18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, iPhone, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Light Burst

It was a beautiful day here yesterday and I was at the Cambridge American Cemetery. I took a lot of photos in part because the light was so interesting. In particular, I took several frames of this grave, from all different angles.  When I got home and took a look at all the variations, I decided that this one interested me the most:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

In my edit, I cropped it a bit first. There were some elements on the right-hand side of the frame that was a bit distracting. I also tried a crop that straightened the photo a bit but for this interpretation, I decided that I liked it a bit off kilter. I knew I wanted to create a black and white version and thought that the tilted view would work with that treatment. Here is the outcome of that:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

When I am out shooting, I often take photos with my iPhone as well. Here is another black and white version of the scene that I created on my phone with the help of Hipstamatic:

Three of the servicemen who are buried here were honored in a flypast that took place in Sheffield yesterday. A brief story and video on that are here. The story is quite moving, it is worth a few moments of your time if you are interested.

What do you think of my edit? Can you believe that bright sun, right here in England? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Added to A Photo A Week, Black & White.

Standard
50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Instagram, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

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:

View this post on Instagram

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!

Standard
50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Outer Layers

When you are online, perhaps you have noticed that there is a lot written about how we present ourselves online.  Articles that discuss the ways in which we distort the reality of our lives, particularly on social media, to appear more of something, be that richer, smarter, thinner, happier.  It’s an interesting thought, but not a new one. Don’t we always put on outer layers before heading into the world? It’s the clothes we wear, car we drive, place we live.  While things I’ve read online tend to be disparaging of this sort of behavior, I just come away with the feeling that it’s not all that bad and it’s reality.  I was thinking about the way I present myself in person and how I dress and what that might say about me.  I came up with this photo:

ISO 2000 50mm f/6.3 1/50

ISO 2000 50mm f/6.3 1/50

These are my wedding rings. It’s rare that you would see me without at least one of these on.  The bottom ring is an anniversary band that I usually wear stacked with my original engagement ring and wedding band.  I love those rings, but I spend a lot of time outdoors. That is where the other ring, a silicone Qalo ring, comes in. I wear it for all the times I’m concerned about damaging my other rings. Sometimes, I’m out doing something cool like hiking, other times I’m cleaning the house.  The thing is though, these rings are my outer layer, I’m saying to the world that I am married.

When I was setting up the rings for this photo shoot, I knew that I was going to covert the image to black and white. I usually do my black and white conversions in Photoshop, but this week I had watched an online tutorial about using Lightroom instead.  I decided to edit this image in Lightroom only. I used the basic panel to increase the exposure in the shadows and the blacks. Then I used the sliders within the black and white panel to come up with the tones in the photo.  I find when I am converting images to black and white I don’t have a go to way of adjusting the image, I just start experimenting and see what I can come up with. I then used the split-toning feature to make the highlights a bit blue and the shadows golden. I have also added a vignette and grain.

What do you think of the photo? Do you think a lot about the way you present yourself in person or online? The internet would suggest that maybe you do! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Standard
70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimistic

This is a photo I created this week:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

It took quite a few steps to get there.  First was, of course, to pick up the camera and take a picture.  I was thinking this was a serene looking moment as the rest of my busy life swirled around.  I bracketed the photo as I was shooting and created an HDR image out of it:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

Then in Photoshop I created a sepia version:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

I liked that version, but in the back of my mind I was really thinking about black and white photography.  I spend a lot of time looking at images and other people’s creative work.  I had recently been at Hammer Home, a street photography blog, and looked at and commented on this image.  If you look at that image you might think there is no connection to the black and white that I created, and on the surface you would be right.  It’s just that I was thinking when I looked at my final image, that I had been influenced by what I had seen and thought about earlier. To get my final version, I have actually applied four things in Photoshop.  I started with a black and white layer, added a photo filter with an underwater tint, added noise, and then added a Iris blur.

That’s a lot of small, but easy, steps to get to my final version.  At this point you might be wondering why I am calling this post “Optimistic”? It is because of a feeling I have every time I set out to create something.  It is the, slightly intoxicating, optimism of creation.  I feel this way every time I set out to create an image; I get a similar feeling when I set out to write this blog.

Do you experience this optimism in your creative endeavors?  Feel free to comment about it below, if you’ve blogged about it, feel free to leave a link to your post. Feel free to leave comments on my editing or photo processing below as well.

Cheers!

Standard
70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Technology

Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

When it comes to photo editing, sometimes you have to be careful. While I do mean that you have to take care with your work, I also am talking about your time. Once you have started working on an image, when is it finished?  That is something that I find myself thinking about a lot.  I spent sometime outside this week taking advantage of the beautiful weather, and looking for nice outdoor images.  When I came across this scene I thought it would look nice with some editing:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

When I got to the editing process even though the first thing that struck me was that the image would need straightened, that was actually close to my last step.

I had bracketed this image because of the shadows, with the thought that I would make an HDR version in Photomatix.  In this case I made a color and black and white image.  Then in Photoshop I combined the two images using the the color version as the base layer and masking in the black and white where I wanted it. Then I cropped the image and sharpened it:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

Combining color and black and white is not something I do a whole lot of but I have fun with occasionally.  A few days later, I was doing some research on a graphic design project and I came across this article on using the apply image function in Photoshop.  While it didn’t help what I was working on at that moment, it did make me think again about trying that as a basis for editing the scene I had been working on earlier in the week.  So I gave it a try:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

As the tutorial I linked to suggests, the apply image feature actually has a lot to offer once you start exploring the dialogue box that opens up.  This version above ended up being the my favorite of the edited versions, so far that is…

What do you think, is there a version that you prefer? Do you find yourself getting lost in the process of photo editing? It can be both fabulous and maddening, don’t you think?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Standard
50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Still as a Statue

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to post for the travel theme statues at Where’s My Backpack? when I saw the original post on Friday.  But yesterday I was looking through some of my files when I came across some images that almost looked like statues.  So I chose one and set out to make it look more like a statue.  Here is what I created:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

This is a Cape Thick-knee who lives at the St. Louis Zoo.  I had shot this image using exposure bracketing, so I created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I ended up thinking that the Black and White artistic setting ended up looking the most like a statue.  In Photoshop then I cropped and sharpened the image.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It is a bird that blends in with it’s background, and it was sitting very still, so it would have been very easy to miss.  It has lovely colors, but what do you think of my stone version?

Cheers!

Standard
50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

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!

Standard