Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photography

Every time I go for a bike ride one of the essential items that I put in my jersey pocket is a small camera. I do this because I always come across something amazing to take a picture of while I’m riding. If you’re a cyclist you already know that at the speed of a bike you see things that you would never notice while driving a car. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

I’ve always wanted to take amazingly awesome pictures that inflict shock and awe on others but I’ve always fallen short. Here is the scenario that I run into. I’m out for a ride early on a Saturday morning on some deserted road and as I round a corner I spot some amazing scenery or something interesting that would make a great picture. I pull out my camera and snap a few pictures and go on my way. When I get home I always have grandiose expectations of how my pictures will turn out. 9 times out of 10 I’m disappointed with my pictures once I see them in full size on the computer because they don’t have the bright vivid colors of the original scene that I envisioned that they would have.

The other day I was reading through a blog that Jenny stumbled across (www.thepioneerwoman.com) that talked about how to make some simple adjustments to your photos using Photoshop Elements in order to bring out the vivid colors of your photos. After doing some research I found that Adobe offers a free trial of their software for 30 days so I downloaded Photoshop Elements to give it a test drive.

To be honest this software isn’t super user friendly but after doing some reading Jenny and I figured out how to spruce up our pictures with just a few clicks of the mouse. Just by making some simple changes with this software our pictures look a lot more like the original scene.

Here’s a before and after example of some Idaho cows that I took a picture of last summer. The after picture looks a lot more like the real setting in actual life. If Photoshop Elements can do this for Idaho cows I’m thinking it will do wonders for almost any picture. By the way, these cows only live 15 miles away from where the movie Napoleon Dynamite was filmed so they are practically famous.

Before
After

Now that I look at these pictures on the web you really can't see much of a difference but believe me when they are bigger the edited one looks a lot nicer. As you can tell, I’m sold on this software. I don’t think I’ll ever be a world class photographer but hopefully my pictures will be a lot more respectable. I’m seriously considering buying this software package.

3 comments:

Lizzylou said...

You don't need to buy it. Try using The GIMP. It's an open source program that you can download for free, and it can do most of the same things that photoshop can do.

I've never used it to prettify my pictures, but I like what you were able to do there. The sun peaking behind the mountains is really awesome.

Mike J said...

Lizzylou, thanks for the tip on GIMP software. I'll have to check that out. On another note, I've tried to leave comments on your blog lately but the system won't take them for some reason. Just thought I'd let you know.

Mike J

Lizzylou said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll give it a test.