New Tricks

It’s been a busy couple of weeks: a three-day corporate assignment, an engagement shoot, some Spurs basketball and a couple of shoots in the studio.

But it hasn’t left me much time to update my blog, which is bad. I hope to remedy that right now.

I’ve been shooting some San Antonio Spurs basketball games here and there for the Associated Press. It’s a nice diversion and it keeps my reflexes sharp(ish). I talked a little in a previous post about the challenge of shooting sports. Anticipation and reaction are needed to make good photos, and I don’t want to get rusty! The first photo was shot with a 400mm lens. The second, with a 50mm.

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (0) and San Antonio Spurs guard Keith Bogans scramble for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani)

San Antonio Spurs players George Hill (3) and Matt Bonner compete with Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin for the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani)

On a side note, I do believe the Denver Nuggets are the most tattooed team in the league. It got me thinking about a SportsShooter photographer who used a converted infrared camera to make unique photos of players and their tattoos. Some day, I’ll have to experiment with that.

Speaking of experiments…I’ve been trying out some new software for Adobe Lightroom. Without going into a whole lot of detail about the software, one of the great features of Lightroom is that all the changes you make are done in layers and only are applied when you export the photo. So, if you make a bunch of adjustments to a photo over the course of time, you can still go back and revert to the original, raw photo whenever you want. You can also create preset adjustments to toning, color, exposure, sharpness…and quickly apply the preset to a group of photos. It helps streamline the work.

You can find presets all over the place online – both for fee and for free. Some are good and some are bad. The last few days, I’ve been demo-ing Color Efex Pro, a feature-rich application that replicates many common and unique effects. I used Color Efex presets on these photos of Jessica from a recent shoot.

I used the Color Efex skin softening preset, and tweaked it to a lower the amount of softening. Everything else was done in camera (except the copyright notice!).

This photo also has a hint of skin softening, along with a "Glamour Glow" effect. Lightness and high contrast done in Lightroom.

Film emulators are becoming popular presets. This one, I believe, is Agfa Optima 400.

I’m planning an upcoming blog post about film emulators. Hopefully, it will be a little less boring than this post. But probably not.

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