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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

While walking this weekend, I came across this ram:

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

Looks a bit forlorn don’t you think?  He perked up a few minutes later though:

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

ISO 400 50mm 1/80 f/22

Why? it wasn’t because I told him how perfectly I thought his horns framed his face. No, it was because there was a working dog who was starting the process of getting the rams rounded up.

When I took these photos I used an f-stop of 22 to capture a lot of detail.  I wanted to get the texture of the grassy and rocky ground as much as the ram.  When I went to edit though, the color was a bit washed out.  In this case, I used the levels adjustment in Photoshop to bring back the whites in the photo.  It was a fairly easy fix, just a question of moving a slider.  Once I had done that, in Lightroom I added a vignette.  In this case, I used the sider to darken the corners of the image a bit.  While a vignette can be used to create a very dramatic effect, in this case I used just a little bit of darkening to subtly draw your eye into the photo.  It can be a unobtrusive way to frame a photo.

This ram caught my eye because I thought he was a beautiful creature. I think that happens a lot with photography, that some small editing tweaks are needed to bring out what I had originally caught my eye.  Do you agree? or do you edit in a more dramatic fashion or skip editing altogether?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

This summer has been a busy one. I’ve missed out on several weeks of blogging due to a move. But this past week week, I missed out because I was on holiday.  I was in Wales for the week.  I don’t know about you, but when I think of Wales, I don’t usually think of sun soaked images like this one:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000

It’s a rare day when lens flare is visible in a photograph from this part of the world. This particular hike led us to Dinas Emrys, the legendary birthplace of the red dragon seen on the Welsh flag. I had my Canon 50D and my iPhone with me.  I shot this panorama on the iPhone and then took a bunch of photos with my bigger camera.  As with most times I go on holiday, there are a lot of photos to edit now that I am home.  For this photo though, not much was needed.  I did end up cropping it a bit and sharpening it.  Other than that, I let it be, including the bit of lens flare that you can see in the top center of the photo. I left that in as a visual reminder of the intensity of the sun in that moment.

Have you ever done that with your editing, purposefully left something in that is considered an imperfection? Do you also bring home a lot of photos to edit? I will be busy for a while!  Feel free to leave a comment below.

I also posted this photo to my Flickr account, if you would like to see a larger version.

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70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning

In the morning, you can often find me outside.  I love being out in the light and quiet of the early part of the day.  I’ve just moved over this summer, and so my landscape has changed.  Meet one of my new neighbors:

ISO 100 155mm f/13 1/100

ISO 100 155mm f/13 1/100

Between the two lakes I visit in the morning, there are five adult swans.  There are plenty of other birds and the beautiful haze of morning light.  I don’t usually take my camera with me first thing, I’m out for my morning run or walk just soaking in the day, not yet photographing it.  Yesterday morning, I made an exception, I went out with my camera before going out for my run.  I got a few photos of these swans, I took them from several angles so the light looks different in them.  This particular one, I shot into the sun.  I wanted the saturated light of the sun to be in the photo.  What I lost by doing that was detail in the swan.  To bring back some of that detail when I was editing in Photoshop, I duplicated the original layer.  The bottom layer I sharpened.  The top layer I put a mask on and then masked back in some of the details in the swan.  This meant that the more hazy feel of the light could stay in the photo.  Then I cropped the photo, because as you will see below, this swan was not by himself:

ISO 100 155mm f/13 1/100

ISO 100 155mm f/13 1/100

To me, these edits made a pretty radical difference.  To be honest, I’m not sure which I prefer.  The second seems more like a snapshot and the green near the second swan just kind of bugs me.  But the overall feel of the light I do like in the second photo.  There is another photo from this series that I am editing that I am having a similar struggle; I’m just not sure which version of the photograph I prefer.

Do you run into this with your photography, having difficulty picking between two versions of an image?  What do you think of my versions, do you have a preference? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

A few weeks ago I was standing at the end of Deal Pier as the sun was thinking about setting.

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

It was a beautiful moment of contrasts.  The shadows were already leaving parts of the scene dark while the sun was intensely lighting other parts.  I knew that this was not going to turn out very well straight out of the camera so I shot a bracketed image that I could use later create an HDR image in Photoshop.  The link that I have included I picked because it has some good tips, but also because it contains my least favorite thing, and that is a bit telling you when you should or shouldn’t use HDR.  I understand that sometimes when learning a new technique it is best to narrow your focus and give it a try in situations where you are likely to get a good result.  However, I really think when it comes to editing, you should broaden your horizons and experiment.  The beautiful thing about digital editing is that you can always throw away versions you don’t like, so why be bound by traditional rules?

Here is the version of the image above with the highest exposure:

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 100 50mm f/5.6 1/1000

You can see why some editing was going to be required.  In addition to creating an HDR image, which was the first step, I then cropped the image. Next I used the curves feature to bring some more detail into the darker parts of the images.  I then increased the vibrance and saturation a bit.  Sharpening the image was the last step.  It may sound like quite a bit of editing, but I wanted to recreate the feel of that moment on the pier.

