11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, made with Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Made with Luminar: St. Peter’s Basilica

Yesterday I posted this photo:

ISO 250 f/0 1/400sec 16mm

As a companion photo, I have this image:

ISO 1250 f/9 1/100sec 22mm

Both photos were edited in Luminar 3. The first photo has the look, Dreamy Film, applied at 65%. The second photo has the look, Documentary Film, applied at 100%.

The first photo was shot from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and the second from the ground looking up to the Basilica in the skyline. Not only does where you chose to shoot your photo change perspective of the subject but it is my opinion that how you choose to edit it does as well.

Your thoughts on either image are welcome below. This post is a response to Lens-Artist Photo Challenge, Change Your Perspective.


The Made with Luminar Series

This image is part of a project I am calling Made with Luminar. What the images in this series have in common is the software used to edit them, Luminar 3. As with my usual blog posts particulars of the camera settings can be found in the caption below the image. I’ll then explain what other filters and edits have been applied, often mentioning what layer and therefore order that they were applied. The text of these posts includes any Luminar “Looks” that have been applied to the photo. Each look is a series of presets that are applied to the photo. Where applicable I will mention what changes I have made to any of the looks. A full explanation of looks is available here on their website, https://skylum.com/luminar/user-guides/chapter-14-working-with-luminar-looks

You can assume basic edits have been applied. My most common edits are cropping, detail enhancement, and vignette. Specific questions or thoughts on the image are welcome in the comment section below.

Instagram, iPhone, Luminar, Photo Editing, Squares

January Squares: A Light at the Door

The photo I have edited for my first square of the month was taken on the grounds of Wawel Castle last week. It was dark and I love the way this simple wood door with ivy was illuminated:

ISO 320 f/2.2 1/17 sec 4.2mm

The photo was taken with my iPhone and then edited in Luminar. It has the Luminar look, Road Trip Desaturated, and a vignette applied:

ISO 320 f/2.2 1/17 sec 4.2mm

My Instagram version is here:

This post is my entry for the day at the January Squares challenge. Comments and questions are welcome below. A very Happy New Year to all!



18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Telling A Story

To tell a story effectively with a photo, a useful tool can be framing. It’s a way of drawing the viewer’s eye towards the tale you would like to tell. On a recent edit I started with this file:

ISO 250 f/11 1/100 sec 28mm

It was a beautiful scene, but even as I shot it, I knew editing would help me get to what I really wanted to show, which is this:

ISO 250 f/11 1/100 sec 28mm

I am currently using a Canon 80D as my main body. I’m happy with it but I have noticed that it is better to shoot an image underexposed rather than perfectly exposed or overexposed. Now, in general, that was true of my 50D as well, but I feel like it is more pronounced with this camera. I shoot in RAW, so even though the original file is dark, there is a lot of detail there.

Since this is really a post about framing, I will stick with talking about how I approached this shot. While shooting this file, I went ahead and took in as much of the scene as possible. My first edit, in this case, was a crop. I’ve left plenty of water and vegetation around the waterfall for context. I then used the vignette to help with the framing. I set the center at the closest visible water convergence. This should lead your eye to the most dynamic part of the image and allow the rocks and vegetation play their supporting role. So a crop and a vignette, two of the more basic edits, but an effective way to create a frame. Do you agree? Feel free to leave a comment below about this approach or its outcome below.

Regular readers will know I fell out of the blogosphere about a month ago. While it wasn’t an entirely planned break, I’m grateful to say it was a happy one. It included a two-week road trip in Europe. The photo above was taken during this time and is part of the Edelfrauengrab Waterfall in Germany’s Black Forest region. I’m happy to be back and look forward to catching up with my fellow bloggers.


Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Framing the Shot.


18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, iPhone, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photography, travel

From England, With Love

Just for fun, this post is a bit different from my usual posts where I talk about photo editing. This post is about a day trip in the country where I am currently living, England. Somewhat ironically, July 4th was a day off and therefore an ideal day for a short road trip. So this is how I spent July 4th in England.

I have a lot of favorite things about England, but one of them is English Heritage, which cares for more than 400 sites of historic significance. You can visit and pay for site visits individually, but for a history nerd enthusiast, really a membership is the way to go. We have about one year before our next country move, and our English Heritage membership will run out in the Spring, so the clock is ticking…

Our first stop of the day was to the Eleanor Cross in Geddingon.

