Sunset on Paradise

Why not wrap the week up with a sunset from Thailand? This was taken along the beach on the Gulf of Thailand. You can see Koh Larn (koh means island in Thai) in the distance and a little bit of Pratumnak on the left.

The beach I was on had all these weird rocks. I have no idea what they were but they looked good in the water with the sun setting. I have published previous images that were similar but I really liked this one. It seemed the HDR just made it pop nicely.

Editing was done in Aurora 2017 and doing the conversion myself. I just add layers until I am happy with the final product then taking it into Photoshop for some final work. One of the things I have to do is defringe all the images. While Aurora can do it Photoshop does a much better job in the Camera Raw Filter. Once that was done it was spot removal and then some dodging and burning and done.

Enjoy.

Sunset on Paradise

Tunnel Vision

This is along the Riverwalk in Chicago. I was returning to my hotel and saw this tunnel lit up and I thought it would be a cool shot. I quickly setup my tripod and waited for some people to walk through. I got lucky with these two and fired several frames to make sure I got them where I wanted them. Their motion blur because of the exposure time give it a sense of movement.

Usual edits but I did mask in a HDR layer. Mostly to make the colors and textures in the tunnel pop more. I deliberately made sure the outside where I was shooting from clipped to black for the most part. On the other side you just get a faint outline on where they came from.

Enjoy.

Tunnel Vision

Fort At Casco Viejo

I believe and forgive me if I am wrong that the portion to the right is the old fort at Casco Viejo, Panama. I really took the image because of the layering of color in it that I liked.

I’ll get to editing first. This was shot on a Nikon D810 with a 16-35mm lens. I did the usual adjustments and then started to add in various layers. I stayed away from a HDR mask and went with a normal one to bring out the sky and water textures. As is usual when there is a lot of information in the blue channel I had to mask in a bit to remove the noise from the image. Annoying but it smoothes things out. Still, there is always a bit of pixilation.

I am on travel the next 30 days. The first 8 days will be in Chicago and I will be shooting a lot there. Taking the Sony A7R along with my 15mm Voigtlander, 16-35 Sony FE, 24-240 Sony FE, and my 35 Oshiro to test out. I will also have my Sony RX100M3 and a couple smaller point and shoots.

From Chicago I go straight to Thailand. I have some ideas on what I want to shoot there. I am also going to attempt video for the first time. How much I do I don’t know but I have a couple of GoPro’s and various mounts and a gimbal for them. Will be fun to see what I come out with at the end.

Not sure how I will handle photos. I am sitting on a comfortable backlog and I do have a large monitor in storage in Thailand so I can edit on that versus my 13″ Macbook Pro screen. If you start seeing Thailand photos in the next 30 days assume I decided to edit.

Enjoy!

Fort at Casco VIejo

Panama Pride

I am back from a week in Panama where I did a lot of photography. One of the issues I faced was the weather. It’s the rainy season this time of year so I had a lot of flat grey light to work with. On top of that, you could figure out it was going to rain every afternoon around 1 or 1:30 which also coincided with the humidity making it so hot that you didn’t want to be outside.

I rented a Nikon 28-300 from Borrowlenses.com and I’m happy I did. After about a day and a half of shooting I realized it wasn’t going to work for me. There is nothing wrong with the lens, its just slow to focus and wasn’t adding much that my 24-105 wasn’t going to do since I rarely went much longer. So it was relegated to my bag and then happily returned. The beauty of the rental was that I didn’t buy it to find out I was was going to hate it and collect dust.

For the image itself I did use the full 300mm to get this shot. The flag is the Panamanian flag and the buildings behind it are Casco Viejo.

I didn’t do a lot to this image. The 28-300mm isn’t the world’s sharpest even stopped down so starting to put in layer masks which isn’t lossless means I lose sharpness. So it was a simple curves layer and some dodging and burning. The goal was to make the flag stand out and I think I did.

Enjoy.

Panama-Pride-IC

Baltimore Days

I shot this series as a preparation for my Panama trip where I am now. I wanted to see how the Nikon D810 performed in blazing afternoon sun. In addition I wanted to see how I performed in the blazing afternoon sun while carrying the “beast” as someone called it. The Nikon performed better than I did before I tapped out and had a beer after a few hours of lugging it around.

I normally take my Sony A7R on trips because it’s much lighter than the Nikon D810. Yet, with Panama I really wanted to capture the country with a lot more detail. While the A7R is a great camera I primarily use it on a tripod. With Panama, I’m going to be in a ton of different shooting situations so I wanted a camera with image stabilization (all my lenses have it) since may not be using a tripod all the time.

What I learned is that the Nikon lenses are beasts with weight so lens selection is critical. I deliberately lugged all the lenses in a messenger style bag I have. I learned quickly that it’s not a good idea. Messenger bags with that much weight are uncomfortable. So for daily shooting take a smaller backpack that can evenly distribute the weight. In addition, lens selection is critical. No need to carry an arsenal. So with that in mind I rented a Nikon 28-300. After reading all the pros and cons against it, for my style of photography it’s perfect. If I like it well enough I’ll purchase one on return.

