Archive for the 'autumn' Category



11
Oct
10

10/11/2010: color on the Mousam

Happy Columbus Day! In New England, Columbus day weekend is celebrated primarily by motel and restaurant owners, as the height of the short, but profitable, leaf peeping season. I am, of course, still in Georgia, though I am headed home today.

This is a week ago, right across the road from Old Falls Pond of yesterday’s post. This is the Mousam River above Old Falls, framed at the medium-tel end of the zoom on the Canon to catch a pocket of color and the reflections in the surface of the moving water. Sometimes less is more…or at least as much.

Here is the full scene.

Both shots are three exposure HDRs using autobracket shifted –2/3 EV on the Canon SX20IS. Exposures were blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix, and processed in Lightroom for using Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity and touch of Vibrance, and, of course, Sharpen narrow edges. One advantage of the HDR method, if you like the effect, is the automatic blurring of moving water, even at higher shutter speeds. The three different exposures catch the water, as in the falls here, in three slightly different positions and Photomatix, though it does a really good job of blending exposures, does produce some blur for the overlapping motion. A rapidly moving surf line, for instance, or foreground vegetation moving in a strong wind, is death to HDR. Here it actually, I think, adds to effectiveness of the image.

So I am looking forward to seeing what the foliage is like in Maine the day after Columbus Day…

10
Oct
10

10/10/2010: old falls pond fall Hdr

Happy Sunday!

Old Falls Pond in West Kennebunk Maine is one of my favorite autumn color spots. It is across the road from Old Falls itself, which is my other most favorite autumn color spot. My most visited, most awarded, highest rated photo on flickr is a shot of this pond from several autumns ago. That was before I started working with HDR, and, though the leaves were not yet at peak, I took a run out last Sunday to see how it looked. (I am writing this from Jekyll Island GA, where I have spent every Columbus Day weekend for the past 8 years (work), so I never do see the traditional peak foliage in Maine.) Still, Old Falls Pond was looking pretty good, and with a sky that just begged for HDR treatment.

The low angle (camera almost touching the water), the floating leaves, the way the light runs on the  ripples on the water, the glimpse of the bottom through the foreground, the foliage itself, and the sky overall with its strong diagonal slant…this image has enough going on to overcome the otherwise rather static composition. I did experiment with cropping out part of the sky to “improve” composition, but I like the full shot better.

Three shots with the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, auto bracketed, with the –2/3s EV exposure compensation. Exposure was blended and tonemapped in Photomatix, and the resulting image was processed in Lightroom using Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity and Vibrance, and the Sharpen narrow edges preset. Finally I applied a Graduated Filter Effect to the lower third of the image, reducing brightness slightly, which had the effect of making the water more transparent, for that hint of bottom.

Which goes to show you, I think, that if you are at your peak, in tune with the creative spirit inside, the foliage does not have to be!

07
Oct
10

10/7/2010: Great meadow / fall fire

In lean times I would definitely make four posts out of this series. The fact is that my trip to Machias and Bar Harbor, though the weather was not what you think of as photogenic, was very productive. I have a lot of images I want to share.

This is Great Meadow in Acadia National Park (more a marsh than a meadow) as the first of the fall colors are just beginning to show. Young maples and birches, in low wet ground, always take fire first.

Canon SX20IS at various zoom settings for framing. The last image is a three exposure HDR using Photomatix. All processed in Lightroom with Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen.

03
Oct
10

10/3/2010: Peat Bog details

Happy Sunday!

As I said yesterday, the peat bog at Quoddy Head State Park is a vibrant habitat. I don’t know how it looks in spring or summer, but in fall, the dense mix of mosses and lichens, in shades of red and green (and even white) form a rich carpet, dotted with an amazing abundance of pitcher plants, most of which in this season are deep red or even purple. The closer you look the more inspiring it becomes. The contrasts of color and texture and form, and the variety packed into every square foot, are, to my eye, wonderfully beautiful.

It makes me want, as few habitats to, to study…to find out what all these plants are and how they are related. The carpet of the bog is so alive…I want to know how it works. There has to be a fascinating story in anything so intricate and so beautiful.

And, of course (being Sunday), while there is certainly a science that makes up the story, for me it will always be the story of a Creator from whom I inherit the eye and the heart that can appreciate such intricate beauty: that can stand in awe and respond in worship.

This is the kind of environment and the kind of work that brings out the best in the Canon SX20IS. This set of shots runs from one end of the macro zoom range to the other; several would have been very difficult, shooting from the narrow boardwalk, without the lip out LCD viewer; and the detail shots, in the dim light of foggy day, are all at an impressive ISO 200. And I can fully appreciate the beauty in Canon’s accomplishment as well.

 Smile

Of course, I do plan a trip back to Quoddy Head in the spring to see what the peat bog looks like then!

23
Sep
10

9/23/2010: HDR Marsh Pool Panorama

This is another experiment in HDR Panorama…and this time I had a tripod with me! It does make it easier, and, despite the lack of a true panoramic head, I am pleased with the results. I especially like the rendering of the sun on the pines at either side, which would have been quite impossible without the HDR treatment.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. 9 exposures in bracketed sets of 3. All at ISO 80 and Programmed Auto. Bracketed 2 stops, with the center exposure moved down 2/3EV via exposure compensation.

