Over The Roofs

This is actually just a simple camera test on my Nikon D810. I had some issues on my last shoot and I was like something isn’t right. Turns out my lens hood got knocked and it didn’t show until I blew up the images. Luckily I could just crop it out and move on.

There isn’t anything special about this image other than it’s my normal view from my balcony. I played around with it just because I wanted to remember how to edit a landscape again. Plus I liked all the colours in the image so why not do a quick edit and share.

Enjoy.

Over The Roofs

SR-71 Blackbird From Behind

I like this plane. Plus I’m still in flux with my new place and an easy edit for me so bear with me while I settle into my new place.

One of the joys of living in Thailand is a crap electrical system. My place is older so there aren’t many outlets so the stringing together of power strips that shoot sparks every time you plug something new into them gives you a cheerful feeling of oh shit. I have learned to plug in the cord before plugging it into the equipment. If you think wow, sparks shoot out from an empty cord, you more or less nailed Thailand’s electrical system. It’s rather unbrilliant. I don’t care if its new or old construction. The electrical system over here is a complete mess and they are trying to clear it up. Just consider that the new tunnel they built that was supposed to open a year ago is still have “minor issues” you can figure out how well electric is going to go.

Editing this image is a mix of several layers. I just masked in a standard edit, a Intensify edit, HDR edit, and then some dodging and burning to get it to where it is. I like it.

Enjoy.

Sr-71

Real or Reflected

Shot this in Luray caverns. I haven’t went back and edited the series like I intended because it’s such a challenge with the light, color correction and so many other things going on with the images.

Just a quick post today because I am actually setting up all my stuff. I moved to a new place here in Thailand and it will be home for the next 12 months. I haven’t unpacked all my stuff since June 5th when I left for Florida so this is the first time I am getting around to doing it. Of course the important, like my computers and other stuff were first but the rest must be unpacked and stored.

Editing this I was going to do it HDR and then mask it in with an Intensify layer. I did the HDR and was happy enough with it. When I did the Intensify portion it looked way better so never masked it in. I just did some dodging and burning and used a gradient in Camera Raw to do some rebalancing. Not the greatest of images but it does mess with your mind a bit.

Enjoy.

Real or Reflected

Spring Gazebo

This was shot at Brookside Gardens. There are a few of these gazebos around the gardens but they are never used. If you are looking for a quiet place then I suggest using one as they are never busy.

This was shot last year when I first got my Nikon D810. I like to play the game of randomly clicking on my photo library and see what comes up. I have so many images that I never processed that this can lead me to hidden gems. It’s fun to see what comes up in the randomness. Sometimes you end up with something good and other times it’s complete crap.

I have been hesitant to work on my newer stuff just because I like to keep a back catalogue to work off of. I have been shooting stuff but I like to keep a cushion just in case. I am hoping in the next two weeks when I head to Florida I’ll have some time to do some more landscape stuff as I will be there for a bit of time. Then I’ll start working on the stuff I have shot more recently.

This is a HDR image that I created off of one image. I just loaded it into Aurora 2017 and then played with sliders until I was happy. Then it was into Photoshop to do some gradients and some dodging and burning to get local contrast. Once I was happy hit save and called it done.

Enjoy.

Spring Gazebo

Underground – Part 1

This was shot in Luray Caverns when I went out there a few months back. It seemed like something to do and a bit of a photographic challenge for myself.

I’ll be honest and tell you I skipped the guide as I was focused on taking photos so don’t know much about the place. I was never with the group so I didn’t hear much of the history of the place.They are photographer friendly allowing flash and tripods but I elected to go with a monopod and no flash. I used ISO 1600 and my Nikon D810 to do this series.

I am personally not sure how I feel about these images. They are extremely difficult to edit because I can’t white balance. The lighting was all over the place in the caverns. They were using artificial light that focused on certain areas blowing out some photos. So in the end I have several more rounds of these photos but they won’t be seen for later this week. Likely next when I have several hours to edit again.

As I indicated editing is a nightmare. I just let the color where it fell and tried to keep it accurate. This is the second batch I have tackled but the first round was horrible. I am hoping with the third round things get a bit better. I’d go into detail but it was a lot of local work to even get the photos this far.

Enjoy.

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Around The Bench

I shot this at Brookside Gardens at some point but I honestly don’t remember when. Could have been Spring or Summer I really have no idea anymore.

