Nov 282010

Okay, technically, this is not the first frost in Knoxville this year. It is, however, the first frost that I’ve shot pictures of so that’s how I’m justifying the title of the picture and blog post.

When I returned home from taking Mary to work this morning, the sun had just gotten over the top of the hill east of our neighborhood. It hadn’t been out long enough to completely melt the frost in the sunlit areas and there were still long shadows being cast from my neighbor’s house (camera left) and the tree next to my driveway (camera right). I took a wider HDR series shot of this leaf, but it was too weak of a subject in a frame full of glistening blades of grass and other less colorful leaves scattered around the yard.

Nov 212010

Just before leaving to take Mary to work this morning, I decided to grab my camera and tripod so I could check out the UT Gardens. It turned out to be a good idea as I got a couple of shots I’m pretty happy with. The one below, however, is definitely my favorite of the two.

I just happened to glance down and see this little guy asleep on a flower. As I was setting up, I noticed that every time the sun came out from behind a cloud, his antennae would start to move a little. I figured I’d better work fast before he warmed up enough to start moving. Fortunately, he cooperated by staying asleep while I added an extension tube to my long lens and and adjusted my tripod location.

For post-processing, I actually darkened the entire frame by a full stop because the bright rock in the background was pulling attention away from the subject. I then brightened the bee up by close to 2 stops to pull out as much detail as possible. Add in some saturation, vignetting, and sharpening and it’s done. This is a 4×5 crop of the full frame.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Sep 262010

Woo Hoo! Two days in a row! Go me!

I had to pick up Lisa from school one day last week and I had some time to kill so I took my camera into the UT Gardens to see if I could find anything to shoot. It had been raining about 30 minutes before so everything had raindrops. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my tripod with me so I couldn’t get any extreme close ups of the drops. Still I got some interesting shots. Here’s my favorite.

Post-processing this image got interesting in one way. The edges of the flowers were so close to being fully saturated that bumping up the saturation for the rest of the image almost immediately blew them out into what I can only describe as “bizzare-o land”. I actually had to selective desaturate the edges so that I could then gently bump up the saturation on the image as a whole (which it needed, IMHO, for impact). Not a whole lot of other processing was done. I did some sharpening and added the vignette, but that’s about it.

Aug 012010

I finally made some time to go out shooting today. I can’t say I spent a great deal of time at it, but I didn’t come back empty-handed so I guess that’s something. I’ve been both busy and, to be honest, not feeling the creative juices flowing the last few days. I knew I had to do something to get past the creative block. I left home about an hour earlier than I normally would to pick Mary up from work and found a place to park on UT’s campus. It happened to be near The Rock so that was my first photo. (For those that don’t know what The Rock is, I’ll explain it as best I can when I post the final image – probably tomorrow.)

As for today, the image below was taken across the street from The Rock. It was part of a huge bush growing between the sidewalk and a building. This one particular branch had really taken off and grown out and over the sidewalk. I tried setting up my tripod underneath it but it was just too hard to try different angles on the tripod with the camera pointing almost straight up. I had to handhold it to shoot the 3 shots needed for the HDR sequence. Fortunately, it was  a bright day and I wanted a fairly shallow depth of field so the apeture was wide open enough to keep me a couple of stops under max shutter speed for an average exposure. I put the camera on high-speed continuous shooting and had my 3 exposures in under a second. There was barely any noticeable shift between the images and Photomatix kept the ghosting to a minimum around the flower. There was some ghosting around the leaves, but I selectively blurred the entire branch to keep the focus on the flowers.

This is definitely my favorite of the shots I came away with today. I think the main reason I like it is because it’s simple and busy at the same time. It’s simple in that it’s just a single branch with flowers on the end against the sky. But the flowers are in a bunch so there’s lots to look at there and the branch is full of leaves and the remnants of flowers that were blooming when they were at the end of the branch. And the clouds aren’t just blobs of white; there’s texture and form there even though they are not perfectly in focus. I will say that the full size image shows the complexity better than this version since I had to scale it down to fit on the page.

Well, that’s it for tonight. The good news is that I’ve got 3 other images to post so I should be good to go for a few days with blog material.

 Posted by at 8:54 pm