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  1. #2326

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by llamaboy View Post
    Hey Mike,

    Long tine admirer of your photos and this thread. It has taught me a lot. However, I wish to seek more wisdom. I love the sharpness and "pop," for a lack of better terms, on your photos. Especially the night time ones. The colors are so vibrant. I assume you used HDR for a lot of them. My questions is how do you achieve the sharpness of these. I am having a ton of trouble on that aspect with my photos. I don't know if it a focus issues, HDR merge issue, Pre-raw conversion sharpness issue, or even an exposure issue. Please see my photos below. The TL shot is HDR, but the TT shot is not. Both suffer, I feel, from a lack of sharpness. They don't seem to "pop." I think another issue I have is the color "bleeding/halo." Could you please enlighten me a bit. I know this might be huge topic requiring many tutorials. I have read through most of yours throughout the years; but, a few pointers, or a point in the right direct for research, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again Mike.



    That TOT photo is really cool. Such a dark and foreboding mood to it.
    With regards to sharpness, yes the majority of my night time photos are HDR.
    Sharpness begins with the lens and its optimum aperture. For most lenses, shooting between F/8 and F/11 will give you the sharpest images. For my night shooting I'm almost always around F/9 -F/11. If there is more depth to the image (things far in the distance) that I want to be in as much focus as possible I'll go to F/11. Once in a great while I'll go to F/16 because I want more starbursts on the lights but sharpness does suffer a little bit.
    My 50mm F/1.4 lens seems to be much sharper at F/2 than other wide open apertures.
    Another thing is to pick what part of the scene you want to be the sharpest focus and make sure you are right on it with a focus point. When I'm shooting night shots on a tripod, I actually go to Manual Focus and put the camera in Live View. Then, using the zoom (on the screen, not the lens) I zoom in as far as I possible can on the area that I want in focus and manually focus on that spot. In the shot of the right above of the couple watching the fireworks, I zoomed in on just the window of the castle to really dial in my focus.

    In terms of post processing, you're going to laugh but the last thing I do to my photos (other than putting my name on them) is in Photoscape. (the free program) My last step is usually to go to the drop down menu on the Bright,Color tab and to Contrast Enhancement - Low. Then I go to the Sharpen drop down and hit 4.
    The only problem with doing this in Photoscape is that it affects the entire image and will add noise to your sky. Most of the time I end up taking the sky from my -2 exposure image and layering into the image so it is very clean and I'm not worried about adding noise to it. Or, depending upon the image, like if it has nice white fluffy clouds and a pretty sky, I'll do my Contrast Enhancement and Sharpening and save that as a different image. Then I'll take the previous one that has a cleaner sky and layer that sky back into the one I sharpened. I know all of this could be done faster and easier in Photoshop but I do think that the sharpening tool in Photoscape works much better with less noise than Photoshop does.

    Hope that helps.
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  2. #2327

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Sauce 1 View Post
    That TOT photo is really cool. Such a dark and foreboding mood to it.
    With regards to sharpness, yes the majority of my night time photos are HDR.
    Sharpness begins with the lens and its optimum aperture. For most lenses, shooting between F/8 and F/11 will give you the sharpest images. For my night shooting I'm almost always around F/9 -F/11. If there is more depth to the image (things far in the distance) that I want to be in as much focus as possible I'll go to F/11. Once in a great while I'll go to F/16 because I want more starbursts on the lights but sharpness does suffer a little bit.
    My 50mm F/1.4 lens seems to be much sharper at F/2 than other wide open apertures.
    Another thing is to pick what part of the scene you want to be the sharpest focus and make sure you are right on it with a focus point. When I'm shooting night shots on a tripod, I actually go to Manual Focus and put the camera in Live View. Then, using the zoom (on the screen, not the lens) I zoom in as far as I possible can on the area that I want in focus and manually focus on that spot. In the shot of the right above of the couple watching the fireworks, I zoomed in on just the window of the castle to really dial in my focus.

