To retouch or not retouch

A few years ago we found ourselves in the hiiltop town of Monteriggioni about 20 minutes north of Siena. It was late in the afternoon and there was a view through the Eastern gate looking out across the Tuscan countryside that just had to be photographed.

When I saw the shots on screen I was disappointed. In some shots the gate surround was almost black and the shot lacked colour and contrast. In others, when the exposure was long enough to show the gate surround the countryside beyond was over exposed. The obvious thing was to load the shots into Photoshop and do some work. Which is what happened.

One of the great things about digital cameras is that they store a huge amount of the detail lurking in dark areas of a shot. The area may look black but with a little coaxing the detail can be brought out. Usually without affecting the exposure in the rest of the shot. This is what I did along with increasing the contract and saturation in the shot.

I guess the test of the finished shot is whether it represents the scene as I remembered it at the time? And yes it does.

 

 

Aaahhh … Positano

Positano from the seaRegular readers will know that Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of our favourite places to visit. We’ve taken many picture of the view from the village looking out to sea and of the village from the beach, but it’s not often that we venture onto the water and see the village from the sea.

Good news though – it still looks great.

This picture is actually from a few years ago when we were returning from a day tour along the coast. Thanks to Gennaro and Salvatore’s boat hire for many great days on, and in, the water. As I look at the photo I can still hear Capitano Salvatore singing as we make our way home at the end of the day. Multo bene.

Echos of summer in Toscana

After the PoolFor the northern summer of 2011 our life consisted of doing very little – but doing it very well. On the fine sunny days – pretty much every day between May and October – we spent time at our villa pool.

And after a hard afternoons sunning and swimming it was a short walk back to the cottage for a G &T, a beer and some time to recover from the stress of the day.

 

It’s been a while since a puppy shot has featured

This morning young Bella quietly disappeared upstairs. Time passed and, as often happens, we suspected she was up to no good – but it turned out to be the opposite. She was curled up on the bed, on our pillows, asleep.

So not only was she rudely woken up but she then had a camera shoved in her face.  What does a girl have to do for a good sleep around our place?

Colourising old photos

I’ve been playing around with colourising old black and white photographs using Photoshop. The technique is quite simple – if a little time consuming – and makes use of various blend modes to overlay colour on black and white while retaining the detail of the photograph.

Rather than trying to mimic a colour photo, the technique replicates the days when colour photos were simply black and white prints that had been hand coloured. Part of the fun is selecting the colours for clothes, backgrounds and the like. There is no reference colours so it’s all up to the imagination.

Below are a few examples of what can be done – using shots of various members of the family – well mainly me from many years ago.