Countryside

I was out on a walk on Sunday which usually means I would have my Canon 50D with me. But the weather report and a look outside advised against it, so I left it at home.  However, at our starting point the weather took an unexpected turn for the better. I took my phone out of its waterproof case (Ziploc bag) and took this photo while we were out:

ISO25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1400

This house was beautiful, but I really felt that it would make for an interesting image in black and white.  Here is the final version:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1400

One of the reasons I chose to convert to black and white is that I felt that the photo had a lot of details in it, details that would be easier to see and compete with each other less in black and white.  The photo also needed cropping, there was a bit too much hedge and grass, elements that were not really adding anything to the photo.  In between taking the photo and doing the editing, I was also inspired by this black and white photo challenge. In her image, Paula has made the countryside beautiful in black and white, and has captured a reflection of her subject in the water. It’s a beautiful image and worth your time to check it out.

What do you think of my edits? Do you like the fact that it is black and white? Do you check the weather to make a camera decision?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

I love having flowers in the house. These however, had seen better days:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

No amount of new water in the vase was going to bring them back, but I still thought they would make a beautiful photo.  This version was created using the Nik collection, which is a set of plug-ins that are compatible with Adobe editing products. I was pretty excited to find out that the collection is now free. The collection is, in its simplest form, a bunch of presets to choose from, just click and add.  As much as I love presets, I do tend to look at them as a way to start and then I edit from there.  Because I have found a lot of good things come from asking a simple question, I’d like to share that I found out that the Nik collection is free because of a question I asked Jane Lurie about a photograph she had created. She was nice enough to share how she had edited and passed along the tip about the collection.  If you have a moment to stop by her blog, I would recommend it, she does lovely work.

Having created my black and white version a few days ago, I sat down to write this blog post and was again looking at the color version of the photo:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

I’ll be honest, I’m now not sure which I like better.  I am thinking now of going back and working with the color version a bit more to see if I can come up with something that I really like.  For now, the black and white version is available in my Picfair portfolio.

Do you have a preference of the black and white or color version? Have you ever asked a simple question only to have a whole new world opened up to you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

While in theory I do love living in an area where there are four distinct seasons, I will admit that I often long for warmer weather during the winter.  So on a particularly cold day this past week, I headed to an indoor garden to take some photos:

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

This is an Aphelandra, a version of which is available for sale on Picfair, and here is what the photo looked like originally:

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

ISO 500 50mm f/4.5 1/125

It’s beautiful as is but when I was editing it, I wondered if I could make the yellow tips glow in a black and white version. I am new this week to Lightroom, so I went ahead and did some of the editing there.  Specifically for this final version I looked at all the black and white presets that were available to me, picked the one that I liked, and then adjusted from there.  Prior to doing that though, I did start with my color version in Photoshop. I chose to do my cropping and sharpening there, and then did the black and white transformation in Lightroom.

It’s been a bumpy few weeks for me.  I’m in the process of taking an on-line course in Lightroom, so that hopefully I will be able to use it fully.  It means a lot of stops and starts in my work as I have to google instructions on how to do things, and then look at those instructions again a few days later as I am still learning and don’t yet have even the simple things down by rote.

How are things where you are, are you enjoying the current season or do you find yourself longing for another one?  Do you like the black and white edit?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Found In Nature

Signs of Spring, you can find them here if you are looking hard enough.  I’m on the lookout, so I have noticed the increased number of birds that I can see outside my kitchen window in the morning.  This little sparrow really likes the cover of a pile of sticks we are collecting from a recent storm:

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

I’ll show you the original in a moment but I decided to convert this image to black and white for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Found in Nature  I used my point and shoot to get this image. This little bird was pretty still, so I was pretty confident the camera would get a decent shot.

I opened the original in Camera Raw and increased the exposure and the clarity.  Then I converted it to black and white.  From there I opened it in Photoshop, cropped and sharpened it a bit.

Here is the original:

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

One of the reasons I cropped the photo was to make the bird look like it was in a more natural setting.  I also wanted to make him a little more obvious, since he gets lost a bit in the black and white.  What do you think?  Does black and white work here?

Cheers!

A Window in the Ceiling

I know you would usually call a window in the ceiling a skylight, but it really just seemed like a window to me:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

This was a difficult shot for me to get and the first constraint was time.  I was on a tour of the Minnesota State Capitol, so I only had a few minutes and I hadn’t really expected to stumble across this window either.  You may be wondering why I used such a high shutter speed.  I had been thinking of creating an HDR image, but as it turned out, I did not get a set of exposures that were perfect, so I decided against using HDR.   Also, in order for this to be a successful HRD image, the lines in the glass would have to be perfectly lined up in the exposures and they just weren’t; I would have needed a tripod to get the shot I needed for HDR editing.

When I was taking the shot, composition was a challenge.  I couldn’t fit the whole window in so I had to go for just part of it.  You will see the original shot  and note that I cropped it when I edited it and I also straightened it.  All my editing I did in Photoshop.  I converted the original color image to black and white using a blue filter setting.  My last step in editing was to sharpen it.

Here is the original:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

Despite the fact that this color version really only has a hint of color, it really does have a different feel than the black and white version, don’t you think?

This post was written for the weekly black and white photography challenge at Sonel’s Corner.  This week’s theme is windows and doors.

Cheers!

Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

In case you were wondering, hockey team evaluations start in just a few weeks.  So, my young player, who plays in the fall season (Sept-March) only, is back on the ice getting ready for the season:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/15

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/15

Because I knew I was shooting this photo with the theme of abstract in mind, I used a slow shutter speed, purposely blurring the skater.  Even though this is my skater, I wanted it to really represent any skater that might be getting ready for the upcoming season.  The tricky thing with a deliberate blur is that things can easily get too blurry.  So, I picked an f-stop of f/5.6 and focused on the skater’s face.  I didn’t want the face details to be precise, just good enough for the viewer to be sure it is a face.  You may notice that the ISO is on 1000.  If you have never shot inside an ice rink before, be prepared to bump your ISO way up.  Lighting in ice rinks is almost always poor in terms of getting good pictures.

This photo was edited in Photoshop.  I chose the “infrared” setting from the black and white settings because of all the settings, it retained the most texture in the photo.  Because the skater is slightly out of focus, I think that texture is important in this photo.  In order to emphasize the texture, I then sharpened the image.  This image has also been cropped.

Are you ready for the hockey season? we are in this household! Thoughts about the photo? feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge: Toys

Just for fun sometimes I like to pull out my kids toys and think of ways to shoot them.  I have never tried to then process them in black and white.  So, yesterday I tried just that.  Here is my favorite:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/80

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/80

It’s a lone wolf lurking in my front yard.  For this photo I went with an f-stop of 5.6 because I wanted the whole wolf to be in focus but I was OK with the background not being in focus.  I cropped the image in Aperture and then chose a  blue filter in Photoshop, then I sharpened the image a bit.

Thanks so much to Sonel for hosting this challenge.  I usually leave my images in color, so this is a fun chance to try black and white.

Cheers!