Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!


The leaves turn from green to red and gold, and we pause to give thanks for all that we have - family, friends, health, and the joys of photography. 


Wishing you a warm and happy Thanksgiving 

filled with laughter and love. 

 

Mollie


TODAY'S QUOTES: 
"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come from getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."  --Frederick Koenig

"Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart."  --Seneca

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  --John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Great TV Series for Photographers


If you subscribe to the Netflix streaming service, there is a superb photography program that I highly recommend. It is "Tales By Light," and is a beautifully filmed and narrated series of episodes about nature, wildlife, and culture photography. Each episode highlights a different photographer who talks about their work and what motivates them. It combines superb video and stills, and is highly motivational. Each episode is unique and each covers a different aspect of photography.

Some of the photographers are famous, like Art Wolfe, and others are not household names, but in each case their work is world-class and eye-opening. Each episode is only about 20 minutes long so it is easy to watch when you have a few spare minutes.

And no, I am not one of the featured photographers!

FYI, I shot this image of an Atlantic Puffin in Iceland at the end of the breeding season in August. These speedy little bullets are beautiful to watch and hard to get in flight. They live at sea for most of the year, and come on land only for about 6 weeks each summer to breed and raise their young. Their breeding season is generally from mid June to early August, but that seems to be changing somewhat with the warming climate.

TECH SPECS
1/1250 sec., f/8, ISO 1600. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with Canon 1.4x extender on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."  --Aristotle

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Votes Are In....


The votes are in, and the winner is........................

the color version.

If you recall, last week I asked you to vote on whether you liked the color or the black-and-white version of this flower best. An overwhelming majority voted for the color version.

While many of you liked the black-and-white version, most felt that it did not have enough contrast and was not as interesting as the color version. If you do not remember the black-and-white version, you can see it here  http://awakethelight.blogspot.com/2017/11/vote-for-your-favorite.html

Thanks to everyone for your vote and your input.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  --attributed to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

Monday, November 13, 2017

Awake The Light, literally!


Now that we are off Daylight Savings Time it gets dark early and quickly. I ran a private workshop here at the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week, and we set out in the late afternoon in search of good sunset images. This lighthouse was a good subject.

The sun was setting to our right, but the best color in the sky was in the east to our left. That can often happen, so when out shooting sunset (or sunrise) always keep an eye on the opposite direction for good colors and drama. You just never know.

While I like the look of the near darkness and the bright warm tones near the horizon, something was lacking. Below is the image before any work was done.

BEFORE
So I checked the web for information on how to add light rays to this image. Normally I prefer to be more of a "purist" and do not add elements to landscapes or wildlife images. But in this case it needed a little punch. The lighthouse light was on, but at such close range, and not in full darkness, the light did not appear bright enough. So two things were needed - brighten the actual light, AND add light rays.

Brightening the light itself was easy. In Photoshop I copied and pasted the original light (just the light itself at the top of the lighthouse) so that it was on its own layer. Then using Image > Adjustments > Levels I made the light brighter by sliding the middle slider to the left (toward the small black triangle). This created a glow which was the look I was hoping for. 

Then it was time to add the actual light rays. After trying several different approaches found on different tutorials and YouTube videos, I came across the technique that worked best with this image. As with all things Photoshop (or Elements), there are several ways to create any look you want. The trick is to find the one that is, first and foremost, easiest and then that works well with your particular image. Some of the info I came across created an artificial look which I was not happy with, so take your time when deciding which approach to use. Even with the tutorial I chose (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2z6hvfISqU) I had to make some personal modifications to achieve a result I liked. So use what you find as a starting point, and adapt from there to fit your own personal vision. 

A final important note  -  always, always, ALWAYS let subtlety and good taste be your guides. Try not to overdo any added elements if you want your image to look as real as possible.

TECH SPECS
1/160 sec. at f/6.3, ISO 800. Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Realism is in the work when idealism is in the soul."  -- Henri Bergson

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Vote For Your Favorite


Same rose, two different interpretations. One is color, the other is black and white. One is cropped more tightly. One has the central swirl in the center, the other is off-center.

Vote for your favorite version on our Facebook page and give a brief reason or two for your choice. I will publish the results in a future post. Please take just a moment of your time to vote. And thanks!

TODAY'S QUOTE: "There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence."  --Ralph Waldo Emerson