It's 16 degrees outside, warmer than a lot of other places right now, but still too dang cold to go outside. So, instead, I bought some flowers with some yummy colors to work on some macros! Here are a few of my favs!
Focus stacking is a technique used by many photographers today, particularly macro photogs. In macro, your depth of field (DOF - the area in focus) is so shallow or small, that you end up with only a small portion of your subject in sharp focus. You see this quite often when photographing things that move, like insects. In order to get a sharp image, you need a fast shutter speed, so the aperture is opened all the way to let in lots of light. Open aperture = shallow DOF. Focus stacking means you select the sharp part from multiple images to create one image with more of your subject in focus. It is like putting together a puzzle with only the sharp pieces of your photos. It also means you need to take multiple photos with different areas in focus.
I exported to Photoshop (Elements) and layered the 3 images into one. My approach is to keep the base image on top, and layer the others underneath. Using the layers panel, i adjust the opacity and resize or move the photos around to ensure they align and then delete portions of the base image. The layer underneath then show through.
This one was simple, only 3 images. The most I've done manually is 10... but i know of pictures created with 20+ images all stacked together. I believe that newer versions of PSE and PS have auto-stacking... I need to investigate that and upgrade. It's a lot of work to stack, but the results are nice! Final below.
Taken at 8pm EST with the Nikon D7100:Nikkor 27-300mm @ 300mm; ISO 250; 1/250; f11
The moon isn't as big as it will get, but I wanted to take some shots before it got too dark... and before Walking Dead was on. I wish I had a better lens for these shots, but you must work with what you've got!
I set up on a tripod of course, you just can't take night shots free hand. I also thought the tripod was a bit wiggly, so I pulled out the remote (wired) shutter. I started with the ISO a bit lower and played around with the shutter speed and apt, finding that:
A. the lower apt is better
B. you need to speed up a bit to minimize the movement you get when you take the pic
C. means bringing the ISO up a tad.
This set-up also means you can keep the pic a little on the dark side (of the moon - PF rules!), the slightly darker pic of the moon gives you more detail.
LR adjustments were minimal... cropping, sharpening and tweaking the clarity is bit.
boom - moon.
Maymont is a 122-acre estate of the Dooley family, which was donated to the city of Richmond, VA in the early 1900's. The Dooley's spent decades landscaping the grounds and furnishing the mansion with wonderful treasures and inspiration from all over the world. Today, the mansion and buildings are still maintained for touring. And, in addition to sprawling lawns, animal farm, and a zoo of sorts, Maymont has the most wonderful gardens. If you need an escape, like I did this week, these gardens are the place to go. It's another world. You forget you are in the city.
My son and I went to a Pow Wow they have here every year. It. Is. Awesome. We learn about the culture of the American Indians, traditions, customs... and the dancing, drumming and singing is awesome. Truly moving.
And this year, it means even more since J is learning about the Eastern Woodland Indians, in particular the Powhatan. I am, of course, honest about the history, as much as i know about it. And he is piecing together that the British and others, stole their land. I am sure more questions will be coming.
Until then, enjoy this small selection before they go up on the site.
His interest and talent doesn't surprise me. We come from a long line of creative-types on both sides of my family. My mother, her brother and her father, my grand-father, are/were artists. My grandmother on my dad's side was an artist. Heck - my great-great-uncle on my dad's side used to travel around with a stuffed leopard and take pictures of it all over the place. He was clearly a creative type. Or nuts.
Jacob is a creative type too. I obviously encourage it, but I encourage a lot of things... and the things he really seems to love these days are art, math, rocks and gems.
Oh, and video games of course.
Man, where has the time has gone.
Most times, i scope a place i'd like to shoot and then wait for a moment that i think will give me a great photo. Like the morning i woke up once and it was foggy, and i knew the old swamp down the road would be so cool to shoot.
Then there are moments where you see some pretty amazing stuff and don't happen to have your camera. This happens to me more often than not. Just today i was driving home from the store, the sun had barely set, the moon was out and 4 fighter jets happen to be flying right in front of it.
Then there are rare moments like this, where you catch something so funny, or so unique and just happen to have your camera! I have no clue what he was doing, but i can tell you it was hot as heck that day, so perhaps he was trying to cool off a bit in the shade. Or perhaps he was waiting for our dog, whom he likes to taunt.
Summer is over and my not-so-little Little is starting a new program at his school called 'Transitional Kindergarten.' Essentially, it's Pre-K but with the Kindergarten curriculum.
