Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bombay Hook Winter

In camera multiple exposure, processed in Photoshop using a few texture blends from Flypaper.
This past Sunday, I got out on the road with Steve Oney and Don Vetter; we headed to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. It was a beautiful blue sky day..not exactly what we were hoping for but we went anyway, we were all up for a day out with photo buds!
We were hoping to find some snow geese, but we found none. However, as we were driving the loop road around the pools a small red fox appeared on the side of the road...Don, who was driving slowed to see what the fox would do as he inched the car closer. Well the fox traversed the road, marked the other side of the road and then headed back across the road in front of us and dropped off beside the car into the grasses. I couldn't get a real good shot of him because of the tall grasses, the shadow of the car and rear view mirror. I did manage at one point to snag this shot out the passenger window.

We tracked this little fox hoping for better shots, but cars making the drive around the loop kept spooking the fox back into the grasses. The light started to fade and Don parked his car and we waited for something to happen as the light slipped away.
While we were waiting for sundown, I saw there was a gentle color in the sky behind the marsh trees and I made a few multiple exposures.
In camera Multiple exposure with Flypaper texture blends.

 .......And the Canada Geese flew over as the moon was rising. I shot the geese, then shot the moon and blended the images together in Photoshop then added a little SnapArt3 and a layer of texture from Flypaper.
It was not such a productive day, photographically speaking but it was fun getting out in the field with friends!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Capture, feeling and processing coming together

Composite Image processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro, Snap Art 3 and Photoshop
Last weekend I led a morning workshop in Annapolis Md. It is always a favorite location for me, helping participants, near the water working with reflections, boats and interesting architecture of the old homes. I often like to suggest shooting details on the sailboats and the sails. There was an old boat in harbor with great sails folded down creating interesting shadowing. I liked the old fittings and folds in the sails. I made two images of the sails demonstrating how pieces of the whole can be more interesting sometimes than the whole. When I shot the sails I had in mind processing with a vintage feel, although I did not know the exact process I was going to use I had the "feeling" I wanted to create. I began to work on the image of the sail with the old fittings first making several versions. The edits below show the process. Still have some spots open for my Ireland 2013 tour, it would  make a great holiday gift for your favorite photographer! Here's the link for more info, CLICK HERE.
Original Shot Unprocessed
Image 2 processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro: Antique Plate
Image 3 processed in Snap Art 3
Then I made several versions of the folded sail image.
Image 4 Original shot
Image 5 Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro
Image 6 Processed in Snap Art 3
Final image composite blended and processed in Photoshop using Layers and Masks

Monday, November 12, 2012

After the "Superstorm Sandy"

Bayside Sunset Assowoman Bay
Last Thursday, the day after a nor'easter and a week and a half after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast I made my way back to the beach. When I arrived a lot of the streets were still under water from the combination of storms. The ground was totally saturated as was the air. After cleaning up around the outside of the house, sweeping, carrying away and raking up all the debris that had floated in on the three feet of water that surrounded the house; I made my way out to the beach. Except for the devastation the storm caused, I love when the beach is returned too its natural state; that is flat and scattered with shells. After the past five or so years of beach replenishment projects on the Delaware shore the beach took on a man made character...with waves breaking right in front of the shore drop off. But Sandy leveled the the shore had been before the replenishment efforts. I know the beach needs to be in tact to hold back massive damage but I really love when nature takes over. Tide pools form and shelling is once again a fun thing to do.
f-8, Nikon 17-35 2.8 Lens, 10 sec. ISO 100

This morning I made it out for sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean...the moon was a sliver and the sky was bare but for a few wispy clouds, but the color on the horizon was awesome. The long flat shoreline allowed for beautiful reflected light to play on the wet sand as the gentle waves moved in and out, you would never have believed the seas fury two weeks ago, compared to today's gentle surf.
Atlantic Sunrise f-8, Nikon 17-35 2.8, ISO 100, Shutter 4.0 sec.

Bayside Sunset  f-22,  Nikon Lens 17-35 2.8, ISO 100, Shutter 1/30

I hate to say but this will probably be my last time to shoot a sunrise by the ocean until next April as I am closing up for the winter season and will be heading out tomorrow...I hope the winter is good to the shore!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shooting for composites in post processing

Today I am thankful to have power back after a couple days without. I am also thankful that my beach house survived any major damage in South Bethany Delaware! And happy to be back on the blog.
Last weekend I conducted my fall beach workshop as Hurricane Sandy was making her way up the East coast. I had a feeling it was going to be a bad one. It was windy with rough surf and dark grey overcast skies. We got in a pretty sunrise shoot on Saturday AM and continued to shoot all day on Saturday as rain was predicted for Sunday morning. One of the stops I made with the group was near the Addy Sea in Bethany Beach. The dunes were tall, the dune grasses were blowing and the seed pods of the yucca were interesting to me against the blank grey sky. I shot the yuccas with the idea that I might blend images or find textures in my files to blend together in Photoshop using layers and masks. I shot the image of the sky later in the day as the clouds darkend with the idea that it would be good to blend in the sun with the shot of the Yucca plants.
I also thought about adding a texture to the image...the shots below will show you how I saw the final image as I was shooting the raw shots with my D4.

