Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow days ~ and a little Snap Art 4

Nikon D4 70-200 lens ISO 100 f22 Processed in Adobe CC with Snapart4 filter applied
I love snow!!! and now when it snows I don't have to be up before the crack of dawn in the store checking to see if we have enough employees to open and dealing with corporate folks! So grateful for that! But it does mean I can get outside, shovel snow away and hit the road with my Jeep and camera, so grateful for that!!! Maryland does have some beautiful countryside but it also has no place to pull off road when you see a beautiful scene, so often you just have to pass it by. This scene is located in a park in Baltimore County. The park is an old homestead the county bought for green space. When I was a child at Christmas time, dad would drive us to my Uncle's home for Christmas day. Our route took us past these wonderful farms along Cromwell Bridge Road. I remember Mom, who was English, saying how lovely they were and reminiscent of her homeland in some way. They had a certain charm and charisma. They also exemplified a social strata which we could only imagine, with horses, barns and large stone homes. Now, this property is open to the public and is falling into disrepair. The fences are beginning to fall down and the once well maintained property is a little more rustic. It is still a great place to go and enjoy the landscape.
The snow all but obscured the high tension power wires that run along the ridge, and I was able to clone out the real distracting ones. Then I applied a little Snap Art 4 filter to achieve the painterly effect. The three tall trees added a point of interest and the fence line just draws you into the scene. The sky was beginning to clear and drifting clouds added a little interest in the white sky.
The image below is the barn on this property and I chose a stronger filter in Snap Art 4, as well as a filter called, Black Gold, in Color Efex Pro to adjust tones.
I would have made a little wider crop of this scene but the plow had been through and left a mess in the little roadway just in front of the barn. Looks like we might miss the snow that was predicted for today.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nik Analog, Nik Color Efex Pro Flypaper presets ~ Summer, what? With only 23 Days til Christmas!!

 Processed in Adobe CC with Nik Analog and Color Efex Pro using one of the new Flypaper presets engineered for Nik Color Efex Pro. I enjoyed the lens flare in the top of this image, it just makes it feel more summer-like to me so I left it there.
Wow, this is going to be a fast holiday season! When I was in retail management, I dreaded a four week holiday days were compressed and the work intensity of each day was magnified. It was so challenging keeping up with customer demands, filling shelves, straightening racks, super long work hours and no days off! It is hard to believe there are just now 23 days til Christmas! I did some baking and decorating in the house as well as continuing along with my photography file management project all the while enjoying the sounds of Christmas music, that always gets me in the spirit!
As I was sorting image files I stopped and had to process a few I never worked on from my day trip to Cape May in the early fall.  I wanted to run a few through the new Nik Analog software and try some new Flypaper designed presets in Color Efex Pro.
The October day in Cape May was very unique, hot and summer like,  residents filled the beach. I enjoy capturing back lit subjects and this geographic location made it perfect for shooting back lit subjects in the late afternoon.
 Processed in Adobe CC with Nik plugin, Analog, and Color Efex Pro Flypaper preset. 
Cape May Ferry processed in Adobe CC with Nik Analog.
The ride on the Cape May Ferry was delightful, with no summer time traffic or crowds. The awnings for the back deck were still in place giving me an opportunity to make a simple, but summer like image.
So there you have it, summer is gone, the beach house is closed...time to get shopping, decorating and card writing! Only 23 days til' Christmas!
Oh and my first Christmas Card arrived in the mailbox on Friday!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Photography~ From Pure Black and White to Fanciful to Simple and Textured its all good!

Black Friday....and I am working on file management! And if I keep finding files I have processed and decide to make a blog out of them I will never get it done! But I wanted to share a few shots from my November beach workshop and some thoughts on imagery. The opening image was shot late in the afternoon when the shadows are long and the sand glistens. There are so many options for  processing images it is almost mind boggling. I thought this simple scene would make an image that was perfect for a monochrome conversion. The scene lacked color, and a strong focal subject of interest but it had lots of great lines and contrast in textures and light. I left the shadows in at the top of the image because I liked them, I was torn on that decision, crop or not crop and could have easily cropped them off...but I chose to  leave them there....any thoughts??? The image was converted to black and white in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and Adobe CC.
The image below I used perspective crop and  straightened out the fence line where it meets the frame edge as well as cropping off the shadows at the top of the image. While I like the clarity of the image the first one I like better...although I can't exactly say why except I think the cropped version feels very  static to me.

In the spirit of play I always think about using the "swipeing" technique when I have a subject that lends itself. In the image above, the backlit beach fences were perfect as the light really defined their form. I pushed the colors in Adobe Camera Raw and added a little more motion using a  wave filter in Photoshop, then it made me smile!

