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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

I enjoy walking through graveyards, but that was not what I was doing this past week when I saw this grave marker:

ISO 800 120mm 0ev f/11 1/125

ISO 800 120mm 0ev f/11 1/125

I was walking through a garden at the time, and this grave marker just happened to be in it.  I was happy to have my longer lens with me so as not to be tempted to trample in the garden even in its off season.  I bracketed this photo and later created the HDR version that you see above.  I also used several filters in Photoshop that, while I think still look realistic, dramatically changed the photo.  Here is the original:

ISO 800 120mm 0ev f/11 1/125

ISO 800 120mm 0ev f/11 1/125

You will see that I cropped the photo as well, mostly to remove the plant label, but also to get rid of some of the sky which I felt wasn’t particularly helping this photo.  I had never been to this garden, but as I was walking though I thought that it was a place I would like to come back another time. I love visiting gardens as they go through their yearly cycle of blooming and dying.  I feel the same way about graveyards, which tend to be gardens in their own right.  It might seem dark and creepy to some but to me it is the opposite.

How about you, do you have a favorite place to visit in all the seasons?  What do you think of my edits?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Alphabet

This morning I was walking, and came across this sign:

ISO 400 78mm 0ev f/11 1/125

ISO 400 78mm 0ev f/11 1/125

Only, it didn’t look like that.  That is more what it looked like in a final version that existed in my head and was going to be put in this week’s alphabet photo challenge. Here is what I actually saw:

ISO 400 78mm 0ev f/11 1/125

ISO 400 78mm 0ev f/11 1/125

It was a cold and grey morning, and I knew that I was going to want to edit this photo into something that I didn’t see, so I took a bracketed shot, of which the shot above is the middle exposure.  When I got home, I edited the photo into an HDR image using Photomatix.  Then in Photoshop I added some grain and an over the top sepia layer.  The result is the top photo.  I think you can tell that I was cold when I took the picture from the warmth that I insisted upon that is shouting a bit too loudly in the edited version.  I think though, that the sign is trying to invoke another time and place, so bringing an additional layer of fiction is ok in this situation.

Have you ever taken a photo knowing that the final image you wanted to see was something entirely different?  What do you think of my take on this photo? Your comments are welcome below.

Again this year I am using a widget in my sidebar for this year’s photo challenges.  I am using this widget courtesy of Cardinal Guzman.  The link is to the post of his with this year’s widgets, it would your while to have a look at some of his other creative posts as well.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Some of the most interesting and ornate patterns can be found in nature.  Every year, we have an interesting combination of man made structure and natural elements that comes together in our driveway.  As the leaves pile up on damp days, they leave an impression on the driveway.  It only lasts a few days, but I love the patterns the leaves impress upon the asphalt:

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

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

This was the image that I created from this year’s offering.  I started here:

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

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

This is one of the original photos.  I shot a bracketed exposure and this was the darkest version.  I used Photomatix to create my HDR version.  The original HDR version looked like this:

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

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

The final version, which is the first photo in this post has been cropped in Photoshop and then had a warming photo filter applied to it. I also sharpened the photo to bring out the texture of the driveway. In a few days it will rain and these impressions will be gone.

What do you think of these fleeting natural impressions? Do you have a version that you prefer over the others?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

When it comes to photo editing, sometimes you have to be careful. While I do mean that you have to take care with your work, I also am talking about your time. Once you have started working on an image, when is it finished?  That is something that I find myself thinking about a lot.  I spent sometime outside this week taking advantage of the beautiful weather, and looking for nice outdoor images.  When I came across this scene I thought it would look nice with some editing:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

When I got to the editing process even though the first thing that struck me was that the image would need straightened, that was actually close to my last step.

I had bracketed this image because of the shadows, with the thought that I would make an HDR version in Photomatix.  In this case I made a color and black and white image.  Then in Photoshop I combined the two images using the the color version as the base layer and masking in the black and white where I wanted it. Then I cropped the image and sharpened it:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

Combining color and black and white is not something I do a whole lot of but I have fun with occasionally.  A few days later, I was doing some research on a graphic design project and I came across this article on using the apply image function in Photoshop.  While it didn’t help what I was working on at that moment, it did make me think again about trying that as a basis for editing the scene I had been working on earlier in the week.  So I gave it a try:

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

As the tutorial I linked to suggests, the apply image feature actually has a lot to offer once you start exploring the dialogue box that opens up.  This version above ended up being the my favorite of the edited versions, so far that is…

What do you think, is there a version that you prefer? Do you find yourself getting lost in the process of photo editing? It can be both fabulous and maddening, don’t you think?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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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!

 

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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!

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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!

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