Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

The thing with photo editing is that there is a lot to be learned.  So much, that sometimes I forget how to do something that I have tried before.  When I saw collage as a theme for this week’s photo challenge, I took the opportunity to make something a bit different than what I usually do.  This is the result:

All images originally shot on my iPhone

It has been a few years since I tried something like this, so I started by using these basic directions from Adobe.  Having reviewed the instructions, I thought about the final image I wanted to create. I decided I wanted to focus on nature images taken within the last few months.  I further decided that I wanted to use photos that I had posted on Instagram. When I post to Instagram I often stick with the square format and my nature images often are edited to be full of light and have a dream-like feel to them. This meant that the images would have some commonality, even if the subject differed slightly, and that would help keep the collage together visually.

One step I added to the basic directions was to drop the opacity of each of the photos while they were in separate layers in Photoshop.  I did this to help create the linear but yet non-uniform borders within the collage.  Once I was finished in Photoshop, in Lightroom I increased the clarity and saturation and darkened the corners a bit.

What do you think of my final photo?  There are many ways to create a collage, do you have a favorite editing program to create them?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Lingering

I wrote a post about some roses that I had in the house a little over a week ago.  Then I kept the flowers until well after their scent had faded.  As you can imagine, it was so that I could get some photos.  Here is one that I shot a few days ago:

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

What I was thinking about was light. I knew I wanted to shoot in the early morning light, to take advantage of that lovely tinge of the first light of the day.  In this case, my tripod was mandatory, you see the exposure time of two seconds? there is no way for me to get a clear shot while holding the camera.  So, with my camera set up on the tripod, I worked a bit with my f-stop.  I wanted the roses to be fairly in focus, but I wanted the raindrops on the window behind to appear as bokeh.  F/8 was the answer for this photo shoot.

So then to the editing, cropping was my first step.  I then created a color version and this black and white version:

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

You can see that I have cropped out the left side of the photo, just a bit too much going on there in my opinion. The slightly warm tint to this version I got by sliding up the temperature slider in Lightroom.  I’ve also added a bit of grain to this version.

With both a color and black and white version created, from Lightroom I opened them as layers in a single file in Photoshop.  Here is the final version of that experiment:

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/8.0 2.0 sec

To achieve this look, I have the black and white version as the top layer but I have lowered its opacity.  I did trying adding a mask to add in more color to the roses, but ended up not liking the effect.  The original color of the roses seemed garish against the more muted background of this combined version.

What do you think of my versions? I added both the black and white and the combined version to my portfolio on Picfair. I like them, does it bother you that the roses are not their original color? have you ever tried combining black and white and color photos? the result can be lovely or jarring, it is interesting how varied the outcomes can be.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

Occasionally, I’ll take a photo that doesn’t work out quite right. By occasionally I mean every time I take my camera out. Mostly this is because I’m a fan of trying different settings in the camera and framing what I am photographing in different ways. I think one of the big bonuses of using a digital camera is the ability to throw away images later. I also always wait to throw images away. Instead of deleting photos while they are still in the camera, I download all my photos and make sure to take a look at them on the bigger screen. I’m talking about a photos like this one that I took this weekend:

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

What I was trying to do at the time was get a shot of the snowdrops in the foreground from a low angle but not lay down on the ground at the same time.  It didn’t work; the camera focused on the flowers that were just emerging in the background.  On the back of my camera it pretty much looked like the whole photo was out of focus.  On my bigger screen I found the shot more in focus than I had realized and more interesting.  I took this as an opportunity to create something a bit different than what I had originally intended when I shot the photo.  Here is what I came up with:

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

First I cropped the image.  Then I ignored conventional photography wisdom that insists that a photo be completely in focus. I used this photo to work with two filters that I like but find a bit tricky to get exactly right.  One is the iris filter in Photoshop and the other in the radial filter in Lightroom.  I started with the iris filter in Photoshop which allows you to drop a pin on the part of the image you would like to be in focus, You can make that pinpoint whatever size you would like it to be. Then you then use a dial to decide how blurred the rest of the photo will be.  In this case it was a bit of back and forth before I settled on the size of the part of the photo that would be in focus.

The radial filter in Lightroom I used to warm up the image as well as boost the clarity and vibrance.  The interesting thing about that filter is that you can either have the edits applied to the area inside the filter or outside.  It’s just a question of a checkmark that is inside the dialogue box.  I always try it both ways, just to see what I like.  Usually, as I did here, that box ends up with a check in it.

What do you think of the final version? Do you ever repurpose photos in this way?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

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!

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

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

 

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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

When I stumble across a scene like this, I get pretty excited:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

This is one of the scenes that await visitors of Fountains Abbey in York.  It’s a beautiful place.  There is something about a view like this that I find very relaxing.  I spent the day here, looking around. I took the walking tour to get a better feel for the history of the place. But really I was just there for the beauty.

The photo above started like this:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

I had my camera set to take a bracketed exposure because I was pretty sure I was going to want to make an HDR version in Photoshop.  HDR in this case because I knew it would give detail and a bit of pop to the ruins.  I then used my Analog Pro plug in as a starting point to make the photo look more like a photograph and less digital. I chose to keep the cool tones of the original since it was shot in December.  I’ve also cropped this photo a bit with the thought of keeping the focus on the ruins.

I’ve added this to my Picfair portfolio, because I was pleased with the outcome.  How do you like this edit, does it seem relaxing and peaceful to you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Wearing the Air

It was foggy this morning when I went out for my run.  How foggy was it? you might ask.  Foggy enough to fog my glasses.  It felt more like wearing the air than breathing it.  It felt like this:

What it felt like

What it felt like

Can you feel the fog closing in your vision? Lightroom helped me achieve this by sliding the Dehaze setting into negative territory.  I also added a graduated filter set with the temperature to a slightly cooler setting.  I desaturated the image slightly and added a bit of grain, and lightened the corners a bit using vignetting.

What my iPhone says it looked like:

What my iPhone thought it looked like.

What my iPhone thought it looked like.

It’s a bit brighter than the edited version and highlights the fall color.  I left it as is.  However, I had been running for awhile when I took this picture.  Long enough for the endorphins to have kicked in, so my brain was thinking about it more like this:

What it felt like, the ideal version

What it felt like, the ideal version

In this version, I’ve used the Dehaze slider to remove a bit of the fog and the temperature slider is up into warmer territory. This version more closely represents what I was feeling at that moment.

Interesting, isn’t it, how the way you are feeling can change the way you observe what is around you?  What do you think of my re-created run?  Do you find yourself shooting or editing differently based on your mood? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!