With the experiment over it was time to process the images. I deliberately pushed myself off my usual paths in Baltimore and started to wander. The white tower you see is part of St. Vincent de Paul. I have always seen it but never walked myself towards it. So this time I did. As, always I took a shot of the City Hall building. I call it my muse because I have at least a 1000 shots of it. The other shots are around the Inner Harbor that I never really wandered into during the day.

Editing wise I kept it simple, no masking in filters and layers. Sometimes you just need to let the photos speak for themselves.

Enjoy.

Baltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore DaysBaltimore Days

The View Out

This was shot at the Sanctuary of Truth in Thailand last November. I need to tell the back story of this image. Not that the shot itself was special, I setup the tripod and pointed out. No, the story is I have attempted to edit this image no less than 5 different times and I have about 8 hours worth of work on it. I have routinely just trashed my edits and went and did something else.

I was watching Trey Ratcliff’s – Becoming and Artist and one of the things he does is mostly edits in Lightroom where as I don’t. After watching him do a few edits I was like let me try this image just editing it Lightroom and ignoring all the anal retentive photo rules I tend to follow and go with the flow. So I did. I just went with what I felt I wanted out of the image and once I had it the way I wanted it took it into Photoshop.

There was some of the usual dodging and burning but it still didn’t feel “right”. So loaded up Macphun Intensify CK and started playing with filters until I found one I liked. Brought it back into Photoshop then masked in the bits I wanted. Mainly I wanted it to glow and feel warm. Make the carvings pop more than they were. A couple of masks later I was happy.

Is the image perfect? Hell no. Am I happy I finally got it to some place I could live with it? Hell yes! I really liked the image and I just didn’t want it to go to waste.

Full resolution here.

Enjoy.

The View Out

Intercostal Landscapes – Part 1

These images were shot in Ding Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge which is located on Sanibel Island in Florida. It’s about 45 minutes from Fort Myers (I think). I have been to Sanibel a few times and there are some images on the site are from there but I never went to Ding Darling. The one time I was supposed to go I got lost. Hard to do on a small island with one main road but I have a poor sense of direction.

This time I loaded up the car and my Dad and I rolled out there. My Dad being senior citizen with a lifetime Ding Darling pass or something meant that I got in for free so off we went.

The first thing about Ding Darling is you drive through it and pull off the road if you want to take some pictures. There are small trails if you just want to leave your car and wander out on them. You can also bike or walk the trails if you are more inclined to do so versus walking around. We stuck to the car with the magical stuff called air conditioning.

At various points I would jump out while Dad opting for the more leisurely activity of just opening the door and looking at the scenes while I ran out to take my shots. Dad does have a future as a photographic assistant because he adapted well with me handing him gear as I jumped back in after my shots. His no questions asked as I shoved cameras into his hands worked well for my style of shooting.

I used two cameras for this; my Olympus EM1 and my Ricoh GR. The EM1 had a 12-40 on it for some shots and  45-200 for longer shots. The Ricoh was left in 28mm mode. All of these images are composite and for the total batch it took 3+ hours to do them simply because of the crunching the machine had to do. Plus I would then edit the images and tweak them out. Rather proud of them. I have really started to enjoy making composite images where I just stack as many files as I can to get the clarity and resolution I want. I don’t use a tripod when I do this which causes me some problems and I’m eventually going to have to include my tripod as part of my landscape kit but for now I just set the camera to continuous mode and press the shutter and try not to move or breath. It works but I know I can do better.

Oh, as for if Ding Darling is on the Intercostal Waterway or not I have no idea. It looked intercostal to me so I went with it for the name.

Enjoy.

Intercostal Landscapes

Intercostal Landscapes

Intercostal Landscapes

Intercostal Landscapes

Intercostal Landscapes

 

Square and Rectangle

Just a couple of snaps from Washington DC while I was downtown.  One was shot out of a car window (the square) and the other was shot while walking down the street to get to a car.  Nothing spectacular but am behind on editing and so knocking a few quick shot off. The 1×1 crop and the 16×9 crop going vertical gave me the inspiration for the title.

Square and Rectangle

Square and Rectangle

Rose and Tower

I was shooting a wedding near the National Cathedral (well same land to be exact) and got there early so I had some time to kill and take some shots of the cathedral itself.  So having my trusty Fuji X100S with me I just wandered around the grounds and made my way to the Bishops Garden which still had roses in bloom.  So I snapped this shot.  The weather wasn’t great so the sky was gray and I didn’t want to ruin the roses and spend too much time trying to fix the sky so I focused on the roses and I think it came out ok.  Enjoy.

Rose and Tower
Fuji X100S, 35mm, ISO 500, f/11, 1/180