    In terms of post processing, you're going to laugh but the last thing I do to my photos (other than putting my name on them) is in Photoscape. (the free program) My last step is usually to go to the drop down menu on the Bright,Color tab and to Contrast Enhancement - Low. Then I go to the Sharpen drop down and hit 4.
    The only problem with doing this in Photoscape is that it affects the entire image and will add noise to your sky. Most of the time I end up taking the sky from my -2 exposure image and layering into the image so it is very clean and I'm not worried about adding noise to it. Or, depending upon the image, like if it has nice white fluffy clouds and a pretty sky, I'll do my Contrast Enhancement and Sharpening and save that as a different image. Then I'll take the previous one that has a cleaner sky and layer that sky back into the one I sharpened. I know all of this could be done faster and easier in Photoshop but I do think that the sharpening tool in Photoscape works much better with less noise than Photoshop does.

    Hope that helps.
    Thank Mike. That does really help. I have read about the live view technique, but I have never used it. My eyesight sucks, so admittedly, I have relied on auto focus too much. I think that is where my biggest problem is. 5d's MK II don't have the best autofocus--specially at night. I know there is a dial on the view finder to help correct eyesight issues, but I don't have much faith in it. I think it is too easy to accidently turn it, and you wouldn't know. I will be in the Parks, Nov. 9 and 10, so I will try your live view technique. Does ISO setting affect focus clarity like Aperture? I know ISO for noise and exposure.

    Any advice on colors bleeding--specially around the lights. I noticed on your photos, you have a nice clean edge around the lights. Is that an ISO, aperture, or shutter speed thing? My photos always seem to bleed or halo around lights.

    Thanks for the compliment on my ToT shot. It is one of my favorites. It actually wasn't HDR. I shout it at around noon, because I loved the clouds. I then processed the clouds and building separately and layered them. That brings me to one last question. Is there a trick to layer masking a sky when you have a lot of foreground stuff like tree leaves. It is so hard to mask the sky between the tree leaves. Your shots of the fireworks, castle, and hub really demonstrate that. Your sky is perfect between the leaves. I remember you saying you used the -2 image for the sky. Great way to keep that rich blackness and firework color contrast, but you would have had to mask between those leaves.

    Thanks again for the advise and knowledge. It is inspiring, and this stuff has got me motivated again. I was almost not even going to bring my camera on my next trip, but I quickly changed my mind after your response.

  3. #2328

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by llamaboy View Post
    Thank Mike. That does really help. I have read about the live view technique, but I have never used it. My eyesight sucks, so admittedly, I have relied on auto focus too much. I think that is where my biggest problem is. 5d's MK II don't have the best autofocus--specially at night. I know there is a dial on the view finder to help correct eyesight issues, but I don't have much faith in it. I think it is too easy to accidently turn it, and you wouldn't know. I will be in the Parks, Nov. 9 and 10, so I will try your live view technique. Does ISO setting affect focus clarity like Aperture? I know ISO for noise and exposure.

    Any advice on colors bleeding--specially around the lights. I noticed on your photos, you have a nice clean edge around the lights. Is that an ISO, aperture, or shutter speed thing? My photos always seem to bleed or halo around lights.

    Thanks for the compliment on my ToT shot. It is one of my favorites. It actually wasn't HDR. I shout it at around noon, because I loved the clouds. I then processed the clouds and building separately and layered them. That brings me to one last question. Is there a trick to layer masking a sky when you have a lot of foreground stuff like tree leaves. It is so hard to mask the sky between the tree leaves. Your shots of the fireworks, castle, and hub really demonstrate that. Your sky is perfect between the leaves. I remember you saying you used the -2 image for the sky. Great way to keep that rich blackness and firework color contrast, but you would have had to mask between those leaves.

    Thanks again for the advise and knowledge. It is inspiring, and this stuff has got me motivated again. I was almost not even going to bring my camera on my next trip, but I quickly changed my mind after your response.
    I know the feeling. My eyesight sucks too and I never remember to bring my reading glasses with me. Every time I have to do the live view focusing I have to ask my wife if it is in focus or not.

