Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

My journey trying to take good photos.

Oh no I have sensor crud and a compositing project

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Went for a hike with Laura yesterday at Buffumville Lake. From my point of view it couldn’t have been a better day for a hike. No bugs, and the temp was not to hot and not to cold. The only negative of the day was that when I got home and looked at my pictures you could see a big spot in the upper left of the picture on some of them. Here is an example.

ImageOf course you can fix the spot either in Lightroom(LR) or Photoshop(PS ). Using PS I did some quick edits and got rid of the spot and the people although I should have spent a bit more time on the getting rid of the people since looking at the picture now it looks a bit funny where the people were.

ImageThis is the first time I have got something on the sensor and it is actually big enough for me to see. I tired blowing it off but my dust blower is a cheap thing and didn’t work. I ordered a kit to clean the sensor but I am very nervous about doing the cleaning. The kit uses a swab and cleaning solution.

My current project is trying to fix a picture I took at Durfee Conservatory at Umass Amherst back in November of 2011. I have always liked the flower in the picture but didn’t like the background. ImageHere is the what I came up with after an hour or two in PS. It is good but I need to learn how to do selections better.

ImageIt took me a bit to do but didn’t involved many steps. First I selected the flower with the quick selection tool. I spent quite a bit of time tweaking the selection. I would think it was pretty good and then notice that some spots had to be tweaked again. I used Select->modify->smooth to try to make things better. I need to read up on this a bit. I thought an option is available to feather your edges to make things look more realistic. 

The next step is I looked in my library of pictures for something I could use for the background. I was hoping for something green but couldn’t find anything. I have to take some shots with just a blurred background that are green to use in the future. The picture I used here was a shot that was a mistake but when I saw it thought it might make a good background so I kept it. This is one of the features of LR that I like, if you use keywords correctly you can find pictures very quickly. To find this shot I searched my LR pictures for the keyword Background and bam I had all the pictures I had thought could be used as a background.  I added this as a layer under the flower layer and deselected my original picture.

One thing I did do when I was making the selection of the flower and trying to get it right is I created a layer of all black. I put this black layer under the flower and I could see very quickly how good my selection was. After I had my selection the way I wanted it (well almost I still think the edges are not quite right) I deleted the black layer.

I am happy with my effort and on a 4×6 photo it looks pretty good. I print a lot of photos at this size and show them in my office. I might try this in 8.5×11 (the biggest size paper I can print) and see how it looks.

If anyone has any suggestions on how I could have done a better job please comment!





One thought on “Oh no I have sensor crud and a compositing project

  1. Pingback: Another Walk at Hodges | Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

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