iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Sometimes I can’t help but wondering, Mother Nature what are you thinking? because this seems a bit twisted:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/140sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/110sec

These photos were taken in the greenhouse that is part of the gardens at the Down House which was the home of Charles Darwin. If you go for a visit make sure to pick up an audio guide, it is fascinating.  As for the photos, they were taken with my iPhone.  I had brought along my Canon 50D with a wide angle lens, so while that was great for overall shots of the site and garden, I left the detail work to my iPhone. Shots like the ones above are something that I think my iPhone handles well.

I did edit these shots in Lightroom so the originals are below for sake of comparison:

I’ve cropped both, as well as done overall adjustments to the highlights and vibrancy. I also sharpened both.

So do you like the edits? Do you find these plants a bit creepy? I do honestly.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Water features are an important part of the gardens at the Alhambra. Ironically, as I was trying to get a shot of this pool, I was also attempting to protect my camera from the off and on rain:

ISO1600 18mm f/13 1/1000sec

It was a beautiful scene, and as I was shooting it, I was thinking about the liquid reflections in the pool, that is what really caught my attention. I shot this scene as a bracketed exposure, thinking to create an HDR version.  I did that but wasn’t crazy about the outcome of the sky. So, I went back to my original files.  The exposure above was the one that appealed the most, so I started there and created this version:

ISO1600 18mm f/13 1/1000sec

This version has been created in Lightroom. I started with the sky. I have used a graduated filter. In this case, I dragged the filter from the top of the photo to just below the lowest part of the sky. From there I used the slider that allowed me to drop the temperature of the photo, which brought out the blue tone. I also used the slider that removed some of the noise in that part of the photo.

Other overall adjustments I have made include, adjusting the tone curve a slight amount and increasing the luminance of the red, orange, yellow, and green tones. I also sharpened the image a bit but then also moved the dehaze slider into negative territory. This is a bit contradictory, but I wanted the image to be both sharp and smooth at the same time.

What do you think of my final edit? Do you like it overall? are there elements that appeal to you or not? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Red and Yellow Barbet

Red and Yellow Barbet, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania:

ISO 1600 70mm f/11 1/400

Picfair version here.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

I move a lot. On the order of every three to five years for my entire adult life. Something I’m frequently asked when moving comes up in conversation is, where is/was your favorite place to live? I’ll get this vague look on my face as I give a vague answer:

ISO 1250 13mm f/13 1/60sec

My favorite? the truth is, there isn’t one. I’ve liked something about them all and disliked something about them all.

My favorite is expressed in that photo above. It’s being in a place and coming across the unexpected, like this grave marker. In a graveyard of standard stones, it was both elaborate and unkempt. Here is the original file:

ISO 1250 13mm f/13 1/60sec

Even when I shot it, I suspected that it might have real potential as a black and white image.  I have cropped it using the straighten feature in Photoshop.  Then in Lightroom, I converted it to black and white with a green filter. I also sharpened it a bit.

What do you think of the black and white version? I like it, but honestly may go back and try a color version as well. In particular I’m intrigued by the various tones of green in the photo. I love visiting graveyards, do you as well or do you stay away? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unlikely

There were some things I expected to see on my day at Dover Castle, literally centuries of history, fabulous view, and then one thing I did not:

ISO 200 10mm f/8.0 1/400

Yup, a Corvette owners meet-up of some kind. Seems a bit unlikely, who thinks to storm the castle in their Corvette?

ISO 200 10mm f/8.0 1/400

These folks apparently:

ISO 200 22mm f/8.0 1/320

That first photo is an edited version of the original as-shot version which is the second photo. As I was editing this photo I tried a few things including adding a film filter and another version that was black and white.  What I ended up liking the best though was this version where I have adjusted the saturation and luminance sliders in Lightroom. I like the subtle tones, while the luminance works nicely on the cars I think. The final photo is unedited, I took it because I just thought that the setting for this group seemed so incongruous, that I had to take a photo.

What do you think of my edits? Do you ever take photos like that last one, just because the scene seemed so improbable?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Waiting in line is part of the travel experience. I’m not a fan of lines to get into places I want to visit, so I often do research before heading out in an attempt to minimize spending time in line. When I was planning a trip to Granada, Spain, I spent a bit of time figuring out how to minimize waiting to get into the Alhambra. Visitors have many options, including private tour operators. I stuck with a do-it-yourself version.  Tickets in advance are pretty much mandatory, so I bought ours three months in advance of our trip, which is when they are first available. We went early in the day, and were just a bit off-season, so lines weren’t really a problem.  It did, however, get more crowded as the day went on. When I went to take this photo, there was a steady stream of people. In editing this photo, I wanted them to be as anonymous as possible. I had shot this scene as a bracketed exposure, so it is three photos combined into the final shot. This process, HDR, gives you a photo that has a larger exposure range. However, anything that moved while I was taking the photos is blurry, referred to as “ghosting”.  In this case, I used that purposely as a way of making the tourists anonymous.

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/640

Below you can see one of the photos that I used and how much more clear the individuals are. For this final version above, I also applied a film filter. It changed the tone of the photo and also emphasizes the dramatic sky.

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/640

The edited photo above is a first take, and probably not a final statement. I have a lot of other photos to edit, and I haven’t settled yet on an approach to how I would like to edit them. The Alhambra is a beautiful and expansive place, and I think there would be many ways to interpret the photos I have taken.

How do handle waiting in line? Do you research the places you visit in advance in order to avoid them? What do you think of the tone of the edited version above? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

In a way, this week’s photo challenge, should have been easy, favorite place? outside. Then I over-thought it and ended up with a muddle of ideas. But this morning, as I sat down to work on some more of my photos from Tanzania, the muddle cleared a bit:

ISO 800 185mm f/18 1/125 sec

These two male lions, probably brothers, were sitting on the side of the road. For this version of the photo, I made some simple adjustments, cropping, a bit of sharpening, and I moved the temperature slider slightly warmer. Really though, I wanted to keep the composition simple and the photo close to what I really saw. I couldn’t resist though, as it turns out, messing around some more. I was just curious about making a black and white version:

ISO 800 185mm f/18 1/125 sec

I used this tutorial to create a custom vignette in Lightroom. There are lots of ways to create your own vignettes and it’s something that I could use some more practice with. I left the lion’s eyes in color by creating two layers in Photoshop, the color layer is the version that is the first photo in this post. The black and white layer was on top, and I just added a mask and painted in the eyes of the lower layer. It took less time to do than to type out this paragraph since it was such a small area.

What do you think of my black and white version? Do you like the eyes in color like that? Does the color version appeal to you more? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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