Nov 2010

Christmas Sale

Christmas Sale

Dead-horse-HDR


For this Christmas season any of my photos found on this site are for sale at the following prices:

8 x 12 is $25
16 x 24 is $60
20 x 30 is $75

Panoramic photos are printed in two sizes
10 inch short side is $95
16 inch short side is $150

Shipping and Handling is $10 per order.

Payment is through Pay Pal. If interested in purchasing one of my photos please
contact me with the photo name or URL. Once payment is made I will ship the photo within two business days.

~wr~











Heber Valley

Heber Valley

This one has been sitting in my files for quite some time now.  Thanks to a fellow flickr friend I reprocessed.  I came out with the same results, but this time I tried Nik Software's Color Efex Pro.  It changed the snow to the color I remember seeing it.  Thanks to Steve.  
This picture is a three pano stitch.  Each section is seven exposures.  I used Lightroom 3 for an initial process.  Then Photomatix Pro for the HDR and then Color Efex Pro.  At this point I brought the photo back into Lightroom 3 for some touchups, then back to CS5 where I put a light noise reduction on using Topaz Denoise.

Click here to view on black.

Thank you for visiting today.

~wr~

What's Interesting

Here is another great entry from Dave of DCStep. In this tutorial he helps us understand interestingness as defined by flickr. For those who don’t use flickr, I suggest spending some time looking at the artists found here. Your photography will improve.
~wr~

DCStep
Those of you that view images and/or post images to Flickr have probably noticed something called “Interesting.” Flickr also uses the word “interestingness”, which they define as follows:

“There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr.”

If you haven’t explored the Interesting images on Flickr, then I think that you should. As you explore, think about the elements that you see in these images that might be missing from your own or might be made stronger. Now, after you’ve explored the Interesting images of others, do you know which of your images are Interesting?

I use a couple of methods to keep tabs on my Interesting images, Flickriver (here’s my page on Flickriver
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/dcstep/popular-interesting/ ) and a set manager called dopiaza.org (http://www.dopiaza.org/ ). You can see my Flickr Set called Interestingness, as managed by dopiaza.org at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcstep/sets/72157622850437285/ . Both services are easy to set up for anyone with a Flickr account.

Here’s a picture of a white tail deer doe that I took last weekend that I suspected would be popular and, sure enough, it rose to my 18
th most “interesting” within less than a week:

Doe

Click
here to view on Black


(Canon 7D, with EF 500mm f/4L IS lens in AV mode at f/5.6, ISO 400, +1/3EV resulting in 1/100th sec. on tripod)

What are the elements that allowed me to predict that this image would be Interesting? Looking again at my Interestingness Set and this image, here’s some of the things that I see:
The subject is either cute, sweet, brightly colored, powerful, funny, rare, cudley, furry, feathery or downy. I see this one as sweet and innocent. Look at that wet nose, smooth fur, alert ears and little wiskers on her chin. On the other end of the scale, I have a powerful bull elk that made my Interestingness Set, probably due, in part, to his impressive rack, strength and stature.

Catch a light in the eye. If you go over to Flickr and look at the Original size version of this you can see my reflection in her eyes. That’s an added bonus for me, but the light in the eye of the subject really adds to our connection with the subject as viewers. I took multiple shots of this gal, but I was always hoping that she’d turn her head so that the eyes shown brightly. The sun was to my back and a little left. We’re in the shadows here, but there’s bright morning light outside the shade. I’m always looking for a glint in the eye.

Classic composition. For a portrait, I often like the subject centered. You can see the rule of thirds in use here and her body coming in from the left adds a diagonal element that’s pleasing to the eye.

Lots of sharp details are critical for most nature photography. There are other types of photography where you might avoid sharp details, but I think that it’s critical in nature photography. I love the fact that I can see more details in my image than I saw when I was framing this in my viewfinder. Using my tripod allowed a relatively low ISO and low shutter speed, resulting in very accurate colors and lots of detail. You can hand hold many lenses with good results, but with any telephoto over 130mm you’ll usually benefit from a tripod in this type of light.

Nice backgounds seem to populate my most Interesting images. Here the large aperture on a super-telephoto resulted in a wonderful bokeh, separating the doe from her surroundings. With my other images there might be blue sky background or attractive environmental elements, like a pond or snowy field. With scenics there’ll be balance between the foreground, main subject and background.

