What I Saw

Maybe this happens to you. You are looking at something and you see what is actually there, but in your mind you see something else. This happens to me a lot. When it comes to my photography it can create a bit of tension; part of me likes to record just the facts while another part is off imagining.  This image is from that imagining side:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

This photograph is a panorama and the original files looked like this one:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

The original files are kind of just ho-hum, but what I liked was the green and also the texture of the brick.  I was also just intrigued by the fact that the building was there.  It’s part of an old sewage farm and was first constructed in 1887.

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/640

The building now is in pretty good shape but does have an abandoned look about it. When I created the panorama, I knew I wanted to bring out that aspect of it.  A quick sketch of how I created this image looks like this.  I selected the original files that I wanted to use in Lightroom. Then Lightroom-Photo-Edit In-Merge to Panorama in Photoshop.  From there I cropped and straightened the image. Then I sharpened it and saved it back to Lightroom.  From Lightroom-Photo-Edit In-Analog Efex Pro.  I ended up using a wet plate camera setting but then changed the settings within that filter and saved it back to Lightroom.  In Lightroom I made a few more adjustments, mostly to get the green colors to a point where I liked.

In addition to posting this in the Weekly Photo Challenge, I am also posting it in an interesting challenge called Thursday Doors.

How about you, do you often look at something and imagine something completely different? Is the green of Spring emerging where you are or are you on the opposite side of the world, springing into another season altogether?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

If I’m headed into Cambridge from the park and ride, I always head to the front seat at the top of the bus.  This week, I was joined by a fellow passenger who stood for the whole ride in making “vroom-vroom” noises.  I just settled for making a photo:

ISO 64 4.15mm f/2.2 1/1000 sec

I shot this panorama on my iPhone and from Lightroom edited it using the Google Efex Pro plug in. Once I created a version that I liked I brought it back into Lightroom.  I then made some further edits. In this case, I warmed it up a bit, brought a bit of clarity to it and added a vignette.  I like the plug in as a starting point for editing.  One thing that I do when I am adding filters is to wait, even if it is just for a moment, before deciding I am done.  In my opinion, it is rare that a preset filter has exactly what you had in mind.  I give it a bit of time, look at the photo again and then usually edit again.  Filters can be a good place to start, but rarely are they your final vision.

I was in a bit of an experimental mood when I was writing this post, so I am adding in what should be a link to a slightly larger version of the photo in Flickr.

Panorama in Cambridge

Directions on how to do that are here.

I’ve also added it to my Instagram feed, using the work around I came up with last week.  In this particular case, I am also experimenting with adding the panorama format and not the traditional Instagram square format.

A #panorama from the top of the bus #bestseat #cambridge

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

 

If you are on either of those platforms, you can stop by and let me know what you think.  Do you use the panorama function on your cell phone? When you are editing do you wait and come back later to your edits? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

I love technology, but only sometimes.  I think it would be accurate to call me a fair weather technology fan. This is especially true when it comes to social media.  I had been wondering for sometime, like ever since I signed up for an account, how to get my photos from Lightroom to Instagram. The most obvious solution to me was to create a folder in Lightroom and then have that folder on Lightroom mobile on my phone. I think the trendy phrase, “epic fail” is fair to use here. Lightroom mobile did not load properly on my phone. Wow, I have a newish phone and everything and it was a meltdown.  I grumbled many things as I reset my phone.  Mostly about how I hate Adobe, creator of Lightroom and all Photoshop products.  And honestly, I could write a very long post about my gripes over Adobe. I’ll spare you.

So, I put to the side the idea of getting photos from Lightroom to Instagram, but not really; there is nothing I love to chew on more in the back of mind than things that don’t really matter.  Then within the last week I read a few blog posts that made me think about my little problem again. Instead of just googling for the answer, why don’t I try asking some bloggers who are also on Instagram how they do it? I’d like to thank Otto von Munchow, Cardinal Guzman, and Jeff Golenski for responding to the question I posed on their blogs. To you reading this post, I’ve linked their first name to their blog and their surname to their Instagram.

As to their answers, they were all different. However, reading their answers did make me realize my work around. It is super basic and you may wonder why I didn’t think of it first. Why did I even have to spend all this time researching apps and other things?  But there you have it, I don’t always think of the easiest answer first.  Here is my Instagram photo from Lightroom:

Spotted in #Oxford #latergram #canon50d

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

How’d I do it? Exported the photo in question from Lightroom to my desktop and used Airdrop to transfer it to my camera roll and added it to Instagram from there.  Pretty simple.

I wish I had asked my fellow bloggers sooner.

