Shadows Of A Gazebo

In my recent adventures I stated I went to national parks along with regional parks. This was taken at Brookside Gardens when I ventured there for the day.

Normally this gazebo has someone in it so I don’t bother attempt shooting it. The day I went the gardens were empty so I had no problem setting up the shot and taking it.

This image is HDR. It was the first time I attempted one with the Nikon D810 and I could not figure out how to bracket with it. I never really read the manual. So I was manually moving the exposure 2 stops for every shot. I later learned how to bracket.

I used Aurora 2017 to do the processing which I am liking more and more since I can take the images straight into Photoshop. This means no saving a file then opening it again in Photoshop. This improves the workflow tremendously. When I am in Photoshop I can do the extra bits I like and call the image done.

Enjoy.

Gazebo

The Dawn Tree

I discovered that I do not live that far from Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. It’s an American Civil War National Park. So I woke up at an unholy hour and drove the hour to get there to do some sunrise shots.

One of the things about battlefields having visited a view now is that they are flat. You need wide open spaces to maneuver your army back then. While there may be slight hills here and there you don’t have a lot of features and those that tend to standout.

The sun was rising and when I was getting out of my car I saw the tree and the sun. I quickly grabbed my gear and was walking and pulling out tripod legs as fast as I could. Once I got into position I started to take the pictures. I didn’t want to miss the light.

It’s obvious that this is a HDR image. I have started to shoot with it again just to get into practice and put Aurora 2017 through its paces. For once I did the mapping myself. One of the joys of HDR images is that you get halos around objects so it took a lot of work. Even still it’s not perfect. The once nice feature about Aurora 2017 is that you can export straight into Photoshop so it makes some of the image cleanup easier without having to save a file.

Enjoy.

Dawn Tree

A View For Three

I never look at the photos I take most of the time until well after I have taken them. This means less emotional attachment. The downside is that sometimes I don’t see the issues with the photos.

A lot of the stuff I shot at Meadowlark Gardens was blown out. While it works for my original intent I am struggling to find images that are usable. Part of this was me just not being familiar with the Nikon D810 after not using it for so long and the other was me learning to use a circular polarizer again. In retrospect I should have used a neutral density filter but you work with what you have.

I was still able to produce this image. It’s of a smaller lake that mimic the Virginia wetlands environment. There is a trail that leads all around it and this is on the backside of it. With the weather being windy the park was quiet so I was able to shoot a lot without having to worry about someone walking into my frame.

When I started to edit this I just kept working at it till I was happy. I have no idea what I did and how I did it. It’s just one of those edits where you go with the flow and see where it leads you.

Enjoy.

View For Three

Sparkle In The Spray

I returned to Meadowlark Gardens on a long holiday weekend.┬áSince I no longer live in Virginia I was worried about paying out of state fees but they never asked so I happily paid my usual $5 and in I went. I think they are so popular that they don’t bother with where you live now.

I was there to shoot something specific but I saw the fountain and figured why not. The light as you can see is harsh because of the time of the day but it was working for me in other ways. I was also shooting with my Nikon D810 which I had not shot with in over month because I had been using my Sony A7R. So some settings I thought I was using weren’t working for some of the images.

Still I had a good time and I got some usable images and this is one of them. The I liked how the spray was was sparkling in the sunlight so I make sure my shutter speed was up so I could freeze it and fired off a few frames.

I had to really dodge the fountain spray to get it to pop like it did. Then I masked in a bit here and there till I got things the way I wanted it. Once I was happy I called it done.

Enjoy.

Sparkle in the Spray

Flower Squares – Part Two

Here are the second half of the flowers I published yesterday. These were all taken in Portland, Oregon at the public Rose Garden. If it wasn’t for people I worked with wanting to get there I doubt I would have ever taken the photos.

There is a bit of a story behind editing these images. It almost didn’t happen. My hands were hurting from lugging around my tripod and Nikon D810 earlier in the day. While it’s not super cold, my tripod is aluminum so all that cold goes right into my hand. So when it came time to edit my hand was screaming in pain. While it only takes a few minutes per image by the time I was done doing 16 I was ready to call it quits.

Enjoy.

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Flower Squares – Part One

I have been getting requests for flowers from my Mom almost daily. Since she reads and comments daily I’ll humor her not for just one day but two!

