Month: April 2014

Loose Woman

Loose Woman

I enjoy photographing events and sometimes get to photograph celebrities. This is author, Sandra Cisneros, signing one of her books after giving a presentation to the Pueblo Library District. The book is a collection of poetry entitled “Loose Woman.”

One of the things I enjoy about event photography is the challenge of difficult lighting conditions. This shoot was especially challenging because they turned off the lights and the room had two glass walls.

I made basic, curve, noise and chromatic aberration adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw.

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Halloween is Best Spent Hunting Ghosts

Halloween is Best Spent Hunting Ghosts

I took this picture from the balcony of the main hall in the Elk’s lodge in Cripple Creek during a Halloween party on Oct. 31, 2009. We were invited there by the Elks to talk to people about ghost hunting. The balcony was of special interest since there had been reports of an apparition pacing back and forth between the seats during events when the building was full of guests.

Imagine yourself sitting in this room in the dark on a ghost hunt, anticipating some paranormal activity, when a light comes on in the hallway just outside the balcony. That’s what happened to me during an EVP session with my nephew and a few other people. We weren’t freaked out at first because we just thought it was someone from our group roaming around. We found out later that no one was in that section of the building and others had reported seeing the same thing on previous occasions.

One of the best pieces of paranormal evidence I’ve ever seen came from this location. Two of our guys were scouting out the place for an upcoming investigation and set up a video camera just in case something happened. In the video they captured, you hear a drawn-out moan, then you see a shadow move across a doorway when no one was around.

There are guest rooms upstairs that are also very interesting. One of our investigators was compelled to stand in one of the closets with the door closed during an EVP session. After being in there a few minutes, he sprang out after a hand touched his shoulder.

I made some basic adjustments to the image in Adobe Camera Raw and reduced the noise. Unfortunately the fuzzy figures in the bottom left are not ghosts, just the result of movement and a long exposure. Oh yeah, and the guy in the bib overalls is a dummy (mannequin that is, not a stupid person).

Fanny Fister

Fanny Fister

This is Tiffany, aka Fanny Fister, #000. This photo was taken during my very first roller derby bout. You’ll notice that I didn’t choose an action shot. That’s because most of them were blurry since I didn’t know what I needed to do with my camera to get good images. I have learned a lot since then,

I like this shot because of the emotion it shows. I did find all the people in the background very distracting, so after performing adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw I cut Tiffany out from the background with the help of the Quick Selection Tool, copied her onto a new layer and then used the Field Blur filter at full tilt to blur the background.

The Path to Solitary Confinement

The Path to Solitary Confinement

This photo was taken during one of many paranormal investigations at the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum in Cripple Creek. This is the upper level hallway in the main cell area. The solitary confinement cell is at the end on the right. A lot of paranormal activity has been documented in that cell, including numerous EVPs, generated by a permanent resident referred to as “Joe.” I recall on one occasion feeling a cool breeze enter the cell during an EVP session.

I edited this photo mostly in Adobe Camera Raw. The only thing I did in Photoshop was to ad an exposure adjustment layer. I performed basic adjustments in ACR first, then used the lens correction tools to fix the distortion. I also used the HSL tab to convert to black and white and added grain for a more spooky look in the effects tab.

Alas, Poor Yorick

Alas, Poor Yorick

This is Yorick. He is a foam skull I bought as a prop from a Halloween store for the cemetery shoot with Tina (https://michaeljpach.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/halloweena/). I took photos of him and the other fake bones I bought to make graphics for a slideshow I made with Tina’s images.

I did some basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and then cleaned up some blemishes with the Clone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop. I then cut out the background and placed Yorick on top of a moon photo I got from http://www.nasa.gov to create the graphic. I turned the opacity down to 70% on Yorick’s image so some of the details of the moon would show through.

Here is a link to the slideshow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1_BidCNpJA

Where is This?

Where is This?

Today’s first lesson boys and girls is to make sure you tag your photos with the location they were taken before you forget. If anyone knows where this is, let me know.

Our second lesson is how to polish a turd with Photoshop. The bottom image is the original. As you can see, it doesn’t look so hot mostly because there was a lot of haze in the air from forest fires.

I did all of the editing in Adobe Camera Raw. I started with basic adjustments and then worked with HSL to bring out the color in the trees and the sky. I also used the tone curve to tweak the contrast a bit.

Halloweena

Halloweena

This is Tina, and her roller derby name is “Halloweena” because Halloween is her favorite holiday. With a name like that, I said we have to do a shoot at a grave yard. So off we went to Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek. I bought some skulls and bones from a Halloween store to use as props.

So here we are wandering around a cemetery, carrying a bag of fake bones. I was worried that someone would call the cops on us and accuse us of grave robbing. Fortunately that didn’t happen, and most visitors kept their distance from us. Gee, I wonder why.

I had a hard time selecting just one shot from this folder to call my photo of the day, so I picked two. There are a lot of others I like from the cemetery shoot as well as ones I got while we wandered the streets of Cripple Creek later. I figured I would choose the ones with the best stories.

The top photo is one of the first I took once we got to Mt. Pisgah. I liked the wooden headstone shaped as a cross. Notice the leg bones in her skates. Clever, eh?

I did some basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and added a black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop. I then used the Color Range tool to select the flower petals and exported the selection as a new layer with a mask. I worked with the mask to add the cross, the center of the flowers and her skate wheels. A hue/saturation adjustment allowed me to darken the surrounding headstones.

As we wandered aimlessly through the cemetery, we stumbled onto Pearl DeVere’s grave and set up the bottom shot. Pearl is one of Cripple Creek’s most famous residents, and people leave gifts for her. It was pure luck that we found her grave, almost as if we were drawn there.

I used a similar editing method with this image, working with the color range to select the leaves in the background and working with masks, hue/saturation and black and white adjustment layers. I also used the burn tool to darken the letters on the headstone.

Cheryl

Cheryl

This photo was taken during one of my photography classes as I taught my students how to paint with light. Cheryl decided to “write” her name with my spotlight.

I used Adobe Camera Raw to make basic adjustments and desaturate all of the colors except for red and orange. I also used the lens correction tool to remove most of the distortion. I applied an exposure adjustment layer in Photoshop to add a little more pop.

Visa

Visa

This is Visa (pronounced with a long I sound). We wandered into Manitou Springs to get some portraits of her. This photo was taken in front of the library.

I like the shot, but I didn’t like all of the distracting elements in the background, so I created a new one with the Clone Stamp. I also used the Burn Tool to reduce the highlights on the sidewalk and street. I used Adobe Camera Raw to make basic adjustments, reduce the highlights on the yellow flowers in the HSL tab and add a vignette.

Just Tina

Just Tina

This is Tina during our first shoot together, and this is still one of my favorite shots of her. She models for my portrait classes, and we have been working together since September of 2009. She’s also a roller-derby girl who introduced me to the world of derby. Her nickname is Halloweena.

I used a backdrop light with a red gel to create the rim lighting.

I did some basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and used the Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp and Burn Tool to clean things up in Photoshop.