To be honest this was a compromise photo to fill out the week. I am working on a series that is an absolute nightmare to edit and I just hit the wall with it so I stopped and stepped away. I just started to go through the archives until I found something I knew I could knockout quickly and easily. It was then I stumbled on this image.

Editing was straightforward. Add the camera defaults, put in a few gradients and then off to Photoshop. A quick curves adjustment and then local work to add contrast here and there. The most I did was desaturate the purples a bit. It was then off to sharpening and done.

Enjoy.

Around the Bench

Sunrise On A Gazebo

I took two different shots of the gazebo at Antietam. One from the front and this one. Considering the light I guess I didn’t take them that far apart.

If there was a hell for photo editing this image is likely involved. I have edited this image at least 10 times. This is finally the version I settled on.

Part of the problem was the light and how the camera metered it. It did some really funky things and I minimized them as much as possible. I won’t tell you what they are but they are there. Then I had some crap that I didn’t want in the image and thought I be slick and clone stamp it out. That turned things even worse. Finally, no matter what I did HDR or not HDR is just kept looking like ass.

This edit I took a master source file and did my usual edits in Lightroom then brought it into Photoshop. I then created 2 layers. The first layers I edited it as I normally would any other file. Curves adjustment and the local work with dodge and burn. Second layer I opened in in Aurora HDR and then started in on that. I just kept playing with sliders until I was happy.

Once I had the two layers I started masking bits in here and there that I wanted. I had to contend with blown color channels, highlights, and blacks clipping. To get around it I masked in the darker “normal” layer with various opacities. Then I did some more local work with dodging and burning until I finally said no more. The last bit was a crop to get rid of the garbage I knew I could not clone stamp out. Then called it done.

Enjoy.

Dawn on a Gazebo

Road To Yonder

Title came from a comic I read as a kid. Guy walks up to two other guys and asks for directions. One of the men answers and and says ‘It’s yonder’. The man asking for direction leaves. The other man who didn’t talk then asks the man that gave directions if he actually knew where he sent the other man. He replied, ‘Always wondered where yonder is’.

This isn’t the most fabulous image I ever took in my life. In fact, it’s more of a Monday image and I was playing around so might as well publish it. There are lots of flaws with it but I’ll let it go. Part of this is me wanting to avoid Photoshop and Lightroom right now after having to reinstall them to fix the latest Adobe nightmare that somehow insists that my Camera Raw is not in sync between the two.

I do find it ironic that I raged against HDR and then I turned around and made a HDR image. In this case it worked as the source images were relatively static. There is some motion in the sky but it works so I didn’t bother with it.

This was taken at Antietam Battlefield at some watch tower thing. I climbed to the top and has it to myself so I setup my tripod and fired off a bunch of shots since I had the luxury of time. Was rather nice not to have to rush to try and get an image in what would normally be a busy spot.

As I indicated this was done in HDR. I only used the -2 and 0 images to create the file. I manually did the settings playing with sliders until I was happy. Then I brought it into freshly reinstalled Photoshop and started adding local adjustments via dodge and burn. Satisfied enough with the result I called it done and hit save.

Enjoy.

Road to Yonder

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.

Enjoy.

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

Follow The Line To Where It Leads

I shot this at Antietam Battlefield last year. I was walking along one of the many roads that go through the park and saw this and figured why not take a photo.

This image was meant for HDR but when I ran it through the initial conversion using Aurora it just looked awful. I did a quick edit just to see what I wasn’t happy with it at all. I just moved back to Lightroom and reverted to my usual workflow. While I enjoy making HDR images sometimes things can get a little too much. There is no sense in trying to push an image when it doesn’t work.

When it came time for editing I did my usual workflow then into Photoshop. Once I added my curves adjustment I did some local dodging and burning. While the image wasn’t going to be HDR it could use a bit of a pop. I created a new layer and opened Intensify CK and picked a preset that I have as a favorite. Brought it back into Photoshop and masked in the road at one opacity and the field and trees at another. Still wasn’t done. The grass and fields were a bit hot and nuclear. So brought them down using desaturase brush and a hue/saturation adjustment. This caused my line to lose a bit of its punch. Quickly made a new layer from the base, bumped the saturation back into the yellows and masked that in. Called it done.

Enjoy.

Follow the Yellow Line