When you're traveling or site seeing, one of the most frequent challenges is how to take a photo without it being filled with people obstructing part of the building, bridge, road, waterfall or other object of interest. So what are your options?
Here are five proven solutions to removing those unwanted people in your image.
In the following example I'll walk through option 5, using multiple photos and then blending the people away in the image. In the following two images you can see a couple of people in the foreground as well as an individual in front of a column by the building that I want to remove.
The first step is to open both images on different layers in Photoshop.
The next step is to align the layers. Select both layers and then use the Edit > AutoAlign Layers command to auto-align these layers. In the pop-up window select the Auto-Align projection option.
Your images will now be aligned. They may be a bit skewed or stretched as in the image below.
Next, add a layer masks to the top most layer.
Once you have added your layer mask, you can now remove the figures you don't want by painting out the image using the Brush Tool. In a layer mask everything that is visible will have a white mask, everything you don't want to see will have a black mask. First Select the layer mask, ensure that your brush colour is black and then select the Brush Tool. Zoom into the person you want to remove and then start painting.
Keep on painting to remove additional figures in the image.
After removing your last person, crop the image (if necessary) and save. Just like magic, unwanted people in the image have been removed!
Thought for the day
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Aristotle
The Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal that were discovered in the 1400's by Gonçalo Velho Cabral, a monk and explorer. A group of 9 islands, the Azores is located in the mid-Atlantic. The islands enjoy a temperate climate making it an ideal place to visit, regardless of the time of year.
In October 2016, we visited São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores islands. Although October can be a bit wetter than in summer, we experience relatively little rainfall and our daily temperatures ranged between 17°C and 24°C.
So what's there to do in São Miguel? As it turns out a lot, especially if you love outdoor activities, fine dining, exploring centuries old historic buildings, viewing street art, taking photos or relaxing in rejuvenating thermal pools.
Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, is located on São Miguel the largest island and locally called the "Green Island". São Miguel is very lush and a gardeners paradise with flowering hydrangeas everywhere. Ponta Delgada offers many sights including the historic City Gates, pictured above. It's also a great place to discover local restaurants serving fresh Azorean fare. One of our favourite places, Boca de Cena, is run by a single individual that is owner, chef, maître d' and waiter. It's a small restaurant with only 10 tables so it fills up quickly. We would recommend making reservations.
There's a lot to explore in Ponta Delgada, just remember that places often close early (by North American standards) and on Sunday only a few stores and restaurants are open. Be sure to visit the fresh markets, Antonio Borges Park with the large Australian Banyan tree and grottoes, and the various churches such as St. Sebastien's Mother Church. Ponta Delgada is also known for its graffiti, colourful doorways and intricate cobblestone patterns in the street.
As interesting as Ponta Delgada may be, the real Azores can be found by getting out of town and visiting the rugged and picturesque countryside created through volcanic activity. São Miguel still exhibits a lot of secondary volcanic activity such as hot springs although the last time a major eruption occurred was in 1652 on Pico do Fogo. We adventured both east and west. East to see Cete Cidades and Fogo and west to see Furnas.
On our East Island adventure we decided to take a jeep tour through Futurismo. The jeep tour was more intimate than the bus tour and provided better opportunities to explore such as our visit to the Salto do Cabrito waterfall. Our guide was very professional and helped make the tour fun.
We booked a Pure Azores west island tour to see Furnas, the north shore and the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Nature Park. Our guide was wonderful and helped to make the experience special.
Furnas is arguably the most volcanically active part of São Miguel and is known for its iron-rich hot springs and magnificent parks and gardens. It's also known for its volcanic steam cooked meals, a unique Azorean experience! On the way to Furnas we stopped in the little town of Vila Franca do Campo to try the famous custard pastries made by the local bakery there - Do Morgado.
In many ways São Miguel is a photographers or painters paradise with visual opportunities around every corner. The image of the north shore is just one example.
We took advantage of a vacation package that included flight and hotel. We flew to the Azores through SATA and stayed at the Antillia Hotel Apartamento. The hotel includes short and long term rentals and was conveniently located close to the city center so that we could walk and explore the city.
Text and photos are copyright Eric David
Taking photos during the evening sometimes produces some wonderful results as the extreme contrast between light and dark can contribute into making a stunning photo. However it's very easy to over expose and blow out the highlights in the image. Also shooting with slower shutter speeds (to get the correct exposure) in available light often results in a blurry image. So what should you do?
To ensure that you don't loose detail in the bright areas of the image underexpose by 1-2 stops to ensure that the highlights are usable, then recover the dark areas in Photoshop or another image editing program. Another option is to use the camera's HDR setting. There's a bunch of ways to solve the sharpness problem including using a tripod, setting a high ISO speed on your camera (the drawback though is increased noise in the image), or resting the camera on a firm base (chair, table, ledge, camera bag) and using a remote shutter release or camera timer. The image above was taken using the camera self timer and sitting the camera on a ledge as I didn't have a tripod with me.
There's also various hand held techniques that will improve your chances of capturing a sharp image when shooting with slow shutter speeds. Techniques I've used include steadying the camera against a firm object (light pole, handrail), breathing in and holding your breath while taking the shot or taking a number of shots in rapid succession. One of the shots in the middle of the sequence should be sharp(er).
The images below have been taken with different cameras and lenses and I've used a combination of the techniques described above. If you do decide to take photos of moving vehicles on the highway, just make sure someone else is driving!
Thought for the Day
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo da Vinci
Almost every traveler has experienced an airport layover. Layovers can be frustrating, tiring and boring all at the same time. While waiting what do you do? Do you watch the clock for endless hours or spend time browsing shops for things that you don't need?
Well what about doing something different. Think of a layover as an opportunity to take out your camera, look around and observe. Airports provide all types of subject matter from architecture and urban lifestyle to still life and abstract. So at a recent layover I focused on capturing the hustle and bustle of passengers and crew rushing to their destination.
Thought for the Day
Luck isn't just about being at the right place at the right time, but also about being open and ready for the opportunities presented to you.
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.