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Learn how to speed up time and create compelling visual effects with time-lapse photography. Join Rich Harrington in the field as he captures nature's patterns at Red Rock Canyon in southwestern Nevada, and shows how to frame your scene and choose the proper camera settings. He'll show you how to capture great images, whether you're using a DSLR camera and a motorized slider or just a smartphone you have handy. Then join him back in the studio to transform your still footage into a storytelling time-lapse video, using tools like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro.
This course was created and produced by Rich Harrington. We are honored to host this content in our library.
Rich: Sometimes your situation that you shoot in will lead to really tough exposures. Maybe it was a dramatic change in lighting or just a tough situation to shoot. I'm going to show you two instances where I had a little bit of technology failure. The first is just the fact that the camera was left open for a really long time, shooting in low light. And things I couldn't see in the view finder showed up in the final shot. The other is a simple fact that I had my camera settings wrong. Well, I want to show you how Adobe Camera Raw can be used with RAW files to recover.
And I don't care if you're accessing it through Photoshop, Bridge, or Lightroom. It's all the same. In this situation here, lets press the spacebar to take a look at it. You'll notice that we're seeing the curtain reflected. Now what happened here is that I was shooting through a glass window. And despite the fact that we closed the curtains you're actually seeing the white backs of the curtain being reflected in the window. To get around this, I'll often use a piece of technology called a lens skirt. This is an easy way to attach to the camera and to the window to hide it. But, when I shot this shot, I didn't have that piece of gear with me. In fact, I didn't even know about it.
The good news is, is with Adobe Camera Raw, you could do a lot to recover problem areas. Let's open all these images. And we'll take a look. Again, you're just working with a small sequence. You'll notice that we have some clipping right there. Some of the highlights are blowing out. And that's to be expected because those are bright neon signs. The problem, though, really lies in the window here. So, let's do an auto recovery to start.
That's looking better. And what I want to do is pull down some of the highlights. That's helping. We'll continue to bring the exposure down a bit. At this point, we can lift up the shadows. And you see that we're getting pretty good at recovering these. However, what I need to do is further refine and start to clip some of my blacks.
So let's pull that down. And I have to be careful that I don't smash them, and lose everything. This is looking pretty tough. I have this challenging area here in the middle. And what I'm going to do is instead of applying a global adjustment, is switch to a localized adjustment. Now the contrast is helping quite a bit, and I got rid of most of that issue there. But, still pretty tough. So, let's brush in selectively.
Choosing my adjustment brush here, I can lower the exposure. I can also come in here and adjust the size and the feather of the brush. So now, very gently, we can stroke in and paint out those areas. So, where the reflection is coming in, we can remove it and you always have the ability to adjust the brush strokes after the fact.
So, by brushing over the problem areas I can hide some of the reflections. Let's adjust the size of the brush there. And really get into the small gaps. There we go. And I can even turn on auto mask and show the mask if I want to see what I'm doing. So I'm just painting in the problematic areas where it shows up most. And let's toggle that off.
That's lookin' a lot better. Before, after. So notice by brushing in strokes, I can go after the tough spots. And I'm just going to play a little bit more with the overall exposure. Let's dial that in. Looks pretty good. And the blowout neon is just going to be blown out. Not much I can do there, other than go back and re-shoot it. But I'll find a good balance. If you look at the two frames, you'll see that that's definitely improved. And I've been able to pull out that toughest problem zone. Alright, let's put a little bit of clarity in. Really pop those details and I'll play with vibrance. I have to be careful to not overdo it.
In fact, with this much neon I'm going to go with a negative vibrance setting and dial that in. That's looking pretty good. The good balance there, between saturation and vibrance. I'll come back to the adjustment brush and just brush a little more. There we go and I've managed to go over, the tough areas. There we go. Satisfied with that, so let's choose, "select all". and synchronize.
Making sure to synchronize everything. And now all those shots are repaired. Now that's just one way of fixing tough exposure, the key there is sometimes you have to get selective and brush in the problem zones. Fortunately, you're typically locked down when shooting time lapse. If this was from one of those motion examples where we attach it to a motorized rig, that would have been a lot more difficult. So I can't emphasize enough the desire to shoot it right in camera.
But before you give up on a shot, sometimes it's worth seeing if it can be rescued. In fact, let's take a look at just one of those types of shots. I'll click done to store these settings, and all of them will update, and we can go back to our recovery folder and take a look at a terribly overexposed shot.
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