Moon shots in Intensify Pro and Pixelmator

Shooting for the moon

As I was coming back from my walk with the dog I noticed that the moon was looking quite large on the horizon. If you want to get a good picture of the moon with it as big as possible this is the best time to take your moon photo. So I ran inside the house and went to the upstairs terrace and shot some handheld photos of the moon. I didn’t have time to go and find the tripod, but what I did do was to steady the shots by holding the camera next to something solid. Also during the process there was a point where I could put the camera steady on the wall and that kept it good enough for a slightly longer shutter speed setting. I got a number of shots so that I could get the exposure correct for the moon and it could have been a good idea for me to shoot it as a HDR with the three exposures each of them 2 stops apart. What I did instead was to alter the exposure settings manually setting it at -3EV stops. This was the one that gave me the best image for the moon although the background was completely dark. As I was working with a camera RAW image I was able to pull back some detail from the shadow area.

Getting the moon photo to work

First of all I used the application Intensify Pro and although the application is helpful, it wasn’t so good for doing some masking on just the moon. Even though I set the edge of the brush for the masking as a hard edge it wasn’t working quite quite as I thought it should. So it was time for me to get into the bitmap editing application for the Mac called Pixelmator. This is a really good application which I should use more for all sorts of reasons. There are a huge number of tools for making adjustments to photos and plenty of tools which are good when you want to make some digital art. It doesn’t have some of the very specialised photo editing tools that you get in Intensify Pro, although it does offer more of a creative process for editing any sort of bitmap, digital art.

Aperture

Using Pixelmator for photo editing

What I needed to do was to isolate the moon so that I could get the exposure setting correct and to get the contrast as required. This is easily done in Pixelmator by using the magic wand type selector. All you have to do is to click and drag until you have all of the area you want selected. With a light object on a dark background this is very easy to do. Once I had the moon just the way that I wanted it, I was able to invert the selection and then to start work on the background with the controls for the levels. I was able to get this so that the outline of the trees showed up really well.

The next problem that I wanted to sort out was that the colour was not really as I wanted it to be. I needed to get more of a blue sort of background and within Pixelmator there is a tool which allows me to alter the colour as I see fit. You can easily put in the hue and then decide how dark or light you want the colour to be.

Copying and pasting

I think it is in a Star Wars movie where there is a planet that has two moons. I can’t remember what that planet is called, but it came to mind as I was editing this photo. I thought it would be interesting and a little bit of fun just to add an extra moon to my photo so that there were two. All I had to do was to use a copy of my selection of the moon and to paste back in on a new layer. Just so that it looked a little bit different I made it a bit smaller and added some colour to it. Just a bit of fun with Pixelmator and I ended up with a photo that was edging more towards digital art.

Poppies and Mechanicals

One photo on top of another.

It can be quite fun and handy to use one photo on top of another using layers in Pixelmator. You can take a photo that will give you a textural effect as I did in this photo. I wanted to make it so that I had a grungy sort of texture on top of a floral photo. There is nothing wrong with pictures of flowers, but sometimes I think that there are just too many of them and I would rather do something a little bit more interesting. The thing to do is to alter the opacity of the top layer and also to change the blend mode and with some experimentation you can come up with some interesting and exciting effects.

David Allen Wizardgold

Capturing the Kiss on the Beach

The Kiss

While I was taking my break at work yesterday I sat on a park bench near to the beach so that I could take pictures of people as they went past. I had my Sony NEX-6 camera with me and expecting to get better photographs than I had done with the Samsung Galaxy S3 camera phone on the day previous. I only had the kit lens with me on my Sony which goes from 18 mm to 50 mm and so I could have been sitting a little closer to my subject matter. Unfortunately, I was unable to move the park bench. Anyway I did have a little bit of zooming available with the lens and I had and I said it to the longer part of the zoom available. I still ended up with a lot of foreground in pictures as you will see I didn’t with a lot of foreground and the picture.

Going for the prime

If I hadn’t been having a good break from work or perhaps will be more inclined to get up onto my feet and to change the point of view and composition that way. Or maybe would have been better for me to be using the new adapter I have with the Canon mount super zoom lens that I bought last year. The new adapter that I have does give me control over the aperture which is good and it does also do the autofocus. The problem is that the autofocus is dreadfully slow and it is unusable for quick capture, people moving type of scenes.

I do have the 16mm prime lens which is very good for street photography and I like using. It wasn’t going to be suitable for the photography is going to be able to do on this day. As we all know it is the glass that is important with your photography equipment and so I will keep on the lookout for good quality lenses that I can add to my camera bag. I can see that I will be staying with Sony for some time so spending some money on lenses is not really a problem. The only thing is that if I move to a full frame camera like the Sony a 7, that uses different lenses although it is possible to use the SEL lenses on it.

Here is the image before I did anything with it.

Kissing One 00283

Here are a couple of versions of the image at I make some adjustments. I applied some filters using Intensify Pro and then I did some cropping in Aperture on my Mac. I had rather a lot of sand in the foreground which was uninteresting so that had to be cropped out and in the end it gave me a photo that was almost a panorama view of the scene.

Changing the emphasis and the story

In this version of the image I follow the suggestions of my wife to crop in much closer and we found that it gave us a different story. The couple are still kissing in front of the beach and a blue sky that the emphasis is more upon them than it is of the playground and the rest of the beach.

Learning More about processing photos

Learning more photo applications and doing more with photos

I bought the upgrade from SnapHeal to SnapHeal Pro today and mainly because it works as a plug in from Aperture. Aperture is where I do all my photography work so it is the best place to get access to the 3rd part apps – As a plugin. Same with the Photomatix Pro the HDR application and also Intensify Pro. I am not always going to put a photo through all of the plug ins available, but there could be times when I start work with three bracketed exposures in Photomatix Pro and then use SnapHeal to remove something from the image to finish off. I can do things like adding a vignette in Aperture, but I get better controls over the final look in Intensify Pro.

SnapHeal

When you get into using SnapHeal you will be amazed at how it does such a great job of removing things from an image. You really can take things out of a photo and not know that there was ever anything there. I showed what the app can do to my wife and her face lit up with incredulity. It is really easy to use, you just brush the area that you want to delete after changing the brush size to best suit the size of the object. There are a couple of settings that you can change, but basically all you need to do is to click on the button Erase and ‘poof’ it is gone. It really does seem like magic when you use this application.

Get in line

I have found that if I need to erase something that is a straight line, all I need to do is to click on a start point and then move to the end of the line, hold down the shift key and click again.

Not just for the erasing of objects in photos

Sometimes it is necessary to work on the image little bit more manually and you can do that within Snapheal Pro by using the clone tool. You can also use tools for brushing the mask on and brushing the mask off and you can even do selection of the shape with a sort of Lasso tool. You get the choice of going polygonal or freehand. Mostly Snapheal is famous for its ability to raise objections in a photograph but it also has retouching and adjustment tools. These can be applied to either the whole photograph or to the area that hasn’t been masked with the masking tools.

Saving and sharing

Before you decide that you have finished your work you may choose to have a look at your work as before and after any changes. If you hold down on the icon that looks like and eye in the toolbar you can toggle changes that you have made on and off. There is another icon which will allow you to see both of your before and after images side-by-side.

When I have completed all of the work on a photograph there are a number of things I can do with it. You can just click on save and it will go back into Aperture if you have launched into it as I plug-in. Or you can use one of the sharing options available if you have opened up the application as a stand-alone.

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