Birds, iPhone, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

At the Water’s Edge

The images for this post were taken while I was out on my morning run. Run is a term I use loosely as I am not very fast and am known to stop if I see something that catches my eye. The image I stopped for at this point was one of the swans. I did take several photos of the swans, but standing there I felt the more interesting story was this man who had stopped to spend some time with them:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/392sec 4.2mm

I took the photo and then moved on. Obviously, social distancing meant I wasn’t going to get too close to him but the real reason is that he seemed deep in his own moment and I didn’t want to disturb that.

This second image is a heron who was so still that I almost ran right up to him:

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/100sec 4.2mm

I couldn’t believe how close I got. I took several photos, slunk past him, then took several more including this one above.

Because I took these photos on the same morning run, just a few minutes apart, I decided to edit them in a similar way. Both have been cropped, and then had minor adjustments for clarity and exposure. The first image I also straightened a bit. I’ve then applied a custom Luminar Look that I had made as a preset. It fit as is perfectly on the first image, but required a bit of tweaking on the second one.

A version of the second photo I also posted to Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

The real reason I go on an early morning #run #heron #cambridge

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

It’s fair to say that my run stats for this morning weren’t stellar. That happens sometimes. Your thoughts and comments on the images are welcome below. This post has been added to A Photo A Week Challenge, Water.


iPhone, Luminar, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Squares

April Squares: Top Shots, Close to Home

ISO 25 f/2.2 1/2262sec 4.2mm

Day 22, find other responses here.

Date and Location of Photo: May 12, 2019. Shot at a lake near my home. My last four years of photo folders are full of images of the swans that live on a lake nearby. I see them almost everyday, so they are frequently here on the blog. To see this little one being ferried around was unusual, so I chose this image to be a representative one of the swans.

Thoughts on the Edit: The Luminar Look, Aethereal, was added to this image. The look was made up of many filters, including the soft focus filter, which I then clicked off because I didn’t care for it, a reminder that it is pretty easy to edit presets, so feel free to do so.

April Squares, an Explanation:

When Becky announced that the April Squares theme was going to be “top”, I thought it over and then sent her a message, then pitched my idea. She was open to my theme within the theme and the result is my response to the April Squares challenge.

I move a lot and I have a move pending. I’ve lived here in England for about four years and will be heading to the United States. Exact dates to be determined, given the current world situation, details have yet to be worked out. My April Squares is a “top shots” reflection on the last four years. Each square represents some moment or place that was meaningful to me. They are in chronological order moving forward in time. I’m attempting to post every day. All photos will be edited in Luminar 3. I hope you enjoy following along, I’ve enjoyed the process of creating. Your comments and thoughts are welcome below.


52 Week Smartphone Challenge, iPhone, Luminar, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: Week 7

Who doesn’t need another love story for Valentine’s Day? Here’s mine, in photography form:

ISO 25 f/2.2 4.2mm 1/3077 sec

It’s two of my neighbours who I love to visit with. I’ve edited this in Luminar an added the “Wonderful” look at 85%.


Added to the 52 Week Smartphone Challenge.

70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Telling A Different Story

Often when I am shooting nature images, I take a lot of photos, with the thought of later editing mostly for clarity, retaining the story as is. And then there are the times when I chose to edit the story itself:

ISO 640 85mm f/16 1/500sec

In this original file, I think the story includes the protective nature of both the adult swans. My edit includes just one:

ISO 640 85mm f/16 1/500sec

I’ve taken a lot of liberties with color as well. The result is a completely different story. In this new image, the row of cygnets is much more important. From that, the lines and textures in the water and on the birds become elements that are more dominant than they were in the original file.

If you are wondering about the backstory of this photo, it was taken in June 2018 at a small lake near where I live. The cygnets who were born in this clutch did not make it to maturity. The adults are still on the lake and within the last week, I am fairly certain have constructed a new nest.

What do you think of the liberties I have taken with this story? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Added to A Photo a Week Challenge: Getting Your Ducks in a Row.

Picfair version is here.


Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Instagram, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Where is your Focus?

I have a small point and shoot camera. It’s a nice camera but the one I am least likely to have with me. I almost always have my iPhone with me, and when I know I am going to be taking photos, I usually choose my Canon 50D over the Canon Powershot that is in the point and shoot range of cameras. A few weeks ago, I decided to make an effort to carry around the point and shoot more which is why I had it on a visit to the lake where I took this picture:

ISO 100 19mm f/5.6 1/200sec

I visit this lake a lot. As a result, those swans are seen frequently here on my blog and also my Instagram feed:

If you are a regular reader of this blog and are wondering about these swans, yes, this is the pair that had four cygnets this Spring. Unfortunately, all of them have now gone missing.  It’s sad, as they would have been too young to make it on their own.

This particular morning, in addition to having my least used camera, I was also thinking about a way to photograph the swans a bit differently.  The file above is what I came up with and this was the final edit:

ISO 100 19mm f/5.6 1/200sec

For the photo itself, I focused on the vegetation on the shore, which softens the focus of the birds on the lake. The thought I had in framing this shot was to have the plant seem to be pointing to the birds and leading your eye into the frame. The crop was to decrease the amount of vegetation on the far bank. I’ve also decreased the highlights, sharpened the photo, and added a vignette to darken the edges.

It’s a different photo for me, I tend to like everything in focus. What do you think of this interpretation of the swans? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Soft.

70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Instagram, Monochrome Monday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

The Swans

I live near several small lakes, one of which has a swan family:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

This image is one of the first I captured of the whole family. I first posted about this family last week and my aim there was to keep the images as true to the original scene as possible. For this post, I am wandering out to a bit more creative territory. First a black and white edit:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

The first thing I did with this edit was to crop it. I wanted to really bring the swan in the foreground to an almost uncomfortable closeness. This swan was acting in a very protective manner and I think the crop helps tell that part of the story. I then brought the highlights in the image down and the shadows up. I wanted this black and white version to be a bit smoother than its original as shot exposure. I then added a vignette, darkening the corners.

I like this image and the crop, so I decided to create another color version:

ISO 640 78mm f/16 1/500sec

For this version, I started with a preset that was suggestive of a film camera. I kept the brightness of the original exposure though. It has a completely different color cast to it than the original. The luminance sliders for yellow, green, aqua and blue have all been boosted, and the color temp of the overall photo was also increased.

I’m sorry to say that one of the swans went missing shortly after these photos were taken. I posted the sad news on my Instagram:


How do you like the edits? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge.

Picfair versions: Black & White and Color.


70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Instagram, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge

New Neighbors

There are some photos that I’m not sure are going to happen.  This is one of them:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

And another:

ISO 1600 70mm f/16 1/2000sec

These are our new cygnets. I thought there was a nest this year, but I wasn’t certain. The weather was a bit different from last year, and the vegetation around the lake has grown up in a different way. Last year’s next I could clearly see from the shore.  This year I was only guessing. Last year’s clutch was very successful, six healthy offspring, this year I have spotted four.

Generally, when I set out to photograph these swans, I take my 70-200mm lens. You will see that for these photos, the lens is at 70mm, the swans are incredibly close, particularly when you consider that this lake is on a path that is frequented by a lot of people and dogs. I chose these two images to edit in part because, despite the fact they were taken at the same time, the color of the water appears different.  As far as edits go, for this round I have chosen to stay very close to the original exposures, the images have been cropped and sharpened.

Was I excited to see them? You bet! Here is a photo from the day I first spotted them:

Do you like my true to life edits? Do you have new neighbors this Spring? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge: New