Tony Hewitt Aerial Edit
This one's called, it's a reef shot by (mumbles) sort of that last line and I read a poem to go with it. It's the end of the island, Rottnest Island.
Off Western Australia, so it faces west and we're looking west and the sun disappeared off into the background. And I wrote some words with this that talked about the oceans dreams and the sunset sort of disappearing into the night, so.
That's the feeling I had around it, but when I looked at the caption, this was shot quite late. The sun has been gone for a while. It's just a glow on the horizon, it's quite a long exposure.
Once you said to me, the sunset disappearing into the night, I can accept that the left being too blue and the right being quite yellow. Whereas, before I look upon that as being unbalanced.
Isn't it interesting how words in context can change the way that we're looking at photographs.
And basically those words in context become our explanation as to t...
But hopefully at the end of the day, the story itself, the picture itself tells a story.
Speaks for itself, yes.
In this image when you in exhibition at 86 inches wide, you stand in front of it and you get the feeling you're looking at the sunset and it disappears.
Yes, yes, yes size is important.
One of the things I'd like people to look at, if you look down here, these layers, this is it from beginning to end, right? And all I've got here is basically curves and one saturation. So, you and I have shown a couple of pictures and we've obviously got a hell of a lot of pictures. But most of them, the techniques we haven't pressed one action, (laughter) we haven't used one plug-in. Alright, that's what we really want people to understand. Sure, actions can speed things up and we have our own actions. I have a list of actions that I use and it speeds up the process. But what was really important to me and I know for you Peter was that everybody out there could learn that if you could learn three or four basics tools, you can go from that to that. So what else do you need? You need to have the ideas, you need to have the vision. You need to put the heart in behind what you're doing. It's not enough to learn 500 techniques. You only need half a dozen and sometimes not even that.
So let's just quickly work through. Curves is the first thing I did. Was I darkened down the foreground, just a little in here.
Okay and put a little bit of contrast on it. Just so you can see that little bit of an s bend.
So that curve's going straight out or vertical so therefore there is more contrast.
And the contrast in the lower half means what? It brings that foreground forward a little bit. I know it haven't addressed the overexposure issue. Then I did another one. But this one if we have a close look at it, was specifically masked on that area of reef. With most the curve as you can tell by the masking brightest in this circle.
'Cause white reveals, black conceals so the white part of the mask is letting the image, letting the adjustment show through.
Correct and I've used the luminosity in this image to create the mask. So again, go and look at one of the programs on luminosity masking or general masking and you'll find the technique to develop that mask. That mask they meant as I made this adjustment to my curve, it's mainly that area in the middle and those highlights up there that are being affected.
Alright, Aaron Dowling who used to come from Western Australia moved over the Canada, I think.
He's up in Canada, he created a great set of luminosity--
It's his connection that actually creates the luminosity masks for you which you then work, I'm just trying to give that as an idea 'cause it's a great little plug-in. We say we don't use plug-ins, but I do use a plug-in to create the luminosity masks because it just simplifies what can otherwise be--
Yeah and I think it's important if you're going to go down the the road of using plug-ins for things like that, it's good to know how to do it without them first. And then the plug-in will just accelerate your work process. Because as I said, as you develop the creative way of thinking and you develop a better thought flow, the things that are gonna slow you down is the mechanics.
And that's where I get frustrated. Computers rendering 100 megabyte files. I'll be thinking, where is this going, where is this going and suddenly I got this vision of where it can go and I'm waiting for the render and I don't want that to happen. So then I look and say I need to add a little bit of hue and saturation. You might see just, if you look around these blues.
Okay, just a little hint of blues popping up there.
Then I've gone in and darkened the edges because again it felt too light on the outside.
Love it, vignetting.
It's not really a vignette.
Aw that's a vignette.
That's not a vignette.
That's a vignette, it's a big vignette.
No, it's not a vignette.
It's definitely a vignette Peter. You haven't been fed today have you? Okay and again then I've gone in and used that same mask that we had down here.
Right, and what I've done is I've copied it up here.
Made it more contrasting.
I've actually brought the blacks all in so I'm only working on those shiny bits of the reef. 'Cause I want that part of the reef to really jump out at you, okay? And then if you look at this curve here, that's what it's doing.