ISO 500 35mm f/11 1/1250sec

It’s in the middle of the road in the middle of town, so hard to miss, but pay attention if you are trying to take photos! This cross is a memorial to Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, who died in 1290.

Also nearby:

ISO 25 4.2mm f/2.2 1/124sec

This is a George V postbox. Not part of English Heritage, but if I am out and about and there is a postbox, I’m taking a photo.

From there we were on to Kirby Hall:

ISO 500 22mm f/11 1/800sec

Originally built during the reign of Elizabeth I, a visit here includes an interesting audio guide about the history and architecture of the house. Also on site:

ISO 500 35mm f/11 1/30sec

You won’t be able to miss these guys and girls, particularly if you are having a picnic lunch. While they would love for you to feed them, staff on site would ask that you not do that.

From there it was on to Lyddington Bede House:

ISO 32 4.2mm f/2.2 1/100sec

This shot from the interior eludes to the religious history of the site. The house has had several functions over the years, and signs around the property fill in the story for visitors. Here is a shot from the front of the house:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/320sec

The church in the background is St. Andrew’s Church and here is a shot of the graveyard:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/640sec

The church is not English Heritage, it is an operational, and very lovely, Church of England Church. Like postboxes, if there is a churchyard nearby, I am there taking a photo.

Our last stop of the day was to Rushton Triangular Lodge:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/320sec

A really interesting folly built in 1593. It has its own blog post here.

I hope you have enjoyed this little detour road trip style post. My cameras for this outing were my Canon 80D and my iPhone. All the photos have had at least minor edits feel free to leave a comment or any questions below.

Photos of my travels are likely to turn up in my Instagram feed, as that peacock did, so feel free to follow me there:


Written in response to Lens-Artists Challenge, A Country that is Special to You.

11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Siege Bell and War Memorial in Malta

My photography workflow tends to go something like this:

  1. Take lots of photos
  2. Backup all my files
  3. Delete photos that are obvious duds
  4. Process one or two photos that grab my immediate attention
  5. Allow files to age
  6. Delete photos that are duds
  7. Edit the rest
  8. Backup all my files

Step 5 is an important step for me. It gives me a chance to step back and then re-evaluate the files before I decide what I want to keep. Files I decide to keep generally fall into two categories, photos to sell and memory photos.  The photos in this post fall into the second category. I’ve edited them to keep for my personal collection, but won’t post them for sale:

How long do I let my files sit at step 5? At least a year. In this case, I am writing this is early May 2019 and the photos were taken in July 2018. I’m not in a huge hurry to delete files, but it is something that I continually work on, and a year is usually sufficient time to wait and come back with a more critical eye.

These photographs were taken of the Siege Bell and War Memorial in Malta. It dominates the landscape of the harbor of Valetta, although I think these photos don’t quite tell that part of the story. Two of the photos were taken on a boat trip, hence the faster shutter speed, the landscape wasn’t moving but I was!

Do you like these snapshots? Do you allow your photo files to age before deleting them? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Inspired by and a last-minute contribution to A Photo A Week Challenge, Three of a Kind.

Animals, Instagram, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

This week’s photo challenge starts with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?”  Oh boy, travel is a topic maybe it’s best not to get me started on as “going to see things” is a bit of a hobby for me.  It also happens that I was on the road just a few weeks ago.  I visited a few well-known spots that pretty much everyone has heard of.  This post though is more about something I really love about traveling, and that is visiting some spot a bit off the tourist path and being utterly charmed by it.

I do enjoy history, so I often find myself at spots of historical significance.  I will admit though, if it has to do with World War II, it’s probably because my husband found it.  That’s how I came to be standing here:

ISO 400 4.15mm f/2.2 1/100 sec

Where am I? The Upottery Heritage Center.  Here’s a Google map link, if you would like to see a map of the area.  Why was I here? Well the Band of Brothers left from here for Normandy; that was my husband’s interest.  He had been in contact with Robin, a volunteer at the center, who had agreed to open the converted hut for us to take a look around.  This is one of those museums that has been put together by people who care about the history of the area.  It’s a small space, but there is an incredible amount of well researched detail here.  My husband talked to Robin about those details.  For me, it was the photographs, look at all the photographs!  Our youngest child was traveling with us and found the stash of newspapers from the time. Eventually, it was time to drag ourselves away from this room. The driving tour was next.  Robin was willing to take us around to show my husband where the old airfield was.  For me the highlight of the driving tour was this:

ISO 25 4.15 f/2.2 1/420

During the war it was a guard station.  It’s the last remaining one in the area and now if functions as a Remembrance memorial.  A beautiful tribute if you ask me.

