Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

I find that military cemeteries and memorials are an attempt to bring order to the chaos of human conflict. The neat rows of uniform grave markers, the minimalist and tidy green space, they stand in contrast to what I perceive as the disruption and disorder of conflict.  On Memorial Day this year, the staff at Cambridge American Cemetery put out pictures in front of the grave markers and along the borders of the Tablets of the Missing:

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Seemingly a small detail when viewed from a distance, but amazingly personal when examined at close range.

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The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the human cost of war, and the display puts a face on it and makes it more personal:

"Faces of Cambridge" Women served too #WWII #cambridgeamericancemetery #lestweforget @usabmc #memorialday

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Most blog posts I write are about the editing process I go through.  This post is about the importance of sometimes letting an image stay in its “as taken” state.  The first two images are shown as shot and I would argue tell their story without the need for editing. The last image is in the standard Instagram format with the filter I chose for it accenting the light that illuminates the name on the grave marker.

When I am taking photographs, I often am thinking about what I would like the final image to look like.  In this case, I knew that I was going to want the final images to have very little editing done to them.  While my usual minimum edits are white balance, cropping, and sharpening, for the first two photos skip even those steps. What do you think of my unedited photos? are there times when you skip editing in favor of an “as-is” final photo? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friend

It’s been a busy week. Today it’s back to England weather, but last week was gorgeous; my unprocessed photo folder overflows, a beautiful problem to have. This weekend included a walk with friends that went through a barley field:

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This panorama, taken on my iPhone, originally looked like this:

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The edited version was produced in Lightroom. In the crop tools there is an “angle” option which allows you to drag a line along what should be the straight horizon and then creates a crop from there.  As with many edits, I sometimes think that I am gaining and losing.  In this case, the edited photo is straighter. The original however, has a quirkiness to it that I kind of like.  I’ll point out also that this photo is breaking one of the rules of photography.  Generally it is considered bad form to include part of a person, you should either include the whole person or crop them out entirely.  It’s a good rule, but I think there is a carefree feeling to this photo that allows that rule to be broken.

From that same walk is an Instagram photo that reminds me that flowers and insects form important friendships as well:

#poppies and friend #thingsiseewhilewalking #england #summer

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What is your thought on my panorama, is there a version you prefer? Can you believe that beautiful sky was in England this weekend?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

A few weeks ago I was visiting Salisbury Cathedral. The font they have is also a beautiful reflecting pool.  I created this image from the photos that I took:

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The font was created by William Pye and installed in the Cathedral in 2008. This link will take you to the website of the Cathedral which has a photo that shows how the font is situated in the Cathedral. It’s a beautiful work of art that I think has an interesting way of interacting with its surroundings, something that the link will give you a feel for. The image I created is more of a close up and so is missing that perspective.

My take is more on the font as reflecting pool.  For a few moments, there was sun and the reflections of the nearby windows in the font were beautiful.  The original photo was taken on my iPhone.  There were a lot of people around that through cropping and Photoshop have been removed.  I removed the people for two reasons. One was that I was trying to still the image a bit, there is a lot going on and I wanted to remove some of the “busyness”. The other was that some of those people were children.  I am not a huge fan of images posted online of children where they or their guardians have not been informed.

But back to the scene itself.  I created a black and white version, but was not completely happy with it because ultimately I thought the color of the windows was an important part of the image.  This final image gave me a muted color, but one that left enough in it to show the beauty of the reflection.

I’ll be honest, I love religious art, how do you feel about it? if you are not religious, do you still appreciate it for the sake of art, or is that too off-putting for you? How do you feel about removing people from a photo? It can change the story of a photo pretty dramatically, what is your take on that?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

This week’s photo challenge starts with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?”  Oh boy, travel is a topic maybe it’s best not to get me started on as “going to see things” is a bit of a hobby for me.  It also happens that I was on the road just a few weeks ago.  I visited a few well-known spots that pretty much everyone has heard of.  This post though is more about something I really love about traveling, and that is visiting some spot a bit off the tourist path and being utterly charmed by it.

I do enjoy history, so I often find myself at spots of historical significance.  I will admit though, if it has to do with World War II, it’s probably because my husband found it.  That’s how I came to be standing here:

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Where am I? The Upottery Heritage Center.  Here’s a Google map link, if you would like to see a map of the area.  Why was I here? Well the Band of Brothers left from here for Normandy; that was my husband’s interest.  He had been in contact with Robin, a volunteer at the center, who had agreed to open the converted hut for us to take a look around.  This is one of those museums that has been put together by people who care about the history of the area.  It’s a small space, but there is an incredible amount of well researched detail here.  My husband talked to Robin about those details.  For me, it was the photographs, look at all the photographs!  Our youngest child was traveling with us and found the stash of newspapers from the time. Eventually, it was time to drag ourselves away from this room. The driving tour was next.  Robin was willing to take us around to show my husband where the old airfield was.  For me the highlight of the driving tour was this:

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During the war it was a guard station.  It’s the last remaining one in the area and now if functions as a Remembrance memorial.  A beautiful tribute if you ask me.

