Yet Another Way to Improve a Sky


There are a many ways to darken a sky to make it more dramatic. That’s good, because they often show up in your photos as something less than hoped we for or remembered, being too bright and lacking color.

This technique is somewhat different and does require Photoshop. It is not possible to use it with Photoshop Elements. Fortunately, there are many other techniques that work well with Elements. Here are the steps.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Duplicate the background layer – always a good idea.
  3. Make a black and white adjustment layer.
  4. Adjust the color sliders as desired to darken the sky. Usually, the blue and the cyan sliders have the biggest effect.
  5. Change the Blending Mode of the B&W Adjustment Layer to Darken. You will probably see some color coming back in the non-blue areas.
  6. Reduce the layer’s Opacity to 40-50%. If you go too far, the sky quickly returns to its original brightness.
  7. At this point I may often add a Vibrance or Saturation Adjustment Layer to further enhance the sky. Also, in some photos, adjusting the other sliders in the Black and White Adjustment Layer will add additional impact to the photo.

Dark Blend mode Ex

As you can see from the comparison here, the change is subtle, but effective. In this photo the water was also affected.

I learned about this technique from www.postprocessingmastery.com. It is worth checking out this site to learn more about this techniques as well as others.

Try it out on some of your photos and share them in the comments below.

Photoshop CC Dehaze Filter at Work


The before and after image below was taken from my Phantom 2 Vision+ UAV above Valle Verde Park in Escondido, CA. The RAW image was corrected using the new Photoshop CC (2015) Dehaze filter along with a tweaking of the color balance etc. The DJI lens correction preset was also used. I really like the simplicity and ease of using this new Dehaze filter. It also works well with images that do not contain a lot of haze.

Before after dehaze P2 Image

Summer Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC Classes


LR CC Mixed Logo

Photoshop CC logoA couple of weeks ago I posted that I would be teaching Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC classes for PVNET this summer. The details have been worked out now.

There will be three classes all during July. Each class will meet for one week on Monday through Thursday evening from 6:30-8:30 pm for a total of 8 hours.  The classes will be taught at PVNET’s summer home in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Center Promenade. It is on the second level right beneath the Regal Theater.

We will be using the latest software, but if you have recent versions of either program, that will be fine.  The number of PCs are limited, so sign up early! To the best of my knowledge this is the only adult school or similar educational facility that has Creative Cloud (CC) versions of these programs.

To find out more about each class and to register, click on the class link below.

Lightroom CC – Level 1 Beginning July 6th

Photoshop CC – Level 1 Beginning July 13th

Photoshop CC – Level 2  Beginning July 20th

I hope to see you in one of the classes.

Using the Targeted Adjustment Tool in Photoshop


Recent versions of Photoshop have a Targeted Adjustment Tool accessible from the Properties panel of the Curves and Hue/Saturation commands.

In the Adjustment Layer Curves command panel, it is the hand in the top left of the panel that contains a two-sided arrow. Selecting the tool and then dragging it up over a portion of the image, lightens all of those pixels that have the same tonal value anywhere in the image. Dragging it down darkens pixels of similar tone values. The short video below demonstrates this tool. Watch how the shape of the curve changes.

Curves Target Adj

The Hue/Saturation command also has a Targeted Adjustment Tool. Dragging it over to the right over a portion of the image will increase the saturation of similar color pixels and dragging it to the left decreases the saturation.  Control-dragging the tool changes the hue of the pixels.

In a Black and White Adjustment Layer, dragging left will darken the pixels of similar colors and dragging to the right will darken them.

If you want to be more selective with your changes, you can make a rough selection containing the area in the image you want to adjust.

Adobe Releases Photoshop CC 2015


 

Along with the major updates to Lightroom CC/6, Adobe also released updates to Photoshop CC 2015. At the link below, Colin Smith at PhotoshopCAFE provides an excellent description and demo for these latest additions.

Having Photoshop CC automatically added to your installation of the program as soon as they are released is a huge benefit of subscribing to Photoshop CC.

