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.

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.

Jul 202010

Back in April, I went on a field trip to the University of Tennessee Trial Gardens with my close-up/macro photography class. I came out of that trip with several shots that I’m really happy with. One of the shots that ended up being among my favorites was almost discarded as a disappointment until I fiddled with the white balance. Below is the shot as it came out of the camera.

I was pleased with the composition and the flower in general, but the background was bland, at best. I don’t remember now what prompted me to do, but I decided to try the other white balance settings. The shot was made in daylight mode and shade and cloudy made small and unremarkable (IMHO) changes. When I changed it to fluorescent however, I immediately fell in love. Eighty-five percent (okay, that’s a guess) of the impact between the image above and the image below was just changing the white balance. Sure, I played with vibrance and clarity and a little sharpening and so on, but the bulk of the impact was made just on the white balance change.

This picture has convinced me to make checking out other white balance options part of my workflow for just about every image. Sure, there are some images where white needs to be white, but anytime I have the option, I check it out. You never know what you might come up with.

Jul 132010

One of the photography websites I belong to is They have an ENORMOUS number of discussion forums. If you shoot with Nikon cameras, go check them out and you’ll see why it is perfectly appropriate for me to put enormous in all caps in that previous sentence. Anyway, one of the forums is used for monthly assignments. There’s a different theme every month. For July, the theme is grasses. There have been several very nice images posted already and here’s the one I shot on Sunday for it.

Tall Grass

Tall Grass in Summer


  • Nikon D90
  • Nikkor 55-200 f/4-5.6 @ 200mm
  • ISO 200
  • F/8 @ 1/160
  • RAW capture processed in Lightroom 3

This particular piece of grass was growing in a field at the edge of the road at the end of a cul-de-sac in my neighborhood. It was late afternoon and a rather large tree growing on the side of the field was already casting a large shadow across most of the field and freshly mowed yard of the lot next to the field. Fortunately, this piece of grass was still in full sunlight and was leaning out far enough that I could easily position my camera to get the mowed yard behind it and isolate from the rest of the grass. I zoomed all the way into 200mm and got close enough to fill the frame.

Lightroom adjustments involved pumping up the black level some which did 90% of the work making the background look as nice as it does. Quite a bit of clarity and I selectively darkened the colors of the seeds using HSL Luminance adjustments just a bit. Add a touch of sharpening and noise reduction and vignetting and we’re done.