Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

This week’s photo challenge starts with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?”  Oh boy, travel is a topic maybe it’s best not to get me started on as “going to see things” is a bit of a hobby for me.  It also happens that I was on the road just a few weeks ago.  I visited a few well-known spots that pretty much everyone has heard of.  This post though is more about something I really love about traveling, and that is visiting some spot a bit off the tourist path and being utterly charmed by it.

I do enjoy history, so I often find myself at spots of historical significance.  I will admit though, if it has to do with World War II, it’s probably because my husband found it.  That’s how I came to be standing here:

ISO 400 4.15mm f/2.2 1/100 sec

Where am I? The Upottery Heritage Center.  Here’s a Google map link, if you would like to see a map of the area.  Why was I here? Well the Band of Brothers left from here for Normandy; that was my husband’s interest.  He had been in contact with Robin, a volunteer at the center, who had agreed to open the converted hut for us to take a look around.  This is one of those museums that has been put together by people who care about the history of the area.  It’s a small space, but there is an incredible amount of well researched detail here.  My husband talked to Robin about those details.  For me, it was the photographs, look at all the photographs!  Our youngest child was traveling with us and found the stash of newspapers from the time. Eventually, it was time to drag ourselves away from this room. The driving tour was next.  Robin was willing to take us around to show my husband where the old airfield was.  For me the highlight of the driving tour was this:

ISO 25 4.15 f/2.2 1/420

During the war it was a guard station.  It’s the last remaining one in the area and now if functions as a Remembrance memorial.  A beautiful tribute if you ask me.

Part of the tour took us through farms that are currently in use, so from my Instagram, I have this shot.

On a #walk with a #cow #nofilter #england

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

A cleaned up version of that shot is in my Picfair portfolio.

This morning in Upottery was a highlight of the trip.  The well known places were good too, but this was unique, something that will stick in our collective family memory. In terms of the photography, I stuck with my iPhone for this visit and was pleased with the results. Have you perhaps had the experience as well, that a lesser known place ended up being a highlight of a trip? Can you believe how lush that grass is in the Instagram photo? That’s a no filter photo.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

Spider (so click away now if they’re not your thing)

One of the challenges I face when I am running is to keep running.  I’m not always successful, but in this case it means that I got this photo:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/710

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/710

I’ll admit if I had seen this spider in my home, I’d have probably squealed like a girl and ran away before dealing with it. On a run however, when I am just passing the web and spider by, I find it beautiful.  On this particular morning there were a lot of spiders out working.  This one I stopped for because I thought the light in the web was just about perfect.  Here is the original shot:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/710

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/710

In the edited version I really focused on the warmth that was in the original.  I used Lightroom for my editing. One of the first things I did was increase the temperature slider.  I liked the effect that had on the spider’s legs and on the sun rays. I’ve also used a graduated filter to bring a bit of interest to the sky.

The fun thing about this photo was that I took it with my iPhone, I was happy with the result. What do you think? Do you try to ignore spiders when you are out and about? Do you prefer the original or the edited version?  Feel free to leave a comment below. I’ve added this photo to my Picfair portfolio and to the Daily Post Challenge.

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!

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: Vibrant

I almost always have a camera with me.  My Canon 50D is my favorite, but I don’t always carry it around.  At times when I don’t have it, I rely on my point and shoot.  One time when I prefer to use my point and shoot is when the crowd looks like this:

ISO 200 15mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 200 15mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This was the crowd at this afternoon’s Wiener Dog Races that are part of Mardi Gras here in St. Louis.  It’s a popular event.  It’s a friendly and vibrant crowd, but not the best place to take my bigger camera.  Here’s a shot of what people came to see:

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/500

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/500

Mostly the dogs seem to love this, some however, are not impressed:

ISO 200 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/200

ISO 200 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/200

This little fellow seemed to be disdainful of the pleas and shouts of encouragement to run.  This little shot of defiance was my favorite shot of the day, and something that my point and shoot can easily handle. In this case, I feel like I can get the photos I want for the story I want to tell with the smaller camera. I have left the photos as they were shot, no editing.  For this particular post, I wanted the photos to convey the sense of a casual observer taking in an event.

How do you handle photography in a crowd like this? Do you take a smaller camera, or do you fearlessly wade in with your largest camera? Your thoughts are welcome below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to take you on a walk around the zoo with me as I go in search of a photo. I take a lot of photos and I’m grateful for digital photography.  It’s easy to go ahead and take a photo, try another angle, another setting perhaps.  Think for a minute, try something else.  The beauty of digital is that you can throw away all the duds.  My laptop trash bin often has a lot in it. Here is a little gallery of our walk:

You can roll over any of the photos to see why they will not be making it into a blog post other than this one where I show you all my oops moments.  For those of you who visit regularly, you will recognize that cheetah.  He was in last week’s post looking like this:

I see you

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

To get that one photo, I took one hundred and twenty two photos, for me that is almost nothing.

I have a few that I will keep.  I’ll edit those, make sure they are tagged, and save them to a separate hard drive too.  The rest, well those are headed for the bulging trash bin.

Thanks for taking a walk with me. I always like chatting about photography.  Feel free to comment below, either about what I have done here or about your own creative process.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

Sometimes a visit to the zoo is like a game of  I Spy, as in good luck finding anyone out and about.  Not so a few days ago on a cool autumn morning, a lot of animals were out enjoying a bit of the morning sunshine, including this cheetah:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

Usually when I am taking animal photos I try to get a shot with their eyes in focus.  In this case, there was something I liked about the photos with its eyes closed.  A bit relaxed and aloof at the same time.  While I was shooting that morning I had set my ISO to 800 because I felt like with the sun going in and out, 800 would cover the changing conditions.  I had my shutter speed at 250 because a lot of the animals were moving around, and that speed was enough to capture that motion.  In this particular photo, that wasn’t really necessary.  I have not done much post processing with this photo, the original is below, and you can see the biggest change is the cropping:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

In this case I was mindful of the rule of thirds, and placed the cheetah’s closed eyes along one of those rule of thirds grid lines.  I think keeping it simple in this case made for a good photo, but what do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!