Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Photo Editing Trick: Fixing Blown Out Windows

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Last week a crew from BH&G came to photograph both my kids’ rooms for an online story and I had the chance to work again with a stylist and professional photographer for a day and watch them create their magic in front of and behind the lens. Several shots included windows and I watched as the photographer took two different exposures of the window view in both dark and light settings.

For any one of you who photograph interiors with window scenes, you know that when you’ve got your camera set with a wide aperture and/or slow shutter speed to pull more light into the lens and brighten the room, often you end up with a window that is all white, or “blown out”, meaning the interior looks great but you cannot see the garden or scenery beyond, or any of the architecture of the window.

You can minimize this by waiting until the absolute perfect time of day when there is no direct sunlight coming through the window but that requires excellent timing, and there is an alternative. The photographer showed me this simple way he eliminates the problem by taking two different exposures and combining them with a Layer Mask.

Here’s an example of how it works using Pixlr – that free online photo editing software I’ve mentioned before with same tools as Photoshop. (If you have Photoshop or PE, the technique uses the same tools and similar steps.)  Here is the picture of our dining room table with plenty of light coming into the lens to show the details of the table and chair.

dining room bright

 

The problem?  You can barely see the detail of the doors or that there is a garden beyond because the French doors are blown out from the light entering through them. Quicken the shutter speed and the interior falls flat and the room gets dark but you can see the divided light panels of the door and the garden beyond.

dark dining room

 

In the real world, you can see both the room in bright natural light and the outside view, but the camera has limitations in these light conditions and can have difficulty capturing both, which is where clever photo editing comes in.

layer mask combined exposures

You can combine the two and reveal the outside view while maintaining the brightness of the interior (seen above). Here’s how with a handy photo editing trick to combines the two exposures in a few simple steps.

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Yosemite in Winter

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Matt bought me a 35mm f/2 Nikkor lens for Christmas – I’ve wanted this lens for a long time so he was kind enough to get it for me.   We spent a few days in the Yosemite National Park area over the Christmas break, so I couldn’t wait to try it out. 

We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge at the southern entrance which was all decked out for the holidays, and one day that was filled with blue skies we drove into the National Park where we walked all around in our snow boots through the woods. 

winter branches in yosemite park

 

The 35mm Nikkor f/2 lens is another fixed focal length lens like the 50mm I’ve mentioned and it has a low aperture setting for shallow depth of field for getting that cool “bokeh” or blurry effect in the background or foreground.  The aperture on this lens dials all the way up to f/22 for getting some really deep focus too! 

I took this lens with me for the day to see what it could do – here are a few images that I shot on that beautiful winter day.  Anyone who’s ever visited Yosemite Valley knows of the famous Ahwahnee Hotel at the base of a granite cliff – visually stunning anytime of year, but breathtaking in winter.  I love this image, I feel like I could crawl right into it just like you can in their giant walk-in fireplace inside the hotel.   

ahwahnee hotel yosemite winter

 

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