Archive for February, 2010



Drift Wood Sky

Happy Sunday!

Great sky. Low angle (down on my knees on the sandy slope below the drift wood tangle) using the flip out LCD on the Canon. I took several shots at various focal lengths to frame the wood against the sky with the correct balance. This one and one just a bit closer are the ones that work best for me. I used Exposure Lock and Program Shift on the SX20IS to increase depth of field. Like all P&Ss the Canon is biased toward larger apertures and faster shutter speeds and you need to override the Program settings somehow if you want something different. The Canon system of Exposure Lock and Program Shift works very well.

Canon SX20IS at about 40mm equivalent. F7.1 @ 1/250th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto, with Exposure Lock and Program Shift.

Recovery in Lightroom for the sky. Fill light for the foreground. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.

This is the second version that works for me, taken at about 48mm equivalent and f6.3.



Rocks Right Up to the Sky

Playing with the big sky again. This is actually a smallish patch of rocks in a big sand beach, but getting down behind it and shooting over it to the ocean and horizon makes it look like huge plane. Again the trick is getting a balanced exposure. This is very true to life. Then the only trick was finding the right pattern of rocks. 🙂

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F6.3 @ 1/250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto (tip and exposure lock to adjust exposure for sky and a bit of program shift for depth of field).

In Lightroom, Recovery for the sky. Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.



Infinite Sky over Back Creek

Some days the sky is just irresistible. I saw this one coming on, and snuck out after a quick lunch to drive the two miles to the beach and marsh to see if it was everything I hoped. It was. I am working with a new camera and this was my first chance to try for the big sky with it…learning, learning, learning. The Canon has a programmable user button which I have set to Exposure Lock. That function locks the exposure, obviously, but it also gives access to Program Shift, with a spin of the control wheel. In this case it was the exposure lock I was after. I am in the habit, in tricky lighting like this where you want a balanced exposure with plenty of sky detail and still enough light on the land, of tipping the camera up to take the exposure reading. With past cameras I often had to choose between where I wanted the exposure and where I wanted the focus…since when you tip the camera up it moves the center of both…okay, except that often with it tipped up enough for exposure, the focus can not find anything high contrast enough to grab on to. So you compromise and move the focus down. With the Canon, you can lock the exposure where you want it, then recompose and focus. Nice.

You can, of course, accomplish the same thing with Exposure Compensation, but that takes longer.

So for this shot, I tipped up well into the sky and locked exposure, tipped down to place the horizon, focused and shot. The result was, of course, underexposed for the land, but I know what I can do in Lightroom, and if I am careful with the underexposure, I can bring it back up with Fill Light, restore the contrast with a Blackpoint adjustment, and add some Vibrance at need. Oh, and tone down the highlights with Recovery. The result is a pseudo-HDR effect, from a single jpg exposure and file.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto with shenanigans as outlined above.

And, as above, that’s what I did in Lightroom, plus added Clarity and Sharpen landscape preset. 

From Around Home 2010.

And here, for comparison, is the same image processed using Graduated Filter effects in Lightroom. I used three filters: down from the top to darken, up from the bottom to lighten and increase contrast, and across the horizon to lighten. The first image is more faithful to the day, as it was dark, as shown. The second is, to my eye, more dramatic.

And, as suggested by one of the comments below, here is one more attempt…the first image with the color temperature adjusted slightly.



Nubble Light

Or Cape Neddick Light, more formally, has to be one of the most photograhed lighthouses in the US, certainly among the top three in Maine. I have photographed it many times…but among those times is, like, within a few days of getting a new camera. It makes a great test subject for detail, chromatic aberration, color rendition, etc. etc. If a camera can do justice to Nubble Light, it can handle just about anything. If you view this at Original resolution on WideEyedInWonder, you will see there is an amazing amount of detail.

And, of course, it takes a beautiful picture! This day I waited until late afternoon, hoping for promised clouds to come in, but they were still way out on the horizon. So it goes. Blue sky it is.

Canon SX20IS at about 95mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/1000th @ ISO80. Programmed auto.

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the white glare of the house. Blackpoint just slightly right. A touch of Fill Light. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Around Home 2010.

And a wider view.