......And when the light is sweet but the sky is bald think perfect for textures! Here I added two texture layers from FlyPaper Textures in Photoshop and added the sun with the desktop App LensFlare for Mac to make a more interesting image. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome and appreciated.
Oh and if you like Flypaper Textures when visiting their site, you can use the code KarenM at check out for a little discount on your texture purchases. OK back to file management!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Longer... Ocean Exposures...

f-22 13 sec ISO 100 70-200 mm lens at 70mm

On my last full day by the ocean I spent the late afternoon playing with my Heliopan neutral density filter...trying to slow down what was a very gentle ocean to a dreamy wash of sea, shore and color. As the day faded into evening the eastern sky changed to a beautiful soft pastel color palette.
f-22 10 sec ISO 100 70-200mm lens at 70mm

I loved the way the water rolled over the sand bar that had formed by the surf line as the reflection of light from the sky added color when the surf drew back into the sea.

I really enjoyed using this filter and playing by the sea with my camera for one last time this year.
Next year I am offering a photography tour in the beautiful Palouse Region of Washington State.
If you might be interested Click on the link here for more information and registration.

Wishing everyone a very happy 

Thanksgiving and a Wonderful Holiday Season!

I am thankful for your past patronage!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ocean Impressions~ Play is good!

When the sky is bald the surf is slow....its time to get creative! Usually the beach, at the change of seasons, delivers great skies and interesting surf but this past weekend was different. We had a big high pressure system sitting overhead and a westerly breeze. The sun rose bright on the horizon with only a few little clouds that looked like dust spots instead of clouds....but at least we were by the ocean and with our cameras!
After the sun rose in the early morning light, we were making images of the gentle surf and shells. Then the sea captured one of the shells. I had my high waders on but I could not see where it was swept away. Thinking it was gone forever, we continued shooting the waves and the other shell.
In the spirit of play, I decided to do something a little different. We have all done swipes, and we have all done in camera multiple exposures, (those that have that in camera feature) but how about a swiping multiple exposure?? So here they are! Fun, I enjoyed seeing the result with multiple horizon lines, which added a subtle graphic element, the stacked up surf when there was very little and a wash of colors in the palette that is the beach.
Standing in the surf with my camera hand held I set my aperture to f-22,  a shutter speed of 1/10 sec at ISO 50 on the D4. I set the multiple exposure menu to series so I could just keep making swipes instead of going into the menu after each image. I love that feature on my Nikon. Later that morning after begging for the sea to please return my shell, it was in deed tossed back on the shore about 20 feet away and I saw it roll in. I quickly ran and retrieved it from the shore! By 8:00 we were all hungry and we headed on to breakfast! It was a fun morning helping workshop participants make camera settings, understand their histograms and capture images by the sea.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Impressions.......Swipes

Yesterday I taught two field workshops for my Johns Hopkins classes, one in the morning for DSLR shooters and one in the afternoon for iPhone shooters. Both sessions had talented beginning photographers. I am going to miss teaching next fall at Johns Hopkins as I am finally taking that long promised trip to New England in fall. All my years of working in retail management never allowed me to enjoy an extended vacation in fall in New England as, I was always tied to the "Store!"
When September came, even days off became hard to come by.  It's hard to believe but I have been doing the Hopkins gig now for 5 years...and the years are passing quickly, so with Hopkins blessings and a promise to return to teaching in spring 2015, I am taking next fall 2014 off for a few weeks of travel and personal shooting.
These are a few "swipes" I made yesterday while showing students how to use their cameras in this manner. They felt it was freeing and playful and so do I and play is good very good when it comes to photography! One could make swipes all day long with great subject matter that lends itself to swipes. The canopy of fall leaves was so thick that we could look up into the tree and swipe.

The shot below is one I  made while teaching students how to meter for back lit subjects...the campus is so pretty in fall and yesterday was a beautiful fall day! I will be teaching a day long High Dynamic Range Photography workshop in Frederick, Maryland for Capital Photography Center on November 16. Join me there for a day of shooting and processing......Click here for more info.
I will also be presenting Monday evening November 4 at the Digital Photography Club in Annapolis, if you are near by stop in! Click here for more information.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tall Ships Baltimore "The Great Schooner Race"

