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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

Sometimes a visit to the zoo is like a game of  I Spy, as in good luck finding anyone out and about.  Not so a few days ago on a cool autumn morning, a lot of animals were out enjoying a bit of the morning sunshine, including this cheetah:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

Usually when I am taking animal photos I try to get a shot with their eyes in focus.  In this case, there was something I liked about the photos with its eyes closed.  A bit relaxed and aloof at the same time.  While I was shooting that morning I had set my ISO to 800 because I felt like with the sun going in and out, 800 would cover the changing conditions.  I had my shutter speed at 250 because a lot of the animals were moving around, and that speed was enough to capture that motion.  In this particular photo, that wasn’t really necessary.  I have not done much post processing with this photo, the original is below, and you can see the biggest change is the cropping:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

In this case I was mindful of the rule of thirds, and placed the cheetah’s closed eyes along one of those rule of thirds grid lines.  I think keeping it simple in this case made for a good photo, but what do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

I find the rules of photography interesting. Interesting in that they are good guidelines, and challenging in that, as an image creator, you need to decide when the best time to break the rules are.  This week’s challenge pertains to my favorite rule, the rule of thirds. It’s my favorite because I find it to be the most challenging of rules.  It is almost always a good composition guideline but can be the most fun to try to creatively break.

I stuck with following the rule this time around because I am working on a project where I think the rule applies.   I am just starting to work on a series of images dealing with concussion.  My youngest has one, and it has meant serious restrictions on activity.  In this first image I am working on conveying the difficulty of reading when your vision is blurred.

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/20

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/20

I felt the rule of thirds worked for this image because putting the figure in the bottom right corner with the book out of focus and overwhelming in the image just seemed to make sense.  I shot this scene a few different ways, but this one, where even the figure was slightly out of focus, was my favorite.

I used my 50mm lens to get this image.  I was also trying out a magnifying lens that I inherited recently, but I liked the 50mm images better.  The shutter speed is slow on this image, so I started with my tripod but then ended up rearranging the image and just put the camera on the floor.  I’m using natural morning light only and even with a slow shutter speed, and an aperture of 3.5, I still needed to bump the ISO to 640.

Once I picked this image from the several different versions I had shot, I cropped it a bit in Photoshop and then added a bit more blur using the iris blur filter.

So what do you think, does this image convey what I am trying to get across? Do you think this was a good use of the rule of thirds?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

In the early morning, I sometimes take my camera out to my hedgerow. We have a lot of wildlife living there.  But on the morning a few weeks ago that I got this photo, I went out because from my kitchen window I could see this robin fledgling:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Since it is learning to fly, there is still the opportunity to get fairly close them.  I will show the original photo at the bottom of the post, so you will see that by cropping the photo I made it seem like I was even closer.  I also mention the cropping because when I saw this through the view finder I knew that I would crop it.  First because some of the surrounding detail was distracting and secondly because this robin is pretty much exactly on a point for the rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds is a photography rule that I don’t always follow, but I almost always consider.

The weekly photo challenge this week is the golden hour. This photo was taken in the early morning of an overcast day.  The challenge was to get the robin at such an angle, so that it was lit enough to show the detail in the feathers.  I also like to be able to see at least one eye, preferably with a catch light in it.  This photo was the one where that came together.  I have several other versions that went into the trash bin.  Because it was still a bit dark, I used an ISO of 800.  I think that my camera can handle that with almost no noise in the final image.  I set my shutter speed to 1/100 with the thought of freezing any motion in the bird.  I have my f-stop at f/5, because I thought I would get enough detail in the bird, and as I had said before, I knew I was going to do some cropping.

Here is the original image:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I like to follow the robins that live in my area.  While our nest by the kitchen this year had a bittersweet end to it, I have been glad to see that we do have several robin fledglings that seem to be doing well in the hedgerow.

Thoughts or questions about how I got the photo? Feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

A Simple look at the Rule of Thirds

If you are new to photography, one thing that you will hear a lot about is the Rule of Thirds. Not familiar with the term?  A simple, quick explanation can be found here.  As with all rules of photography, it is probably more accurate to call it a guideline.  Most of the time it works, but sometimes, really it is better to just ignore it.  For this photo below though, the rule of thirds is exactly what I had in mind:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/10 1/20

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/10 1/20

This photo was taken using the rule of thirds partly because I thought it was a simple, elegant composition.  I thought that using the rule of thirds would accent the simplicity.

I did also use a high f-stop.  I wanted to include as much detail as possible. In order to get that f-stop, I did need to use a tripod as my shutter speed was to slow for me to make the image just holding the camera.

As a photographer what do you think of the rule of thirds? Some cameras even have a grid that you can use in camera to help you achieve this effect, do you use it? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

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