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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimistic

This is a photo I created this week:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

It took quite a few steps to get there.  First was, of course, to pick up the camera and take a picture.  I was thinking this was a serene looking moment as the rest of my busy life swirled around.  I bracketed the photo as I was shooting and created an HDR image out of it:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

Then in Photoshop I created a sepia version:

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

ISO 800 185mm 0ev f/11 1/250

I liked that version, but in the back of my mind I was really thinking about black and white photography.  I spend a lot of time looking at images and other people’s creative work.  I had recently been at Hammer Home, a street photography blog, and looked at and commented on this image.  If you look at that image you might think there is no connection to the black and white that I created, and on the surface you would be right.  It’s just that I was thinking when I looked at my final image, that I had been influenced by what I had seen and thought about earlier. To get my final version, I have actually applied four things in Photoshop.  I started with a black and white layer, added a photo filter with an underwater tint, added noise, and then added a Iris blur.

That’s a lot of small, but easy, steps to get to my final version.  At this point you might be wondering why I am calling this post “Optimistic”? It is because of a feeling I have every time I set out to create something.  It is the, slightly intoxicating, optimism of creation.  I feel this way every time I set out to create an image; I get a similar feeling when I set out to write this blog.

Do you experience this optimism in your creative endeavors?  Feel free to comment about it below, if you’ve blogged about it, feel free to leave a link to your post. Feel free to leave comments on my editing or photo processing below as well.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

Ok, so if spiders aren’t your thing, click away and come back to visit another time.

I had been working this week with sepia tones and I thought that might work well with this week’s theme of creepy.  The images I had been working on earlier in the week were mostly landscapes; images which could be but are not necessarily creepy.

A spider though? that’s creepy:

ISO 1250 f/3.5 1/60 0ev 50mm

ISO 1250 f/3.5 1/60 0ev 50mm

This is a female Zebra Tarantula, common in Costa Rica.  Actually, this is mostly just a leg shot.  I was using my 50mm lens with a close up lens that actually looks more like a filter and screws onto my 50mm lens.  I thought that would be a nice way to focus on the leg striping and hair.

In Photoshop to create this sepia effect, I made a black and white layer but I also created a hue and saturation layer.  On the hue and saturation layer I clicked colorize and then moved the slider to the tone I wanted.  I then duplicated that layer and made the tone on that layer a bit different.  I put a mask on that layer and then masked some of the lower layer in.  Combining the two layers like that was a technique that I had never tried before. I liked the outcome.  In this case, I saved my cropping for last.  I wasn’t really sure when I started how the sepia tone might affect my choice of what to crop.  Here is the original image:

ISO 1250 f/3.5 1/60 0ev 50mm

ISO 1250 f/3.5 1/60 0ev 50mm

So, what do you think? Do you prefer one image over the other?  I like the edit, but I do like my nature shots to look natural, so I like the original color image as well.  If I was to edit the original again and keep the color, I think I would pick a similar crop because I think the crop makes the image a lot stronger.  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

When I saw this statue last week, I was amused by the pumpkin decoration for Halloween, but what I was really interested in capturing was the water:

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

I had used an f-stop of 13 to capture as much detail in the scene as possible.  That ended up being a mistake because in the original, which I will put at the bottom of this post, there is too much detail in the grasses behind the elephant.  I chose a shutter speed of 80 because I wanted some of the water to be frozen and some of it to still be in motion. That speed and the harsh light helps the water stand out in this photo.

The background I never managed to completely solve, but I did take some steps which I think helped.  A fiddled around quite a bit in Photoshop, but for the version above here is what I have done.  First I cropped the image and sharpened it a bit.  Then I converted it to black and white.  In honor of Halloween, I masked the orange of the pumpkin back in. That orange seemed a bit too cartoonish with the black and white.  So I then put a photo filter layer on it, using the sepia setting. The pumpkin still sticks out because sepia and orange are not the same, but that combination is less jarring.

Here is the original:

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

So this week’s theme was descent.  I was originally thinking of the descent of the water, but it could also be a descent into the madness of Photoshop.  Let me know what you think of my created image in the comments below.