The Great Schooner Race, sets sail just south of Baltimore and Races to Portsmouth, Va. in October. The tall ships gather for a "Parade of Sails" into the Baltimore harbor the night before the race begins. I had a photography workshop sponsored by Capital Photography Center, for the "Parade of Sails" and made a few images while working with participants. The sky was a bit dreary so we didn't have any special evening light, but we were happy to see and capture images of these grand sailing vessels and crew! Seeing these tall ships in the harbor makes you think about the times when the harbor was indeed filled with sailing ships like this as sea merchants trading and delivering goods for sale. They are truly a vision of our collective maritime history.
I spotted this crew member on watch high above deck and fixed to the mast as if he was a part of the ship. I wondered, how it felt to fly above the sea like this. I could only imagine, but it looks awesome!
Working the sails requires cat like balance, strength and climbing well as fearlessness!
It was a super evening looking at these grand ships and the folks that sail them, while helping participants capture images and use their cameras!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fun shooting and processing! Alien Skin Snapart3

This weekend was was the fall Crusin' Ocean City Weekend and I had a photo workshop. The weather was a bit dreary and one evening we spent some time processing. One of the software programs I enjoy using is, Snapart3, by Alien Skin. I usually apply their painterly effects but this time I also demonstrated the "Stylize" filter as it seemed just right for these old cars! It cleaned up some background clutter and delivered a fun graphic art image. I like to smile and these images made me do just that. I don't always take my work so seriously, demanding only the finest pure photographic image. I enjoy playing with different options to create new looks, it is fun! I made some unorthodox comps with fun cars that lent themselves to fun processing. One of the workshop participants who knows me pretty well said she saw a blog post coming when I was working on these and she was right!! Here are a few....I am anxiously awaiting the release of Alien Skin Snapart 4 in November!
Stay tuned for more fun processing software!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Beach Play...

Nikon D4 ISO 400 F-16 Shutter 1/100 sec Lens 28-300mm at 44mm 6:26 pm
Been here for a couple days now, and the weather has been like summer! My mission this trip was to work with members of The Photography Club of Cape May for a morning shoot by the ocean in Cape May and to get new drapes installed at the beach house.
Shooting at sundown and sunrise can be a little tricky to get the exposure right for the bright areas in the scene. I tend to use my spot meter and meter the bright area of the sky and set exposure accordingly.
Keeping horizons level and managing where the horizon line intersects the image is important when capturing images by the ocean or bay. The opening image I shot the night before I left for Cape May. I captured it before the sun went down. I was happy with the shot but waited to see what else was going to happen. Those of you who have watched a sunset know some of the best color is a full 20 minutes after the sun has set..and so it was...the next shot was also made that same evening. I switched lenses for the second shot here, so I could get more of the sky in the image.
Nikon D4 ISO 100 f-16 .6 sec Lens 17-35mm at 17mm 6:52 pm

The image below is the first shot of the morning I made to demonstrate how to use bulb mode in early morning light. That is when you can get that dreamy sea look and boy the ocean was flat so today, it was a glass like rendering at a minute and 50 second exposure. The colors were soft pastel and shortly faded out until after the sun rose through the low clouds, then we got some rays! It was a fun morning with some great folks!
Nikon D4 ISO 100 f-11 1minute and 50 seconds (Bulb mode) Lens 28-300mm at 28mm 6:27 am

Nikon D4 ISO 80 f-25 1/8 sec Lens 28-300mm at 62mm 7:17 am

Dottie brought a family shell to the beach so the group could try their hand at capturing a shell by the sea in the draw of ocean water. It was a fun morning. Thanks to The Photography Club of Cape May. If you belong to a club and would like to work out a shoot for your members shoot me an e-mail and lets see what we can work out!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Rodders Revival ~ Hot Rod and Custom Car Show

Nikon D4 f-16 ISO 800  1/250 sec 28-300mm at 32mm focal length hand held VR on.
Saturday I attended The Rodder's Journal Revival ~ Hot Rod and Custom Car Show at the Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland. I first learned about the Rodder's Magazine when conversing with a gentleman in Ocean City this past spring when I was making images of his car. The show at Pimlico was awesome! It was a fabulous day, and there were amazing rods everywhere!
Capturing images at a show like this is difficult due to the crowds, background issues with lots of cars close by and sometimes light. I have found it best to work with my 28-300 mm lens handheld as it allows me to work details and wide angles in a crowded environment outdoors with plenty of light.
My favorite perspective when shooting the cars is low to the ground and shooting front to back, from the side or looking up, using the sky as the background. Often I will just sit down and wait for a moment when there are no people passing by, it requires patience.
Nikon D4 f-8 ISO 800  1/60 sec 28-300mm at 200mm focal length hand held VR on. Processed in Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro 4: Glamor Glow Filter
The new matte satin custom auto paints are fabulous for handling light, they absorb it and reflect it gently minimizing those harsh hots spots typical of highly reflective paint.Shooting custom details is also terrific as the designers crafting these custom looks are truly artists!
Nikon D4 f-22 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 105mm focal length hand held VR on.

