Gold Fading To Blue

This is a sunset on the Caloosahatchee River. I have published similar images before but I always masked stuff in. This is straight out of the camera relatively speaking.

Not going to write up too much about this. It’s one of those images that you get lucky to capture with a camera and it turns out well. It’s just being at the right place at with a camera and a tripod.

Editing wise nothing but loading my A7R camera profiles with the 24-240 lens profile. Doing a bit of gradient works in Lightroom. Once in Photoshop put in a fairly aggressive curve and then just some local dodging and burning. Done.


Gold Fading To Blue

Around The Bench

I shot this at Brookside Gardens at some point but I honestly don’t remember when. Could have been Spring or Summer I really have no idea anymore.

To be honest this was a compromise photo to fill out the week. I am working on a series that is an absolute nightmare to edit and I just hit the wall with it so I stopped and stepped away. I just started to go through the archives until I found something I knew I could knockout quickly and easily. It was then I stumbled on this image.

Editing was straightforward. Add the camera defaults, put in a few gradients and then off to Photoshop. A quick curves adjustment and then local work to add contrast here and there. The most I did was desaturate the purples a bit. It was then off to sharpening and done.


Around the Bench

Koi Las Vegas

I shot this when I was on my last trip to Las Vegas. I was working an event there so I got permission to shoot the photo from the representative at Planet Hollywood. It made for a much nice experience instead of worrying about a random security person coming up and asking me what I was doing.

I don’t have a lot of love for Vegas. I got shipped there for work. I only went once for personal for a friends party. If I could avoid Vegas I do. Too many people lose their minds about it being some adult fun capital. Sure, it’s a fun capital provided you don’t need to worry about a bank account. Everything is stupid expensive in Las Vegas.

The reason I took this image is I would walk past the Koi entrance everyday going to working at some unholy hour in the morning. When I got the opportunity to ask to take the shot I jumped on it. It’s not often you get permission from a casino to shoot something on a tripod.

This is a HDR image. I did the conversion using Aurora 2017 and just manually played with the sliders. Once I was happy there it was into Photoshop for some dodging and burning and a lot of straightening and cropping. Then it was time to clean up some stuff I didn’t want in the image and called it done.


Koi Las Vegas

Fade To The Stars

I have published the landscape version of this photo before. I figured why not publish the portrait version. You get a whole different perspective of the image.

The image shifts all over the place color wise. You go from the black water to the bright bridge light reflecting off it. Then you have the bridge itself and the buildings in the distant. They all twinkle like stars at night. However, there are real stars visible. That isn’t noise in the sky, those are real planets or stars. Rare that I would have captured that with so much ambient light bleeding into the night sky but I got lucky I guess.

This is a straight up standard edit. Nothing fancy going on. No masking or layers to enhance the photo. I just put the contrast in via a curves adjustment then some local dodging and burning. I did desaturate the water where the lights reflected. It was a bit too much. Hit save and done.

EnjoyFade to the Stars


Blue Hour Clouds

Since I was playing in the archives I came across some night shots I never published. This would be one of them from when I was in Fort Myers, Florida. Which I will be heading to in about 30 days.

This is is the magical blue hour that photographers talk about. While it may look like a product of rain or a storm the reality is that is just the clouds coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and with it the evening breeze in Fort Myers.

I liked this photo because of the cool clouds in the sky and the streak of light from a boat coming down/up (hell if I know) the Caloosahatchee River. It made for an interesting photos so I went ahead and just edited it.

Speaking of editing I didn’t mask anything in. I just hit my camera defaults and then went about through and made my usual Lightroom adjustments. Into Photoshop and the usual curves adjustment. I then just went through and did some local dodging and burning for local contrast. Quick sharpen and done.


Blue Hour

Vertically Natured

Since I was in the archives with the Portland, Oregon photo from yesterday I figured why not see what else was there. For the flower lover(s) out there I clicked on the stuff I shot at the Portland Rose Gardens.

It’s strange what I will and will not let through anymore. I know these images aren’t great. Still, I figured why not. Sometimes you need to let go and just go with what you want. I know there are flaws in these images but most people looking at them will never pick them up. It doesn’t mean I just rushed the edits and said to hell with it. It just means, I’m not going to worry about if it’s an epic masterpiece or not. I have shot them and edited them. Sometimes you just edit and publish image because people like it.

These were shot on either a Sony A7R or a Sony RX100M3. They were processed the same way. Camera defaults applied in Lightroom, then gradients and other fun stuff. Then into Photoshop for a curves adjustment for tone and contrast. Local working with dodging and burning and done. Sometimes one more white balance in Camera Raw and and a hue/saturation depending on what I was looking for.


PS – If they look crispy it’s because they are. I am now just applying the sharpening in full res and letting Photoshop sort it out when I down res it for the web.

PPS – If you are looking at sky and wondering why there is so much variation. It really did shift that much in the couple hours I was there shooting.

