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

Travel Theme: Round

I guess I had been holding onto these photos waiting for the travel theme at Where’s My Backpack? to be round. This is the week my friends!  The photo below I took at Laumeir Sculpture Park in St. Louis:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

This edited version is an HDR image that has been processed in Photomatix.  Here is one of the original exposures:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

It was a sunny day so it would have been hard to get a perfect exposure in just one photo, so I knew I was going to edit the image into an HDR image.  Also, the veins in the eye were just screaming for the over the top result that HDR can easily give you.

Laumeir Park is a nice place to walk around, you can bring a picnic if the weather is nice and enjoy looking at all the art.  The particular piece is called The Eye by Tony Tasset, and it is on permanent display in the park.  It almost always has folks standing around it, how could you not stop and stare at an eyeball that is 12 feet in diameter?

So, what do you think of my HDR treatment of this piece of art? do you think you could walk past it without stopping? Your thoughts and comments are welcome below!

Cheers!

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

Winter Photos

We have had a lot of crummy winter weather here.  I’m ready for Spring, but while I’m waiting I have been taking photos of the snow.  Droplets is the theme at Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge this week, so I was working with this photo this morning:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

I took this photo back in December and at that time used Photomatix to make it into an HDR image.  The great thing about HDR photography, is the detail it brings out.  This can also be it’s downfall.  In the image above,  I really wanted all the detail of the berries, but the background was cluttered. Bringing more attention to the berries also accentuated all the details in the background which detracted from the photograph.  So, once I had created my HDR version, I opened it in Photoshop and duplicated the layer.  To the newly created layer, I added a black and white adjustment layer. Because I wanted the  berry to still have it’s color, I used the mask that came with the layer, and painted black over where I wanted the color back in the image.

I still wasn’t crazy about the result, the black and white was too flat and cold.  So, I put my layer that had some color still in it on top of the black and white adjustment and changed the blending mode to luminosity.  Here is a screen shot of what my layers panel looks like for this image:

A screenshot of the layers panel.

A screenshot of the layers panel.

This last step warmed up the image just a bit, which I think it needed.

So, another day of snow, ice, and rain here.  Hope it is nicer where you are! What do you think of my edited photo? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Sculpture

Sculpture is theme at Where’s My backpack? this week.  This is one of those themes that at first I was thinking that I didn’t have anything, but once I took a look through my archives I realized that I had more than I thought.  I decided to go with this photo in honor of the 4th of July:

The edited photo

The edited photo

This World War II memorial is on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri. This memorial is on St. Louis County Parks property.  There is a National Cemetery right near the county park.

This photo was a tough one to get and I have to say, if I was to do it again, I would go at a different time.  This photo was taken in the middle of the day, so harsh light and shadows were a problem.  Having said that though, the reality is that I was there when I could be there, so I did the best I could.

At the bottom of this post I will put the original photo, just so you can see what I was up against.  I was thinking that I would use HDR to get a better end result.  So, I tried bracketing my photos, but didn’t really get a great result.  What you see in the above photo is a bit of a false HDR.  It is made from one single image.  In Aperture I made two additional copies of the original.  Then I changed the exposure to -1 on one and -2 on another.  The original I left at 0. These three I merged into HDR using Photomatix.  I ended up liking the version you see above which is using a “painterly” setting.  Then in Photoshop I sharpened and cropped the image.  That’s a bit of fixing for just one image, but here is the original:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

So, that was a bit of work for one photo, but I do like the HDR image better.  What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

A very happy 4th of July to my American readers.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Ripples in Stone

One thing that I like to photograph in my travels, even if I’m not wandering far from home, is cemeteries and other religious spaces.  This particular image is HDR and I shot it at night:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/5

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/5

It was 7pm when I shot this, so the sky was not completely dark yet, but the sun was down.  It was the longer exposure time that helped bring out the blue color of the sky.  The lighting on the statue of Mary meant that I did have to be careful not to have too long of an exposure or I would risk too many blown out areas with no detail.  I put the f-stop to 6.3 because I did want to show the ripples in Mary’s robes, that is one of the reasons that I also chose to make an HDR of this scene.  HDR can be a very powerful tool to capture detail.  I used a tripod to keep my camera steady as I took three exposures.  I used Photomatix to create this image and then did some cropping and sharpening in Aperture.

Have you ever created an HDR image from photos taken at night? how did it go, what challenges did you face? Did you blog about it? if so feel free to leave a link in the comment section below  Other thoughts about night photography or HDR that you want to share? feel free to do so.

This post was written in response to the travel theme over at Where’s My backpack? this week featuring ripples.

Cheers!

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

A Beautiful Spot in the Neighborhood

This photo and post were inspired by Sonel who is hosting a weekly black and white photo challenge.  This week’s topic is neighborhood. I took this photo at a park that is in my neighborhood:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/160

I love that our neighborhood has this green space.  I love even more that a lot of people use it.  It has playing fields, a playground, benches, a walking path, and a pond.  I just think it is healthy for people to spend time outdoors, so it always makes me happy to see so many of my neighbors here.

For this shot, I was thinking that I might want to do a HDR image, so I was using exposure bracketing.  It can be tough to get a flower exactly still so I was using a pretty fast shutter speed.  I was also using the fast shutter speed to cut out some of the light I was letting in by having my aperture so open at 3.5.  I knew I wanted a pretty shallow depth of field though, because I thought the background would distract from the flower if I didn’t.  Even though the background is blurred you can see that there is quite a bit there, imagine how distracting it would be if you could see all that detail.  I merged the three exposures in Photomatix and then did some sharpening in Photoshop.

I liked this shot well enough to then make a 5×7 card of it and put it for sale on my website.

Do you have any thoughts, comments, or questions about my image? feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

I went biking this past weekend and was thinking about this week’s photo challenge, escape.  I guess going biking was a way of escaping the housework.  Maybe this sounds crazy, but I think both being outside and cleaning the house are necessary things that I don’t want to escape.  Then I biked past this flower that had definitely escaped:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/640

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/640

Escaped ideal growing spots anyway.  There is almost nowhere for this plant to spread.  It is a small beauty growing in an ugly space.  In case you are wondering, this plant is Squaw-weed, it is a native plant of Missouri and will grow quite well in your garden in you live this area.  I have some in my garden and it is a great spreader.

As for this particular photo, I was shooting pretty much in the middle of the day on a hazy day, so not great conditions.  I bracketed the exposure because I wanted to so an HDR image to get more detail.  I use Photomatix for my HDR images.  When it came to editing though, it turned out that I didn’t like the high detail version that came out.  I decided I liked a softer look instead.  So, while my HDR image still has detail in terms of the color, I decided against a super-sharp image, an escape from my usual method of editing.

Cheers!

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

Thursday Lingering Look at Windows, From Inside

I took a tour of the Budweiser Brewery in St. Louis and when I saw this window, I knew that I would add it to the Thursday Lingering Look at Windows.  I took the original shot with my point and shoot camera but then made an HDR image out of it in Photomatix.

Cheers!

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