Each set of 3 was blended in Photomatix, using tone mapping. In this case the smoothing had to be adjusted to a minimize the light sky band along the tree line. The 3 HDRs were then taken in to PhotoShop Elements 7’s Panorama engine, where they were automatically combined. I also a darken brush along the tree line to smooth the sky line a bit more. Finally, the image was saved as a PhotoShop file and taken into Lightroom, where some Recovery was applied for the sky, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance, and the Sharpen narrow edges preset. I also used the selective luminance tool to intensify the little bit of fall color in the tree line and bushes on the left. This is a LOT more processing than I generally apply to any image, but perhaps, if you view the Pano at larger sizes on my SmugMug site it was worth it (click the image above, or here, and use the size controls at the top of the window…though it should auto size to your monitor).

21
Sep
10

9/21/2010: September Beach

Lots of beach and surf and a bit of interest in the sky over Mt. Agamentacus on the horizon. The house on the point is balanced by the people and the dog on the left. Short tel for framing.

Canon SX20IS at 70mm equivalent @ f4.0 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery for the sky in Lightroom. Blackpoint adjustment, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

14
Nov
09

Pic of the Day 11/14/2009

 

 

Road into Autumn Sunset

Today marks the one year anniversary of Pic of the Day, and I will have more to say on that…only…I am due on the bus for the Valley Salt Lakes fieldtrip at Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in way too few moments. I promise a pic and a full post by evening! It has been great. I look forward to a second year.

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So, evening in Harlengen Texas, after a day of fieldtripping and optics talk at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, on the 1st anniversary of my Pic of the Day blog. What started as a casual series of posts on Twitter and FaceBook, morphed into a full fledged WordPress blog within the first month, and took on it’s current form after about 3 months.

What has kept me at it, as I have mentioned before, is that I am learning with every day’s pic. The process has made me much more aware of what I am doing in the field, while capturing images, and at the computer when processing images…and, maybe most importantly, how the two: camera work and computer work interconnect, cooperate, to produce the images that are important to me. Neither dominates. Both are important. Increasingly my knowledge of what I can do at the computer influences what I do with the camera. Of course, both camera and computer are used to capture and reproduce some semblance of what I see in nature…with the emphasis on the I.  Because, of course, I am creating an image…not capturing reality. Images play with different rules than reality…if you know what I mean. Different elements, different effects, matter. In the end we judge images by image standards, and similarity to reality is only one of them…and often not the most important among them.

Anyway. I have learned. I hope you have too. I intend to learn a lot more in the coming year. And I hope you will go along with me.

This image, by the way, was taken at the end of a sunset session at the beach. I had actually visualized the image on the way in. I simply drove till it looked right. Stopped in the middle of the road. Head the camera out the window one handed. And took the image.

Sony DSC H50 at 31mm equivalent. F4.5 @ 1/40th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, I added Vibrance and Clarity, moved the Blackpoint right, and used Sharpen Landscapes preset. I also increased exposure just slightly, and warmed the image slightly by adjusting color temperature.

From Around Home Kennebunk ME.

 

09
Nov
09

11/9/2009

Rose Hips at Sunset

I previsualized this shot, walking back to the car from my late day, cloud’s-closing-in visit to the beach…but getting it right was not so easy. There were lots of rose hips, just at their best, and lots of beach, but finding the right combination proved more difficult. And then exposing the thing: that was a challenge.

Still, with a little help in Lightroom, it just about works.

Sony DSC H50 at just under 40mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

I took two exposures, one metered more for the sky and one more for the rose hips. When I got home, I actually chose the lighter of the two to work with as the hips were just too dark in the sky shot.

Recovery for the sky, Fill Light for the hips. Blackpoint slightly right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen Landscape preset. I pulled a Graduated Filter effect down diagonally from the top left corner, ending just at the hips. I reduced Exposure and Brightness, and increased Contrast under the filter. Finally, I increased overall Exposure slightly and cropped from the top to eliminate some distracting elements on the right and improve overall composition.

From Around Home Kennebunk ME.

07
Nov
09

11/7/2009

 

Flotsom: Oak afloat

Just enough cloud reflections in the water to make the surface interesting…and then the copper gold of the floating leaves and the extended pattern they make on the water. Cropped up from the bottom for composition.

Sony DSC H50 at about 60mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/80th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Very simple Lightroom work. A touch of recovery for the reflections. Blackpoint slightly right. Added Clarity and Vibrance and Sharpen Landscapes preset.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.

 

06
Nov
09

11/6/2009

Deep Autumn on the Little River

Another not so easy exposure. I really wanted the wispy clouds in that very blue sky, so the foreground went dark. It took a Graduated Filter effect in Lightroom to bring it back up to where I am happy with it…but, oh, the sky!

I also cropped out some of the river in the foreground as it was too strong an element in the composition.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F5.6 @ 1/640th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto. I tipped the camera up to meter more of the sky and locked exposure before reframing for composition.

As mentioned above, Graduated Filter and cropped in Lightroom. The GF effect was pulled up from the bottom to cover about 2/3s of the image. Added 60 Exposure, and some Clarity and Contrast. Added Clarity and Vibrance overall, Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Rachel Carson NWR Seasons.