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

Tough Topic

Every once in a while I take photos of a subject that I’m a bit conflicted about. This post is about the enemy. The photos in this post were taken at La Cambe German War Cemetery. It’s near Omaha Beach in Normandy France. There are 21,222 German war dead here, ranging in age from 16-72. Most died between 6 June and 20 August 1944. They were the enemy but as the sign on the front of the cemetery stated, “With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.” I found the place to be very somber and sad:

ISO 640 22mm f/16 1/160sec

This first shot gives a bit of an overview of how the markers are laid out in rows. This second shot it a bit more of a close-up:

ISO 640 19mm f/16 1/320sec

It is the square markers and not the crosses that are grave markers. I’d also like to note that some of the markers indicated that the graves are sometimes stacked.

ISO 640 10mm f/16 1/160sec

This statue was at the top of the resting place for the unknown soldiers. I have versions of each of these on my Picfair site, if you would like to see them at higher resolution: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3.

When it came to editing, the first two were just edited for clarity. The third is a bit more creative, but I wanted to stick with the somber and ethereal feel of the cemetery itself.

Tough topic, but what do you think? To me, it was a reminder to never lose sight of anyone’s humanity, even those who would stand against you. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens Artists, Weather or Worn and One Word Sunday, Row.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: I Wonder what that Button Does?

Sometimes a little bit of curiosity can be a good thing. When it comes to photo editing this translates into: just push that button or slide that slider and see what happens. It’s usually pretty easy to back up if you end up with a result that you don’t like. All you need is curiosity and a little bit of time. This image below was taken at Pointe du Hoc.

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

My first edit was this one:

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

It features a lot of the edits you would expect from me. I’m hoping you think this edit pops a bit and is a bit more clear. I’m hoping that you don’t think that it varies too much from the original. With this type of edit, I’m looking to represent the scene as it was.

As per my recent blog post, I saved a version of it. Then I continued to edit. I was looking to create something a bit different:

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

When I am in this more creative mode, my layer panel starts to look like this:

Layers Panel screenshot

If you have no interest in using layers or already know all about them, feel free to skip the rest of this post, leave a comment or like below if you that appeals to you. The rest of this post is a bit about layers and how to use them.

In the screenshot, the original file and then the layer above it is what led to the natural version of the photo. The layer marked, “silver lining” and the two above that are part of the more creative version. I’d like to mention a few things that I think are important to consider when making a creative edit. The first is that I think it is really helpful to have additional edits on separate layers. This makes it easy to see what you have done and remove or further work on any particular edit. Making a new layer is easy and pretty universal in photo editing applications. In this particular case, I clicked on the “+” to the right of “Layers” and a drop-down option was “add adjustment layer”. Let’s say on Adjustment Layer 1 I wanted to adjust the exposure.  I do that and then add Adjustment Layer 2 and edit for clarity on that layer.  I could then click on the eyeball from Adjustment Layer 1 and that would turn off the exposure adjustment if I wanted to see what the photo would look like with just the clarity adjustment. That gives me the flexibility of having several edits that can easily be adjusted or even deleted independently of one another. Also, It is possible to rename layers, for example, the layer that is called silver lining, that is the name of the filter I put on that layer. In this case that not only makes it easier to know what adjustment is there but also functions as a reminder to myself as to what filter I have used. Changing the name of a layer is done by clicking over the text, and changing the text when the text box appears.

Your thoughts on my edits and the use of layers are all welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Wonder.

Picfair version here.

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18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Instagram, iPhone, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Light Burst

It was a beautiful day here yesterday and I was at the Cambridge American Cemetery. I took a lot of photos in part because the light was so interesting. In particular, I took several frames of this grave, from all different angles.  When I got home and took a look at all the variations, I decided that this one interested me the most:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

In my edit, I cropped it a bit first. There were some elements on the right-hand side of the frame that was a bit distracting. I also tried a crop that straightened the photo a bit but for this interpretation, I decided that I liked it a bit off kilter. I knew I wanted to create a black and white version and thought that the tilted view would work with that treatment. Here is the outcome of that:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/800sec

When I am out shooting, I often take photos with my iPhone as well. Here is another black and white version of the scene that I created on my phone with the help of Hipstamatic:

Three of the servicemen who are buried here were honored in a flypast that took place in Sheffield yesterday. A brief story and video on that are here. The story is quite moving, it is worth a few moments of your time if you are interested.

