Flame Out

This image always reminds me of the end of summer. It’s a close up of a flame on a tiki torch that I took years ago near summer’s end. It is fascination to take pictures of flame’s at a slow shutter speed. The wind makes the flame dance and with a shutter speed of 1 second or more creates unique patterns. Who says you can’t see the wind.

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Flame On!

Before Photoshop #4—Peggy’s Cove NS 1980

One of the last composites I ever made in the darkroom. This is actually a triple burn. I used part of an image I took in Peggy’s Cove. There were so many birds around yet I didn’t capture any in the frames I shot. The sea gull was from an image captured in Lake worth Florida and the other birds were from a picture taken in the Bay of Fundy on Rugby Neck NS.

The image was created in my darkroom in State College PA.

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Peggy’s Cove NS

Ghosts of Köln

Years ago I learned the basics of blur motion photography. Placing the camera on a tripod and using a slow shutter speed allows you to create blurred motion on a still background. If you pan with the movement you will create another type of blur effect like this one entitled Running Deer. I have often thought of this process as creating ghosts.

While relaxing in Köln on the waterfront I decided to try to make some “ghosts” using a monopod. A lot of my attempts didn’t work. A monopod is not as good as a tripod but I still managed to capture a couple of ghosts.

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Ghosts of Köln

Ghosts of Köln

Ghosts of Köln

Our Pittsburgh Garden– White Iris

White flowers are the hardest to photograph. Iris especially are difficult because they reflect so much light but are thin enough to also refract a fair amount of light and light therefore transmits through the leaves.

To compensate for this, you must use a tripod so that you can use a low ISO setting and achieve enough depth of field to capture the transmitted light as well as the reflected light. During editing in post production it will be necessary to reduce the highlights by at least one and a half f-stops to be able to see the texture of the bloom in the white area.

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White Iris

People of Prague #3

Over the years I have developed my technique for photographing people without looking through the viewfinder. In the 1970’s I first became aware of The Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Although it really has nothing to do with the observer effect it does help to mathematically corroborate that principle. Simply stated the act of observing something changes that thing. I knew when I pointed my camera at people their behavior would change.

I thought to not have people react to me I had to photograph them in a stealth mode. First I employed telephoto lenses but since going digital I have began shooing without looking through the viewfinder. Wasting bits and pixels is a lot different than wasting film. I set the camera to a wide angle and select automatic focus and exposure. I get a lot of crap but then I also get shots like this one which make it all worthwhile. Next a mirror-less camera because people do react to the shutter noise if they are close enough.

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People of Prague #3

People of Prague #3

The NIK Collection from Google

A photographer friend and former student of mine and I were discussing HDR. I have started to use auto bracketing and the new HDR merge feature of Lightroom on some images. I am generally pleased with the results.There is almost no ghosting with tripod shots. I also did hand held shots with a VR lens and the ghosting correction option worked perfectly. See Yesterday’s post

My friend suggested I try the NIK filter collection plug-in from Google which I have since installed and am really amazed with the options offered by this product. I have just started to experiment with it and so far I am wowed! I cannot yet comment on all the features but compare the two images below.

The first was done with standard editing using saturation, highlight and monochrome tools on Lightroom. The second using one of the many editing pallets from the HIK Silver plugin for Lightroom.

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Standard Editing Monochrome

Standard Editing Monochrome

NIK Silver Tool

NIK Silver Tool

New Lightroom HDR Merge

I don’t normally write reviews on equipment or techniques. There are many people who do it much better than I do. I did write a series of technical How To articles for eHow a few years back but when they stopped paying me, I stopped writing them. Since then I have been more concerned with creativity than technology.

I have been disappointed on how difficult it has been to create HDR images. I don’t travel that much with a tripod which has been a prerequisite to do these sorts of images. I have tried HDR plug ins but have been disappointed with the results. GIMP made a pretty good plug in but the images were usually noisy or ghosted beyond repair. However, today I tried the new Merge Photo tool on the new Lightroom.

I took this picture, edited and posted it in less that 30 minutes without a tripod! I used auto bracketing on the Nikon 5200 with three images one f-stop apart. Easy to use with a great how to video on YouTube that takes four minutes to watch. Once again Adobe products continue to amaze. Wait why do I need Photoshop again? Oh yah its bundled with Lightroom.

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Lightroom HDR

Lightroom HDR