a31 March 2012

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.
This time photo from the Boca do Inferno (location near Cascais Town, near Lisbon). Post-processed with Photomatix Pro 4.2 beta. I really like colour of the water in this shot.

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a30 March 2012

Photomatix Pro 4.2 beta goes public

Today at HDRsoft we released first public beta of Photomatix Pro 4.2.

The new version includes many changes and improvements over 4.1 and here are just a few of them with a short description from me:
  • Many changes related to preset thumbnails
    • Addition of several new built-in preset thumbnails (eg. 3 more black & white presets, a few realistic and artistic ones)
    • Ability to toggle between normal (as in 4.1 and earlier versions) and large thumbnails size. This makes it much easier to decide between the presets
    • Ability to display preset thumbnails in two columns so more thumbnails appear on one page
    • Ability to import presets with just one click. In the "My Presets" tab just click "Import Presets..." select files and you're done :) No more need to manually copy the presets into the Presets directory. So if you had problems importing my presets for instance you can now do it easily.
    • Ability to group presets into categories, eg. I now have categories like Winter, Warm, etc. It makes selecting appropriate preset a lot easier.
    • Preset thumbnails should load a bit faster now.
  • Addition of Finishing Touch window. This window, which by default shows when the tone-mapping/fusion finishes, allows you to make basic edition of your photo including contrast curve adjustments, color saturation adjustments, sharpening. Finishing Touch can be also used from Batch Bracketed. Just open Batch and then "Naming & Output Options".
  • Redesigned GUI in case of Windows version. Now the windows have custom title bars which in my opinion look a lot better than default OS ones used in previous release
  • Differences between preview and final image has been minimized.
  • Instead of size ratio like 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 etc. now there are zoom buttons.
  • Improved multi-monitor support
  • New processing method Fusion/Realistic (available only in the Batch Bracketed photos for now). It should work especially well for real-estate photographers.
  • All EXIF data should be now properly transferred from the source images.
Hope you like it :)

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River Bend

This photo was taken in Royal Baths Park in Warsaw, my favourite place in this city. Hope you like it and expect some very interesting stuff on this blog in the next few days :)

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a29 March 2012

My Photomatix Pro presets

Boca do Inferno

Hi guys!

Note: you will find even more presets here.

No new photo today as today I decided to release some of my favourite Photomatix Pro presets for you to use.

Presets are important part of photo editing workflow and Photomatix Pro is no different here. In case of spending half an hour moving the sliders I just choose preset adjust one or two sliders (most often saturation and temperature) and I can click "Processs button".

  1. Click download to start downloading presets.
  2. Then unzip them.
  3. Copy folder contents to C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\HDRsoft\PhotomatixPro\Presets where UserName is your user name.
Below there is a list of all presets from this archive with a short description for what I use each of them. I decided to add a thumbnail showing the difference between the presets.
Also be sure to check out my HDR tutorial.

Preset ThumbnailsPreset NamePreset Description
BlackWhiteThis preset I use when I want to create Black & White HDR images.
CastleI use this preset when shooting architecture shots.
CemeteryI use this preset when creating some dramatic mood in the architectural shots. It also works quite well for me when shooting cemetaries.
CityI use this preset when shooting in the city and it's quite shadowy.
FountainI use this preset when shooting all kinds of fountains and sculptures.
GoldenHour1I use this preset when shooting HDR architectural shots during the golden hour. It makes images even more warm and golden.
GoldenHour2I use this preset when shooting HDR architectural shots during the golden hour. It makes images even more warm and golden. Note that it's a bit softer than GoldenHour1 preset.
Lake1I use this preset when shooting sunsets over lakes or seas.
Lake2I use this preset when shooting sunsets over lakes or seas.

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a28 March 2012

Looking back

I'm not very happy with my old HDR photos (and I'm also not happy with my old non-HDR shots :) ) but sometimes I like to look at them to check if I'm making any progress and yes I think I've made great progress in the last two years (although some people may disagree :) ). There are, however, a few shots which I like even after such a long time.

This one was one of my first attempts in using Photomatix Pro. I really like the mood in it. This photo is special for me for one more reason. It was the first photo I took with Canon 10-22 lens which since then became one of my favourite glasses.

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a27 March 2012

Having fun in Barcelona

This time photo taken in Barcelona in 2010. People are having fun in front of the Magic Fountain.

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a26 March 2012

Just ocean

Another one from Cabo da Roca, Portugal. Processed with Photomatix Pro 4.1.

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a25 March 2012

Tutorial: Wallpapers and what makes depth-of-field shallow


At the beginning I would like to mention that I made two more changes to this blog. First, I added wallpapers section at the top of the screen. At the moment there are just a few wallpapers in 16:10 ratio but I plan to add more shortly (if anyone will use them :) ) so I'm looking for your feedback. Second change is addition of clouds tag in the right panel of this blog what should make finding interesting content a bit easier.

Now I would like to tell a few words about depth of field and what affects it.

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a24 March 2012

Just walking (in color)

I took this HDR photo recently in Cabo da Roca, Portugal. Nothing really spectacular but I like the pov and how the colours turned out.

