Determination

Determination

Determination – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/100th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Smoke

Photographing the “black powder” shooters in action is a treat. These replicas of 1873 Winchester rifles shoot black powder cartridges reminiscent of the days before “smokeless” (modern) gun powder was invented.

Smoke

Smoke – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 70mm, f/7.1 for 1/320th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Using Alien Skin Bokeh with Your Canon G10/G11/G12

You never know when a great photographic opportunity will present itself but sometimes lugging around a DSLR and lens is just not possible. That’s why most of us carry a point & shoot camera like the Canon Powershot G10/G11/G12 wherever we go.  Like many photographers, I really love the resolution and detail my Canon 5D Mark II is capable of producing and for most of my professional and personal shooting it’s my camera of choice. However, like all other DSLRs the 5D2 can be quite a load to lug around when you’re already carrying too much other stuff.

This past Sunday I participated in my first Cowboy Action Shooting (SASS) match with the Thunder River Renegades in Magnolia, Texas. I’d thought to bring along my complete camera bag but after loading my rifle, shotgun, pistols, ammunition, costume and gun cart, I thought better of it and grabbed my trusty G10 instead.

Sometimes all you really need is the convenience of a point & shoot combined with the control of a DSLR (without the weight of course). This is the niche that Canon’s Powershot “G” series were made for. And with the addition of a few inexpensive accessories as shown above, the G10/G11/G12 can perform perfectly on those occasions when less is more. In fact, I find myself taking my G10 with me everywhere I go these days, just in case I stumble upon a scene like this!

Rifle Shooting (Before)

Original Image Before Post-Capture Processing

Depth of Field and Image Clutter
One of the drawbacks to using a point & shoot style camera like the G10 for this type of action shot is the very wide depth of field. Yes, the same feature that makes a point & shoot cameras so great for landscape works makes them fairly poor for portrait work. The problem is image clutter. When almost everything in the frame is in perfect focus your main subject tends to become lost in the clutter. That’s why most portrait photographers shoot with very large apertures to attain that perfect blurred background or bokeh.

Luckily, there is a great little Photoshop plug-in from Alien Skin called “Bokeh 2” that helps eliminate this background “clutter” during post-capture processing. It works nearly as well on images from my G10 as it does on those from my 5D2.

My first step in creating this image was to process it as I would normally do in Lightroom. I generally work on the Basic settings like ExposureRecovery (very important), Blacks (also very important), Brightness and overall Contrast. I almost always crank up the Clarity (adding mid-tone contrast) and Vibrance (adding mid-tone saturation) and may play with these two settings for 20 or 30 minutes until I find a combination I like.

At this point, my work in Lightroom 3 is complete and my next step is to export the image into Photoshop CS5 and use the Quick Selection tool to select the shooter and timer as shown here. Although the selection doesn’t have to be pixel perfect, it always pays in realism to spend a little extra time making a thorough selection of all parts of the subject.

Quick Selections in CS5

Quick Selections in for Photoshop CS5

Once you’ve got a basic selection done it’s time to use the Refine Edge tool to Smooth, Feather and Expand the selection you’ve just made. For the most realistic look I want to make sure all the subjects that should be in perfect focus are included in the selection and that the selection “feathers” into the background naturally. Once that’s done your new selection should look something like this.

Refine Selections in CS5

Refine Selections in for Photoshop CS5

You’ll understand why this step is vital when you begin to play around with the settings in the Alien Skin Bokeh plug-in filter. Bokeh provides creative controls to enhance images by focusing the viewer’s attention anywhere you want. In the image above, the Bokeh plug-in was used to enhance the background blur. Blurring the background in an image like this one makes the subject “pop” and seem that much sharper.

Use Bokeh Plug-In

Alien Skin Bokeh 2 Plug-in for Photoshop CS5

The final step in Photoshop CS5 is to blend the two layers you’ve just created using Lightroom (background layer) and Alien Skin Bokeh (bokeh layer). Now you could do this simply by flattening the layers but I suggest you take a little time and experiment with the Opacity of each layer until you achieve the desired results. I tend to blend the Bokeh layer at 65% – 75% to achieve the most realistic look to my image. Once you’ve completed this process, you just save the image in Photoshop and it should automatically show up in Lightroom, ready to be exported or printed, just like these three images below.

Rifle Shooting (After)

That’s Some Rifle Ma’am – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) using a circular polarizer. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/4.5 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 80. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Alien Skin’s Bokeh plug-in.

Old Time Shooting

Old Time Shooting – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) using a circular polarizer. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/4.5 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 80. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Alien Skin’s Bokeh plug-in.

Girls & Guns

Girls & Guns – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) using a circular polarizer. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/4.5 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 80. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Checkout my new Cowboy Action Shooting blog for more images just like these!

Sitting Pretty

Here’s another shot taken in 2008 at the Wings Over Houston air show, processed as a three-shot HDR merge using Photomatix Pro. I took all three shots hand-held using a High Speed HDR technique I learned a few years back.

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty – Houston, Texas
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens hand-held. The three exposures used for this HDR image were taken at 17mm and f11 at ISO 200 using a B&W circular polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta & Photomatix Pro. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Precision Flying

Here’s another shot taken in 2008 at the Wings Over Houston air show, processed much the same as explained in my previous post. Takes some kind of skill to fly this close and inverted. A real treat to watch and photograph.

Hint: I used Alien Skin’s Bokeh plug-in for Photoshop to smooth the desaturated blue background. This incredible little plug-in is a great way to reduce color noise in your images, especially in the blue sky. This technique makes your subject “pop” and look really sharp when compared to the smooth, even tones in the background.

Precision

Precision – Houston, Texas
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens hand-held. The exposure was taken at 300mm, f8 for 1/750th of a second at ISO 100 using a B&W circular polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta & Adobe Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Variety is the Spice of Life

I’ve recently been reminded that “Variety is the Spice of Life” and my normal landscape postings may be getting a little mundane so I’ve decided to dig up some different shots from the past few years just to prove that I’m not always such a “stick in the mud”.

I don’t do much sports or action photography these days with the exception of the annual air show here in southeast Texas; Wings Over Houston. If you live in this part of Texas I encourage you to buy a ticket this October and join us for a day of incredible photographic opportunities. You won’t be sorry.

BTW – I used Jeff Revell’s “Grunge Workflow” to enhance this shot. It’s a simple three layer process in PS that takes only minutes to complete.

Determination

Determination – Houston, Texas
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens hand-held. The exposure was taken at 300mm, f6.7 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 using a B&W circular polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta & Adobe Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

It’s Air Show Time Again!

It’s that time of year again and we’re praying for the rain to stop before sunrise on Saturday. This year is a special treat for local photographers at the Wings Over Houston air show since they’ve finally set aside space for shooters and arranged for some flight line passes to be available. I guess my bitching griping must have worked!

Mustang - Wings Over Houston 2008

Mustang – Wings Over Houston 2008
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on shutter priority (Tv) using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens hand-held. The exposure was taken at 300m, f/6.7 for 1/500th of a second using a B&W circular polarizer at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.