One, Two, Three!

Sometimes, it takes a few photos and a bit of editing to get to what you intended to create.  The first step is getting the photo. At first I walked past this photo.  Then a few minutes later I thought, “Did I just walk past a leaf shaped like a heart covered in frost and not take a photo?”  The answer was yes, so I backtracked and took this photo:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Hmm, ok, that was shot vertical, so then I tried a horizontal orientation:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Ok, better, but this final version is really what I had in mind:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

This in my mind it is a sort of stock image.  One you might see with text of some kind on the right side.  I created it specifically with my Picfair portfolio in mind. When I was processing it, I started with cropping it using the rule of thirds.  In the original photo I shot it with the leaf centered.  I chose to do that in this case, because the background was all the same, but I thought when I took a closer look on my computer one of the sides might be more interesting.  I also removed a little yellow leaf and a bit of frost below the stem that I thought were distracting.  Those edits were done in Photoshop.  I then put the photo in Lightroom and did some additional edits, adding a bit of clarity and warmth.

What do you think of the final photo? I often find that my final photo has several forms before it is finished, is that your experience as well? Have you ever walked past a photo, thought about it, and turned around and went back with your camera out?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lights At Night

Lights At Night is not the topic of this week’s photo challenge, it’s actually “It’s Not This Time of Year Without…” but to me holiday lights at night mean that the Christmas season has arrived.  It’s also perfect for a photo challenge because shooting at night is a challenge to me.  Part of the problem is practice, in that I almost never do.

Something I decided to try on this shoot was to use the Kelvin temperature feature for my white balance.  I was shooting just as the sun had set and was looking to capture those deep blues in the sky.  Here is an article that explains Kelvin with a chart to give you an idea of what temperature you would need to use under various temperatures.  This is one of the photos I captured:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/25

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/25

It’s got the blue sky and the lights, but I’m not too sold on the rest of it.  So, I decided to edit a bit more and here is another version that I came up with:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/25

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/25

What I have done is created a black and white version and layered it over the original and then masked back in some of the color.  Two other things I did was remove the neon reflection in the pub window and the red tail lights that are in the first version.  Those are just two details that really bugged me.

What do you think of this second version?  Feel free to leave a comment below.  Do you have a favorite setting to use on your camera at night? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, and if you’ve blogged on that topic, feel free to leave a link.

Cheers!

Is That What I Meant?

Sometimes the image you create takes awhile to get to its final form.  I was working on a panorama recently that did not have the most auspicious beginning:

A screenshot of the work in progress in Photoshop

A screenshot of the work in progress in Photoshop

It’s a start, but it needed a lot of work.  I started with the crop tool.  That way I could get an idea of what problems were going to need fixing, and what I was just cropping out, so therefore didn’t matter.  Once I had done that, the three largest problems were the missing sky, the missing building in the lower left corner, and the boats.  To re-create the sky and building in Photoshop you can use the lasso tool to select the area, then edit-fill-content aware fill.  This tells Photoshop to put in that area what it thinks should be there based on what else is close by in the photo.  In this case, it did a very nice job.  For the boats, there were just too many masts hanging out in the bottom of the photo, it was a pretty big distraction.  For those I used the healing brush, so where there were masts there was now just water.  The photo now looked something like this:

Not Quite There

ISO 500 50mm f/11 1/1000

This version shown is the Photoshop edits, plus some of the tweaking I did in Lightroom.  I wasn’t crazy about this color cast, but a bigger problem was lurking in the sky.  It’s a bit hard to see on a small screen, but there are a few spots where you can see the Photoshop transparency where there should be sky.  Just a few spots I missed when recreating the sky in that section of the photo.  So with that fixed, here is my final version:

Panorama final

ISO 500 50mm f/11 1/1000

I fixed the sky and dialed back the sepia tone in the water and land.  I did want to give the photo a bit of a nostalgic feel, so I kept the colors muted.  This is the final version that made it to my Picfair portfolio.  In this case, worth the effort of editing I think.  If you were wondering this photo was taken from Conwy Castle in Wales overlooking the harbor.  What do you think of the added in sky and building? I think Photoshop did a pretty good job filling those spots in.  Do you like the tone in the photo? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic

