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

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

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.




Who do you see when you look at this photograph?

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I see a portrait of my youngest child.  I see that child has come back from a walk. Bringing evidence of the outdoors, flowers in this case.  The last few weeks it has been likely to be blackberries or an unripe apple fallen from the tree brought back to the house for further “research”.

I had been doing some research on photo editing at the time these flowers arrived and had just finished reading this short article on split toning.  I took some macro shots of the flowers so I could experiment a bit using the information I had just read.  I shot images with both my DSLR and my point and shoot, but ended up liking the point and shoot versions where I had used the macro setting better.  Here is the shot I decided I liked best:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I thought this version was a good candidate for my split toning experiment.  I did all the editing for the photo in Lightroom. The article I had read had suggested that when using split toning, you should pick the highlights or the shadows and just edit one of the two. That seemed like a logical starting point, but after making the highlights more yellow, I decided to go ahead and make the shadows more brown.  It transformed the photo from very cool to very warm.  I then boosted the color saturation of the purples a bit so they would stand out a bit more.  I added a bit of sharpening and then cropped the image.

How do you like the final version? I think I added in the warmth of color to reflect the warmth of the moment that I felt in receiving these flowers.  When I look at the original I think it would be possible to edit a colder tone version that would be very different but perhaps beautiful in its own way.  I tend to gravitate to warmer images, how about you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.


Who is Luckier?

So, who is luckier?, the kid who gets to play hockey or the parents who get to watch?

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

It’s a toss up I would say.

This photo I took at a game this morning.  I’ll show you the original in a moment.  When I take hockey photos, I always start with the white balance on Auto and take a photo of the rink.  Then I use that photo to set the Custom white balance in the camera.  That works in helping set the white balance correctly.  Given the conditions of the rink, I always have a high ISO and fast shutter speed.

When I get the photos on my computer, I open up Photoshop.  I shoot in RAW, so first I open the photo in Camera Raw and do a white balance adjustment.  Then I open the photo into Photoshop and do any cropping that I want.  Sometimes I also do a levels adjustment, although on this photo I did not.  Then I sharpen the photo.  From there I convert my RAW photo to a JPEG.  I make it into a JPEG because that makes it easier to share with other parents on the team.

Here is the original:

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

So, what do you think? who is luckier? What do you think of my adjustments and workflow?

Written in response to the Daily Post prompt: The Luckiest People



Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

It’s not quite Valentine’s Day but the folks at WordPress went and got all mushy on us and made love the theme for their weekly photo challenge.

Here is my photo, a card my kids made for me when I wasn’t feeling well:

ISO 400 28mm -1ev f/7.1 1/25

ISO 400 28mm -1ev f/7.1 1/25

Awww… isn’t that cute!


Happy Halloween

Just for fun, here are some pictures of me from a Halloween run I did a few weekends ago.  I ran 10K in this get-up:

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/15

What else could I do when my race number just happened to be 1776?

ISO 1000 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/20

My daughter tells me it is illegal to post these photos without saying that Daddy took it.  So, photo credit to “Daddy” for these pictures.




Happy (Homemade) Father’s Day

Used my point and shoot camera because it has a text feature that works pretty well.

This was one of the decorations that awaited my husband this morning!  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!