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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

Occasionally, I’ll take a photo that doesn’t work out quite right. By occasionally I mean every time I take my camera out. Mostly this is because I’m a fan of trying different settings in the camera and framing what I am photographing in different ways. I think one of the big bonuses of using a digital camera is the ability to throw away images later. I also always wait to throw images away. Instead of deleting photos while they are still in the camera, I download all my photos and make sure to take a look at them on the bigger screen. I’m talking about a photos like this one that I took this weekend:

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

What I was trying to do at the time was get a shot of the snowdrops in the foreground from a low angle but not lay down on the ground at the same time.  It didn’t work; the camera focused on the flowers that were just emerging in the background.  On the back of my camera it pretty much looked like the whole photo was out of focus.  On my bigger screen I found the shot more in focus than I had realized and more interesting.  I took this as an opportunity to create something a bit different than what I had originally intended when I shot the photo.  Here is what I came up with:

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/400

First I cropped the image.  Then I ignored conventional photography wisdom that insists that a photo be completely in focus. I used this photo to work with two filters that I like but find a bit tricky to get exactly right.  One is the iris filter in Photoshop and the other in the radial filter in Lightroom.  I started with the iris filter in Photoshop which allows you to drop a pin on the part of the image you would like to be in focus, You can make that pinpoint whatever size you would like it to be. Then you then use a dial to decide how blurred the rest of the photo will be.  In this case it was a bit of back and forth before I settled on the size of the part of the photo that would be in focus.

The radial filter in Lightroom I used to warm up the image as well as boost the clarity and vibrance.  The interesting thing about that filter is that you can either have the edits applied to the area inside the filter or outside.  It’s just a question of a checkmark that is inside the dialogue box.  I always try it both ways, just to see what I like.  Usually, as I did here, that box ends up with a check in it.

What do you think of the final version? Do you ever repurpose photos in this way?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

The Greatest Work of Art in the World

It’s possible you walked right past it.  It’s always amazing to me what I run past almost daily.  It’s scenes like this:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

Or this:

View this post on Instagram

#frost and #sun on my morning #run #nofilter #photography

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

 

These two photos represent to me the greatest art in the world, art that occurs in nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to art galleries or churches and looking at beautiful works of art, but you can’t beat what you walk past every day.

These photos were taken within minutes of each other yet have a very different feel to them.  The first, which has been edited, is moodier despite the warm tone of the sky.  Here is what the original photo looked like:

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

ISO 25 4.15mm f2.2 1/2200 sec

A cooler tone, but more distracting elements in the lower left and right of the photo.  I used Photoshop, the healing brush tool, to remove them.  I then used the Analog pro plug in in Lightroom and applied a filter that warmed the photo up and also introduced the grain that you can see in the final image.  There is a vignette in the corners that I think is most obvious in the lower corners.  This version I posted to my Picfair portfolio.

The Instagram photo, well it’s an Instagram photo.  What I mean by that is that photos I post there tend to be more casual and everyday.  I like the light in the photo. I think it works well in Instagram’s square format too.  It isn’t a photo that I would put in a more formal setting though because part of the plant, the part that is closest to the viewer, is out of focus.  I could get all high and mighty and tell you haughtily that “It’s art!” but the reality is that it is distracting.  I like it, but I’m not going to edit it.

Do you have a favorite among the images? Are you on Instagram, I am @marantophotography if you’d like to stop by there. Do you have a favorite work of art?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

This Is My Home

I had a blog project brewing for the new year.  Then I got a little push to work on the project before the new year started. You are looking at the project, it is the blog itself.  I wanted a new look for it.  This blog is the living room of my online home and I wanted to redecorate.  I had big plans, a whole new WordPress theme I was thinking.  It turned into something much more modest.  None of the themes that I tried on suited my vision of home. I’ll be honest, it was frustrating.  So, what have I done then?  First, I kept the theme I had been using, it’s the Able theme if you are curious.  What’s new is that I got rid of the sidebar.  One of the lovely things about the Able theme, is that you do have the option of displaying photographs in a large format.  This is a photography blog, it makes sense that the images should be large.  All of my social links are now up in the header.  I did keep the header image and kept the type a color that I borrowed from the lion header image.

Another thing that won’t change on the blog is the underlying thread of photography.  I hope you enjoy my photography and reading about how I create images.  That is the main reason I write this blog.  With that in mind, this is an image I was working on creating this week:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

When this poinsettia branch fell off the rest of the plant, I was presented with a lovely photography opportunity.  I wanted to create an image that was both warm and dark, one that represents the idea of reflecting on the year that has passed and the one that is to come.  The original photo is here:

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

ISO 800 50mm f/5.6 1/30sec

I decided to shoot this photo using a bracketed exposure, I wanted to create an HDR image that would bring out the detail in the leaf.  The final image was also cropped in Lightroom.  I used the perspective crop feature to level out the final image just a bit.  I have also used a photo filter.  The filter was adjusted to add warmth to the image and also a bit of texture.  I then darkened the corners using a vignette.  The final image was added to my Picfair portfolio because I do think this would make a good stock image.

So, what do you think of my final image?  I was using only the candle and natural light to light the photo, can you believe it was only 3pm?  In this part of the world these last days of the year are also the darkest.  They do open up a wide variety of photography options though.  This will be my last post of the year, I expect to be back in this space in mid-January.  In the meantime you can find me on Instagram and Twitter.  If you are a blogger, I’ll probably be by to visit.  Feel free to leave a comment below about the photo I have created.  I would also appreciate feedback on the new layout of the site!

