Category Archives: Details

A Day in the Canyon: Tilted Basalt

Tilted Basalt Columns – Yakima River Canyon

This tilted basalt was the result of a plate fold being pushed up from a diagonal force.  Throughout the Yakima River Canyon the basalt columns show displacement in various directions.  This illustrates that forces were lateral pushing toward each other creating a “fold”.

The basalt shown here is in a “columnar” formation.  Basalt formed like this cooled very slowly, creating a soother texture.

Christmas at Fonthill – Conclusion

151231_FonthillChristmas_YellowTreeDetail_Impression by Karl Graf. Fonthill Yellow Room Christmas Tree Impressionistic Detail

This image is an impressionistic perspective of yesterday’s post of the Yellow Room Christmas tree detail.  I used Topaz Impressionism plug in to achieve the look.

This posting ends my series on the Fonthill Castle Christmas Decoration Exhibit.  I hope you have enjoyed the series.  I have enjoyed sharing it.

This probably be my last major project at Fonthill.  I will be moving back to the Washington State next Spring.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at Fonthill starting with a workshop led by my good friend John Barclay.  I want to also thank Ed Reidell and the staff at Fonthill for the opportunities to help out.  It was truly my pleasure.  I enjoyed every moment of it.

Tomorrow starts a New Year.  Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Pushing the Envelope, Always Learning

150915_CS-18 Smother2 by Karl Graf. “CT-18 Smoother”

About four years ago, I saw some intriguing work that was unique to me in Lenswork Magazine, PDF Format.  The work was by Harold Ross using a technique called “light painting”.  I subsequently purchased Harold’s folio titled “Shopcraft”.  The technique uses light to sculpture the image. Light is applied to highlight specific areas.  Multiple images are taken to apply light from different perspectives.  The separate images are then combined in Photoshop to create a composite image.  For reference see Harold Ross’s web site at “www.haroldrossfineart.com“.

When I saw Harold’s work I made a commitment to myself to meet him and attend his workshop in Lancaster County, PA.  A couple of weeks ago I fulfilled that commitment. I feel so fortunate that I did.  It was a great workshop that I encourage anyone with an interest to attend.  The image above is what I left the workshop with along with a new friendship with Harold and his wife Vera.

I plan to continuously explore this area of photography.  It is something new and exciting to me. It stimulates me to move out and explore new things.  Never ending learning …

 

Japanese Maple Buds

150418_Japanese Maple Leaf Buds by Karl G. Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro @ f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 400

Out in our “Back 40” we have several bunches of bright yellow daffodils.  Ah ha … great background opportunity.  Now I just needed to find something to put in front.  A few emerging Japanese Maple leaf buds caught my eye.  So I put them together.  The challenge was to get an interesting composition while the branch was moving in the wind.  A relative open f-stop and a moderate shutter speed gave me the best balance.

Soft Pink

150415_Star Magnolia Macro Soft by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D MkII, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro @ 100mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

These subtle pink petals of our Star Magnolia caught my eye this afternoon.  The tree is in full bloom.  The blossoms are in a fresh crisp state which typically does not last very long.  Wind and wet weather usually turn the petal edges brown within a day or two after the bloom.  I caught it in the perfect state this year.

I softened the image slightly to give it a soft look.  It adds to the feeling that I had when I was shooting the image.

 

Purple Crocus

150410_PurpleCrocus_ME by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF 180mm Macro 3.5L – Multiple Exposure

These purple crocuses came out two days after the white ones.  They do so every year.  The white crocuses come out with a few blooms first, followed by the rest a couple days later.  The purple crocuses seem to come out all at once.  I was lucky with a couple of nice warm days when the blooms emerged.  The last couple of days have been cold and rainy.  The crispness of the flowers are now gone.

For Lexie:  The way this image was achieved is different from the white crocus image in my post a few days ago.  Large telephoto lenses have a narrow depth of field.  My target here was to get enough depth of field to capture detail in the nearest petal, the center, and the farthest petal of the nearest bloom.  It took an aperture setting of f/16 to achieve this.  However, using this aperture also pulled in detail from the background flowers.  I then took an image with the widest aperture (f/3.5) of my lens which only captured the center of the nearest flower in focus.  The edges of the bloom and all the background blooms were not in focus.  To make sure the images would line up when I processed them, I used a tripod.

Back on my computer, I combined the f/3.5 and f/16 images into a multiple exposure using Photoshop’s layers.  The background layer was the sharp f/16 image.  The second layer was the f/3.5 image.  I added a layer mask to the second layer and “painted” through the nearest bloom of the f/16 flower.  I then lightened the sharp bloom and darkened the edges to get the final image.

The following is the f/16 SOC image as reference:

150410_PurpleCrocus_SOC by Karl Graf.

Siberian Iris – “In Your Face”

150409_SiberianIris_Macro by Karl Graf. Canon 5DMkIII, EF180mm Macro f/3.5L @ 180mm, f/32, 0.5 sec, ISO 200

These small 3/4 inch blooms are great targets for Macro photography.  In recent years I have not spent much time doing macros.  Macro’s in our garden usually require getting down on my hands and knees or on my stomach to get face to face with the object of interest.  I am not as flexible as I use to be and am reluctant to get down in that position.  But these jewels just begged me to do it … so I did.

For Lexie:  When I take an image, I always try to specify what my subject is.  My next step is to enhance the subject as much is possible.  Then I try to reduce any clutter that may distract from the subject.

For this image my subject was the “mouth” of the single blossom, not any surrounding petals.  To enhance the image I used a 180 mm telephoto macro lens focusing on the interior mouth of the bloom.  I used a very small aperture to make sure I got as much of the bloom in focus as I could.  In addition, I tilted the camera to get a more interesting perspective of the blossom.

The negative ramification of the small aperture was that I also picked up details surrounding the single bloom as clutter.  To eliminate the surrounding clutter, I darkened and desaturated the background in post processing.  In addition I added a blur to the mid-ground purple petals.

For reference, below is the SOC version of the image.

150409_SiberianIris_Macro_SOC by Karl Graf.

One More Day!

150408_One More Day! by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF100mm f/2.8 Macro @ 100mm, f/4.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 800

One more day and this star magnolia bud will pop out to a full bloom.  I hope the weather will cooperate.  We are expecting moderate to heavy rain for the next few days.  It always seems to happen this way when these beautiful flowers bloom.  In one day, the rain will turn them into droopy brown edged flowers.  Last year, I did not even shoot the blooms because of the rain.

For Lexie:  I used a macro lens to get this close up.  The bud is about 3/4 inch long.  I needed to get close to fill the camera image frame.  I used a shallow depth of field to blur out the background evergreen bushes.  Note that the bud casing in front of the blossom is out of focus. This is the trade-off I was managing.  Also note that the shutter speed was high to freeze the bud in the wind.  In post processing, I used Photoshop and NIK Color Efex Pro plugin.  I used “tonal contrast” to pull out details in the bud and “darken/lighten center” to darken the edges and bring additional focus to the bud.