It's really good looking at all your secrets, Tony. I'm enjoying this. (laughter)
Then I've gone in and I've adjusted levels overall because I've still found that I haven't gotten my highlights where I need them to be. The image was out here and I'm just popped it in a bit there. We're working with 16 bit files.
Large format there.
Good to repeat that, yeah.
I've lightened the overall image because it still felt a little bit dark for me. I've gone back into levels and again this is an 8-bit version of my 16-bit file, so that's why those breaks in the lines are happening on the histogram. We'll go into here and again with this one--
Oh the curve, yep.
I've got a little curve just in the middle and I've chosen to just use the, apply it to the areas of the image that I want a vignette.
And not a vignette, what's a negative vignette, but you're right, right? That's the audience Tony, it's not me. I didn't say it, three hits.
And there you go. (laughter) It's cooked. So again just a few curves, a few saturation lines and a little bit of masking and we've ended up with a picture that followed the pond.
So I talked yesterday in the travel section about this gentleman. And that was my starting point. Basically it was a prayer flag raising ceremony. And they were burning bushes around to dispel the spirits. I don't know their religion completely. It's based on Tibetan Buddhism and it's just very, there's so many debts, so many layers.
To it, exactly right. And so I was thinking all the smoke is getting into the way of the lama. And then I thought, oh maybe I can make the smoke part of the picture so he's sort of just floating amongst the clouds. And so I stood in between him and the smoke when lighted up. But I couldn't get his face clear and the smoke shape correct in the same exposure. So what I did was I added in... And I can press this here, can I get rid of that? Yeah there we go, disable mask. I've got to add another shot where there was not smoke and so I just dropped him in over the top.
And used the mask. (laughter) So knowing that's what that layer does I'm sitting there so there's my base shot. What am I thinking? When I look at the photo, I've got these two gentlemen in the background. He doesn't worry me, he's just sort of like a--
Yellow background figurine guy.
Where this guy is a little distracting. So just using cloning and healing brush, I got rid of him so I just disappeared him out. He's gone and then I went and replaced my monk with something a little bit more clear of smoke. However, the challenge that I have is that he is very, very dark. And so I need to bring his values up but before that, I'm jumping ahead of myself. I wanted the clouds here too, to look like they were light. And here it looks like it's smoking down to the ground so just a subtle adjustment, I just lightened up those clouds around the edge. A negative vignette. Hey I'm anti-vignetting my photos, I like this. Alright, so just to prove a point Tony.
See you do pick up things quick.
So thanks for teaching me.
So say we come to the monk and add that to our the lama, which is a little up above a monk as I understand it and so I'm lightening up his head. If we look at the mask, look at the shape of the head. Look at the shape of my mask. So I'm not actually looking at the mask as one painting. I'm just painting on the mask on the head and seeing what's happening. So I've lightened that up a little bit. I've lightened it up even more so now it looks like that whatever he's reading, all the clouds below him are illuminating him from below. And then I do notice though that his nose is a little bit strong so I've had to vignette another curve adjustment layer and I'm just darkening that down. So now I've got definition there. So looking pretty good.
Well interesting that you're replicating what you would do if you had, in a commercial shoot you might be sort of lighting his face?
And you're just doing that at first.
And I guess one of the reasons that I don't use Flash so much, I mean let me rephrase, I love using Flash. We've done many jobs--
Yes we have.
Taking my portable studio ... In the desert and photograph people and I love that feeling.
But you can't always do it.
But you can't always do it and you can often do a similar result using Photoshop in layers.
So, I'm almost there. Here in saturation, just pumped up the color a little bit. Just to, it is already surreal and other worldly and just put a light warming color over it and that was it, I'm done.
Well let's just get in this question that I really like and see what we have time to do left. This came from Betsy, so thank you for that Betsy. The question is quite long, but idea is in landscape fine art travel photography, do you feel that there's a need to be consistent in the way that you post process your images. She said, she's seen from some editors or otherwise or other photographers talking about how you have to have an approach that makes your body of work look consistent to that? What is your... Or is it image specific. What is your thoughts on that?