Photoshop CC 2015 PhotoshopCAFE

http://photoshopcafe.com/photoshopCC-2015

Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 first look, review and tutorials – PhotoshopCAFE


LR 6 Logo

Three of the new features that debuted in Lightroom 6/CC were producing HDR images right in LR without needing to go to HDR Pro in Photoshop, generating panoramas in LR, and also the new Facial Recognition capability.

Exploring these new features and many others will be included in the Lightroom class I will be teaching this summer for PVNet at their Promenade location in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Center. Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, check out this great article by Colin Smith that describes these new features.

Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 first look, review and tutorials – PhotoshopCAFE

A Scary Flight With My DJI Phantom


A few days ago, I took my DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ out for what I thought would be a routine flight. I went to one of my regular flight sites, the Field of Dreams in San Pedro, CA.

Other than just to fly, my main goal was to use the FPV Booster app with my iPhone 6. I normally fly with the DJI Vision app, but FPV Booster has several features that are attractive to me. One is its Flight Tracker, and another is the ability to capture the screen with a finger swipe.

I started out with the battery registering about a 94% charge level. With that level, I expected 15+ minutes of flight time. I had plenty of satellites and began my flight.

I call myself a park flyer in that I generally stay within the confines of the area where I am flying. Fortunately that was the case this time as well.

Everything went well for the first 7 minutes of the flight or so. Because I am still learning about FPV Booster, I did not go very high – actually I seldom go above 150 feet. That is sufficient to capture the videos and still images I take with my Phantom. Below is a screen capture I took of my iPhone during this flight. By the way, that is the Target store on Gaffey.

High point 5-29-15

A little over 7 min into the flight, my battery level was a little above 50%, which was on-track for a fifteen minute flight. I monitor the percentage closely. My Phantom is set to return to its takeoff point or do what’s called an RTH maneuver at 30%, and I want to land before that occurs.

All of a sudden, my battery’s charge began to fall rapidly. I did not notice this immediately. The level sunk to below 30% in a matter of a few seconds, and the Phantom initiated the RTH maneuver. What it was trying to do is to return to the place where it had taken off.

But, the battery charge was falling so rapidly, the Phantom landed automatically by itself. It was smart enough to know that it would not make it home. This is another great feature of the Phantom.  The problem was that the it landed about 150 feet from the takeoff point. No problem. But what if I had been flying off the rocks at PV or over some other area that was not a great landing site or accessible by me to retrieve it?

The video below shows the ground track and telemetry data for the last minute or so of the flight from the FPV Booster’s Flight Tracker module.

FPV_Tracker_5-29-15_First_Frame

Checking with the online community of quadcopter flyers, I found there were some earlier signs that I had missed that pointed to why the battery lost its charge so rapidly. There are also steps you can take to ensure you get maximum battery life. As I learn more and more about this hobby, I find that there is still so much I don’t know.

Let me know in the comments below if you have had similar experiences and what you learned from them.

Demonstrating Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC Tomorrow


As part of the PVNET open house tomorrow, I will be demonstrating Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC.  This is part of an huge event being presented by PVNET at the Peninsula Center immediately below the  Regal Theaters.

THE SPECTACULAR TECH ARCADE
OPEN HOUSE – Free Family Activities

– PVNet at the Promenade on the Peninsula
Saturday May 30th 12:00pm-9:00pm

Come to the Open House and try your hand at flying a quadcopter or racing a slot car!

Click on the figure below to find out more.

5-30-15 Promenade

I will be teaching both Photoshop and Lightroom classes at PVNET’s Peninsula Center location this summer.

Stay tuned for more details.

PVNET Open House at the PV Peninsula Center


 

PVNET has secured a huge space (about 15,000 square feet) on the Promenade in the Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula Center for the summer. It is located immediately below the Regal Theaters, where a book store was a few years ago.  Included in their facility will be a netted area to fly quadcopters and race RC cars. There are multiple class rooms being set up which will include 24 computers.

They have big plans for all kinds of technology activities and training this summer for all ages as illustrated in the poster below. There will  an Open House on May 23rd and May 30th.

I will be giving a free workshop on using Photoshop CC and/or Lightroom 5 on May 30th.  When more details become available, I will post them here and on my Facebook page.

Stay tuned!

PVNET Open House resampled