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:

ISO 400 4.15mm f/2.2 1/100 sec

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:

ISO 25 4.15 f/2.2 1/420

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:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/1250 sec

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:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/2000

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:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

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

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

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.

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

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?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

If I’m headed into Cambridge from the park and ride, I always head to the front seat at the top of the bus.  This week, I was joined by a fellow passenger who stood for the whole ride in making “vroom-vroom” noises.  I just settled for making a photo:

ISO 64 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000 sec

I shot this panorama on my iPhone and from Lightroom edited it using the Google Efex Pro plug in. Once I created a version that I liked I brought it back into Lightroom.  I then made some further edits. In this case, I warmed it up a bit, brought a bit of clarity to it and added a vignette.  I like the plug in as a starting point for editing.  One thing that I do when I am adding filters is to wait, even if it is just for a moment, before deciding I am done.  In my opinion, it is rare that a preset filter has exactly what you had in mind.  I give it a bit of time, look at the photo again and then usually edit again.  Filters can be a good place to start, but rarely are they your final vision.

I was in a bit of an experimental mood when I was writing this post, so I am adding in what should be a link to a slightly larger version of the photo in Flickr.

Panorama in Cambridge

Directions on how to do that are here.

I’ve also added it to my Instagram feed, using the work around I came up with last week.  In this particular case, I am also experimenting with adding the panorama format and not the traditional Instagram square format.

A #panorama from the top of the bus #bestseat #cambridge

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If you are on either of those platforms, you can stop by and let me know what you think.  Do you use the panorama function on your cell phone? When you are editing do you wait and come back later to your edits? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Names

There are some times when a name just doesn’t seem to fit.  This pub is in York:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

The name struck me as ironic, since it looked like an inviting place, hardly a hole in the wall.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

ISO 400 50mm f/11 1/125

When I went to edit it, I was thinking more of accenting the sepia tones including the golden tones that were in the sign, as opposed to an actual representation of the building.  My edits here include a crop.  That is where I started; I used the straighten feature in Photoshop. It’s a subtle straighten in that I just did it by looking and deciding what was straight enough rather than using a grid.  I’ve used the Nik analog pro plug-in to help achieve the photographic look.  Once I had applied that filter, I switched to Lightroom.  From there I increased the saturation and luminance of the oranges and yellows.  I added a vignette and a bit of a haze.

What do you think of my interpretation of the building? It was a bit of a cold day, so the warm tones caught my attention.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

A few weeks ago I was standing at the end of Deal Pier as the sun was thinking about setting.

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

It was a beautiful moment of contrasts.  The shadows were already leaving parts of the scene dark while the sun was intensely lighting other parts.  I knew that this was not going to turn out very well straight out of the camera so I shot a bracketed image that I could use later create an HDR image in Photoshop.  The link that I have included I picked because it has some good tips, but also because it contains my least favorite thing, and that is a bit telling you when you should or shouldn’t use HDR.  I understand that sometimes when learning a new technique it is best to narrow your focus and give it a try in situations where you are likely to get a good result.  However, I really think when it comes to editing, you should broaden your horizons and experiment.  The beautiful thing about digital editing is that you can always throw away versions you don’t like, so why be bound by traditional rules?

Here is the version of the image above with the highest exposure:

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

You can see why some editing was going to be required.  In addition to creating an HDR image, which was the first step, I then cropped the image. Next I used the curves feature to bring some more detail into the darker parts of the images.  I then increased the vibrance and saturation a bit.  Sharpening the image was the last step.  It may sound like quite a bit of editing, but I wanted to recreate the feel of that moment on the pier.

What do you think of the final version?  Do you find yourself sometimes hemmed in by the rules of photography only to then realize that they are guidelines and not actually set in stone?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!