My Final Book Project on the Three Editing Techniques I’ve learned 5-10-16

I did my final project for the Digital Photo Sketchbook course on the photo editing techniques I’ve learned from three different programs from Lightroom, to the Google Nik Collection, to Photoshop. I chose to present my final project in a book and have my book present photos that represent the editing techniques I’ve learned and some thoughts I had on experimenting with the three programs. I decided to use Shutterfly to create my book because when I bought my camcorder to use for one of the other courses I’m taking this semester, Best Buy offered me a deal where I can create and order a book from Shutterfly at a good price, so I thought I’d take advantage of the deal. This was my first time using Shutterfly so I had to experiment to see how it works and it does not really help me learn about the site when I had a limited amount of time to work on this project. What I’ve noticed from this book making site is that I’m given a choice to select a page style format and once I’ve selected that format, it doesn’t seem to give me as much options to customize the design of my pages as Blurb has done for my previous two books. I wanted to go with a pretty simple page design anyway with a white background for the main pages and a brown background for the cover, table of contents, and chapter introduction pages. I am also not sure if I can present a link to my book from Shutterfly to present to the class so I’m going to present the photos I included in my book on here so people can have viewing access to them in case I can’t provide access to my book. Some of those photos are from my previous projects I’ve done throughout this course that I’ve submitted onto this blog website before while some photos were never submitted on here until now. There are some photos I’ve done while I was making my book that I feel proud of making and I feel that I should share them with viewers who take their time to look through and follow my blogs.

Photos I’ve made using new techniques from Lightroom:


Split toning:

Dehaze, HDR and more:

Photos I’ve made using Color Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro from the Google Nik Collection:

Color Efex Pro:

Analog Efex Pro:

Silver Efex Pro:

More photos edited with the Google Nik Collection:

Photos edited with Photoshop:

More photos made using Lightroom’s new techniques, the Google Nik Collection and/or Photoshop:

I would like to make a book again, especially since I already have a summer project or two where I would have to make photo books, but if I’m going to use Shutterfly again, I would have to learn more about using the site to make a book. As for the three editing techniques I’ve learned, I think they really helped me improve my photography skills. I feel inspired to take at least some of my future photos and continue to work with the latest version of Lightroom, the Google Nik Collection and Photoshop.



My Top 10 Photos of the Digital Photo Sketchbook Semester 4-26-16

These are my top ten photos I came up with during the Digital Photo Sketchbook course this semester. I listed these photos in order of when I made them or when I made the series of photos they came from. (The first photo presented in this blog is not from any of the photo series projects I had to work in this course, but it was made when I practiced using the latest version of Lightroom near the beginning of this semester. I wanted to include this photo on here because I consider it to be one of the photos I feel very proud of making.)

My Outdoor Portrait Series at CSUSM 4-25-16


Last week during the Digital Photo Sketchbook course, we went out to take some outdoor portraits. After we took our outdoor portraits as we began to edit them, we were told to show the class some of the photos we came up with so far. I was amazed by a couple of photos that were done by a couple of my classmates and those photos  urged me to edit my own photos into really neat portraits as well. So, I continued to experiment with Photoshop by trying out some more adjustments the latest version has to offer. I also used the adjustments and features from Lightroom and Color Efex Pro to edit at least some of my portraits from the series. Out of the three programs I mainly used to edit not just these portraits, but pretty much all the photos I took  throughout this course, I feel that Photoshop gives me the most freedom and control on how I want to adjust my photos. The reason is that Photoshop contains plenty of adjustments to work with, the ability to use multiple layers to apply those adjustments, and the option to use layer masks that give me plenty of control on how and where I would like to make those adjustments. I also got to try out the HDR adjustment in Lightroom and see what it can do. When I tried this adjustment on one of my outdoor portraits (which is the seventh photo of the portraits featured in this blog), I took a copy I adjusted in Photoshop along with another copy or two without those adjustments and the result was that the photo ended up looking like a painting. I think that I would like to keep trying out the HDR adjustment and I would love to continue to work with Lightroom, Photoshop and at least work with Color Efex Pro from the Google Nik collection to make adjustments to my future photos. Whether I use one or two or all of the three programs would depend on which photo I feel works best with which one.

My Portrait Series for this week 4-19-16

For this week’s photography project, I first took portraits of one of my sister’s close friends inside my house. I then went out to meet with one of my close friends to take outdoor portraits of her as we went for a walk in her development. While I was assigned to take portraits, I had to look up a portrait photographer and I chose Cindy Sherman to be my inspiration for this project. I had my project focus on poses and props instead of make-up and costumes, but the main reason I chose Sherman for my inspiration was that when I was looking at her photos, I noticed that some of them have colorful backgrounds in various forms. This source of inspiration gave me the opportunity to try out the technique of incorporating edits from Photoshop into my photos like I’ve been wanting to do during the Digital Photo Sketchbook course. I got to work with the various filters and adjustments, create masks that give me control on where I would like to apply certain adjustments to, and use the blending option on how I want to blend those adjustments as I make them in multiple layers. However, the way I wanted to experiment with Photoshop was time consuming and I did not have much time to work on my series of portraits as of today, so I was only able to edit a few photos from my indoor portraits collection for this week. I would like to continue to edit this series of portraits I took, especially since I am going to dedicate one of the chapters in my final book project to the editing technique in Photoshop.

