Clouds Over The Potomac

This is a shot from National Harbor of the clouds over the Potomac River. You can see the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the background.

I shot this last year and was playing click around the photo library game. No idea why I didn’t edit it but I didn’t When I saw the sky I was like cool. Time to do an edit of this and see where things fall out.

This is a single image HDR that I created using Aurora 2017. I just feel like HDR this week even though it doesn’t look like it. I just throw the single image in Aurora and see what comes out. This time I picked a preset and then played with it a bit.

I finished the image in Photoshop doing a bit of a dodge and burn to get certain things the way I liked it and called it done.


Clouds over the Potomac River

Beam of Sun

Too lazy to go through an edit anything from my recent photography so I just randomly clicked in my photography library and came up with this image.

This is the Potomac River as it flows near Chain Bridge. I was standing on the bridge with my camera wedged on a tripod between the railings. I had to do this to avoid the rails showing up in the images.

Fun thing about shooting off a bridge is that bridges move. A lot. When there is a car coming it will cause the bridge to vibrate and this is passed to you if you are holding the camera or the tripod. So you learn to time your shots so you don’t get unwanted motion in the images.

Editing was all about the sky as it looked like storm clouds. I really wanted them to pop. I used gradients to get the focus on them and then into Photoshop. I had to do a lot of local dodging and burning to get the image balanced once I put the curve adjustment in. After that it was a quick trip to Camera Raw to remove some noise then sharpening and done.


Beam of Sun

Frothing Away

This was shot at Great Falls earlier this year. Was a warm day so I took a hike out there. The title is a bit sketchy but it popped into my head. Sometimes these things are easy to name and sometimes they are not.

Sometimes an image just needs a monochrome conversion to bring out the details. There wasn’t a lot of color to begin with so I wanted it to be about the texture of the rocks and water. The trick with a good monochrome image is the tonal shifts and details. I see a lot of stuff, in particular street photography that is converted to monochrome just because. If the image doesn’t work that way there is no point in doing it. Some people just stick with it just because they feel the need to fit a certain genre. I do it because I think it enhances the image not just because.

When it came time to edit this I did the conversion in Lightroom. I just played with the sliders until I got it to where I wanted it. When you do a conversion manually it helps to remember what color channels the image had originally.

Once I was happy then into Photoshop for the curves adjustment for tonality and contrast. Then a lot of local work on the rocks, trees and water. Once that was done I wasn’t 100% happy. So I loaded it into Intensify CK and picked some preset. I then did a very light mask to bring out the details a bit more and called it done.


Great Falls

Bridge Over Placid Water

Shot this along the waterfront in Washington DC. The bridge is Memorial Bridge and the city behind it is Roslyn in Virginia.

Not in love with this image but the more I looked at it the more I figured why not publish it. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s just not exciting. It’s one of those solid images that work but doesn’t do a lot more.

I shot this on my A7R and I believe my 24-240 lens which is the workhorse of my landscape stuff. I’m lazy with lens changes. I rather have a lens that does everything well than some uber lens I need to switch out to. Sure there are compromises but it produced a good chunk of the images on this site the last year or so.

Editing wise nothing fancy. No masking no nothing. Just a curves adjustment and then local work. With my tone curve I have become more aggressive using it to get better contrast. If there is a weird color shift I just open up the Camera Raw Filter and redo the white balance or just do a hue/saturation fix within Photoshop itself.


Bridge Over Placid Water

Purple Shimmer

The Potomac River at sunset. I was on the DC side shooting towards the Virginia side. Just taking photos of the sunset from various angles.

It’s funny editing photos from a camera you don’t own anymore. This was shot on an Olympus EM-1. I can’t say I miss my micro 4/3 gear. I used it for almost 4 years the longest out of any camera gear. I bounced between Olympus and Panasonic and I had a plethora of lenses at my disposal.

I just wasn’t happy with the image quality I was getting out of it as I moved more into landscape and travel stuff. When you are doing landscapes you end up cropping a lot. I also do a far bit of HDR stuff as well. The files would just choke the more I pushed them. When I got my Sony A7R it was a revelation what I could do with those giant files.

With the A7R in hand the micro 4/3 stuff just sat. Finally I sold it all and picked up a Nikon D810. Different beast and I use it occasionally for landscapes when I am feeling masochistic but it’s the bread and butter camera. If I need to shoot something like an event of portraits the Nikon comes out and the Sony A7R is the backup camera.