Portland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose Garden


Bridge Among The Clouds

I took this photo in Portland out of an Uber while a group of us were heading to dinner at Pok Pok. They specialize in food from South East Asia and in particular North/North East areas of Thailand. If you know Thailand that means Issan! I will be making a visit to Udon Thani this year so will see how authentic their fare is. I will tell you that if you have never been to Thailand but enjoy Thai cuisine most of the stuff you have eaten is from Issan.

The whole reason I finally edited this photo was I was watching a Photoshop video where an image was shot out of a moving train in Tokyo. I thought I have a similar image to this that I rejected so why not give it an edit. Was more for fun than anything.

Shooting out of a moving vehicle is fun. You need to make sure the camera focuses on something relatively static and that your shutter speed is up fast enough to freeze that. You still get some blur indicating motion.

When I went to edit I wanted to make this about the clouds. Luckily I had locked focus so I had them frozen. This made things fairly straightforward.

Started with my usual camera profile (Sony RX100M3) and then just did some quick adjustments. Mainly using gradients to bump clarity and dehaze in the sky. Then it was into Photoshop for a curves adjustment and then local working using dodge and burn. Final bit was getting the sky to look a more natural blue so a quick hue/saturation to bring it down and called it done.


PS – No more watermarks. This will be explained sometime in the upcoming weeks.

Bridge Among Clouds

Cutting Through

This is from Great Falls earlier this year when I went out for a New Year’s hike with my Sony A7R and a polarizing filter. The weather was nice and it wasn’t that crowded so it was a pleasant day out.

One of the things I have been late to the game with has been polarizing filters. Sure, you can somewhat reproduce the results with editing software but there is still something about a good polarizing filter that makes an image pop.

I have been using step rings for all my filters. This works great but I am really lazy and it’s one more more thing to remember to carry with me. I was surfing on Amazon and somehow I got recommendation for Amazon Basics filters. The in-house brand for Amazon is usually decent quality and the filters were very inexpensive so I just bought a complete set. Think from 82mm to 52mm was all of around $80. For the price and quality, you can’t complain and now I can be lazy and go with one filter for my various lens.

Editing wise this is really out of the camera. I didn’t go fancy. The polarizing filter did the the heavy lifting in the sky and then I just ran gradients to for clarity and dehaze to bring out the clouds. Once I had my basic edits done it was off to Photoshop where I put in a slight curve and then just local adjustments using dodge and burn.


Cutting Through

Sunrise On A Gazebo

I took two different shots of the gazebo at Antietam. One from the front and this one. Considering the light I guess I didn’t take them that far apart.

If there was a hell for photo editing this image is likely involved. I have edited this image at least 10 times. This is finally the version I settled on.

Part of the problem was the light and how the camera metered it. It did some really funky things and I minimized them as much as possible. I won’t tell you what they are but they are there. Then I had some crap that I didn’t want in the image and thought I be slick and clone stamp it out. That turned things even worse. Finally, no matter what I did HDR or not HDR is just kept looking like ass.

This edit I took a master source file and did my usual edits in Lightroom then brought it into Photoshop. I then created 2 layers. The first layers I edited it as I normally would any other file. Curves adjustment and the local work with dodge and burn. Second layer I opened in in Aurora HDR and then started in on that. I just kept playing with sliders until I was happy.

Once I had the two layers I started masking bits in here and there that I wanted. I had to contend with blown color channels, highlights, and blacks clipping. To get around it I masked in the darker “normal” layer with various opacities. Then I did some more local work with dodging and burning until I finally said no more. The last bit was a crop to get rid of the garbage I knew I could not clone stamp out. Then called it done.


Dawn on a Gazebo

Road To Yonder

Title came from a comic I read as a kid. Guy walks up to two other guys and asks for directions. One of the men answers and and says ‘It’s yonder’. The man asking for direction leaves. The other man who didn’t talk then asks the man that gave directions if he actually knew where he sent the other man. He replied, ‘Always wondered where yonder is’.

This isn’t the most fabulous image I ever took in my life. In fact, it’s more of a Monday image and I was playing around so might as well publish it. There are lots of flaws with it but I’ll let it go. Part of this is me wanting to avoid Photoshop and Lightroom right now after having to reinstall them to fix the latest Adobe nightmare that somehow insists that my Camera Raw is not in sync between the two.

I do find it ironic that I raged against HDR and then I turned around and made a HDR image. In this case it worked as the source images were relatively static. There is some motion in the sky but it works so I didn’t bother with it.

This was taken at Antietam Battlefield at some watch tower thing. I climbed to the top and has it to myself so I setup my tripod and fired off a bunch of shots since I had the luxury of time. Was rather nice not to have to rush to try and get an image in what would normally be a busy spot.

As I indicated this was done in HDR. I only used the -2 and 0 images to create the file. I manually did the settings playing with sliders until I was happy. Then I brought it into freshly reinstalled Photoshop and started adding local adjustments via dodge and burn. Satisfied enough with the result I called it done and hit save.


Road to Yonder