What do you think of the final version?  Do you find yourself sometimes hemmed in by the rules of photography only to then realize that they are guidelines and not actually set in stone?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

 

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iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry On Top

Sometimes it is just a very simple thing that can trip me up.  I have a new iPhone that takes panoramic photos if you know how to use it.  Feel free to roll your eyes in my general direction, but I had to look for instructions on how to get that feature to work.  I was glad I did though, because it meant that I was able to get this photo of the Port of Dover:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/22 1/3000

ISO 25 4.15mm f/22 1/3000

Pleased as I was with getting this feature to work, I did edit it a bit in Lightroom. Final touches like sharpening and getting the color to pop was the cherry on top for this photo.  It is possible that just this simple thing made me one of the happiest people in Dover this past weekend, it certainly wasn’t anyone who was waiting to take the ferry to France.  If you happen to hear anyone talking about how bad their experience was, know that they probably aren’t exaggerating.  I saw the lines, it was horrible.

How do you like my photo of the port?  For me it was learning to take a panorama on my phone that was a small thing that made my life happier, how about for you? Is there some small photography skill that you learned that made a huge difference?  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: Details

Often when I am photographing at a spot like St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, I first take a few overview photos, trying to get a feel for the place.  Then I will take some time to look for what I think is unique to the spot. A few weeks ago I posted a look at the exterior of the Cathedral, the big picture.  In the past week I was looking at some of the photos of the interior, and one of my favorite shots was taken looking out from the Cloister:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

This spot, with textured windowpanes overlooking an enclosed garden, was peaceful.  This version of the photo has been edited using Photoshop. I was making my first attempts at using Photoshop Actions this week. Basically, actions are a series of edits done all at once. The link provided gives an overview of what they are and how to install them within Photoshop. You can make your own or a google search will reveal ones that are available for free download. I found one that I thought would fit with what I was doing with this photo.  Then I went to work on the details.  While actions are often advertised as a quick way to edit your photo, I think most photographers will want to add their own edits, after all its unlikely that your vision will match else’s exactly.  Here is the photo as it was originally shot:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/80

As you can see, the edits changed the mood of the photo quite a bit.  I do like the edits, for me they give the photo a feel that I was looking to apply to it. Do you like the change? Feel free to leave a comment below.  Do you use Photoshop actions? why or why not?

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up

Walking around the Wimpole Estate this weekend, I’ll admit I was struck by the size and grandeur of the place, but I was more drawn to the details.  This clock was one of the many furnishings that caught my attention:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

Conveniently placed on a mantelpiece that had a mirror behind it, the photo shows some of the detail of the ceiling of the room.  I edited the original photo first in Photoshop.  I cropped the image and then removed some of the imperfections of the mirror using the healing brush.  I also sharpened the image, even though I knew I would be adding some grain later when I switched to Lightroom.

Once back in Lightroom, I used the “Aged Photo” preset as a starting point for the feel I wanted.  I added a bit of grain and darkened the corners using a vignette.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/15

A few things occurred to me while I was editing this photo.  First was the the point and shoot camera I was using has a macro setting, and it would have been interesting to use that setting to shoot this photograph and see what turned out differently.  The second thing was that this could be edited into a completely different photo focusing on the blue colors and colder tones that are available.

What made me take the photo in the first place?  From across the room, I looked up and saw the light and the way it was interacting with the clock and the mirror behind it.  I could tell from there that I wanted to create and image with blown out light behind the trumpet blowing angel.  A bit of a cliche perhaps, but it appealed to me.

Does that happen to you, that you look and see the image you want to create instead of the photo you are going to take? Do you like my take on the photo or do you think and cooler, blue version might appeal to you more?  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: Opposites

Walking around the Abbey Gardens in Bury St. Edmunds, I came across this view of St. Edmundsbury Cathedral through the Abby ruins:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

As I was thinking of this post about opposites, I was wondering what tack to take when writing about this photo. First there was the difference between the ruins and the modern Cathedral.  The ruins were the site of a monastery that has its origins around 633.  The Cathedral in the background has been updated as recently as 2010, and has a fairly modern feel to it.  Then there is the photo I took.  The black and white version being quite different from the original shown below.

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/1000

In addition to the obvious color to black and white conversion, I cropped the photo and sharpened it in Photoshop. I used Lightroom for the black and white adjustments and the vignette effect.

This photo was taken with my point and shoot camera.  As many of you know, I am in the process of moving from the US to England, which will be my home for the next few years.  While we have arrived here in England, our furniture, including my bigger camera is not here yet.  I’m happy that I have my smaller camera with me, but one downside to the camera is that is does not have a viewfinder.  On a sunny day, like the one that I took this on, it is hard to tell what exactly you are getting a photo of.

In this case, the original was pretty off from what I wanted in the photo, but what do you think? Do you think this works as a black and white?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

When I see the word jubilant I think of bright colors, orange and yellow:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I had been stalking these wildflowers most of this week, but rain has made it difficult to get a good shot.  I finally caught a break two days ago in the evening when the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance.  I took this photo with my point and shoot camera on the macro setting and set the ISO at 400.  There was a slight breeze, but at 200th of a second, this flower seems frozen in time.  I kept the editing to a minimum.  I cropped and sharpened a bit in Photoshop, then added a grain filter and vignette in Lightroom.

What do you think of the editing? Do you also associate certain words with colors?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

It’s Spring time so it’s time for chickens:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

Time for cute little faces like these:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

I love taking photos like these.  These particular chickens were hatched in a second grade classroom as part of a life cycles unit and were moved today to a farm.  They grow quickly, but for now they are fluffy and have large feet.

The main challenge for taking photos like these is to catch the chickens at a moment when they are still.  It means a lot of photos end up in the trash bin.

Cheers!

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