Friday, February 28, 2014

Almost 2 Years Ago

It was almost 2 years ago that I took this picture of hawks circling in a dramatic sky above my house.  A few hours later the tornadoes hit our region.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Digital Negative

I bought Jeff Schewe's book The Digital Negative from Amazon.  The book is not cheap ($49.99 most places, $30 at Amazon), is a paperback, has thin paper and less than cutting edge photo reproductions.  On the other hand, it is well-written by someone who knows his stuff and is filled with a lot of important information.  He makes going through the information, from how digital sensors work to color space, about as easy to grasp as anyone I've ever read. I still don't "know" it all, but this book is an excellent source for getting all that information in one place that links the facts in a way that makes the big picture a little more accessible.  The book is aimed at producing the best pictures possible from RAW files using Lightroom and Photoshop.  Mostly it deals with Lightroom and ACR to polish up RAW files and then Photoshop for the last bit of perfection.  I have Lightroom but am not paying the price for Photoshop.  Since shooting opportunities are slim around here right now, I have been reworking some of my older pictures using nothing but Lightroom.  The pictures may not be perfect, but they have more technical quality than the first time I worked them up.  Besides, I haven't finished the book yet so you may see them reworked yet again soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Now in Living Color

That's "colour" for those of you who read English rather than American.

This is a sampling of pictures that I've previously posted online in black and white, often quite heavily manipulated in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, now worked up with a lighter touch to more naturalistic color photos.  Sometimes this works out to a cheerier result than the black and white did.  Sometimes not so much.  The great thing about shooting RAW rather than JPEGs is that you capture all the information so there is plenty go to back and worth with later, allowing unlimited interpretation of a picture.  When I took these shots, dramatic black and white seemed clearly the way to go to me.  Today, a more natural look that preserves the colors strikes me as at least as interesting as the old black and white versions.

Now, when I say the aim was a more "naturalistic" look, I mean that I didn't want the work I did on these to be obvious.  But some of these have had a lot of tweaks, but all in Lightroom and all more or less things I would have done to my black and white pictures in the darkroom in the old days - controlling contrast and dodging and burning - all aimed at getting sufficient sharpness and clarity and saturation without going overboard, and all aimed at retaining some detail in both shadows and highlights.  I did correct some perspective problems on buildings in order to get them to look straight - one of the great strengths of digital is the ability to bend the rules of physics at will to bring pictures more in line with the way our eyes and brains interpreted a scene rather than the way our lenses recorded it.

Pastoral (near Printer, Kentucky)
Welcome to the Town of Wayland, Home of the Wasps

Kite, Kentucky

Old Coal Tipple, Price, Kentucky

HQ, Price, Kentucky

Methodist Church, Wheelwright, Kentucky

Sunny Sunday Morning, Wheelwright, Kentucky

Curve, near Prestonsburg, Kentucky

Water Tower, near Prestonsburg, Kentucky

Where Have All the Coal Trains Gone? (Wireman Shoals, Kentucky)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Faux Old

I went out this morning to try to take some pictures.  There was some ice on Dewey Lake, but mostly it was muddy water.  The sky was mostly cloudy and the colors were dreary.  So I ended up giving the shots the monochrome treatment with the aim of giving them the look of vintage photos with smooth, warm tones and extra vignetting.


Chowing down at my squirrel-proof feeder.  Which I guess goes to show me that he is smarter than both me and the guy who came up with this design.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The First Week of February

Busy, busy, busy week.  Still found time for a few shots from around the house.  From the Canon EOS M and 22mm f2 lens.

Red Chair
Dusting (on the red chair)

American Goldfinch