    ISO will not affect the sharpness or the focusing of an image. Unless you go up to a super high ISO that will create a bunch of noise in the image, it won't affect sharpness of the overall image.

    With regards to colors bleeding around the lights, the quality of the lens makes a big difference. High quality glass will really help. I "believe" that a large aperture, like F/2.8 will make the lights bigger and might give more opportunity to create some bleeding effects. Using a smaller aperture like F/11 might help. When I say a large aperture makes the lights bigger, the example of that would be fireworks. If you shoot fireworks with a large aperture, the streaks will be thicker. If you shot them at say F/22, they would be very thin.

    My photos might be fooling you in that manner. For the vast majority of my night time photos, I will process the HDR image, then I take the -2 exposure and paint over the lights so they aren't blown out. I use a huge soft edge brush and include the area around the light to tone it down too.

    For those Partners Statue fireworks shots, I spent HOURS painting in the sky between all the leaves in the trees. The reason I did that was because I had close to 20 different fireworks bursts along with several different poses for my friends. Once I spent all that time creating the layer mask, all I had to do was swap out the fireworks with just a few clicks of the mouse.
    The first image might have taken me about 6 hours but the other 20 only took about 30 minutes combined.

    If you have other questions before you go, don't hesitate to ask.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  4. #2329

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    And here's a few more pretties...
    Warm Light... by Ring of Fire Hot Sauce 1, on Flickr

    This one I thought was pretty interesting. I've shot this scene at least a hundred times but when I saw the streams of light and shadow created by the cloud, I had to take advantage of them. I was using a wide angle lens so the distortion caused the building to lean a bit. I originally fixed the distortion using the Adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop but then it lost the effect as if Heaven was reaching down and pulling on the building so I left it the way it was.
    The Pull of Heaven... by Ring of Fire Hot Sauce 1, on Flickr
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  5. #2330

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I actually like the distortion it adds character to the image plus I love the lighting effect

  6. #2331

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Sauce 1 View Post
    I know the feeling. My eyesight sucks too and I never remember to bring my reading glasses with me. Every time I have to do the live view focusing I have to ask my wife if it is in focus or not.

    ISO will not affect the sharpness or the focusing of an image. Unless you go up to a super high ISO that will create a bunch of noise in the image, it won't affect sharpness of the overall image.

    With regards to colors bleeding around the lights, the quality of the lens makes a big difference. High quality glass will really help. I "believe" that a large aperture, like F/2.8 will make the lights bigger and might give more opportunity to create some bleeding effects. Using a smaller aperture like F/11 might help. When I say a large aperture makes the lights bigger, the example of that would be fireworks. If you shoot fireworks with a large aperture, the streaks will be thicker. If you shot them at say F/22, they would be very thin.

    My photos might be fooling you in that manner. For the vast majority of my night time photos, I will process the HDR image, then I take the -2 exposure and paint over the lights so they aren't blown out. I use a huge soft edge brush and include the area around the light to tone it down too.

    For those Partners Statue fireworks shots, I spent HOURS painting in the sky between all the leaves in the trees. The reason I did that was because I had close to 20 different fireworks bursts along with several different poses for my friends. Once I spent all that time creating the layer mask, all I had to do was swap out the fireworks with just a few clicks of the mouse.
    The first image might have taken me about 6 hours but the other 20 only took about 30 minutes combined.

    If you have other questions before you go, don't hesitate to ask.
    Great stuff. Thx again Mike for taking the time to answer questions.

  7. #2332

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by llamaboy View Post
    Hey Mike,

    Long tine admirer of your photos and this thread. It has taught me a lot. However, I wish to seek more wisdom. I love the sharpness and "pop," for a lack of better terms, on your photos. Especially the night time ones. The colors are so vibrant. I assume you used HDR for a lot of them. My questions is how do you achieve the sharpness of these. I am having a ton of trouble on that aspect with my photos. I don't know if it a focus issues, HDR merge issue, Pre-raw conversion sharpness issue, or even an exposure issue. Please see my photos below. The TL shot is HDR, but the TT shot is not. Both suffer, I feel, from a lack of sharpness. They don't seem to "pop." I think another issue I have is the color "bleeding/halo." Could you please enlighten me a bit. I know this might be huge topic requiring many tutorials. I have read through most of yours throughout the years; but, a few pointers, or a point in the right direct for research, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again Mike.



