11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Giving New Presets a Try

Pointe du Hoc was part of the Allied invasion of the Normandy Coast on June 6, 1944. Today there is a memorial monument on the site that overlooks Omaha Beach. It is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission and if you are planning a visit, I would highly recommend downloading the tour they have available on their website.

While I was visiting, I took this photograph:

ISO 640 14mm f/16 1/160sec

When I went to edit, I wanted to accentuate the barbed wire in the foreground and give the photo a bit more of a punch. Here is what I came up with:

ISO 640 14mm f/16 1/160sec

The barbed wire was a stark reminder of the German positions that were waiting for the American Rangers that scaled these cliffs.

I edited this photo in Lightroom. I had received an e-mail notification earlier in the week that there were new presets I could download that had been created by Max Muench, who has a pretty cool Instagram feed. So, I figured out how to import the presets and got to work experimenting. I like presets, I think they can be an interesting starting point for editing. After having applied the preset, I manipulated the settings until I came up with what I thought would work for this photo.

What do you think of my edit? Does it pack more of a punch than the original? Do you use presets in your photo editing? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

Added to Travel With Intent: Stark.

Picfair version available here.

Advertisements
Standard
11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Instagram, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

A Study in Light

You won’t have been a photographer for very long before you hear of the term the golden hour. It’s a great time to shoot outside as the light is usually really nice then. I appreciate that light, but honestly, sometimes I take photographs in whatever the conditions are because that’s when I could be there.

I was visiting Omaha Beach nowhere near the golden hour. The light was flat and hazy, usually a bad thing, but in this case a bit magical:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/640sec

I love that the light was illuminating just one part of this Les Braves Memorial.  The version you see above is an HDR image.  It was created using three exposures, here is one of the original exposures:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/640sec

One of the things combining the exposures did was combine the waves, which I like. You can also see that while I was editing I removed the fence.  I used the spot healing brush tool in Photoshop to do that.

Further along the beach, I took this photo with my iPhone that I then posted to Instagram:

#omahabeach yesterday and today #dday #wwii #lestweforget

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

That photo is not edited, I think the natural light in it was perfect and skipped putting a filter on. My husband had brought along photos of the landing at Omaha and we lined up that classic image shot by Robert Capa with the approximate place on the beach. My husband had brought along several resources for us to look at while we exploring the beaches, which made our visit that much more moving.

Have you ever been out shooting in “bad” light only to find out that it was perfect? Do you like the HDR version or does the original memorial shot appeal to you more? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

This post was added to Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Standard
iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Story

I love taking photographs. For me, it is my favorite way to interact with the world. Sometimes it is a challenge though, typically that challenge involves lighting or deciding on an angle to shoot from. In this case, though, it was the story behind the photo:

ISO 160 4.15mm f/2.2 1/35

This photo is from the interior of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, originally built in 1535, the names you see on the walls there are of the approximately 80,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust from the lands that are now the Czech Republic or Czechia.

The synagogue also has a display of art by children who were interned during the Holocaust, and most of whom died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It’s heartbreaking, I couldn’t even bring myself to take photos in that room.

The link to the Synagogue I included above includes a short video of the space. For me though, this is one of those places where the story is hard to tell in just photographs. Being in the space itself seems important. For that reason, it was hard to focus on getting a good photo. I took a few shots then put my camera away, taking some time to just be there. One thing that I will share that struck me about the names, was that they included their birthdate and death date, or in some cases, the last time they were seen if an exact death date isn’t known. I’m not sure why I found that powerful, but I did.

Have you ever struggled to capture a scene in a photograph? How did you handle the situation? Your thoughts are welcome below.

Cheers!

Standard
iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Uncategorized

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

Static, I think that is one word that comes to mind when describing a war monument. The Battle of Britain Monument is unusual in that it is dynamic.  Not only do the elements of the monument protrude in interesting ways, they do so at eye level.  It is a very interesting work to walk around.  It was my first visit, so I took a lot of shots as I walked around getting my first impressions.  When I got home, I created this photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

The photos I took, I took on my iPhone.  Mostly, I was capturing details of the monument and not the monument in its entirety.  I find my iPhone is a good tool for this kind of photography.  I will show you the original shot at the bottom of this post, but as you can see there is a lot going on here, so one of my first thoughts was, what would I like to highlight in my final photo?  The answer was the bright sky you can see in the binoculars of the soldier in the foreground.  I used Lightroom to create my version.  I first cropped the photo then sharpened it a bit.  I then used a radial filter just over the binoculars, the effect evenly muted the rest of the photo, but kept the vibrance of the sky.  I then lightened the corners of the photo which I think helps encourage your eye to stay more in the center of the photo.  For comparison, here is the original photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

What do you think of my edits?  Is there another approach you would have taken in editing this? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Standard
Instagram, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

I find that military cemeteries and memorials are an attempt to bring order to the chaos of human conflict. The neat rows of uniform grave markers, the minimalist and tidy green space, they stand in contrast to what I perceive as the disruption and disorder of conflict.  On Memorial Day this year, the staff at Cambridge American Cemetery put out pictures in front of the grave markers and along the borders of the Tablets of the Missing:

ISO 25 4.15mm 1/750sec f/2.2

Seemingly a small detail when viewed from a distance, but amazingly personal when examined at close range.

