18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, iPhone, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Walls of the Missing

I am planning to visit the Cambridge American Cemetery again soon and as part of that, I was looking through some photo files that I shot this past winter. One of the features in the cemetery is its Walls of the Missing that have 5,127 names on it. It’s an interesting structure in that there are places where you can walk through and it operates as both a barrier to the outside, but also an entrance and exit between the cemetery and it’s exterior. So it’s both a wall and a door. It’s imposing, yet delicate; Both personal and impersonal. During this particular photo editing session, I was working with images that included the Wall:

These first images are ones that I shot on my iPhone using the app Hipstamatic. One of the features of that app is “randomize” which means you shake your phone, take your photo, and the app applies a random selection of filters. I created a series of those over the course of my visit.

I also brought my Canon 80D:

ISO 400 24mm f/11 1/250sec


ISO 400 24mm f/11 1/640

These two photos I edited in Luminar 3 with an eye to accentuating the warm but quickly fading light of a February afternoon.

It was an interesting work session, and I was giving some thought to how different the lighting conditions will be since my next visit will be in July. In that vein, I think it is nice as a photographer to have the experience of shooting the same place at different times of the year. It’s a good exercise in thinking through things like light. It’s also interesting to then have the time of year be part of the narrative of the image.

Do you have a place like this, that you visit regularly over the year in part just to see the changes? What do you think of my various photos, is there a particular one that speaks to you? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Wall and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, 5+ Items.


18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photography, travel

From England, With Love

Just for fun, this post is a bit different from my usual posts where I talk about photo editing. This post is about a day trip in the country where I am currently living, England. Somewhat ironically, July 4th was a day off and therefore an ideal day for a short road trip. So this is how I spent July 4th in England.

I have a lot of favorite things about England, but one of them is English Heritage, which cares for more than 400 sites of historic significance. You can visit and pay for site visits individually, but for a history nerd enthusiast, really a membership is the way to go. We have about one year before our next country move, and our English Heritage membership will run out in the Spring, so the clock is ticking…

Our first stop of the day was to the Eleanor Cross in Geddingon.

ISO 500 35mm f/11 1/1250sec

It’s in the middle of the road in the middle of town, so hard to miss, but pay attention if you are trying to take photos! This cross is a memorial to Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, who died in 1290.

Also nearby:

ISO 25 4.2mm f/2.2 1/124sec

This is a George V postbox. Not part of English Heritage, but if I am out and about and there is a postbox, I’m taking a photo.

From there we were on to Kirby Hall:

ISO 500 22mm f/11 1/800sec

Originally built during the reign of Elizabeth I, a visit here includes an interesting audio guide about the history and architecture of the house. Also on site:

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You won’t be able to miss these guys and girls, particularly if you are having a picnic lunch. While they would love for you to feed them, staff on site would ask that you not do that.

From there it was on to Lyddington Bede House:

ISO 32 4.2mm f/2.2 1/100sec

This shot from the interior eludes to the religious history of the site. The house has had several functions over the years, and signs around the property fill in the story for visitors. Here is a shot from the front of the house:

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The church in the background is St. Andrew’s Church and here is a shot of the graveyard:

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The church is not English Heritage, it is an operational, and very lovely, Church of England Church. Like postboxes, if there is a churchyard nearby, I am there taking a photo.

Our last stop of the day was to Rushton Triangular Lodge:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/320sec

A really interesting folly built in 1593. It has its own blog post here.

I hope you have enjoyed this little detour road trip style post. My cameras for this outing were my Canon 80D and my iPhone. All the photos have had at least minor edits feel free to leave a comment or any questions below.

Photos of my travels are likely to turn up in my Instagram feed, as that peacock did, so feel free to follow me there:


Written in response to Lens-Artists Challenge, A Country that is Special to You.

18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Luminar, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Schiessentumpel Waterfall, Luxembourg

ISO 2000 18mm f/11 1/30sec

Added to One Word Sunday, Relax.

18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar, Photography

It’s a Folly

Sometimes things are complicated:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/320sec

This is Rushton Triangular Lodge. The fact that it’s a folly is the simplest part of the story. A folly is generally speaking an outbuilding on the property of a large estate. Generally defined as a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose. The first one I ever saw in person was actually built as a fake ruin. I read about the one pictured above and really just wanted to go see it in person like maybe it would make more sense that way.

