Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Drab to Fab - with a little help from two cool plug-ins


Next week, we have a sunrise shoot scheduled at St. John's Pier in St. Augustine, Florida – the first stop on my Florida Photo Caravan. (The Caravan is full, but you can swing by my talk in Ft. Lauderdale.)

While preparing an email to the participants about getting ready for the early morning shoot, I thought that other photographers might like some quick tips on shooting a sunrise - or sunset. So here goes.

First, don't freak out of the sunrise (or sunset) is drab. You can turn drab to fab with a couple of plug-ins.

I created the opening image for this post using Nik's HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Adjust (Spicify filter). Click here for a discount on Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro and info on Topaz Adjust.

Here is the original, drab image. It's not the St. John's Pier, by the way. I took this shot near Los Osos, California.

Here is my HDR Efex Pro image.

So, the first tip is: Don't get discouraged when you don't get a spectacular sunrise. Help is on the way in the digital darkroom.

A few more tips:
• Bring a flashlight so you can see what the heck you are doing!
• Don't place the horizon line in the center of the frame.
• Don't place the sun in the center of the frame.
• Check your histogram! Avoid washed out highlights.
• Bring a tripod.
• As the light increases, dial down your ISO.
• Use a foreground element (like a pier) to add interest to the image.
• Be careful when changing lenses around salt spray. 

Here is a cool flashlight for photographers:

Explore the light,

P.S. Horses running on the beach is also schedule. For tips, click here.


S.V Bristol Rose said...

Hello Rick,
My husband just gave me your manual HDR Photo Secrets. I have a Canon 5D Mark II which I love. When I use my Canon 17-40 wide angle I get a a shadowing in the corners of the image. Do you experience the same problem? If so, how do you correct it?
Thanks for a great book and great blog.

Rick Sammon said...

Hi SV... You may have your lens hood mounted incorrectly, or maybe you are using the wrong lens hood. i have not seen that.

thank you

S.V Bristol Rose said...

Hey Rick, thanks for your quick response. Lens hood - could be right about that. I'll do some more experimenting. The Hoya polarizing filter creates very dark corners but I can't see any way around that one, other than to stop using a filter.