11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, One Word Sunday, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Editing, Photography

It’s the View, Sort-Of

I enjoy touring churches. I find their history to be interesting and often a reflection of the people that interact with it. And then there is the view that they offer:

ISO 1600 10mm f/11 1/640sec

This photo was taken from Lincoln Cathedral in December. They offer several types of tours including the opportunity to go up and see the inner workings of the building. I have a fear of heights, but I love these types of tours. This tour and resulting photos are where I am this week in terms of editing my files. We had a lovely weekend in Lincoln, but it was December, so it was a bit grey and a bit cold. Not too bad by English standards though. The sky that day was kind of a fascinating grey. For my edit, I decided to step out of my usual “as shot” edit and try something a bit different. Here is the result:

ISO 1600 10mm f/11 1/640sec

What I’ve done here is to warm the color by using the luminance sliders. I then created another layer and converted it to black and white. Then using a brush and a mask, I erased the black and white out of the Cathedral building. Then I dropped the opacity level of the black and white layer just a bit, that’s what is causing the hint of color in the surrounding buildings.

This photo is more interpretation than fact, what do you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Added to A Photo A Week, View and One Word Sunday, Climb.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Siege Bell and War Memorial in Malta

My photography workflow tends to go something like this:

  1. Take lots of photos
  2. Backup all my files
  3. Delete photos that are obvious duds
  4. Process one or two photos that grab my immediate attention
  5. Allow files to age
  6. Delete photos that are duds
  7. Edit the rest
  8. Backup all my files

Step 5 is an important step for me. It gives me a chance to step back and then re-evaluate the files before I decide what I want to keep. Files I decide to keep generally fall into two categories, photos to sell and memory photos.  The photos in this post fall into the second category. I’ve edited them to keep for my personal collection, but won’t post them for sale:

How long do I let my files sit at step 5? At least a year. In this case, I am writing this is early May 2019 and the photos were taken in July 2018. I’m not in a huge hurry to delete files, but it is something that I continually work on, and a year is usually sufficient time to wait and come back with a more critical eye.

These photographs were taken of the Siege Bell and War Memorial in Malta. It dominates the landscape of the harbor of Valetta, although I think these photos don’t quite tell that part of the story. Two of the photos were taken on a boat trip, hence the faster shutter speed, the landscape wasn’t moving but I was!

Do you like these snapshots? Do you allow your photo files to age before deleting them? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Inspired by and a last-minute contribution to A Photo A Week Challenge, Three of a Kind.

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I am Working On: Flexing the Rules

When it comes to photography there are some rules worth thinking about. Rules tend to make a good starting point when you are photographing and editing. Whether you keep to the rules or not will hopefully vary. This is a post about almost keeping the rules and the technology that can help you refine your photographic vision. The photo I was editing was this one:

ISO 400 19mm f/16 1/250sec

Rules Broken: Shooting during the middle of the day and shooting in Jpeg format.

Verdict: Guilty and unrepentant. You only live once and go live your best life. You can tell them you read it here if you feel the need to pass the buck.

During the editing process, the first edit I did was a crop. I used the rule of thirds overlay within my crop tool, so this is what was on my screen:

This gives you an idea of how close to the Rule of Thirds this photo is.

You can see how I’ve taken some liberties with the rule of thirds here while keeping the spirit of the rule. I do this a lot, start with the overlay and then go from there. There is a simple reason for this “almost” rule of thirds image. It’s the other elements in the photo. There are some distracting yellow flowers at the top that are being cropped out and a few purple ones near the bottom. An element deliberately kept in was the white flowers that are a color match for the butterfly.

Rules Broken: Rule of Thirds.

Verdict: Just a bit out of bounds.

Next up is sharpening. I’ve approached this in a bit of a different way. Firstly, I did not want to sharpen the whole image. I was only interested in the butterfly and the blooming flowers. The rest of the image had enough detail for my liking. In Luminar, instead of using the clarity slider, I’ve used the details enhancer. I prefer this slider because it breaks it down into three separate sliders, small, medium, and large. I’ve boosted the small and medium details.  I also used a mask to apply the filter to only the area I wanted the change. I use to hate masks, but over the years the technology behind them has improved making them much easier to use:

This shows what area the details have been given a boost.

Rule Broken: Always sharpen your image.

Verdict: Managed to both keep and break this rule, how annoyingly clever is that?

The last edit was the vignette. The default in editing software is the center of the image. If your editing software allows you to change that, I would encourage you to give that a try, it’s a way of highlighting your main subject which may not be in the center of the image. In this case, I put the vignette center on the eye of the butterfly.

Rule Broken: Vignette is centered in the middle of the image.

Verdict: Guilty and also guilty of encouraging others.

Here is the final image with all the mentioned edits:

ISO 400 19mm f/16 1/250sec

What is your verdict? Do these edits work, with the rules flexed and even broken in places? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo A Week Challenge, Rule of Thirds and Tuesday Photo Challenge, Technology.

