Here and Now

I tend to take a camera with me everywhere I go, even if it is just my iPhone, because while I think you can come back to a place and photograph it many times, I also think that it will not ever be exactly the same.  While I was out running the other day, I saw this spiderweb and decided that if I did stop right then, I would never get this photo:

Morning scene, edited

ISO 25 4.15 f2.2 1/900

While you could make the argument that I will never be a better runner if I’m always stopping to look around, you’re right! I wouldn’t disagree.  But I also know that one of the reasons I run is to be present in the here and now, and that includes looking at my surroundings.

Now, before you get to thinking that I am some purist about photography, have a look at the actual original unedited photo:

Morning scene

ISO 25 4.15 f2.2 1/900

Can you tell I am sorry that summer is over? Sorry enough that I edited in some warmth.  In this case I used split-toning and added a copper tone to the shadows.  I also cropped and sharpened the image.  I’ve added a graduated filter, in this case from top to bottom, and a vignette to darken the corners.  While I did the cropping and sharpening in Photoshop, I did the other edits in Lightroom. I felt that the graduated filter was an important edit, that’s what brought a bit of texture and interest to the sky.

I was happy the graduated filter worked in part because I had used it recently when editing another photo and ended up removing the edit because it worked so poorly in that case.  As a result of that edit gone wrong, I had a bit of a discussion with another blogger about the use of that filter. I think with editing tools, sometimes you just have to try the edit and see if it works.  The results can be interesting, if not always what you wanted.  That’s what your digital trash can is for I think.  It was another blogger named Amy that I was talking with, and I’m including a link to a recent post of hers that I enjoyed.

What do you think of my edits? do you liked the warmed up version, or do you think I should just face facts and stick with the original? Do you sometimes have conversations with other people that influence what you are doing in your own work?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

I was walking the grounds at Wimpole Estate this past weekend and took this photo of the gardens that are behind the house:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

While I think it is pretty, the word that comes to mind for this scene is ostentatious.  I can’t help feeling that part of the reason for the estate was to show off wealth.  The edges in this garden though, were perfect.  You might notice that there was no one walking in the gardens.  That is actually a result of editing.  Here is the original:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

There are two children running around there.  I removed them using a combination of the spot healing brush, the healing brush and the clone stamp.  Why did I bother you might ask? The answer would be because I could.  I don’t usually remove people from my photos and I thought this would be an excellent chance to practice.  I also made some slight adjustments to the overall photo, the original just felt a little too bright and had a little too much contrast. Those edits I made in Lightroom. I increased the tone is the shadows, desaturated the yellows, and bumped up the hue of the greens.  One edit that I tried and then discarded was putting a graduated filter on the photo.  I ended up not liking what that filter did to the tone of this particular photo.

How do you feel about removing items or people from photos?  Let me know what you think of my attempt. I have to admit it makes me a bit uneasy.  Feel free to leave your thoughts on this type of editing below.  If you have a favorite technique for removal and have blogged about it, or have written about why you do or do not do this type of editing, feel free to leave a link to your post.

Cheers!

Superhero

Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog post I wonder how in the world I am going to distill the process into something easy to read.  Not because I think you as the reader needs something easy, it’s that I do.  I keep this blog as part journal for myself, to refer back to different things that I have tried.  Perhaps if I was a superhero I would choose recall as my super power, so that I could remember my own thought process; also perhaps so that I would not need a grocery list.

Here is my favorite superhero though:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

The wildflower, able to restore the planet and look beautiful at the same time. Perhaps it would be no surprise to learn that I am taking a graphic design class on line and was thinking about text and typography this week.  When it came to creating this image I used Photoshop.  For fun, I clicked the 3D button once I had “Superher” as a layer.  There is a lot that you can do within that 3D setting, so basically I just worked with the settings until I came up with something I liked. As far as the color of the text, I used the eyedropper to click around on the wildflower until I came upon this color option that I felt suited the flower.  I wanted the text to both stand out but yet resemble a petal.

Then came the cropping, the version of the image I was working with first looked like this:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

More about how I first edited this photo is here.  As you can see I have chosen in the superhero version to crop out a lot of the green.  I also made the choice to crop out the tips of some of the petals.  What do you think of this crop?  It’s rare that I crop out part of the subject, so it feels a little odd to me.  How about the text, do you like it? do you think it works with this photo?  Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

When I sit down to edit photos, the actual editing is usually not the first step.  Chances are that I have been thinking about the photo for awhile. It is my habit to flip through my photos after I have downloaded them and then go and do something else before starting the process.  I find it helpful to be thinking about the photos before the actual editing starts:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

I find that the first thing I think about is if I want the photo to mirror what I saw or if it will be some other interpretation of the scene.  In this case because what drew me to take the photo in the first place was the way that this insect was similar to the flower, I decided to edit keeping the photo true to the original. I cropped the photo, sharpened it, and put a vignette on it to darken the edges.  For comparison here is the original version:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

In my mind, this type of editing is for clarity.  It is my hope to bring out the details of what I saw in the scene, a reflection of the reality of that moment.  The steps I described above are the steps I usually take when clarity is my intent.

