Tag Archives: winter

Ice Patterns

150124_Ice Leaf by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 800

I love to walk along the edge of a stream and explore the ice configurations that have been formed.  My imagination wanders as I visualize different shapes created in the ice.  This particular image reminded me of the tip of a maple leaf.  The basic shape formed the edges of the leaf.  I could also see the veins of the leaf within the ice crystal.  I become hypnotized as I watch the water flow under and around the ice.  The reflections create patterns of their own.

At times I get so intrigued by what I am seeing, I do not pay attention to some of my camera settings.  For instance, this was shot at ISO 800 on a tripod.  I could have easily reduced the ISO down two stops and still captured a nice image.  Also, how would this image have looked if I would have slowed the shutter speed down to blur the water passing by the leaf.  However, this was a walk in the woods enjoying the solitude and silence of nature.  If I would have spent a lot of time working this image, the spontaneity would have been lost.

Lesson Learned:  Maintain the balance of wonderment and the mechanics of capturing images.  Many times it is best just to put the camera down and enjoy the moment.

Winter is Here

150122_Neshiminy Creeek by © 2014 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 31mm, f/16, 1/180 sec, ISO 800

Looking at Neshaminy Creek as it enters Lake Galena makes me feel cold and realize that winter is really here.  I already long for Spring to come.  However … I do enjoy walking in the countryside on a bright crisp winter day.  Beauty abounds in its own way.  I guess winter is not so bad after all.

Lonesome Leaf

150121_Ice Crystals & Leaf by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 88mm, f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

Ice crystals covered a little runoff stream in Peace Valley Park, I saw this one leaf fall on the ice.  It looked out of place, hoping for a breeze to blow it off into a warmer bed of fellow leaves.

I started out processing this image in B&W.  I could not make the leaf pop out like I wanted, so I added subdued selective color.

There is Always Something to See if I Open My Eyes

150119_Fungus on Cherry Tree by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/8.0, 1/280 sec, ISO 800

Photography has taught me to open my eyes, look around, and enjoy what each moment brings.  Walking around our back yard with Karen, I saw this fungus growth on one of our cherry trees.  It caught my eye and made me think of the symbiotic nature of life.  I stopped long enough to compose this image and enjoy the moment.  I then continued a wonderful walk with Karen.  It was a good day!

A Path in the Woods

150118_Path in the Woods by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 53 mm, f/10, 1/75 sec, ISO 800

I had just walked this path covered with ice, almost falling several times.  I turned around, the sun broke through the clouds and I caught a glimpse of the warm bright grasses and leaves encasing the ice covered path.  I thought, “What a beautiful painting”.  The sun went back behind the clouds before I could capture the feeling.  I tried several times with the sun behind the clouds, but could not get the warm feeling.  I was in no hurry, so I just waited until the sun broke through again for a few seconds.  I was ready!

When I processed the image, I took my advice from yesterdays post.  I had thought of the image as a painting when I saw it.  I therefore processed it as a painting using Topaz Impression.  This is what my mind saw.

Getting Out of a Processing Rut

150117_Ice Formation1_Hard by . 150117_Ice Formation1_Soft by . Fuji X-T1, XF 18-135mm @ 123mm, f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 800

From time to time I find myself getting into a processing rut.  I tend to process every photo in basically the same way with just a few modifications image to image.  For my black and white images, I normally use NIK Silver Efex Pro and add a high contrast, high structure look to the images.  I amplify the whites and blacks and add structure.  The images look hard and have an abstract feeling as seen in the top image.

This morning I woke up and started on my post.  I looked at the hard image that I had processed the day before.  Something did not feel right.  I tried again doing just the opposite by decreasing contrast and structure.  The resultant second image was much more pleasing to me and better represents what my mind recalls seeing.

Lesson Learned:  Do not process images in a “production mode” method.  Take my time, and process each one to bring out what my eyes and heart see.  Like my friend John Barclay, says, “Wait for the image to come to you”, processing should be considered in the same way.

In Search of … and Getting Fancy

150116_Ice & Water Impression by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/11, 1/55 sec, ISO 800

Today I got out for a little walk in Peace Valley Park (Bucks Co., PA).  The morning was beautiful, bright, and crisp.  Besides just getting out for a nice walk in the woods, my objective was to capture interesting ice formations. This image of ice bulbs on branches hanging over a fast moving stream caught my eye.  I got a little fancy and used Topaz Impression’s “Cracked Fresco” preset to enhance the image.  For me, it seemed to highlight the ice and add motion to the moving water beneath.  Below is the SOC version for comparison.

150116_Ice & Water SOC by .

End of the Year Color

141230_Garden Color by . Fuji X-T1, EF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec, ISO 800

I took a little walk in our backyard to capture a little remaining color and try out my new Fuji 18-135mm lens.  The Heucheras in our flower beds are still holding on to their last color.  So, I looked around to find something interesting to put in front of them.  I found this wilted Japanese Maple branch as a candidate.  There was quite a little breeze so I needed to use a high ISO to freeze the motion of the branch.  I find there is always something interesting if I am patient and let the image appear.

I think I am going to like the 18-135 as my primary “walk around – go light” lens.


I See Red

140224_Coral Bark Maple by Karl Graf. Canon 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 400

In our back yard field of white, the red of the coral bark maple stands against the bleakness of a cloudy winter day.  I walked around the tree multiple times trying to get the right balance for the image.  I found this foreground “Y” (or “V”) framing two other “Ys”  I added a touch of graduated fog in NIK Color EFEX Pro to focus on the foreground “Y”.



140223_Spectacles by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MarkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/8.0, 1/640 sec, ISO 400

Exploring our back yard, I saw what looked like a pair of large dark spectacles sticking out of the bright snow.  As I got closer they looked back directly up at me.  Shapes have always intrigued me.  When I was just a kid, I use to just lay on my back and look up at the clouds for hours imagining the different animals as they moved across the sky.  Today, I can easily become fixated on an object’s shape and imagine what it could be if it had a choice.