Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lone Tree

131227_Lone Tree (1 of 1) by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, EF24-70mm f2.8L @ 70mm, f/11, 1/250 sec, ISO 400

Looking back over some photographs taken this past summer on San Juan Island, WA, this image of a lone tree hanging on to a ledge above the water caught my eye.  I recall taking this image and trying to get the ripples and the bright reflection of the sun to frame the tree.  I spent about one half hour just moving around and trying different exposures and shutter speeds to get what I was looking for.  When I reviewed the photographs last summer, I was disappointed with the color image.  Today I worked with the subtle shadows and reflections to come up with this B&W version.




131226_PVPark_InvTexture (1 of 1) by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 24mm, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

My friend and mentor, John Barclay, has been posting a couple of images that he post processed by converting to Black and White, inverting, then adding a texture overlay.  This is my first attempt at the process.  What fun!

This image was taken on an overcast day at Peace Valley Park, Bucks County, PA.  The trees were just silhouettes against the grey sky.  It was a very boring image.


Bridge in the Woods

131224_PV_Bridge in the Woods by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70 f/2.8L @ 68mm, f/8.0,1/400 sec, ISO 400

Well, we tried for a White Christmas.  The 60-70 degree temperatures we’ve had during the last several days melted all the snow.  The temperatures are dropping again and we will have a clear and brisk Christmas Day.  No snow, but is still should be a beautiful day.  We are thankful for each and every day.  Each one is beautiful in its own way.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!!!


An Abstract Perspective

131220_PV_TreesAbstract by © 2013 Karl Graf.

Trees and woodland areas always capture my interest.  The horizontal fallen trees in the foreground and the vertical living trees in the background caught my eye.  When was re-looking at this image taken 11 months ago, the same lines caught my eye.  However, the color tonality was very subdued and boring.  I felt in a “painterly” mood, so Topaz Simplify came to the rescue.  I used Topaz to give it that “artistic” look as well as bring out a little color and enhance the edges of the trees and leaves.

Here is the straight out of the camera image.  Today I prefer the “painterly” view.

131220_PV_Trees by © 2013 Karl Graf.


131214_PV_Sycamore by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

Looking up I saw the white bark of this old Sycamore standing out above the other trees against the bright blue mid-day sky.  Great opportunity for a B&W conversion!  On this day there was an image waiting at every turn.  Next time I will take my telephoto lens to isolate some of the interesting details.

A Path in the Woods – 2

131212_PV_Path in the Woods 3 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 68mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 800

This image is of the abstract path posted yesterday.  On its own, the path was an interesting image.  The sun broke through a gap in the trees at the visual end of the path creating a tunnel effect.  I used NIK Silver Efex Pro to convert to Black and White,  I then added Color Efex Pro’s “Darken/Lighten Center” to further accentuate the light coming through the end of the path.

A Path in the Woods – 1

131211_PV_Path Abstract 2 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @70mm, f/22, 1/10 sec., ISO 200

Yesterday we had our second snowfall of the year.  Today was a bright and crisp winter day.  A friend and I went out to Peace Valley Park to take a casual “walk in the woods” with our cameras.  There was an image just waiting to be taken from every point we stopped.  We didn’t get very far on our walk because of numerous photo stops along the way.  It was a beautiful way to spend a morning.

It was a dreamy setting, so I thought I would add to the feeling by creating an abstract of a “Path in the Woods” with a vertical pan.  The pan blended the shadows and the highlights of the morning sun along the path creating a bright abstract.

Back at home I worked with the image to create an opposite illusion of a dark gloomy path leading to who knows where.

131211_PV_Path Abstract 1 by © 2013 Karl Graf.

Where Did the Sun Go???

131210_Sunflower in Snow by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/8.0, 1/80 sec, ISO 1600

This spent sunflower hung its head over when it couldn’t see the sun.  The ice crystals added to the “over the hill” state of the flower.  Even under the weight of the snow and ice, the stalk remained strong.

I normally do not use the presets in Silver Efex Pro, but this one (film noir #1) seemed to highlight the image I visualized.

First Snow

131209_Leaf in Snow by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII with EF24-70mm f2.8L @ 62mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec. ISO 800

Fall color is gone.  We just had our first snow fall, quickly followed by freezing rain.  I got up early to capture the moment before it melted.  The fresh snow was covered by a thin layer of ice leaving interesting ice encased shapes.  To capture the contrast of the dark leaf against the bright snow, I over exposed by +2 stops.  Treatment in B&W captured the dreariness of the morning.