One More Sunset

Shot this the same time as yesterday’s sunset. Bit of a different view from yesterdays as this is in landscape format and pointed at a different section of sky.

While I use my Nikon D810 and my Sony’s for professional stuff now, I use my little Nikon D5500 for a lot of other stuff and with the crop sensor and the 55-200 lens it makes it a great combo that is light and gives you a lot of reach. I could not image how bad the camera would be with the 70-200 2.8 on it. The D810 is bad enough.

Again, all done in Photoshop, nothing via a plugin because they are all broken. May have to do a reinstall which pains me. I know it is likely the Adobe upgrade that broke them.

So just a curves adjustment, lots of dodging and burning and calling it done.



Guess Who Is Back

Well I am back. Conditionally speaking of course. Which will be explained shortly.

First off, I had to take a break. I was suddenly thrust with the problem of being a landscape/travel photographer shooting when I felt like it to being a full time portrait/event photographer. Whole different world and one I wasn’t exactly prepared for.

I had done events before. No big deal. Bang the photos out and done with it. So shooting parties wasn’t a real difficult task. The problem was the portraits. I never really shot them much. If I did they were off the cuff and for fun, not work.

I suddenly had to become a portrait photographer which was a whole new world to me. It meant learning to retouch photos on a level I had never done before. It also meant learning flash and lighting and all that went with it.

Over the past month I have learned. I have never spent so much time in Photoshop in my life. When I wasn’t in Photoshop I was reading articles on how to retouch faces, match skin tones, and so on. Took a lot of work and effort.

With all that I didn’t have time to shoot personal work and to be honest I still don’t but trying to change that. I doubt I will do 5 days a week anymore. I just can’t because of other commitments.

I rather publish a photo I am proud of or that I personally enjoy then some crap I shot just to put in for filler. It doesn’t work and I feel I let myself down by publishing crap.

So with all that said, I’ll be most again. Just not as frequently and on a schedule that is slightly more erratic than before. Goal is 3 or 4 images a week and no longer on a Monday – Friday schedule. They will go when I think I have something worth sharing and will just be published whenever. No more scheduled photos. I live on the other side of the world now. So time zones are a bit of a pain and really not worth the effort.

This image was taken off the balcony of my room. My view is towards the Gulf of Thailand (I can’t see the water) and towards downtown. It’s a weird view but I like it.

The sun was setting and I had my Nikon D810 (which I use for all portrait work) on a table so grabbed it and took this shot.

When I went to edit it I wanted that sunset to pop and the buildings to clip towards black. Did all that and then used a bunch of filters to get the sky to pop. Each one a different layer. Trust me, nature didn’t make this sunset. The joy of doing that is you always introduce noise into a sky photo. So I just ran another filter to denoise the image. Then I masked it in so it didn’t look unnatural and called it done.


Sunset over Pattaya

Bridge In The Clouds

Took this while I was in Florida on Estero Bay near Fort Myers. Was on a boat in the middle of the day.

Sadly this is one of these place holder images I do that should be apart of a series but I haven’t had time. Since moving to Thailand I have been busy with so many other things that editing has taken second place.

This time I had to edit photos for someone else on a quick turn around. So I have been editing most of the afternoon to get them done and turned over. So I’m a little fried from looking at Photoshop right now.

Editing wise this was normal workflow. Then I took it into Intensify to bring out the clouds a bit more. Originally masked it in at 40% and it was way too much. Took it down to 13% and got the effect I was looking for. Bit of a dodge and burn and good to go.


Bridge In Clouds

Light On A Storm

This was shot while the storm was doing its thing. In Fort Myers, it’s not uncommon to see strong sunlight while it is storming at the same time.

This was taken with my Sigma 17-80mm which is an amazing lens. I did a lot of research while looking for a good video lens to use with the D5500. After a doing all the research I ended up with the Sigma Art lens which has image stabilization. It’s not constant aperture going from 2.8 on the wide to 4.0 on the long but that wasn’t a deal breaker. Matching it up with the D5500 had been a great combo.

Editing wasn’t much going on. In these type of shots you don’t need to do a whole lot. Applied my camera default and then a couple of gradients. Then a slight curves adjustment in Photoshop. Slight dodging and burning and called it done.


Light On A Storm

Dawn Over Silent Cannon

This is another one from Antietam Battlefield. Was on the field near the visitor’s center with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance and the sun just starting to rise.

This is another example of an image that was meant for HDR that just wasn’t going to work. HDR just creates too many variables into the image that make it difficult to get a solid, finish image. There are little things that drive me nuts with objects not aligning. Weird color shifts that aren’t natural. Plus the HDR halo effect for lack of better term. You can fix all these things but it adds time and effort to an image for little gain.

I haven’t given up on HDR. I do enjoy it but I am discovering that it works well in some applications and other applications it doesn’t. Unless you want to spend hours on a landscape photo it’s not worth it. For interiors and stationary objects, you can get some really spectacular results. I’ll still play with HDR but I’m not going to run a conversion just because I shot the image for HDR.