All the best to you and yours for the coming year.

Cheers!

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iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

One, Two, Three!

Sometimes, it takes a few photos and a bit of editing to get to what you intended to create.  The first step is getting the photo. At first I walked past this photo.  Then a few minutes later I thought, “Did I just walk past a leaf shaped like a heart covered in frost and not take a photo?”  The answer was yes, so I backtracked and took this photo:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Hmm, ok, that was shot vertical, so then I tried a horizontal orientation:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

Ok, better, but this final version is really what I had in mind:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/50

This in my mind it is a sort of stock image.  One you might see with text of some kind on the right side.  I created it specifically with my Picfair portfolio in mind. When I was processing it, I started with cropping it using the rule of thirds.  In the original photo I shot it with the leaf centered.  I chose to do that in this case, because the background was all the same, but I thought when I took a closer look on my computer one of the sides might be more interesting.  I also removed a little yellow leaf and a bit of frost below the stem that I thought were distracting.  Those edits were done in Photoshop.  I then put the photo in Lightroom and did some additional edits, adding a bit of clarity and warmth.

What do you think of the final photo? I often find that my final photo has several forms before it is finished, is that your experience as well? Have you ever walked past a photo, thought about it, and turned around and went back with your camera out?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

When It All Adds Up

A while back I blogged about this photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

Based on what I could find online, a few things like his name and date of birth didn’t seem to add up when you looked at this grave marker.  So I went back to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. The staff member who helped me was a bit surprised that I wasn’t researching a relative,but was more than happy to give me a hand in my research.  It ended up being pretty simple.  The Carlisle H. Reville whose grave I photographed, was Carlisle H. Reville Jr.  My search had been further complicated by the fact that the 1930 Census record was handwritten, and the later data entry spelled his first name wrong.

It's easy to see why a mistake was made.

It’s easy to see why a mistake was made.

So, on the data entry portion of this page, he is listed as “Caulislo”, easy to see why.

In the course of my research I found out that Reville Sr. had served in WWI.  I also found out that Reville Jr. had first been buried at another cemetery but was moved here when this cemetery was established.  What I can’t find is a decent lead on the family, other than they were living in Pennsylvania in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  If you happen to know this family, I am more than happy to have them contact me if they would like a digital copy of the photo I have taken of their relative’s grave.

Since I was back at the cemetery, you know that I took some more pictures.  Here is one from that day:

The edited black and white version

The edited black and white version

I’ve edited this in Lightroom and using a black and white plug-in.  I’ll post the original below, but one of the first things I did while it was still a color version was to bring out detail in the shadows and increase the saturation in the blues and the greens.  It looks horrible in that state, but once it is converted to black and white it looks good again. Here is the original file:

The original

The original

The subject is well suited to black and white I think.  I’ve included it in my portfolio at Picfair. Somehow the color version just seems to vivid for the subject matter.  What do you think?  Feel free to comment on my new photo or on the follow up from my older post.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Mixing it up a bit

When it comes to this blog, I pretty much stick with my photography work.  I also work with graphic design, mostly designing logos. I use Photoshop or Lightroom for my photography and Illustrator for my graphic design work.  Generally speaking I don’t mix the two.  Illustrator does have an interesting feature though called image trace. Basically you place your image into the program and it makes a likeness for you.  I’ve included the link if you would like a bit more detail, but in simple terms, there are several presets, you pick one, and it gets to work for you.  Settings include sketch options and photo options. I’ve had some luck with it the past, but I suspect that part of the reason I don’t do much with my photography in Illustrator is that I like my photograph to look like a photograph.  I can be a bit narrow minded that way.

Last week though, I was working with this photograph:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/200

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/200

This is a photo that in my opinion has some nice elements and some not so nice elements.  Because of that this is the kind of photo that I am more likely to try something a bit different with.  So I fired up Illustrator.

It was a disaster.

So bad, that I’m not going to show it to you. Mostly because I didn’t even save it.

Then I shut down Illustrator and re-opened Photoshop.  And I created this:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/200

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/200

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. I like the idea though, so I will probably try it again with another photo or maybe just working the filters a bit differently.

This experiment in mixing it up took at least an hour, maybe more.  On one hand it’s a bit frustrating to not have an outcome that I like, but on the other, I’ll never get any better if I don’t experiment with new ideas.  When it comes to being creative, do you like to mix it up, do you have more than one medium? do you ever mix the two? How do you feel about your creative projects that aren’t so great?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

The Absolutely True Story of How I Got Here

Here being this photo:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

You knew this was going to be a photo journey right? It all started when I was editing these flowers:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

for another post and I ended up with this black and white version:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

I liked the black and white version, but I was also still drawn to the color version.  I had a few thoughts in mind.  What I ended up liking was drawing attention to the center of the flower which looks like a heart, and warming up the photo a bit.  I had a few other thoughts along the way and those photos ended up looking like this:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

and this:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

I’ll be honest, I don’t like either of those.  I added them in here just to illustrate that sometimes a final version is a bit different that the versions that proceed it.  At least that’s the way it happens in my world, true story.

What does your editing path look like? are you more a straight and narrow type, or do you tend to wander all over the place?  I’m a bit in the middle of the two.  Feel free to leave a comment below.  What do you think of the warmed up color version? I’ve added it to my Picfair portfolio, the black and white version is there too.  The others, well they aren’t going anywhere.

Cheers!

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