Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End of the Day

Little J finally wound down, when the sun did.  He had some adorable expressions while sitting in this chair on the deck, but I had major technical issues and missed them all  :(. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Taking a break

Mama had a chance to slow him down for a minute or two.  She did not intend to be in any of the images, but I hope to photograph her more the next time as she is a natural beauty.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ready for some waves

A perfect example of not keeping up the the light --- my shutter speed got too low to capture a sharp image.  He looked so cute in these swim trunks, but it was so hard on my legs to run ahead of him, get down on the grass, shoot one or two shots before he zoomed past me and repeat the whole thing numerous times.  It has been over 20 years since my son was this age, how we forget!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One way to slow him down

Hang on to him!  He was pretty happy on daddy's shoulders.  The family wanted their images to have the marina in the background, as they keep a boat there and spend most Sundays out on the water.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chasing After J

I recently had a great time chasing after this little 14 month old.  Again, I learned a few things that I will definitely keep in mind for the future --- find a way to contain little ones who are mobile (there is no way you can outlast their energy!) and don't even bother trying to shoot in direct light even if it is late evening light.  I had a feeling J would be moving around so got Mike to rig up my camera on a bracket with an SB28 flash and a DIY 'Fong' to add some light to even out the shadows.  While it worked well at first, I did not keep up with the changing light levels so need to work on the technical side of that.  Also, there were probably too many adults around for me to get a very good rapport built with him but I am not sure how to do anything about that.  Maybe have them move back for the first little bit and don't try to shoot, just interact with the child, maybe with a toy or something they enjoy.  He was a very happy little guy and such a cute toddler. I am planning on photographing him again soon, with some modifications in the backgrounds and the fill light.  I like this shot for his expression, the way he is holding his blanket/frog and I actually like the light streak.  But the background, not so much. 
Nikon D200, 50mm 1.8 lens on a bracket with flash and a modifier

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rain Lily, from above

5 images manually focused at different depths, combined in CS3.  Processed in ACR for increased exposure, blacks and vibrance.  Images combined individually in CS3 and masked to show only the sharp areas in each image, slight cloning of spots, Boost by Pioneer Woman at 50% opacity, Curves for global brightness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rain Lily

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with close-up filter at f4 and 1/750th
PP: increased exposure, and blacks in ACR.  In CS3 I removed some distracting yellow in another flower in the background and in some leaves on the right, Levels for global brightening, the Edge by Kubota for sharpening, added a texture layer in softlight at 25% opacity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coneflower #4

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with close-up filter
PP: In ACR increased exposure, fill light, blacks and brightness.  In CS3, combined 4 exposures for focus, removed distractions in the background, Levels for global brightness, Touch of Light on the center, sharpened with the highpass filter in overlay mode.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Conefower #3

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with close-up filter
PP: Increased exposure, recovery, fill light and blacks slightly in ACR.  In CS3 I combined 4 images, removed a distraction in the background, ran Touch of Darkness on some of the petals, Touch of Light on the center, sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight, and ran Popsickle by Kubota for more detail.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Variations of the Coneflower

This image is again a composite of 3 separate images focused at different spots.This time I used my macro lens, not the Lensbaby and although it was taken a couple of days after the previous Coneflower, it was shot only an hour later in the evening. I don't remember if the light was similar or not but the raw files are much different in tone and brightness, with this one being much lighter and the colors are not as saturated.  Usually that is what I see with the different lenses used, or maybe the light was the reason this time.
Nikon D200, 60mm 2.8 macro lens with closeup filter
PP: Reduced exposure, increased blacks, fill light and recovery slider in ACR.  In CS3 I combined 3 images to get as much of the petals in focus as I could, Curves for brightness, Touch of Light on the center, sharpened with the highpass filter on softlight, Levels for more brightness

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lensbaby Coneflower

Once again using the Lensbaby with a closeup filter.  I thought these flowers are Coneflowers but could not find any examples to confirm that.  I did not increase the saturation in this image, but it was taken in late evening in the shade and I have always found that my Lensbaby lenses produce much darker and richer images without changing any camera settings.  I can switch back and forth between other lenses and the Lensbaby and the difference is very notable even in the LCD.
Nikon D200, Lensbaby Composer with close up filter, +3 exposure compensation, ISO 160, cloudy whitebalance
PP:  Increased exposure, recovery, fill light and blacks slightly in ACR. In CS3 used a levels layer for global brightening, combined 2 more images to get the center of the flower in focus, used Touch of Light on the petals, sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight mode

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Toad's Eye View

I thought about submitting this image, a combination of 5 separate images, for the Unusual Perspective assignment but was not happy with how it test printed so decided to save the ink.
Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with +4 closeup filter, ISO 160, cloudy whitebalance
PP:  Reduced the exposure, slid the recovery slider all the way to 100 and added a little fill light in ACR. In CS3 I combined parts of 5 images in order to get the stem and all of the mushroom top in focus, Touch of Darkness on rim edge, Hue/Sat layer to reduce yellows in the grass, PopSickle by Kubota for details, sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight mode, and ran Punch Drunk by Kubota at reduced opacity for brightness

Monday, September 14, 2009

From a Fish's Perspective

This was the image I submitted for Unusual Perspective. However, the judges did not agree and only gave it a Bronze. I was afraid the compositing was too obvious but was the limit of my abilities. In any case I am always glad that I do the assignments because I always learn something from the attempt. I would never have known how interesting it is to see Maggie from the bottom of our pool instead of at the surface. I always think our pets are special and being able to document Maggie's diving abilities only confirms that!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Such Grace, Such Form!