Seaweed Black

These black seaweed bladders are all over the rocky beaches of southern Maine. I am not certain whether they are black in life or if they turn black as they dry…but they are fascinating anyway. This is an extreme closeup using the Super Macro mode on the Canon SX20IS. The lens hood is practically touching the rock.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super Macro. F4 @ 1/640th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom for the sunny rock and the reflected highlights on the seaweed. A touch of Fill Light. Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscapes preset. Cropped slightly at the bottom to remove the worst of the out of focus weed.

From Around Home 2010.



Lighthouse over Rocks

Wood Island Light, at the mouth of the Saco River, off East Point in Biddeford Pool, ME. The flip out LCD on the Canon SX20IS got me down low, sitting on one of these rocks. I experimented with Program Shift for greater depth of field, but really did not need it in this situation. The metered f4 at this 60mm equivalent gave sufficient depth for the scene. In lower light, program shift would have been essential, since the SX20, like all P&Ss, favors  wider apertures and faster shutter speeds in Program mode.

As above, Canon SX20IS at 60mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programmed Auto.

Recovery for the sky and Lighthouse highlights. A touch of Fill Light. Blackpoint to the right slightly. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen landscapes preset.

From Around Home 2010.

For comparison, here is wider shot with more rocks.



Bad Hay Day

Bad pun. I know. But I am always on the lookout for these natural abstractions. The chaotic grasses caught my eye and I composed a wider shot that included the river behind them and the horizon of trees, but zooming in on the detail produces a better effect. imho.

Canon SX20IS at 210mm equivalent field of view. F5 @ 1/400th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, a touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint just slightly right. Added Clarity, and just a little Vibrance. Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Around Home: 2010



Sumac Buds and Sea

Happy Sunday!

I am having fun with my new camera. If nothing else, a new camera will get you (or at least me) out the door and looking for images. And once you are out…well, you are just bound to find something interesting.

This stag-horn sumac grows rampant most anywhere it gets a foothold, and there is an extensive thicket of the stuff on East Point in Biddeford Pool Maine. East Point is a Nature Conservancy property at the mouth of the Saco River. They have pretty much restricted the sumac to the land side of the sanctuary path, but this specimen has jumped and gotten established among the Sweetbriar. The winter light and the first hint of buds, and the way it juts up over the sea…well, that is what I saw here.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super Macro. F4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto with ISO set.

A touch of Recovery in Lightroom for the sky, some Fill Light to bring up the shadows on the sumac, then Blackpoint to the right to intensify everything. Added Clarity and just a tiny bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

Interestingly there is a significant difference in the way the Canon files respond to the various Lightroom tools when compared to the files from my Sony H50. I noticed with Vibrance right away. The Canon files need little added Vibrance, and the Vibrance slider makes much more radical changes…with blues darkening and overall color balance shifting yellow very rapidly. The Clarity tool has the same exaggerated effect, but in this case I like it. Details just pop when you use the slider, and the improvement is immediately visible. This was not the case with the Sony, where changes were visible but subtle. Ah, new stuff to learn!

From Around Home, Canon SX20IS.



Sweet Gum Burrs in Early Morning Light

Low sun on the moss, and these Sweet Gum seed pods. The flip out, rotating LCD on the Canon SX20 works just as well as the flip up display on the Sony H50 for these low angle shots. An articulated display was one of my major requirements in a new camera, and kept me from purchasing cameras that I might otherwise have considered (like the new 30x zoom models coming out in the next month or so). I am addicted to the low view…or at least the possibility of capturing it when I see the potential. As here.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F2.8 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint slightly right, added Clarity and Vibrance (much less Vibrance than I was in the habit of adding with H50 shots…added Vibrance turns the Canon images yellow very fast). Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped at the bottom to eliminate out of focus foreground.

From First Canon VA.



Found Still Life

I attempt quite a few of these. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. You never see the ones that don’t work :). That is the magic of digital…but, honestly, I took a lot of them when still using film. These little natural found arrangements of detail, texture, and color are, to me, just irresistible. And they are every where, even in the most uninspiring land- or cityscape, even on the most otherwise photographically uninspiring day.

Canon SX20IS at about 400mm equivalent. F5 @ 1/10sec @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

This is, of course, where the Canon’s IS lens (image stabilized) makes the shot possible (just…I took 4 to get this one).

A touch of Recovery in Lightroom for the snow. Fill Light and Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Landscape sharpen preset.

From First Canon VA.