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

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

It’s late winter here, what to me is the hardest time of year.  I had an unexpected day off in the form of a snow day this past week.  I was up early as usual, but didn’t have to stick with my usual schedule.  I took advantage of this change by taking photos of the storm that was blowing outside:

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

This week’s photo challenge is to choose a photo that reflects your state of mind, and I chose this one.  It’s pretty dark here, but what drew me to create this image was the light, the almost ethereal glow of early morning in a snowstorm.  This photo is actually an HDR image, One of the original exposures is just below. I used HDR to bring out the definition of the house and the trees.  I also think it helped the photo glow a bit more.  That to me, is the strength of HDR, you really can bring out a lot by using even just three exposures and combining them into one image.

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

ISO 800 50mm f/7.1 1/100

It’s not all doom and gloom here, it’s just the start of Spring, so this day was followed by a very warm and sunny day, but for me, this was the image that reflected the mood of the week.

How are things where you are, is the weather turbulent there as well?  What do you think of my edit? are you a fan of HDR, or not so much?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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

Photo-Editing Challenge: Feathers

Feathers is the theme offered by Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge.  This week I am working on a series of images inspired by Photogravure.  I’ve written about how to create this effect here, using a winter scene and a journal page, and here using a photo of a tree.

This time around I used a shot I captured outside my office after a recent snow.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

If you are thinking that you have seen this photo before on this blog, you are right.  I wrote about another edited version of it here.  This time around, here is my final photo:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

If you have read my other posts you know the basics of how I approached the editing of this photo.  So, like the others it has a blur filter layer, a gradient map layer, and a texture layer.  What I added to this particular one was a final levels layer.  On that layer I brightened the photo and then added a mask to the layer.  Then I inverted the mask, so that the lighten version was not showing.  Then I took a brush, that was soft and had a jitter to it, and I brushed across the mask.  The effect this had was to add bits of light in a organic manner.  So, this ended up being a four layer file in Photoshop.

What do you think of the final version? Feel free to leave a comment below. A version of this photo is available for sale on Picfair.

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

Travel Theme: Still

This past weekend when I awoke to a fresh layer of snow on the ground, I thought, “Great now I don’t have to do any running around! ” I was very wrong about that, none of the activities we were scheduled for were cancelled.  So instead, we actually had one more thing to do, clear the driveway.  But before I got to shoveling snow I took some photos, including this one:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

This photo is an HDR image.  I like using HDR in scenes like this to capture as much detail as possible.  The original images I shot handheld.  I used a high shutter speed to stop any motion.  In this case I used an f-stop of f/5 to blur the background some but not entirely.  I also chose an ISO of 160 because I knew I could go pretty low, but I did want to make sure I could still capture the detail of the shadows.  Here is the original middle exposure:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

This post was written in part as a response to the theme, still, over at Where’s My Backpack?  Even though I had to do a lot of running around, the first thing I did that day was to appreciate the stillness that a fresh snow brings.

So, how about you, doing a lot of running around lately? What do you think of the photo, does it say “still” to you?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and mirrors or anything that is illusion.  Now that’s an interesting theme provided this week over at Where’s My backpack?.  Last week it was Spring, but it seemed like an illusion considering I took this photo:

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

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

In a way the photo itself is an illusion.  It is an HDR image that I created in Photomatix.  I like processing snow photos in HDR.  Snow is difficult to photograph and I think HDR helps give it a bit of boost.

So, I didn’t travel far to get this photo, but sometimes when the weather is bad, it is nice to stay close to home.

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

Freezing on Friday

Well, we got some snow and ice yesterday.  That meant that my bird feeders were busier than usual.

I used my Canon 50D with a 50mm lens to get these shots.  I did stay inside, we have some nice windows by the bird feeders so that we can enjoy the birds without bothering them too much.  I shot both using AWB, but then edited them later in Aperture.  Both pictures have been cropped.  The bird looking to the sky has been bumped up one exposure stop in post editing.  The bird under the bush I just used the auto adjust function for white balance.

Today is forecasted to be another cold one here, so I am expecting a lot of bird visitors.

Cheers!

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