A Portfolio Set to Music

My first portfolio – circa 2009

I’ve led portfolio projects for several camera clubs. This is a portfolio I created during the first of these year-long projects. It’s still one of my favorites.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Want to make a portfolio? This post of mine shows how with a six-step example.

And here are an earlier set of my posts that fill in details:

Portfolios – Part 1, An Introduction

Portfolios – Part 2, The Artist’s Statement

Portfolios – Part 3, Example #1

Portfolios – Part 4, Example #2

Portfolios – Thinking in Themes

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A HDR Seascape Sunrise

Shooting toward the rising sun creates exposure problems – unless you are prepared.

That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s the time of day for the most beautiful landscape images.


Good Morning World…

Be Prepared

Here’s a detailed (14 part) HDR Tutorial of mine. Read it, get up early, and make your own beautiful sunrise images.

HDR is a relatively new solution to this exposure problem. It was preceded by the graduated neutral density(GND) filter (a film photographer’s only option). Read the explanation of this approach in this post of mine (illustrated with a beautiful sunrise at Acadia National Park (with the Queen Mary, in the distance, approaching Bar Harbor, Maine).


My recommendation:

  • Shoot first using the GND filter, and then
  • Shoot a series of bracketed exposures for HDR (just in case)

I usually prefer the more natural-looking GND result

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Ethereal Effects: Shoot-Through

A shoot-through! Have you ever shot with something between the camera and subject? Sometimes even touching the front of the lens? Try it for interesting ethereal effects.

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From Out of the Mist…

Here’s the setup:

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If you’re interested, here’s one of several previous posts on shoot-throughs

For extra credit ;) read this one (from a course I taught)

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Over the top Post-processing

Going overboard with post-processing can be educational. How else do you learn what the myriad of options do? It also leads to interesting images.

I’m cleaning up my photo data base (all 254,176 files as of today). In the process, I came across this image which jumped off the screen and caught my eye.

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Hemlock Springs Overlook, Shenandoah National Park

Early spring last year

Made with a point & shoot – weather & footing forced me to ditch the D800E & tripod

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Basic post-process left-to-right:

  • As captured
  • B&W conversion using the Silver Efex Pro 2 Film Noir 1 preset; < 1 minute
  • Blend the B&W with the capture using Photoshop’s luminosity blend mode
  • Total processing time – less than 3 minutes
    • Afterwards used Color Efex Pro’s Lighten/Darken filter to remove the skyline and call more attention to the wildflower; the rest of the image is framing
    • Don’t recall how I did the cracked texture effect :(
  • Get it right in the camera and most of your work is done
    • Certainly the most important part is

The most important part – Composition:

  • Wildflower anchors image and provides foreground interest & depth perspective
  • Mid-ground – A green triangle formed by the steep sloping mountain plus a tree in the form of a dark green ball framing the left side of the image. If you think of a scene as composed of design elements such as shapes, lines & textures – and not grass & trees in this case – your visual design, i.e. composition, becomes easier.
  • Misty woods in background for a third layer – depth, atmosphere, mood
  • Avoiding overlap between the flower & tree is important.

To avoid the common problem of including too much in your image, ask yourself – what attracted me to this scene? Then do all that you can to eliminate everything that doesn’t add to your initial vision and remember – if it doesn’t add then it detracts. You’re done when the next thing you remove from the scene in your viewfinder makes the composition worse – and not before.

  • For example, the flower and tree attracted me but I decided that I didn’t need the whole tree to tell the story. Also I cropped (in camera, nothing was added/removed in post) to leave just enough of the hillside and mist shrouded trees in the background to complete the story of where my flower and tree were.

  • Think hard about what is the best camera orientation. I  recommend always doing both vertical & horizontal – even if one doesn’t seem to make sense. This scene, to my eye, screamed vertical for the composition I wanted, but I’ll bet that most would have made it a landscape oriented shot (force of habit mostly).

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A Splash of Color

After several posts emphasizing B&W it’s time for a little color – just a little

Every year my Christmas Cactus does a 2nd bloom. It’s that time again.

Hover mouse over image for a close up

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Nikon D800E, Nikkor 105 2.8 1:1 macro, tripod, circular polarizer, aperture priority

Post-processing limited to RAW-to-JPEG conversion in Lightroom

The red-to-magenta color is spot-on (an uninformed judge once said “Out; color is off!”)

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Winter Walk – A Gallery

Re-post: Scenes from a walk in a light snow. Some images were processed in an experiment to create a high-key, extreme-contrast effect – an etching-like look.



A bit of High Key

In chronological order

A variety of post-processing experiments

Some are “extreme B&W” (think “Etching“)

Click on any image for a slide show

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Depth of Field for “Arty” Images

My favorite style|technique relies on

Selective focus which in turn relies on

Depth of Field

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Not Your Typical Botany Text Daisy

Shot edge-on; focus on tip of nearest petal; wide open aperture

105mm macro lens + 1.4X teleconverter; tripod; natural light

Like most images that "break rules"

Don't just bend the rules a little; break them in half

You want the viewer to know it's on purpose, not operator error

A lot of viewers (& many judges) don't care for this

And that's all right

Shoot for yourself and don't worry about it

Floral images were my 1st photographic love

It’s now twelve years later and they still are

The variety is endless

I could spend hours with a single flower

And still not exhaust the possibilities

With selective focus, you have lots of options -

1. Depth of field length which depends on

  • Aperture
  • Focal Length
  • Distance from subject

2. Focal point about which DOF is centered

Here are a few examples; focal point circled in red

Click for full screen

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