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a23 March 2012

Tutorial: Tiny planets effect


yesterday I finished processing the photo you can see on the left. It uses very creative and popular technique known as tiny planets (a.k.a. little planets, small worlds and a few other names) and in this short post I would like to share with you the steps necessary to create your own small world like this.

In this technique we use a wide-angle or even better a panoramic shot which we sort of wrap using polar coordinates. It makes right and left side of the photo touch so there is need that both sides are identical or at least very similar so they seamlessly blend.

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a22 March 2012

Outside the Hieronymites Monastery

I posted photos from the Hieronymites Monastery before. However, now it's time to show how it looks outside. It is a really huge object built of almost white brick and looks really incredible and powerful. This photo was processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1 from 3 RAWs at -2; 0; +2.

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a21 March 2012

Changes to the blog

As you can see I started to make some design changes to this blog. It should be easier to read and more clear now as I removed some distracting elements (including semi-transparent background). Design isn't finalized yet but I plan to finish it in a few days.

Another change is that my HDR tutorial is always available now. There is a direct link just below logo (which is also new BTW) so you can easily access it at any time you need. Also it is now available as a web page rather than PDF as some of you might prefer this way of reading (no need to download anything). Click here to go there directly.

And here is a daily photo:

Taken in Rome it depicts Tiberian Island (Isola Tiberina).

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a20 March 2012

Saint Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square in Rome
This photo was taken from St. Peter's Basilica (from its dome to be exact) in Rome. Merged to HDR from 3 RAWs (-2; 0; +2) and processed in Photomatix Pro.

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a19 March 2012

Memory of summer

With winter coming to its end (finally :) ) this time I decided to upload a photo taken during warmer period of the year - in summer. Taken in Masuria, Poland. As always post-processed in Photomatix Pro from 3 RAWs shot in -3; -1; +1 sequence.

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a18 March 2012

Sunset in Rome

Today one of my favourite shots (I even use it as a background for this blog :) ). Taken in Rome in 2011 during golden hour. Hope you like it.

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a17 March 2012

Cathedral in Milan

This time a bit older photo, taken in 2010 in Milan. I didn't like it at first but now after two years I find it quite nice. Post-processed in Photomatix Pro.

As you may noticed I started to make some design changes to this blog. I plan to make it more easy to read and add a few sections.

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a16 March 2012

Tutorial: Photographing sculptures in HDR

Taking photos of sculptures can be a really interesting task. There are plenty of them in the old churches and museums. I especially like shooting them in low-light conditions without external flash because available light often creates some really fantastic and magical colors.

On the left you can see some samples of the sculptures I photographed during last year. First three were taken in Lisbon, next two in Rome and the last one in Berlin.

Here are some tips on shooting sculptures I'd like to share:
  • Use available light only. It can create really nice light & shadow play as well as some very nice, sometimes almost unnatural colors.
  • Process the photos with HDR workflow. Sculptures often have very nice detailed textures. Using tone-mapping brings even more detail to them, making them look more stonish and more detailed and thus more pleasant to an eye.
  • Boost contrast in post-process to make the photos more powerful.
  • Shoot from low-angle with a wide-angle lens (or even better with an ultra wide-angle lens like Canon 10-22 for crop sensors or Canon 16-35 for full-frame cameras). As you might know already this makes the people look more powerful.
  • Try to focus on detail. Sometimes sculpture as a whole might be pretty boring but some parts of it (like a prop it holds) might be pretty unique and extraordinary.
  • Try black & white version as well. It can make the photo even more powerful in some cases. Look at the photo of a soldier (2nd from top), colour didn't fit it well.
  • Remember about using a tripod :) although all this shots were shot handheld with high ISO it's not a really recommended practice :)
I hope this few short tips will help you :)

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a14 March 2012

Welcome to Hell

Boca do Inferno, Hell's Mouth, located near Cascais town in Portugal is an impressive location which is quite popular amongst tourists. It's a chasm in the seaside cliff. Water having an easy access into it through some sort of gate or mouth, strikes its rocky walls with great power (it really isn't a nice place to be in I guess).

This HDR photo was in fact taken outside of the Boca do Inferno. However, you can see how angrily the waves are hitting the cliff. The mouth itself can be seen in this photo as a black square-like shape in the right side of the cliff.

As you can see it's another black & white HDR photo I've taken recently :)

BTW check out my HDR tutorial: http://hdrphotographer.blogspot.com/2012/02/hdr-photography-tutorial.html 

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a11 March 2012

The Ruins of the Carmo Convent

The Ruins of the Carmo Convent by Wojciech Toman (WojciechToman) on 500px.comIt's another photo taken in Lisbon. This one depicts the ruins of the Carmo Convent which as many other buildings in the city was severely damaged during the earthquake in 1755 (library and 5000 books were all lost). The Carmo Convent was founded as a convent for the Camelite Order in 1389 and was finished by 1423. This gothic building despite being just ruins still is very impressive. The only bad thing is that photographing and filming inside the building is strictly forbidden. To my despair as the textures and light falling on the graves of the Portuguese kings (eg. King Ferdinand I) inside were just brilliant and would make for some exceptional shots...

The photo on the left was taken during the golden hour. I loved the play of light and shadows on the wall in the back of the shot and decided on the black & white treatment to make it look even better and enhance details in the walls and pillars.

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