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!

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56 thoughts on “This Is My Home

  1. I like both the images – perhaps I dont have a very good ‘eye’. I do enjoy your photography details though I often dont understand much 😀 Wish you and yours a wonderful new year too 🙂

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      • So that is High Dynamic Range. Meaning that you are attempting to capture as much detail as possible. You would use exposure bracketing in this case to create an HDR image. What that means is that you take three of the same photo, one with a normal exposure, one darker than that and one lighter. Those three images are then edited together and you should have the range (hence HDR) of exposures. I am including a link here about exposure bracketing because it includes what exposure bracketing is and its link to HDR. http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2111/what-is-exposure-bracketing/ What camera are you using? I ask because a lot of them have settings that can make this process fairly easy. Also, do you use editing software at all?

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      • Wow thank you for the detailed response! much appreciated. You will probably be disappointed to know that I am using my Samsung phone camera and only little bit of the editing tools that the computer or phone allows. As you can see I am a complete newbie at this and pretty much everything in the blogging world. In fact I am not even familiar with the phone camera settings. I recently discovered something called Pro and how to zoom in and out. Sheesh

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      • Actually, part of the reason I was asking is that different cameras, including those on phones, have features that allow you to create an HDR image in camera. My iPhone has this feature, I’m not familiar with Samsung’s products, so you would have to Google it 🙂
        I prefer not to think of any kind of camera as “only” this or that. I have gotten some fabulous photos from all my cameras, the most expensive of which there are still plenty of photographers who would look down upon. Sure, it’s great to have nice equipment, but it’s more important to understand how what you have works. Have fun figuring your gear out 🙂 And thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

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      • Thank you so much for your encouraging advice. I will surely do some reading and research especially now that I know where to ask for help! Thanks once again 🙂

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  2. I actually really like both images, and feel that the original holds on its own without any editing. But with the editing one. agree it is more warm and has more of a welcoming feel to it. I feel the edited one has a more summer feel to it, and the original one a kind of cozy winter photos.

    I like that your images now stretch across the page. It can be so hard picking a theme that suits. I remember when I did my blog theme almost two years ago, I spend a few months tweaking hte code – it was horror, lol. Wishing you a wonderful season ahead and looking forward to seeing more posts and photography from you in January 🙂

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  3. I think your processing is making the photo stronger. It does emit warmth and peace of the season. Very nice. I also like the new look of your blog. I think it’s a good idea to get rid of the sidebar. I at can often distract, and I am thinking of doing the same myself.

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    • Thank you and I’m glad you like the new look. I just felt like my sidebar was getting a bit carried away (and it was the sidebar not me :)) it was just too much information competing with what I felt the real focus of my blog as I see it.

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  4. Amy although the edited image is warmer I really do like them both. Your new look is much cleaner and I think you have achieved creating the focus on your photos.Have a great holiday season and enjoy the break.

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  5. I love how it how you share your end of the year – start of the year blog updates 😉
    And it reminds me of how fun it is to be blogging for a while with some folks – 😉

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  6. I love the warmth conveyed, although after a couple of 38C days this week, cool would be nice. Your new home looks warm and comfortable for the short days in your part of the world. Wishing you and your family compliments of the Season and a great 2017, Amy. 🙃Ken

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  7. I used to have Academia as my theme. When I was using that theme, I had an option for each of my posts whether I choose to show my post with widgets on the side or have a “wide” post. So when I have a post that I want the pictures to pop out, I just choose to have wide post. For regular posts, I keep the widgets. Anyhow, your blog fits well with a wide format.
    Sorry to be honest, but I actually like the original photo more.

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  8. Hi, Amy. Great shot. I love how your HDR processing brings out the details in the leaf. Great lighting too. I’ve been using the HDR filter available through Nik, rather than bracketing my shots. Is this just laziness on my part?? Do you still find that bracketing works better than post-processing with a filter?

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    • I’m of the opinion that bracketing works “better” in that I have more to work with. I think doing it this way gives me a bit more flexibility over controlling the outcome of the photo. Having said that, I do use the HDR filter sometimes on my iPhone, and I have been happy with the results. As with many photography related things, I think the ultimate question is, are you happy with the outcome? If using the filters creates a result you like, then that is great. If you experiment and find you like bracketing better, great; if you find that it is more work but not enough of a better result, then that is the answer. For me, the answer to your question really is that it depends on what I am planning to do with the final photo. I use Nik filters as well for other things and I would say overall they are really nice, are you using them as a stand alone or as a plug in for Photoshop/Lightroom?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, so I typed in a response and then it got “lost”, so I will try again. I don’t know enough about the filter to know the details of how it is handling the file to know about any degrading issues. One of the reasons that I used bracketed photos is that of control. I still have the original files if the filter returns a result I don’t feel like I can work with. Not that I do this often, but I can at that point go back to the originals, make adjustments there then run the filter again.

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  9. Congratulations on your new “home.” It is a wonderful feeling to have a corner of the digital world to call our own and to take the time and effort to make it look the way we want and transform it into a welcoming place for others. As for your photo, it is beautifully done. I especially love how the candlelight shines through the delicate transparency of the poinsettia leaf.

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  10. The new theme looks great! And thanks for say what theme it was and what you did with it. Of the images in this post, I’m with the group that likes the original image with its darker background. And, BTW, I think it would be a super background for a Christmas card. Nicely done. All the best for 2017. Cheers!

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  11. Love your new home. I’ve been trying to find a new look – it’s very time-consuming! But your new look has inspired me. I really enjoy your explanations. I used to do a lot of black and white in the darkroom way back when and gave up all editing with digital. Only just now beginning to get interested in it again. Maybe that’s because my incredibly convenient – and old – point and shoot has given up the ghost and I need to get a new camera. I like to have a camera on me whenever I go out so it won’t be a dSLR, I need something lighter. Time to start searching… I like the drama of the two photos – the second one is maybe a bit more dramatic because of the deeper shadows and lines. It’s fun to look at two versions of a photo – good for training the eye. Thanks very much.

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    • Thank you for leaving a comment. I’d be curious to know which camera you end up settling on and why and then if you are happy with it, that sort of thing is always interesting to me. I found the re-do of this blog to be very time consuming, it was time though, I’m glad you like the new layout. I had the old one for two years in part because the last time I changed things up it took so long, I was hesitant to change again at all.

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  12. Maranto, one of your gifts (besides a terrific photographic eye) is your gentle sharing of the process behind what you do. I love that you explained thinking about whether to try a new theme, and then coming back to the same theme but changing the option to provide a full screen view of the photographs. One of the challenging things about WordPress I find is that, there are so many options (and theme options) that it can be a huge time sink just to try to explore changing the look. Great work!

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