Here’s the part where I ask you what you think, how much do you love or not love technology? Where do you go to get your technology questions answered? feel free to leave a comment below. If you have gotten this far and would like another link, I have one for you.  Jessie is giving away a book along with a print of mine that I donated for her Book at the Door giveaway this month. Check out her post for a chance to win.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

I love exploring new places. Regular readers of this blog will know that the natural world holds a special place in my heart. Sometimes though the road I take leads me to photos like this one:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/250

I spotted this window last week as I was walking down the street in a new town.  It’s not the kind of photo I usually take, but it made laugh out loud, so I took that to mean I should take the photo.  Here is the original:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/250

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/250

I really felt that this photo needed a bit of editing, but that it would be important not to go overboard.  I stuck with Lightroom to do the edits.  I have cropped it because I thought the brick was a distraction.  I increased the clarity and saturation.  I then added a vignette to the edges.  All of my edits were done with the thought of making the photo pop a little more, but not scream “I’ve been edited!”

Do you think the edits are successful? Would you have edited it differently? and here’s a question, would you have taken the photo in the first place?  Your thoughts are welcome below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Processing photos sometimes seems like a challenge of matching a photograph with a filter.  Sometimes a good match comes about by accident or experimentation. For me though, most of the time when I see something, before I even take the photo, I have an idea of what I want the final result to look like.  When I took this photo for example:

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/80

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/80

It was this that I saw in my mind:

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/80

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/80

I only had a moment to snap the photo, so made sure everything was in focus and took the shot.  I was interested in the imposing nature of the stone contrasted with the organic spiderwebs that looked like they were permanently attached.  I kept that in mind as I went to crop the photo.  In Photoshop I used the crop restraints of 1×1 to create a square.  I also straightened the image, but not entirely. I wanted to keep that idea that the man made object was attempting to dominate the scene but that was not completely possible.  Time and weather have taken their toll on this piece of stonework.

When I created this final version, instead of using a black and white filter I went more with a cream, I think that it brought out the weathered look of the stone better. To me these edits bring out what I saw when I was looking at the scene.  What do you think? Do you ever think about photo editing as a matchmaking exercise? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds

This past week I went on a two hour walking tour of Oxford. I had never been to Oxford, and anytime I am in a new city I find walking tours a good way to get started. The tour included a bit of history of the area and a few of the highlights.  I will admit though, to being that person, you know, the one who is a few steps away from the group taking photos.  While on the tour, I got this photo:

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/100

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/100

I love this idea of nature growing right into a man-made structure, although I suspect in this case it has had some encouragement to grow that way.  I edited the photo into this:

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/100

ISO 500 50mm f/8.0 1/100

A little more dramatic, I’ve used a few filters to make it feel like not only is it against the odds that the tree would be there but that it is amazing that the photo even still exists given it distressed state.

When I was editing the first thing I did was crop the photo.  Mostly to take out the bit of the sky in the left corner and some of the fencing in the lower left.  For the fencing in the lower right I used the healing brush tool in Photoshop to remove that. I’ve then used the plug-in Analog Efex Pro to create the photographic look of the final version.  I’ve used some blur and an uneven border to make the photo look worn and damaged.  The nice thing about the plug-in that it gives you a good place to start with creating looks like this. It’s then up to you how to further interpret it, more blur? less? it’s all pretty easy to manage within the plug-in.

What do you think of my final version? I’ve included the link to the walking tour I took, it was a good one, I would recommend it; do you ever take walking tours of places you are visiting?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

I’m living in England.  Some weeks that means that I feel like I am living in shadows. This has been one of those weeks.  An idea that I tried to capture on Instagram:

Quiet morning on a rainy day. #solititude #photography #candles

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

The photo has a filter on it, but the reality is that it was a very rainy and dreary morning in my office.  I liked the photo though, mostly anyway, so I decided to pull out my larger camera to see if I could create a photo that was more exactly in line with what I was thinking.  Here is the photo, taken with my Canon 50D, as it was before being edited:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

One of the first things I did when shooting this version was to turn the red candle around so you can’t read the label.  Also, with this being a standard photo, I can allow for more space around the candles, something that Instagram is not set to do.  I set the f-stop to f/18 because I wanted the photo to be in as much focus as possible.  This of course means that there is less light for the exposure.  You will see that my shutter speed is a full 5 seconds.  So this photograph does require a tripod to be in focus.  In this case though, I just used my desk as a tripod, it just happened to be perfect for the angle that I wanted for the photograph.  Here is the final version:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

I suspect the first thing you will notice is all the blur that has been added into the photograph.  You might find that odd considering I just made mention of how in focus I wanted the shot in the camera to be.  What I was thinking here was that I wanted the unedited version to be as close to reality as possible so that I could then decide what reality to keep in and what to edit out.  I’ve used the field blur feature of Photoshop to blur this image while keeping most of the candle sharp.  I’ve used the healing brush tool to remove a few marks and dust on the candles.

The final image is what I had in mind when I was originally looking at the scene.  It retains a lot of the reality of the scene but is a more subdued and meditative version. It is the version that I added to my Picfair portfolio.

What do you think of my various versions?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!