50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

There is a lot going on this Spring in my household.  One thing, that I’m pretty excited about, is that there is a robin’s nest outside of my kitchen window.  I’m busy taking photos of the birds as they are growing.  I use a fast shutter speed setting on my camera but sometimes I still get photos that look like this:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

A second later I get a clear shot:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

This shot has been cropped and sharpened in Photoshop.  No amount of sharpening is going to make that first picture a clear shot.  For the most part to get these shots I have my camera on a tripod which is set on top of a few of the good dining room chairs that I have set outside.  I have a remote shutter which allows me to be inside and taking pictures.  I took a photo of this silly looking set up and blogged about it here.  For the two shots above I used my Canon 50D.  I also take my point and shoot out when I am setting up my larger camera.  This morning I got this shot:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

This shot, cropped and sharpened, is my favorite of the day.  I’v been using my point and shoot everyday to get a close up photo like this.  I have a series of photos of the eggs and then the hatchlings.  Those photos I have posted on Twitter and Flickr, so feel free to drop by and follow along with the unfolding story there.

The difference between the two photos, between a blur of motion and a clear shot, is one second.  The first photo taken at 9:17:47 and the second 9:17:48.  What a difference a second can make.

What do you think? which photo do you prefer? Care to hazard a guess as to how many photos I took this morning between 8:31 and 9:18 as I was watching the adult birds come and go?  Feel free to leave a comment or you guess below.

Cheers!

Standard
50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Childhood, Parenting, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Who is Luckier?

So, who is luckier?, the kid who gets to play hockey or the parents who get to watch?

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

It’s a toss up I would say.

This photo I took at a game this morning.  I’ll show you the original in a moment.  When I take hockey photos, I always start with the white balance on Auto and take a photo of the rink.  Then I use that photo to set the Custom white balance in the camera.  That works in helping set the white balance correctly.  Given the conditions of the rink, I always have a high ISO and fast shutter speed.

When I get the photos on my computer, I open up Photoshop.  I shoot in RAW, so first I open the photo in Camera Raw and do a white balance adjustment.  Then I open the photo into Photoshop and do any cropping that I want.  Sometimes I also do a levels adjustment, although on this photo I did not.  Then I sharpen the photo.  From there I convert my RAW photo to a JPEG.  I make it into a JPEG because that makes it easier to share with other parents on the team.

Here is the original:

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

ISO 2500 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/250

So, what do you think? who is luckier? What do you think of my adjustments and workflow?

Written in response to the Daily Post prompt: The Luckiest People

Cheers!

 

Standard
50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

I love patterns in nature, so when I saw the topic of the photo challenge from WordPress this week was lines and patterns, I went back to this photo of a butterfly that I shot a few months ago but never finished editing.  Here is the edited version:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/30

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/30

To get this shot I used a tripod, just to get the image as still as possible.  I wanted to keep my ISO as low as possible. The shutter speed is slow to let in some of the light I was keeping out with my low ISO. Because of the tripod and also because the butterfly stopped for a minute, I was able to get away with a shutter speed on 1/30.  I chose a low f-stop, because the background is quite busy.

The editing I have done in Photoshop.  I created a duplicate layer and then used my history brush set of 35% opacity and color burn, with the brush I boosted the color in the butterfly to make it stand out a bit more from the background.  After doing that, I cropped and sharpened the photo.

Here is the original:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/30

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/30

What do you think? Do you like the outcome of my edited version? have you ever used the history brush to get a similar result?

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

I’m not a very good gardener.  So in our garden we keep it simple.  I keep my eye out for native plants that don’t need a lot of care.  This year we tried two patches of wildflowers in our garden.  One worked really well and the other is struggling.  I think the patch that is struggling just doesn’t get enough sun. The patch that is doing well has produced some beautiful coneflowers:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/3.2 1/40

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/3.2 1/40

In order to get this photo I used my tripod.  These flowers are only somewhat protected by the house, so any breeze will blur the photo.  I could have overcome this by shooting at a higher ISO and shutter speed, but in this case the color is better if the ISO and shutter speed are low.  It is a subtle difference, but in this case it mattered to me.  I settled on an f-stop of 3.2.  That left enough in focus and blurred out enough of the background.  So, I was happy with this version of the photo, but I did want to create something a bit different:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/3.2 1/40

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/3.2 1/40

The theme of this week’s photo challenge by WordPress is carefree. So, I wanted to create a slightly dreamier looking version of my original photo.  I used Photoshop to do my editing.  I have applied an oil paint filter to the photo.  Then I used the high pass filter with soft light.  The result you see above is more mellow than the original photo.  Ironic isn’t it, that I had to do more work to look carefree?

Cheers!

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

Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

In case you were wondering, hockey team evaluations start in just a few weeks.  So, my young player, who plays in the fall season (Sept-March) only, is back on the ice getting ready for the season:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/15

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/15

Because I knew I was shooting this photo with the theme of abstract in mind, I used a slow shutter speed, purposely blurring the skater.  Even though this is my skater, I wanted it to really represent any skater that might be getting ready for the upcoming season.  The tricky thing with a deliberate blur is that things can easily get too blurry.  So, I picked an f-stop of f/5.6 and focused on the skater’s face.  I didn’t want the face details to be precise, just good enough for the viewer to be sure it is a face.  You may notice that the ISO is on 1000.  If you have never shot inside an ice rink before, be prepared to bump your ISO way up.  Lighting in ice rinks is almost always poor in terms of getting good pictures.

This photo was edited in Photoshop.  I chose the “infrared” setting from the black and white settings because of all the settings, it retained the most texture in the photo.  Because the skater is slightly out of focus, I think that texture is important in this photo.  In order to emphasize the texture, I then sharpened the image.  This image has also been cropped.

Are you ready for the hockey season? we are in this household! Thoughts about the photo? feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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

The Family that Dropped By

While I was filling my bird feeders the other day, I accidentally spilled some bird seed on our front step.  After I was inside, I realized that some sparrows were eating it.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to take some bird pictures that did not feature our feeders.  Here is my favorite picture of the series that I took:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/8 1/250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/8 1/250

I got this shot by setting up my camera on a tripod and using a remote trigger.  My camera equipment is outside and I am watching from inside waiting for the sparrows to come back and pose, which they were nice enough to do.  I set my ISO to 100 because although it was still pretty early, it was really bright out.  I used an f-stop of f/8 and shutter speed of 1/250 to stop the motion and retain detail.

Once I was finished shooting I cropped this image and then edited it in Photoshop.  I changed the levels and turned it into a black and white image.  I started with the blue filter setting, but did tweak it a bit as I thought the blue was too dark on the wings of the sparrows.  Here is the image as it was in my camera:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/8 1/250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/8 1/250

Fifty two species of sparrow live here in North America.  That is one very large family, and family is the theme of this week’s black and white photography challenge hosted by Sonel

Cheers!

Standard
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!

Standard