ISO 25 4.15mm 1/540 f/ 2.2

The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the human cost of war, and the display puts a face on it and makes it more personal:

Most blog posts I write are about the editing process I go through.  This post is about the importance of sometimes letting an image stay in its “as taken” state.  The first two images are shown as shot and I would argue tell their story without the need for editing. The last image is in the standard Instagram format with the filter I chose for it accenting the light that illuminates the name on the grave marker.

When I am taking photographs, I often am thinking about what I would like the final image to look like.  In this case, I knew that I was going to want the final images to have very little editing done to them.  While my usual minimum edits are white balance, cropping, and sharpening, for the first two photos skip even those steps. What do you think of my unedited photos? are there times when you skip editing in favor of an “as-is” final photo? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Standard
Animals, Instagram, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

This week’s photo challenge starts with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?”  Oh boy, travel is a topic maybe it’s best not to get me started on as “going to see things” is a bit of a hobby for me.  It also happens that I was on the road just a few weeks ago.  I visited a few well-known spots that pretty much everyone has heard of.  This post though is more about something I really love about traveling, and that is visiting some spot a bit off the tourist path and being utterly charmed by it.

I do enjoy history, so I often find myself at spots of historical significance.  I will admit though, if it has to do with World War II, it’s probably because my husband found it.  That’s how I came to be standing here:

ISO 400 4.15mm f/2.2 1/100 sec

Where am I? The Upottery Heritage Center.  Here’s a Google map link, if you would like to see a map of the area.  Why was I here? Well the Band of Brothers left from here for Normandy; that was my husband’s interest.  He had been in contact with Robin, a volunteer at the center, who had agreed to open the converted hut for us to take a look around.  This is one of those museums that has been put together by people who care about the history of the area.  It’s a small space, but there is an incredible amount of well researched detail here.  My husband talked to Robin about those details.  For me, it was the photographs, look at all the photographs!  Our youngest child was traveling with us and found the stash of newspapers from the time. Eventually, it was time to drag ourselves away from this room. The driving tour was next.  Robin was willing to take us around to show my husband where the old airfield was.  For me the highlight of the driving tour was this:

ISO 25 4.15 f/2.2 1/420

During the war it was a guard station.  It’s the last remaining one in the area and now if functions as a Remembrance memorial.  A beautiful tribute if you ask me.

Part of the tour took us through farms that are currently in use, so from my Instagram, I have this shot.

On a #walk with a #cow #nofilter #england

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

A cleaned up version of that shot is in my Picfair portfolio.

This morning in Upottery was a highlight of the trip.  The well known places were good too, but this was unique, something that will stick in our collective family memory. In terms of the photography, I stuck with my iPhone for this visit and was pleased with the results. Have you perhaps had the experience as well, that a lesser known place ended up being a highlight of a trip? Can you believe how lush that grass is in the Instagram photo? That’s a no filter photo.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

Standard
iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

When It All Adds Up

A while back I blogged about this photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

ISO 800 50mm f/13 1/160

Based on what I could find online, a few things like his name and date of birth didn’t seem to add up when you looked at this grave marker.  So I went back to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. The staff member who helped me was a bit surprised that I wasn’t researching a relative,but was more than happy to give me a hand in my research.  It ended up being pretty simple.  The Carlisle H. Reville whose grave I photographed, was Carlisle H. Reville Jr.  My search had been further complicated by the fact that the 1930 Census record was handwritten, and the later data entry spelled his first name wrong.

It's easy to see why a mistake was made.

It’s easy to see why a mistake was made.

So, on the data entry portion of this page, he is listed as “Caulislo”, easy to see why.

In the course of my research I found out that Reville Sr. had served in WWI.  I also found out that Reville Jr. had first been buried at another cemetery but was moved here when this cemetery was established.  What I can’t find is a decent lead on the family, other than they were living in Pennsylvania in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  If you happen to know this family, I am more than happy to have them contact me if they would like a digital copy of the photo I have taken of their relative’s grave.

Since I was back at the cemetery, you know that I took some more pictures.  Here is one from that day:

The edited black and white version

The edited black and white version

I’ve edited this in Lightroom and using a black and white plug-in.  I’ll post the original below, but one of the first things I did while it was still a color version was to bring out detail in the shadows and increase the saturation in the blues and the greens.  It looks horrible in that state, but once it is converted to black and white it looks good again. Here is the original file:

The original

The original

The subject is well suited to black and white I think.  I’ve included it in my portfolio at Picfair. Somehow the color version just seems to vivid for the subject matter.  What do you think?  Feel free to comment on my new photo or on the follow up from my older post.

Cheers!

Standard