11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Editing, Photography

All Kinds of Things Going On

So join in the fun!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might have noticed that I was gone for a while. I’ve moved from Cambridge UK to St. Louis Missouri. Also, this blog is moving. My new location is Photography Journal Blog Volume 2. I’d love to have you follow me over there. My first blog’s media library is almost full so now and since moving seems to be my theme this year, I decided to make the leap.

The new blog has a very similar title because it will have similar content. I’ll still be blogging about photography, various projects I am working on and a lot about my editing process. I’ve rejoined the St Louis Camera Club and was pleased to have received an Honourable Mention in a recent competition:

ISO 1250 22mm f/9 1/40sec

I’ve written about this photo before and if you would like a refresh on how I created it, you can find that here.

Flowers, hipstamatic, Instagram, iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Cropping and Layers

The file I was working with this morning illustrates how edits can really change a photo, and one of the most powerful tools is the cropping tool:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/377sec 4.2mm

This first edit was created in the app Hipstamatic using the randomize feature which means that the filters were chosen for me. The second edit was also created in Hipstamatic, but I chose the various filters and it was the version that I added to my Instagram feed:

View this post on Instagram

Busy. #bee #flowers #thingsiseeonmywalks

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

I go back and forth between these two and I think there are elements to both that I like but that neither is exactly right. This morning’s edit which I created using the original file in Luminar 3 is this one:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/377sec 4.2mm

This edit keeps the original ratio of the photograph and is more top-heavy than the square version. When I was working on this edit, the crop was the second edit in my workflow. I started with basic edits like luminosity and adjusting the blacks and whites. Then on a separate layer, I did the crop. Then on an additional layer, I added then tweaked a custom Luminar look that I have saved as a preset. It turned out that when I got to that point, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the crop. Because the crop was on its own layer, it was easy to click on and edit just that layer.

So, there are two important points here I think, first is that the crop set to different ratios can really change the photo’s story and second that putting the crop on its own layer can make your editing process much easier.

Your thoughts on cropping in general or in this specific case are welcome below. This post was inspired by the Lens Artist Challenge, One Single Flower.


Birds, iPhone, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

At the Water’s Edge

The images for this post were taken while I was out on my morning run. Run is a term I use loosely as I am not very fast and am known to stop if I see something that catches my eye. The image I stopped for at this point was one of the swans. I did take several photos of the swans, but standing there I felt the more interesting story was this man who had stopped to spend some time with them:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/392sec 4.2mm

I took the photo and then moved on. Obviously, social distancing meant I wasn’t going to get too close to him but the real reason is that he seemed deep in his own moment and I didn’t want to disturb that.

This second image is a heron who was so still that I almost ran right up to him:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/100sec 4.2mm

I couldn’t believe how close I got. I took several photos, slunk past him, then took several more including this one above.

Because I took these photos on the same morning run, just a few minutes apart, I decided to edit them in a similar way. Both have been cropped, and then had minor adjustments for clarity and exposure. The first image I also straightened a bit. I’ve then applied a custom Luminar Look that I had made as a preset. It fit as is perfectly on the first image, but required a bit of tweaking on the second one.

A version of the second photo I also posted to Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

The real reason I go on an early morning #run #heron #cambridge

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

It’s fair to say that my run stats for this morning weren’t stellar. That happens sometimes. Your thoughts and comments on the images are welcome below. This post has been added to A Photo A Week Challenge, Water.


iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: The Road Ahead

So, technically it’s not a road, it’s a path. Also, I’m not exactly on it:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/50sec 4.2mm

But I do love this spot. A green space in the middle of the city with such gorgeous trees, what’s not to love? I’ve been walking through this park a lot in the last week, it helps me clear my head a bit. There’s a lot going on in the world and in my life. Being near this path reminds me that it is actually about the journey, it’s not important that I don’t have all the details worked out yet. The photo though, I like it, so I edited it a bit:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/50sec 4.2mm

First was the crop, it helps to bring the path and the trees a bit more into focus. I’ve added a custom vintage film look that I created within Luminar. To me, that settles the image a bit more into the way this setting lives in my mind. It’s a bit more rich and deep in my mind than in real life. That’s me bringing my journey on the path along and placing it in the photo.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome below. This post was written in response to the Len-Artists Photo Challenge, Long and Winding Road.



52 Week Smartphone Challenge, iPhone, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: Week 20

The challenge this week asks for a landscape image using negative space. To me, this image is as much about the solid blue as it is the more variant tones of white in the clouds. The simpler, more even, blue is an important canvas for the texture of the sky:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/12821 sec 4.2mm

The photo has the Luminar Look, Somerset, applied to it. I’ve also cropped the image slightly and added a vignette. Your thoughts and comments are welcome below.


Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Interpretation

While a good majority of my photography is about recording a scene and then editing to show what I saw, it is fun also to interpret a scene. That was the case when I shot this photo at the Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam in the Fall of 2016:

ISO 200 f/2.7 1/200sec 4.3mm

This photo gives you an idea of what the bronze statues around Rembrandt’s statue look like. They are an interpretation and tribute to his painting The Night Watch. I took the first photo as a way of remembering the overall scene. Then I took this photo:

ISO 200 f/2.7 1/250sec 4.3mm

It was a more detailed shot of the statues, as I found their texture to be very interesting. I knew I wanted a few things out of my interpretation. The first was to keep that detail of the bronze as an important element. The second was to use the terribly blown out sky in a creative way:

ISO 200 f/2.7 1/250sec 4.3mm

An adjustment to the detail slider helped bring the clarity I wanted. I used the “small details” only. The Luminar Look, Enigma, gave me the glowing sky I wanted.

Now a word about cropping. The first crop was done in-camera. That was the conscious step of photographing the whole scene and then asking myself what I found most interesting about what was in front of me and then taking a photo of that. That is how the second photo came to be. I often approach photography this way. Particularly when I travel, I find this a nice exercise in being in the moment. It makes for nice memories too, when I looked at these original files this morning, I could remember this moment. The second crop was done during the editing process, that Booking.com building is pretty distracting. When the crop didn’t remove it entirely, I used the clone and stamp tool to take the rest of it out.

The last edit was to set a vignette with the center on the statue. It’s a pretty subtle vignette, particularly compared to some of the other, more drastic, edits.  A bit of a final nudge.

Your thoughts, comments, or questions about my method or the edits are welcome below.


Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Cropping the Shot.

50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Luminar, made with Luminar, Photo Editing, Photography

Made With Luminar: Dolbadarn Castle

This shot of Dolbadarn Castle was taken on August 18, 2016.

ISO 500 f/11 1/100sec 50mm

Usually, with photos included in this series, I show the original file. I opted not to with this post because one of my children was in the original file. Other first adjustments included white balance and an increase in the luminance of the greens and yellows in the image. I did also crop this image. The Luminar Look, Past Days, was added at 100% with adjustments to the split toning and texture amount filters.

Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Decayed or Rusty.


The Made with Luminar Series

This image is part of a project I am calling Made with Luminar. What the images in this series have in common is the software used to edit them, Luminar 3. As with my usual blog posts particulars of the camera settings can be found in the caption below the image. I’ll then explain what other filters and edits have been applied, often mentioning what layer and therefore order that they were applied. The text of these posts includes any Luminar “Looks” that have been applied to the photo. Each look is a series of presets that are applied to the photo. Where applicable I will mention what changes I have made to any of the looks. A full explanation of looks is available here on their website, https://skylum.com/luminar/user-guides/chapter-14-working-with-luminar-looks

You can assume basic edits have been applied. My most common edits are cropping, detail enhancement, and vignette. Specific questions or thoughts on the image are welcome in the comment section below.


18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Luminar, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Editing Small Details

I was working with this file:

ISO 800 f/11 1/30sec 21mm

In prior work sessions, I had worked with other similar files, creating a few different color interpretations. For this one, I had in mind a black and white version. Something a bit glamorous I was thinking (yup that is what I was thinking) for this photo. On the first layer, I did my basic edits, cropping and luminosity were two of them. Then I created a second layer and went searching for a look in Luminar that would closely match what I was thinking. I found it in the look called “Old Hollywood Glamor”.  Close to perfect but not exactly, so I created a third layer. This layer was really about details. Little changes that made a big difference. The first thing I did was to use the small detail enhancer and I bumped the slider up to 23. But really I only wanted those details in the petals of the snowdrops, so I used a brush to paint that in and leave the rest of the file untouched. Then I experimented with the vignette, a lot. I changed it’s location, size, and amount all several times.  Here is the final version:

ISO 800 f/11 1/30sec 21mm

If you are new to editing and reading this post, I’d like you to take away the idea that sometimes small things like a vignette can make big changes in your final photo. Vignette controls are often simple and easy to understand how to use. It makes for a good confidence builder as you are mastering the basics and then moving on to more complex editing.

Regardless of your ability and level of experience with editing, your thoughts on this version are welcome in the comment section below.


Added to Cee’s Flower of the Day. Picfair version is here.