Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Fresh

For this week’s travel theme fresh I’m back in the classroom.  A freshly hatched chick:

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

And outdoors with newly hatched robins:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

These photos were taken with different cameras.  The chicken photo was taken with my Canon 50D.  The lighting was quite dark but I wanted to give the photo a soft light look.  So the ISO is high, the f-stop is low, and the shutter speed is slow. The chick was resting it’s head on the shell and was being very still, so the slow shutter speed was not a problem.

The robin photo was taken with my point and shoot camera using the macro setting on the camera.  While I didn’t do any post editing on the chicken, the robin photo has been cropped and sharpened.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Unexpected

Sometimes you forget to be a tourist in your own town.  Then maybe you get an unexpected reminder.  For me  the reminder was in the form of birthday cakes.  Specifically the Cakeway to the West, a celebration of the 250th birthday of St. Louis Missouri.  There are 250 of these 4ft. tall cakes scattered throughout the St. Louis region.  Here are snapshots of a few of them:

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

Lone Elk Park

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

World Bird Sanctuary

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

St. Louis Art Museum

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

Cahokia Mounds, which is in Illinois.

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

I have a bunch more to see obviously if I want to see all 250 of them!  It is a lot of fun to run into these cakes around town.  These photos I have taken with my point and shoot or iPhone. In Photoshop I did a levels adjustment on a few of them and then sharpened them a bit. Have you ever played the tourist in your own town?

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Metal

Cahokia Mounds, ever heard of it? It a UNESCO World Heritage site that is just outside of St. Louis Missouri.  Here is Monk’s Mound the largest remaining part of the site:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

Cahokia Mounds are the remains of a society that was living in the area in A.D. 700-1400.  At its peak there may have been as many as 20,000 people living in the area.  The modern stairs in the photo are on the site of stairs that would have been used when this older culture was flourishing.  When you climb to the top, you get a view of modern day St. Louis:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

The metallic glow of St. Louis is quite jarring in comparison.  Archeologists have found relatively little metal at the Cohokia site, just a few bits of copper.  Tools of bone and stone are much more common.  The site has a very nice interpretive center and if you go for a visit, that is where I would recommend you start.  It is interesting to look through what is known about the site and then think about all the things that aren’t known.

On the day we visited, I wasn’t really thrilled with the photos I was getting as I was looking on the back of my camera.  I decided to shoot bracketed exposures and edit them in Photomatix.  Once I was in Photomatix I decided to use a surreal setting for my final photos.  I wanted the stairs to pop in the first photo and the metallic glow and odd sky in the second photo.  I would say I was looking for a bit of drama to illustrate my story.  Below are two of the original photos, both the middle exposure I shot:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1250

I felt that the HDR and surreal settings help to illustrate between these two cultures.  What do you think? Does it make that point? Does it do it well, or is it too overdone for your liking?  Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Blossoms

I live in suburbia.  Over the years I’ve lived in several variations of suburbia.  Whichever variation of suburbia I am living in I like to put native plants and wildflowers in my gardens.  The native plants I put in over the last few years are struggling this season because we had a non-native winter, far colder than usual.  So are first spring flowers this year are not native plants but wildflowers.  I love photographing these blossoms as they appear in the yard. On this particular shoot, I took both of my cameras with me.  This first was taken with my Canon Powershot:

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

This version was shot using the color picker setting in the camera. I selected purple and it changed the rest of the image to black and white.  I do wish the camera had picked up more of the purple.  I did love the way the light turned up in this image.  It was beautiful in that particular moment, and I think the camera honored that.  This image was edited in Photoshop, I cropped it and sharpened it.  Here is the original:

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

This next flower I shot using my Canon 50D:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

I chose a very shallow depth of field to draw your attention to the front blossom and deal with the very busy background by blurring it.  This photo has also been cropped and sharpened.  Here is the original:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

So, what do you think of my editing?  How is your spring going, did your plants struggle this year? Ours are just now starting to bounce back.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Close Up: It’s Time for Chickens

It’s a great time of year.  It’s chicken time:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/30

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/30

These eggs are part of a life cycle unit that a friend of mine who is second grade teacher teaches this time of year.  It is getting close to the end of the year, so it is harder to keep the kid’s attention as the weather get nicer.  This unit however, is fascinating, and a highlight of the second grade school year.

So, this is one of my first photos of this year.  The next step will be for these eggs to go into incubators.  As you can tell, there will be a variety of chickens hatching this year.  This is, in part, to show the kids the diversity that can exist among a species.  The chickens that hatch will eventually go to local farms.

You may wonder why I chose this for this week’s travel theme, close up. It’s my opinion that education should make you wonder about the world around you when you are young so that when you are old enough you can go out exploring on your own.  Projects like this one help bring that larger world close-up in a tangible way.  In a less direct connection to the travel theme perhaps,  I think it is good for the kids to see a part of how their food chain works close up. Often, I think, food just appears in front of them without any real discussion of how it got there. If there is to be a lovely natural world for them to explore as adults, I think it is important for them to be informed of where their food is coming from.

I’m pretty “egg”cited about this project, so there will be more posts as the unit progresses.  Feel free to drop by again to check for updates, your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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

Travel Theme: Round

I guess I had been holding onto these photos waiting for the travel theme at Where’s My Backpack? to be round. This is the week my friends!  The photo below I took at Laumeir Sculpture Park in St. Louis:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

This edited version is an HDR image that has been processed in Photomatix.  Here is one of the original exposures:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/9 1/160

It was a sunny day so it would have been hard to get a perfect exposure in just one photo, so I knew I was going to edit the image into an HDR image.  Also, the veins in the eye were just screaming for the over the top result that HDR can easily give you.

Laumeir Park is a nice place to walk around, you can bring a picnic if the weather is nice and enjoy looking at all the art.  The particular piece is called The Eye by Tony Tasset, and it is on permanent display in the park.  It almost always has folks standing around it, how could you not stop and stare at an eyeball that is 12 feet in diameter?

So, what do you think of my HDR treatment of this piece of art? do you think you could walk past it without stopping? Your thoughts and comments are welcome below!

Cheers!

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

Still as a Statue

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to post for the travel theme statues at Where’s My Backpack? when I saw the original post on Friday.  But yesterday I was looking through some of my files when I came across some images that almost looked like statues.  So I chose one and set out to make it look more like a statue.  Here is what I created:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

This is a Cape Thick-knee who lives at the St. Louis Zoo.  I had shot this image using exposure bracketing, so I created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I ended up thinking that the Black and White artistic setting ended up looking the most like a statue.  In Photoshop then I cropped and sharpened the image.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It is a bird that blends in with it’s background, and it was sitting very still, so it would have been very easy to miss.  It has lovely colors, but what do you think of my stone version?

Cheers!

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