Monday, April 25, 2011

Tulip Pieces in B&W: Conversions in Nik Silver Efex Pro2

Just a few macro shots from Sherwood Gardens in the rain...Why B&W when tulips have such wonderful color? I often find the textures, the lines, the shades of gray and the contrast of tones to be the story. They didn't need color to amplify this thought, but instead B&W. I also like to use a selective focus idea to put emphasis on the area of the image I find most interesting. Nik has added some very nice enhancements to their already terrific software for B&W conversions, the border were also added in Nik's software. (except for Tulip 5)  Join me for a processing workshop with Penn Camera on May 18th at Tyson's Corner.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sherwood Gardens

This morning I met my workshop participants at Sherwood Gardens in the rain. We had a break for a couple hours, and got some shooting in. I made images a few times along side my participants showing them comps and ideas, before we had a little lightening that sent us back to the cars to wait out the downpour. Well it did not last too long and soon we were back out making images. I was covered in rain gear and doing a little "wet belly" work. Here's the proof! Tonight I processed two images from this morning.

The images below are many layers of processes, some swipes some straight shots, some smudging, and some iterations in Snapart2, blended and masked along the way. When I uploaded them I thought that they looked a little like soft water colors, maybe that's because we were shooting in the rain.  I often feel like its not necessary to make a tack sharp macro shot although I do. I also love the blending of images to get a painterly feel. They certainly speak to the season, Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Working on images, where the mind and eye one knows.

Today was an office and yard day getting ready to head to the beach tomorrow for a few days. I am a little tired from four hours of work outside so I decided to enjoy processing some images tonight and relax a little. I opened up a few images from the last time I was at the beach and began to play with them. The opening image began as a multiple exposure of the rock jetty as the waves were breaking against it. The multiple exposure created the effect of more break water and more rocks than the original scene contained. I processed the raw file to my satisfaction then went into my texture files and made a texture overlay. I was introduced to a fabulous free texture source Shadowhouse. You can find a link to the Shadowhouse blog on my sidebar, the texture files are super! After I made the adjustments with the texture overlay, I ran the image through Nik Color Efex Pro 3...added some slight color to the sky and some to the water. I then ran that image through SnapArt 2. Then I took that image and blended it with a mask with my original processed photo file to bring back some more white in the water and blend down the tone in the ocean water. I ended up with a painting! Well tonight I ended up with two paintings! The bench below was shot after the sun went down and the sodium vapor lights were illuminating it beautifully. There was still enough light in the sky to make an exposure work with the light of the street light. I followed much the same process as the opening image.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Photo influences....

Been doing some tutoring on composites and work on the iPhone..both have influenced me a bit to think in a composite way when shooting in the field. Last weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, after a sundown shoot (where there was no real sundown)..we were doing some street work and I saw some holiday lights on the porch of a local restaurant. So we went over there and played with zooming in and out on the lights as well as some wide open out of focus work. Alone these images would not stand, but can be great for some creative blend work. Walking back to the car I noticed the Trimper Amusement sign lite against the dark night sky, so I made a shot of the sign, exposing for the sign, which allowed any background light to fade out. The opening image is a composite of the three images I shot, the background  frame is the out of focus light with a reduced opacity and the top image is a blend of the zoom lights and the Trimper Sign, which I added a stroke to before placing the tops image over the lights. To me it created the feeling of the rides and lights. It was fun to do! Off to make a presentation at the Baltimore Camera Club School today on composition the on to DC to meet some Photo friends.
This shot was made from shore with my 70-200 lens at 200 as we were shooting the shore and pier the Laura Ann pulled out in rough seas. This image has a texture overlay as well as being processed in SnapArt2 for a painterly look.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ocean Workshop