Photography is like magic.  This photo for instance:

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

Looks like a nice peaceful and quiet spot right?  That’s exactly why I took the shot, because it stood out in stark contrast from the surrounding scene, a bustling Christmas Market at Ely Cathedral.  But finding this little gem of a scene was just the beginning.  The rest of the magic is in the editing.  Here is the original file:

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

You can see now that I did some edits that have a pretty big impact on the final file.  It wasn’t the first thing I did, but one of the edits that I think helped a lot was to use the healing brush tool in Photoshop to remove the mark on the column and some of the smudges on the pillar candle.  I could have removed all the imperfections on the candle but chose not to because the marks do remind the viewer that this is a spot that is used by many people.  I also warmed the temperature of the photo in Lightroom and applied a vignette to keep your eye in the frame. A version of the final is in my Picfair portfolio.

After taking my photo, I stayed here for a few minutes before heading back to the crowds and stalls of the market. Do you think photography is magical?  What do you think of the moment I have created here? I hope you found it peaceful and relaxing, as that was my intent.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Aromatic

I attended a Christmas fair this weekend and my youngest brought this home:

A little bit of #beauty for your day #photography

A photo posted by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

In addition to being beautiful it is incredibly aromatic.

So, my fingers are crossed that this post shows the photo that I posted to my Instagram.  I started posting there last week, so stop by and say hi if you are on that platform.

The smells that are associated with the Christmas season are one of the things that I love about it.  It was nice to go and get a little preview this weekend.  I’ll be honest though, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to attend a bunch of Christmas activities, I’ll go to a few and that will be good enough for me.  How about you, do attend many holiday events, or are you more likely to lay low? Are you on Instagram, how do you like that platform?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

One thing I love about rain is its ability to change the mood of a photo, adding interest almost immediately.

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/80

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/80

I saw this scene and felt that the little bit of yellow would make an interesting contrast to the other earthier tones in the photograph. The yellow also lit up the raindrops a bit, helping to highlight them even though they were tiny.

To get this final result, I used exposure bracketing while shooting.  I then combined the three images, identical except for their exposure values, and combined them into an HDR version of the photo.  That might seem like a lot of effort for one photo but it really brought out the detail in the raindrops and the richness of tone that was available in the yellow.

Have you ever taken extra steps in processing what looks like an ordinary photo to uncover additional beauty?  I like the stillness and moody tone of this image, what do you think? To me, the mood is almost more important here than the subject matter. A version of it has also been added to my Picfair portfolio. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

When It All Adds Up

A while back I blogged about this photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

Based on what I could find online, a few things like his name and date of birth didn’t seem to add up when you looked at this grave marker.  So I went back to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. The staff member who helped me was a bit surprised that I wasn’t researching a relative,but was more than happy to give me a hand in my research.  It ended up being pretty simple.  The Carlisle H. Reville whose grave I photographed, was Carlisle H. Reville Jr.  My search had been further complicated by the fact that the 1930 Census record was handwritten, and the later data entry spelled his first name wrong.

It's easy to see why a mistake was made.

It’s easy to see why a mistake was made.

So, on the data entry portion of this page, he is listed as “Caulislo”, easy to see why.

In the course of my research I found out that Reville Sr. had served in WWI.  I also found out that Reville Jr. had first been buried at another cemetery but was moved here when this cemetery was established.  What I can’t find is a decent lead on the family, other than they were living in Pennsylvania in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  If you happen to know this family, I am more than happy to have them contact me if they would like a digital copy of the photo I have taken of their relative’s grave.

Since I was back at the cemetery, you know that I took some more pictures.  Here is one from that day:

The edited black and white version

The edited black and white version

I’ve edited this in Lightroom and using a black and white plug-in.  I’ll post the original below, but one of the first things I did while it was still a color version was to bring out detail in the shadows and increase the saturation in the blues and the greens.  It looks horrible in that state, but once it is converted to black and white it looks good again. Here is the original file:

The original

The original

The subject is well suited to black and white I think.  I’ve included it in my portfolio at Picfair. Somehow the color version just seems to vivid for the subject matter.  What do you think?  Feel free to comment on my new photo or on the follow up from my older post.

Cheers!