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  1. #721

    • my favorite sociopath
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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Dude, I don't know if it legal, but you should publish a book out of this thread of your. IT'S TRULY AWESOME!!

  2. #722

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by NemoVir View Post
    Dude, I don't know if it legal, but you should publish a book out of this thread of your. IT'S TRULY AWESOME!!
    Thank you very much for the kind words and vote of confidence. I still feel like I have a lot of improving to do before I tackle something like that, but the thought is there.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  3. #723

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    12-5-10
    Todayís ďDisneyland Photo Tip of the DayĒ continues our discussion about the new Photoshop Elements 9 and some of its new features. Today we do a quick tour through a great new feature called Perfect Portrait.

    Letís use this photo of Silver Mist that I took a few weeks ago on the Photo Meet.


    First, weíll open it up in Photoshop Elements 9.


    On the right hand side of the screen is the Edit menu. Click on the Guided tab.


    Near the bottom of the Guided tab is Perfect Portrait, which gives you this menu. (this is only the top part of it.)


    Use the Magnifying Glass symbol on the top left toolbar and zoom in on the face.


    All of the tools in the Perfect Portrait feature are laid out in a top to bottom functionality, so you just work your way down the menu. First is the Apply Smart Blur tool. This is used to smooth the appearance of the skin and give it a softer smoother look. When you click on Smart Blur it brings up this window that shows you a small area of the face and allows you to see the amount of blur you are adding to the image. The Radius controls the size of the blurred pixels. I went to 3.6 because any more than that makes it too blurry for my liking. I set the Threshold at 35.2 because it seemed to look the smoothest. Iím not sure exactly what the Threshold is supposed to do, but it seems to control the smoothness of the edges of the blurred pixels. (I think) I set the Quality to High and the Mode to Normal.


    You can see now that the entire picture is a little bit blurry.


    The next step is to click the Reveal Original button which will undo the blur that you just put on. Then you click the Blur Brush button which will give you a small brush that you just brush over the face, but NOT the eyes or lips. Now you will have a clear photo with just the blur over the skin on the face.


    Next is the Increase Contrast button which increases the clarity of the image a little bit.


    The next set of tools is the Enhance Facial Features tools.


    First is the Spot Healing Brush which gives you a small brush that you just click on any unwanted blemishes such as the one on the side of her nose. I also removed a few freckles and the little piece of glitter on her cheek. As much as I like the glitter on her face, one piece of it was just distracting.


    Next is the Brighten Eyes tool. It is used to whiten eyes and make them a bit brighter. The key to using this tool is to use a small brush and go over the whites first. The more you go over them, the whiter they will get. The same goes for the iris. The more you go over it, the brighter it gets. You only want to go over it once or it looks kind of freaky.


    Next is a Burn Tool which lets you darken eyebrows or cover up unwanted bits of gray hair. You just use brush over them once or twice and the eyebrows are picture perfect.


    There is also a Red Eye Removal tool if you need it. This photo didnít have that problem, so I skipped over that button.

    The next tool is the Whiten Teeth button. You use this one to highlight the teeth and it automatically whitens them. When done, on the top of the page click on Select Ė Deselect and it takes the line off the teeth.


    Here is what she looks like after the touch ups.


    And here is the final image.


    Before & After


    There is also a Add Glow button that is supposed to add a Glamour Effect to the photo, but it looks terrible to me, so I havenít used it.

    Below that is a Slim button that is supposed to make your subject look slimmer. It only seems to make the image taller and narrower, and doesnít look very natural, so Iíve skipped it as well. (Also, it isnít like Silver Mist needs to look slimmer.

    So thatís your quick tour of Perfect Portrait in Photoshop Elements 9.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  4. #724

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    12-6-10
    Todayís ďDisneyland Photo Tip of the DayĒ touches on my previous posts about photographing Dark Rides. Iíve mentioned in those posts that you should set your camera to Continuous Shooting or Burst Mode depending upon your make of camera and take at least 3 pictures of whatever you are photographing. The reason you want to take several pictures very quickly is because it gives the camera more time to meter the light on the subject and focus accordingly. Even more importantly, you are staying on the subject longer which means that you have a much better chance of getting a sharp picture on the second or third shot. Iíve never really shown examples as to why you should do this, so here they are.

