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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

When I stumble across a scene like this, I get pretty excited:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

This is one of the scenes that await visitors of Fountains Abbey in York.  It’s a beautiful place.  There is something about a view like this that I find very relaxing.  I spent the day here, looking around. I took the walking tour to get a better feel for the history of the place. But really I was just there for the beauty.

The photo above started like this:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/250

I had my camera set to take a bracketed exposure because I was pretty sure I was going to want to make an HDR version in Photoshop.  HDR in this case because I knew it would give detail and a bit of pop to the ruins.  I then used my Analog Pro plug in as a starting point to make the photo look more like a photograph and less digital. I chose to keep the cool tones of the original since it was shot in December.  I’ve also cropped this photo a bit with the thought of keeping the focus on the ruins.

I’ve added this to my Picfair portfolio, because I was pleased with the outcome.  How do you like this edit, does it seem relaxing and peaceful to you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

One thing I love about rain is its ability to change the mood of a photo, adding interest almost immediately.

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/80

ISO 500 50mm f/5.6 1/80

I saw this scene and felt that the little bit of yellow would make an interesting contrast to the other earthier tones in the photograph. The yellow also lit up the raindrops a bit, helping to highlight them even though they were tiny.

To get this final result, I used exposure bracketing while shooting.  I then combined the three images, identical except for their exposure values, and combined them into an HDR version of the photo.  That might seem like a lot of effort for one photo but it really brought out the detail in the raindrops and the richness of tone that was available in the yellow.

Have you ever taken extra steps in processing what looks like an ordinary photo to uncover additional beauty?  I like the stillness and moody tone of this image, what do you think? To me, the mood is almost more important here than the subject matter. A version of it has also been added to my Picfair portfolio. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transmogrify

When I see the word transmogrify, I always think of Calvin and Hobbes, so despite the definition of the word being to change in a negative way, I can’t help but thinking of it in a more light-hearted, positive way.  The way that the meaning of a word can be influenced by the way that it is used is interesting to me.

People not only change language to suit them, they also change their homes to suit them as well. Imagine that this is what you see when you look out the window of this house:

ISO 200 4.33mm f/2.7 1/400

ISO 200 4.33mm f/2.7 1/400

Turning around to face the interior you would not expect to see this:

ISO 1250 5.44mm f/3.2 1/20

ISO 1250 5.44mm f/3.2 1/20

But this is the interior of a house that is now the Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer Ops Solder or Our Lord in the Attic, a hidden Catholic Church in Amsterdam.  The church dates from 1663 and was used to celebrate Mass in secret when doing so in public was prohibited. As I was taking this photo though, I was thinking about how it would look if I edited it to a black and white version:

ISO 1250 5.44mm f/3.2 1/20

ISO 1250 5.44mm f/3.2 1/20

As much as I like the warm tones of the original, there is something that I find more settled in the black and white version. Instead of talking about the specifics of how I created the black and white version, I would like to just focus on the first editing step.  I started with cropping.  I started there because there were two things that bothered me about this image, the jacket visible on the right side, and the fact that the altar is crooked.  Using the straighten option within the cropping tool in Photoshop fixed both of these problems.  I’ve included a link because about halfway through the article there is a photo showing exactly where to find the tool if you are not familiar with how to use it.  In my opinion this is the easiest way to straighten a photo and if this is something I know I am going to need to do I often start with that step.

So, what do you think of the transformation? I think the crop helped a lot.  Do you have a preference for the color or the black and white version?  Would you build a Church inside your house?  I’d never seen anything like it. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine

After a downpour it’s hard to miss the shine of the sun. I got this photo after a fairly heavy rain.  The few raindrops left on the petals stand in contrast to the bright sun:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1250

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1250

I left the editing of this photo to a minimum.  Here is the original:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1250

ISO 800 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1250

The change here was done using split toning in Lightroom.  Split toning allowed me to give the autumn colors a bit of a warm glow by using the highlights to bring out a bit of an orange tone.  I added a bit of the deeper blue in the sky by darkening the blues in the shadows.  Split toning also has a balance slider that allows you to change the balance of the edit you are applying making it either more in the highlights or more in the shadows.  In this case it is adding more to the highlights.  I got the idea to give the balance slider a try after watching this short tutorial.

