Around The Yard

This set of images is really all about light for the most part. However, they were all shot around my Mom’s house in Fort Myers, Florida. I really never left her front or back yards. Well, one shot was technically on the neighbors but he doesn’t have a fence so it counts! Plus you can see my Mom’s fence so clearly it was around the yard.

These images were shot on 2 cameras. The Sony A7ii using a 16-25mm 4.0 and a Canon 55mm 1.2 that just showed up in the mail while I was in Fort Myers. The other camera a Sony RX100iii. The images were shot over different days.















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

Rising Cloud

This is a shot from Fort Myers, Florida I took a few years ago. It was apart of the everything must be in HDR phase when I had no clue what I was really doing.

Fort Myers has to have some of the weirdest skies I have seen. Well, at least paid attention to since I started photography. It’s on the Gulf of Mexico so you get all the winds coming in from the gulf along with the humidity which makes the clouds go all weird. So you get some cool clouds to go with the sky color if that is your thing.

This image got the nod when I was just going through and seeing what I ignored before. It was the cloud obviously that drew my attention. I had shot a 7 exposure set for the imagined HDR photo but I likely tossed it because the resulting image was a mess. Honestly, if you want to do HDR just stick with 3 frames with a 2 stop bracket and be done. Anything more and you introduce a whole host of problems.

Editing this I used the base exposure for the image. Applied my camera profile and then went about doing the base adjustments in Lightroom. For picking white balance you can’t go wrong with sunny or cloudy. While I could have likely white balanced off the cloud I found that those two give the best overall average for a sky.

Once that was done into Photoshop as usual to apply my curves adjustment to correct exposure and add contrast. Then it was just local adjustments doing dodge and burn.


Rising Cloud

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.



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.



Swirls of Blue

The title for this one just came to me as I was uploading to the server. It seemed appropriate with the river and the sky being one giant swirl of blue.

This is from Fort Myers, Florida. The river is the Caloosahatchee River and the bridge in the distance is one of the Route 41 bridges. There are two, one is labeled business. This is the non-business bridge.

Editing wise I did my usual masks when I do an image like this. I have come to the conclusion that I will mask until I’m happy. I wanted the water to look one way and the sky another. At the same time I wanted to make sure the bridge stood out to balance the sky out. I know some people think it’s cheating to manipulate an image. I’ll break many hearts now and tell you that Ansel Adam’s routinely dodged and burned when he developed his film. So by me using Photoshop to get what I want is no difference.


PS – I accidentally published this on the 22nd. Might as well leave it up as it’s out in the wild so to speak. So no new image tomorrow as I am flying to Chicago. If you feel upset go through the archives. You can see how crap I was when I first started shooting 6 years ago. Trust me – I was complete crap.

Swirls of Blue

Liquid Gold

It’s Friday! Seems like it’s time for another sunset photo from Fort Myers, Florida. I have lots of them actually and I’m off to another destination in a few weeks that will have a few more.

I know I shot this on the Riverwalk in Fort Myers but I honestly have no idea exactly where. The sun was mostly down and I liked the way the other pier was into the water.

This is one of those photos that look nothing like what was captured in the camera. I can tell you the water was done in HDR but masked in a lower level. Then I added a hue/saturation to bump the colors up and give it a warmer feeling. Then I had to remove the noise from the sky to get it clean. There were a lot of layers and a lot of masking going on but I think it turned out pretty well.


Liquid Gold

Pathway To The Sky

I really wanted this image to work. It’s not anything spectacular. It’s just a pathway out to a pier in Fort Myers, Florida.

This is one of those images that likely should have been tossed but wasn’t because I was invested in it. I also wanted to see what I could get out of it once I started to post process the image. I can honestly say I have never masked in so many layers to get what you see before you. The original image bears no real resemblance to the finished product.

I’d tell you all about the post processing but I can’t. As I indicated I was masking in stuff left and right. I know the final layer I put on it was the vignette just because it felt right in the end. Once I had that I knew I could not do anymore and called it a day.


Pathway to the Sky