Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry On Top

Sometimes it is just a very simple thing that can trip me up.  I have a new iPhone that takes panoramic photos if you know how to use it.  Feel free to roll your eyes in my general direction, but I had to look for instructions on how to get that feature to work.  I was glad I did though, because it meant that I was able to get this photo of the Port of Dover:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/22 1/3000

ISO 25 4.15mm f/22 1/3000

Pleased as I was with getting this feature to work, I did edit it a bit in Lightroom. Final touches like sharpening and getting the color to pop was the cherry on top for this photo.  It is possible that just this simple thing made me one of the happiest people in Dover this past weekend, it certainly wasn’t anyone who was waiting to take the ferry to France.  If you happen to hear anyone talking about how bad their experience was, know that they probably aren’t exaggerating.  I saw the lines, it was horrible.

How do you like my photo of the port?  For me it was learning to take a panorama on my phone that was a small thing that made my life happier, how about for you? Is there some small photography skill that you learned that made a huge difference?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

Often when I am photographing at a spot like St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, I first take a few overview photos, trying to get a feel for the place.  Then I will take some time to look for what I think is unique to the spot. A few weeks ago I posted a look at the exterior of the Cathedral, the big picture.  In the past week I was looking at some of the photos of the interior, and one of my favorite shots was taken looking out from the Cloister:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

This spot, with textured windowpanes overlooking an enclosed garden, was peaceful.  This version of the photo has been edited using Photoshop. I was making my first attempts at using Photoshop Actions this week. Basically, actions are a series of edits done all at once. The link provided gives an overview of what they are and how to install them within Photoshop. You can make your own or a google search will reveal ones that are available for free download. I found one that I thought would fit with what I was doing with this photo.  Then I went to work on the details.  While actions are often advertised as a quick way to edit your photo, I think most photographers will want to add their own edits, after all its unlikely that your vision will match else’s exactly.  Here is the photo as it was originally shot:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

As you can see, the edits changed the mood of the photo quite a bit.  I do like the edits, for me they give the photo a feel that I was looking to apply to it. Do you like the change? Feel free to leave a comment below.  Do you use Photoshop actions? why or why not?

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up

Walking around the Wimpole Estate this weekend, I’ll admit I was struck by the size and grandeur of the place, but I was more drawn to the details.  This clock was one of the many furnishings that caught my attention:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

Conveniently placed on a mantelpiece that had a mirror behind it, the photo shows some of the detail of the ceiling of the room.  I edited the original photo first in Photoshop.  I cropped the image and then removed some of the imperfections of the mirror using the healing brush.  I also sharpened the image, even though I knew I would be adding some grain later when I switched to Lightroom.

Once back in Lightroom, I used the “Aged Photo” preset as a starting point for the feel I wanted.  I added a bit of grain and darkened the corners using a vignette.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

A few things occurred to me while I was editing this photo.  First was the the point and shoot camera I was using has a macro setting, and it would have been interesting to use that setting to shoot this photograph and see what turned out differently.  The second thing was that this could be edited into a completely different photo focusing on the blue colors and colder tones that are available.

What made me take the photo in the first place?  From across the room, I looked up and saw the light and the way it was interacting with the clock and the mirror behind it.  I could tell from there that I wanted to create and image with blown out light behind the trumpet blowing angel.  A bit of a cliche perhaps, but it appealed to me.

Does that happen to you, that you look and see the image you want to create instead of the photo you are going to take? Do you like my take on the photo or do you think and cooler, blue version might appeal to you more?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites

Walking around the Abbey Gardens in Bury St. Edmunds, I came across this view of St. Edmundsbury Cathedral through the Abby ruins:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

As I was thinking of this post about opposites, I was wondering what tack to take when writing about this photo. First there was the difference between the ruins and the modern Cathedral.  The ruins were the site of a monastery that has its origins around 633.  The Cathedral in the background has been updated as recently as 2010, and has a fairly modern feel to it.  Then there is the photo I took.  The black and white version being quite different from the original shown below.

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

In addition to the obvious color to black and white conversion, I cropped the photo and sharpened it in Photoshop. I used Lightroom for the black and white adjustments and the vignette effect.

This photo was taken with my point and shoot camera.  As many of you know, I am in the process of moving from the US to England, which will be my home for the next few years.  While we have arrived here in England, our furniture, including my bigger camera is not here yet.  I’m happy that I have my smaller camera with me, but one downside to the camera is that is does not have a viewfinder.  On a sunny day, like the one that I took this on, it is hard to tell what exactly you are getting a photo of.

In this case, the original was pretty off from what I wanted in the photo, but what do you think? Do you think this works as a black and white?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

When I see the word jubilant I think of bright colors, orange and yellow:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I had been stalking these wildflowers most of this week, but rain has made it difficult to get a good shot.  I finally caught a break two days ago in the evening when the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance.  I took this photo with my point and shoot camera on the macro setting and set the ISO at 400.  There was a slight breeze, but at 200th of a second, this flower seems frozen in time.  I kept the editing to a minimum.  I cropped and sharpened a bit in Photoshop, then added a grain filter and vignette in Lightroom.

What do you think of the editing? Do you also associate certain words with colors?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

It’s Spring time so it’s time for chickens:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

Time for cute little faces like these:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

I love taking photos like these.  These particular chickens were hatched in a second grade classroom as part of a life cycles unit and were moved today to a farm.  They grow quickly, but for now they are fluffy and have large feet.

The main challenge for taking photos like these is to catch the chickens at a moment when they are still.  It means a lot of photos end up in the trash bin.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Editing photos can be a fun way of interpreting the earth around you. This photo is an image I created in Photoshop:

ISO 400 4.3 f/2.7 1/250

ISO 400 4.3 f/2.7 1/250

The reality of what I saw was closer to this:

ISO 400 4.3 f/2.7 1/250

ISO 400 4.3 f/2.7 1/250

The larger story was that I had gone to the park bench these flowers were growing next too because I thought it would be a good photo.  It turns out it wasn’t.  Even the various edited versions could not match the beauty or serenity I saw in the moment.  That’s a bit frustrating.  But when I got home, this images above, that I didn’t think much of when I was taking it, ended up being the image that I liked best.   On this particular day, I had both of my cameras with me, but it was this image taken with my point and shoot that I liked best.  In Photoshop the image was cropped and sharpened.  I then applied a preset filter in Lightroom that gave it a different color and I also added a bit of grain.

Has that ever happened to you? You are sure a certain image is going to be a gem, only to find out the riches are hidden in another image?  Feel free to leave a comment below.  The edited image looks quite different from the original, what do you think of the change?

Cheers!