    I really like the tower shot. You need to add some lightening bolts. Just kidding.:-) The first shot is good except I don't like the sky. Not sure how I would fix it but it just doesn't do anything for me. I have that same sky in some of my shots and I'm always trying to figure out how to change the mucky brown color. But that's just me.

  8. #2333

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Here is one of mine. It's a little busy but I like the depth of the colors. Let me know what you think. I replaced LA's flat lifeless sky with another. This seems to create a halo effect around the trees but in reality in the original image the tips of the branches were gray just as they are in this image so they disappeared against the original gray sky. But when I replaced that sky with a blue one they popped out.

    Name:  Waterfall HDR Blue Sky 2 resize.jpg
Views: 613
Size:  216.0 KB

  9. #2334

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I seem to remember on a site, whether here or on another disney photography site where someone posted amazing pictures from a balcony at the Grand looking toward DCA.

    Could someone remind me where this picture spot is at the Grand and if you need to be a guest/permission to reach that spot or if that area is open to the public?

    Thanks
    Last edited by mpabis525; 11-06-2013 at 02:14 PM. Reason: Error

  10. #2335

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    This is on the 6th floor and you do have to have a key card to access. (Or if you just follow someone who is going up there they will probably just hold the door open for you, however people may only go there to watch World of Color.)

  11. #2336

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by AmPhotog View Post
    I really like the tower shot. You need to add some lightening bolts. Just kidding.:-) The first shot is good except I don't like the sky. Not sure how I would fix it but it just doesn't do anything for me. I have that same sky in some of my shots and I'm always trying to figure out how to change the mucky brown color. But that's just me.
    Thank you! I actually had the same thought as you about adding lighting bolts. LOL.

    The TL shot was taken at like 12:30 a.m. after closing. I used a graduated filter during post processing to add some life to the sky. I know it is not realistic, but I think it is fun.

  12. #2337

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by AmPhotog View Post
    Here is one of mine. It's a little busy but I like the depth of the colors. Let me know what you think. I replaced LA's flat lifeless sky with another. This seems to create a halo effect around the trees but in reality in the original image the tips of the branches were gray just as they are in this image so they disappeared against the original gray sky. But when I replaced that sky with a blue one they popped out.

    Name:  Waterfall HDR Blue Sky 2 resize.jpg
Views: 613
Size:  216.0 KB
    I'd stick with the original sky. It's very clear that the sky was replaced here, and even if it were done perfectly, I don't think it'd add anything to the scene. This shot isn't about the sky, but the replaced sky is distracting.

    You have a nicely composed base photo here. I'd stick with just that.

  13. #2338

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Such an inspiring thread. Got me all fired up for my trip next week. I'll be bringing my D7000. 17-55mm/2.8, 70-300mm VR and my trusty 50mm/1.8. Hope to get shots HALF as good as the ones I've seen here. Thanks again for all you efforts!

  14. #2339

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by seedubxj View Post
    Such an inspiring thread. Got me all fired up for my trip next week. I'll be bringing my D7000. 17-55mm/2.8, 70-300mm VR and my trusty 50mm/1.8. Hope to get shots HALF as good as the ones I've seen here. Thanks again for all you efforts!
    Thank you for the kind words. I'm sorry I haven't done anything new in quite a while. I've been working til after 2 am almost every night and haven't had the energy or time for it.

    When you get back from your trip, please post some of your photos and if possible, mention anything that you learned from this column and how it might have helped. Also, if you had questions on something, let me know. I'm always interested to see how something might have worked, or didn't work.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  15. #2340

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Please don't let this thread die! I would miss it far too much.

    ^Art by me!
    Check out my
    Flickr page for a selection of my Disneyland Resort photography (and more)! {new photos 4.19.15}
    You can purchase a selection of my photos as well as clothing and stickers designed by me at my RedBubble page.
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