11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Tough Topic

Every once in a while I take photos of a subject that I’m a bit conflicted about. This post is about the enemy. The photos in this post were taken at La Cambe German War Cemetery. It’s near Omaha Beach in Normandy France. There are 21,222 German war dead here, ranging in age from 16-72. Most died between 6 June and 20 August 1944. They were the enemy but as the sign on the front of the cemetery stated, “With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.” I found the place to be very somber and sad:

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This first shot gives a bit of an overview of how the markers are laid out in rows. This second shot it a bit more of a close-up:

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It is the square markers and not the crosses that are grave markers. I’d also like to note that some of the markers indicated that the graves are sometimes stacked.

ISO 640 10mm f/16 1/160sec

This statue was at the top of the resting place for the unknown soldiers. I have versions of each of these on my Picfair site, if you would like to see them at higher resolution: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3.

When it came to editing, the first two were just edited for clarity. The third is a bit more creative, but I wanted to stick with the somber and ethereal feel of the cemetery itself.

Tough topic, but what do you think? To me, it was a reminder to never lose sight of anyone’s humanity, even those who would stand against you. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens Artists, Weather or Worn and One Word Sunday, Row.

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Instagram, iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photography

Walking through London

This post is going to be a bit of a departure from my usual style. I was off on a walk yesterday and I am inviting you along on a bit of a recap of the day.  I was in London for the day. Friends were passing through London and this was the day that our schedules intersected. They would be available in the afternoon, but I decided to make a full day of it. I am the kind of person that makes lists. For everything. One of my lists is “Things to do in England”. When something catches my eye, it goes on the list. Since I had a morning in London, I decided to do two things that were on the London section of the list. I’m also a bit of a history nerd buff, so on the list were a rare King Edward VIII postbox and St. Etheldreda’s Church.  I took the train to King’s Cross and then headed here:

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The iconic London Underground. I happened to be standing with my back to this wall and then thought, that would be a fun photo. It was shot on my iPhone. The underground deposited me near to this:

ISO 125 4.3mm f/2.7 1/160sec

It’s a King Edward VIII postbox I tell you rather excitedly! and if you are anything like the rest of my family you chuckle, nod politely, and wait for me to take the photo. This one was taken with my point and shoot. Postboxes with a King Edward VIII cypher are rare because he was King for less than a year and then a lot of his postboxes were either modified or replaced. It took me a fair amount of digging to locate this one that I could visit, ultimately I tracked it down on Instagram, so it seemed only right to post this version, shot with my iPhone and edited in Hipstamatic, there:

From there I went to find St. Etheldreda’s Church. It is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in England and the structure itself is one of two in London that dates from the reign of King Edward I. It has a rather interesting history but it was built sometime between 1250-1290 and it was set to its current form and function in 1878. I was told of existence about a year ago and assured that it was well worth my time to track down if I had the opportunity. Wow, was it ever:

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This first shot, taken shortly after a Mass, shows the beautiful interior as well as the haze from incense used in the Mass.

Then there was the stained glass:

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Both of these shots were taken with my point and shoot. Set back from the main road and tucked in between more modern buildings this church was a beautiful highlight of my day.

If you are wondering why I didn’t take one of my larger cameras on this outing there were two reasons. First, I was concerned about the potential crowds, headed into London for St. Patrick’s Day. The second was the weather. That turned out to be the bigger of the two issues, as I was hailed on a few times over the course of the day.

Thanks for coming along as I am busy ticking things off my list. Do you make lists like this? What do you think of the photos, do you have a favorite? Your thoughts are welcome below.

Cheers!

As this walk was all over London, so this post is all over my different blogging places.  Added to:

Len-Artists Photo Challenge: History.

A Photo A Week Challenge: Cityscape/Townscape.

Jo’s Monday Walk.

