Archive for the 'seascape' Category

07
Nov
10

11/7/2010: in the frame now, happy Sunday!

I woke this Sunday morning from a dream of worship…that in itself is odd…though I do have a few of those dreams each year, and I suppose Sunday morning is appropriate for one…but before I was fully awake this post formed, and now, up and at the computer, all I have to do is build what I saw.

At my best as a photographer I am only a frame and an instant.

I am a frame. All I do is point the frame of the camera’s rectangular view at the world. Today I use the zoom on the camera to  change the size of the frame…make it bigger and more inclusive, more grand…or smaller and more particular, more intimate. I can move in close for a true macro of lichen, or add magnification by shooting through a spotting scope for portraits of sparrows. I can zoom out to wide-angle for the sunrise. I can even stitch frames together into the larger frame of a panorama. But whatever I do, it is still a frame…a little rectangle imposed on reality. The frame says “This is what I see. Look!” I am a frame.

I am an instant. I control when I push the shutter button. I choose the instant, and it is only an instant…a fraction of a second, when the camera records, for better or worse, whatever is in the frame. Even if I shoot a burst of images, as I often do when digiscoping birds, I still have to pick the one instant out of all those instants that I want to show the world. The instant says “This is what I see now. Look” I am an instant.

I do not fill the frame, I can only point it. I do not create the instant. I can only choose it. But in those two choices is all the power of photography.

The rest is just technique.

This is what I see now. Look!

I don’t of course, know what you see when you look at one of my photographs. I can hope that if I have done my job, you will see something that captures your attention…maybe even something that stirs your soul, that moves within you and touches places that need touching. At best, looking at what I see might open your eyes to something you would not otherwise have seen. It might change the way you see the world. That is the power of photography at its best.

I took pictures for a long time before I knew what I was looking for…what fills my frames and draws me to the instants I choose. Interestingly enough, the actual photographs did not change much, if at all. One day I knew why as well as what and when.

And that brings us full circle. As I have said, I am sure, on more than one Sunday in the past, my why is worship. What fills my frame in the ever-changing now is always some aspect of the beauty…the awe-full beauty, the intimate splendor, the wonderful power, the amazing compassion…of the Creator God displayed in the creation. Every picture is a celebration of that in God and that in me that brings the world to being through love. I frame those instants, from macro to panorama, when I am most aware of God. That is worship. That is my why.

So, this is what I see, now. Look.

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16
Oct
10

10/16/2010: Margret todd and the Caribbean princess

This is from my trip to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park a few weeks ago. I have lots of photos of the Margret Todd, one of the more picturesque (by intention) boats using Bar Harbor. With its maroon sails, it does the scenic thing several times a day on Frenchman’s Bay, ending with a sunset dinner cruise every fair evening. The Caribbean Princes behind the Maggy Todd, on the other hand, is also typical of the boats that use the harbor…Bar Harbor is a regular stop for the cruise ships that work the eastern seaboard of the Americas from the Caribbean to to Newfoundland. They arrive in the night, ferry passengers ashore in the morning in an endless relay of shore boats, 30 folks at a time, and the passengers spend the day spending money at the throng of gifty and arty shops that line the streets of downtown Bar Harbor, spending money (via bus excursions, or even taxi) seeing the sights of Acadia National Park, or spending money visiting one of the tourist attractions that dot the island (museums, Oceanariums, etc., there is even a Maine Lumberjack show in Trenton across the mainland bridge).

What is of interest to me here, of course, is simply the size difference between the ships. Aboard the Maggy Todd you have the impression of being on a fair sized sloop indeed…but seen under the bows of an ocean going liner you get a different picture…it is not so much that the Maggy Todd is small, but that the liner is  HUGE. How very tall it is! The Princess carries 3000 passengers when full and it not the biggest boat that drops anchor in Bar Harbor.  That is totally amazing.

A closer view adds some human scale.

The Maggy Todd is actually as close as it looks here. It must have passed within 50 yards of the bow of the Caribbean Princess (and its mast tops were closer), giving the passengers of both boats a rare thrill.

Canon SX20IS, my normal processing in Lighroom, with some distortion correction in the top shot to bring the water back to level, and a crop for composition.

06
Oct
10

10/6/2010: Jekyll island sunset

I still have lots of pics to share from my trip to Machias and Acadia National Park, and you will see some of them, but I can’t resist moving to Georgia today, since I am physically here on Jekyll Island this morning. Jekyll Island is a strange, beautiful place. You can read all about it on the Jekyll Island wiki page, or get the official version at jekyllisland.com.

I went out last evening particularly to catch the sunset, but only got to the east side of the island before the lure of the reflected light on the clouds and the downed trees I knew littered the beach drew me to the side of the road and down a trail. I was not disappointed.

This is an HDR using 3 autobracketed shots from the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, with the center of the range moved down 2/3s EV using exposure compensation. Normally I avoid HDR where there are waves along a shoreline (or any other moving subject), but with this particular kind of surf, a 3 shot HDR is possible, since the inevitable blurring of the moving water produces a interesting and attractive rendering.  The exposures were blended in Photomatix, and then the result was processed with Recovery, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpening in Lightroom. Color balance was also adjusted using the auto tool.