    I took these pictures during the Mice Chat Photo Meet when we rode Itís a Small World. Normally, whenever I go on a ride like IASW and plan on taking pictures I ask for the front row but I already have way, way too many photos of IASW and I knew that I was planning this lesson so I took a seat near the back of the boat. Since I couldnít photograph things as I was heading straight towards them, like I always say to do, I was forced to follow the subject with the camera and take several shots to make sure I got a good one. I also wanted the other guys on the meet to have a better chance at some good photos.

    I was using my new 50 mm F/1.4 lens, which easily gave me pretty sharp photos no matter what I did. Each of these different photos are in the order that I took them, ie; first, second, third. If you look closely, you can see that it is usually the second or third picture that is the sharpest. Itís digital anyway, so it pays to take lots of photos and have a choice of which one is the best. I havenít done any editing to them so you could see them as they came out of the camera.

    The third one seems just a touch sharper.




    I think the second one is actually the worst but the third is best.




    It's tough to tell on these but the ponies and the dancers in the background seem sharpest in #3.




    Here it is most evident in the mask on the left.



    It is very evident on these two photos.



    The concept of having your camera set to Continuous Shooting or Burst Mode works well for virtually anything you are photographing, especially children. Things can change so quickly, that it is often the photo you didnít intend to take that turns out being the best.

    Tomorrow I will delve further into the tips for photographing Itís a Small World.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  5. #725

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    With the photo of Silver Mist, I honestly like the Before photo much better.
    The second just looks fake. Personally, I don't like the airbrushed effect. She's perfectly pretty as-is, no need to make her look "perfect."
    But that's just my opinion.

    The photo itself is great, as are the Small World ones.
    I wish I had a lens that was capable of such a low f-stop. Lowest I can make my aperture is 3.5, I think. Doesn't make for very good photos in low-lighting conditions. :\

    Thanks again for sharing your awesome photos with us.

  6. #726

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I too like the before photo, she is stunning. However, the lesson is fantastic, thanks. I have several family photos from DL where almost all is perfect except, oh, I don't know, maybe a dusting of powdered sugar all over my sweatshirt, or on my face, hat, etc. Beignets are so tasty.
    They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #727

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
    With the photo of Silver Mist, I honestly like the Before photo much better.
    The second just looks fake. Personally, I don't like the airbrushed effect. She's perfectly pretty as-is, no need to make her look "perfect."
    But that's just my opinion.
    I agree, but what's great is that Hot Sauce gives people the tools to do it if that's their aesthetic

  8. #728

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
    With the photo of Silver Mist, I honestly like the Before photo much better.
    The second just looks fake. Personally, I don't like the airbrushed effect. She's perfectly pretty as-is, no need to make her look "perfect."
    But that's just my opinion.

    The photo itself is great, as are the Small World ones.
    I wish I had a lens that was capable of such a low f-stop. Lowest I can make my aperture is 3.5, I think. Doesn't make for very good photos in low-lighting conditions. :\

    Thanks again for sharing your awesome photos with us.
    Quote Originally Posted by chris001 View Post
    I too like the before photo, she is stunning. However, the lesson is fantastic, thanks. I have several family photos from DL where almost all is perfect except, oh, I don't know, maybe a dusting of powdered sugar all over my sweatshirt, or on my face, hat, etc. Beignets are so tasty.
    Quote Originally Posted by niklj View Post
    I agree, but what's great is that Hot Sauce gives people the tools to do it if that's their aesthetic
    I agree with all of you. That one is a bit exaggerated just to show what can be done with the program. I just forgot to mention that at the beginning. The one I keep in my screensaver is this one. I did the same processing on it, just a bit less.


