Monthly Archives: May 2013

Fonthill: On Display

130519_Fonthill_Pitcher in Alcove by 2013. I have had the great opportunity to shoot several times at Henry Mercer’s Fonthill Castle with my good friend John Barclay.  Some of my previous work is currently on display there.  Most of my work has been with the larger scenes in each room.  Today I focused on several of Mercer’s collection pieces that are displayed around the castle.  It was a dreary day today in Eastern Pennsylvania … great light for capturing details.  To capture the mood, I also focused on capturing images for B&W processing.

Emerging: Bleeding Hearts

130509_Emerging_BleedingHeart_1 by Karl Graf.

I was after a subdued image of our Bleeding Hearts on a bright early morning.  I stood above these “hearts” and shot through an Atlas Cedar.  A slight gap between the branches framed the “hearts”.

I next got down on my belly and shot the macro below focusing on the simple two heart image.  I added a little contrast and darkened the background to highlight the “hearts”.  I plan to use this one for a Mother’s Day card for Mom.

130509_Emerging_BleedingHeart_2 by Karl Graf.

This post will be my last of my “Emerging” series  … at least for a little while.

Emerging: Lilac

130508_Emerging_Lilac by Karl Graf. I saw this emerging Lilac blossom against the bright red of a Flowering Quince and could not resist shooting an image.  As they say, “When you see red, shoot!”  The red background tends to overwhelm the Lilac buds.  I tried to separate the two with a shallow DOF.  Later in post processing, I added a little structure to the Lilac and added a little blur to the Quince which helped the separation a little more.  Just experimenting …

Emerging: Magic in the Wind

130507_Emerging_Redbud_wind effect by Karl Graf. I was experimenting with swipes and pans on this Redbud tree to create some interesting images for backgrounds.  While I had my camera set for a blur (f/32, 1/4 second, ISO 200), I let the wind create a little magic on its own.  I just held the camera still, waited for a gust of wind, then snapped the shutter.  It’s pretty amazing what nature can do!

Emerging: Pear Blossom

130503_Emerging_Pear Blossoms by Karl Graf. The lesson that I was exploring as I took this image was from Tony Sweet:  “Pick a background and put something interesting in front of it”.  The late afternoon sun brilliantly lit up the new spring grass.  The blossoms in the pear trees lining our driveway were in partial shade.  Normally I try to pick dark backgrounds with light shining on the foreground subject.  This time it was just the opposite.  I kept a moderate aperture size to blur the background and keep the blossoms in acceptable focus.

Emerging: New & Old

130502_Emerging_Old & New by Karl Graf. The emerging new growth of this Exbury Azalea surrounds and seems to protect the old growth from last year.  I moved around to get the best position of the old growth between the towering new growth.

Post processing was also simple.  I added a little contrast and structure to the leaves as well as darkened the background using NIK Viveza.  As a final touch, I lightened the center and darkened the edges with NIK Color Efex Pro.

Emerging: Wings

130501_Emerging_Wings by Karl Graf. Today is the First of May.  It is time to appreciate the emerging Spring flora.  For the next several posts, I will focus on the emerging buds and blossoms in our back yard.  This image caught my eye as I walked by one of our Japanese Maples.  It looked like the emerging leaves were wings ready to take off and fly.

For processing, I cropped the image to put the “wings” in the right perspective in relation to the edges.  I slightly brightened the center and darkened the background to add a little pop to the leaves.