And here are two more shots from the same location, taken a few moments earlier. These are also HDRs, processed as above. the first is cropped for a more panoramic look.

04
Oct
10

10/5/2010: Quoddy Head Light

These are my last shots from Quoddy Head. The light as seen from the south in the heavy fog. I took a bunch of shots trying to catch the lamp lit and toward me, but the real trick was matching the color balance of this shot and the one at the foot of the blog. The fog, when zoomed in like this, really messed with the color, and cast everything blue. It took a lot of trial and error in Lightroom, working with Color Temperature and Hue to get the two images somewhere near balance…and then, for this one I needed dualing Graduated Filter effects…from the top to darken, from the bottom to brighten and increase contrast…in order to reproduce something like the natural look of the scene.

Canon SX20IS at about 100mm equivalent. F4.5 @ 1/500th @ ISO 80. Landscape Program.

Besides the dualing GF effects and color adjustments above, some Recovery, Fill Light, Blackpoint well right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

The second image is taken from the same spot, but at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/400th @ ISO 80. Also Landscape Program.

Similar treatment in Lightroom, without the GF effects and color balancing. This one requires a larger view.

I am publishing this early since I have to be on a flight to Georgia at 6AM tomorrow morning.

Smile

04
Oct
10

10/4/2010: Green point, quoddy head panorama

This needs to be viewed as large as your monitor will allow. Click the image and use the size controls at the top of the window that opens.

The fog never did lift during my visit to Quoddy Head State Park. I hiked as far down the coast as Green Point. This is a panorama of 4 28mm equivalent shots, looking south, assembled with PhotoShop Elements Panorama tool, and processed in Lightroom (Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen).

This is the standard Canon SX20IS wide angle view north from the other side of Green Point. This has to be the epitome of Maine’s rock-bound, fog-bound coast!

 

30
Sep
10

9/30/2010: Fog on the Cliffs of Quoddy Head

Fog is difficult to photograph, since the scattered light within the fog itself makes it photographically bright, though it has the opposite effect to the natural eye. A bank of fog almost always comes out as a white indistinct mass in an image. If you expose for the fog, to keep it natural, then the landscape under it goes dark and muddy. Seems like an ideal situation for HDR…kind of. I tried several shots on the cliffs of Quoddy Head to test the effect. As always with HDR, I’d have done better with a tripod…especially as the base exposures all had show shutter speeds due to the overall low level of the light. I did get a few shots that worked though, like the one above.

A secondary problem, if you go the HDR route, is Photomatix’s inability to blend exposures where fine detail masks an open sky…trees against the sky are particularly difficult for the app…and you almost always get a light halo around limbs and leaves where the lighter exposure shows through. Changing the smoothing setting can help in making this less obvious but in this image it still shows somewhat in the trees in the upper right.

The other way to work the fog is to use Revovery and Fill Light in Lightroom, along with some filter trickery. This shot is not HDR, but I was able to extend the range and keep the fog semi-transparent, by using heavy Recovery, which reduces the highlights in an image without effecting the rest of the tones. Fill Light for the foreground allows me to move the Blackpoint right to increase color depth and contrast. Finally, in this case, the fog in the upper left corner was totally blown out and distractingly white…so I went in with a Local Adjustment Brush, set large with maximum feather, and brushed in an adjustment area in that corner. I used to to reduce exposure and brightness selectively there, producing a more natural grey where it was white. If the area had not been so oddly shaped I would have just used a Graduated Filter Effect pulled down from that corner, but LAB worked better for this image.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent.

From Quoddy Head and Lubec ME.

14
Sep
10

9/14/2010: Blue House

Blue house, blue sky, steel blue sea, and the racing clouds behind the hurricane. It is actually the few warm rocks in the sun in the foreground and the massive clouds that make the image….without them the blues would not be nearly so dominant. (And I just noticed, when I uploaded this to Flickr, the sun-drawing-water effects along the horizon!)

This is another Photomatix HDR, based on three wide angle exposures (auto bracketed) in the Canon SX20IS. Besides blending and tone mapping in Photomatix, the final image was tweaked in Lightroom: a bit of Recovery for the sky, added Clarity and Vibrance, Blackpoint slightly right, Sharpen narrow edges preset, and some distortion control for both wide angle lens distortion and vertical perspective distortion to restore the horizon and straighten the flagpole. Since being able to correct it easily in Lightroom, I find I am becoming more intolerant of obvious camera distortions.

The critical step in post-processing, however, was getting the color temperature right…in the original, the rocks were too blue as well, and the image looked a bit filtered. Just the way the sensor saw it I guess. I added some warmth, but if the rocks looked natural, then the blue of the house, in particular, went too light…this is a compromise which preserves the blue house and balances the rocks. The steel blue of the sea, while not as intense as the original image, is more true to life on a day of storm seas. Or that’s the way I see it anyway.

Smile