Lesssons from A Walk in the Forest

Aperture + Focal Length + Focus Point

All affect Depth of Field

It’s good to experiment once in a while

Especially with new gear

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Spring Red Buds & Dogwoods

Multiple Exposure (D800E in-camera)

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When I go out with my camera

Capturing images is only part of my goal

I also want to experiment and learn

Here’s a sample experiment that I’ve repeated 1000’s of times

New lens, new camera, larger sensor, yada-yada

Lots of reasons to experiment

(including to refresh my memory)

Most photographers know about exposure bracketing

I like to experiment with aperture bracketing

1. These were shot at four different aperture settings

Two shown here (not shown f/4 & f/5.6)

Going beyond f/8 results in a too busy background

I want to emphasize the blossoms and

Just hint at the forest (for context)

Between f/4 & f/5.6 best suited my taste here

2. Two different focus points

Red bud in top row

Dogwood in bottom row

Click to enlarge; the “lesson” needs to be seen

4-19-2013 2-22-56 PM

Same lens with same focal length throughout

Only aperture and focus point (red circle) were changed

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There were more lessons to be learned from these experiments –

The camera position was fixed throughout

The focal length never changed; just aperture and focus point

Look closely at the f/8 example pair

Same focal length & aperture….

What about depth of field?

Continued tomorrow….

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A Walk in the Forest

Cloudy, light rain, good light

Needed a break & some “soul time”

Went for a 3 hour walk in a nearby forest

Light drizzle, quiet solitude, nature’s beauty

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Old Civil War Railway Bed

Lots of blood shed here 150 years ago

Out of ammunition the two sides threw rocks at one another

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No time to write

Enjoy the images from my walk instead

Click any image to get a full screen slide show

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Photographer: ….to thine own self be true….

A post of a few days ago discussed

Shooting for yourself

As an amateur with no paying clients to satisfy

It’s No Holds Barred

Choose Subjects, Capture-style & Processing

That please you & don’t worry about others

.

Subject – Moody rainy, misty Shenandoah NP forest

Capture – 10 shot in-camera (Nikon D300) multiple exposure

Post-processing – Extreme B&W conversion in Silver Efex Pro

EdK Moody Woods

If you go out in the woods today,

You’d better not go alone….

(from the Teddy Bears Picnic)

Click for a large version

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This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1 (Polonius’s advice to son)

Is the image salable? Not likely.

Would it appeal to casual viewers? Probably not many.

Do I care? Not really.

I’m a National Park Service volunteer photographer

I shoot what I like; they don’t specify nor interfere

Since they use more of my images at Shenandoah

Than those of anyone else

My “customer” & I see eye-to-eye apparently

But even they are unlikely to have any use for today’s image

Which is fine by me (& them)

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Get it right in the camera (or not)

My goal when capturing an image is

Make it as perfect as possible in camera

BUT

Sometimes the best laid plans….

4-13-2013 5-55-22 PM

Before & After

After was made in Viveza with two control points

One was to lighten the sky

The second lightened the blossoms

I thought I saw the right hand image in the viewfinder

Apparently not 😉

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Here’s how simple the post-processing fix was –

Two control points

Each used to change Brightness, Contrast & Saturation

End of story

Click to enlarge

4-13-2013 6-46-32 PM

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If you’re new to the Nik Collection and are wondering

When do I use Viveza & when Color Efex Pro??

Read this post

Color Efex Pro wasn’t particularly effective with this image

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Shoot for yourself

Here’s a good post on the subject of

Shooting for yourself

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Headed to #3

4 doors down from home

I pass this every day – multiple times

Walked up/down it twice yesterday when I made this image

and – Past it another half-dozen times

Never occurred to me to make an image until headed back home 😉

4-12-2013 12-54-56 PM

Is the image salable? Not likely.

Do I care? No.

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What that post is really about, in the author’s own words, is

‘the difference between pros and amateurs: shooting for yourself vs shooting for pay’

It describes why I’m glad to be an amateur

An amateur who no longer even competes or exhibits

There’s little difference between shooting for a client and

Shooting for a judge IMO ($$ aside)

What matter’s most is that I enjoy what I’m doing

If my images (or writing) give others satisfaction

That’s just icing on the cake

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How to Make a Mandala

The other day, I was asked to do a post on

How to make a mandala

For Sarah (who asked & for my Buddhist buddy, Russ)

A Mandala

Click for description & discussion of mandala

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The above mandala began with this following image ( growing in my container water garden)

The transformation, in Photoshop, went as follows –

1. Crop off the bottom to leave a square
2. Duplicate this square 3 times by

  • Rotating 1 copy 90 degrees CW
  • Rotating 1 copy 90 degrees CCW
  • Rotating 1 copy 180 degrees

3. There are now 4 squares, one rotated to each of the 4 possible rotations

  • Place all four on layers in Photoshop
  • Set the blending mode for each layer to Overlay
  • Flatten the 4 layers to make a single image layer
  • Duplicate this new layer
  • Flip the new layer vertically
  • Set its blending mode to overlay

4.  Flatten these two layers

  • Adjust color & tonal contrast to taste
  • Crop to a circle
  • Fill the border with a color that suits

and – it’s finished.

To summarize the above

The final image is a blended composite of all eight possible orientations of the original square image

Easy

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This is my recipe for creating a photo mandala. When I first tried this several years ago, it seemed to be the natural (intuitive?) way to do it in Photoshop (at least for someone who didn’t use PS much).

When writing this post I Googled to see what others did – and was surprised that no one else did it this way (that I found). The “standard” involved cutting a triangular wedge from the starting photo & repeatedly copying, pasting, and moving each new wedge to a position alongside the others

much like if you cut a pie into 12-15 slices, took them out of the pie plate and then put them all back together again. That approach results in something like this –

Whatever floats your boat. 😉

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Here is my first mandala from May 2007 together with its starting image. Same technique as today’s.

Done my way, it’s difficult to imagine the final result. Every one is a surprise. I’ve found that simple starting images like this tree and the flower in the featured image work best – at least for my taste. Busier images end up looking – well, too busy, all a big jumble like this next one –

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For old-timers at this blog –

Yes, you’ve seen this before

On 7/6/11

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Abstract Photography

I’m a fan of abstract photography

Today’s image is not what I mean though

This is a photograph of an abstract painting

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Title Unknown

This was hanging in the living room of our Charleston rental

At 5′ x 4′, oil on canvas, it was spectacular

The artist’s current price for a 5 x 4 is  $9800

The rental owner has more faith in renters than I would 😉

By far the nicest rental we’ve ever had

A restored Charleston historic home

Right in the middle of the historic district

Every modern convenience; no corners cut. Wow!

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The painting is by this Charleston SC artist

Click below to view her gallery

D800E_130330_183414__DSC7365 acr crop actual pixelFull Size (100%) crop from near bottom right corner

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What’s the “photo lesson”?

4-3-2013 1-45-23 PM

Tripod, Nikkor 70-200 2.8, RAW, natural light

At 25 megapixels, which is

D800E’s 36MP after cropping to the painting’s 5 x 4 aspect ratio

A full size print of this painting would match the painting’s detail

And, how about printed on canvas?

The raised brush strokes would be lost (still visible, just not raised)

But – they could be brushed on the print with a clear coat

This would certainly violate some copyright laws

Just trying to illustrate the potential of a 36 MP camera

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