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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Sometimes a blog post is a few weeks in the making. This is one of those posts.  It started a few weeks ago with a visit to the Cambridge American Cemetery, the final resting place for almost 4,000 American war dead from WWII.  On the grounds there is also a very well done visitors center.  I spent some time looking around the cemetery and took this photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

Actually, it is a very edited version of this photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

I cleaned the marker a bit and patched up the grass around it.  I did both of those things using the healing and cloning tools in Photoshop.  I also cropped the image and put an iris blur filter on it.  The filter was mostly to blur the trees in the background just a bit more than they were in the original photo.  I then switched to Lightroom and converted it to black and white, applied a graduated filter, added grain, and a split tone effect.

That’s more effects and editing than I typically do.  As I was working with this photograph I couldn’t help but think of this particular person and was just curious to know a bit about him.  My first thought actually was to wonder if his family in the US has a photo of his grave marker, and if not would they want one?  I went online to see if I could find any information on him. A search of Carlisle H. Reville returned a synopsis of his death. I then found copies of the 1930 and 1940 US Census records that list him.  The 1940 census gives his name as “Carl H. Reville”, but based on the other family members listed, I believe it to be him.  If this is correct, this is where I think the story gets odd. Carlisle would have been 48 if he died in 1943.  His record at the cemetery indicates he was a pilot and 1st Lieutenant.  Census records indicate he was a salesman.  To complicate matters, his son Caulislo H. Reville, is listed as 13 years old in the 1930 census.  I can’t find him in the 1940 census, but he would have been 26 in 1943, a much closer fit for a 1st Lieutenant in WWII.  It just has got me thinking, I’m wondering if it’s possible the names are wrong?  I can’t even tell you exactly why this bothers me, but now I’m on a bit of a quest.  My next stop will be back to the cemetery, to see if I can find out how old Carlisle was at the time of his death.  If he was indeed 48, I’ll think he was a bit of an outlier for his rank, but that does happen.  If the cemetery doesn’t have the information, I’ll be back online to try an find out more.  An interesting note, US Census records from 1950 will not be made public until April 1, 2022.

If you are still reading, what do you think? do you agree Carlisle’s age seems a bit off for the situation?  Have you ever taken a photograph and then found out you had a lot more on your hands than you realized? Do you like the edits?

Cheers!

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Flowers, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

I was walking the grounds at Wimpole Estate this past weekend and took this photo of the gardens that are behind the house:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

While I think it is pretty, the word that comes to mind for this scene is ostentatious.  I can’t help feeling that part of the reason for the estate was to show off wealth.  The edges in this garden though, were perfect.  You might notice that there was no one walking in the gardens.  That is actually a result of editing.  Here is the original:

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

ISO 25 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1700

There are two children running around there.  I removed them using a combination of the spot healing brush, the healing brush and the clone stamp.  Why did I bother you might ask? The answer would be because I could.  I don’t usually remove people from my photos and I thought this would be an excellent chance to practice.  I also made some slight adjustments to the overall photo, the original just felt a little too bright and had a little too much contrast. Those edits I made in Lightroom. I increased the tone is the shadows, desaturated the yellows, and bumped up the hue of the greens.  One edit that I tried and then discarded was putting a graduated filter on the photo.  I ended up not liking what that filter did to the tone of this particular photo.

How do you feel about removing items or people from photos?  Let me know what you think of my attempt. I have to admit it makes me a bit uneasy.  Feel free to leave your thoughts on this type of editing below.  If you have a favorite technique for removal and have blogged about it, or have written about why you do or do not do this type of editing, feel free to leave a link to your post.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

When I sit down to edit photos, the actual editing is usually not the first step.  Chances are that I have been thinking about the photo for awhile. It is my habit to flip through my photos after I have downloaded them and then go and do something else before starting the process.  I find it helpful to be thinking about the photos before the actual editing starts:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

I find that the first thing I think about is if I want the photo to mirror what I saw or if it will be some other interpretation of the scene.  In this case because what drew me to take the photo in the first place was the way that this insect was similar to the flower, I decided to edit keeping the photo true to the original. I cropped the photo, sharpened it, and put a vignette on it to darken the edges.  For comparison here is the original version:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

In my mind, this type of editing is for clarity.  It is my hope to bring out the details of what I saw in the scene, a reflection of the reality of that moment.  The steps I described above are the steps I usually take when clarity is my intent.

Do you have a set way of editing for a certain effect?  Do you think the steps I took helped clarify the image? Do they make the image more appealing to you?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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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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