Spot of Blue

Took this during a break in the craptastic weather here in Fort Myers, Florida. It was my usual spot but the light and weather made this super interesting.

This image wasn’t enhanced at all color wise. This is really what the sky looked like when I took the image. I was standing out on a pier with the wind gusting all around me. In fact, shortly after this was taken it started to piss down and I had to shove my camera into my bag to prevent any damage because the Nikon D5500 isn’t weather sealed.

Editing this I selected cloudy for the white balance which does a really good job of color accuracy in these scenarios. I didn’t even put in a curves adjust. Just did some local dodging and burning and called it done.


Spot of Blue

Caloosahatchee Sunset

One from the archives. I have shot and edited more than a few of these but I just like them. I keep finding news ones that are just different enough to make them worth editing.

I will be in Fort Myers, Florida for the next 5 or 6 weeks. Hope to get some new images along the river now that I will have time to explore and scout spots. I need to get into the habit of shooting daily again. Also going to start playing with video so I’ll start posting some clips during this time as well. My video editing skills are zero so should be interesting.

Speaking of editing this is more or less out of the camera. Set the camera profile, did a gradient here and there, quick curves in Photoshop and some dodging and burning and done.


Sunset Over Fort MyersCaloosahatchee

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

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

Under The Bridge And Golden

Shot from the Route 41 bridge in Fort Myers, Florida. No idea what the real bridge name is but I do know the road name so going with that.

This was shot a couple years ago. It was meant to be HDR when I was just learning about it. So I had 7 images to stack which would have introduced so much noise that it wasn’t worth the effort. The image being published is just a single image. It’s amazing what you can learn in a few years.

I mentioned yesterday why I keep going back to my archives. It’s nice to look at an image you passed on to see what you can do with it. Knowing full well I can do way more in Photoshop than I ever did before I could edit this image. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good looking sunset image. Low hanging fruit of the photographic world. Ranks up there with animal photos.

The one thing I do with every image now is load my camera defaults. I have camera profiles for all my images. This helps me work off a consistent base image knowing that the color and distortion has been corrected for me already. This means I can quickly set the white balance and move on. For sunsets you want daylight or cloudy. It will be correct 98% of the time for a white balance.

When I got to Photoshop I knew this was going to be low key image. So I made my curves adjustment until the sun became the focus of the image. Then I just dodged and burned the various bits of the bridge to get it to where I wanted it.

The image felt it was missing something so I loaded up Intensify CK. Found a preset I was happy with, mainly focused on the water and then brought that into Photoshop. Masked that bit in and called it a day.



Sunset Over The Caloosahatchee River

One of the unpublished from the archives. I shot this in 2015 I believe when I still had my Olympus EM1 gear. I have sense moved on to full frame Sony and Nikon but I still have some great images.

This image was part of my great learning curve for doing HDR. I would shoot a ridiculous 7 exposures. I had no idea what the hell I was doing with HDR and I never realized that the more images you shot the worse it got for alignment and other issues. I would get so frustrated trying to make a usable image that I often just gave up. It never occurred to me to take the single image and create something out of that.

So now when I go through the archives I could in theory create a HDR image out of them since I understand it better or just a single image. I opted for a single with this one as the colors were already there. No need to add a layer of complexity to an already decent image.

This image is mostly straight out of the camera. With my camera profiles I get much more accurate colors and I learned a trick for evening sky photos. Select cloudy day or sunny for the white balance. It will usually set it correctly. With my usual workflow done it was time to take it into Photoshop for a curves adjustment.

I went lower key with image. I wanted the shore to clip to black. One I had that done I just dodged the highlights in the shore to bring out some features but that was all. Once I had all that I brought it into Intensify and used the Sky Details preset to bring out the clouds a bit more. I masked that into the image at 70%. As always introduced noise.

I wanted to play with a new noise reduction technique I learned so I applied that in Camera Raw. I then sharpened the entire image and called it done.


Sunset Over The Caloosahatchee River

Postal Sunset

This is another sunset over the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers. I was setup on the riverwalk that runs along the river doing one of the many sunset photos I managed to take while I was there.

I really liked how the pylons framed the image. There is enough detail there to let your mind fill in the blanks but it’s dark enough that it doesn’t distract from the focal point of the image.

Editing wise I went with faux-HDR if that is a thing. I wanted the water to pop so I ran it through Aurora HDR and then masked that bit into the image. Then I went ahead and bumped the hue/saturation in the sky along with a polarization filter. Normally I leave that alone but ended up masking in bits there to keep things in balance. Then I spent some quality time removing the noise from the sky then called it done.


Postal Sunset

Distant Sunset

I return to Florida even though I’m in Thailand at the moment for this image. I am amazed at how many images I got out of this one area just by changing the angle and moving around a bit. They are similar but always different.

Editing wise I did the usual routine then started to mask in bits. I wanted the sky and the dock/pier thing to pop but leave the water soft. It was too distracting so masked in a bit off of Intensify CK. I always add hue/saturation to my images like this and took it into Color Efex for a bump then did some color correction and a bit more contrast with Pro Contrast which is rather a brilliant tool. I don’t mask that bit in as it usually works for the whole image. Then into Noiseless Pro to remove the sky noise and done.

It always sounds like a lot of work but the biggest pain in waiting for the various tools to look the image which can be huge once you start masking stuff.



Watching The Setting Sun

It seems the trend has been me doing sunset photos on a Friday. That is the assumption that there is a weekend approaching. Sadly I am in Chicago and I am doing a 9 day straight without a break on an extended project. On the bright side once that is done I’m off to my happy place, Thailand!

I am going to guess that the pier with the cover on it is for viewing the Caloosahatchee River. There were lots of people coming and going to watch the sun set. Lots of selfies being taken and lots of cell phones taking pictures. For my purposes it was reflecting the sunset nicely and worked to balance things out.

To be honest, I have no idea what I did to get the look. I think it’s plain now that what you see isn’t what I photographed. It’s there as I don’t fundamentally alter the image. What you see was basically what was before me. The finished product is just me going I like this here and that there. How it turns out is what I want it to be.