    THANK YOU ALL for reading and for speaking up. It helps me more than you know.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  9. #729

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Thanks as always. You put so much and thought in to your "lessons". Always so many things to consider when shooting but the little things always make a big difference.

    Keep up the awesome work.
    The Mur
    ______________________________________________
    Two different worlds.....we live in two different worlds

  10. #730

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    12-7-10
    Todayís ďDisneyland Photo Tip of the DayĒ continues the discussions about Dark Rides with a little chat about Metering Modes.

    Metering Modes govern how your camera meters the light in a scene and help it determine how long the shutter should stay open as well as how high the ISO should be to properly expose an image.

    There are 4 Metering Modes on most digital cameras. Those 4 modes are:

    Evaluative Metering: This setting divides the viewfinder into 35 equal zones to determine the light from the entire scene, however it biases its reading from the position of the subject in the frame and by which Auto Focus Points are being used. This is the most common and functional mode for most shooting situations and is what the camera will automatically use when set in the Auto Modes like Portrait, Full Auto and Landscape.

    Spot Metering: This mode concentrates its reading from a small portion, approximately 4%, in the center of the viewfinder. Itís that little etched circle in the center of the viewfinder. This mode is great for portraits when you want to ensure the skin tones are properly exposed and when you are shooting backlit subjects against a dark background. It is considered a somewhat advanced mode to work with.

    Partial Metering: This mode focuses on about 9% of the center of the viewfinder and also works well for backlit subjects, high contrast subjects and when the background is much darker than the subject. Like Spot Metering, this mode assumes that the subject is in the center of the frame.

    Center Weighted Average: This setting bases its exposure calculations by metering the light from the center of the viewfinder, while evaluating the rest of the scene to get an average reading for the entire frame. This also assumes that the subject is in the center of the frame, as the name implies.

    I was curious as to which Metering Mode would be the best one to use in Dark Rides. I knew that Center Weighted Average and Partial Metering wouldnít be very good, so I used Evaluative and Spot Metering for my comparisons. I chose Itís a Small World for my test because it has a decent amount of light, the subjects can be close and far away and it is a long, slow ride that gave me time to change back and forth between modes.

    I used my 18-55 F/3.5-5.6 Kit Lens, set the camera to Aperture Priority and set the aperture as large as it would go for whatever I was photographing. I set the ISO to Auto so the camera could make decisions as it saw fit and I would be able to get a good idea of what the differences were between the two metering modes. Then all I had to do was pick my shot and scroll between the two modes for comparison.

    Below are some photos using Evaluative and Spot Metering. As you will see, it turned out that Evaluative was definitely the setting that works the best in Dark Rides.

    Spot Metering, ISO 1600, Aperture F/5.6, Shutter Speed 1/30


    Evaluative Metering, ISO 1600, Aperture F/5.6 Shutter Speed 1/8


    Evaluative, ISO 1250, Aperture F/4.5 Shutter Speed 1/40


    Spot, ISO 800, Aperture F/4.5, Shutter Speed 1/30


    So the next time you plan on shooting the dark rides or pretty much everything else in Disneyland, make sure you have your Metering Mode set to Evaluative.

    Source: Canon EOS Rebel Digital Field Guide by Charlotte K. Lowrie.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  11. #731

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I have to apologize to all of you because I won't be able to do a post for today. We are swamped here at work and the one I am working on is proving to take a lot more time than I expected it to. Hopefully I'll be able to get it done sometime late tonight.

    Thanks again for reading.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  12. #732

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    No need to apologize, thank you for all the time you dedicate to this thread.
    They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

  13. #733

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    12-10-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” continues the series of posts on Dark Ride photography with a visit to Haunted Mansion Holiday.

    I thought I had this post all figured out and was ready to go into the whole “It’s all about Large Aperture, Super High ISO, blah blah blah”. Then as I was going through the photos, I ran across some that I shot a year ago using my kit lens and one I took three years ago with my Point & Shoot camera and that kind of tossed my initial lesson plan out the window.