This lodge was built in 1593, by Sir Thomas Tresham, who interpreted three knocks he heard as God telling him to build a structure to honor the Trinity. I’ll admit that part sounded a bit nuts to me. But then, looking into it a bit more, I read that he had spent 15 years imprisoned for his Catholic faith. So then, I look at this more as something he took seriously, he was Catholic and wanted a way to express that at a time when that wasn’t really allowed. He died in 1605. In that same year, his son Francis was involved and convicted of having a roll in the Gunpowder Plot. Francis, convicted of treason, would die before his execution date, he was beheaded after death and his head was publicly displayed.

The folly itself is a virtual riot of the number 3 and Catholic theology. It’s fascinating to look at from the outside, but plain and dark inside. So interesting, but I’m still not really sure about what to think about it. I’ll chalk this one up to something I still need to think about, I was glad to get to see it in person though. Have you ever felt that way, like if you go to visit a site it will then make more sense to you? Have you ever considered building an expensive building with no practical purpose? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Letters or Numbers.

18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge

A Few Feet off the Trail

I like to go walking. I enjoy it enough to belong to a walking group. Now there are a lot of reasons people join walking groups, but for me, the biggest draw was going on walks that I might not have discovered on my own. A few months ago our group went on a walk that included a tour of this church that was just off the trail we were walking on:

ISO 250 28mm f/11 1/640sec

This church is St. Denis. It is currently under the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches. The link I’ve included leads to specific renovations that the church is undergoing. We were met there by some folks who were pretty enthusiastic about the project and were happy to show us around and give us a bit of history on the building. I honestly had never heard of the charity before, but find their work really interesting. As for the photo above, here is my edit:

ISO 250 28mm f/11 1/640sec

Just like the work going on in the church, this edit was a pretty big overhaul as well. As pretty as the day was, the tones in the original file just didn’t really appeal to me. I started with the shadows slider though, to bring back some detail. I’ve changed the color tones quite a bit and added some grain to give the edit a bit of a vintage look. I chose these particular color tones because once inside the church, the light was warmer and more diffuse than outside, and I’ve chosen to apply that to this edit.

It was worth stepping off the trail to take a look at this church, I really enjoyed my visit. Do you like this edit? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge: Trail.

18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creative Use of A Vignette

When it comes to learning how to use photo-editing software, I think YouTube can be a good source of information. There is a lot out there, plenty of videos to look through, in my opinion, that’s both the strength and weakness of YouTube. This video is an example of that, there are some tips that I will use and others that I will not. For the purpose of this blog post, I am writing about using the vignette filter as a way to isolate an object in a photo. The particular tip I am referencing is at about the ten-minute mark of the video.  I decided to experiment using this photo:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/50sec

This grave marker is pretty visually interesting so I would like it to stand out a bit more. The tip in the video demonstrates putting a rather pronounced vignette on your photo, then erasing the vignette on the area you would like to highlight.  My final version is this:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/50sec

I’m both satisfied with this and not. First, it is an easy edit, and sometimes simple techniques can be pretty powerful, so I like the underlying theory. It seems to me that this would be a more impactful editing method for subjects that are more offset than this one, so if I were to edit this file again using the technique, I would re-think the crop first and then work from there. Overall though, I have saved this video and written this post because I see this a technique that I would use.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Added to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, One.


18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Flowers, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Fiddling

This photo was taken at Menin Gate, Ypres Belgium.  It’s a massive WWI monument that has a Last Post ceremony every evening at 8pm:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/100 sec

Being that it was June, there was quite a bit of natural light after the ceremony. The light gave the monument a nice glow. I liked the color version of this photo, but was interested this week in creating a black and white version:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/100 sec

This edit has two layers to achieve the mix of black and white with red. On the black and white layer, I focused on bringing out detail like the names on the wall. On the layer where I was adding the red color back in, I also dropped the luminance slider of the reds, creating a muted tone that worked with the black and white of the rest of the image. Getting the colors and the black and white layers to where I wanted them and then blending them took quite a bit of fiddling. No formulas or rules here, just a do I like this better? how about now? kind of approach.

Do you like this particular interpretation? This is definitely a shot that I will be working with again to create a color version as well. Your comments are welcome below.


Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Flower of Any Kind.