March Challenge: Landscape… Entry #3 Ready for Spring

Robin (the other Robin) sends us this next landscape.

“I vacillated about calling this “landscape”. I googled “landscape photography” and found definitions which supported my choice. So, here ya go.

It has foreground, lots of it. It has middle ground, if you really squint you can see it. And there is obviously background. This was during the most recent ice age in north Texas, made on March 5.

I did it hand-held, as with well over 99% of my images, because I’m lazy. I wanted some depth of field so was shooting f8. Daytime, so ISO 100, the best this body can do. And, the meter had me shoot  1/400th second, so I got a pretty sharp image hand-held. But, I’ll readily admit to sharpening it to within an inch of its life in post-processing.

I didn’t originally pay much attention to this image, but I’m growing more fond of it. You may see it again, maybe on Flickr, or CD, or both.”

Waiting for Spring (Photo by Robin W.)

Ready for Spring
(Photo by Robin W.)


Have you seen this CrAzY woman?

It seems that life has gotten in the way of posting this challenge and I will get back on it soon but first I would like to wish Tess a very Happy Birthday!!!

Hopefully, Tess will be joining us for the meeting this afternoon.   Knowing how she loves dogs, I thought this was appropriate to celebrate the day!124037593_4KI7MZ7_1427548764


March Challenge: Landscape… Entry #2 Portland Head Light

Lee has just recently joined the “crazies” and I am so thrilled to have her as a part of the club. She is a very experienced photographer and we can all learn so much from her. After all, that is what this club is about… learning from each other and I think you will enjoy how she approaches her photo and shares her thought process!

“This is Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I chose it because I like the action of the waves as their line leads your eye towards the lighthouse. The line of the rocky cliffs from the left corner also leads your eye towards the rocks by the light. The wispy clouds also lead your eye back toward the lighthouse. There are so many places your eye can wander but you always come back to the light….even if you wander out toward the horizon and the little lighthouse in the harbor. Even tho my horizon line is just above center, I think it works well to divide sky and ocean. I also like how you can see the ice on the rocks at the shoreline.

I nearly always add a trim line in color to my images and for this one, I picked the red of the smaller building to bring out the reds of the roofs. If I were to have this printed I would probably still choose the red hue to enhance the matt and bring out the roof color. I always add my watermark/credit line in case people decide to “share” my images.

It was 16 degrees with a very fierce wind blowing that day….I loved it!”

Portland Headlight (Photo by Lee)

Portland Headlight
(Photo by Lee)

March Challenge: Landscape… Entry #1 The Grand Canyon

I would like you all to welcome Theresa, our newest member. Scroll down on the left side of the blog to see her photo and bio. Theresa, it is wonderful to have you join us!

Theresa was the first one to send me a landscape photo so I thought we would start with: The Grand Canyon.

“We took a family vacation with my mom and my sister and her family in September, 2014.”

(Please, click on each image to see larger for better visualization.)

The Grand Canyon (Photo by Theresa)

The Grand Canyon
(Photo by Theresa)

Capturing such a huge area is difficult, in my opinion, but I think Theresa did an exemplary job by including those trees on the cliff to the left side of the image. It gives added depth to the photo as my eye is drawn to them and then explores the enormous canyon. You have a beautiful sky and nice clouds. An interesting sky is always desirable when shooting a landscape and if a sky is lackluster with not much of interest, then better to crop some of it out. Another important part of landscape photography is keeping your horizon line out of the middle (and of course, there are exceptions) and keeping the horizon level which you have done so well!

My one concern is that the image looks a bit washed out. It may have been some haze in the sky or it might be a bit over-exposed. So in the interest of learning, I decided to edit the photo. I don’t know if Theresa shoots in raw or jpeg but she sent me the original size image which gave me a bit more leeway for editing.

I first took it into Lightroom and underexposed it, and gave it some clarity, contrast and a bit of vibrance and a bit of sharpening. The image still looked like it had a blue cast.

Edit in Lightroom

Edit in Lightroom

So, I took it back into Lightroom and used the white balance dropper and clicked on the white of the cloud and this was the resulting image.

DSC_0232[1]-4 rs

Re-edit in Lightroom using White Balance

 Having never been to the Grand Canyon, I have no idea which rendition might be the most accurate and then again, we edit photos to represent how that place appeared to us at the time. One person’s edit can be entirely different from another person’s edit/view.

Not knowing if Theresa uses or has any editing software, I decided to see what the free editing program Ribbet might do with the photo. So I went to:

This was the result using Ribbet using just the automatic edit.

Ribbet Automatic Edit

Ribbet Automatic Edit

I was not liking that so much as I still thought that it looked a bit blue and washed out, so rather than using the automatic settings, I manually added contrast and clarity and increased the shadows. I also played with white balance and sharpened the image a bit and this was the resulting image.  This photo seems to have more detail than any of the others.

Edit with Ribbet

Edit with Ribbet

Thank you Theresa for submitting such a wonderful image! And what a great lesson to help us understand how editing can change a photo in so many ways… so many different looks to the same photo.

One of our meetings will be a hands-on working with editing to see what can be done with our images.

So, all you crazies, tell me… which is your favorite and why!

