The Great Wheel

Just arrived in Yosemite Valley last night and was able to catch a few hours of sleep before getting up to shoot sunrise. You just can’t beat this place, everything is larger than life. Time to grab some coffee and head out to scout some sunset spots… Any suggestions?
The Shot
The Great Wheel in Seattle was just constructed this past summer & adds a great amount of light and color to the city skyline. I have yet to process many pics of this thing, but here is a fun & dynamic view of the wheel at night.

Wheelin' & Dealin'

Color Theory 101: Tips and Tricks

Have you ever wondered why some pictures look appealing while others look like a dull mush of colors? A lot of it has to do with the colors that are saturated & desaturated in your pictures.

Using a color wheel we can match colors that go together and others that clash. Using a Color Scheme Designer  it is easy to see what colors work and those that don’t. Recently I have started to use Adobe Kuler for all my color theory and design.

When starting to learn color theory I used these tools all the time for selectively saturating and de-saturating different colors in my pictures. Sometimes it is impossible to de-saturate a color, it just turns brown or looks like crap. In this case try darkening the color using a dodge/burn layer or a curves mask in Photoshop will keep it from standing out.

I use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:)
Here are a few more tricks that I use when processing:
For HDR photos I pick my color scheme while the pics are still in Lightroom 4 & RAW format. This is the best time to saturate and desaturate certain colors with optimum picture quality.
Seeing some tones in your pictures that are comply lifeless? Try using the Vibrance setting instead of saturation. In Photoshop I have some actions that allow me to make vibrance layers, that mask out the saturated areas. This allows me to “vibrance paint” the dead/dull colors only without over saturating everything else.
Color can also be used to portray mood & feeling throughout a picture so plan accordingly.
Let your picture pick the first color you are going to use for your scheme. If the picture is mostly blue saturate some yellows or oranges to compliment the over all color.
Closing notes:
Experiment as much as possible with different colors and how they work together, eventually you will no longer need the color wheel or scheme designer, but will find yourself knowing what to saturate and desaturate in your shots. This will increase the speed of your workflow as well as make post processing pictures much more enjoyable. It never hurts to pick complimenting colors when out shooting either, this makes it much easier to edit the picture later on.

Here are a few examples of pictures where I selectively applied color theory.

from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comRead the full blog post -->http://www.davemorrowphotography.com/2014/05/painted-in-sky-lost-lake-oregon.htmlI've been wanting to get up to Lost Lake to shoot the Milky Way for a while now. After a few failed attempts in the past with clouds covering the sky I finally got a few shots I liked this past weekend.There were intermittent clouds, so I waited and waited and waited until the Mount Hood ( approx 11,000 feet ) and the Milky Way were visible to click off my shutter.In this photo I really wanted to convey the soft light and color tones that the stars leave on the water and surrounding landscapes when there is not much ambient city light to ruin the scene. After standing there long enough, and letting your eyes adjust, the stars twinkle brightly in the water.Thoughts, critique and comments always welcome!This is a single exposure processed in Lightroom & Photoshop.from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comRead the full blog post here --> http://www.davemorrowphotography.com/2013/12/naiads-ghost-spirit-falls-washington.htmlPicture Lake Sunrise
Icelandic Fallsfrom www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
32 Hours & Countingread more about my adventures in Iceland at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
The Wind & The Door
Day Break

Lost in Iceland

Do any of you guys/gals use Reddit? I have been posting my star images on there lately and WOW, what a reaction. Granted most of them are hit and run but it’s still nice to see all those views:)
The Shot:
Driving to Vik is terrific and my favorite part of Iceland minus the West Fjords.  The coast was especially awesome in June because the Lupines are blooming and they light up the once green fields with blue. Some of the most amazing landscapes I have ever seen came on this long stretch of road, here is one of the shots I captured just after the sun dipped below the horizon around midnight.

The Final Product

Lost in Iceland

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:
Lightroom 4:
Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.

Photomatix:
Process 7 exposures in -3EV to 3 EV.

Photoshop 6:
-Blend Photomatix layer with 7 exposures -3EV to 3EV to bring out dynamic range.
-Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
-Saturation masks(to desaturate) & Vibrance masks(to saturate).
-Color Balance for small color adjustments in the sky.
-Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast 
-High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
-Nik Define for local denoise.
-Free transform to straighten the horizon.
-Final saturation painting on the lupines and desaturation on the road.
-Brighten the center line on the road with curves
-Save as Jpeg.
Before the Magic