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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Fall is officially here in this part of the world.  The leaves are starting to change here and the day is noticeably shorter. To me, the light during this time of year seems more intense, and I have been thinking about ways to grab that photographically.  This week, I found myself thinking about creating backlit images, here is a link to some photos I was looking at this morning.  Earlier this week, I was taking some photos at a local park, and the sun was causing some harsh shadows, so I decided to change up the way I was shooting and shoot into the sun instead of with my back to it.  Here is the result:

ISO 125 70mm 0ev f/8 1/1250

ISO 125 70mm 0ev f/8 1/1250

This photo has been edited.  It is actually an HDR image that I created using Photomatix.  Changing a photo using editing can be fun, but there is another way to change and image and that is just to move.  Here is what that scene looks like standing at street level:

ISO 125 70mm 0ev f/8 1/160

ISO 125 70mm 0ev f/8 1/160

But this particular morning, I wasn’t looking to just take a picture in the park, I was daydreaming about light and wide open spaces, so the top photo was my result.  All it took was a few steps down the hill and a little editing and I was where I wanted to be.

How do you feel about changing an image to suit an idea rather than being an exact descriptor?  Personally, I like trying to combine both things, so this image is a bit of stretch for me.  Feel free to comment below about the changes I made in this case or to comment on how you feel about this type of change in your own work.

Cheers!

 

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

I’ve been doing some work in the yard, weeding and the like.  The butterfly bush is beginning to lose it’s blooms, but they aren’t completely gone yet, so one morning I put aside my gardening tools and took out my camera instead.  When I got the photos on my computer I decided to give HDR processing a try with them, to bring out the detail in the flowers.  I was pleasantly surprised to end up liking this monochromatic version best:

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/8 1/125

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/8 1/125

For this particular photo I was using my 50mm lens with a magnifying lens attached.  I used a high ISO in part to deal with the low light and in part to be able to use a high shutter speed.

Here is the original middle exposure of the bracketed photos:

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/8 1/125

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/8 1/125

In the monochromatic version, I liked the way the purple blooms were transformed to very white.  Most times, I use HDR for what it brings out in the detail, this time, what I liked most was it did for the tone of the image. For me, this was and interesting case of using a technique for one result and ending up with something unexpected. How about you, when was the last time your photo editing turned out an unexpected result?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

I’ve been to a nearby lake a few times in the last few weeks. With my 70-200mm lens I was hoping to get a close up picture of the herons that nest near the lake.  It was not to be, they were all still too far away.  While I was pouting about that, this dragonfly stopped to rest on a branch near the water.  So I took a few photos.  Here is an edited version:

ISO 800 160mm 0ev f/22 1/40

ISO 800 160mm 0ev f/22 1/40

The dragonfly was actually at an awkward angle from where I was or where I could be to get a photo without being in the water.  He stayed for awhile and so I experimented with quite a few settings in my camera which is why this one is a bit of an odd combination of high f-stop, low shutter speed.  This is actually a bracketed photo, so three photos with different exposures that have been merged.  I used Photomatix to create the HDR image. I was surprised at how well that worked considering the slow shutter speed.  The f-stop was high with the thought of getting the detail in the wings, but it got all the background in detail as well which was distracting.

In order to deal with my background, I opened the HDR image in Photoshop as a smart object and then made a second smart object layer.  I desaturated the top layer to about 48 percent and then created a mask and masked in the full color dragonfly and the tips of the branch he is perched on.  I then used and Iris blur to keep the dragonfly sharp but blur the background a bit.  I also used Photoshop to do some cropping. I was going for a bit of a dreamy other worldly feel without leaving reality completely.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 800 160mm 0ev f/22 1/40

ISO 800 160mm 0ev f/22 1/40

It was several steps worth of editing, but I liked the outcome.  What do you think? feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

As I was thinking about how to respond to this week’s photo challenge, serenity, it occurred to me that I would say serenity is an idea that shows up a lot in my photography.  For this week, I chose this image:

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

The image itself was taken this past fall.  I stopped, looked up, and saw this lovely pattern of light that I thought would turn out well in a photograph.  This final edited version is actually a fusion of two identical images shot using different exposures and then edited in Photomatix Pro.   Here are the two originals:

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

I felt that creating an HDR image would bring out the jewel tones in the leaves and the bokeh effect in the background of the image.  When I took the original photos, it was a bright day so I had lowered my ISO to 100.  It was also a bit breezy, and in this case I wanted the leaves to be still, so that is the reason for the fast shutter speed.  I settled on an f-stop of 5.6 after a couple of other tries, because I felt like that was the right balance of bokeh in the background and clarity in the leaves.

