Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Enhanced post-processing control

In previous posts I have spoken highly of Tony Kuyper’s TKActions, which now includes infinity mask construction. TKActions is a true engine room for advanced post processing:

Having experimented with other luminosity masks toolsets, such as Raya-Pro (, I believe I have now found the ‘ultimate’ luminosity masking set up, which is: TKAction and Lumenzia - together!

Lumenzia creates masks in a different way to TKActions, not through channels but through
taylored use of curves. Lumenzia is available from:

At $70 for the pair, these two Photoshop add-ons represent real post-processing value.

As to how and when I use them? Simply every time I use Photoshop.

Thus, after a few Lightroom corrections my workflow is a round trip to Photoshop and, using both TKActions and Lumenzia, which work seamlessly together, I exploit the tailored adjustments that the self-feathering luminosity mask-based approach allows.

As a simply example of the control that an LM-based workflow brings, the following single image, Sony A6000 capture was given the LM touch., which allowed me to target the trees and bring drama into the sky. Note that the sky was there in the original capture, it 'just' needed developing in post.

Bottom line: if nothing else watch the video tutorials on TKActions and Lumenzia. But I’m sure you will decide that $70 is a real bargain.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


In all the years we were living in the US I never tried to take images of fireworks on the 4th of July, when the Americans celebrate something or other.

This Saturday was Bonfire Night in the UK, where we Brits celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes' actions on 5th November 1605 in trying to blow up the House of Lords. Of course some are celebrating a ‘good effort’ :-)

“Remember, remember the fifth of November,

Gunpowder treason and plot.

We see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent

To blow up king and parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below

To prove old England's overthrow.

By god's mercy he was catch'd

With a darkened lantern and burning match.

So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?

Burn him!”

As kids we always made a ‘guy’, that we put on the bonfire on the 5th, and went round the streets asking for a ‘penny for the guy’, so we could have enough money to buy some fireworks. One of my earliest memories, when I was about 10 years old, was meeting my first American, a tourist, who was obviously saddened to see this British kid out on the streets ‘begging’. So, rather than get a penny, tuppence or even a sixpence, as you would from a Brit, he gave me half-a-crown (For US readers that was two shilling & sixpence, the largest British coin in large scale circulation during the pre-decimal era).

So this Saturday we found ourselves with friends and close to a neighbour of theirs Bonfire Fire Party. A chance to finally have a go photographing fireworks: which I found isn’t that hard.

The settings on my 5DIII were F/11, ISO-100 and Bulb mode. Manual focus on my 24-105mm F/4L lens was set using Magic Lantern feedback.

I found it was about timing and simply grabbing a few exposures, all round the 10s mark, ie on a tripod.

Because we were watching a ‘free show’, I wasn’t that well positioned to see the fireworks and my near field interest was rather limited, but I did managed to get a tree in the scene in some captures.

 Bottom line: next year I think I will pay to get the best vantage spot :-)