Part of the tour took us through farms that are currently in use, so from my Instagram, I have this shot.

On a #walk with a #cow #nofilter #england

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A cleaned up version of that shot is in my Picfair portfolio.

This morning in Upottery was a highlight of the trip.  The well known places were good too, but this was unique, something that will stick in our collective family memory. In terms of the photography, I stuck with my iPhone for this visit and was pleased with the results. Have you perhaps had the experience as well, that a lesser known place ended up being a highlight of a trip? Can you believe how lush that grass is in the Instagram photo? That’s a no filter photo.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

There are times when I think about how we as people can’t help but change the world around us.  It’s like we can’t help but interpret the earth around us, even if that means altering it.  Our generation is not the first to do this:

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When you walk around Stonehenge you can’t help but wondering why people did this.  There are no shortage of theories, but not a whole lot of definitive answers either.  That makes it more intriguing, but even if we had all the answers I think this site would still be awe inspiring.

Stonehenge is currently administered by English Heritage, and while there are a few different ways you can visit, we were in the area by car and did use the walking audio tour.  For this photo, I used my Canon 50D and took several shots with the thought of stitching them together in Photoshop to create the panorama you see above.  The main thing to keep in mind is to attempt to shoot as level as possible.  The first version of the panorama had some people in it.  I removed them using the healing brush and the Edit-Fill-Content Aware features of Photoshop.  I also did a white balance correction using the eyedropper in Levels, and sharpened the photo.  I am adding my Flickr version below that you can click on to see a larger version:

Panorama of Stonehenge

It is also available as part of my Picfair portfolio.

Below is an Instagram version, this version, shot with my iPhone gives a slightly different perspective and an idea of how many people I had to remove from the version above:

#Stonehenge with #nofilter So beautiful @englishheritage #england

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Do you ever find yourself wondering about how the landscape has changed over the generations? or why people do the things they do? How do you like my panorama, do you think I did a good job removing the people?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security

This past weekend I was at Ely Cathedral and took a tour of the Octagon Tower.  Here is a panorama from the top:

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I added the full size version to my Flickr account so you can click on the photo below if you would like to take a closer look:

Ely Cathedral

It was a fabulous weather moment.  And being that this is England, I do have to say moment, the sun is likely to go away at any moment. It was a bit windy, but just beautiful.  Because time was limited, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about composition, I just took a bunch of photos.  This one, I have left unedited. There are a lot of imperfections in it in terms of photography, however to me it represents fairly well the grandeur of the scene, the raw beauty of it.

For my Instagram feed, I went with something a bit different:

The view from the Octagon tower @ely_cathedral is #beautiful #england

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In this case, you can see that I did think about the framing.  It’s Instagram, so I did use a filter and add a vignette. Same trip to the top of the tower, but two different interpretations of what I saw at the top.

After we were finished this tour, we looked around the Cathedral a bit on our own and then took the ground level tour.  At this point you might be wondering why I’ve titled this post, Security.  On the tour, we found out that the foundation of the Cathedral is about 5’8″ deep.  I can assure you that this did not make me feel super secure about the whole structure staying up despite the fact that it has for quite awhile. Never mind how I then felt about being on the top of the tower!

Has that ever happened to you, you found out the risks after you took the chance? In this case, it worked out well.  In fact, the Cathedral has two towers and we are planning to go back and take a tour of the other tower.  What do you think of my two interpretations of the view from the top? Do you sometimes photograph or edit with the intent of telling more than one tale?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

What I Saw

Maybe this happens to you. You are looking at something and you see what is actually there, but in your mind you see something else. This happens to me a lot. When it comes to my photography it can create a bit of tension; part of me likes to record just the facts while another part is off imagining.  This image is from that imagining side:

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This photograph is a panorama and the original files looked like this one:

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The original files are kind of just ho-hum, but what I liked was the green and also the texture of the brick.  I was also just intrigued by the fact that the building was there.  It’s part of an old sewage farm and was first constructed in 1887.

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The building now is in pretty good shape but does have an abandoned look about it. When I created the panorama, I knew I wanted to bring out that aspect of it.  A quick sketch of how I created this image looks like this.  I selected the original files that I wanted to use in Lightroom. Then Lightroom-Photo-Edit In-Merge to Panorama in Photoshop.  From there I cropped and straightened the image. Then I sharpened it and saved it back to Lightroom.  From Lightroom-Photo-Edit In-Analog Efex Pro.  I ended up using a wet plate camera setting but then changed the settings within that filter and saved it back to Lightroom.  In Lightroom I made a few more adjustments, mostly to get the green colors to a point where I liked.

In addition to posting this in the Weekly Photo Challenge, I am also posting it in an interesting challenge called Thursday Doors.

How about you, do you often look at something and imagine something completely different? Is the green of Spring emerging where you are or are you on the opposite side of the world, springing into another season altogether?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers?