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!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Deepest Night

I enjoy walking through cemeteries and looking at grave markers.  Today I found one that I would not want to run across at night:

ISO 1000 70mm 0ev f/5 1/125

ISO 1000 70mm 0ev f/5 1/125

This iron lady sitting at the foot of the cross I found somewhat intimidating.  I think it is the stern look on her face.

It was a tough grave marker to get a photo of as well, so I figured I was going to have to take some liberties in the editing process to get the image that I wanted.  Lighting was a issue.  Although it was a sunny day, the marker was in the shade.  Also the grey stone was very light in color and the lady was a very dark green.  I took a bracketed shot.  So one exposure in the middle, then one a stop higher and one a stop lower.  With those three shots on the computer I put them in Photomatix and then created an image using the painterly setting.  With that finished I opened the photo in Photoshop, cropped it to straighten in a bit and then sharpened it.  Here is the original middle exposure:

ISO 1000 70mm 0ev f/5 1/125

ISO 1000 70mm 0ev f/5 1/125

What do you think of my final interpretation? Do you enjoy walking through cemeteries?  If you do, and happen to be in St. Louis Missouri I would recommend Bellefontaine, it is a beautiful place.

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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, 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!

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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!

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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, 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!

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