Landscape Panoramas 4-11-16

Last week, I had to take some photos of landscapes by capturing parts of the setting in multiple shots and putting those shots together in panoramas. First, I went back to the upcoming development where my family’s new house is being built. As my parents and I were driving around our new development, I found one street where the development must continue along and there was a streetlight looking at us from the end as it stood in front of the mountains. Like I’ve stated in the second part of my blog on my best outdoor photos at Cal State San Marcos, I enjoy seeing streetlights in serene landscapes, so I had to make a stop at that street to seize the opportunity to capture this gorgeous setting of the streetlight and mountains since its view may not last forever. With a limited amount of time I had to take landscape shots and create panoramas, I didn’t think I was going to find a lot of good places to come up with good landscape panoramas, but I thought of one of the parks in Temecula called Veterans Park off the intersection of La Serena Way and South General Kearny Rd and I was fortunate enough to make a trip there the next day. At the end of South General Kearny across from the park, there’s another streetlight in a serene landscape setting that looks down a road. It’s one of those fascinating streetlights in my hometown that’s featured in my Google Maps project I’ve also mentioned in the second part of the blog on my best outdoor photos. I originally planned to go to the park just to take a picture of the streetlight and its background setting, but when I got to the park, I discovered a trail further down South General Kearny Rd that takes me up a hill to where it overlooks La Serena. So, I decided to take a little hike up the trail to one spot where I can get a good view of the trail continuing ahead along with La Serena. I then went back down the trail and walked up to the park to take some direct shots of the streetlight looking down South General Kearny Rd. I’ve been wanting to get a photo of the streetlight pretty much since I took shots of the streetlights at Cal State San Marcos. When I was about to leave the park, my mom had the idea to go to the library on Pauba Rd to get shots of the views from both sides since the road is high up on a hill from Ynez to Margarita. I ended up taking shots of Pauba overlooking not Rancho Vista, but the opposite side where I could get a peek at the I-15. It was a challenge to get panoramic shots of the road without any cars driving by since it must’ve been a busy day at the library and there’s a Fire Station next door along with commercial buildings nearby at the Margarita intersection. Those trips to Veterans Park and the library on Pauba Rd really helped me come up with landscape panoramas without having to use the same settings as the ones from the Magic Hour and cellphone photos.

Outdoor Photos captured with a Mobile Phone 4-5-16

Last week for the Digital Photo Sketchbook course, I was assigned a project that allowed me to use a cellphone, or in my case, an iPhone, to capture a series of photographs. I chose to focus this cellphone photo series on outdoor photographs again and mainly dedicate the series to images of the sky during the hour of sunset and/or landscapes. When I was on break during my Digital Photo Sketchbook class just after this project was assigned, there was a formation of clouds with the sun shining its light in the opening of the formation. This neat looking cloud formation with the sun made me want grab my iPhone to capture it and motivated me to start this project right away. Along with the cloud formation, I ended up capturing another cloud formation during sunset with light shining through and landscapes that were either outside class at my university, outside my current house or at the site of my new house. As for using features that came with the camera programmed on my iPhone, the only feature I worked with was the setting on whether or not to shoot in HDR.

During the editing process of my photos, I was inspired by the images shown on the Mobile Masters video, a video on Vimeo that features artists such as Karen Divine who capture and/or create images using mobile devices, and decided to work with Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro from the Google Nik Collection. I wanted to experiment with many of the features Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro has to offer. I was told that the Google Nik Collection was free to download so I took advantage of this opportunity by installing the plug-ins onto my laptop although this was not my first time using those plug-ins. The other day after we presented our photographs of food, Prof. Small had the class try out the Google Nik plug-ins. I managed to create a couple of good photos where one was edited using Silver Efex Pro, one was made with Analog Efex Pro involved, while the rest was made with Color Efex Pro. When I was working on a couple of my photos using Color Efex Pro, the fact that my birthday is approaching was on my mind and it pretty much gave me the urge to use my favorite color red.

Overall, I thought that this project was a good experience. I came up with another photo that I consider to be a personal favorite of mine since the photo of the red plant at the San Diego Botanic Garden (which I’m using as a screensaver for my laptop). It’s the photo of a bunch of flowers where I used one of the Bi-Color filters to add tan and red onto the image. I believe that the photo would look nice in my future bedroom at my new home since the colors I added are part of my color scheme and I’m planning on painting my walls tan and red. I would work with Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro again and after reading the plans for next week on the course’s syllabus, I’m looking forward to editing some of the photos from this series using Photoshop. I would like to maybe incorporate some filters to make those photos feel like I’ve been using multiple types of art material that kind of remind me of the Visual Arts Fundamentals and/or Beginning Painting course I’ve taken a couple of semesters ago.

Anna Mia Davidson expresses her ideas through her photographs 3-29-16

During her lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photgraphy, Anna Mia Davidson tells her stories of her career in photography as she presents her photos. Davidson also shares her special moments she had in her life and how they not only had her develop her fascination with farming, but also had a huge influence in her work. This all leads to Davidson bringing up her idea on sustainable farming and explaining the benefits and some points to back up her idea. When Davidson was talking about choosing to go home and focus on what’s around her in her hometown, it had me go back to the part where she explains how the people in Cuba would make the best of what their lives had to offer. I also found that Davidson’s decision relates to this week’s project where we would have to take photos using our mobile phones as opposed to DSLR cameras and try to create a good use of what the photo taking feature has to offer. Davidson’s lecture also gives me an idea to incorporate landscapes into my series of photos for this cellphone project to express my appreciation for plants and trees as I’m thinking about focusing on outdoor photography again.