A Few Pics from Panama Canal Cruise

Brian G

Mu-43 Veteran
Thought I'd share some shots from some recent travel. The cruise simply presented the opportunity, and some of that is inevitably sunrises & sunsets.

Brian

Port of Los Angeles (Sunrise)
14092603559_be2784706e_b.jpgPort of LA Bridge at Sunrise 2 by Blueshound250, on Flickr

Same thing, different perspective
14250743324_4937418f77_b.jpgPort of LA at Sunrise by Blueshound250, on Flickr

Storms at Sunrise
14214292176_4832d4385a_b.jpgStorms at Sea by Blueshound250, on Flickr

Sunrise through Deck Glass Panels
14234039451_e83b3de9ee_b.jpgGlass Panels at Sunrise by Blueshound250, on Flickr

Chess, Anyone?
14236392516_b4151181ab_b.jpgChess Onboard by Blueshound250, on Flickr

Entrance to Bar
14092564259_2d77d54cc8_b.jpgEntrance to Wheelhouse Bar by Blueshound250, on Flickr

"And A Star To Guide Me"
14050807890_8757b60aef_b.jpg"And a Star To Guide Me" by Blueshound250, on Flickr
 

Brian G

Mu-43 Veteran
Thanks! I was really pleased with how that one came out in editing.

If anyone cares, all shots were with a GH3, mix of Panasonic 7-14, 12-35 & 14-140 mm lenses. I'd gotten the new version 14-140 lens for my wife, and found it very useful for the sunrises in particular.

Brian
 

Lodos

Mu-43 Regular
Thanks! I was really pleased with how that one came out in editing.

If anyone cares, all shots were with a GH3, mix of Panasonic 7-14, 12-35 & 14-140 mm lenses. I'd gotten the new version 14-140 lens for my wife, and found it very useful for the sunrises in particular.

Brian
Brian,
wonderful shots,

Would you mind sharing the steps how you processed the "Storms at Sunrise"?
those clouds are stunning..

thanks
 

Brian G

Mu-43 Veteran
Brian,
wonderful shots,

Would you mind sharing the steps how you processed the "Storms at Sunrise"?
those clouds are stunning..

thanks
I appreciate the comment, and I don't mind sharing. I can't say how useful it will be, as these days my workflow makes quite a bit of use of Topaz plugins, and I wouldn't recall the settings within those. But in general terms:

1. Develop RAW in Lightroom, NR turned off, no sharpening; curves set to linear (I don't want to increase contrast at this stage, as it will be creatively enhanced later).
2. Bring into Photoshop.
3. New layer and Topaz Denoise (Denoise allows a lot of control over degree of NR, what areas are affected, detail & sharpness retention).
4. New layer and Topaz Clarity - Clarity allows fairly fine-tuned control over contrast enhancements, including what some people call "structure". With skies & clouds, particularly dark clouds, you have to be careful not to emhasize contrast enhancements to smaller detail, which makes clouds look overly grungy, unless of course,that's a look you're going for.
5. New layer and Topaz Adjust (used subtly, can't recall details though).
6. New Adjustment Layer (Levels) to increase black levels (darken a bit) to get more the look that I wanted, but which at the same time made the underside of the clouds too black, see next step.
7. Masking layer to hide the underside of the clouds, so those areas weren't affected by the levels layer above.
8. New layer and Topaz Detail 3 - Detail is a contrast-based sharpener that allows fine-tuned control over sharpening by areas of large, medium and small sized details, allowing detail enhancement without bringing out grunge or hashiness, if that's what you need, (It can also emphasize fine detail without changes to larger details.)
9. Add signature watermark.
10. Add black border, convert to sRGB, downsize & save as jpeg.

A few of the above steps involve various types of contrast enhancement, but I'm almost never trying to "get there" in one step, rather I'm layering changes in a small number of steps, knowing that my next step is also going to affect contrast. That's one reason why I almost never add contrast in LR; Panasonic RAW files are fairly flat in terms of contrast, which is perfect for detailed editing, and doesn't accentuate potential for noise out of the gate.

Before adding the watermark, my .PSD working file with layers intact is just under 558mb, fyi.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I see you're from the SF area. We stopped in San Francisco, so we went to Chinatown and found some good dim sum. That was a welcome change after many days of ships' cooking.

