The Greatest Work of Art in the World

It’s possible you walked right past it.  It’s always amazing to me what I run past almost daily.  It’s scenes like this:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

Or this:

#frost and #sun on my morning #run #nofilter #photography

A photo posted by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

 

These two photos represent to me the greatest art in the world, art that occurs in nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to art galleries or churches and looking at beautiful works of art, but you can’t beat what you walk past every day.

These photos were taken within minutes of each other yet have a very different feel to them.  The first, which has been edited, is moodier despite the warm tone of the sky.  Here is what the original photo looked like:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

A cooler tone, but more distracting elements in the lower left and right of the photo.  I used Photoshop, the healing brush tool, to remove them.  I then used the Analog pro plug in in Lightroom and applied a filter that warmed the photo up and also introduced the grain that you can see in the final image.  There is a vignette in the corners that I think is most obvious in the lower corners.  This version I posted to my Picfair portfolio.

The Instagram photo, well it’s an Instagram photo.  What I mean by that is that photos I post there tend to be more casual and everyday.  I like the light in the photo. I think it works well in Instagram’s square format too.  It isn’t a photo that I would put in a more formal setting though because part of the plant, the part that is closest to the viewer, is out of focus.  I could get all high and mighty and tell you haughtily that “It’s art!” but the reality is that it is distracting.  I like it, but I’m not going to edit it.

Do you have a favorite among the images? Are you on Instagram, I am @marantophotography if you’d like to stop by there. Do you have a favorite work of art?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Sometimes when you visit a place, the ambience seems all wrong:

ISO 200 17mm f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 200 17mm f/5.6 1/1000

This is The Little Mermaid a nice statue in Copenhagen.  I just couldn’t help but feeling the background doesn’t fit the statue.  Instead of trying to edit out the background or make it more appealing, I decided to let it stand as a bit of statement on our modern world. We like to surround ourselves with beautiful things but industry is still required and is always lurking in the background.

The photo above I took with my point and shoot camera.  I then edited it in Lightroom.  I’ve applied a Nik filter for a photographic look and then I boosted the yellow and orange tones in Lightroom and added a vignette.  While I was visiting this statue I also posted a version taken with my phone to Instagram:

Because I'm in #copenhagen I had to take the #littlemermaid photo. #tourism #denmark

A photo posted by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

With this version, I boosted the blue tones.  Again, I chose to leave the industrial background in.

If you google The Little Mermaid, you will see lots of different interpretations, and a lot of them have the background fixed up in some way.  I have to admit that I had seen so many images like that that I was surprised when I saw the statue in person.  Has that ever happened to you? That the version of a place you have seen on-line looks nothing like what you see when you turn up?  What do you think of my versions? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Names

There are some times when a name just doesn’t seem to fit.  This pub is in York:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

The name struck me as ironic, since it looked like an inviting place, hardly a hole in the wall.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

When I went to edit it, I was thinking more of accenting the sepia tones including the golden tones that were in the sign, as opposed to an actual representation of the building.  My edits here include a crop.  That is where I started; I used the straighten feature in Photoshop. It’s a subtle straighten in that I just did it by looking and deciding what was straight enough rather than using a grid.  I’ve used the Nik analog pro plug-in to help achieve the photographic look.  Once I had applied that filter, I switched to Lightroom.  From there I increased the saturation and luminance of the oranges and yellows.  I added a vignette and a bit of a haze.

What do you think of my interpretation of the building? It was a bit of a cold day, so the warm tones caught my attention.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

This Is My Home

I had a blog project brewing for the new year.  Then I got a little push to work on the project before the new year started. You are looking at the project, it is the blog itself.  I wanted a new look for it.  This blog is the living room of my online home and I wanted to redecorate.  I had big plans, a whole new WordPress theme I was thinking.  It turned into something much more modest.  None of the themes that I tried on suited my vision of home. I’ll be honest, it was frustrating.  So, what have I done then?  First, I kept the theme I had been using, it’s the Able theme if you are curious.  What’s new is that I got rid of the sidebar.  One of the lovely things about the Able theme, is that you do have the option of displaying photographs in a large format.  This is a photography blog, it makes sense that the images should be large.  All of my social links are now up in the header.  I did keep the header image and kept the type a color that I borrowed from the lion header image.

Another thing that won’t change on the blog is the underlying thread of photography.  I hope you enjoy my photography and reading about how I create images.  That is the main reason I write this blog.  With that in mind, this is an image I was working on creating this week:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

When this poinsettia branch fell off the rest of the plant, I was presented with a lovely photography opportunity.  I wanted to create an image that was both warm and dark, one that represents the idea of reflecting on the year that has passed and the one that is to come.  The original photo is here:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

I decided to shoot this photo using a bracketed exposure, I wanted to create an HDR image that would bring out the detail in the leaf.  The final image was also cropped in Lightroom.  I used the perspective crop feature to level out the final image just a bit.  I have also used a photo filter.  The filter was adjusted to add warmth to the image and also a bit of texture.  I then darkened the corners using a vignette.  The final image was added to my Picfair portfolio because I do think this would make a good stock image.

So, what do you think of my final image?  I was using only the candle and natural light to light the photo, can you believe it was only 3pm?  In this part of the world these last days of the year are also the darkest.  They do open up a wide variety of photography options though.  This will be my last post of the year, I expect to be back in this space in mid-January.  In the meantime you can find me on Instagram and Twitter.  If you are a blogger, I’ll probably be by to visit.  Feel free to leave a comment below about the photo I have created.  I would also appreciate feedback on the new layout of the site!

All the best to you and yours for the coming year.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

When I stumble across a scene like this, I get pretty excited:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

This is one of the scenes that await visitors of Fountains Abbey in York.  It’s a beautiful place.  There is something about a view like this that I find very relaxing.  I spent the day here, looking around. I took the walking tour to get a better feel for the history of the place. But really I was just there for the beauty.

The photo above started like this:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

I had my camera set to take a bracketed exposure because I was pretty sure I was going to want to make an HDR version in Photoshop.  HDR in this case because I knew it would give detail and a bit of pop to the ruins.  I then used my Analog Pro plug in as a starting point to make the photo look more like a photograph and less digital. I chose to keep the cool tones of the original since it was shot in December.  I’ve also cropped this photo a bit with the thought of keeping the focus on the ruins.

I’ve added this to my Picfair portfolio, because I was pleased with the outcome.  How do you like this edit, does it seem relaxing and peaceful to you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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!