Birds, iPhone, Nature, Photography, Silent Sunday, Wandering Wednesday

Silent Sunday: Swans at Sunset


ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/450

Inspired by Wandering Wednesday: Sunsets.

70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Instagram, Monochrome Monday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

The Swans

I live near several small lakes, one of which has a swan family:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

This image is one of the first I captured of the whole family. I first posted about this family last week and my aim there was to keep the images as true to the original scene as possible. For this post, I am wandering out to a bit more creative territory. First a black and white edit:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

The first thing I did with this edit was to crop it. I wanted to really bring the swan in the foreground to an almost uncomfortable closeness. This swan was acting in a very protective manner and I think the crop helps tell that part of the story. I then brought the highlights in the image down and the shadows up. I wanted this black and white version to be a bit smoother than its original as shot exposure. I then added a vignette, darkening the corners.

I like this image and the crop, so I decided to create another color version:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

For this version, I started with a preset that was suggestive of a film camera. I kept the brightness of the original exposure though. It has a completely different color cast to it than the original. The luminance sliders for yellow, green, aqua and blue have all been boosted, and the color temp of the overall photo was also increased.

I’m sorry to say that one of the swans went missing shortly after these photos were taken. I posted the sad news on my Instagram:

And then there were just two #cygnets #thingsiseewhilewalking #nofilter

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How do you like the edits? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge.

Picfair versions: Black & White and Color.


70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Instagram, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge

New Neighbors

There are some photos that I’m not sure are going to happen.  This is one of them:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

And another:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

These are our new cygnets. I thought there was a nest this year, but I wasn’t certain. The weather was a bit different from last year, and the vegetation around the lake has grown up in a different way. Last year’s next I could clearly see from the shore.  This year I was only guessing. Last year’s clutch was very successful, six healthy offspring, this year I have spotted four.

Generally, when I set out to photograph these swans, I take my 70-200mm lens. You will see that for these photos, the lens is at 70mm, the swans are incredibly close, particularly when you consider that this lake is on a path that is frequented by a lot of people and dogs. I chose these two images to edit in part because, despite the fact they were taken at the same time, the color of the water appears different.  As far as edits go, for this round I have chosen to stay very close to the original exposures, the images have been cropped and sharpened.

Was I excited to see them? You bet! Here is a photo from the day I first spotted them:

Do you like my true to life edits? Do you have new neighbors this Spring? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge: New

70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Red and Yellow Barbet

Red and Yellow Barbet, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania:

ISO 1600 70mm f/11 1/400

Picfair version here.

70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Flowers, Instagram, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be

It’s not so much a question of where I’d rather be but that I’d rather be wherever that is with my camera. The photos in the gallery below are from my trip in December to Tanzania:

I came home with a lot of photos, and I have been working on sorting and editing them. One of the projects that I have in mind for these photos is a book. It will be a bestseller. There will be two copies made eventually.  At the moment, the photos that will be considered for the book are in two albums on Flickr, an unedited larger album, and a smaller book album. That unedited larger album is also the one I have shared with friends and family who have asked to see some photos, 96 from the original 1,690. The smaller one is photos that have been edited and are ready for possible publication. It is a work in progress.

But as awesome as the trip was, and as much as I am enjoying the process of working with the photos, the reality is that I really like to take photos. Even of everyday things, like these that I took yesterday morning:

My #beastfromtheeast survivors #daffodils

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I enjoy processing my everyday experiences through a camera lens. How about you, do you feel like a camera is part of your everyday life? Your thoughts are welcome below.  Feel free to browse my Flickr albums as well and leave a comment here if you like.


50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Instagram, iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Tour Guide on Patrol with the Ducks

A few days ago I went looking for these guys:

ISO 800 95mm f/9.0 1/3200 sec

Only in real life, they looked like this:

ISO 800 95mm f/9.0 1/3200 sec

I was looking for them because week six on the Dogwood 52-week challenge is alternating rhythm, or to practice using light and dark to create depth and rhythm. Sunlight on the lake often creates harsh shadows which adds a sense of depth.  As for these four birds, they always seem to be hanging out and patrolling the lake as a unit, the rhythm of their lives in step with each other regardless of the other activity on the water. It’s a honking loud rhythm too, in case you were wondering.

For this challenge, I was out to push the depth and rhythm ideas a bit. I added a motion filter and tin-like cast to the photo, I think it makes the light and dark contrast stand out, pushing it to a bit of an extreme for a nature image. Lightroom is a good editing tool for pushing ideas, sometimes you can go a bit too far though. Do you think this edit pushed the boundary of the challenge, or did it hurl it off the cliff? Your thoughts are welcome below.

It’s no wonder I went to my local lake, you will find me there a lot, it’s one of my favorite places to photograph:

Just a few shots from the last year or so. And one more from this morning:

#rainbow #thingsiseeonmyrun

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I may not make a good tour guide since I spend a lot of time chasing photos and listening to ducks, but it is beautiful and a good place to practice photography.