Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Steam Rally and Post Processing!

On Sunday I took my boys along to the Deeside Steam and Vintage Rally at Milton of Crathes. Seemed like a good opportunity to take some photos... Now I normally favour landscapes and more wild environments, however, all the colourful steam engines were too good to miss.

The show ground was very busy, and the weather was reasonably bright, with the sun making a few appearances throughout the day.

This seems like a good opportunity to start talking about software and post processing photos. Now I will not claim to be an expert in this field, however, I have played around with Photoshop and several other photo-editing packages on and off for many years. We use Photoshop at work and I know enough about it to muddle through some minor edits with it. On my personal computer, I have been using Serif PhotoPlus for many years. It may not be the professionals choice, but I have found it covers everything that 99% of people could possibly need.

With the following photos, I will give both the unedited photo, straight from the camera and the finished image that I have tidied up and adjusted to improve the final look.

I took quite a few photos on the day. These are my favourites.  Camera: Nikon D3300 with 18-55mm lens. Post Processed in Serif PhotoPlus X8

First up we have a nice crisp miniature steam engine. The gorgeous red colour really stood out on the green grass. The photo straight from the camera was OK, but it was a little washed out, so I played around with the Levels and also the contrast. It gave the final version a lot more punch! I also cropped the image, just a little, to try to remove some of the uninteresting background. The engine was attached to a trailer, and I tried to crop as much of it as possible. I may go back later on and remove the trailer completely with the Clone Tool (see the last photo in this set).

This next couple of photos share some similar aspects. The layout of each photo is virtually the same, with the gravel in the foreground and trees and sky in the background. There was also quite a lot of steam/smoke around too. The first one was pretty good straight from the camera. I gave it a slight crop, adjusted the levels a little and the used Dodge and Burn around the foreground and background to emphasize the steam engine.

I did much the same with this one although I think I may have overdone the Dodge and Burn a bit...

This row of vintage cars was in amongst a tightly packed section, and it was also very busy, with people walking around. As such, it was very difficult to get a good shot of the cars without too much distraction. The photo turned out pretty well and only needed a minor crop and a little tweaking of the colours.

The final photo is of a small steam train that runs alongside the showground. The colours were pretty good and just needed a little brightening up. I did crop the image quite a bit, removing the station house and then used the Clone Tool to remove the small table on the platform.

 I am reasonably happy with these photos, and as they were all taken while simply wandering around with my boys, I don't think they are half bad. I do look forward to visiting a location by myself, so that I can really experiment and take my time preparing the shots.

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