Red Leaves Abound

141110-IMAG0003I had my smart phone handy when I noticed how nicely the leaves had fallen from a decorative tree in the front yard. I got on my belly, pointed the lens out and slightly up, focused on the foreground leaves, and made this shot.

I like what’s going on in that the red leaves are so nicely colorful and if you look closely, you can discern what’s going on. But, there’s a feel that I’m looking for and so I pulled the image into Topaz Labs Impression and got these…

Red Fall Leaves - TL-TSII

Red Fall Leaves - TL-SSII

Red Fall Leaves - TL-LLII

Red Fall Leaves - TL-CZII

I have to admit that, I was quite lazy in manipulating these. I chose four recommended defaults. I like something about each of these from simple to zany, and saturated to normal. I don’t know if I have a favorite; maybe the first of the four?

 

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It’s A Swamp Thing

FotoFusion-LASwamStudy.jpgHad a chance to tour a swamp while in New Orleans recently. I was lucky to have the seat in the front of the boat, so as it went into the narrow parts where the interesting stuff was, like the cedars, I got photos without distractions. So, no boat parts or backs of heads in my images.

I assembled this collage image from the many I shot, but I think I just prefer them individually…

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Always Wanted To Be An Artist

I always wanted to be an artist. You know, paints and brushes, sketch pads, pencils, charcoals, and so on. I never had the patience. Also, I think there are skills that you need to develop and I didn’t have the ambition for that. When I discovered that, with photography, you could do artistic work and it was fast (just click)…well, that did it for me. But, I still had that desire to be able to create something that was a brush strokey4 step away from the reality that a photograph contains.

18-31-53-White Chair And Red Gate

Photo converted to a painting style called Pointilism.

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Google+ Photo or Flickr or ???

I have a server via an ISP from which these pages are served. I don’t have a really good image display program that I can install on the server, however. So, I’ve been looking at what’s out there. I know that we have Flickr and Google’s Picasa (now Google+ Photo, I think). There are other services, too. Some are free and others pay-for. I was curious about which of these were better for my needs.

Also, I’ve already run up to a limit on the number of files I can have on my ISP’s system, so I need to be frugal going forward. Using someone else’s file sharing service solves this problem.

So, because of my recent interest in Triptychs, where I created 20 or so images, I uploaded an identical set to each of the two services (here and here). I’m not sure if one is better than the other for general things, but I found that, with Flickr, I can embed a slide show into other websites (like this one). It’s done through a website called Flickr Slideshow.

Created with flickr slideshow.

 

You simply insert the HTML code that’s provided and you’re done. Why did I look into this? Well, Flickr has its own full screen slide show feature. When you are looking at a collection of images and click on the full screen slide show icon, it’ll start the show. The problem, for me, was that the displayed images didn’t fill the screen. The aspect ratio was wrong and images were cropped. Also, they started inserting advertising. So, this little trick of using the embedded code gets around this limitation. Unfortunately, the embedded code will bring you to the Flickr page, which gives you the full-screen slide show option and then you’re stuck. The trick is to not do that but, instead, just hit the full-screen icon (four arrows) in the bottom of the control panel. (You’ll see this if you hover your mouse over the image.) Flickr Full Screen IconIt would be simpler of Flickr fixed this aspect ration and cropping problem from within their own site. For now, though, Flickr may have the edge in which of the two services to use. I’ll keep checking one versus the other. Oh, and you can order prints from the Flickr site. Not so for Google. I’ve read, though, that if you want full rez images, you need something else because Flickr limits you in image size. I use something like Snapfish for this.

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Crazy For Triptychs

In my last post, I started off discussing the HD format and how it’s grown on me and how one way to better utilize portrait oriented images taken in that aspect ration is to do triptych presentations. So, this morning, I went through some of my older images and began organizing. Most of my images are not already 16×9, so I cropped to make them so. I’m basically testing if I like this way of displaying images. Here are some results.

Flowers and Bokeh

Flowers TriptychEveryone has pictures of flowers. What’s not to like. Well, they can get tedious. I’m not sure that this grouping is the best, but it’s what I had available. But, if there are many, many flower pictures in your collection, keep your presentation short and sweet. This may, therefore, be my last one of flowers. And, one more thing. That bokeh thing really should be a big part of flower pictures, don’t you think? Continue reading

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Kicking Around With 16×9

I’ve always liked wide. That’s true for lenses and, now, it’s becoming true for aspect ratio. I’ve been spoiled by HD TV where the native aspect ratio is 16×9. I don’t know why, but that’s what we ended up with and it’s kind of neat. I use DSLR’s using APS-C format sensors. That’s a 3×2 format, which isn’t too far off from 16×9. I guess if you are a square format fan, then these wide things are a bit of a shock. Interestingly enough, the Micro 4/3 format went in a more square-ish direction. So, if you shoot a lot of that and then try to view on an HD monitor or TV, you cut off a lot.

Here’s a recent image for kayaking on the Connecticut River in Springfield, MA…

Kayakers Under Memorial Bridge

…and I think that, as I was composing, even with the APS-C aspect ratio, I had the wider 16×9 in mind. Maybe not, but certainly I wasn’t thinking square.

