My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Geese on Parade

I photographed these geese last week in the parking lot behind Deborah's office.  She said they regularly parade through the lot foraging for food. This is less that half of the flock.  I shot them with a longer lens for the compression, and short depth of field.  The top image is the finished one, the bottom pretty much the way I toned in Camera Raw.

I liked the composition and the goose stepping in this image. It caught my eye the way the two on the extreme left are so alike in their pose, and the two very front birds(one on each side) almost mirror each other. 

I shot low so I would be on their level, and to make a more uniform background against the concrete.  I didn't like the colors and patterns running across the image. They were distracting, so I looked for a way to get rid of them. I tried several things, but finally used the eye dropper to pick the lightest color in the background, then painted the background using the brush tool. I set the opacity to less than 50% to help blend in the change. Some areas got more than others.  Then I went back and used a high key filter to lighten a bit more. I like the final image.

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's A Blah Day, But Grab Your Camera

Today has been a really blah day, but a great day for photography. Heavy overcast days like today produce a really even light.  This works great for doing pictures of objects that have a lot of detail and also soft colors.  Bright sun is great for bold colors, but can easily wash out pastels and detail. Bright, direct sun also gives you harsh shadows.

I wanted detail in both leaf photos, and to capture both the highlighted areas and the shadow areas. The diffused light made this easy to accomplish.  The tree in the bottom photo has cool detail and also interesting color tones that just don't show up very well with direct sunlight.

You do have to adjust for the lower light levels, shooting a bit slower, or shooting at a higher ISO.
Cloudy days are also great for portraits, giving even light on faces, doing away with shadows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Twas a Cold and Foggy Night......

 I love fog, watching lights move through it. And love taking pictures in the fog. Fog shrouds the most common place things in mystery, ads instant intrigue to the mundane.  It can also be difficult to shoot and capture what you see. This image was captured last night in Fort Valley.

Fog acts like a huge diffuser. The water droplets act like mini mirrors reflecting light so it scatters all around. This reduces contrast and color, also reduces the amount of light.  Make sure you are exposing for the fog and not the object in the fog. You may need to overexpose just a little bit to get the image you want.  The contrast and color you will have to fix in post processing.  It helps to shoot as RAW files, the added latitude makes it easier to adjust.

One of the cool things in fog is the way light sources become very directional. It the photo above, the car's headlights and the lights over the gas pumps are like beams. Don't shoot directly into the light source, but at a bit of an angle. All the light is softened, and almost glows.

Objects close to the camera are less effected by these fog factors, while those farter away show more. Telephotos really ad to the fog effect. This image was with the 70-200mm.  Faster lenses can be of much benefit due to the lower light. You may need to bump up your ISO as well.  THis was an exposure of 1/200th second at f2.8, ISO at 1600. 

After shooting I first worked the image in Camera Raw, then Photoshop Elements and Color Efex 4 Pro.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Eve at the Buzzard Drop

Happy New Year to you all. I ended 2014 and began 2015 doing what I love best accompanied by the person I love most.  I was photographing the Buzzard Drop in Perry, Georgia. New York drops the apple, Atlanta its peach, and Perry drops a buzzard.  What can I say....

It was held in downtown Perry, and there was not a lot of light.  Eric Borden caught my eye with his lighted mohawk and glasses. I had photographed him earlier with flash, but saw him later and shot this using available light. This was exposed for the lights, 1600 ISO, 1/125th second at f2.8. It was shot as a raw file, so I had a lot more latitude that with a jpg image. 

For the second image, I bumped the ISO up to 3200, and dropped my shutter speed down to 1/40th second. Both were shot with my 70-200 f2.8 zoom.  The first was zoomed to 125mm, the second one at 105mm. The slower shutter speed picks up what little ambient light is around, giving detail to the faces.

The last image is the first one I shot using flash. I shot it at 1/13th second, my aperture was f5.6. The idea is to balance your exposure to use both the available light and the flash so they are even.

Have a great 2015, and watch out for dropping buzzards, and buzzard droppings!

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