What do you think of my edit? Can you believe that bright sun, right here in England? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Added to A Photo A Week, Black & White.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Altering the Landscape

Usually, when I think of landscape photography I think of sweeping vistas devoid of people or man-made elements. But not always, so when I saw there was a photography challenge up this week where “landscape” was the theme, I thought I would consider something that had an obvious human footprint.  At the moment, I am working on processing photos that I took in Normandy, France. I have a lot of beautiful coastline shots. Normandy is a beautiful area, but obviously, it’s history includes that of WWII. I will be posting a photo in a few days of the coastline of Dieppe, in Normandy, but first I edited these photos from the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery:

ISO 200 10mm f/16 1/125

This first shot is shot at the widest angle, to show as much of the landscape as possible. It’s been edited to give the colors a bit of a boost and a bit of clarity. This second shot is edited in much the same way:

ISO 200 12mm f/16 1/160sec

To take this shot, I brought the stones into more detail by both taking a step closer and by bringing my lens from 10mm, which would have shown more of the scene, to 12mm, which shows less.

With these two shots, I was hoping to convey the reality of what this cemetery looks like. Most of the soldiers buried here are Canadian, the rest are British. The soldiers laid to rest here were killed in the Dieppe Raid of 1942. It was a disaster for the Allied Forces and while not all of their casualties were left behind, a lot were. It is interesting to me that this cemetery was created by the Germans, see the back to back stones of the first rows? that is typical of a German style of burial. Perhaps more interesting is that when the war was over, this cemetery remained here.

What I’d like you to know if you’re Canadian or British and have a family member or countrymen interred here and you aren’t able to visit, the Germans picked a beautiful spot to bury your loved one. I hope that my two pictures convey a sense of the beauty of the landscape here.

Which brings me to my third photo:

ISO 200 10mm f/16 1/160sec

This last edit is where I am trying to process what would have been the terror of the raid with the beauty of the land itself. To shoot this idea, I decided to shoot from behind the stones and into the sun. The filter I applied to this had a red tinge to it. The red for the heat of battle, blood itself, confusion, anger and hatred, and the red prominently in the Canadian flag. It’s a lot to try and sum up in one image.

Cemeteries are wonderfully complex places to me. I hope that I have conveyed some of that in these images. What do you think of my edits? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Landscapes.

Picfair shot 1.

Picfair shot 2.

Picfair shot 3.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, One Word Sunday, Photo Editing, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Erase Vs. Clone and Stamp

Sometimes, there are certain photographs that I work on more than once. This is one of them:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/400sec

I wrote a few months ago about editing it, that time it was a color version, this time a black and white:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/400sec

I started with a crop, then devoted some attention to remove the fence in front of the sculpture.  I made use of the erase feature of Luminar, but I also used the clone and stamp tool. In some places, clone and stamp gave a better result because it was up to me what to replace the fence with. The eraser makes an educated guess, and it is pretty smart, but sometimes it gets it wrong. In this case, the areas where the fence was in front of both the sculpture and the water, were a bit too much for the eraser. It’s within the black and white edits though, that I really took some liberties. I used the “Orton effect” filter to make the scene more dreamlike.

I am happy with both my color version from a few months ago and this black and white version as well. This sculpture is called, ‘Les Braves’ and there is a bit about it here. Your thoughts on my edits are welcome below.

Cheers!

For some strictly visual reasons, I have added this to One Word Sunday, Voyage. Click the link to see why.

Picfair version here.

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, travel, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: In the Distance

ISO 640 90mm f/16 1/250sec

 

ISO 640 90mm f/16 1/250sec

Normandy American Cemetery

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, In the Distance.

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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.

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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:

View this post on 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.

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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!

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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!

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