Part of the tour took us through farms that are currently in use, so from my Instagram, I have this shot.

View this post on Instagram

On a #walk with a #cow #nofilter #england

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

A cleaned up version of that shot is in my Picfair portfolio.

This morning in Upottery was a highlight of the trip.  The well known places were good too, but this was unique, something that will stick in our collective family memory. In terms of the photography, I stuck with my iPhone for this visit and was pleased with the results. Have you perhaps had the experience as well, that a lesser known place ended up being a highlight of a trip? Can you believe how lush that grass is in the Instagram photo? That’s a no filter photo.  Feel free to leave your comments below.


Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Something that changed my life in a lot of ways was living in South Korea.  As a family we have lived a lot of places and traveled as much as possible.  I have a lot of things to remind me of where I have been.  One of the things I am doing in my life now is taking a Photoshop class.  I have a food assignment now and I have been taking test shots to get my ideas together for this project.  Here is one that I shot a few days ago:

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/25

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/25

I thought this project would mean more to me if I picked something that represented me.  The mini kimchee pots in the background are from our time in Korea.  The teacups were a gift from my husband when he went to Taiwan.  Tea brings back memories of my time in Asia as well as England and Canada.

The photo above is unedited and was shot using my point and shoot camera. In my next photo shoot for this project I will have reconsidered the background, the lighting, and the staging.  This original shoot includes approximately 300 shots, taken over the course of the day, with two different cameras.  Most of them will end up in the trash can. Right now I am using them to think about what I want to change.

Since I am going to be taking and editing and thinking about this project so much you can see why I chose to shoot something that I treasure.  How about you? do you have something that you photograph over and over because of what it means to you?  What do you think of my test shot? The red tablecloth has to go right?


Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Through

I had been going through some older pictures this week including some from a trip to Yellowstone.  It was interesting that the theme at Where’s My backpack? for this week was through.  I thought that this photo of a geyser bursting through the earth fit the topic, so I did some editing, and here is my version for the challenge:

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/7 1/500

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/7 1/500

I’ll show the original at the bottom, but the photo was a bit flat and some of the details were lost.  From the original I created two adjustment layers, one was exposure and one was levels.  I did the levels layer first.  I chose a section of the grass and then created a mask, then I painted in white, to reveal the lighter ground.  For the exposure level, I chose a section of the trees, then created a mask and again painted in white to reveal a bit of detail in them.  Then I flattened the image and did a shadows/highlights/midtone adjustment.  Then I sharpened the photo a bit.

Here is the original:

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/7 1/500

ISO 100 9mm 0ev f/7 1/500

Part of the reason I chose this photo to edit was that I really like the sky in the original version. What do you think of the edited version?  Do you edit your vacation photos, or do you prefer to leave them as is?  Feel free to leave a comment below.


iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photography, Technology

Travel Theme: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.  That is an interesting theme. I was a bit stumped on this one, but I thought of something eventually.  I ended up choosing two pictures:

It's a photo taken by my Mom.

It’s a photo taken by my Mom.

This photo I scanned and I use it as my gravatar.  My Mom took it.  She is gone now, but she was really computer literate.  It is a line of work she started in when computers were just really becoming fixtures in businesses and then homes.  In some ways, my Mom and I didn’t have that much in common, but I am thinking she would have loved this blog.

The second is this:

Taken on my iPhone, just for fun.

Taken on my iPhone, just for fun.

I love tea.  This photo was taken at the London Tea Room in St. Louis.  If you are in St. Louis and “need” tea, that’s the place to go.  Not only do I love tea, I love to share a cup with my girlfriends.  The venue doesn’t really matter, and a few of my friends don’t even like tea (mock horror), but for me it is the connection with my international collection of women friends who are sharing this journey with me that matters. A lot.