I think the key to that question is that body of work. and we would create many bodies of work. And the photos that you see are drawn from dozens of bodies of work. The idea of having an exhibition and having, if we had the pictures you can see up on the screen there. In an exhibition, it would probably look a bit disjointed. Whereas, you see later on in the last segment today, I've got photos from our shot bay Where there is a consistency. So I think that there should be a consistency in technique and quality of technique that then the individual style that you bring to it can vary from job to job. I think if you look at all of the great photographers and artists over the years and maybe even us as well a little bit, our technique has changed. And certainly my technique as far fewer vignettes than I used to, so you think that answers it?
I agree 100% and I suppose the other thing is it's, if you, depends on the reasons. Like it may be commercially better for you to be consistent so you're known for a certain body of work. And it comes back to that same argument, should you be a specialist or should you be a generalist? And if we're taking commercially, 'cause arguments that some places of the world, you should be a specialist. You come to the U.S. you got a big market, you can get away with maybe, get away with it easier to be a specialist. If you come from a small country town in a small country, with less population, you might have to be a specialist. Ah, generalist.
So there's an advantage in saying, here's my style, you recognize it, it's consistent. That's what you're gonna get. Some people say great, that's what I'm looking for, but there's also an advantage in saying, I'm diverse. I can produce different things. So for me, I had a concrete exhibition 12, 13 years ago. We had done aerials and recently I did a shoot for Phase One where I shot vaudeville characters or French festival characters in vivid clothing on a desert flat. A lot of people were commenting. I didn't even know you shot fashion.
You know, so I can see an argument both ways. Depends on what Betsy's actually wanting to be and do as a photographer and it comes back to what we said yesterday afternoon in the session on images that connect. Who are you as a photographer? And what are you trying to do with your photography, I suppose?
And that will change over the years we hope.
Right I mean, part of what she said was, I feel that each image is unique as it can be in a different location or different lighting. And therefore, looking at these different things.
I think it's an interpretation and also you should be consistent in the quality that the style that you apply might be one of many different styles that you have.
And we're gonna talk a little bit about exhibitions and books later today.
And in that, we're gonna probably touch on out artists statements and talk about if there's a group of work going into an exhibition, then there should be something that ties them together. Because that's what an exhibition should be about.
Unless the thing that ties them together is diversity. (laughter)
Right, so hard to put a full blanket--
Statement on, which is... Any questions here in our studio audience? Maybe we're gonna talk about this as well later. When we talk about printing, but a couple questions have come in on as we're doing more manipulation of images whether that's in Photoshop or what have you. Is that going to effect the quality of the image and size that you can print things?
Okay, there are a couple issues there. In terms of the quality of the pixels and how much you can enlarge and how big you can make it. No not really, that's gonna be determined by your camera and how many pixels that you started with. I think though that when it comes to color that's a different issue and that's a huge topic all on its own. As we increase the number of colors and as we go after the more saturated colors that Tony and I do use, then it becomes more challenging to reproduce those more saturated colors in a print. And that's all about... Well that's a huge topic all on its own. I'm sure there's stuff on creative live that can help out there as well.
The other thing I was gonna say Peter touched maybe on destructive layers versus non-destructive layers.
Well, yeah when we're doing all of our adjustments we start off with their own file, we process it out, we've got our tif or our psd file that sits there, it's the starting point. Every time we do an adjustment layer, the original is still there, it's untouched. Every now and then I know you've said to me in a couple of your photos you will do an adjustment to that layer in which case you can not go back again.
But when I'm working and most of what you're doing. They're all just non-destructive adjustment layers that we're adding in. By non-destructive means that that quality is still there. You can still go and add in some, like you can add a strong contrast adjustment layer and wipe out the whites and crunch up the blacks and that's gonna affect your print quality. It's gonna look crummy on the... But then again, I shouldn't say it's gonna look crummy. Maybe what you want to look, you just need to be aware of it.
So what we say is if you look here, these layers here are all adjustment layers and they're non-destructive.
This one's through here. But then I've created a layer at the top and if I turn that on, that's a summary or that's a stamp of everything that happened underneath. Now I'm got a curve layer on top which I could use just to tweak it at the moment. It's got nothing on there. If I go in here and go over to here, and get make an adjustment, I'm now adjusting an image. That is destructive.
Yep. I guess once you save that you can't undo it.
Okay, whereas what I could do to make the same adjustment is using this curve layer. Which we reverse that mask, now I can do that adjustment here but it's non-destructive 'cause I can turn that off and on back where I started.