I love the curves of the old coupes and enjoy using them as abstract shapes against the sky. Often on really bright paints like this one you have to underexpose to avoid blow out and color issues. When processing these images there is often a lot more dust, chips and imperfections than at first sight. I enlarge the image several times and scroll through all areas looking for dust, lint, fingerprints, chips and imperfections to clone them out.
Nikon D4 f-11 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 72mm focal length hand held VR on. Processed in Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro 4: Glamor Glow Filter

"Reflection management" is also a challenge. I constantly look at the subject especially the chrome parts and in highly reflective paint, to see how reflected subjects are appearing in the shot. Depth of field is also challenging as often we are shooting very close to our subjects so I find f-8 to f-22 works best unless you are looking to create some boca in the shot.
Nikon D4 f-11 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 28mm focal length hand held VR on.

I will often make image compositions in the field that crop out either adjacent cars, people or buildings, leaving a somewhat unusual composition...but I think it is better to get a clean shot with an unusual composition that to get a great comp with lots of distracting backgrounds and picture elements that just don't support the main subject. If you can find them repeating shapes are fun to work with as in the image below. Color is important and bright colors make impactful images. A great paint job is also critical or you will be doing a lot of repair in post processing, selecting the best subjects out of the crowd is also important.
I am marking my calendar for next year for the last week in September to attend this show again! I am leading a Hot Rod Photography Workshop in a couple weeks in Ocean City if you would like to join me check out the link on the side bar of this blog! Or Click Here for more info and registration.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fells Point, Baltimore....A different point of view: People!

Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 300mm f8-1/200 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop.
Saturday I led a morning workshop in Fells Point, in downtown Baltimore. Usually we can count on some interesting sky and harbor activity, but this time the wind was up the water was choppy and the harbor side reflections were not very good. There were no interesting clouds in the sky or boats in the water; there was however a street farmers market with lots of interesting people!
Much like travel photography when you are working in an urban area you have to make the most of what is present. One participant had an objective to work on his people skills so this was a perfect opportunity to shift gears a little and focus on what was most interesting to photograph on this morning. When capturing people portraits, using a telephoto lens allows the background to soften. Stepping back from your subject and selecting a telephoto at 200 or  more works perfectly. The soft overcast light we had off and on, is beautiful for natural portraits minimizing harsh shadows.
This beautiful young girl with paint on her face, was enterprising and talented! She had created a farmers market coloring story book with her own drawings and story lines. She was selling them for $3.00 each. When she told a dad at the market, with four children in tow, the price, he balked a bit, but when she said she had a 2 for $5.00 special he went for it! Now that's talent.
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop.
This woman was face painting and under a white translucent tent with back lighting. The tent softened the overhead daylight while the back light created a nice profile effect. While I loved the purple color, I also enjoyed this image in Black and White. Looking at this image with a critical eye, I might further process it in Photoshop, removing the curl of hair behind her gain a clean profile.
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop with Nik Silver Efex Pro2 plugin.

Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 (Pinhole Filter)

This gentleman was sitting in a chair just enjoying a cool morning with a cigar. while his daughter tended to her vendor tent.  He had a classic look so I chatted with him and he was very willing to pose for the group. There is a little trick to having people allow you to work with them and mostly it involves COMPLIMENTS!!! Tell them something great about them! Break the ice...let them know you are practicing and they would make a great subject then show them the LCD, and always ask for a contact info so you can send them a complimentary file. Getting a contact number or e-mail also means if you want to try and get a photo release you can, and its not on the spot. It gives them time to think about it and you have already given them a great shot of themselves!
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f8-1/200 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop
Then there are the stealth shots, the ones that would only be good totally on the fly, with your subjects unaware they are being photographed.  I spotted this old woman with her coat, cane, cart and hat...walking through the market place. She was the kind of character I like to follow until the scene is what I want. Backgrounds in market spaces are hard to control and in order to make a good shot, backgrounds must be considered. In this shot I love how she was interacting with the produce and even though her great face is not visible, you get the idea and sense her being!
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 28mm f8-1/8000sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop and
Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 
On the fly...this part of the harbor side always has runners going by and in the bright morning light makes for interesting back lit subjects. This is a great spot for helping students understand how to expose for this type of lighting situation. We set our exposure and focus point and wait for a runner to hit the right spot and fire away. 
Getting out and shooting with students is always great fun for me, helping them find subjects, work with the best light and make compositions that really create super shots!
My next field workshop will be in Annapolis...on Sunday September 29 from 7-11 sponsored by Capital Photography Center. Click here for more information and registration...only five spots left open!