I have some fond memories of the micro 4/3 stuff. I learned a ton about photography using that gear. Eventually you do outgrow your camera and sometimes you just need to move on.

Editing this was straightforward. Loaded the camera profile. Put in some gradients. Then into Photoshop for a curves adjustment for exposure and contrast. Local dodging and burning and called it a day.


Purple Shimmer

Rush of Water

I promised a series yesterday since I just wasn’t in a position to post after an extremely long day at work. So I will deliver as promised. This series might be a bit abstract for some.

I was shooting at Great Falls and I just was fascinated by the light on the white water areas. So I took the opportunity to photograph these while I was doing other landscape work. I knew it would be a bit more abstract than normal but I think it works. I wanted a cohesive series to work with since a single image wasn’t going to convey much. With the series you get an idea of the power of water as it rushes through the world.

Editing wise these are straightforward edits. Nothing fancy was done other than add tone curves and local adjustments. Then some straight up sharpening to give things a bit of bite that would be missing.


Rush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of WaterRush of Water

Tiny Bubbles

I shot these while hiking Great Falls last year. I was on the Maryland side and I was deep off trail. Nothing says fun while lugging a tripod with a Nikon D810 over your shoulder while not trying to fall into the churning water.

There are two images here. Basically the same image just shot portrait and landscape. I could not figure out which version I liked better. When I hit the final save it’s the landscape version but I saw no reason not to publish the portrait as well. They are both decent photos and it was just a matter of preference.

Publishing both also illustrates that you should not just take one shot and be done with it. Sometimes just moving a bit or switching to portrait gives you a different perspective. I do tend to move around when I am shooting and will take multiple images of the same subject. Light may change or something else. Memory cards are cheap so shoot away.

Editing I did my usual workflow. I knew I wanted the bubbles to pop so I was determined to make them so. Once I dodged and burned it was time for some masking fun. I loaded up Intensify CK and played with filters. Strangely enough I went with Aerial Photo Enhance. It really just pumps clarity and dehaze (or whatever it’s called in Intensify.). Once I had that I just masked it in at various levels for both photos and called it a day.


Tiny BubblesTiny Bubbles

Forlorn On The Floodplains

I took this photo recently along the C&O Canal. I stopped at a lock gate that I used to drive past everyday when I drove to work. The day was grey and nasty but I had my hiking boots on and my Sony RX10 with me so I figured why not take a quick hike and see what there is to see.

I wandered down off the path and hit the back trails where the the more adventurous hikers and trail bikers go. I eventually ended up at the Potomac River. There was some rain recently so the river was higher than normal. I jumped around on little islands until I found this vantage point. I am not sure if I shot this handheld or on my tripod but I was happy with the image.

There was very little color in this image. It was going to be in monochrome no matter what. The cool things about these is when you do a conversion you get way more detail because you are no longer looking looking at color. It’s all about tones and textures at the point.

Ran my usual camera profile fixes and then put a curves adjustment in. I did some dodging and burning to bring out the reflections. Then it was into Tonality CK to do the conversion. I just played with sliders until I was happy with the effect. Then back into Photoshop for another quick dodge and burn and done.


Forlorn on the Floodplains

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.


Rapids and Rocks

River Canyon

Took this a few weeks back after I discovered I actually live within 10 minutes driving of this view of the Potomac River. I honestly had no idea it was there until I was riding with someone who made a wrong turn and I made a mental note to come back with a camera.

I shot this with my A7R either squeezed through the bridge rails or while fully extended with the tripod at an angle back and me adjusting the lens to clear the rail from showing up in the photo. I really like the colors in the photos and the rocks. The light was perfect with the sun further down the canyon walls and the shadows on bits of the trees. I also got lucky with the sky reflecting on the river below.

There is a lot going on in this image. I masked in a bunch of stuff and I had to make color corrections to the greens and yellows. For some reason HDR loves to turn greens and yellows nuclear. Great if you live in post apocalyptic world but not so much for a normal one. While there is HDR to the image it was just masked in for bits. I know I used several masks to get the bits and pieces the way I wanted it. Some may think that’s cheating. Me? I took the picture so I can make it look the way I want.


Potomac River Canyon