Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Photo Editing Tutorial 1: The Path


The Path


The Path (Unedited)




All photos, even a regular photo of a not-too-glamorous scene can benefit from a little editing.

First of all, let us get one thing straight: All photos are processed. A camera sensor captures light which comes through a lens of a certain specification. This data from the sensor is processed by the camera hardware chip. This data is then further processed by the Camera software. This is the ‘RAW' photo state and some cameras can save it. If the output is JPEG or other such formats then this RAW photo data is further processed and then saved as a JPEG. Now, different lenses have different specification. Different sensors have different hardware and different cameras have different camera software. So what you get finally is a result of all this variable processing. And this still may not be what you saw!

What you see with your eyes (and interpreted by your brain) gives you a ‘feeling' about the frame. This feeling is what we want to communicate with others. We can do this via multiple mediums, a photograph is one of which. The photograph has to represent what we ‘saw'. There is often a gap between what we ‘saw' and what the output photo from your camera is. Editing is the mechanism of trying to bridge this gap.

“50% of the creative process occurred in the Dark Room” said Ansel Adams.

For us today, the darkroom is digital.

Let us see what we did to this particular photo. The editing was done on an Android phone using Snapseed software.



On observing the photo we find that the contrast is high. The sky is blown out with less detail. The foliate and grass are darker. In real life, it was a rainy overcast day. The sky was dark and set the mood. The toplight was enough to make the grass shine a very bright and fresh green. The overall feel was not so contrasty and stark. So we want to lower the contrast of this photo, darken the sky and lighten the grass. This kind of adjustment can be done using the HDR tool.

So in the first step, we apply the ‘HDR filter' with the ‘Nature' template. This usually results in the photo looking too artificial and dramatic to my taste. So after applying this filter we go to ‘view edits' and open the HDR edit in brush mode. Here we apply a mask of varying intensity. The sky benefits the most from the HDR filter as usually, the phone sensors are unable to differentiate between the different tones of the sky as they are all very close to each other in the high key. i.e. they are all similarly bright so the sensor captures them flat. HDR can also benefit in bringing out some shadows. Its effect on the mid-tones needs to be controlled, though.





The result has a better balance between the sky and the path.



Since the path is our central element we enhance its tonal contrast using the ‘Tonal Contrast' filter.



Finally, we use the ‘Selective' tool to increase some local contrast to bring out the foliage. This is done by selectively reducing or increasing the brightness, contrast and structure of the selection.



That's it. Thank you. Hope this was useful.

In Part 2 we will talk about tonality, light, shadow and other such weird things.


Monday, July 01, 2019

Old sketches


Jivdhan and Nanacha Angtha

These must be from the 90's - perhaps 95. I was unwell at that time and used to dream of the mountains. The Sahyadris haunt me as nothing else. I yearn to experience the romance of the mountain fastness again. so so so much...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Solapur


Ani

After a long long time, we visited Solapur. During school years we used to visit every summer vacation. It was my mother's 'maher'.  My grandparents used to wait for us. So many cousins used to come together. We used to have a blast of a time. So much fun.  As we may have it, my wife's mother is also from Solapur. She spent her childhood summer vacation in Solapur too.  Hardly a kilometre from my grandparents' place. But we didn't know each other then.

Solapur has not changed much. My cousin Aniket was also in town from Bangalore. We went to eat mutton sheek at painter chowk. You dont get similar sheek anywhere else.  We got a little spiritual and at sheek sitting on the floor of the shack.  Next day we visited Akkalkot math.  In the evening we went to visit the farm of my mami's friend. Nanu enjoyed playing in the mud. It was such a pleasant experience - walking the farm.  How we city dwellers miss nature.



Mutton sheek at Painter chowk



Akkalkot: waiting for prasad




Swami Samarth




Akkalkot prasad. I was a great experience.


Farm






















Nanu enjoying playing in the mud.








Bhakri


Lakshmi Narayan


Pav Chatni




Punekar Kamthe.  I have had sugarcane juice here since I was a kid.




Thursday, May 30, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Across the valley



“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
— Isaac Asimov


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Me



“This above all; to thine own self be true.”
— William Shakespeare


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Flower



“Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.”
– Bertrand Russell

Friday, January 11, 2019

A good start

Photo by Sagar Kapatkar

One fine Thursday we went to Lonavala on the bikes. A good start to the year.



Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018



A quiet year comes to an end. Slow motion towards the future. Watching the daughter grow.

Serious Observations of a Funny World

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Just, via Malshej


A brilliant morning sun.

I was in Kalyan. The master had requested me to drive her to Kalyan in the “Hexa gadi”. So I complied. We have to comply with the master's wishes. The wife was happy. The master was happy. I was happy. We decided to take the picturesque route. The old NH-4 was chosen. The nice tar road made the journey buttery smooth. The new car is a lot of happy. From Chowk we turned towards Karjat. The road was almost non-existent. At the usual junction, we had the bhaji-pav at the Thackrey hotel. It was almost dark. We debated heading towards Kalyan via Murbad or Via Neral. The Murbad road was almost a 100km/30 minutes longer. So we chose the Neral way. Again the road was in very bad condition. Passing through the once remote hinterland of Vangani, Neral, Badlapur we headed towards the industrial towns of Ambernath, Ullhasnagar. I was a novel journey. The master was gracious and did not demand any attention. Just at the entry to Kalyan, we got stuck in a Jam of about 45 minutes. Man made. Greedy man-made, rather.

Returning to Pune on the 11th via the usual route seemed boring. The new car had been whispering Malshej to me for a while now. The Sasurji, being very enthusiastic of travel, decided to join me. So come early morning, together, we headed east.

The air was crisp. The road nice. It was a beautiful drive towards and up the mountains. This road has memories for me. Long ago (about 15 years) I had travelled this road on my first long-distance bike ride. Almost 350km that day from Dadar to waterfall to Malshej back to Dadar. It had been an adventure.

Our plan was to head towards Junnar and visit the Shivneri fort. Nearing Junnar we saw a board point to Lenyadri Ganpati. So we changed direction and headed that way. The Ganpati has been established in one of the ancient Buddhist caves up the hillside. The cave complex dates from 300 BCE to 300 AD. It was a nice climb. Once down we had some local limbu sherbat and very tasty missal.

The sun had already climbed to it's zenith. So we decided to head to Pune. The Nashik highway is poor. Still undivided and passing through towns which have grown massively in the last decade. There was traffic all around. After the arduous journey, we reached Pune. Travelled the new route from Bhosari - Sanghvi - Wakad.

And then home. Small adventures of the curious travellers.


Harischandragad Range




The Malshej Ghat mandir


Chai






Lenyadri Cave Complex





The large rectangular cave is the home to the Ganapati murty from antiquity.


A tasty missal