I am pretty excited about this particular image. Not because it is perfect. It is not. But because I now know I can do this, and I have wanted to create this shot for a very long time.
Taken this past weekend at Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is a blend of 10 images to get the rocks lit properly plus the addition of another 96 images to form the star trails. I used the Photoshop action from Star Circle Academy (thank you for automating this!) to layer the stars. Each image is 8 seconds long, at f/3.5 and ISO-800. Overall, I am thrilled how it came out — can’t wait to do some more, with 300 or more images blended! Enjoy!
I have been playing around with HDR processing in Photoshop, and frankly, I haven’t been super fond of the results. Some have been okay, but not really what I am looking for. I am not (usually that is) looking to go over the top with tone mapping or super intense vibrance and saturation. Really, I am looking to increase the range of the image across the board — get closer to the image I saw when I snapped the shutter.
I am starting a process of evaluating other HDR options — first up is Photomatix Pro. At first, I immediately felt like I had more control, but my initial results were just not blowing me away. After working with this image of the dawn sun illuminating Garden of the Gods, and then taking it back into Photoshop for some additional work, I think I have an image I am pretty happy with. Usually, I know when I come back to it in a couple of days. What do you think? What HDR software do you use? I appreciate your thoughts.
This is a 3 image HDR, processed in Photomatix Pro. Source images were bracketed at +/- 2 exposure stops at f/25. Enjoy!
Every now and then, and it seems to come in spurts, you see something and think – “I have GOT to get a picture of that!” Last Thursday evening was one of those moments for me. I was prepping to head out early the next morning – the same morning that resulted in Fog Blanket – and I noticed the passing low clouds obscuring the full moon. The breaks in the clouds made for a very impressive view, that I had to get. Well, this was the result of that…
It really wasn’t very good. In fact, it was disappointing! The passing clouds prevented a nice sharp capture of the moon, and the motion of the passing clouds didn’t translate well. But, that is where the fun started — time to see what sort of creative license I could have with this image. There is something there, I just know it!
I took the image into Photoshop and started to pick it apart. A little luminescence adjustment in Camera Raw to clean up the noise, a little sharpening and off we went. Then I split the moon and the clouds into 2 different layers. Each got separate light adjustments and the clouds got the swirl treatment. In the end, I got something I was actually pretty excited about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
Some rocks formations in Garden of the Gods are the most popular ones with visitors and tourists. The Balanced Rock (subject for a later date) would be one of them. The Siamese Twins formation is another. Unlike the Balanced Rock, however, you cannot just drive up to this one. It requires a short uphill hike to get to it. It is worth every step of the journey!
The twins rise, almost in perfect unison, above the surrounding land and at the correct angle, you can see Pike’s Peak through the window! This is a merged image of two separate photos. Even with a wide angle lens, unless you have an extreme wide angle, it is nearly impossible to get this point of view and still get both of the towering twins into the image. If you are visiting Garden of the Gods, take this hike and watch the sunrise and illuminate both Pikes Peak and the twins. One of the best views in the city! Enjoy!
I got (back) into Photography for several reasons, two of which I will mention here.
One – I had fallen in love with the idea of capturing and preserving moments in time when I was in middle school. It became one of the first passions I truly had. But it was fleeting – it would come and go – depending on other things that may have been going on in my life.
Second – as I grew as a person, I found I needed a creative output. Something, outside of my profession, to give me an outlet for expression and creation. Over the past couple of years, this need for a creative outlet flourished, and with it, my interest was rekindled like it never had been before.
What does that have to do with “The Barn” you may ask. Simple. This post is a quick peek at the growth I have had over these last two years. I took this image in Feb 2010. I knew I liked the composition and the subject, but I lacked the knowledge, skill and experience to take it where I really wanted to.
Reflecting back on that day, I set to find it with this edit. Aside from basic light balance and tone work, the use of a texture and a sepia tone overlay found the mood that I knew was there all along. I am rather pleased with this outcome, and I think the images speak for themselves.
Like anything else in life, this is a journey. One of experiments, education and learning. This growth is necessary, for without it, I believe we don’t just stagnate, but we regress. My intent is to continue to capture and preserve this growth, and perhaps share some of that knowledge with others along the way.