I am just getting around to processing a few shots I made on my beach workshop. Nancy and Jim were all set and working away, so I had a chance to make a couple shots as the light was breaking for us. I never get tired of looking at the ocean or images of the ocean. Every second the light changes the waves change and there is a new picture! After arriving home late in the evening Monday, I unpacked and caught up around here. Tuesday night was the second night of my classes at Hopkins and I have a great group of participants eager to learn more about using their cameras and making pictures.. I have been working on getting some iPhone images worked and now just getting to these.
This shot is a "Swipe" of a jetty in Rehoboth Beach

This morning was windy and the waves were high creating a lot of sea foam on the beach at the surf line.
We  had a very gray morning, but I liked the wet dune fencing against the gray skies and beach grasses.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ocean Beauty Triptych

Today was my last day at the beach and mostly filled with cleaning up and getting out, but while the laundry was going I wanted to put together a triptych from yesterday morning's shoot, the last day of my spring beach workshop. At the beach capturing the effects of motion is important. So the photographer is always challenged with making camera settings between ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. We do not know how fast the water is moving and depth of field is sometimes less important due to the motion of water..but checking your histogram and viewing the LCD for the effect you are capturing is essential. As we are usually shooting on the edge of night and day, light changes fast so constantly checking exposure is critical, and requires making adjustments rapidly and frequently. Yesterday morning, the sun came up behind a huge cloud cover so the light was soft, but the waves were beautiful, and soft light is good for photographing shells on the waters edge, after we made some long exposures of the jetty, we played with some props I had brought along. It was a fun weekend working with Nancy and Jim by the sea!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunrise Surprise

Today was the first shoot day of my beach workshop. The weather forecast was tenuous and when I woke up and checked outside it was very misty and everything was soaking wet from the overnight rain. There was mist forecast until 11:00 am. I was a bit worried about our sunrise shoot at the beach. An hour later when I went to the car to get some gear, the mist had stopped but the wind was blowing hard from the Northeast at about 15 MPH with stronger gusts. I had to make a decision and decided we needed to give it a try. So we headed out to the beach, and waited out the light. The heavy cloud cover prevented the normal twilight from happening, but soon we saw a bit of pink on the horizon, which gave us hope. So we started shooting and as the dawn progressed we were delighted with the light we had to work with. The seas were rough and it was a real tough morning on the beach but we came back with some beautiful images! All worthwhile.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Just the Clouds and Nik Sliver Efex Pro2

This afternoon after setting up the projector and screen for my afternoon workshop I made a quick run out to the beach and made a few images with the I was walking I noticed the clouds becoming interesting and pretty soon they were AMAZING! The light, the shapes the textures...were just awesome.
So I made a dash back to the Jeep to get my camera and headed back to the beach. There were no interesting clouds on the horizon they were all just overhead moving out to sea. All the shots here were made with a 70-200 mm lens at 2.8 and 70mm handheld. The sky lasted for about 30-40 minutes before the rain came. These are just a few of the shots I made. All the images were processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and Nik Define.I hope we have great sky, good seas and a nice morning for our sunrise shoot tomorrow! Now I gotta' get some sleep, wake up call at 4:30 tomorrow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fenwick Island Marsh

Today was extremely windy, and I ran to the Fenwick Hardware Store for some maintenance items. After getting that done I wanted to check out the marshy area nearby. I spotted a Great White in the marsh just off the parking lot by a liquor store. So I pulled into the lot and positioned the Jeep so the gate would act as a blind. I set up my gear and made some shots with the 300 2.8 fitted with a doubler. As the bird moved on down the marsh I made a few shots of one of the iconic Fenwick houses.

Processed with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Snapart2
Processed with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Snapart2

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Few Marsh Shots

It was a busy day....of homeowners chores, but I found some time to run up Rt. 1 to Prime Hook just before dark. The migrating birds are starting to show up. When I realized these guys were not going to spook as I got out of the Jeep I quickly coupled a doubler to my 300 2.8, set my tripod up and made a few shots. If you have ever watched these birds run around eating they are a pretty fast moving target so I was glad to get a couple shots I liked, before heading back to the beach house in S. Bethany, DE.