Canon 5D Mark II, 14mm F/1.4, f/3.5, 1/4000, iso 320
Post processing with Topaz Adjust 4.0, HDR Pop Preset
A week ago in this post the ever wonderful and lovely Puna issued me an "HDR Challenge." She decided to try out Topaz herself, and one of her first subjects was a night scene.
Just in case you have not heard of HDR... It stands for High Dynamic Range. Dynamic range is the range of light that a given imaging device (like a camera, or film, or your eye) can capture at one moment. Digital sensors surpassed film some time ago. But they are no match for our eyes. Our brain renders a scene and we see an amazing range. When you take a picture you are surprised of areas that are either too dark or too light. HDR attempts to mimic what we see. But it can be overdone.
And it requires yet more software. And it requires that you take several shots at varying exposures, so that you have the entire range. And you then sandwich these 3 or 5 (or more!) shots. For someone that doesn't like to spend a lot of time in post processing, this doesn't sound like fun.
Topaz Adjust can create a lot of different looks, and one of them is an HDR simulation. I have seen it referred to as "cheap HDR." Whatever, you get an HDR look out of a single shot. And indeed this is much like the view I had when standing next to this building.
Click on the continue link to see the original and a bit more information on Topaz.
Canon 5D Mark II, 35mm F/1.4L, f/5.6, 1/500, iso 640
This image was made during our trip down to the Central Coast in January. This is a pretty famous beach, photographically speaking - Garrapata, near Monterey.
There were a few other serious photographers hanging around, but no one was enthusiastic because there were so few clouds in the sky. Evidently when we have Winter storms is the best time to be there. But I carried on as this was the time I would be there!
I tried several points of view. For this one, I wanted to take advantage of the 35mm on the full frame 5D2. It was very misty, I had to keep cleaning off the front of the lens. I shot this particular frame to include the water surging into the foreground.
For post processing, I didn't do much. Tiny bit of saturation and vibrance. Then I did some de-clarity painting over the water to increase the misting effect. I really like how the lens captured the sun's reflection on the water.
Being at a place for the first time, not knowing when you'll be back, you are so wrapped up in the moment, trying to squeeze out every thing you can photographically. And everyone wants to go eat dinner. Seeing this image... kind of takes me back and I can appreciate how lovely that evening was.
My father in law passed away about three weeks ago. As a photographer and daily blogger, life's events that come my way sometimes take on an interesting "twist." I wonder how I might capture the event, talk about it here. I'm sure it's the exact same thing as say a songwriter. Something happens, they write a song about it. James Taylor's classic "Fire and Rain" was written at the death of his friend Suzanne, and he also wrote a song when his brother died.
I of course have many pictures of him. But that wouldn't interest most of my readers, it would just be a picture of a guy they don't know.
I took my camera to his service, which was held at the Moose Lodge near his home. I didn't know what to expect, but I hoped to perhaps capture some great shots of his friends celebrating his life. I did get some, but they weren't really speaking to me.
For several weekends now we have been driving up to his home and clearing out his life, making way for the next owner of his home. This is emotionally and physically hard work (note to self: clear out my own crap so my kids don't have to!). Yesterday we planned that it would hopefully be the last day.
I took my camera with a mind to capture the view from his back deck. This is the special place I remember from going there, having my kids be little toddlers walking on the grass and so on. When it would turn to dusk and the golfers were gone, we'd take the kids down to the green and let them putt. I can still see the look on their faces when they felt that amazing, smooth grass.
I was thinking that a print of this view would be a nice present to my brother-in-law, who helped him buy the home some 17 years ago or so.
And this morning, laying in bed, thinking about what I would post today, the answer came easily. Grandpa's view. A lovely image, lots of memories, just how I want to remember that place and him.
If you want to comment, or read a little more about him, click on the continue link and I'll tell a good story.
Canon 5D Mark II, 180mm F/3.5, f/3.5, 1/100, iso 400
If you have been around my blog for a while, you know how much I like abstracts. And I really like finding a subject that I can turn into an abstract. That's what we have here. Here at home we received a lovely floral arrangement, with several Bird of Paradise blooms. My wife wanted a few pictures to later attempt to paint them in water colors.
I took those, but then became excited with what I was seeing when I got in close with the big macro. I imagined that if I applied some negative Clarity in Lightroom, I'd have one of those abstracts I like so much. That, and a touch of Vibrance and Saturation, and here we are. Luscious, eh?