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18-55mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Ruins of St. Gilles

This photo was taken in Caen, France:

ISO 200 14mm f/16 1/200sec

We had spent the day looking at many of the sites in the city, Caen has a lot to look at, and it was a beautiful day to be out and about. The photo above is the ruins of St. Gilles. Here is my edit of this photo:

ISO 200 14mm f/16 1/200sec

I used a wide angle lens to take the original photo. I did start with a crop for my edit because there were a few buildings on the right side of the frame that I found distracting. I also took out the piece of red trash. My other edits were just boosts, a bit of tinkering for things like the white balance and detail enhancer. I find that in Luminar 3, I am using the details enhancer slider in place of the clarity slider. Why? the details are broken into three sliders, small, medium, and large details, I find this allows for a bit more nuance in the sharpening of the image.

Small edits, but I do like the result. What do you think? feel free to comment below.

I often have conversations through this blog about workflow, including management of files. The photo in this post is on my “slow but steady” track. I keep all my files in folders that are arranged chronologically by date. The folder will also have the name of the place where the photos were taken, in this case, Caen. When it comes time for that folder to be edited it is often months later. In this case, the photo was taken last May. It’s at this stage of editing that a lot of files end up in the trash bin.  It’s also at this point where I often refer to the photos I have taken of the scene on my phone as they have the GPS location data and I find that helpful for things like pulling up the name of this church. I fall into the camp of people who frequently move photo files off of my phone and on to my hard drive, so those iPhone files were in the same folder, that just makes things easier in my opinion.

Cheers!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Architecture.

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18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Grave Marker Close-Up

From my walk around Cambridge American Cemetery last week I had this file:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/400sec

I took several shots in a row because the light was changing rapidly, but it was the one above that was my favorite. My first edit was a crop, as the marker on the right side of the frame that was half out of the frame bothered me. I’ve used a few filters here but a few smaller edits that I applied I’d like to point out. The first is the vignette, that is a filter that will darken the edges of a photo. Its default setting is to the middle of the photo, but that point can be changed. In Luminar 3 it’s as simple as clicking the button marked “place center” then clicking the point you would like in the photo. In this case, it is the small stones. I’ve also used the dodge and burn tool to lighten the rocks just a bit. Here is the outcome of those edits:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/400sec

What do you think of this framing and this edit? It’s different than a straight shot of just the grave markers, does it appeal to you? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Below I am including another photo, a similar grave that I posted on Instagram. This one shows more of what a full marker looks like:

View this post on Instagram

Beautiful #gravemarker edited in #hipstamatic #wwii

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Close-Up.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Altering the Landscape

Usually, when I think of landscape photography I think of sweeping vistas devoid of people or man-made elements. But not always, so when I saw there was a photography challenge up this week where “landscape” was the theme, I thought I would consider something that had an obvious human footprint.  At the moment, I am working on processing photos that I took in Normandy, France. I have a lot of beautiful coastline shots. Normandy is a beautiful area, but obviously, it’s history includes that of WWII. I will be posting a photo in a few days of the coastline of Dieppe, in Normandy, but first I edited these photos from the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery:

ISO 200 10mm f/16 1/125

This first shot is shot at the widest angle, to show as much of the landscape as possible. It’s been edited to give the colors a bit of a boost and a bit of clarity. This second shot is edited in much the same way:

ISO 200 12mm f/16 1/160sec

To take this shot, I brought the stones into more detail by both taking a step closer and by bringing my lens from 10mm, which would have shown more of the scene, to 12mm, which shows less.

With these two shots, I was hoping to convey the reality of what this cemetery looks like. Most of the soldiers buried here are Canadian, the rest are British. The soldiers laid to rest here were killed in the Dieppe Raid of 1942. It was a disaster for the Allied Forces and while not all of their casualties were left behind, a lot were. It is interesting to me that this cemetery was created by the Germans, see the back to back stones of the first rows? that is typical of a German style of burial. Perhaps more interesting is that when the war was over, this cemetery remained here.

What I’d like you to know if you’re Canadian or British and have a family member or countrymen interred here and you aren’t able to visit, the Germans picked a beautiful spot to bury your loved one. I hope that my two pictures convey a sense of the beauty of the landscape here.

