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!

Countryside

I was out on a walk on Sunday which usually means I would have my Canon 50D with me. But the weather report and a look outside advised against it, so I left it at home.  However, at our starting point the weather took an unexpected turn for the better. I took my phone out of its waterproof case (Ziploc bag) and took this photo while we were out:

ISO25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1400

This house was beautiful, but I really felt that it would make for an interesting image in black and white.  Here is the final version:

ISO25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1400

One of the reasons I chose to convert to black and white is that I felt that the photo had a lot of details in it, details that would be easier to see and compete with each other less in black and white.  The photo also needed cropping, there was a bit too much hedge and grass, elements that were not really adding anything to the photo.  In between taking the photo and doing the editing, I was also inspired by this black and white photo challenge. In her image, Paula has made the countryside beautiful in black and white, and has captured a reflection of her subject in the water. It’s a beautiful image and worth your time to check it out.

What do you think of my edits? Do you like the fact that it is black and white? Do you check the weather to make a camera decision?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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!

The Greatest Work of Art in the World

It’s possible you walked right past it.  It’s always amazing to me what I run past almost daily.  It’s scenes like this:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

Or this:

#frost and #sun on my morning #run #nofilter #photography

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These two photos represent to me the greatest art in the world, art that occurs in nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to art galleries or churches and looking at beautiful works of art, but you can’t beat what you walk past every day.

These photos were taken within minutes of each other yet have a very different feel to them.  The first, which has been edited, is moodier despite the warm tone of the sky.  Here is what the original photo looked like:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

A cooler tone, but more distracting elements in the lower left and right of the photo.  I used Photoshop, the healing brush tool, to remove them.  I then used the Analog pro plug in in Lightroom and applied a filter that warmed the photo up and also introduced the grain that you can see in the final image.  There is a vignette in the corners that I think is most obvious in the lower corners.  This version I posted to my Picfair portfolio.

The Instagram photo, well it’s an Instagram photo.  What I mean by that is that photos I post there tend to be more casual and everyday.  I like the light in the photo. I think it works well in Instagram’s square format too.  It isn’t a photo that I would put in a more formal setting though because part of the plant, the part that is closest to the viewer, is out of focus.  I could get all high and mighty and tell you haughtily that “It’s art!” but the reality is that it is distracting.  I like it, but I’m not going to edit it.

Do you have a favorite among the images? Are you on Instagram, I am @marantophotography if you’d like to stop by there. Do you have a favorite work of art?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

One, Two, Three!

Sometimes, it takes a few photos and a bit of editing to get to what you intended to create.  The first step is getting the photo. At first I walked past this photo.  Then a few minutes later I thought, “Did I just walk past a leaf shaped like a heart covered in frost and not take a photo?”  The answer was yes, so I backtracked and took this photo:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Hmm, ok, that was shot vertical, so then I tried a horizontal orientation:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Ok, better, but this final version is really what I had in mind:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

This in my mind it is a sort of stock image.  One you might see with text of some kind on the right side.  I created it specifically with my Picfair portfolio in mind. When I was processing it, I started with cropping it using the rule of thirds.  In the original photo I shot it with the leaf centered.  I chose to do that in this case, because the background was all the same, but I thought when I took a closer look on my computer one of the sides might be more interesting.  I also removed a little yellow leaf and a bit of frost below the stem that I thought were distracting.  Those edits were done in Photoshop.  I then put the photo in Lightroom and did some additional edits, adding a bit of clarity and warmth.

What do you think of the final photo? I often find that my final photo has several forms before it is finished, is that your experience as well? Have you ever walked past a photo, thought about it, and turned around and went back with your camera out?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!