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

It’s a fad, but do you like it anyway?

If you look at food advertising, particularly in magazines, I’m guessing you’ve noticed that there are some similarities in what you see.  The current fad is for clean, simple images.  Usually they are simply lit.  Often they convey a sense of casual elegance, an invitation to linger.  I think this trend speaks to something that is pretty basic, the need for community, an opportunity to connect.  Our lives tend to be full and rushed, these ads speak to the desire to slow down and savor.  For my current Photoshop food project I am attempting to capture a bit of that.  My images went through a second round of critique and here are two that came out on top:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/125

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/125

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/50

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/50

If you missed the first round, or just want to look again, you can do so here.

So, they are a bit different from the first round. I simplified the composition, and took a lot of shots because I was working with natural light and wanted to have a lot to choose from.  What do you think of these images? Does one appeal to you more than the other? are there certain elements that you like or dislike?  Do you like this trend in food advertising?  I have to admit that I do.  The problem though with fads, is to still make your own work look original, that can be tricky…

I will be shooting again, and have a few ideas of my own, but I would like to hear what you have to say.

Cheers!

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

Going Outside?

I knew I was going to have to go outside, despite the snow and freezing rain.  But before I did that this morning I set up my camera in a window by the bird feeders.  Here is one of my visitors:

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

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

In order to get this shot I am using my tripod and remote shutter.  That way my camera can be close to the window to eliminate glare, but I am not there scaring away the birds.  I used the live view function on my camera which allowed me to see what I was going to take a photo of.  In this case I have also increased my ISO because despite the light of the snow, it was a bit dark.

Once I had this shot, I edited it in Photoshop.  I will show you the original at the bottom of this post, but I started my editing in Bridge and used Camera Raw to adjust the exposure and clarity.  Then I opened the photo in Photoshop and did a levels adjustment and some sharpening.  I also cropped the image. Here is the original:

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

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

As you can see from the snowflakes on the bird, it was actively snowing.  It stopped shortly after so off I went to clear the walk. Hope you are warm wherever you are!

Cheers!

This post was written in response to Daily Prompt: The Outsiders.

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

Merry Christmas

Every year I take some pictures of our tree.  Tonight I was photographing this ornament that was a gift and is a new addition to our tree:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/2.5 0.4 sec

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/2.5 0.4 sec

For this shot I choose a f-stop of 2.5 because I wanted the snowflake to be sharp but the pine needles to be a bit soft.  I used a tripod so that I could take multiple shots that would be exactly the same except for the shutter speed.  I then picked three of the photos and created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I used the “natural” setting because with this photo I am just trying to show detail and leaving it at that.  Thoughts or comments? feel free to leave them below.

This post was written in part as a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge the theme of which is one.

I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas, all the best to you.

Cheers!

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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!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Unusual POV

This weekend I had an idea of what I wanted to try for this week’s photo challenge, a unusual point of view.  It took some time to create this image, but here it is:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

This is actually one dragonfly that kept landing on this plant.  The image that you see is three photos that have been blended into one. This is a technique that we covered in my Photoshop class last week.  The homework had been to create an image like this using images that were provided.  I did the assignment without any problem, but felt like I was just getting the end result because I was following the instructions, not because I really understood what I was doing.

With that in mind and seeing what the theme of the photo challenge was this week, I set out to create an image, using the technique and my own images.  I was hoping to create an awesome image and learn a lot.  So, how did it turn out?  well, I did learn a lot.  The image is not awesome, it’s OK, not bad for a first try.  I am going to keep writing this post and talk about how I made the image and what I learned, so if you’re curious keep reading.  If the details don’t particularly interest you, feel free to stop reading now.  I’d love to know what you think of the image though, so if you have a moment to let me know before you go, that would be great.

On with the details!  I’ll start with the photo shoot and move on to the editing.

What I did for the photo shoot:

The photos were taken using a tripod because I knew that other than the dragonfly, I was going to want everything to be the same.  I used a high shutter speed because I wanted to catch the action of the dragonfly with as much detail as possible.

What I learned:

Even though my settings were the same in the photos, the light changed in the time that it took me to get the images that I wanted.  I did not think about that at the time, so that was something that I had to change in Photoshop, so that the dragonfly would look the same in the composite.  Also, the dragonfly is a pretty small subject for this project.  For this effect working on a larger subject matter might have worked better.

What I did for the editing:

  1. I started with my images in Bridge:
  2. Bridge-Tools-Photoshop-Load Files into Photoshop Layers

The next steps are in Photoshop CS6:

  1. Select all the Layers
  2. Edit-Auto-Align Layers.  This will line up the non-moving objects in the photo.  In this case, it is pretty important that the plant stay still.
  3. Then I turned off the eyeball on all but the base layer.
  4. Turn on the eyeball on the next layer up that you will be working on.
  5. Make a mask.
  6. Paint the dragonfly on that layer in black.
  7. Command-i to invert the layer and that made the dragonfly appear visible on the base layer.

That’s pretty much it.  Have you ever tried something like this? Did it work for you? Feel free to leave a comment below, and if you have written a post on the topic, feel free to leave a link.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

When I first saw that focus was the subject of this week’s photo challenge at WordPress, I thought about taking a photo creating focus based on depth of field.  But I have also started a new term at school and I am taking a Photoshop class.  I am going to be very focused on learning new ways to edit my images so I used some of the techniques we covered in class this week to create this image:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/25

Here’s how I edited the image in Photoshop:

  1. Created a duplicate layer
  2. Did a hue and saturation adjustment and moved the saturation slider all the way to the left.
  3. The hue and saturation adjustment came with it’s own mask, so I used a black paint brush to brush back in the color of the bee and the flower.
  4. Then I wondered what the density and feather sliders on the mask would do so I dropped the density to 80% and added a feather of 1.7 pixels.
  5. Then I decided that I wasn’t crazy about the completely unsaturated background so I moved that slider to -78 which brings back a bit of color to the background.

The bottom line here is that I was messing with the color to create focus.  Here is the original:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

I took this photo using my Canon 50D and a 50mm lens.  I was using a tripod and a fast shutter speed with the hope of stopping the movement of the bee as much as possible.  I was only somewhat satisfied with the way these original images turned out.  I think I am going to take my point and shoot camera along next time to see if I can get a closer view that I might be happier with.

So, what do you think of the images? In response to a recent post, a reader commented that they liked photography to look as natural as possible.  I have to say that in general I do agree with that statement particularly when it comes to nature photography; how do you feel about that? Does the fact that I used Photoshop on this bee put you off? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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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!

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