Monthly Archives: December 2014

Just Playing in Our Garden and on My Computer

141231_Garden Color-Experimentation by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/22, 14 sec, ISO 200

I keep going back to our Red Twig Dogwoods to get a little winter color.  This is a vertical swipe taken at 1/4 second.  Back at my computer, I started playing around with Topaz’s new Impression plug-in. This is the Impasto II preset.  There is a painter somewhere inside this engineer’s mind.

This post is a milestone.  I have entered a post every day for this month, first time ever.  Now to get ready for the New Year!

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.


First Impression for the Last

141229_East Conservatory Entry by . Longwood Gardens East Conservatory

Fuji X-T1, XF18-55mm @ 18mm, f/22, 1/5 sec, ISO 400

This is the first scene I saw as I entered the Longwood Conservatory from the East end. I caught this before a zillion people showed up.  I saved my first image for the last Longwood Christmas post for this year.  Next year will have many additional interesting opportunities.  Goodbye Longwood, at least for the time being.

More From Longwood Gardens

141228_White Decorations Longwood by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-55mm, @ 55mm, f/8, 1/55 sec, ISO 400

There is always something around every corner or sometimes right in front of you at the Longwood Gardens Conservatory.  This decoration was right in front in the East Conservatory as I walked in.  It caught my eye as soon as I glanced around the room.

I pulled out the details of the twigs and the feathers with a “recipe” that I have made in NIK Color Efex Pro.  The recipe is a combination of Tonal Contrast, Detail Enhancement, and Pro Contrast.  I then applied Darken/Lighten Center to provide additional focus on the white decorations. The total processing time was less that 2 minutes.

Still in the Christmas Spirit

141227_Red Poinsettia by . Fuji X-T1, EF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/11, 1/10 second, ISO 400

I am still in the Christmas mood.  This image is just an effort to work with composition.  The subject is the center stamens and pistils of the poinsettia flower.  The plant leaves framed the subject while the background ornaments added interest without distracting from the stamens and pistils.  I cropped the leaves to eliminated any distracting edges.  Using the “mirror lock-up” function might have improved the sharpness of the subject.  Always learning …

The Day After

141226_Glass Ornament by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MkIII, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro – Multiple Exposure

We spent most of Christmas Day lounging in our living room looking at our Tree and reminiscing about the past memories that some of our ornaments brought back.  While doing so, why not get a couple of images.

This photo is a combination of two images; one taken at normal focus at a moderate aperture. the other taken as a shallow depth of field and defocused.  I combined them using photoshop layers, nothing very fancy.

Merry Christmas to All

141225_2014 Jensen Ornament by Karl Graf. 2014 Georg Jensen Christmas Ornament

Canon 5D MkIII, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro @ 100mm, f/2.8, 1/13 sec, ISO 200

Merry Christmas to All!  Since 1983, we have been collecting a Georg Jensen Christmas Ornament every year.  I discovered these ornaments walking around the Copenhagen Airport waiting for a flight home many, many years ago.

I pulled the ornament away from the tree and used a wide open aperture to get the light bokeh in the background.  After a lot of playing around with focus distances, distances between the ornament and tree, and aperture settings, I came up with this one.  Enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas Day!

Longwood Christmas #2

141222_Longwood Main Consrevatory by . Longwood Gardens Conservatory

Fuji XT-1, XF18-55mm @ 34mm, f/22, 1/3 sec, ISO 400

The bright light from the ceiling skylight made capturing this photo taken with a small aperture possible.  People were everywhere.  Patience paid off again while I waited for the scene to clear.  I waited over 10 minutes to catch this break.  If I would have had a long exposure there would have been people entering the scene.  Lessons learned:  do not photograph Longwood on a Friday.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

141222_Longwood Center Consrevatory by © 2014 Karl Graf. Longwood Gardens Conservatory

Fuji XT-1, XF18-55mm @ 26.5mm, f/11, 1/10 sec, ISO 400

Now that I have finished the Fonthill Tile Tour, I can finally start to get into the Christmas blogging spirit.  All the outgoing presents are wrapped and sent out.  Some of my Christmas cards are out, others are still in process.  I will be very late this year.

A week ago I was able to get out to Longwood Gardens with a good friend for a little Christmas photography excursion.  It was a great day, but my creative juices weren’t really flowing.  However, I was able to just step back and enjoy.  This image took me forever to capture.  People were walking in front of the far end of the water fountain.  I waited, waited and waited.  It seemed like forever, but I finally got a very short window of just a few seconds to snap this image.  It was worth the wait.