The whole flower thing started when I was a new at photography. I had no real clue what I was doing. If I was outside it was flowers. If I was inside it was my cat. Over the years my photography got better and I realized I hated flowers because I learned to shoot other things. The cat – well she was old and had an extremely charmed life.

So I don’t take a lot of flowers photos anymore. When I was in Portland, Oregon they were doing the Rose Festival. I already published a few sets of the roses. This was the B roll stuff that I didn’t select in the first cut. Some have errors resulting from myself or the camera. Others have issues with the backgrounds. Still, I knew I had them and to make my Mom happy I just went ahead and did the edits.

Going to split this up into 2 sets. There are 16 images totals. This will also buy me some time to do additional editing of all the new stuff I have shot recently. I’m on the road starting this Friday. So I need to preload all the images which means a lot of time sitting in front of the computer and editing

Speaking of editing flowers are easily done. Nothing special here. Contrast adjustments and then dodging and burning. Called it done.

Enjoy.

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Don’t Cross The Streams

It seems I have been obsessed with movie titles or lines for post titles lately. This one came from Ghostbusters. If you have never seen the original or the remake go watch. It will make sense.

This is the Navy Pier from across Lake Michigan. You can see the skywheel that I have previously published images of before. I was all the way down the Chicago River Walk near some marina and I took this image.

With the image being so dark really with a lot of extra stuff I went for a 2.7:1 ratio. I meant to do 2.4:1 but this crop gives it a more panoramic feel to it.

I have been using Aurora 2017 more lately and it does a really good job creating HDR images with only 1 source image. Normally I mask in bits but with this image being black with various coloured lights I left it alone as HDR no masking.

Still wanting a bit more detail I masked in a layer from Intensify CK to bring out a bit more details in the light trails. Once I was happy called it done.

Enjoy.

Don't Cross The Streams

Resistance Is Futile

This is one of the new images I shot over the last few weeks. I went hiking in Great Falls on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.

I had my hiking boots on but I had no idea how much rock climbing I was going to end up doing. There are many side trails off the main tow path trail of the C&O Canal. So when I ventured off I was crawling over tall granite rocks while balancing my tripod and my Nikon D810 which was attached to it. Not the easiest thing in the world to do.

I got down close to the river’s edge right near the rapids. As I hiked along I got tons of shots that I would have never gotten without going off the safe trail.

I went monochrome with this image because it was so bright. Even with my polarizing filter I was still dealing with the light reflection off the rocks. I could have used a neutral density but just wanted to keep it simple with the polarizer.

All the editing was done in Lightroom with me only adding tone curves adjustments in Photoshop along with dodging and burning.

Enjoy.

Rapids and Rocks

Buildings Of Baltimore

I could have titled this Oshiro 35mm F/2 lens review but that’s boring. Still, all the images were shot using the Oshiro 35mm F/2.

I had purchased the lens because I needed a relatively fast 35mm lens for my Sony A7R. Since they don’t make E mount version I got the Nikon version and adapter for Sony E.

With the lens in hand I set off to Baltimore on one of the hottest days of the year in August. I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was as Baltimore is on the water and tends to be cooler. Wrong!

I still managed to shoot for a couple hours just using the Oshiro 35mm and my A7R with focus peaking turned on.

I’ll let the images speak for themselves. I’m sure some of it was me handholding the camera and some minor motion blur. It was brutally hot.

Since there is no EXIF data other than shutter speed and ISO I know I had the camera at ISO 200 and I think I had the aperture at F/5.6. So corner softness is all the lens.

In all I have had worse lenses. If I had to do it again, I would buy a Minolta MD 35mm and use an adapter.

Enjoy.

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Streaking Down The River Of Light

This was taken while I was in Chicago. There are tour boats going up and the Chicago River doing tours that finish in Lake Michigan and then they return to their docks. Most are based at Michigan Avenue.

I shot this while I was walking towards Lake Michigan and I had 3 boats coming towards me. With it being night and the lens wide open it was still a 4 second exposure.

For editing I had to do a composite image. The first image with the boats the way I wanted them didn’t have the buildings in focus. The second image did. So a masked in the buildings from the second image. Then it was just some standard editing. Dodged the light reflections and a bit of the sky wheel. Then I masked in some preset from Intensify Pro and called it a day.

Enjoy.

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