cabbage palm

Photography Tip use Unsharp Mask for sharpening in Photoshop

Sharpening is a key part of editing digital photos and perhaps one that goes overlooked due to thinking sharpening is not needed.  On every shot I edit, I use the Unsharp Mask filter in Photoshop (I still use CS5).  In the above example of a cabbage palm tree, I did all my usual editing except sharpening.  The unsharpened image may look fine, but I know it can look better.  In the sharpened version much more detail is visible in the palm fronds, especially on the edges.  Another photography tip within a tip, I did all other editing first because sharpening should be the last thing done when editing an image.

To find Unsharp Mask in Photoshop go into the Filter menu, then Sharpen, and there you will find Unsharp Mask.  I kow it sounds totally crazy to use something called unsharpen to sharpen, but that is just one of the thousands of quirks you either find charming about Photoshop or infuriating!  Note that if you used Unsharp Mask already, on a Mac you can just hit CMD-F to apply the same sharpening to the current photo you are working on.

You can see the settings I use in the Unsharp Mask filter in the above screenshot.  Radius and Threshold never change and are at settings I found I liked, though I learned these from another photographer and fine tuned them a bit.  The only setting of the three I change when applying the Unsharp Mask filter is the Amount percent.  For a very large majority of my photographs, I use 60%.  For portraits (single subject) I may use less.  For HDR shots, I may use more.  Each camera and lens may dictate more or less sharpening to be used.  

Try out the Unsharp Mask filter and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Double Headed Cabbage Palm of Cape Coral Florida State Tree

A rare double headed cabbage palm in Cape Coral Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/320thI would say that this double headed cabbage palm is the most famous object in all of Cape Coral, Florida.  I cannot even think what the second most would be.  The cabbage palm itself, in normal single head form, is the Florida state tree.  Personally, I think the cabbage palm is perhaps the least good looking of all palm trees in Florida.

While visiting Cape Coral a few years ago someone tipped me off to the existence of this most unusual tree.  I was able to find it, but I cannot recall the reason why I did not photograph it at that time.  This time I sought it out prepared to shoot it. 

It does not hold any hallowed ground, living its life in a very humble bit of land that serves as the median of a suburban road in a little traveled part of Cape Coral.  

If you would like to visit the most famous denizen of Cape Coral, you can find it here:

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