Archive for February, 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.



Long Level Rays and Reeds

Another from my brief outing last night with the new Canon. I was watching the sky as it turned toward sunset, but could find no appropriate vista. I finally resorted to zooming in and framing a bit of foreground against some of the better color effects. The Canon, with just a bit of help from Lightroom, did well in catching the subtitles.

Canon SX20IS at about 250mm equivalent. F5 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Recovery for the highlights in Lightroom. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From First Canon VA.



A Little Pink on Your Blues

The first shot to make Pic of the Day from my new camera. I only had a few moments of daylight after work and I am in Virginia. Frustrating. But still…

What works for me here are the subtle colors and the pattern of detail from the reeds and grasses.

Canon SX20IS at about 70mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/60th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom. Fill Light and Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From First Canon VA.



Ring-necked Ducks

There were many Ring-necked Ducks at Viera Wetlands when I visited last month, but they were mostly at the far range of the PhotoScope. It goes to 1800mm equivalent: 45x, but even that will not make a satisfying image of far ducks. Someday I would like to have enough time a Viera to just get out and sit on the bank long enough for the ducks and waders to get used to me being there. I suspect they would come in very close. As it is, this is my best shot of Ring-necks, taken at the full magnification of the instrument.

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at 45x (1800mm equivalent field of view). 1/490th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto (metered at approximately f6).

Added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Latest Photoscoped.



President’s Day

A few years ago I spent three hot days in June in downtown Washington DC. The hotel was only a block off the mall, and even though I was in meetings all day, I got out two evenings and one morning for some photography. So, in honor of President’s day: a few from the Capital Mall.


All received the best treatment in Lightroom I could provide, given the persistent haze of a DC June. Nothing extraordinary. Fill Light and Blackpoint adjustments. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen. Some contrast adjustment. I tried adjusting the blue saturation and luminance to kill the haze but it did not work. So…