Cheers and Happy Halloween!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea(pia)

I will admit to you that even though I am a horrible at spelling, I do know that sepia is not spelled “seapia”; so I am stretching this week’s photo challenge of sea a bit.  But wait, there is more!  I took this picture at the Bay of Fundy, which is also taking some liberties with the challenge.

ISO 640 135mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 640 135mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

I shot this photo in color and I have, in the past, edited it into a black and white version.  I wasn’t crazy about the outcome.  This week in my Photoshop class we edited some black and white photos into sepia, and that is where I got the idea to revisit this photo.  There are many different ways, I am sure, to create a sepia image using Photoshop.  For this workflow, you start with a black and white image.  I had my black and white image in Aperture and so I imported it into Photoshop.  Then I used Levels (cmd L).  In the dialogue box under “Channels” you can change the Red,  Green, or Blue values in an image.  Under the Red, I moved the middle slider to the left. Then in the Blue I moved the middle slider to the right.  The result is the sepia tone you see above.  Then I sharpened the image and cropped it a bit.

Here is the original:

ISO 640 135mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 640 135mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is a beautiful place.  We spent several days in the area but this photo was taken on a whale watching trip.  I had a really good time taking photos.  Having said that, I also put my camera down for awhile, just to enjoy the larger experience.  I think sometimes when I am taking photos, I get so involved in taking photos, that I forget to enjoy what is going on around me in other ways.  Did you know that humpback whales smell of rotting fish? makes sense when you think about it, but it is hard to photograph.

Have you ever taken so many photos that you forgot to enjoy the experience? What do you think of my sepia version? I’ll be honest, even though I like the tone of the sepia image, it is the color version that really speaks to me.  It reminds me more of the actual trip.  What do you think? Do you have a preference?

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic in Missouri

It was a bit of a lucky coincidence that the theme for this week’s WordPress photography challenge is nostalgic and I just happened to be in St. Charles, Missouri.  Main Street in St. Charles is a fun place to poke around and have a bit of a look at the past.  Most of the buildings have plaques complete with photos of how the building use to look.  The  brick-lined streets just add to the mood of the place:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

I took this shot at about 8 in the morning before any of the shops were really open.  I chose this one for the post because despite the early hour, it was hard to get a shot that didn’t include a very modern looking car.

Just for fun I made a sepia version as well:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

What do you think?  Does the sepia feel more nostalgic to you or are you fine in color?

The shop in the photo is Olde Town Spice Shoppe. One thing we Americans like to do when something is suppose to have an old-time feel to it is add the letter “e” where we don’t usually. Having said that, if you happen to be in the area, this shop is well worth a visit if you like food.  They carry an impressive range of spices and other delicious things.

Cheers!

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Animals, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Sepia in Spring

It has been cold here and while that is fine since it is winter, I do find myself looking forward to warmer weather and longer sunlit days.  A few days ago I was looking back through some photos from the spring and I found one I hadn’t yet edited.

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

I have a series of pictures of this bee and I have been trying to edit them in different ways.  Here is one edited version:

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

This version I edited in Aperture.  I cropped it, put it in a sepia tone, and sharpened it.  I like this version, not really sure if I love it.  I think this photo shows one of the downsides to not having a macro lens.  With a macro lens, this picture would be sharper, even before editing.  My kit lens did a decent job though.  I think the 50mm lens I have wouldn’t have worked because I was having trouble getting any closer to the bee.

So, what do you think? do you like sepia for this particular subject matter? Your comments are welcome in the comments section.

Cheers!

 

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

Travel Theme: Glass

This week it seemed like two of the photography-themed challenges I participate in overlapped.  The first was “illumination” at WordPress, and the second is this week’s theme of “glass” at Where’s My backpack?

The photos I posted for the illumination theme, I could have posted for this glass theme as well because they were glass and I had travelled to see them.  If you would like to take a quick look at that post, it is here.  Instead I picked this one for the glass theme:

ISO 500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/13

ISO 500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/13

I chose this one because it is the memory of traveling preserved in glass.  The actual shells are on display at a friend’s house.  I was over when she had this project spread out on her table.  Photography is one way to remember your travels, but this is another.

As for the picture, I converted it to sepia on a whim while I was editing it, and this was the version that I liked best.

Cheers!

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