

    1/50 f4.5 ISO 80 Lens 80 mm

    Identify the Subject – I had noticed the fountain in the distance as we entered the park and climbed to the top of a hill to get an overall view.

    Decide on the context it goes in – I asked whether the surrounding park supported the fountain.

    I zoomed in to reduce the amount of park around the subject.

    1/20 f4.5 ISO 80 Lens 80 mm

    I narrowed it further by shooting a portrait view.

    1/20 f8.0 ISO 80 Lens 85 mm

    I also tried shooting the fountain off centre.

    1/20 f6.3 ISO 80 Lens 85 mm

    In the end I choose the third photo as it highlights the fountain and has the least amount of distraction.

    Other subjects included a bird on a nest metal art installation:

    Both 1/6 f8 ISO 80 Lens 100 mm and 143 mm

    I prefer the second shot as I think the pond detracts from the picture.

    Corkscrew Palms

    Both 1/6 f5.6 ISO 200 Lens 31 mm

    It was the pattern of the trunks that attracted my attention, therefore I prefer the idea of the second photo, though because it’s a bit blurry, I would have to return and step back a little to re-take the shot.

    I also took the opportunity to practise photographing flowing water while I was there. Again, the images appear darker here than on my camera’s display but I hope to be able to lighten them in post processing.

    1/30 f8.0 ISO 100 Lens 85 mm

    1/30 f8.0 ISO 100 Lens 24 mm

    1/30 f8.0 ISO 100 Lens 112 mm

    1/40 f8.0 ISO 200 Lens 80 mm

    1/40 f8.0 ISO 200 Lens 64 mm

    Mary River Weekend

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    Just had a three-night stay at Mary River Wilderness Retreat courtesy of daughter’s Christmas present. She and grandson joined us for the Friday and Saturday nights but then had to return home for work and school, leaving us to our own devices for the Sunday night.

    The Retreat is about 120 km from our house in Darwin. It took us an hour and thirty-five minutes to get there, a bit longer than normal due to a huge thunderstorm that reduced visibility and speed to a minimum.

    Activities were severely curtailed because of the weather and the presence of crocs. It’s the Wet Season, so all of the walks and points of interest were inaccessible because: they were under water; the resident saltwater crocodile was on the move; and, a decent-sized freshwater croc had been spotted close by. We still managed to enjoy ourselves though.

    At night we played board games and watched movies on a DVD player hooked up to a TV screen we brought with us – there was no TV in the room – and on the last night the clouds cleared for long enough to allow us to sit on the verandah under the stars and even make a wish on a shooting one.

    In the daytime we went for a 100 km-plus drive around nearby locations, all of which were inaccessible due to flooding. The pool was a welcome relief from the heat when there was a break in the storms and no lightening. Otherwise we just walked around the grounds and enjoyed the wildlife.

    While we self-catered on Friday, we dined at the Gecko Restaurant on the other two nights. The food was delicious, reasonably priced and beautifully presented, the service was excellent, the staff  friendly and informative and we appreciated the complimentary glass of wine with each main meal. The menu included vegetarian options and the children’s menu included dessert.

    Alternatively, there was a camp kitchen equipped with microwave, toaster, jug, cooking rings, bbq, washing-up gear including a sink with a plug, but no utensils, crockery, cutlery or pans.
    We enjoyed seeing the wallabies, kangaroos and kingfishers. The massive thunderstorm we drove through on the way down was an experience! We loved the variety of birds we saw at Fogg Dam on the way home. All in all it was a great weekend!