As for serenity, it’s been a bit elusive in my life lately.  I’ve missed the last few photo challenges.  It’s nice to be back, and I’m looking forward to getting caught up on my comments and visits to other blogs.  As for serenity in a photo, this particular image works for me but what do you think? your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Standard
Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone But Not Forgotten

Interesting topic this week for the Photo Challenge.  It made me think of grave stone markers, so I went back to work on a photo that I took a few months ago:

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

This edited version is an HDR photo.  I was interested in creating an HDR version because I thought that the detail of the stone would match the bokeh of the background in an interesting way.  The edit is a slight and subtle one.  Here is the original, middle exposure of the three images that I combined:

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

I think that the HDR treatment gave the grave marker the bit of pop that it need to separate from the background.  What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

I love looking at grave stone markers, especially weather-worn ones, monuments to those who are gone but not forgotten.

Cheers!

Standard
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!

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, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Butterfly

I hadn’t been in awhile, so last week I stopped by the butterfly exhibit they have at the St. Louis Zoo.  As butterfly houses go, this is a small one and it is often crowded.  It was when I was there, but I still managed to set up and use my tripod.  But if you are in the area I would encourage you to stop by.  It is a beautiful spot.  Despite the crowd, people seemed to be relaxed, perhaps a result of being around natural beauty.  I got this photo:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

You will see that the lighting on the butterfly is a bit uneven because he was in a sheltered spot.  Because I knew that I would have difficulty getting all the detail I wanted in one shot, I set my camera to get a bracketed exposure.  So, the final photo you are looking at is an HDR image I created using Photomatix.

In order to get as much detail I also used a low ISO, and therefore needed a slow shutter speed and a tripod for this shot.  Once I had created my image in Photomatix I then opened it in Photoshop.  I cropped the image, sharpened it and then applied a blur to the edges and background.  Here is one of the original images, to give you an idea of what I started with:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

Pretty big difference I think, but before I started editing, I thought the final image was in there, just waiting to be revealed.  What do you think?

I didn’t know it when I took this photo but just a few days later, gardens would be the announced travel theme at Where’s My Backpack?, so this image is my submission for this week.

Cheers!

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

Close

One of the reasons that I write this blog is to keep track of what I have tried and keep notes on what works or doesn’t.  This photo I took with Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge in mind.  The topic this week was trees.  A week or so ago it snowed and then there was a lot of wind which made some neat patterns in our yard.  So I went out to take some photos.  With this one I was trying to show the similarity in the patterns in the bark and the snow:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/320

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/320

I took this using the exposure bracketing setting on my camera.  From there I edited my three exposures in Photomatix and put it in the painterly setting.  Then I opened the image in Photoshop. I knew I wanted to use the filter gallery but because the image was a 16-bit image, the filter gallery which is located in Filter-Filter gallery was greyed out.  So first I had to go to Image-Mode- and change it to a 8-bit image.  Then the Filter-Filter gallery was able to work.  In that gallery, I changed this photo to watercolor with angled strokes.  Then I cropped this photo because the original had a brick house in the background which was really distracting from the textures that I was trying to accentuate.

I would say that this photo sort of worked, a kind of close, but no cigar.  The first thing I would have gone out a bit earlier, because it was pretty bright.  The other thing I would have done differently was to shoot the photo from a different angle so that the house would have not been in the background.  Part of the problem was that it was bitterly cold and I don’t think as creatively when I am cold.  I guess I need to work on that…

Here is one of the original photos, so you can see where I started:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/320

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/320

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

Are you a robot nerd? I’m not, but I do have one living in my house so I am by extension.  If you read this blog regularly you have probably noticed that I have children.  One of them is on a FIRST Robotics team at the local high school.  Yesterday was kick-off for the build season.  Build Season is the six weeks that the teams have to build their robots to compete in this year’s competition.  This year’s game is called Aerial Assist.

Last semester my robot child took a vinyl cutting machine that the school had but was broken, fixed it, and then used it to cut out her robotics team logo and put it on the exterior door of the robotics classroom.  The logo is a variation on the school’s mascot, which is a ram. Because I am a proud mom, I took a bunch of pictures:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

In this case I have a fast shutter speed because I knew I was going to bracket these photos and process them into HDR images using Photomatix.  I also created a black and white version:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

In both versions I decided to stick with trying to create photos that kept all the detail and stayed true to what you would see if you were up at the high school taking a look for yourself.

So, yesterday was the beginning of a very busy time in this household.  I’m excited for my robot child, because she is excited about the start of the season.  It’s a bit sad though, because a lot of my communication with her over the next six weeks will be via text.

If you’ve never heard of FIRST Robotics, maybe check out my links above, it is a really great program and they have all different age levels as well.

What do you think of the Ram logo that my robot child created? I think it is pretty cool.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Standard