Category Archives: scenic

Fireworks For the 4th of July – Part 3 of 3


Here is a part 3 of a sampling of some fireworks photos that I shot back in 2009. I was seated in the stands after a baseball game so there was no tripod in use. I just set my camera up and kept shooting. I took dozens of photos and was surprised at how many actually came out looking good considering that I didn’t have a tripod. See also Part 1 and Part 2. Continue reading Fireworks For the 4th of July – Part 3 of 3

Fireworks For the 4th Of July – Part 1 of 3

Here is a sampling of some fireworks photos that I shot back in 2009.  I was seated in the stands after a baseball game so there was no tripod in use.  I just set my camera up and kept shooting.  I took dozens of photos and was surprised at how many actually came out looking good considering that I didn’t have a tripod. See also Part 2 and Part 3 Continue reading Fireworks For the 4th Of July – Part 1 of 3

More Tinkering With Lightroom and Photoshop HDR Pro

The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens
The main greenhouse at Longwood Gardens

This is another image that I ran through Photoshop HDR Pro, and Lightroom.   This was also taken at Longwood Gardens which is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It’s a great place to just walk around even if you don’t shoot any photographs.    I took this in winter so I only chose to walk around the greenhouses that particular day.  If memory serves it was about 20 degrees out which is far to cold to be shooting for my tastes.  For a related post – see this!

Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Winter Afternoon At Longwood Gardens

I wrote in a previous post about using Lightroom to process HDR images.  Until recently I had been using plug-ins within Lightroom to do the tone mapping, and then would apply global adjustments back in Lightroom.. The tone mapping process would generally entail sliding numerous controls around until I got something I  liked.  This kind of process could sometimes lead to heavy handed HDR. You may get the trees to look the way you would like, but the edge of the sky may show hideous halos, or some other unintended artifact.   In many cases I have gone rogue, and shot hand held which is not the ideal way to shoot HDR. As a result I could only shoot 3 brackets instead of the 5 shots when using my tripod.  Depending on the lighting sometimes the exposures would not lend themselves to HDR. In those cases trying to get a decently tone mapped image would be like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Continue reading Different Directions – Refining HDR With Lightroom

Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

I always noticed often when performing HDR processing it was difficult to always come up with a realistic image.  I am a fan of the surreal, and hyperrealistic look, but there will be situations where you just want something that looks real.  I have finally stumbled onto a process that works for me…so far.  Adobe has added the ability to edit 32 bit HDR images in Lightroom.  This is huge for me as my workflow is largely Lightroom oriented.  I have Photoshop, but found Lightroom so much easier to use for general photographic tasks.  I know Photoshop is so much more powerful, and I have been taking advantage of the blending of layers, and fine detail/selection tools more of late.  Lightroom is familiar though so it is where I am most comfortable. Continue reading Using Lightroom 4.1 for HDR processing – My First Hack

Free photo collection apps for the iPad

I happened to come across some free apps yesterday in the Apple app store for the iPad that  have stunning photos on several topics. I downloaded several of the free apps.  I haven’t gone through all of them yet, but figured I would grab them all since they were free.  They also have some functionality where you can save trip/travel ideas like Trey Ratcliff’s Stuck On Earth app (which is worth a look too).  Check them out.  These are the apps I nabbed:

  • Paris
  • National Parks – gorgeous images of our National Parks
  • Heritage
  • Japan
  • North Korea – an interesting collection of images from North Korea
  • Burma
  • France – some gorgeous shots of France with many aerial shots.
  • Wild Friends – some stunning wildlife images

Snapseed Can Revive Your Photos

A few years back I visited Monticello in Virginia.  It was the site of Thomas Jefferson’s estate, and is quite an impressive architectural feat.  Jefferson also was an avid gardener importing a variety of plants from all over the world to see if he could cultivate them here in North America.  There were amazing vistas in every direction when looking from his gardens.  A feast for the camera.  Unfortunately the images I took didn’t come out as I expected.  Until now.

I had been curious about using Snapseed.  I had read so many glowing reviews of Snapseed that I was very excited when I was able to finally get it for my first iPad.  It was one of the first apps I downloaded from the App Store.  After tinkering with a couple of photos I had to have it for the Mac as well.  It has a simple interface, and is very easy to use.  Within minutes of opening an image you can transform a blah photograph into something very interesting.

The above image shows the before, and after effects of using Snapseed on my iPad.  The image was originally shot on a very hot, hazy summer afternoon that hid a lot of detail in the sky, and caused the foreground to be underexposed.   I was shooting a lot of HDR at the time, and performed a 3 bracket sequence that never quite materialized the way I thought it would.  Even if you carefully expose you sometimes cannot get anything decent out of the HDR process.  I was pressed for time this day so I used the spray and pray method of shooting    As a result the images I shot that day stayed dormant  in my Lightroom catalog until now.

I exported the original images to my iPad, and began tinkering around in Snapseed.  You can see the results on the right side of the image above.  It’s not technically perfect, and could use some more refinement.  However you can see how a tool with as simple an interface as Snapseed can set you off in a creative direction you may not have discovered previously.  I have experienced this several times over the past decade as I have gotten better at editing, and as the digital darkroom tools have evolved.  Sometimes it’s worth going back to revisit images you thought were long archived.

I am particularly impressed at how well Snapseed handles halos and artifacts of sharpening, and adding structure.  Even zoomed in to this medium quality jpg I don’t see much in the way of artifacting.  I am also impressed at how little noise was introduced by lightening the foreground.  If I had done this as part of my HDR process I would have probably seen chromatic aberration (fringing) of which I see none.  So Snapseed can offer a great way to achieve an HDR look from a single exposure. See below.

I look forward to using Snapseed to quickly come up with ideas for an image.  I’ll probably continue to do most of my editing on the desktop in Photoshop and Lightroom, but will defer to Snapseed occasionally if I think it will help my workflow for a particular image.  Something like this could even be used as a layer, and combined using blending modes, and opacities to come up with something in Photoshop that is novel.  As the tools evolve, and expand so do the limits of our creativity.

Meet Doug From Yosemite

Doug from Yosemite

I’ve been mainly posting text based posts while I get used to my new iMac. I just switched over from Windows. I still have Windows, but am using my iMac now as my primary system. I’m still getting used to the change, and haven’t done any photo editing since I got the Mac which is amazing considering I have always been tinkering in Lightroom or Photoshop. So…here’s an old shot.

This was taken on a trip to California about 6 years ago. I had driven to Yosemite National park for a few days on this particular occasion. I think I spotted this little guy in Mariposa Grove. He (I think?) was one of the more timid deer there. Continue reading Meet Doug From Yosemite

Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night.

Please specify a Flickr ID for this gallery

This is a batch of images that I processed last year.   I have another series of posts on images that I processed this year after a revisit of the source images.  These were all hand held shots – not all technically perfect images but I thought they had a festive quality none-the-less.  I am hoping to have some new stuff for next year.

I hope you enjoy them – Merry Christmas!