No Harm In Perfecting Your Craft

Practice makes perfect they say, so every down time that I have is a chance to practice photoshop. I still have a long way to go, but this business of getting better at skin retouching is something that I want drilled in my subconscious. Portraiture is the genre that I plan on focusing on and I realize that not only do I need to be great behind the lens, but I also need to be much better behind the computer.

BettyI have been working hard on mastering the frequency separation technique to retouch skin blemishes. I want this to become second nature that I can do it with my eyes closed (ok, not really, but you get the point ;P)

For those of you who are curious, the image below is what I started with. It was a little bit underexposed so that was fixed using curves in photoshop as well.

original

 

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The Day I Saw The Sky on Fire

Looks like mother nature is giving us a little bit of a break from the torture of good ol’ winter. Temperatures have been hovering between minus 3 to plus 5 (Celsius) these past couple of days. After being in a deep freeze for almost a week straight, this kind of break is definitely welcomed by everyone.

Lachine sunsetI have almost forgotten about this little jewel of a place. I was coming back from my shoot one Saturday and decided to take the long way instead of the usual highway 15. I got to the spot just in time for the most amazing sunset I’ve seen all winter. The sky was brightly lit with red and orange hues that it almost looks like somebody set it on fire. It was cold, and I wasn’t dressed properly for the occasion so I only managed to grab a couple of shots. It was a perfect ending to one perfect day.

Lachine sunset

Black and White Friday: Verticals

Under the pier

Building from the previous black and white collection, here’s another one that was shot in SoCal. It seems that I cannot get enough of black and whites these days so I have been processing photos this way. I hope you don’t mind. This image was taken at the Manhattan beach pier, a photo which I have imagined for so long, one that I knew I needed to create when I visited the place. I was going to leave the color on this photograph, but it was distracting, and taking away from the main focus of the image: the texture and the lines.

I am starting something new this year. 2014 will be different. When I started with photography, I dove in head first, learning as much as I can as I go along. It wasn’t such a bad thing, I learned a lot. But I have so much more to learn. So, this year, I will be focusing more on learning, and honing whatever skill I have picked up all those years. I will become a student again :), if all goes well, I should be starting school in two weeks. I am taking a two-year, intensive Commercial Photography program at Dawson College. I suspect that my blog will also go through some changes. I will be using my blog to document my progress, and hopefully use it to share whatever I learn in school. At least that is the plan. I am hoping that you’ll stick around as I go through this exciting journey.

Fuji X20 Meets Manhattan Beach

Possibly the best part of my trip to the West Coast last month was the chance to be at the beach without worrying that I might give myself a frost bite while I walk barefoot along the shore. It was nice to just be able to sink my toes in the sand, something I definitely won’t dare to do here at this time of year.

Manhattan Beach | California

I haven’t had a chance to do any shooting since I came back, and since I am sorta missing the lovely weather of SoCal, I thought I’d show you a beach photo which I took with my Fujifilm X20. For those of you who own any of the Fujifilm X series, you probably already know how awesome these cameras are. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to love mine when I first got it but the image quality that this little thing produces blew me away.

The above photo was shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 5. The out of camera image was already brilliant, so I really barely did anything in post. The colors were rich and not overly saturated, so I didn’t touch those. The contrast was bumped up a tiny bit, but that’s about it. I originally intended to trim the bottom of the image to achieve the rule of thirds, but in the end decided against it. The reflection of the blue sky on the receding tide was beautiful and I thought it would be a shame not to show it.

Of Sunsets and Silhouettes

The two weeks of travelling is finally over. I’m back home today. I managed to come back with a few shots, unfortunately, I only managed to grab a few while I was out and about.

Manhattan Beach Shot with Fujifilm X20 | f 5.6 @ 1/10 sec | ISO - 100 | Minimal PP in Lightroom 4

The image above is my favorite one of the bunch. It was taken after sunset, as a friend and I were leaving Manhattan Beach. We were walking up the hill, back to the car. I turned around to find the most beautiful after-sunset scene I’ve seen so far. The brilliant colors on the horizon provided such a wonderful background for the silhouette of the palm trees that were lining the board walk. I stopped in the middle of the busy street to take the shot. I did manage to infuriate a few drivers, and my friend thinks I was crazy, but I did get the shot, and at that time, it was all that mattered…

 

Fuji X20 | Test Shots

My trip to LA two weeks ago wasn’t as productive, photographically speaking, as I would have hoped for. The training that I attended was very taxing that at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was soak in a warm bath, bury myself under the covers and head off to la-la land. Plus I didn’t bring my camera with me on that trip. My DSLR is just too bulky and it would require me to either lug it with me to the office, or leave it in the hotel, something I wasn’t comfortable with.  I knew I wanted a more portable and travel-friendly gear, so I started looking into the Fujifilm X series. Last Saturday, I finally pulled the plug and picked up the X20.

Check out the test shots below. All images below were straight of the camera, no post processing, except cropping and resizing.

Fuji-toy cam

Fujifilm X20 | Advance feature: Toy Camera

Ignore the date stamped on these images, somehow I forgot to set the date correctly. I’ve since fixed that ;)

Fujifilm X20 | Advance feature: Toy Camera

Fujifilm X20 | Advance feature: Toy Camera

Fujifilm X20 | Film Simulation Monochrome

Fujifilm X20 | Film Simulation Monochrome

A nifty little camera, capable of producing amazing results. I’ve only used it a couple times since I bought it, but I think I am in love…can’t wait to carry it with me on my upcoming trip.