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Something from 2007

DSC_5186-PC-red lips-cropped copyWent out on a photo trek with a Worcester group, they were hosting a Trash The Dress day using models and donated wedding dresses. I was the old timer that day and some of the folks looked at me as if I had some special skills, as if I had been doing this all my life. Truth is, I’ve been photographing a long time, but rarely with models. So, this was a new to me as it was to them. Still, I felt awkward directing the men and women who were there to pose. After a while, I got more comfortable, but I think that’s because of the experience of the models. They made it easy.

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Watkins Glen Revisited (and Corning and Eastman House)

Spent a couple days with a couple members of our newly named photo group, CRABS (Casey, Richie, Art, Bob, Steve). Specifically, Steve and Art accompanied me on a trip to Rochester, NY. I had always wanted to visit the George Eastman House Museum. It’s sort of a photographer’s pilgrimage kind of place, what with George having invented modern photography. For us, it was an overnighter because we wanted to have as much time at the museum as possible, but not two whole days. So, we decided to go through Corning and Watkins Glen in New York and see stuff there, too.

Corning Museum, Corning, NY

Art and Steve At Corning Curved Mirror

Art’s explaining the principal of focal point?

At one of the Corning exhibits, there’s a large curved mirror. They are trying to demonstrate how such mirrors create focal points. You are asked to stand at a certain spot and walk towards your reflection in the mirror. You start off seeing yourself upside-down, but as you walk forward and pass the focal point, your image instantly flips. It’s pretty neat. Steve is a big guy and the mirror made him so much more so. Couldn’t help but snap a photo.

Art's Face Through The Water GlassArt And Steve At Look More Closely BowlThe sphere filled with water was irresistible and creates the kind of distortion you would expect. Steve and Art had to follow the instructions which read, “Look more closely”.

Art and I were both pointing our cameras into the sphere and one of the Corning Museum employees came over, laughing at how we looked. She offered to take a picture if we’d only had a third camera (Steve wasn’t nearby). Fortunately, Art’s cell phones was all she needed.

Dueling Cameras Corning Museum

Photo by Corning Museum employee.

Eastman House Museum, Rochester, NY Continue reading

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Jenne Farm Revisited

My Photo Gang at Jenne Farm

Had a chance to fool around with the new Photoshop CC that I’ve just subscribed to. It’s available at a discount price and I couldn’t resist. Later, when the price goes back to normal, I may reconsider. (It’s not like I do Photoshop professionally anymore.) I also have Paintshop Pro, and one may wonder why more than one photo editor. Answer? Because it’s there.

I was testing out how NIK Filters integrated with Photoshop. At first, it didn’t. A visit to the Internet got me straightened out. I decided to apply a wet plate look to this photo. Normally, a wet plate wouldn’t be a panorama. That’s because wet plates were pieces of glass (like 4×5, 5×7, 8×10 maybe). You’d have to have some strange, long and narrow glass and even stranger view camera to put it in. But, with computers, I can do this. I like how it turned out.

The back story is that this photo was taken when the June Hike Club Photo Gang went to Vermont for a long weekend a year ago (see my other post for more about this). We trampled all over the farmer’s field to get shots of the iconic farm house. Later, when we went down to the farm to buy some honey, we chatted with the farmer. He told me folks were always trampling his grass. He didn’t like that. I thought to myself, “well why the heck have one of the most photogenic farms in the first place?” …and besides, he had a box near the trample-spot for donations. We probably donated $20 in all (maybe more). So, no guilt. I’m sure that box makes more for him than a bit of trampled grass.

Oh, and as far as Photoshop versus Paintshop are concerned…strengths and weaknesses for sure. I like both.

BTW – I’m pretty sure this photo was one of the Photosynth jobs from the app by Microsoft that is only available for iPhones. This is why you get such a wide pano affect. I certainly no longer have a Nikon lens that could do this.

FWIW – why did I chose the wet plate look? Here is why…

Wet Plate Solution

…you can see in the color original that the Photosynth software didn’t blend the individual captures all that well. There are exposure differences (you see lines in the road bed and grass) that would require a lot of blending to merge. The wet plate effect, on the other hand, adds a lot of this kind of intentional error automagically, so the ones that are already there just seem like they belong. Yeah, I’m lazy.

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Amazing Smart Phone Cameras

I am just amazed at the quality that’s built into a camera that I have with me almost all the time, now. It’s my smart phone. I have used an iPhone in the past, and now have an HTC Android phone. When the time comes, I may go back to a new iPhone. The manufacturers keep adding amazing new features and, even now, I’m not taking full advantage.

Lately, I’ve been shooting some open mic events I’ve attended. I play and sing at some, myself, but I use my phone to capture what other folks are doing. This shot is one I took under terrible lighting conditions. The stage was bathed in a green light and the phone recorded what it saw…but green light on skin? Yuck.

I knew that this image would have to go to black and white because of that…

Geraldines 20130805

Open Mic Performance At Geraldine’s In West Springfield, MA. (Click for original size image.)

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