Walk In the Woods Series #1

We enjoy walking along the paths at local parks and some go through the wooded areas. It is fun to look for little Photo Still Life images or Vignettes of natural details. It makes you look closer at what you are walking through. You never know what you will or can find. The only trouble is it is usually very dark for photographing my subjects. The featured image is a group of fungus on a tree trunk.  I would usually use a tripod but on this walk I just had a 300mm lens so I raised my ISO to 6400 to get a high enough shutter speed even at f/4 for a sharp image in the tree covered woods. I shot 4 images, handheld, and focused on 4 different areas because I was shooting at f/4 to get the areas I wanted sharper and still get moody soft areas where I wanted.  Then I aligned & assembled the 4 images in Photoshop for the final image.

Blackwater NWR Sunset

We got to where we wanted on the Wildlife Drive to photograph the setting sun, but it was not as dramatic as we had hoped for. It was still fun to photograph and got a few good images. Then we moved a little closer, around the bend towards the straightaway to the exit. These are combinations of exposure  blends for darks & lights for shadow detail and bright detail along with multi-images for size. I was using 2 cameras, one with a 24-105mm, the other with a 12-24mm. The featured image is at 105mm (5 images, blended). If you see any specks in the sky, they are birds flying through. After the sun went below the horizon we then headed back to the motel to rest up for sunrise the next day.

BWR_Sunset_v8_5img_24mm

Series of 5 images blended in Photoshop, 24mm

BWR_Sunset_v1_105mm_MAL7029

Three image blend @105mm

BWR_Sunset_v1_MAL7183

Four image blend @24mm

BWR_Sunset_v11a_MAL7027

4 img blend @88mm

BWR_Sunset_12_MAL7407

3 image blend – Sundown @24mm

Plant Panorama

I liked the shape and curves of this plant. But I wanted a clean background, so I used a long lens but shot wide open so I had a soft clean green background. Also 3 overlapping images which I then assembled in Photoshop. I did not want to back up and get it in one shot because then I would also have more depth of field which means more background detail which I did not want. The closer you get with a long lens, the smoother the background when you shoot with the aperture wide open. I liked the curves and details on the plant and the arched shape. Shot with a close focusing 300mm lens @ f/4.

Day Lily 4 Shot Panorama & Focus Stacking

I used 4 photos shot at different focus points and narrow depth of field to get a soft background along with sharp detail on my flower subjects. Shot with a handheld Sigma 150mm macro lens @ f/5.6. Assembled in Photoshop for both the blending of images and then the panorama.

Meeting House At Night 4 Image Blend

My second version of the Meeting House Image. This time a 4 image blend exposed for different sections, then combined in Photoshop. All at 24mm. I also tried 12mm, but the Meeting House looked too small in the frame. First I exposed for the brightly lit building. Then an exposure for the darker trees and foreground lawn. Then 2 exposures for the few stars that were visible at this angle. I used a technique of greatly over exposing the sky on one of these, then using levels in Photoshop to pull out a few more faint stars so they stood out more. Then combining those two layers. I also made a reverse mask of the bright building so I could replace the area around the building steeple with the dark sky with stars and darker trees. Then I manually layered and masked my layers to where I liked all the elements of the image so they looked like it was somewhat balanced.
The exposure for the stars was 30 seconds, the longest time so not to show movement. But being in NJ, I had to try a few times because a jet would fly through and leave a streak of light from the lights on the wings. Which in some ways looked interesting, but not what I was after. But it is New Jersey with constant planes going overhead, so maybe I will add it later.

Meeting House 4 Image Verical Panorama

This is a 4 Image vertical panorama of the Meeting House in the condo community we live in now. It is a multi-use building for the whole community and it reminds me of areas I used to like to photograph in New England when our children were small. They liked Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts among others. I tried a variety of ways to photograph this building to see which way I liked it best plus it gave me an opportunity to practice or try different effects and combinations.

For this image I shot 4 images, handheld, vertically at 24mm. I used a lot of overlap on each image because I was shooting at 24mm (vertically). It helps having a lot of overlap in the images when using a 24mm, it seems like Photoshop handles it better and you get less “distortion” in the combining of the separate images.

On this version the clouds were amazing, so I continued up to include a lot of clouds & sky.

It seems like the more you do of these panoramas the more you learn and have a higher success rate. Also if you are just walking around and traveling “light” with just one lens, it gives you more options for photo subjects.

Screaming Tree Stump

We were taking a walk at the Davidsons Mill Pond Park to get some fresh air. It has been bitterly cold lately here in New Jersey so it was nice to able to get out and walk. It got to 50 degrees but had very strong winds. Much better than being in the minus numbers. I took a camera with me, just to see what I could find. I saw this tree stump and the little branch on it looked like an arm and the top looked like a mouth and an ear to the right. Or maybe I was just trying to find something to photograph and saw it this way. Anyway I thought it was an interesting subject.

Screaming Tree Stump DM 18 v7 silver efx_43G0835

“Feathered” Old Grayscale Version

Screaming Tree Stump DM 18 v7 daguerreotype_43G0835

“Older” Sepia Toned Version

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