Monthly Archives: January 2015

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 .

Better than Neon

150115_Clowning Tavern by . Fuji X-T1, XF 18-135mm @ 44mm, f/5.6, 1/680 sec, ISO 1600

I appreciate this signage much better than bright neon lights.  This sign has caught my eyes over the years.  This day I took the time to capture a composition along with the traditional holiday wreath.  The day was comfortable but dreary.  I processed this image in Black and White, then decreased the opacity to about 50% to depict the dreary feeling.


Lounge Chair

150107_Asylum Chair by © 2014 Karl Graf.

Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 29mm, f/8.0, 1/5 sec, ISO 3200

This is not quite what I would envision as a comfortable lounge chair.  It does have its advantages though.  For example, you don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom, you don’t have to worry about sliding out of the chair, and you do not have to worry about your head flopping around when you fall asleep.  Maybe it might not be to bad after all.

This image was taken at the Dewitt Hospital Museum in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

Dueling Pistols

150106_Dueling Pistols by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 59mm, f/7.1, 1/7 sec, ISO 3200

Colonial Williamsburg’s Dewitt Museum has a fantastic collection of Revolutionary era hand guns and muskets.  These two small hand pistols caught my eye.  They look almost too nice to shoot.  Composition and managing the light were the challenges for this image.  The guns were all mounted behind glass with various lights shining from above and in front of the pieces.  I first had to pick guns where details were not obscured by direct and reflected light.  I then had to further select subjects that were somewhat isolated to minimize clutter from elements.  I was hand-holding my camera, so I used the protective glass as a brace.  I felt that this image was not too bad for hand held.

For processing, I used NIK Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast and Detail Enhancement to pull out the details in the handles.  I then added an antique preset in NIK Silver Efex Pro to get the antique tone.

Show of Power

150105_Governers Mansion Reception Hall by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 73mm, f/5.3, 1/5 sec, ISO 1600

The entrance reception hall of the Colonial Williamsburg Governor’s Mansion displays an opulent collection of armaments.  The decor was to demonstrate the power of the Colonial Governor’s position and to make visitors humble.

Lesson learned:  This image was taken handheld at 1/5 second with an image stabilized lens.  I know better than to go below about 1/60 second to get the sharpness needed.  I relied on the playback image to decide if it was acceptable.  Wrong choice.  I should have stuck with the numbers, increased my ISO and shutter speed.

More Williamsburg Wreaths

150104_Wreath1 by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 110mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 1600

Today’s post includes a few examples of Holiday wreaths that adorn the homes and buildings in Colonial Williamsburg.  I just captured a few as my party was walking down the Duke of Glouster Street to our next stop.

150104_Wreath2 by .

150104_Wreath3 by .

A couple of lessons learned here.  I shot these images at a high ISO 1600.  I was going in and out of shade.  Some of the images could have been shot at a much lower ISO for less noise, some couldn’t.  Lesson learned:  Take my time on each image to get the best shooting parameters … Get out of the mode of shooting a “snap shot”!  I did take a little time in processing to POP out the wreath details and colors.  It made a difference.

Colonial Williamsburg Wreaths

150103_Williamsburg Wreaths by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 25mm, f/5.0, 1/220 sec, ISO 1600

On the brighter side of things, Colonial Williamsburg is decorated with elaborate wreaths during the Christmas Holidays.  There were many much more elaborate than this simple wreath.  The repetition  of the wreath on the railing and  the door caught my eye in this image.