Here are the shots before blending:
Shot 1: Yuccas
Shot 2: Sun with heavy gray clouds
Shot 3: Texture from Library of textures: I chose this texture for the color and design which reminded me of sand dunes with abstract fence lines.
Composite Image before Snap Art 3:
Composite Shot after Snap Art 3 filter:
So.....Next time you go out shooting and your subjects seem boring or the light is dull, think about shooting for and using a composite, making several ordinary shots which can be combined to create a whole new image with a unique look! Use your imagination! and keep shooting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alternative Shooting Options....Play is good!

Forest Swipe 1/6sec f-22 ISO 200
Its been a busy month!! Whew! Hard to believe October is coming to an end! On  my visit to West Virginia two weekends ago, I was playing with some in camera multiple exposures and swipes. The trees had lost a lot of leaves in the Davis area but further south there were still plenty to be found. The image above was made on the forests edge as the late afternoon sun lit the sides of the trees, by moving the camera up or down as the exposure was made I rendered this image. In processing swipes I find I tend to add back contrast and saturation to help define the subtle colors.
Forest Swipe 1/6 sec f-22 ISO 200

This image was also made with the same technique only with a little swoosh-like movement at the end of the exposure, generating the cup like lines adding texture.
f-16 1/50 sec ISO 200 9 shot in camera multiple exposure

This image is a 9 shot in camera multiple exposure. I like the look of this technique in this image. The ground was covered with white balls of cotton grass and the late afternoon light was soft overcast-blue sky side light.
f-14 1/4 sec ISO 640

This forest was filled with light and yellow leaves, another multiple exposure shot rendered this fun image. Soooo...when you are out in the field remember to try some fun swipes and multiple exposures if you have the option. Tonight I am looking forward to the fourth session at Johns Hopkins University of my iPhone Photography class and this weekend I look forward my Beach Workshop...
You can find my workshops listed on the side bar of this blog or at the Capital Photography Center website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shooting Waterfalls~ Elakala~ Blackwater State Park, West Virginia

f-18, 4.0 seconds, ISO 80, 45 mm focal length.
Elakala is a most frequently photographed waterfall in Blackwater State Park, West Virginia. I had a couple hours in the morning to hike in and make a few images here before checking out and leaving West Virginia. I love this scene in the fall with the beech tree leaves decorating the floor of the forest. When I teach intro to Digital Photography at Johns Hopkins, beginning photographers always ask what shutter speed do you use to get that look...well the answer is.... depends on how fast the water is moving, how bright is the light one is working in, what focal length is the lens and what ISO are you shooting? There is no one stock answer for shutter speed and waterfalls!
Since the water was running slowly this day and I had some foreground, I stopped down my aperture and also took my ISO down to Lo on the opening shot. When I took my first photo workshop, many years ago, it was with John and Barbara Gerlach in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we shot lots of waterfalls. I learned from one of the best at that time, by spot metering the white part of the waterfall and adding a stop of light in manual exposure mode. This generally gave me a good exposure but the dreamy look is contingent on the speed at which one allows the shutter to lag and the flow of the water, so experimenting is essential.
Now you can also play with choosing an in camera multiple exposure to create a similar look and stack up the water flow. I love this waterfall also for the ability to make intimate compositions of the mossy rocks decorated with the yellow beech leaves and the veil like streams of water .
f-11, 1/5 sec, ISO 640, 300mm focal length

f-8, 1.3 sec, ISO 80, 250 focal length
f-11, 1/5 sec, ISO 640, focal length 82mm popped contrast with Nik Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast

Monday, October 15, 2012

West Virginia in Black and White Nik Silver Efex Pro2

This weekend was a get away weekend for me with a small group of photographers from the Baltimore Camera Club. When reviewing images today, I processed a group of them in black and white. I really like using the color filters in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, as if using filters on your lens with Black and White film..they can dramatically pop a black and white image, shifting tonalities in a certain color spectrum. When making images in bright sun light the filters can really enhance the image during processing.

I saw the barn above from the road we were traveling on, and wanted to see if I could get a shot of it so, I quickly turned down a dirt road...and yes it was on private property but not signed "No Trespassing", as many of the West Virginia dirt roads are! Moments later we were confronted by the owners and after some conversation they agreed we could make images on their land. There was also an old house which was their grandparents home, that had fallen into a state of disrepair so with their blessings we made some images of the house as well. Thanks!

