Travel Theme: Round

I guess I had been holding onto these photos waiting for the travel theme at Where’s My Backpack? to be round. This is the week my friends!  The photo below I took at Laumeir Sculpture Park in St. Louis:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

This edited version is an HDR image that has been processed in Photomatix.  Here is one of the original exposures:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

It was a sunny day so it would have been hard to get a perfect exposure in just one photo, so I knew I was going to edit the image into an HDR image.  Also, the veins in the eye were just screaming for the over the top result that HDR can easily give you.

Laumeir Park is a nice place to walk around, you can bring a picnic if the weather is nice and enjoy looking at all the art.  The particular piece is called The Eye by Tony Tasset, and it is on permanent display in the park.  It almost always has folks standing around it, how could you not stop and stare at an eyeball that is 12 feet in diameter?

So, what do you think of my HDR treatment of this piece of art? do you think you could walk past it without stopping? Your thoughts and comments are welcome below!

Cheers!

On Top of my Electric Meter

Every spring for the last three years there is a robin nest on top of my electric meter.  As a photographer, I love it when my subject comes to me and sets itself up perfectly.  I wrote a bit about what my set-up to get these photos looks like last week.  Here is a photo from yesterday:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

If you took a look at my set-up, you would probably have guessed that I have a remote shutter hooked up to my camera.  That makes it possible for me to set up my camera, then come back inside to take the photos.  So on mornings like this I come into my kitchen to start the day and wait for her to leave the nest which she does at a fairly regular time.  While she is gone I go out with my ladder and point and shoot camera to get a photo like this:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

I then put that away and drag out my chairs, tripod, and large camera.  By the time I have done that, she is usually back. I go inside so she will get back on the nest and I can take my photos.  Then I wait for her to again leave the nest and I retrieve my equipment.

When it comes to editing these photos, I do very little.  At least at first I am making more documentary style photos than artistic ones.  The photo of the robin on the nest has been cropped.  I did a levels adjustment in Photoshop to push in the whites a bit.  Then I sharpened it.  The egg photo was not cropped.  I did a levels adjustment to push in the blacks a bit and then I sharpened it.

As this project progresses I will be blogging about it and posting photos.  I also put a photo or two on Twitter and will be adding to that, so if you want to check that out, you can find me @marantophoto. Questions or comments about my photos, editing, or set up?  Feel free to leave them below.  If you have a post related to robins feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments as well.

This post was written in part as a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument to Photography

There is a lot going on in my backyard this week.  Some robins have built a nest so I am busy photographing their efforts.  It looks a bit ridiculous but here is what the set up looks like:

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

I’ll call it my monument to photography.  Yes, those are the “good” dining room chairs.  It’s a temporary monument, I set it up, take my photos then take it down.  Here is a photo I got this morning:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

At this point there are two eggs in the nest.  I’ll be experimenting with different camera angles over the next few weeks in the hope of getting some good photos.  This photo was cropped and sharpened, here is what the original shot looked like:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

I am so excited that the robins are back and building here. If you are interested in seeing where this project led last year, you can click here.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Project on the Threshold

For the project that I am currently working on, which is a tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses, I have gotten to the stage where I am putting elements together.  I already have a cow skull and a tree blossom.  Here they are together:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

Since I had already stripped the tree blossom from its background, this step was fairly easy.  I opened it in Photoshop, moved it on to the cow skull as a seperate layer and transformed it to make it smaller.

Because the original painting has a background element, I wanted to add one to my version as well:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This was actually a bit harder than adding the flower because I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to handle it.  In the version you see above I did the following.  I took a picture of the tree bark.  I edited it using the Oil Paint Filter.  Then I outlined a section of it and created a pattern.  I then created a layer, filled with the pattern, under the skull layer.  From there I put a mask on the skull layer, and using a bristle brush, painted in where I wanted the bark to show.  Here is a small screen shot of what my layers panel looks like:

The layers panel for this project.

The layers panel for this project.

So, this is the version that is going to be turned in as a draft for critique in my Photoshop class.  This is a project on the threshold, about to be evaluated for the first time. What do you think? Do you like the elements as they are? What changes would you make?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Building Blocks of a Project

If you have stopped by my blog lately you know that I am working on a new Photoshop project.  I recently wrote about a tree bloom that I am hoping to include in the project.  The instructions for the project are to pick a master painting and recreate it in some way.  A way to express yourself using another person’s art as the jumping off point. It’s a pretty broad assignment.  The painting I have picked is Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses by Georgia O’Keeffe.  I picked Georgia O’Keeffe because I admire her work.  I picked this particular painting because I have actually seen it in person.

My hope for this project is for my work to be a tribute but not an identical copy.  I will be using a cow’s skull though.  I borrowed one and took some photographs.  The rest of this post is about the shooting and editing of the skull.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

Because the tree bloom that I shot a few days before was shot in natural light, I also shot this using natural light and at about the same time of day.  The first thing I did with this unedited photo was to get rid of the cloth seam.  I used content aware fill to do that and it worked nicely.  I then sharpened the image a bit.  Next,  I used the Oil Paint filter to create a painted look.  Here is a screen shot of the settings that I used:

These are the settings for the Oil Paint filter

These are the settings for the Oil Paint filter

And here is the final skull:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

The next step will be to add the tree bloom and then to consider adding a background element.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions about this project.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life on My Street

Spring is coming to my neighborhood, and I’m pretty excited about it.  The house across the street from ours has some lovely trees including this one:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

I am considering using this bloom in a Photoshop project I am working on.  It was an overcast day, so the light was OK even at 11:30am.  If you look at my shutter speed, you will see that it is really high.  That is because it was really windy!  I set the f-stop at f/5.6 because I was pretty sure that would capture the detail I needed.

If I do end up using this photo, I will actually take the bloom out of the photo and place it in another one.  So, after I was finished taking the photo, I put it in Photoshop.  I used the magic wand tool to select the bloom and then made a copy.  Then I opened a new document that had a transparent background, and pasted the bloom into it.  There is sits waiting for the rest of the project to come together.  The edited version looks like this:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

You can see more clearly in this version the little insect that is visiting.  In my final project, this image would be scaled down, so you will not be able to see him.

Even though I am not sure if I will use this bloom, I was certain that I needed to take this photo.  The petals on this tree are pretty delicate and a few good rainstorms will knock them to the ground.  Rain is in the forecast for this week.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week was street life. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into what is going on on my street this week.

Cheers!

Still as a Statue

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to post for the travel theme statues at Where’s My Backpack? when I saw the original post on Friday.  But yesterday I was looking through some of my files when I came across some images that almost looked like statues.  So I chose one and set out to make it look more like a statue.  Here is what I created:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

This is a Cape Thick-knee who lives at the St. Louis Zoo.  I had shot this image using exposure bracketing, so I created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I ended up thinking that the Black and White artistic setting ended up looking the most like a statue.  In Photoshop then I cropped and sharpened the image.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It is a bird that blends in with it’s background, and it was sitting very still, so it would have been very easy to miss.  It has lovely colors, but what do you think of my stone version?

Cheers!