Weekly Photo Challenge: Danger!

In case you thought it was safe to leave the house, my teenager will tell you it’s not:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/250

Pictured above, a dinosaur, not my teenager.

This is the terrifying or hilarious sight that awaits you at the entrance of National Showcaves Centre for Wales. It kind of depends on how you feel about dinosaurs. As I was sitting eating my lunch not far from this dino, the reaction was mixed.  Some young visitors were really excited.  Others were wondering what they had done that their parents were punishing them this way. My  teenager was firmly insisting that we walk straight past the dinosaurs to get to the caves and not take photos like this to post to Instagram:

When you're in #Wales to take a look at a cave and run into a #dinosaur #thingsthathappenedtometoday

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But as my teenager can tell you, there is a danger in leaving the house with your parents.  They are likely to do highly embarrassing things while at the same time making it obvious that they are your parents.  So, what’s a teen to do? Consider these steps:

  • Ignore parents, perhaps they will stop talking about stupid poses they want to do.
  • Hiss at them to be quiet, in the hopes they will drop the subject of posing with dinosaurs. Be careful with your technique when applying this step.
  • Agree to one photo, after all Mom like never actually posts photos of you to social media, so probably no one will ever see the photo and you can move on to seeing the caves.
  • Consider rolling your eyeballs (no wait, definitely roll your eyeballs) as you finally move on to the caves and wonder why your parents are so impossible sometimes.

In addition to providing those helpful tips for dealing with impossible parents, I will talk a bit about the actual photos.  The top photo was taken with my Canon 50D. While I was taking the photo I thought about composition, I wanted the dinosaur to mostly fill the frame. I also considered a few different angles, trying to get as much of the metal fence and shop that was next to the dinosaur out of the photo, so I wouldn’t have to worry about cropping later.  In Lightroom, I sharpened the photo a bit and also did a white balance adjustment.  In this case I just used the eyedropper tool, picked a neutral white spot, and Lightroom made the white balance adjustment.

With the Instagram version, white balance is out the window.  The photo, taken with my iPhone, is more about setting a scene than reflecting the actual scene. What the two photos have in common is my thoughts on composition.  In both of them, I thought about filling the frame with the subject and about keeping later cropping to a minimum.

Also, there were caves, but the dinosaurs were awfully fun to photograph.  Has that happened to you, you go out with the thought of taking photos of a sight, but then get distracted by something else like dinosaurs? There are a lot of ways to manage white balance in editing software, do you have a favorite method? Parents! like what is with them?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

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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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

There are times when I think about how we as people can’t help but change the world around us.  It’s like we can’t help but interpret the earth around us, even if that means altering it.  Our generation is not the first to do this:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/1250 sec

When you walk around Stonehenge you can’t help but wondering why people did this.  There are no shortage of theories, but not a whole lot of definitive answers either.  That makes it more intriguing, but even if we had all the answers I think this site would still be awe inspiring.

Stonehenge is currently administered by English Heritage, and while there are a few different ways you can visit, we were in the area by car and did use the walking audio tour.  For this photo, I used my Canon 50D and took several shots with the thought of stitching them together in Photoshop to create the panorama you see above.  The main thing to keep in mind is to attempt to shoot as level as possible.  The first version of the panorama had some people in it.  I removed them using the healing brush and the Edit-Fill-Content Aware features of Photoshop.  I also did a white balance correction using the eyedropper in Levels, and sharpened the photo.  I am adding my Flickr version below that you can click on to see a larger version:

Panorama of Stonehenge

It is also available as part of my Picfair portfolio.

Below is an Instagram version, this version, shot with my iPhone gives a slightly different perspective and an idea of how many people I had to remove from the version above:

#Stonehenge with #nofilter So beautiful @englishheritage #england

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Do you ever find yourself wondering about how the landscape has changed over the generations? or why people do the things they do? How do you like my panorama, do you think I did a good job removing the people?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security

This past weekend I was at Ely Cathedral and took a tour of the Octagon Tower.  Here is a panorama from the top:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/2000

I added the full size version to my Flickr account so you can click on the photo below if you would like to take a closer look:

Ely Cathedral

It was a fabulous weather moment.  And being that this is England, I do have to say moment, the sun is likely to go away at any moment. It was a bit windy, but just beautiful.  Because time was limited, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about composition, I just took a bunch of photos.  This one, I have left unedited. There are a lot of imperfections in it in terms of photography, however to me it represents fairly well the grandeur of the scene, the raw beauty of it.

For my Instagram feed, I went with something a bit different:

The view from the Octagon tower @ely_cathedral is #beautiful #england

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In this case, you can see that I did think about the framing.  It’s Instagram, so I did use a filter and add a vignette. Same trip to the top of the tower, but two different interpretations of what I saw at the top.

After we were finished this tour, we looked around the Cathedral a bit on our own and then took the ground level tour.  At this point you might be wondering why I’ve titled this post, Security.  On the tour, we found out that the foundation of the Cathedral is about 5’8″ deep.  I can assure you that this did not make me feel super secure about the whole structure staying up despite the fact that it has for quite awhile. Never mind how I then felt about being on the top of the tower!

