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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Night Photography Post Processing Techniques

Tim Cooper

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hey everybody, I'm Tim Cooper from National Parks at Night, and I am super-thrilled to be here. I really love night photography and I really love Photoshop. I've been teaching for over 25 years, but night photography over the last decade has really re-inspired my teaching and my photography. And blending all that together with Photoshop is just amazing. So what I want to do here today is to guide you through some of the really common techniques that I use in Photoshop to enhance my images. As always, we want to create the best image we can out in the field, and then make it better. There's the idea, and a lot of people are saying, well we'll just do this in Photoshop, and I really disagree with that. And the main reason is, it's so much more fun enhancing an image than it is trying to fix something that you messed up out in the field. So as we go along through this, I'll talk to you a little bit about my shooting techniques and what happened out in the field, and then we'll get into th...

e Photoshop techniques that are taking, hopefully, a good image and really making it great. So let's go ahead and get started. Some of the stuff that I wanna show you today is how to really enhance your Milky Ways. Milky Ways are really prominent in the summer months, and they're gonna be out in the sky, and for shooting them, you gotta use really super-fast lenses, and you've gotta go pretty long periods of time, 30 seconds. But sometimes the Milky Way doesn't always pop out the way we want it to, we can see it with our eyes, but we can't necessarily get it as strong on the film. And so I'm gonna show you guys how to do a little bit of that. Next is star trails, these are a ton of fun, and there's a couple different ways to do them. One way is just to open up your shutter for a really long time, again, wide-open aperture like f/4, and just let that camera run at a low ISO, ISO 100 or 200. And open that up for 20 minutes, half an hour, even an hour, and you get these star trails racing across your sky. But what I wanna show you how to do is how you can create star trails from multiple exposures. And the reason that I like to do it that way is because it gives me the ability to go in and paint with my flashlight and give it several different tries. So like on this image, for example, this is probably about 30 different exposures, maybe not quite that many, maybe 20 exposures. But during those exposures, I was able to go in and paint the rock from the left and paint it from the right, try painting the foreground in a couple of different ways. And then in the end, what I can do is, I can pick and choose from the different lighting that I use and blend them in with the sky. Same thing with car trails, you know, in situations like this, we don't always have even car trails running across our scene. And that, in this case, is to do with a lot of city light, and the city light makes your exposures just a little bit shorter. So if could've run this for five minutes, we'd have had plenty of car trails running up and down Pennsylvania Ave here. But in this case, I had to blend several different exposures together to create the final image. So we'll be talking about how to include car trails and how to blend them together. And I also wanna get into blending for light painting. So a lot of times, what I'll do is, I'll make several different exposures, like in this case, I think the exposure was about three minutes long, the base exposure. Because I was right outside of Cleveland and there was a fair amount of light in the cities here, in the city, you know, kinda in the sky, and that kinda made my exposure shorter than I would've liked. So I didn't have the time to run around and paint every little object that I wanted to. So once again, I broke up the light painting into several different exposures, and I'm gonna show you guys how to blend those together. Same thing here, a blend of probably about three different light painting exposures, and two different exposures for the sky. And then last, what I'd like to talk about is the moon. Now, photographing the moon is a ton of fun. One of the best recipes for success is to photograph the moon while the sun is still up in the sky. So that doesn't necessarily qualify for night photography, in that case, but what that allows us to do, as in this case, you can see, the last of the setting sun is hitting this mountain, and we have plenty of detail in the moon. And this is a pretty natural photograph, the only Photoshop work I did here was a little darkening down in this area and a little color in the clouds, but other than that, it is what it is. So when you're wanting to shoot the full moon, you generally want to shoot it two days before, two to three days or one day, before the actual full moon. And you'll get a shot that looks like this. The last of the light is hitting the terrain or your foreground, the moon comes up, and the exposure can be made in one shot. But in other cases like this, when the moon is high in the sky, and it's already night time, if you take a picture for the moon, you just get a black frame with a white moon and no detail. And if you brighten it up enough like this, then you're able to get detail in the foreground but your moon loses detail. And we wanna see a little bit of detail in that moon, like I have here. So I'll show you guys how you an blend that together. So that's kind of the lesson plan for the day. I think we should just get right into it.

Ratings and Reviews

John Fletcher

I'd recommend this course to someone who is completely new to night/star photography and photoshop. There are some good, easy processing tips in here to pull off some nice effects. I was really hoping this was going to go into some more detail and talk about processing tips for dealing with high ISO grain and whatnot in images that is pretty much a given when doing night photography. Unfortunately, there was nothing in here about dealing with this. It's more just compositing techniques.

a Creativelive Student

Perfect class for mainly LR users needing to use PS to do some more editing. Tim explains his steps very well. There is no fluff. Just all good tips.

Jean Hilmes

Truly great tips on taking nigh photography.

Student Work