Stephen Bay's Photography Blog

Blend If vs Luminosity Masks

Blend if and luminosity masks are two different methods in Photoshop for determining how a layer is combined with those beneath it. They are both similar in that they use the brightness values of the image pixels to perform a weighted average between the current and underlying layers. Blend if and luminosity masks are almost interchangeable and can often be used to obtain the same end result. For example, you could use both methods to limit a warming color adjustment to the highlights of an image.

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Semi-Automatic Focus Stacking on Sony Cameras

With today’s high resolution cameras, focus stacking is pretty much a necessity to get the maximum detail out of the sensor. Even with wide angle lenses, it is hard to get enough DOF to cover the foreground to the background and have everything sharp when viewed at 100% magnification. You could stop down to increase the DOF but this actually doesn’t work well with high megapixel sensors as exceeding even f/8 can result in a loss of resolution due to diffraction.

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How to Minimize Jpeg File Size for a Photo Website

If you have a photography website, you’re probably aware that the biggest obstacle to obtaining quick page load times is the size of your image files. You want to use large hi-resolution photos with low compression to present your images at their best. But inevitably this means large file sizes which load slowly. Slow loading files annoys users and makes them more likely to give up and browse some other site instead.

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Why Epic Sunsets Are Bad for Landscape Photography

When I first started focusing on landscapes (I shifted from travel photography) I was always chasing the light and seeking that epic sunrise or sunset. If I didn’t get a fantastic color burn, I said to myself, I’ll come back and keep coming back until I get it. I thought if I had a great foreground adding an epic sky would make the image even better (literally my logic was it had to be double plus good).

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Some Experiments With Topaz Sharpen AI

Recently I’ve been trying programs like Topaz AI to correct some issues in photos that I that I messed up technically. Topaz and the other AI based filters (E.g. Luminar AI, Photoshop Neural filters) essentially work by artificially generating textures and image detail so in theory there’s no limit to how much they can sharpen, remove noise, or magnify the existing detail in a photo. But in practice, I find that sometimes it’s like magic and other times it produces garbage.

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