Has that ever happened to you, you found out the risks after you took the chance? In this case, it worked out well.  In fact, the Cathedral has two towers and we are planning to go back and take a tour of the other tower.  What do you think of my two interpretations of the view from the top? Do you sometimes photograph or edit with the intent of telling more than one tale?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

If I’m headed into Cambridge from the park and ride, I always head to the front seat at the top of the bus.  This week, I was joined by a fellow passenger who stood for the whole ride in making “vroom-vroom” noises.  I just settled for making a photo:

ISO 64 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000 sec

I shot this panorama on my iPhone and from Lightroom edited it using the Google Efex Pro plug in. Once I created a version that I liked I brought it back into Lightroom.  I then made some further edits. In this case, I warmed it up a bit, brought a bit of clarity to it and added a vignette.  I like the plug in as a starting point for editing.  One thing that I do when I am adding filters is to wait, even if it is just for a moment, before deciding I am done.  In my opinion, it is rare that a preset filter has exactly what you had in mind.  I give it a bit of time, look at the photo again and then usually edit again.  Filters can be a good place to start, but rarely are they your final vision.

I was in a bit of an experimental mood when I was writing this post, so I am adding in what should be a link to a slightly larger version of the photo in Flickr.

Panorama in Cambridge

Directions on how to do that are here.

I’ve also added it to my Instagram feed, using the work around I came up with last week.  In this particular case, I am also experimenting with adding the panorama format and not the traditional Instagram square format.

A #panorama from the top of the bus #bestseat #cambridge

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If you are on either of those platforms, you can stop by and let me know what you think.  Do you use the panorama function on your cell phone? When you are editing do you wait and come back later to your edits? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

I love technology, but only sometimes.  I think it would be accurate to call me a fair weather technology fan. This is especially true when it comes to social media.  I had been wondering for sometime, like ever since I signed up for an account, how to get my photos from Lightroom to Instagram. The most obvious solution to me was to create a folder in Lightroom and then have that folder on Lightroom mobile on my phone. I think the trendy phrase, “epic fail” is fair to use here. Lightroom mobile did not load properly on my phone. Wow, I have a newish phone and everything and it was a meltdown.  I grumbled many things as I reset my phone.  Mostly about how I hate Adobe, creator of Lightroom and all Photoshop products.  And honestly, I could write a very long post about my gripes over Adobe. I’ll spare you.

So, I put to the side the idea of getting photos from Lightroom to Instagram, but not really; there is nothing I love to chew on more in the back of mind than things that don’t really matter.  Then within the last week I read a few blog posts that made me think about my little problem again. Instead of just googling for the answer, why don’t I try asking some bloggers who are also on Instagram how they do it? I’d like to thank Otto von Munchow, Cardinal Guzman, and Jeff Golenski for responding to the question I posed on their blogs. To you reading this post, I’ve linked their first name to their blog and their surname to their Instagram.

As to their answers, they were all different. However, reading their answers did make me realize my work around. It is super basic and you may wonder why I didn’t think of it first. Why did I even have to spend all this time researching apps and other things?  But there you have it, I don’t always think of the easiest answer first.  Here is my Instagram photo from Lightroom:

Spotted in #Oxford #latergram #canon50d

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How’d I do it? Exported the photo in question from Lightroom to my desktop and used Airdrop to transfer it to my camera roll and added it to Instagram from there.  Pretty simple.

I wish I had asked my fellow bloggers sooner.

Here’s the part where I ask you what you think, how much do you love or not love technology? Where do you go to get your technology questions answered? feel free to leave a comment below. If you have gotten this far and would like another link, I have one for you.  Jessie is giving away a book along with a print of mine that I donated for her Book at the Door giveaway this month. Check out her post for a chance to win.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

I’m living in England.  Some weeks that means that I feel like I am living in shadows. This has been one of those weeks.  An idea that I tried to capture on Instagram:

Quiet morning on a rainy day. #solititude #photography #candles

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The photo has a filter on it, but the reality is that it was a very rainy and dreary morning in my office.  I liked the photo though, mostly anyway, so I decided to pull out my larger camera to see if I could create a photo that was more exactly in line with what I was thinking.  Here is the photo, taken with my Canon 50D, as it was before being edited:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

One of the first things I did when shooting this version was to turn the red candle around so you can’t read the label.  Also, with this being a standard photo, I can allow for more space around the candles, something that Instagram is not set to do.  I set the f-stop to f/18 because I wanted the photo to be in as much focus as possible.  This of course means that there is less light for the exposure.  You will see that my shutter speed is a full 5 seconds.  So this photograph does require a tripod to be in focus.  In this case though, I just used my desk as a tripod, it just happened to be perfect for the angle that I wanted for the photograph.  Here is the final version:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

I suspect the first thing you will notice is all the blur that has been added into the photograph.  You might find that odd considering I just made mention of how in focus I wanted the shot in the camera to be.  What I was thinking here was that I wanted the unedited version to be as close to reality as possible so that I could then decide what reality to keep in and what to edit out.  I’ve used the field blur feature of Photoshop to blur this image while keeping most of the candle sharp.  I’ve used the healing brush tool to remove a few marks and dust on the candles.

The final image is what I had in mind when I was originally looking at the scene.  It retains a lot of the reality of the scene but is a more subdued and meditative version. It is the version that I added to my Picfair portfolio.

What do you think of my various versions?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!