FILL THE FRAME STUPID is one of my main mantras. Fortunately, with digital processing, it’s easy for us to crop our images, but it helps to fill the frame in-camera whenever possible. It’s interesting to note that I used to own an excellent EF 400mm f/5.6L lens before I bought my 500mm. There are still shots that I took with my 400mm in my Interestingness Set, but the shots with the 500mm are steadily displacing the 400mm shots. That may be partly due to my gaining experience, but I’m convinced that it’s also due to my ability to fill the frame better with the 500mm.
Did I list “cute” as a criteria?

Gossling


Click
here to view on Black.
(Canon 7D, with EF 500mm f/4L IS lens in AV mode at f/5.6, ISO 1600, +1EV resulting in 1/2000th sec. on tripod)

This little gosling flashed to the top of my Interestingness Set, despite my clunky crop (subject is too far left), no light in the eye, too-high ISO, concrete pond setting, etc. If every subject were this cute, we’d all be pros.

I think that following my own “Interesting” images and routinely viewing the Interesting shots of others has helped my photography a good bit. It’s just one more element of study that suplements and demonstrates the success of the rules that we’ve studied in books, classes and blogs. As I review, questions come up like, did I follow the rule of thirds, did I catch light in the eye, was the image sharp, was the background interesting and occasionally, why in the heck do they like that one but not this one?

Emotional Sunset

Emotional-Sunset


This is the last gasp of light from last nights sunset.  I processed this one from five exposures using HDR Efex Pro.  This was one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in quite some time.  The way the clouds are formed makes me think of night closing in on the fantastic light.

Click to view on black.

Thanks for visiting.

~wr~

The Sky Erupts

The Sky Erupts

Tonight was one of those special nights for a fantastic sunset.  everything was setting up for the sky to erupt in color.  This photo was taken with my new lens.  The mountains at the bottom of the photo are 9-10,000 + feet tall.  This is a four stitch panoramic that is 180 degrees.  The bright section on the bottom right corner is where the sun was setting the far left is the complete opposite side of the valley.  There is no way to completely capture this sunset.  The entire sky came to life.

Click here to view on black.

Thank you for visiting today.

~wr~

Grazing

Grazing

I was driving by this field the other night as the sun was setting. The sun was focused on the tree. I took this photo and converted it into an HDR using HDR Efex pro. I only had enough time to grab the camera brace it against a post and shoot. I like the overall setting and the color and focus on the tree.

Click here to view on black.

Thanks for visiting today.

~wr~

Boat Dock

Boat Dock

Today after work I decided to head out for some sunset photos.  The clouds were setting up for a potentially fantastic sunset.  I was grateful when a few minutes later the sunset fizzled out.  As is the case on many occasions I was diverted by something that held more interest.  I was sidetracked by the colorful leaves covering the ground.  Within minutes I came across this scene.  This is a five exposure HDR of a small boat dock.  The streaks on the bottom of the page are leaves floating by.  


To take this photo I set my camera up on a tripod and used a cable release.  It was getting dark enough by this point that I did not need a neutral density filter. 


The specs for this photo are:
Five exposures
Tripod and cable release
24-70mm lens set at 32mm
The exposures lasted from 5 to 30 seconds.
Click here to view on Black


I processed them using Lightroom 3.  Then I exported the photos to Photomatix Pro 4.  I played around with this for several minutes, but I was unable to find a look I liked.  I either ended up with a look that was too surrealistic or too bland on saturation.  I was unable to find a happy middle ground.  I then exported the images to CS5 HDR Pro.  I quickly found a look I liked.  It was very similar to the final product you see below.  The only differences were slightly less saturation and it wasn't as sharp.  At this point I thought I would try the new HDR product from Nik software.  I don't own it yet, so I downloaded the trial version.  Within seconds I was able to find a look I liked.  


This is not a complete review of HDR Efex Pro, but from what I saw the programs gives you many more presets then other products, easier to use sliders, point control and much more.  HDR Efex Pro is built with photographers in mind.  It is easy to use and produces great results.  I will be purchasing this product as soon as I am able to justify it with my wife.  My new lens has set me back a little on future purchases.


What I like about the following photo:
I like the rich colors of fall.
I like the reflection in the water.
I like the streaks of colorful leaves in the water.


Thanks for taking the time to read this today.


~wr~

Black Widow

Black-Widow

This is one of the biggest Black Widows I have ever seen.  I found it two nights ago in my daughters window well.  This is the time of year when these creatures find their way into the home. I am glad we found it outside first. All the entry points have now been sprayed. I hope this is the last one I see this year.

To view on black click here.