Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spring: Looking Through

140430_Japanese Maple Trunk by 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji XT-1, XF55-200mm @ 156mm, f/5.6, 1/75 sec, ISO 200

Experimentation … does this work?  I am not sure.  The intended subject was the trunk of the Japanese Maple as viewed through the emerging red leaves.  The RAW image was very flat.  When I added contrast, the colors of the leaves and grass made the overall image look gaudy.  I toned it down with a B&W layer at about 50% opacity.  It still looks too busy for me.  Next time I will try a shorter depth of field, get closer to the leaves and focus on a smaller area of the trunk.

Spring: Dawn Redwood Cone & Forsythia

140429_DawnRedWood & Forsythia by 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1, XF55-200mm @ 200mm, f/4.8, 1/1500 sec, ISO 200

This image follows the approach shown in my last two posts.  Here I used the bright yellow of the flowering Forsythia along the back fence line as a background to force the viewers eye to the small 1/2″ Dawn Redwood Cones.  There is something interesting around every turn in our garden.

Spring: Garden Shed & Red Bud

140428_shed & red bud by 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1, XF55-200mm @ 50.5mm, f/11, 1/340 sec, ISO 200

The pink of the Red Bud always attracts me.  I used the emerging buds to frame our white garden shed. I used NIK software to add additional blur and defocus the foreground while leaving the shed “as shot”.   Typically I focus on the details of individual flowers or plants.  This and my post from yesterday, I focused on using spring color as a foreground or background to frame and bring focus to another object.


Spring: Bench & Weigela

140427_bench & wegelia by 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1, XF55-200mm @ 55mm, f/5.0, 1/400 sec, ISO 200

This post will start a series on Spring as it comes into our garden.  This image is a composite of two images. The first is a straight image of the garden bench against a red Weigela.  I then overlaid a C-blur of the Weigela on top and adjusted the opacity to my taste.  I can never pass by an opportunity to capture red!

Spring has come slow to SE Pennsylvania this year.  The plants and trees are now rushing into bloom before we can catch up cleaning the yard.  Each new day is a gift that we very much appreciate.  So here’s to 27 April 2014 … it is a beautiful day!


NYC: Rockefeller Center

140426_RockefellerCtr_B&W by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, Tamron 18-270mm @ 18mm, f/4.5, 1/4000 sec, ISO 800

Skyscrapers amaze me.  Heights scare me.  I imagine what kind of person it takes to work on these structures.  My knees shake and start to buckle.  Looking straight up for me is also difficult.  When I raise my camera to take a photo like this, I feel like I am going to fall over backwards.  I need to work on this!

NYC Reflection

140424_NYC Reflection by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, Tamron 18-270mm @ 65mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 800

This year we will miss joining our friends on our almost annual spring trip to New York City.  Our thoughts will we be with them as they make the trip without us.  I am very thankful for the many trips that we have made together and look forward to many more in the future.

This image was taken on our trip last spring.  I recall walking down the street, looking up and seeing interesting reflections.  I lingered back and worked this image until I got the reflections to line up with the windows.  It took a bit of time and my wife and friends were several blocks ahead egging me on to catch-up.  The delay was worth it.


140424_Cabnetmaker by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 43mm, f/8.0, 1/40 sec, ISO 6400 (handheld)

Furniture making in the 17th century was limited by daylight.  Each key workbench was located near a window to make use of the available light.  Work could only be done when adequate light was available.  This image is taken in the Cabinetmakers Shop in Colonial Williamsburg.  It is my favorite place to spend time when I visit.  When I go, Karen and my guests usually go somewhere else and meet me after awhile.  This year it was a special stimulus for me as I move from wood machining with power tools to wood working with hand tools.  I learn something new each time I visit.


Jamestown Bells

140423_Jamestown Bells by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 3200

Karen and I spent the last day of 2013 exploring the Jamestown museum and settlement reconstruction.  It was a wonderful day of exploring and learning about our history.  Karen and I visited Jamestown back in the mid 80’s when we were living in Fairfax, VA.  Back then there was really just the beginning of the excavation of the site.  So much has changed.  All Americans should visit this museum and settlement site to get an appreciation of the Jamestown Settlement.  It was a day to remember and reflect on.

This image is taken from the inside of the Jamestown Settlement Church.  My objective was to create symmetry and balance between the diagonal, vertical and horizontal elements.

A Feather in the Milky Way

140422_Feather in the Milky Way by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS @ 195mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 800

I was walking along a Hilton Head Island beach one evening when I looked up and saw this white feather floating above me against the stars of the Milky Way.  I quickly threw up my camera and snapped away.  It was an amazing sight!

Now getting back to reality, I saw this white feather laying on the sand.  Not too much contrast, but I thought it still might make a good image.  A little work in NIK Silver Efex Pro did the trick.


140421_Bend_Wheel by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, Tamron 18-270mm @ 42mm, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

This sculpture is located in the Old Mill District of Bend Oregon.  Karen and I spend several hours just walking around and enjoying the day.  I took the opportunity to focus on different shapes of structures around the area.