Do you have a set way of editing for a certain effect?  Do you think the steps I took helped clarify the image? Do they make the image more appealing to you?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

While walking this weekend, I came across this ram:

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

Looks a bit forlorn don’t you think?  He perked up a few minutes later though:

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

Why? it wasn’t because I told him how perfectly I thought his horns framed his face. No, it was because there was a working dog who was starting the process of getting the rams rounded up.

When I took these photos I used an f-stop of 22 to capture a lot of detail.  I wanted to get the texture of the grassy and rocky ground as much as the ram.  When I went to edit though, the color was a bit washed out.  In this case, I used the levels adjustment in Photoshop to bring back the whites in the photo.  It was a fairly easy fix, just a question of moving a slider.  Once I had done that, in Lightroom I added a vignette.  In this case, I used the sider to darken the corners of the image a bit.  While a vignette can be used to create a very dramatic effect, in this case I used just a little bit of darkening to subtly draw your eye into the photo.  It can be a unobtrusive way to frame a photo.

This ram caught my eye because I thought he was a beautiful creature. I think that happens a lot with photography, that some small editing tweaks are needed to bring out what I had originally caught my eye.  Do you agree? or do you edit in a more dramatic fashion or skip editing altogether?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Designed for You

When we were planning our trip to Wales, we decided we wanted to explore Snowdonia National Park.  Our hardest hike of the week was going to be Mt. Snowden.  For us, the path that made the most sense was the Llanberis Pass, at nine miles, it was the longest way up and back, but is the least technical of the six main paths up the mountain.  We would be climbing 3,199 feet and the Llanberis path had the most gradual ascent of our choices.  This is what awaited us at the top:

ISO 800 50mm 1/2000 f/13

ISO 800 50mm 1/2000 f/13

Technically, this is a panorama.  It is two photos stitched together.  The originals were incredibly hazy, but after I had created the panorama in Photoshop.  I used Lightroom’s “dehaze” sider to make it clearer.  I also used the clarity slider and sharpened the image a bit.  I didn’t take the haze out completely though because I knew I had a clearer image.

I also had hiked with my iPhone and I created this panorama:

ISO 25 4.15mm1/2500 f/2.2

ISO 25 4.15mm1/2500 f/2.2

It’s clearer, and certainly the sky is bluer, but to me the first photo more closely represents what this hike meant to me. We had designed our trip around this hike.  It was what we scheduled ourselves for the first day in case we had to delay or reattempt it another day later in the week.  It was the hardest hike I’ve done in awhile.  So getting to the top was more about the serenity and silence of the first image than the community that is represented in the second.  The haze and lack of people in the first image to me look more like a postcard or an image you might print and put on your wall.

Do you plan your holidays around a single activity or goal? Do you bring back a photo from your holidays that represent the trip? Do you sometimes go with out a camera on purpose?  How do you feel about my two images, they do represent two different things don’t you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

This summer has been a busy one. I’ve missed out on several weeks of blogging due to a move. But this past week week, I missed out because I was on holiday.  I was in Wales for the week.  I don’t know about you, but when I think of Wales, I don’t usually think of sun soaked images like this one:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000

It’s a rare day when lens flare is visible in a photograph from this part of the world. This particular hike led us to Dinas Emrys, the legendary birthplace of the red dragon seen on the Welsh flag. I had my Canon 50D and my iPhone with me.  I shot this panorama on the iPhone and then took a bunch of photos with my bigger camera.  As with most times I go on holiday, there are a lot of photos to edit now that I am home.  For this photo though, not much was needed.  I did end up cropping it a bit and sharpening it.  Other than that, I let it be, including the bit of lens flare that you can see in the top center of the photo. I left that in as a visual reminder of the intensity of the sun in that moment.

Have you ever done that with your editing, purposefully left something in that is considered an imperfection? Do you also bring home a lot of photos to edit? I will be busy for a while!  Feel free to leave a comment below.

I also posted this photo to my Flickr account, if you would like to see a larger version.