Brian
 

Lodos

Mu-43 Regular
I appreciate the comment, and I don't mind sharing. I can't say how useful it will be, as these days my workflow makes quite a bit of use of Topaz plugins, and I wouldn't recall the settings within those. But in general terms:

1. Develop RAW in Lightroom, NR turned off, no sharpening; curves set to linear (I don't want to increase contrast at this stage, as it will be creatively enhanced later).
2. Bring into Photoshop.
3. New layer and Topaz Denoise (Denoise allows a lot of control over degree of NR, what areas are affected, detail & sharpness retention).
4. New layer and Topaz Clarity - Clarity allows fairly fine-tuned control over contrast enhancements, including what some people call "structure". With skies & clouds, particularly dark clouds, you have to be careful not to emhasize contrast enhancements to smaller detail, which makes clouds look overly grungy, unless of course,that's a look you're going for.
5. New layer and Topaz Adjust (used subtly, can't recall details though).
6. New Adjustment Layer (Levels) to increase black levels (darken a bit) to get more the look that I wanted, but which at the same time made the underside of the clouds too black, see next step.
7. Masking layer to hide the underside of the clouds, so those areas weren't affected by the levels layer above.
8. New layer and Topaz Detail 3 - Detail is a contrast-based sharpener that allows fine-tuned control over sharpening by areas of large, medium and small sized details, allowing detail enhancement without bringing out grunge or hashiness, if that's what you need, (It can also emphasize fine detail without changes to larger details.)
9. Add signature watermark.
10. Add black border, convert to sRGB, downsize & save as jpeg.

A few of the above steps involve various types of contrast enhancement, but I'm almost never trying to "get there" in one step, rather I'm layering changes in a small number of steps, knowing that my next step is also going to affect contrast. That's one reason why I almost never add contrast in LR; Panasonic RAW files are fairly flat in terms of contrast, which is perfect for detailed editing, and doesn't accentuate potential for noise out of the gate.

Before adding the watermark, my .PSD working file with layers intact is just under 558mb, fyi.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I see you're from the SF area. We stopped in San Francisco, so we went to Chinatown and found some good dim sum. That was a welcome change after many days of ships' cooking.

Brian


Brian,
thanks for the details,
no wonder good results come with hard work, use of right tools and experience.. no exception here..

I have no familiarity with topaz plugins, but will keep an eye on them while working on my post processing skills. In the past have you tried reaching similar processing results (depth and contrast with the clouds) with more regular/manual editing?

I hope you had a nice time in your brief SF visit. Here is a nice inclusive environment that you may find a good sample of almost anything you may look for.. Quite a diverse city with a relatively big and interesting China town..
 

Brian G

Mu-43 Veteran
Brian,
thanks for the details,
no wonder good results come with hard work, use of right tools and experience.. no exception here..

I have no familiarity with topaz plugins, but will keep an eye on them while working on my post processing skills. In the past have you tried reaching similar processing results (depth and contrast with the clouds) with more regular/manual editing?
The answer to this question is really both yes and no. Prior to discovering Topaz, I'd done some similar things in PS, but to do so is much more difficult, requires in some cases many more steps, and the learning curve is considerable. And you can only go so far - I don't know how you'd achieve the more stylized effects without tools such as Topaz Adjust, or full HDR merging, for which I use Photomatix. (None of the pics above are HDR merges, by the way.)

Plugins such as those from Topaz make a wide range of enhancements much easier, have a considerably reduced learning curve, and offer great control over the degree of enhancements. I have friends who use and like Nik, onOne etc., and I have some onOne plugins as well, which I have yet to spend much time with.

Most plugins are inexpensive, and offer free trials before you purchase.

EDIT:
Here's another shot from the same trip, taken hand-held in reasonably dim light in a bar in Aruba. I wanted a certain "look", which I'd describe as enhanced, but not a heavily HDR'd look that started to get flat in contrast, or grungy in terms of presentation of the fine details. If you go to my Flickr page, and to the full size version (2048), and look closely at the fine details such as the array of bills tacked up above the bar, and also the fine details on the bottles, you'll see that it's very crisp yet still clean, but has added contrast "snap". (Unfortunately the upload to Flickr can make this type of image a little too "crispy", so take that into consideration.) This is also a single-frame shot, not an HDR merge.

You could get here in PS alone, but it's more difficult.

14235063292_7b950a3db0_b.jpgAruba Bar Interior by Blueshound250, on Flickr




Brian
 

Lodos

Mu-43 Regular
Brian thanks for the detailed response,

Your images in flickr are all very nice and I think Topaz plug ins are really worth trying.. I feel, in order not to waste the trial periods first I will need to get better with LR and PS this summer, but I will be very likely trying these plugins sometime near future.. maybe I may knock your door back for some further advice towards the end of summer.. Thank you for sharing these beautiful captures and your techniques in postprocessing.
 

Brian G

Mu-43 Veteran
You're welcome. Feel free to contact me if you'l like to . There are also quite a few processing "gurus" on the web, if you have the time to search and read the techniques that they illustrate.

Brian
 
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