70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Instagram, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge

New Neighbors

There are some photos that I’m not sure are going to happen.  This is one of them:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

And another:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

These are our new cygnets. I thought there was a nest this year, but I wasn’t certain. The weather was a bit different from last year, and the vegetation around the lake has grown up in a different way. Last year’s next I could clearly see from the shore.  This year I was only guessing. Last year’s clutch was very successful, six healthy offspring, this year I have spotted four.

Generally, when I set out to photograph these swans, I take my 70-200mm lens. You will see that for these photos, the lens is at 70mm, the swans are incredibly close, particularly when you consider that this lake is on a path that is frequented by a lot of people and dogs. I chose these two images to edit in part because, despite the fact they were taken at the same time, the color of the water appears different.  As far as edits go, for this round I have chosen to stay very close to the original exposures, the images have been cropped and sharpened.

Was I excited to see them? You bet! Here is a photo from the day I first spotted them:

Do you like my true to life edits? Do you have new neighbors this Spring? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge: New

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70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Half a heart for Valentine’s Day

ISO 800 90mm f/9.0 1/320sec

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50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Instagram, iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Tour Guide on Patrol with the Ducks

A few days ago I went looking for these guys:

ISO 800 95mm f/9.0 1/3200 sec

Only in real life, they looked like this:

ISO 800 95mm f/9.0 1/3200 sec

I was looking for them because week six on the Dogwood 52-week challenge is alternating rhythm, or to practice using light and dark to create depth and rhythm. Sunlight on the lake often creates harsh shadows which adds a sense of depth.  As for these four birds, they always seem to be hanging out and patrolling the lake as a unit, the rhythm of their lives in step with each other regardless of the other activity on the water. It’s a honking loud rhythm too, in case you were wondering.

For this challenge, I was out to push the depth and rhythm ideas a bit. I added a motion filter and tin-like cast to the photo, I think it makes the light and dark contrast stand out, pushing it to a bit of an extreme for a nature image. Lightroom is a good editing tool for pushing ideas, sometimes you can go a bit too far though. Do you think this edit pushed the boundary of the challenge, or did it hurl it off the cliff? Your thoughts are welcome below.

It’s no wonder I went to my local lake, you will find me there a lot, it’s one of my favorite places to photograph:

Just a few shots from the last year or so. And one more from this morning:

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#rainbow #thingsiseeonmyrun

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

I may not make a good tour guide since I spend a lot of time chasing photos and listening to ducks, but it is beautiful and a good place to practice photography.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

One of my favorite things about photo editing is that is fairly easy to create many variations on a single photograph. When processing my photos I create many versions, saving various edits along the way. For example, I started with this photograph:

ISO 320 50mm f/16 1/320sec

Created many including these below:

Before settling on this one:

ISO 320 50mm f/16 1/320sec

This final version perhaps sums up the title of the post, Variations on a Theme. I’ve created a combined color and black and white version. I then boosted the overall warmth of the whole image to unify the piece a bit, as the starkness of combining the two seemed a bit jarring.

It was an interesting experiment, but I like the original color version better than any of the other versions. What do you think of the various takes, do you have a favorite? For the purpose of this post, I kept all of my variations, but eventually, I will go back and delete the ones I don’t care for. I may even make another one.  This ability to create and destroy is a very liberating advantage to editing digital photography, do you agree? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

I tend to get up early, I enjoy taking photos first thing in the morning.  This spring we have a robin nest outside of our kitchen window.  As in past years, I set up my camera and tripod with a remote shutter to take photos.  I’ve been waiting for the four eggs in the nest to hatch. It should be any day now.  This morning I was thinking it might be the day because in the time I had my camera set up the mother bird flew back and forth several times to the hedgerow.  In the past, we have seen mother birds do this to get rid of shells as the birds hatch.  This morning looked like this:

Land, look at camera:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

Conduct an egg count:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/125

Head back out:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

I was sure I would find a hatchling there, but not yet, just eggs today:

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/640

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/640

A bit about last year’s nest is here. A few nice pictures, but an unhappy ending for that year’s nest.  I’m hoping for a happier outcome this year.  I’ve also noticed that my best pictures are a bit later that perhaps what you would expect.  I have good luck between 7:30-8:00am, the mother bird is active and the light in that particular spot is nice then. I guess you could say I’m an early bird that doesn’t have to be that early.

It’s lovely when the photo opportunity comes to your kitchen window, don’t you think?  Feel free to leave a comment or pick a favorite out of this morning’s photos.

A little update on 4/21/15: I have been taking photos of the now hatched birds, to see a few check out my twitter feed.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

I found out this week that this photo won an honorable mention in a photo contest that I entered it in:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

I titled this one, Siblings, it was taken last spring as part of a series of images I took of a the nest that was just outside our kitchen window.  This particular image was taken with my point and shoot camera.  I then cropped it and sharpened it in Photoshop.  To be honest, I did minimal post editing with this photo because I thought that the picture told the story without anything added to it.

I was pleased to have won with this photo, it seems like quite an achievement to me considering the quality of competition that my camera club offers.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

When I think of minimalist photography, I always think of an image that is more poetry than novel. To me poetry as a writing form allows for more interpretation than the fully formed narrative of a novel. Minimalism allows for more breathing room.  So for this week’s challenge, I chose to edit an image that I took a few weeks ago in a very peaceful garden:

ISO 500 100mm 0ev f/10 1/500

ISO 500 100mm 0ev f/10 1/500

To get this image, I chose an f-stop of f/10, because I wanted the water and the bridge to be in focus.  This image is more about taking in an entire scene than it is about just the elements in the foreground. I also chose a fast shutter speed because it was pretty windy that day but I knew I wanted an image that was more serene.

When I got to the editing phase, I first cropped the image because I felt there were elements in the photo that were distracting.  Then I put a warming filter on it in Photoshop.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 500 100mm 0ev f/10 1/500

ISO 500 100mm 0ev f/10 1/500

What do you think? Does this qualify as a minimalist image to you, or does it still have too many elements? How about the filter, I think it conveys a sense of calm that helps the image seem more minimalist, do you agree? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Cheers!

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