USGS Stream Data

Kenai Rvr @ CooperLndg

  • Water Temp: 44.24 ° F
  • Flow: 7020 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.91 ft

Middle Kenai @ Skilak

  • Flow: 9440 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.15 ft

Talkeetna Rvr

  • Water Temp: 49.82 ° F
  • Flow: 10100 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 6.46 ft

Situk Rvr

  • Water Temp: 54.5 ° F
  • Flow: 143 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 65.40 ft
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Photography – Enhancing Details

Make no mistake; I am not a Photoshop guru. Not even close! I can manage some basic retouching, and a few techniques that will spiff up your face, but for the most part I’m a kindergartner when it comes to massaging an image. This is one of the reasons I originally joined NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals); to figure out how to use Adobe’s massive software program.  Associated with NAPP is Kelby Training, an online source of video tutorials that cover a wide range of subjects. It was from one of the latest Kelby Training videos that I found this technique for enhancing detail. The video was from Tim Wallace, a commercial photographer that specializes in automobiles. He was lighting a car in a garage with a single strobe. (I was interested in the single strobe concept, not cars.) The back half of the video was Tim’s work flow on layering individual shots into a finished image. And at the end of that process he discusses enhancing details in the final image. He mentioned a couple of outside plug-ins, specifically Topaz (which I have) and Nik Color Efex (which I would like to have), but goes on to say that there’s a PS technique that works fairly well. Although I could not really tell how good it worked in the video, I thought I’d give a test as I often wish I could bring out the texture and detail in an image. I had just shot some close-up flower images last week from our garden and grabbed a wild columbine flower as a test subject. It had lots of fuzz hanging on it and had only basic sharpening done on the jpeg.Columbine_2up

As you can (hopefully) tell – big difference. Now 100 percent is way too strong for my tastes, so I lower the opacity of the enhanced layer and masked the effect for my final image.

I then tried it on the wild iris, which I posted on Facebook. The effect is subtle, but definitely an improvement.





I’ve included two additional images that I hope demonstrate this effect. On the caddisfly it’s just the insect that is masked, and it is the wings that showed the greatest improvement. (Out of focus is out of focus!)

On the fish, I thought that the entire image improved. The technique did pop the fish a little, but the big difference was in the background, the river rocks and net textures. If anything, the twig in the upper right might be overdone, but it can be masked and the effect toned down.


The point of today is sharing. I am so impressed with this technique that I can’t keep my mouth shut. So, from my notes as Tim Wallace talked, here goes: (Since I work on a PC, I’m adding the PC shortcuts. If you’re on a Mac, you’ll have to do the translation.)

Open the image; create two copies (ctl Jx2); with the top layer active change the Blend mode to Vivid Light; Invert the image (ctl I); run Filter>Blur>Surface Blur (here’s where you get to play with settings; Tim suggested starting with a radius of 20 to 30, and a threshold twice the radius. Works for me.); select the top two layers and merge (shift hold, then right click for the drop menu); change the Blend mode to Soft Light; open Levels (ctl L) and pull the right and left stops towards the center – this helps control the highlights and reduces noise in the shadows; lower the Opacity as desired*; add a Black Mask (alt/new mask) and paint white into the areas that you want the details enhanced. Flatten your image.

(*note: I have been masking and painting first, and then lowering the opacity. It’s a holdover from my facial retouching workflow.)

Don’t ask me how this works; I don’t have a clue (as with most of PS). But it does work, and it’s available within Photoshop, so I don’t have to use/buy a second software program. And best of all, I think it makes a definite improvement to some of my non-portrait images, and I’ll take anything I can get for that. Every once in a while a gem falls into your lap while you’re looking for something else.

I hope this helps you as much as it did me.






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