This image was straight out of Lightroom into Photoshop. I added a curves adjustment to get the overall tone correct then I added contrast to it. I did have to use the Camera Raw filter to add another gradient to lighten the grass. It went too dark on me. The rest was just local dodging and burning. I do admit to “popping” the sky a bit using Intensify CK and masking that in. It just made the photo that little bit better.


Ps – I almost spelt cannon with just one N. I spent too much time on photography websites. It would have been really awkward because this was shot on a Nikon.

Dawn Over Silent Cannon

Beam of Sun

Too lazy to go through an edit anything from my recent photography so I just randomly clicked in my photography library and came up with this image.

This is the Potomac River as it flows near Chain Bridge. I was standing on the bridge with my camera wedged on a tripod between the railings. I had to do this to avoid the rails showing up in the images.

Fun thing about shooting off a bridge is that bridges move. A lot. When there is a car coming it will cause the bridge to vibrate and this is passed to you if you are holding the camera or the tripod. So you learn to time your shots so you don’t get unwanted motion in the images.

Editing was all about the sky as it looked like storm clouds. I really wanted them to pop. I used gradients to get the focus on them and then into Photoshop. I had to do a lot of local dodging and burning to get the image balanced once I put the curve adjustment in. After that it was a quick trip to Camera Raw to remove some noise then sharpening and done.


Beam of Sun

Subtle Reflections

This was shot at Brookside Gardens last Fall. I was playing around with my Sony RX10 which I had recently purchased.

With upcoming travels I’m not bothering to take my DSLR’s. Just the Sony RX10 and the RX100iii I own. These two cameras will shoot almost anything I need to without the need to pack an additional camera bag.

There is always a tradeoff when going with a bridge camera or a compact but the Sony sensors can produce solid images. When you don’t want to pack the full gamut of lenses for a DSLR a solid bridge camera or compact can get you through most trips.

Editing this is nothing but a camera profile and some gradient work. Then it was into Photoshop for a curves adjustment and dodging and burning. There was no need to push the image further. Adding some subtle sharpening got the result I wanted and I was happy.


Subtle Reflections


Reflecting Washington

This is the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington DC. The Lincoln Memorial was behind me as the two monuments face each other with the pool between them.

Shot this the day before Presidents Day here in America. It was absolute chaos down there because it was a 3-day weekend and the weather was really nice. So I was fighting for space. Everyone was wanting to take pictures or selfies of the reflecting pool. I am polite and let people finish but when I see a spot I jump in and setup for my shot. If you don’t you will stand there all day waiting.

Nothing fancy here. I did go for the 16×9 crop since I was at a wide angle. It helped cut down on some of the sky. Once I had that it was straight up adjustments in Lightroom and then into Photoshop. Once in Photoshop I added a curves adjustment for tone and and contrast. I did have to add an extra gradient in the Camera Raw Filter to get the sky not to shift to some weird blue. So a simple and easy to edit image.


Reflecting Pool

Frothing Away

This was shot at Great Falls earlier this year. Was a warm day so I took a hike out there. The title is a bit sketchy but it popped into my head. Sometimes these things are easy to name and sometimes they are not.

Sometimes an image just needs a monochrome conversion to bring out the details. There wasn’t a lot of color to begin with so I wanted it to be about the texture of the rocks and water. The trick with a good monochrome image is the tonal shifts and details. I see a lot of stuff, in particular street photography that is converted to monochrome just because. If the image doesn’t work that way there is no point in doing it. Some people just stick with it just because they feel the need to fit a certain genre. I do it because I think it enhances the image not just because.

When it came time to edit this I did the conversion in Lightroom. I just played with the sliders until I got it to where I wanted it. When you do a conversion manually it helps to remember what color channels the image had originally.

Once I was happy then into Photoshop for the curves adjustment for tonality and contrast. Then a lot of local work on the rocks, trees and water. Once that was done I wasn’t 100% happy. So I loaded it into Intensify CK and picked some preset. I then did a very light mask to bring out the details a bit more and called it done.


Great Falls

Bridge Over Placid Water

Shot this along the waterfront in Washington DC. The bridge is Memorial Bridge and the city behind it is Roslyn in Virginia.

Not in love with this image but the more I looked at it the more I figured why not publish it. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s just not exciting. It’s one of those solid images that work but doesn’t do a lot more.

I shot this on my A7R and I believe my 24-240 lens which is the workhorse of my landscape stuff. I’m lazy with lens changes. I rather have a lens that does everything well than some uber lens I need to switch out to. Sure there are compromises but it produced a good chunk of the images on this site the last year or so.

Editing wise nothing fancy. No masking no nothing. Just a curves adjustment and then local work. With my tone curve I have become more aggressive using it to get better contrast. If there is a weird color shift I just open up the Camera Raw Filter and redo the white balance or just do a hue/saturation fix within Photoshop itself.


Bridge Over Placid Water