How do you like the edit?  I like the original, but I really like the orange tones in the edit.  I think they appeal to me right now because it is fall here and orange is a color that I have always associated with fall.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Local

If you follow this blog you know that I moved over the summer. Again. I move a lot. So I wouldn’t say that I really have experienced being a local. What I like about moving though is the chance to act like a local in a lot of different places. And it’s this faking being a local that brought me to this kitchen:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/2.7 1/800

ISO 800 4.3mm f/2.7 1/800

This nice little kitchen set-up was at Anglesey Abbey which is a National Trust property.  We joined National Trust when we arrived here in England with the thought that we would spend a lot of the next year visiting different sites then the next year we would join English Heritage and base our travels on their properties. A quick look at the two websites will tell you that I’m in trouble, and may have to stay in England a bit longer than anticipated to get through visiting all the places I would like to see.  I’m also thinking I may have to have a membership at both.

But that’s not what I was thinking when I took the original photo of this kitchen:

ISO 800 4.3mm f/2.7 1/800

ISO 800 4.3mm f/2.7 1/800

I was thinking, you could visit England and easily not visit this particular place.  You’d be missing something, but honestly, there are so many more well knowns spots that you’d probably visit instead.  To me a place like this is what you visit when you are a local.

When I walked into the kitchen and saw this set up I immediately thought of the film filter I was going to use. I had an idea of what I wanted the final Picfair version to look like. I knew what color cast I wanted and the grain and vignette I was going to add.  Those things I did in Lightroom.  I also removed a few spots on the wall, counter, and teacup.  I used the spot healing brush in Photoshop to do that.  I know Lightroom has healing brushes, but I just prefer the result when I use the ones in Photoshop.

What do you think of the edit? it does change the feel of the photo quite a bit I think. Are there places in your local area that you feel like might be missed by tourists?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

I love having flowers in the house. These however, had seen better days:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

No amount of new water in the vase was going to bring them back, but I still thought they would make a beautiful photo.  This version was created using the Nik collection, which is a set of plug-ins that are compatible with Adobe editing products. I was pretty excited to find out that the collection is now free. The collection is, in its simplest form, a bunch of presets to choose from, just click and add.  As much as I love presets, I do tend to look at them as a way to start and then I edit from there.  Because I have found a lot of good things come from asking a simple question, I’d like to share that I found out that the Nik collection is free because of a question I asked Jane Lurie about a photograph she had created. She was nice enough to share how she had edited and passed along the tip about the collection.  If you have a moment to stop by her blog, I would recommend it, she does lovely work.

Having created my black and white version a few days ago, I sat down to write this blog post and was again looking at the color version of the photo:

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

ISO 1600 50mm f/11 1/30

I’ll be honest, I’m now not sure which I like better.  I am thinking now of going back and working with the color version a bit more to see if I can come up with something that I really like.  For now, the black and white version is available in my Picfair portfolio.

Do you have a preference of the black and white or color version? Have you ever asked a simple question only to have a whole new world opened up to you?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

I’ll admit I’m suspicious of nostalgia. When people look back on the past, in my opinion it tends to be with a rosy optimism. I’m ok with that as long as you realize what you are doing. I’m just not really sure the “good old days” were anything more than fine, kind of like now, there is a lot going on that is bad and plenty that is good too.  This past weekend we went to Bletchley Park, which is a museum space dedicated to code breaking during World War II.  It was fascinating; if you are interested in history, science, math, or people, I would recommend going.  Plan to make a day of it, you’ll be both inside and outside, so dress accordingly.  This photo was taken in one of the work areas they had set up:

ISO 320 4.3mm f/2.7 1/30

ISO 320 4.3mm f/2.7 1/30

The sun was shining brightly and so I knew that this would be a light saturated image, perfect for a feeling of nostalgia. Lightroom is kind enough to have a setting called “Aged Photo” so I started there. I took a look at the various sliders and the settings Lightroom had selected and then did some modifications from there.  I added some grain and made the vignette a little stronger.

Th museum itself is a fascinating look at what can be best about human beings, our ability to think and create. But it’s set against the backdrop of World War II.  The death toll from that war is just appalling, really reflecting the worst we are capable of as human beings. To me just that is enough to stop thinking of this time in any sort of nostalgic way.

How about you? Do you tend to look back in a more glass half full sort of way? How do you like the editing I’ve done to the photo? Have you also noticed the nostalgia-related filters in your editing software? I’ll admit, I tend to like the results, even if I do then edit them further.

Cheers!

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