Two more images that show the graceful approach Maggie often has when retrieving her torpedo. These beg for an interesting shell or fish or something to use to replace the torpedo, but unfortunately when I took my scuba diving images 3 years ago I did not have that in mind and so most of those shots won't work....Sounds like another diving vacation is needed! If only we could take her with us --- I have seen scuba gear for dogs and she would ace any training to use it.
Again, very little post processing done to these shots, just levels and a wavy texture layer was added to the second image after cloning out the pool tile.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Laughing Underwater Is Not Good For The Lungs

The first image shows the water reflections that happened when the sun was shining. After I decided to combine the shots of her diving with the ones from Cozumel I could not use any with all those highlights so was glad I had continued to shoot when the sun went behind the clouds. In the second image, after Maggie had such trouble getting all the way to the bottom for her toy I decided to hold it out in front of me at a more shallow depth and then I was totally surprised what she looked like from the toy's point of view! Her eyes are opened very wide and she has such a concerned, worried look on her face...I promise she loves the retrieving and begs to have her toy thrown in the pool! I thought about entering the second image Tuesday night but did not think the judges would have any idea what was going on. Without the backstory would you have?
Not much processing was done to these images, mainly a levels adjustment to brighten them and no sharpening other than what was applied in the camera to the jpgs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maggie Swims With Fishes

I really liked the way Maggie looked in this shot --- floating along underwater, or even almost prancing like a horse. It seems very ethereal and dreamlike, but I wish she had been turned a little more toward me....too bad it is so difficult to communicate with her underwater! At first I waited until the sun was shining directly in the pool but then I liked the murky, darker way the shots were when it went behind the clouds.
Sony Cybershot in underwater housing at f 5.6 and 1/250th, Program mode, ISO 100
Post processing: cloned out the tile and distractions, replaced a rear leg and her mouth without the torpedo from other images, ran TechyColor action by Kubota to brighten, combined reef image, added wavy texture layer, ran Blue Dawn Leonidas by Kubota at 20% opacity which made it even brighter and "icier", sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight mode.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Incredible Diving Dog

Years ago our son taught our Labrador Retriever to dive in our swimming pool to retrieve a torpedo toy and when we had a photo club assignment of Unusual Perspective I thought that photographing her from the bottom of the pool would fit. I have a Sony Cybershot point and shoot that fits in an underwater housing that I used on a scuba diving trip to Cozumel 3 years ago so that is what I used to capture these images. Unfortunately it only takes jpgs, and you cannot use the viewfinder with the housing on so I often had the camera pointed a little off and would only catch part or nothing of Maggie so it took several sessions. And sadly, she has severe hip dysplasia and now has so much trouble kicking her rear legs hard enough to propel her to the bottom to pick up her toy that she had to give up a number of times, but she loves to dive. The view from under the water is so much different from what you can see from ground level as she splashes and dives, sometimes I almost breathed in the water from laughing so hard. After post processing some of the images I decided they were a little boring showing the plain bottom of the pool so I combined images from my dive trip to make it appear like she was diving in the ocean. I got so many that I loved that the next few posts will show those various images.
Sony Cybershot in underwater housing, Program mode, f2.8, 1.200th, ISO 100
Post processing: after increasing the exposure and blacks in ACR, in PS I cloned out distractions and the tile at the water level, did a Match Color adjustment to get the blues of the reef image closer to the blues of the pool, merged visible all the layers and changed the blending mode to Soft Light at 50% opacity, added a texture layer for the waves, sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight mode.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Few Hours Later

Same mushroom a little later in the day, almost noon. This is just one image, the smaller aperture let me get more in focus and possibly the brighter light helped also.

Post processing: Popsickle by Kubota for details, Black and White Full Moon by Kubota, Touch of Light on the stem and levels to bring up a little of the grass.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Moonscape Mushroom

I don't remember seeing this type of mushroom in our grass before our recent rains, and it was interesting to watch how they changed over a couple of days and then died. They opened like an umbrella and then turned inside out before turning brown. This image is an early stage and is a composite of 3 separate images to try to get as much detail in focus as I could.

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with +4 closeup filter at f5 and 1/1250th, +.85 exposure compensation, cloudy whitebalance
Post processing: combined 3 exposures and used a mask to hide the blurry areas, Touch of Light on the stem, Popsickle by Kubota in Softlight mode to emphasize the details, Black and white Full Moon and Black and White Warm and Deep by Kubota

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One more seashell

This shell image is not part of the series on the driftwood but was shot several months before. I think a color version was chosen by Craig Tanner for one of his daily critiques back in the Radiant Vista days.

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens at f3.2 and 1/1000th, ISO 800 (I forgot I had changed the ISO a few days before) cloudy whitebalance
Post processing: removed some spots, levels for brightness, levels for whitebalance, colorbalance layer to reduce orange in the background, Curves for contrast, Fade to black and white by Kubota, Photofilter in sepia, Touch of Dark on the background, Touch of Light on the shell, sharpened with Popsickle by Kubota, final levels to darken background more.