My good friend Puna has been putting up so many nice images of Washington DC, I thought today I'd break out one of my own. My last trip there was in 2004. Too long ago, eh? I would surely like to go again.
Obviously there weren't too many people hanging around the Lincoln Memorial when we were there. It was a brutally hot and humid day, no doubt that had something to do with it.
For this image, I began with the LR preset called "silvery toned bw." I then just added a few brushstrokes to take down some hot spots (the base of the statue). All of maybe 60 seconds. I have to say I like this one very much.
I'm taking a break today from my attempts at daily fine art, to celebrate the arrival of spring. I wanted to find a type of image I call "slice `o life." A moment in time, a vignette, that captures my imagination. My wife and I were strolling around Vancouver when I spied this particular scene. I liked everything about it except the plaque, and there wasn't much I could do about that.
Warm sun, a book, hot drink, pretty girl, water all around... Life is good! ("Don't worry dear, I'm just taking this picture because it is art.")
UPDATE! It's good to have smart friends who are Photoshop wizards. Click on the continue link for the Bob Cornelis version!
I'm on a roll with this Dream theme, aren't I? This image was taken in Everett WA at Payne Field, which is adjacent to the Boeing factory. We were there on a tour. Which I highly recommend you take if you are in the area! Seeing what Boeing does makes you proud to be an American (assuming you are one in the first place, hey the Dream Tomorrow blog is international!).
Anyway, as we were completing the tour, returning on the tour bus, our guide announced "Folks, if you'll wait just a bit, you'll be in for a real treat, the Dreamlifter will be departing soon!"
So the Dreamlifter is a converted Boeing 747. They use it to gather huge sub-assemblies for the 787 that are built all over the world. For example, it was calculated that it would take 33 days to ship the wings built in Japan to Washington. With the Dreamlifter, it takes only 8 hours. Might cost a bit more though eh?
I took this shot as it had taken off and flew away from us. The Topaz treatment is courtesy Adjust 4, the Sketch-Color preset, with some additional saturation. I really love what it did with this one.
Well, click on the continue link for the usual "pre-Topaz" version, along with a shot of the plane on the ground so you can get a feel for the immensity involved. Oh, and here is a wikipedia page if you would like to know more.
Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm F/1.2, f/1.2, 1/320, iso 500
Do you know what "perfect pitch" is? It's the ability to reproduce a musical note "without any external reference." Allow me to explain. I was introduced to this by a girl I knew in college. I could produce any sound, and she would say "Oh b-flat" or "D" or whatever. Then she could pick up a violin and just play the same note. Or walk over to a piano and hit that single key. And she wasn't one of those "idiot savants" either. I found this both fascinating and unnerving. This ability is completely innate, it cannot be taught. How does one possess such a talent?
Introducing my niece Megan. What I have seen Megan do over the past couple months reminds me of perfect pitch. She just started taking pictures recently. After her mom saw that she was serious about this interest, she bought her a nice Canon DSLR for Christmas (way to go mom!). When she started showing me her pictures, well let me just say I was quite surprised.
I only know a few photographers in real life (but as I have mentioned on the blog previously I hope to meet many more of the friends I have made blogging). All of us are making some nice images, but I have had an assumption that we each have to work for our craft. Speaking for myself, to the extent that I'm succeeding with pleasing images, it has all been hard work. Lots of shooting, looking at others' work, doing all I can (within the bounds of time available for the hobby) to improve.
And that is what is so fascinating about Megan. She is a total natural. She has composition skills that are innate, creative and wonderful. I hate her! No, I'm kidding! I love her, and her talent.
Yesterday at a family event I lent her my 70-200 zoom and she walked outside to, you know, ummm, take a few pictures. Oh boy. She comes back with images that knocked my socks off. I mean she even made a cool composition out of a handicap symbol painted on asphalt!
And get this: she really doesn't know the technical side of photography yet. She's making all these killer images and she can't tell you how aperture, shutter speed and ISO work together! Isn't that fantastic? She just naturally composes and creates in her own beautiful way. It's such an organic way to evolve into a photographer.
She just inherited a cheap old Polaroid camera from her grandfather, that had a few pieces of film left in it. Probably 20 years old. She LOVES this camera, and makes the image above with it. CRAZY talent if you ask me!
Well, time to see for yourself, you can view her images on flickr, here is the link to her photostream. Oh yes, you will also be impressed with the words you find there. It is going to be fun watching her develop, no doubt leaving those of us who have to work hard for our art in the dust! Go Megan go, you and your perfect photographic pitch!