Which brings me to my third photo:

ISO 200 10mm f/16 1/160sec

This last edit is where I am trying to process what would have been the terror of the raid with the beauty of the land itself. To shoot this idea, I decided to shoot from behind the stones and into the sun. The filter I applied to this had a red tinge to it. The red for the heat of battle, blood itself, confusion, anger and hatred, and the red prominently in the Canadian flag. It’s a lot to try and sum up in one image.

Cemeteries are wonderfully complex places to me. I hope that I have conveyed some of that in these images. What do you think of my edits? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Landscapes.

Picfair shot 1.

Picfair shot 2.

Picfair shot 3.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, travel

Athens, as seen from Areopagus Hill

Part of the appeal of visiting Athens is its history. These two photo were taken from Areopagus Hill, the spot where St. Paul is said to have preached to the Athenians of his time. From one vantage point, there are excellent views of the Acropolis.

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Another view shows the Ancient Agora and the sprawl of the modern city.

ISO 500 22mm f/22 1/200sec

I liked both views, but was interested in editing them in different ways. The view of the Acropolis, I wanted to keep in color and retain the vivid feel of that late afternoon.  I added a split tone filter that I thought maintained the interesting contrast of colors and accentuated the layers of rock, trees, rock, sky.

For the modern city, I was interested in black and white to distill the image a bit, and I have purposely made the whites in the image hazy and glowing a bit to represent the bustle of the modern city.

What a view, if you visit Athens I would recommend taking the time to climb this spot. Watch your step though, the rocks are well worn and quite slippery. As for my two interpretations, do you have a favorite? feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Cityscapes.

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50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Editing, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creating a Watermark

Spoiler alert: There’s a bit of a curveball in this post that makes the ending a bit of a cliffhanger.

The directions for making a watermark in Luminar 3 are in the instruction manual under the heading, Working with Layers. I’m starting with that declarative statement because I didn’t find that on my own, I e-mailed the folks at Luminar, and they sent me a link.

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/100sec

This is actually my second attempt at making a watermark. The first was a bit of a cheat in that I used Photoshop to help me make it. Not that there is something inherently wrong with that, it’s just that if my objective is to no longer have an Adobe subscription, I need to stop using those programs. This time around, I hand wrote “Maranto Photography” and then scanned that as a jpeg to use as my watermark layer.  The instructions Luminar provided are fairly straightforward, although I think that in some places they assume a bit of working knowledge about photo-editing. That’s fine for me, but maybe a bit of stretch for others who don’t have prior experience. Given that not having editing experience is a bit of a selling point for Luminar, I think this is a bit of a potential frustration for users.

Here I am again, a day later, giving it another try:

ISO 200 95mm f/16 1/160sec

This second one worked a bit better in my opinion.  If you are taking a look at the watermark directions from the link above, the step I am fooling with here is the curves.

Here’s the promised curveball, it involves the curves functionality in Luminar, or rather the lack thereof. You may have noticed that the photo in my last post did not have a watermark. That’s not from lack of trying, it’s because I couldn’t get the sliders in curves to function properly, which is a pretty important step in the creation of my watermark.

Here’s the promised cliffhanger, I’ve reported the problem to Luminar. I posted in their community forum and they responded asking me to basically recreate and file the problem. I sat down and did that on Saturday morning. They have received my files, and I am waiting on a response. I’ll be writing up a follow-up blog post.

The photos used for this post were taken on the same day in Normandy France. The first is from Monet’s garden at Giverny, and the second is a view of the lovely town of Les Andelys. The first photo is a work in progress, I’m not crazy about the current edit. The town shot I am happy with and have a version on Picfair. You bet I have added this post to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Curves.

Know of an easier way to create a watermark in Luminar 3? leave a link in the comments below.  At this point, Lightroom is leaps and bounds ahead of Luminar in terms of watermarking. Feel free to comment below on any of the edits or watermarking in general.

Cheers!

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