We spent the last few days of summer going to an amusement park, visiting grand parents, playing around the house and of course, the water slide! I actually tried it with him this time since he has no neighborhood friends his age, and he was just dying for someone to do it with him. i had a really great time. :)
The summer has gone by too fast, as usual.
We've done a lot, had a nice long visit to my home town, time on the beach, amusement parks...every weekend there seems to be something going on! I've captured a lot, but taking time to go through and process the images is time consuming.
My son, who is getting bigger by the minute, learned how to slide on the slip and slide this year. Something seemingly minor, to major to me. It means he's growing, getting stronger, understanding the relationship between his body and the world, and figuring out how to use it to do what he wants it too do (make a big splash!)
I can still remember last year when we first got the slide... poor child could do nothing more than run and plop himself down in the puddle at the bottom of the slide. This year, he is actually sliding.
Time flies too fast.
What advice would you give to amateur photographers?
I strongly advise to use your time wisely. Laziness is your worst enemy. Enough looking at photographs taken by your idols. You’ve commented on enough work that you hate. It’s time to take photos. Your best photos. Let go and shoot, shoot, shoot!
~ Oleg Oprisco
Wow, its been a busy month. And a cold month too! Like most people, i am ready for warmer weather and am anxious to spend more time outdoors.
Not having a lot of time this month for 'hobby' photos, i was happy to have a free half hour before work today to capture the aftermath of some early morning rain. I used the macro and am really happy with how they came out and selected a few of these shots for the March Challenge with my photography group. The sun was still coming up, so the lighting and the water all over the plants was perfect!
While i was putting together the 'snow' tutorial, i created these little red arrows to point to specific things in the PSE menus and realized 'hey! i can make this into a brush and make my life so much easier!'
And so i did... and here's how (it is so easy!)
Step 1; Create the Image
I create the tip of the arrow using Web Dings 4 in black.
Its a good idea to make the brush relatively large from the start. While you can re-size it as a brush, like any image, it will get pixelated if you go from small to large, versus going large to small.
I may have mentioned this before, but i never paid much attention to wild birds until i got my first real camera. They are always interesting to some degree, but there are only so many photos you can take of birds sitting in trees, or flying or eating seeds.
This is why i love when it snows.
Not only does it provide a cool backdrop. but the birds access to food becomes limited (or they believe it will be limited anyway), and whether or not they are truly starving, they tend to get a little more aggressive about the food... which makes for some very cool photos. Plus, when you put out seed on a snowy day, you get a greater variety of birds willing to eat the seed.
Yes, i know, it sounds cruel, but we've got a mutually beneficial relationship here.... they get fresh seed thrown out on top of the snow that otherwise would not have been there and i get some cool photos.
Here was my favorite from today... the male house finches were out in droves. I usually see the females, but the males can be a bit more illusive.
The more into photography I get, the more I am developing unique and personal relationships with each of my lenses. Each one obviously has a different use and function, but its more than just its application, it’s the way I feel when I use each lens.
My macro, for example, represents discovery. It taps into my curiosity and love of nature. I feel a sense of seeing and discovering something for the first time. Being a science and nature nut, it enables me to learn about new plants and bugs. I feel like I am revealing something so small, but so large and important, and it gives me the opportunity to be close and personal with what I am shooting. And it’s a lens I always use when I am alone, so it also represents sweet serenity.
To get that nice 'twinkle' effect on bright lights, such as Christmas lights, street lamps or the sun shining through a branch, you can either buy a special filter or just increase your aperture!
(or, we can use my alternative title: f-numbers really do make sense, despite what the person in this photography video is telling me.)
As long as I can remember, I've been a combination of artist and nerd. Ignoring, for a moment, my teenage angst years where I did the exact opposite of what my parents wanted for me, I have always loved learning, researching, creating and learning even more about myself and the world around me. (My good friend Meghan called me the 'Book of Useless Information,' which I take as a huge compliment!)
This is why photography is the perfect hobby and skill for me. It combines creativity within specific constraints (which I love), and there is always something new to learn, to experiment with and to explore.
This month, the photo group i subscribe to is doing a 'story behind the photo' challenge. Meaning, you must explain what you were doing, thinking, planning, etc when you took your picture.
I entered a photo I took today of a cardinal.
To get this photo, i set up my camera on the inside of a window that has a bowl of seed on a railing about 2 feet away. The proximity is great, but i must hide myself and camera behind the curtains so i can move around without scaring the birds. The only thing they see is the lens... which they care nothing about. So it works out for all of us.