following up on Trish's & Donna's comments on the last post... Here is my non-expert advice of what has worked for me...
I did subscribe to the photos shop suite... so I think I can also explore the other programs. :)
when I get the file into Photoshop with the raw file the first thing, beside making a copy, the one thing I learned in Photoshop is make a copy (which in the regular editor is make a new layer) is to set the white balance. This is easy to do with the little eye dropper icon on the upper right.
Then you want to sample different places on the image where there is some white so you get the right light. You can set this in the camera by setting the white balance in the shooting menu for the temperature of light -- lots of stuff on line about this -- but in raw files you can over reach any camera setting so - yay.
Another way to balance the dark/light, once you have made the changes in RAW is to use the histogram feature in regular Photoshop to balance the white dark ratio. This can be a big issue when shooting water colors. Notice I've moved the little triangle marker up to the right of the 'hill' in the histogram. :) Remember always make new layers!
I started to shoot outside and borrowed a better camera body - a Nikon d800. While the D700 gave decent results outside, the D800 was much more detailed. I knew I was on the right track.
So in short what I learned
- outside light - just one set of studio lights will not be enough.
good pixel resolution
50 mm lens (although I got good results on a zoom that went from 35mm to 80mm)
use a raw file in Photoshop before regular editing program.
* tip, I used the healing brush to clean up uneven edges in cropping, it seems not really possible to take a perfectly rectangular photo... :/
- I also found short of calibrating my monitor - I worked with the newest one in the house and then I looked at the final pictures on multiple screens.
However, I did find that the most recent shots, taken under cloudy skies in the afternoon had almost perfect color - I was shooting around f 5.6, 1/100 ISO 100
comment? Question? please leave a note.
I began this painting about two years ago from a photo of Taneum Creek which is near Thorp Washington. The first time was very gestural and came to a stop due to time and other issues. but it was a nice set of calligraphic marks. People liked it and it was in my living room/studio for two years.
Rethinking it - I notice the space - and the movement of the water - is what is interesting. The branches on the top are part of the foreground but behind them the space punches way back. Actually I didn't notice that until this second look, yet that is what is dramatic about the scene. As is usual with many of my images there is no horizon, nor sky, nor way to get out of the space so it remains very closed and full of pattern. There are also fluctuations with what is transparent and what is opaque - the reflections add to the dialogue of the near and far.
Also, at this point I have the time to explore the actual spatial relationships in the motif - from the photo - and from numerous trips to the site - so I can make a picture that is more than just a weaving of calligraphic marks that create a web of space -- or at least a web of marks that describe a more nuanced space.
gallery below shows the progress so far. the first three states show a lot of re-drawing.
I realize that this oil painting is different from the previous ones, from all previous ones and mainly, I believe due to the fact I, for the first time, have TIME to work on it in as much detail as I might like.
I am trying to make the small details a reflection of the larger details so as not to change the feel of the work, however having a higher sense of resolution to the marks is a change.
The image of the crocus does have a lot in common with previous work - but in the recent emerging bulb the motif is difficult to see. It is definitely there but it is wound up in the back ground. This is, however, just the intent. We see all sorts of individual objects in the world by consciously or subconsciously diving them out from a back ground - making them still both in moving time as well as isolated from the static of that which surrounds them and even partially obscures their exact edges or forms. However, once we take the motif out of it's environment, separate the flower from the garden, then we change it. Kind of like physics with it's theory of how things change depending on how you observe them.
not quite finished