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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

I do enjoy being on my own, but at this point in my life I’m not alone a lot.  It’s the nature of my work and of parenting that I be with others.  I have found over the years though, that is is possible to experience a sense of solitude when when others are around:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/4800 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/4800 sec

This is an image I created from the shot below that I took while out on a run yesterday:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/4800 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/4800 sec

It was a cold morning, the sun was out briefly and in a very intense way.  It made for a beautiful and hazy moment. I have edited the first version to saturate the image with color and then added a lot of grain to give the photo an intense and somewhat surreal look.  It was a simple edit using the sliders in Lightroom.

My Instagram version turned out this way:

A beautiful start to my day. #nofilter #running #photography

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I stuck with the softer hues for that version.

From my photographs, you might have the impression that I run in wide open desolate places.  You would be wrong. This spot, while beautiful, is just steps from a lot of houses and is on a very busy path. To me though, running is a moment of solitude.  It really is just me and the path, just as the photo suggests.  Do you find that to be an interesting contradiction? to be alone yet not alone?  What do you think of my various edited versions? To me that first version looks like it could have been taken almost anywhere, I like that about it, but does it seem that way to you? Feel free to comment below. Check out my other moments of solitude on Instagram @marantophotography feel free to follow me, I like the company!

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

There are a lot of flowers in the house right now.  I enjoy all of them and love photographing them, but there is something about the rose that seems to embody grace:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/20

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/20

There is also something inherently graceful about a black and white photograph. I find that limiting the color palette is a form of simplicity even if it is not simple to do.  In this case, I started with this original photo:

The original

The original

Before converting it to black and white, I edited it to this version using Lightroom:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/20

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/20

I have increased the saturation, vibrance, and clarity.  I like the original version better than this edited version, but it has been my experience that a crisp and vibrant color photo often transforms into a more interesting black and white version than a softer color photo does.

Having created the more dynamic color version, I then edited it using the Silver Efex Pro plug in within Lightroom.  As I usually do, I began with choosing a filter that looked closest to what I wanted to achieve and then edited from there.  It is rare that I apply a filter and then don’t edit it further.  In this case this filter was a bit too dark for my liking, I increased the light by using the sliders for both the highlights and the shadows.  Back in Lightroom, I added a vignette.

This photo was shot using my Canon 50D with a 50mm lens and a magnifier.  This allows me to get more of a macro photo.  The difficulty in using this set up though is getting adequate light.  In this case I went with f/5.6 and 1/20 shutter speed.  That’s a slow shutter speed, I got a lot of blurry images.  Using the tripod would have made this easier.

The beautiful thing about flowers is that they are always changing.  Here’s another photo, this time using my iPhone, taken this morning:

Roses in the morning light. #photography #goodmorning #flowers

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Lovely, but it is still the black and white version that says graceful to me.  What do you think? Do you have a favorite version? Is there a flower that you think is more graceful than the rose? Do you have a favorite way to convert images to black and white?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!