Birthday Greetings are in Order…

First of all… A belated Happy Birthday to Gina! Haven’t seen you in ages and hope we can get together soon!

Happy Birthday Gina!

Happy Birthday Gina!

And… Happy Birthday rebeKah! You are definitely a photographer with a good eye so of course I had to put you in an eye!

Happy Birthday rebeKah

Happy Birthday rebeKah

Congratulations Liz!

Please congratulate Liz on her two winning entries in the Heard Nature Photography Contest.
Here is her entry that won first place:

American Kestral (Photo by Liz)

American Kestral
(Photo by Liz)

She also received an honorable mention for her lovely flower image:

(Photo by Liz)

(Photo by Liz)

Wonderful shallow depth of field on both images! Job well done!

February Challenge: Focus… Entry #6 What was I thinking?

I will present our final entry to this discussion.

In reviewing my photos from years ago, I found that many were out of focus and that brought up the question as to why? Sometimes I think I shot too hurriedly without looking at and understanding my camera settings. Sometimes I thought I could hand-hold a shot at a very slow shutterspeed, when indeed, I could not. Sometimes my shutterspeed was not fast enough to capture the flying bird. Sometimes I was not focusing on the eyes… be it animal or human. Sometimes there was simply not enough light and back then, it was not possible to push the ISO as you can with the more modern cameras of today.

This is what I have learned. It is necessary to understand how aperture affects your depth of field. I have come to the realization that it is best to take several shots of the same subject using different apertures (f/stops) and then choose which is best when visualizing the photos on the computer. If you do not have enough light, you either have to push your ISO up or pull out your tripod to get the shot. Or… use your flash! And that is another steep learning curve. I rarely use mine. And as far as getting those flying birds in focus… it is important to use continuous tracking as well as a fast shutterspeed. And of course we have to choose how to focus… center spot, moving your focus point as necessary, back button focus or continuous focus. Different situations call for different methods.

A few of us are ruthless at weeding out and deleting the out of focus shots, but I am not one of them. I have saved way too many out of focus shots and they eat up precious space on my hard-drive. Some I need to delete forever and some I will hang onto simply because of an emotional attachment, for whatever reason.

This is a photo I took in the little village of Saignon in France back in 2008. I was still shooting jpegs at that time. Even shooting in raw would not have corrected the issues with focus. Obviously, it was taken at night with little light. I could have pushed my ISO a bit further but did not. (What was I thinking? It might have salvaged the shot in spite of increased noise.) I was on a shallow depth of field, probably to try to get as much light as possible to shoot the image and I was still on too slow a shutterspeed to hand-hold this shot. My next best bet would have been to crank up the ISO to the max. Not having a tripod, I should have found a solid surface to set the camera on and then used the timer to get the shot. I took two shots and both were totally out of focus.

F/3.5, 1/2 sec, ISO 800, 28mm (Photo by Fay-la-la)

F/3.5, 1/2 sec, ISO 800, 28mm
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

Years have passed and I am finally learning; although, slowly! I am now shooting in raw and better understand why a photo is or is not in focus and how critical it is to the final image. This was a gull flying at “my happy place” at White Rock Lake. I had good light coming from the right direction and was able to catch him in flight, got his eyes in focus and with a catch light, stopped the wing action, and was able to edit the raw image. I have learned to shoot white birds with a minus one-stop exposure so as not to blow out the highlights.

F/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 100, -1 exposure compensation, 150 mm (Photo by Fay-la-la)

F/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 100, -1 exposure compensation, 150 mm
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

And when going through those old photos and deleting the ones that look out of focus… BE CAREFUL! Look at them closely before clicking the delete button as some may appear out of focus but with some basic editing (even on a jpeg image) you may salvage a shot and find it is indeed a keeper. This is what happened with this lizard photo from the arboretum.

I remember being so disappointed that I did not get it in focus back when I took it in 2008 but, I kept the “out of focus” images. Fast forward to a cold day in 2015 and I decided to try to edit the photo in Lightroom, and to my surprise, with some underexposure, increasing clarity and contrast, adding some vibrance and with some minor cropping, I found that I did indeed have a keeper… and the eye of the lizard was sharp!

F/14, 1/800 sec, ISO 1600, 300mm (Photo by Fay-la-la)

F/14, 1/800 sec, ISO 1600, 300mm
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

Same photo after editing in Lightroom (Photo by Fay-la-la)

Same photo after editing in Lightroom
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

And the learning process continues!

February Challenge: Focus… Entry #5 The Rose… OK and OOPS!

Our next entry is from Linda…

“Both of my pics are of roses. The foliage behind Rose OK is in focus, but not in Rose Oops. I know this has to do with something technical, but am unsure what. Also, in Rose Oops my shadow is in the picture, which I’m sure is not a good thing!

Rose OK has ISO 125, focal length 19 mm, aperture 4.3475, and f4.5.

Rose OK (Photo by Linda)

Rose OK
(Photo by Linda)

Rose Oops is ISO 100, focal length 13 mm, aperture 4.34375, and f5.
Rose OOPS! (Photo by Linda)

Rose OOPS!
(Photo by Linda)

Is it the focal length that blurs the background in Oops? And is that simply because I’ve moved closer?”