Archive for the ‘Nikon’ Tag

Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields   6 comments


Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields

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Now back home from Germany, we decided to take a week to see the foliage in western North Carolina. Normally, we travel to New England at this time of year, camping out of the truck, so we needed a leaf-fix.

Go figure… The U.S. government shut down before we got there, so our usual campgrounds were closed. And it was raining. Pretty much constantly. After a week of this, we headed for home. Yep, you got it: The very day we left the sun came out and the shutdown was over.

Never to be daunted, we found this spot off the Blue Ridge Parkway at a place called Graveyard Fields. It has a beautiful heath meadow that lights up in autumn, and it’s one of the more popular places to pull the car over and peep. If, however, you drop down from the parking lot, there’s a loop trail that takes you to both “Upper Falls” and “Lower Falls.” Pretty imaginative naming convention, eh?

What you don’t see in this picture is Susan (a.k.a. “Lovely Assistant”) perched on the rocks behind me, holding an umbrella over the camera and tripod.

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Temporary Beauty   9 comments


Temporary Beauty

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In North Carolina, as well as in other parts of the south, azaleas in bloom are the harbingers of spring, not unlike farther north with the return of robins or the melting of snowpack. Unfortunately, the blossoms only seem to last a short while before they drop to the ground, leaving only green foliage for the remainder of the summer.

“Natural beauty is essentially temporary and sad; hence the impression of obscene mockery which artificial flowers give us.” — John Updike

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Bob Lussier   6 comments


Bob Lussier
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A while back my online friend, Bob Lussier, told me that he was paying a visit to relatives in North Carolina and asked if I’d be available to get together for some fun and photography. Being a big fan of Bob’s work, I jumped at the chance.

I drove south to the Wilmington – Southport area to meet up with Bob, where we took a ferry out to Bald Head Island, home of the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina. It was a fantastic target, and we spent quite a bit of time inside the lighthouse, shooting stairwells, crumbling brick, and other bits of Rurex (Rural Exploration) goodness. We might’ve stayed in there even longer, but it felt like 120 degrees inside. By the time we exited the lighthouse, we were drenched. I tried to tell him not to visit in August, but would he listen? Nooooooo…..

On the way back to the ferry, we found this old boathouse sitting in the marshes… it was too good to pass up. To see the image that Bob captured as I took this shot of him, please visit the related post on Bob’s blog, Bald Head Boat House.

As it turned out, Bob and I got along extremely well, and while driving back to my hotel late that evening, I was startled to realize, “Hey, I just spent almost 12 hours with him and the time seemed to pass like minutes.” Bob’s a wonderful, affable guy. I’m really delighted that we had the chance to meet in person and share some time together.

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“Sorry. I Wasn’t Expecting Company.”   8 comments


The interior of a cluttered farm shed with rusty implements and an old refrigerator in North Carolina

"Sorry. I Wasn't Expecting Company."

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Coming in with a late post for the day…

I worked this image up to go along with an article I wrote recently, highlighting the differences between accepting the simple output from one HDR program versus giving a set of brackets a lot of love with different tools and programs.

On Friday, 1/21/11 the article posted on YourPhotoTips.com, and can be found HERE.  It’s called Express Yourself… Completely!

Taken inside an old barn and shed on a local farm, this is turning out to be one of my favorite locations due to its ‘target rich’ environment. The owner graciously allowed me to wander around freely, so I was able to grab some great detail shots this time. Being respectful, I resisted the urge to see if there was any cold beer in the fridge.

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Nikon D7000, Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, 17mm at f/5.6, seven exposures +/-1EV using Promote Control. Photomatix Pro, HDR Express, 32 Float, Nik Color Efex Pro, and Photoshop all had a hand in this one… but that was exactly the point of the article!

“Determination”   3 comments


A surfer plies hurricane swell during Hurricane Earl, near Oceanana Pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

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A surfer plies the storm swell from Hurricane Earl, off the Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach, on the Crystal Coast in North Carolina.

This is an HDR image, although there clearly isn’t a great deal of dynamic range available. It was processed with both Photomatix Pro 4 beta — available to all — and another beta HDR program that is not yet released.

If I have one issue these days, it’s choosing between the various HDR programs available, and which to apply to a given image. All of the programs are really strong, and each has its own distinct capability or style. Each also has its not so great points, so sometimes you have to find one with a nice balance.  Other times, you can process an image with different HDR programs, and then combine the results using layers and masks in Photoshop.

Such is the case here. I really liked what Photomatix Pro 4 beta did with the textures and definition in the water, but, as expected, it didn’t treat the surfer (i.e., skin tones) quite as well. Even the tonemapping of the water needed just a little something.  I could have also taken a pass with HDR Expose from Unified Color, or better yet, their new 32 Float plug-in for Photoshop, but I’m testing another new HDR product, so I decided to try that one.

Choosing between various presets available, I found one that came close to the look I wanted, and I then adjusted the sliders to balance definition, color, and contrast, with an eye to ‘keeping it real.’  Perfect.  Combining the Photomatix results with the second pass results allowed me to a) patch in the surfer the way I wanted, and b) blend the two environments — water, foam, wave — to good effect.

This multiple pass approach certainly takes a lot of time — more time than I’d prefer to spend. But I think that as time goes on, one can develop an eye for a specific image and immediately know which program would do the best job at rendering for the artist’s desired result.

And yet, that’s just one aspect of post-processing.  Now… which filters to apply? 8)

Although it makes one want to do a 365 project of nothing but SOOC shots, it’s nice to sit back and look at the final product while thinking, “That’s cool… I hope others enjoy this.”

I hope you do.

Rob

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