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Instagram, iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photography

Walking through London

This post is going to be a bit of a departure from my usual style. I was off on a walk yesterday and I am inviting you along on a bit of a recap of the day.  I was in London for the day. Friends were passing through London and this was the day that our schedules intersected. They would be available in the afternoon, but I decided to make a full day of it. I am the kind of person that makes lists. For everything. One of my lists is “Things to do in England”. When something catches my eye, it goes on the list. Since I had a morning in London, I decided to do two things that were on the London section of the list. I’m also a bit of a history nerd buff, so on the list were a rare King Edward VIII postbox and St. Etheldreda’s Church.  I took the train to King’s Cross and then headed here:

ISO 200 4.22mm f/2.2 1/17sec

The iconic London Underground. I happened to be standing with my back to this wall and then thought, that would be a fun photo. It was shot on my iPhone. The underground deposited me near to this:

ISO 125 4.3mm f/2.7 1/160sec

It’s a King Edward VIII postbox I tell you rather excitedly! and if you are anything like the rest of my family you chuckle, nod politely, and wait for me to take the photo. This one was taken with my point and shoot. Postboxes with a King Edward VIII cypher are rare because he was King for less than a year and then a lot of his postboxes were either modified or replaced. It took me a fair amount of digging to locate this one that I could visit, ultimately I tracked it down on Instagram, so it seemed only right to post this version, shot with my iPhone and edited in Hipstamatic, there:

From there I went to find St. Etheldreda’s Church. It is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in England and the structure itself is one of two in London that dates from the reign of King Edward I. It has a rather interesting history but it was built sometime between 1250-1290 and it was set to its current form and function in 1878. I was told of existence about a year ago and assured that it was well worth my time to track down if I had the opportunity. Wow, was it ever:

ISO 500 4.3mm f/2.7 1/30sec

This first shot, taken shortly after a Mass, shows the beautiful interior as well as the haze from incense used in the Mass.

Then there was the stained glass:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/30sec

Both of these shots were taken with my point and shoot. Set back from the main road and tucked in between more modern buildings this church was a beautiful highlight of my day.

If you are wondering why I didn’t take one of my larger cameras on this outing there were two reasons. First, I was concerned about the potential crowds, headed into London for St. Patrick’s Day. The second was the weather. That turned out to be the bigger of the two issues, as I was hailed on a few times over the course of the day.

Thanks for coming along as I am busy ticking things off my list. Do you make lists like this? What do you think of the photos, do you have a favorite? Your thoughts are welcome below.

Cheers!

As this walk was all over London, so this post is all over my different blogging places.  Added to:

Len-Artists Photo Challenge: History.

A Photo A Week Challenge: Cityscape/Townscape.

Jo’s Monday Walk.

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18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, iPhone, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Light Burst

It was a beautiful day here yesterday and I was at the Cambridge American Cemetery. I took a lot of photos in part because the light was so interesting. In particular, I took several frames of this grave, from all different angles.  When I got home and took a look at all the variations, I decided that this one interested me the most:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

In my edit, I cropped it a bit first. There were some elements on the right-hand side of the frame that was a bit distracting. I also tried a crop that straightened the photo a bit but for this interpretation, I decided that I liked it a bit off kilter. I knew I wanted to create a black and white version and thought that the tilted view would work with that treatment. Here is the outcome of that:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

When I am out shooting, I often take photos with my iPhone as well. Here is another black and white version of the scene that I created on my phone with the help of Hipstamatic:

Three of the servicemen who are buried here were honored in a flypast that took place in Sheffield yesterday. A brief story and video on that are here. The story is quite moving, it is worth a few moments of your time if you are interested.

What do you think of my edit? Can you believe that bright sun, right here in England? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Added to A Photo A Week, Black & White.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, travel, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Cropping

One edit that I do to almost every photo is a crop. I don’t have a set in stone way to approach it but often it’s the first edit I do. I’m usually thinking something like, what do I really want to say in this photograph?:

ISO 800 14mm f/11 1/320sec

In this case I knew I wanted it to be about the boulders, their imposing and larger than life presence in the landscape.  To do this I was thinking about having them seem to almost spill out of the bottom of the frame. While a good rule of thumb with photography is often to have something all the way in the frame and not running into the edges, in this case I was going to deliberately choose the opposite.

In Luminar, two cropping overlays are available for use. They are the rule of thirds and the perhaps less known golden ratio. While I don’t always crop using these guidelines, I usually at least give it a thought. They both provide a helpful guide to making a stronger composition. If you are interested in a comparison and explanation of the two methods, this is a good place to start.  Here are two screen shots showing how the lines look within the editing software.

Cropped using the rule of thirds:

Screen shot showing the rule of thirds overlay.

Cropped using the golden ratio:

Screen shot showing the golden ratio overlay.

I went with the golden ratio for this crop. It fit well not only with my overflowing boulders, but with the path in the middle of the photograph:

ISO 800 14mm f/11 1/320sec

From there I warmed up the ground quite a bit, it helped throw the sky into a more dramatic contrast. I have also sharpened the photo, which particularly brought out some of the interesting detail in the boulders.

What do you think of the edits? Do you have a preferred way to crop your photos? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo A Week: Vanishing Point.

Picfair Version is here.

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creating a Watermark, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my journey into the world of creating a watermark in Luminar 3. Part 1 is here. The shot I am using for this post was taken at Château-Gaillard and that is the River Seine that is snaking through the photograph:

ISO 200 f/16 1/160 70mm

As you can see, I have managed to add a watermark. I reported in my last post that I was having trouble getting the curves slider in Luminar to work. When I contacted Luminar about the problem, they requested that I send a video of what steps I was taking. Turns out I was attempting to manipulate the curves slider in the wrong way.

Curves looks like this:

Screen shot of Curves

I was attempting to move the orange dots, so that it would look like this:

Screen shot of what I wanted.

This step is what makes the lettering that says “Maranto Photography” white.  I was attempting to pull the orange dots from left to right when instead they needed to go up and down. Luminar was pretty fast about getting back to me once I submitted the files, less than a day. So I was happy with their customer service.

Here is the original, unedited, file:

ISO 200 f/16 1/160 70mm

Nice that the fix was that easy. Wish it had occurred to me to try it this slightly different way, but oh well! Your thoughts on the photo, its edits or the watermark are welcome below.

Cheers!

A Photo a Week, The Great Outdoors.

Picfair version here.

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