Photography – Creating a Mood

Venice-wp

Venice Before

Before and After – This photo was taken in Venice, Italy on the Grand Canal. Challenged once again in this week’s class assignment – to create a dark, moody image. My tendency has always been to use my go to standard workflow adjustments; highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity…..I was quite surprised by how motivating and challenging it was to go for a different look. My big learning in this assignment was the discovery of the power and different effects you can achieve by using the Curves tool.

Unconventional Photography-Photo Composites

White Pelican Waterfall-1

After so many years of taking and processing “traditional” photographs, I decided to expand my creative side and signed up for an “unconventional” photography class at a local  community college near me. The class is designed to sharpen your photography skills and combine images artistically through photo manipulation.  The professor displayed a number of creative photographs that were the result of combining two or more different photographs. Window frames became works of art, and portraits were fashioned into painted illustrations. It awakened me to a whole new photographing/editing adventure!

Part of class last night was to take abstract photographs inside the campus. Below is a closeup of part of a waterfall taken with a slow shutter speed inside the entrance of the building my class was in. I liked the way it turned out and decided to try my hand at combining two photos. I had taken a photo of a white pelican on a lake a couple of years ago. Given the white edge at the top of the waterfall photo, I thought these two photographs might blend well. Both photos where processed separately then processed again when combined. I used two Apps, Snapseed® and Painnt®. Then finished it off with Photoshop Elements® and NIK®. I am quite sure this can be done using just  Photoshop. I haven’t mastered it enough so I improvised with what I know well.  If you haven’t tried this yet, I would highly recommend it. It has awakened a whole new energy within and expanded my parameters on what to photograph!

gwaterfall

Photography-Flowers and Backgrounds

Two yellow flowers, two different backgrounds.

Botanic Gardens-1.jpg

Botanic Gardens-2

With the summer days quickly flying by, I decided to visit the Chicago Botanic Gardens to photograph flowers. My focus was to isolate a flower and pay attention to background. At the time of capture I honestly had nothing in mind in choosing a background. But, after reviewing, discovered color can really impact the mood of an image especially when photographing flowers…two yellow flowers, two different backgrounds evoke two different moods.

Snapseed – add an effect to image background

Click on photo to enlarge.

After many years of traditional photo editing, sometimes I just want to get a little creative in processing my images and achieve a different look. In Snapseed® there are a variety of Looks and Tools to achieve many different effects.

In processing the two photos above, the editing Tools and adjustment/brush settings used are the same. As you can see, the outcome is very different. The bird image is much more subdued while the dog image contrast is much stronger. The beauty of Snapseed edits is that they can be changed at any time during the editing process by fine tuning the edit adjustments or by brushing out the adjustment in different strengths or all together in select areas.

Workflow Processing steps to achieve this effect are shown below. To see a demonstration: WATCH VIDEO.

Background effect

Flower Photography – Macro Lens Mount Adapters

DSC01081-edited

f/2.8; 1/100 sec; ISO-1250; 60mm – Sony a6000 and Canon 60mm macro lens.

Recently, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and purchased a Sony mirrorless camera. You could label me as “brand loyal” when it comes to Canon cameras. I know how they work, am very comfortable with settings, menus, etc. My motivation – we do a lot of traveling and am tired of lugging heavy camera equipment. 

To my surprise, the Sony menu is not very user friendly, and the learning curve for me was very time consuming. But, I must say it takes an incredibly sharp photograph for the price point.

The one component I didn’t research very well was the expense and availability of Sony lenses. Do your homework on lens availability before you buy! The next best option for me was to find a lens mount adapter to allow me to use some of my Canon lenses with a Sony camera. Although the adapter doesn’t work with all of my Canon lenses, it works with the ones I use most often. It arrived today and given it was 7 degrees outside, I decided to do a quick shoot in my kitchen using the Sony camera with a Canon 60mm macro lens.