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PhotoWalk 5 - All Around Gosport - 3rd May 2008

A Nice Day, A Walk Too Far?

I'm not the fittest guy around, so when I set off on this sunny day, I thought I'd just take a stroll down to the harbor and see what was interesting, but I got a bit carried away and ended up walking around the whole of Gosport peninsular....

You can download the Google Earth Track of my walk here, and it was a bit of a trek (for me anyway!). What didn't help was the Sun was getting brighter and the temperature hotter, and I was in jeans and a jacket, lugging my camera bag along...

It was a challenging Photowalk photographically too. Because the Sun was so bright, and the sky almost cloudless, I had to use my Cokin A Grad filter to stop the skies "whitening" out, even so, as you can see from the photos below, I had to use plenty of image editing in Photoshop CS3 to make the images better.

Its strange, I know that if the sky is featureless you should try and take pictures without it, but I kept automatically raising the horizon in my view-finder to the top horizontal rule of thirds line - its an automatic process for me now that I've got to remember to over-ride. Being out in the middle of the day didn't help (too many people, Sun too high) but I felt a lot fitter afterwards!

Please feel free to click through on the images to Flickr and leave your comments and criticisms.

Carcass
Carcass

Aha! A HDR panorama at last! If you want to make one of these, I used Photoshop CS3 and Photomatix. Take your bracketed images with a tripod (if you don't it's pot-luck if you get a good result, the chances of three times the images lining up is greatly reduced.) Then use Photoshop's Photomerge function to make three differently exposed Panoramas. Then you've got to copy all the panos into the same image, but all on their own layer. Select all the layers (ctrl-click each layer), then select "edit", "Auto-Align Layers".

Then flick back and forth between the layers and use the clone tool to correct any differences that might have crept in. Rotate and crop, then save each layer as it's own file. This gives you your 3 (or more) image files that are the same size, so Photomatix can open and HDR them.

Once you've done your "Create HDR" and tone mapping, save and re-open in Photoshop for final editing.

If the Pano is big, it's worth batch-resizing all the images smaller so Photoshop will go faster, especially if you're displaying them on the web.

 

The Blue Garage
The Blue Garage

Near the end of my walk, feeling tired and about to pack my camera away, I saw this building and it caught my eye.

 

The Bay Of Good Hope
The Bay Of Good Hope

Stokes Bay, Gosport, is a great Beach, but there's not much detail, so when I saw this log I thought it may make a more interesting shot. The overblown sky took a lot of darkening.

 

Rockin' Robin
Rockin' Robin

Even with my S5700's 10x zoom I had to crop this shot a lot for you to see the Robin, then use Photoshop to try and make him stand out from the background.

 

Trigonometry
Trigonometry
The Sun was so bright, my Grad helped a bit, but the colour looks washed out on the ground.

 

Let's Shake On It
Let's Shake On It

Maybe my favourite shot of the day, shot using macro, then I darkened everything apart from the main subject, while trying to keep the slight detail of the diver's suits legs.

 

A Fish Out Of Water
A Fish Out Of Water

A HDR, it's just a shame that the sky was so flat - I love to use clouds to increase the drama in a shot.

 

I Push Submarines
I Push Submarines
Another HDR, I tried to darken the sky and bring out the texture in the propeller.

 

One For Weejamer
One For Weejamer
Symmetry can be difficult to pull off, but standing on the bridge in front of the yacht it looks ok. I then darkened around the main subject.

 

Another One For Weejamer
Another One For Weejamer
I should have not included any sky in this shot, but it's still ok. Maybe?

 

Race Ya!
Race Ya!
Loads of post-processing to darken the sky and bring out the detail. I must try and get out earlier or later in the day, but the kids need picking up from school!

 

Kindred Spirits (To Clone or Not To Clone?)
Kindred Spirits
Would it be right to clone out the building behind the yacht? Or am I just lazy?

 

So what did I learn from this Photowalk? To always wear comfortable shoes, take more water, and that its difficult to take great looking photos on a really bright day without a grad and a polariser - its better to think about excluding the sky, or going macro for the details.

See you on Flickr!

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