We ended the day of shooting and driving, as the sun was setting on Seneca Rocks. It was a long but fun day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Random thoughts..and a few car shots

ISO 6400, F-5.6, Shutter 1/20 sec, Hand held, VR on Nikon lens 28-300 at 170mm, WB auto. Processed with Nik Define and Photoshop
Headed to  the beach on Friday and after packing the Jeep, cutting the grass before leaving home, making the 3 hour drive and unpacking the Jeep...I was ready to chill. But the hot rods were in town and the weather report looked bad for Sunday when I had hoped to get some shots and just wander among the cars enjoying chatting with the owners and looking at their cars, so......after a quick nap, I headed out. It is so cool to see these cars packed onto a few parking lots in a couple blocks in Ocean City, Md. I go to the Burger King on Ocean Highway in OC, where they park at night and the sidewalks fill with people in lawn chairs watching the cruisers go up and down Ocean Highway. It really is a blast! Anyway, it was dark and I was lazy, had the 28-300 on the camera, usually shoot with the 70-200 in this situation to gain a stop of shutter and its just a finer lens, but I just grabbed the camera with the lens that was on, and no tripod due to crowd issues. It was more about being there than getting some shots; just Love the sound of the engines!! When there was enough ambient light I made a few shots. The opening shot was possible because there was a pick up truck parked directly across from this rod with a large traffic stop light lit up in the truck bed casting super light on the grill. I had to wait as people walked between the truck and the rod to get get a shot, and had the camera set to Continuous High shooting mode and made a series hoping one would be crisp enough to work with.
ISO 6400, F-5, Shutter 1/50 sec Hand held VR on Nikon lens 28-300 at 85mm, Processed with Nik Define and Photoshop

I enjoy a good paint job on a car and really love to see beautifully painted art on the cars. In processing this image I decided to use free transform in Photoshop. Since the car was unevenly lit the right side of the image was darker and I didn't like it. I tried working a selection to lighten the darker side and do some cloning but I was not getting a result that satisfied me. Because the design was in fact symmetrical I selected the half of the image  that was well lit and transformed it to the right side that wasn't. I also cropped a little off the top and made a few other color sat, luminance, and lens vignette filter, adjustments in Photoshop. Here's the before shot from the raw file. Processing images is a large part of making a good image. I spent the afternoon yesterday helping a "new to processing" photographer work through some processing steps to enhance his images. He has been shooting for decades but recently decided to revive his love of photography and work in the digital world. It reminded me of how much there really is to know about processing images and how intimidating it can be to a new photographer, but you just have to jump in!!
Raw Unprocessed file for comparison.

ISO 6400, F-5.6, Shutter 1/25 sec, Hand held, VR on Nikon lens 28-300 at 230mm, WB auto. Processed with Nik Define and Photoshop

Leaning against a fast food wall to steady myself I loved the way the neon lights highlighted the curves of the fender on this one! and it had some pretty wheels too! was Red! I didn't mind the black graphic of the fender well, it added a cool shape feature to the image for me, accentuating the wheels.

Sticking with the pretty paint, pretty wheels and light from the shop nearby, this beauty a 65 Chevy Impala totally customized with a 450 engine, was a beauty. I spent some time talking with the owner and restorer of this one. So much fun, looking at the creativity of the restoration.

This was a what if shot....what if I try to just capture the lights off that paint. Fun...if I was on a tripod this one would be sharp font to back and I would have chosen a higher f-stop, but because I needed a least the same shutter I had been getting I could not stop down. I liked it anyway!
Fun night looking at the cruisers. Now its RAVENS time! What a great day, the Ravens play and the Orioles do too! Perfect on a rainy Sunday! Go O's and Ravens!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cumbres-Toltec Railroad

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway runs from Chama New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad was originally constructed in 1880 as part of the Rio Grande’s San Juan Extension, which served the silver mining district of the San Juan mountains in southwestern Colorado.Today it operates strictly as a tourist attraction covering 64 miles through scenic mountains. This was our first shooting location when we reached Chama. The train was scheduled to depart at 10:00 am so we made it out early and shot around the rail yard until the train departed. The morning light and steam created a great opportunity to shoot the train as it sat in the yard making preparations for the trip north.

Shooting through the train windows as people boarded was fun.  The reflection of the yellow station gave the scene and interesting look.
After the train left the station we made our way up the mountain in our vehicles stopping along the way to capture some of the beautiful scenery. 
We made a stop and waited for the west bound train from Antonito to pull into sight. It was fun waiting to see it come around the bend with its billowing smoke.
It pulled out of sight after adding some water to make steam for the rest of the rip to Chama. It was a fun morning with my tour participants shooting the old railway.  I will be heading back to New Mexico next fall with another photo tour. Hope you can join me there!