Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Walk on the Beach

140226_SandPipers by Karl Graf. Canon 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS @ 180mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, IS0 1600

Strolling along a hard sand beach is sure a lot easier that trudging through calf-deep snow.  I enjoyed sharing my walk with these little sandpipers.  At first when I tried to get close, they rapidly ran along ahead of me.  I learned quick to move back, walk around in front of them and let them come to me.  I guess this is a corollary to “Let the image come to you”.


Enough Snow, Now For Some Fun

140225_PalmetoBarkAbstract by Karl Graf. Canon 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS @ 155mm, f/4.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 1600
In camera, 9 frame multiple exposure

Enough of posting snow images.  Spring is only four weeks away.  It is time to have a little photographic fun!

When the images are not coming to me, I love to experiment with various special camera effects.  In this case, I did a 9 image vertical pan of a Palmetto tree trunk.  The vertical movement was very slight giving this relative smooth multiple exposure texture.  A small amount of tonal contrast was added with NIK Color EFEX Pro.


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.


Old Stump

140221_Stump in Snow 1 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MarkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 58mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400

Karen use to sit on this old stump when she worked out back in our garden.  Over the years the termites have taken over.  It is now just a garden feature out back, a little piece of nature along a fence.  It does make an interesting subject covered in snow.


Tiger Lilies

140220_Lily in Snow 1 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MarkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/11, 1/500 sec, ISO 400

The pods of these spent Tiger Lilies looked like mouths opening up to feed.  They look like they are struggling for survival to keep their heads above the snow.  They are quite different than their summer budding.  The image below was taken from about the same spot last summer.

140220_Tiger Lilies by © 2013 Karl Graf.


Back to Reality

140219_Weed in Snow 1 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 38mm, f/8.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400

We had another snow! The temperatures warmed up a little (high 20’s).  With this little incentive, I went exploring in our back yard, walking in snow up to my knees at times.  Everything was beautiful with the fresh coat of white.  What caught my eye the most were the the little spent seed pods that were sticking above the snow.  These were meant for black and white conversion.

I will post a few more gems I found during the next few days.




Thinking of Warmer Times

140218_SanJuanIs_SouthPoint by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF-S10-22 @ 10mm, f/22, 1/10 sec, ISO 200

In the depth of winter, my mind wanders to warmer times.  Last summer we joined a couple of friends on San Juan Island in Puget Sound to photograph Orca’s.  One morning we woke early to catch a sunrise.  The sunrise on the horizon was not very interesting.  But looking behind me, I saw the gorgeous warm sunlight on the western shore of the point where were standing.  Lesson learned from John Barclay, “When photographing a sunset or sunrise, make sure to look behind you!”


Where to Focus ??

140217_Kitchen Window by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF24-70, f/2.8L @ 52mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 400

Fixing our morning coffee, this view through our kitchen window caught my eye.  I rushed to get my camera and capture the moment.  Should I use a shallow DOF and just capture the subject or use a narrow aperture to grab the ice on the window and the tree through the crystal vase?  What is my subject … the ice, the crystal vase, or the tree within the vase?  I tried several different approaches and chose to focus on the tree in the vase and maintain a moderate depth of field to highlight the shape and lines of the vase.  I thought the ice on the window distracted from the main image, so I subdued it with a white vignette.


Enough is Enough!

140216_Adirondack's & Snow by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D , EF24-70 f/2.8L @ 59mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec, ISO 400

Enough is enough!  We have had enough snow this season to last for several years.  This year is expected to be the third highest snowfall recorded for the Philadelphia area.  We are close to 57 inches.  Enough is enough!

I caught this image just as the sun broke over the horizon creating long deep shadows in the snow.  I worked the contrast to capture the shadows without blowing out the snow highlights. I used NIK Silver Efex Pro to convert to black and white and Color Efex Pro to work the contrasts.