Yesterday was another beautiful fall day in Bucks County, PA. Late in the afternoon I saw some white billowy clouds coming across the sky. I rushed over to Fonthill Castle and caught about 15 minutes of late afternoon warm sunlight. What attracted me the most on this image were the long shadows casting themselves on the lawn and the castle walls. It was worth the jaunt for the 15 minutes of nice sunlight.
Walking outside this time of year in Bucks County, Southeast Pennsylvania is always a real treat. The combination of old structures, interesting landscapes and fall color are abundant and are just waiting to be captured. Each day changes. Colors come and go, always changing. Something new is always just around the corner, or just standing in front of me. Such walks always help me balance the daily challenges and beauty life brings. Time to get out for another walk!
The trees around Fonthill Castle are turning toward their fall brilliance. For the last couple of days I have been going to the castle to catch late afternoon and early morning light as it illuminates the castle walls. This image is a combination of a 0, +1, and -1 exposure blended together. The normal exposure is the base. The +1 exposure was used to lighten the right side of the castle that was in the shade. The -1 exposure was used to tone down a few hot spots on the castle tower. These were blended together using layers and masks in Photoshop. A little tonal contrast in NIK Color EFEX pro was used to finish the image off. I first worked with HDR, but could not come up with a realistic looking image.
This was one of the last shots of the day. Sometimes they are some of the best, at least for me. The hay rake provided a strong near field compositional element. Most images of this bridge are taken from directly on or perpendicular to the bridge. I wanted to get something a little different and catch some of the fall color.
Knechts Covered Bridge is one of my favorites. It is somewhat hidden off the meandering country roads on what seems to be a single lane remote road. The simplicity of the structure is marred with bright caution and height limit signs. I took the liberty of removing them from the image with Photoshop. If you look close you can see the remnants on the left stone abutment and below the bridge name placard.
I was not too creative and made several mistakes with this image. So there are several lessons here. First, as I was walking along the rocks, I hit a slippery area and tumbled down on my knees and elbows. I made sure the camera was safe. After the fall, I lost my focus and interest and only took a few images. Lesson 1: if something happens, take the time to regain composure and then start again. I knew that I had an extreme dynamic range between the sky and the shadows on the bridge and ground. I did not take enough exposures to generate a blended image or HDR. Lesson 2: Take my time to capture the image and lighting that I am looking for. I put on a cheap polarizer on my lens. It leaves a little flare from time to time. I had discovered this before and still put the filter on. Lesson 3: Don’t put anything but good filters over good optics. No filter is better than one that even degrades the image a little. Anyway, this post is a good example of what not to do.
Fall days are a wonderful time to drive around rural Bucks County, PA and enjoy the iconic covered bridges. During the last few days, a friend and I spent late afternoons exploring around the area. For this image of the Loux Covered Bridge, I focused on a composition that did not include bright road signs and caught some of the fall color.
Gloomy grey days highlight great fall colors. Add a little artistic flair and voila … out comes an impressionistic painting. The colors here in eastern Pennsylvania are rapidly changing. One day makes a big difference. A great college friend and I took the opportunity to get a little damp and explore some of the countryside and covered bridges here in Bucks County. The colors were great, but most important, just being out with a good friend made the day.
Some of my favorite photographs are the simple ones. This is a simple single hinge on an outbuilding door in Williamsburg, VA. Williamsburg is a Mecca for these types of simple details. Each building is its own museum. I can easily spend my time just exploring these types of details.
This image is my first trial using Topaz’s new “Impression” software. I took a nondescript image with a distinct foreground, mid ground, and far field as the base of my experiment. I was pleasantly surprised of the interesting result. Below is the original RAW image.