    Originally, my plan was to say that in order to get decent pictures inside a ride as dark as the Haunted Manson, it required using a 50mm F/1.8 lens and an ISO set at 12,800. Then a bunch of noise reduction, and a bunch of other editing and you would have good photos of the ride. In a sense, most of that is true because I couldn't have gotten most of these pictures without doing that, but to be honest, I’m not very happy with most of them.
























    Then I found these pictures that I took last year using my kit lens, when I had no idea that Aperture had anything to do with shutter speed or how most of the camera worked.
    These photos are taken with an Aperture between F/4 and F/5 with the ISO set at 6400. The shutter speeds ranged from 1/8 second to 1 second.














    I also found this picture that I took three years ago with my Point & Shoot camera, when I didn’t know anything about how cameras worked and just used the Auto setting for everything. At that time, about the only function I knew how to work was to turn the flash off. This had an Aperture of F/2.8 with the ISO at 400 and a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second. Granted it's not the greatest shot in the world, but it does show that it is possible to get moderately decent photos in Haunted Mansion with a P&S.


    I’ve mentioned in previous Dark Ride posts that if using a Point & Shoot camera, there are some fundamental principals on how those cameras work that can help in these types of situations. A P&S camera has the ability to change its aperture just like most non-prime lenses for DSLR cameras. When the lens is backed out all the way, (not zoomed at all) it sets a large aperture of F/2.8. As soon as you zoom in on something, it automatically lowers the aperture down as far as F/5.7 depending upon how far you zoom in. When the aperture goes down, it forces the camera to slow down the shutter speed which will most likely cause a blurry photo, or it raises the ISO causing more noise in the image.

    In low light situations such as a dark ride, the larger the aperture the better, so it pays to keep the camera backed out all the way and allow it to have as fast of a shutter speed as it can. The true success comes down to how still you can hold the camera and how well you can follow the subject without moving the camera.

    When it comes to using a DSLR, the same concepts hold true. Use the largest aperture possible, set your ISO as high as you can without causing more noise than you can remove and how well you can follow your subject and hold the camera still.

    No matter what type of camera you use, there is also the technique of hoping the ride stops somewhere that you want to photograph and just being ready to grab a picture if it does.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  14. #734

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    12-11-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” has nothing to do with technique or equipment and is all about just doing something fun. I’ll call it a Photographic Treasure Hunt. The next time you visit a Disney park, pick an object that you know appears in different locations throughout the park and hunt down those objects making sure you get a picture of every one of them.

    To illustrate this point, I chose the different Popcorn Cart Characters for this hunt. I have to be honest and say that I did not shoot all of these in the same day. I am usually so busy taking certain photos that I rarely make it into every land on the same day. One surprise of doing this hunt over a couple of trips is that I discovered the popcorn cart characters change depending upon the season and their location.

    Here are the ones that I have photographed thus far.
    Starting on Main St. we have the Turn of the Century Street Vendor


    Then in Fantasyland there is the Clown.


    I shot this one of the Mortician outside the Haunted Mansion on one day and the very next day, Oogie Boogie was in its place. For some reason, I got really excited that it had changed for me to photograph. I guess I’m weird that way.




    Also appropriate for their locations is The Rocketeer in Tomorrowland.


    And the Yeti in the spot adjacent to the Matterhorn.


    There is also this odd little guy from the popcorn cart in Toontown.


    I believe I’m missing one from Frontierland but I’m not sure. I guess I’ll have to take a trip to Disneyland just to find out.

    Another photo hunt my wife has been pursuing is to find and photograph every mailbox in Disneyland and DCA. The surprising benefit of hunting them all down is that we have discovered some really neat small details about the parks that we would have never seen if we weren’t looking for things we normally just walk past.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 12-12-2010 at 12:30 AM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  15. #735

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Have you thought about making a index post on the first page? I spent a while the other day paging thru looking for a certain photo of the day that had some information that I needed.


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