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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

I was out the other day during a short break in the rain to take photos of my neighbors flowering dogwood tree.  Those photos were what I thought of when I saw this week’s photo challenge was ephemeral.  I find this tree’s blossoms beautiful, but they are so fleeting.  They are one of the first things that bloom in this area and because the weather is very unstable, the blossoms often get damaged within a few days.  Here is one of my processed images:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

You will notice that the shutter speed is pretty fast.  It had to be to deal with the wind.  Luckily there was enough overcast light to handle that sort of speed.

I will put the original photo below, but when I went to process the image I knew that I wanted my final image to look quite a bit different than the original.  Within Photoshop I opened the image in Camera Raw and desaturated it into a black and white.  Then I used an adjustment brush and a very light yellow color to paint over the bloom.  Then I opened the image in Photoshop and cropped it a bit.  I created a layer and added blur.  Then I added a mask and painted back the detail in the bloom.  I then added a bit of noise to the whole image.  Here is what the beginning image looked like:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

With these edits, I created an image that I think reflects the fleeting beauty of spring.  Do you think it works?  Do you have a favorite spring tree?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light, featuring spider webs

Spoiler alert, the spider webs in this post do not have spiders in them.  So, if spiders creep you out, don’t worry, you can keep reading.  This week’s WordPress photo challenge is about light.  I was walking through a Christmas tree farm this weekend and I saw these webs reflecting the sunlight:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

This image here has been processed as an HDR image using Photomatix.  Usually when I am creating an HDR image I have shot my photos using the exposure bracketing feature on my camera.  I did shoot the tree using bracketing, but then I was not happy with my results when I got home.  The bracketing I had used was an exposure of -1, 0, +1.  The +1 exposure was too bright and did not help bringing detail into the merged images.  So, in this case, I took my 0 exposure and created two duplicates of that.  One I changed the exposure to -0.96 and the other to -1.57.  I did this step using Aperture.  From there I put my three versions in Photomatix and used the default settings to create the HDR image.  Then I opened the image in Photoshop, made a levels adjustment and sharpened the image.

As you can tell from the exposure settings that I used, it was really bright out when I took this photo.  So, I did try to cut the light down by using a low ISO and high shutter speed.  I could have cut even more light out by raising the f-stop to a higher number.  This however, would have brought more of the webs in focus and really what I was after here was to have the ones in the foreground be clear but the ones in the background visible but not sharp.

So, what do you think? would you have guessed this is an HDR image if I had not told you? one of my goals in using HDR in this case was to bring out detail but not over process it, how do you think I did?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Searching for Spring

I know Spring is coming.  It has been a bit slow in getting here though.  We have had a lot of (needed) rain.  The other morning I went running at 7am and it was 29 degrees and windy, not my ideal!  With that in mind I went for a walk in the park searching for signs of Spring.  Here are two photos I found:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/8 1/1000

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/8 1/1000

I deliberately blurred the background because I found it distracting from the buds on the trees.  The fast shutter speed gives away the fact that it was windy and I needed the speed to freeze the motion of the branch.

Here is my next shot.  I was a bit sad to find these on the bench.  Someone picked them and then left them there, I’m not sure why you would do that.  Although given that this is at a playground, it is possible that it was a little someone who just didn’t know any better.  Anyway, daffodils are my favorite:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/8 1/800

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/8 1/800

I liked the color in the flowers contrasting with the lack of color in the bench.  I didn’t arrange this photo at all, the scene was just like this and I took the picture.  Kind of neat when that just happens!

I took both of these photos with my Canon Powershot ELPH.  In Aperture I cropped them.  No other editing for either photo.

Cheers!

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

Having a foggy Monday?

Then here is a photo to go with your day:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/10 1/250

I took this photo near some bird feeders where this Downy Woodpecker was eating.  It was pretty foggy; I had my white balance set to shady in the hopes of keeping the feel of the fog.  The photo has been cropped in Aperture.  Then I increased the exposure slider a bit.  I also lightened just the woodpecker and sharpened the photo.

Cheers!

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

Texture in the Sky

As part of my black and white assignment for digital photography class this week I took this image:

ISO 500 50mm 0ev f/13 1/640

Just a robin or two hanging out in my backyard.  I did exposure bracketing with this image and used Photomatix for my editing and processing.  While it is true that the one robin looks a bit blurry when you magnify this image, what I really like about it is the textured look of the sky and tree together.  There is a pretty big range of grey to white in the sky, I like it, but what do you think? It does create a very light patch in the right corner of the photo and that might bother some.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

Angles

I was puzzling over a photography assignment that was supposed to include angles.  By that I mean that it was somewhere percolating in the back of my brain.  What I was actually doing at this moment was taking long exposure photos in the dark.  Well, semi-dark, the sun was thinking about coming up.  It turns out the angle I was looking for was right in front of me:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 50.0s

Moonlight behind the tree, sunlight struggling to come up.  This is a 50 second exposure.  It turned out to be perfect for my angle assignment, so I headed back inside for a cup of tea.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Bright

Last week’s theme at Where’s my backpack was spooky, so there were a lot of dark night photos.  It was a lot of fun, but this week’s theme is bright.  I was taking a lot of night photos this week, but as you can see, it was pretty bright out:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 21s

That would be the moon hanging over my house at 6:21am.  The moon was super bright, and there were not a lot of clouds.  This is a 21 second exposure.  You can see some stars as well.

Cheers!

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