Tag Archives: Peace Valley Park

Looking Down From Above

150514_Osprey_Looking Down From Above-1 by Karl Graf. Canon 7D MkII, EF100-400mm L @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/5000 sec, ISO 800

A couple of days after my dear wife passed, I was walking along the bridge at Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park.  I looked up and saw a large bird down the lake flying directly for me.  As it approached, the Osprey stopped and hovered in the wind right above me.  It looked down and just stared at me.  I could feel the message from my darling wife above.

Springtime at Peace Valley

150425_Male Cardinal by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D MkII, EF100-400mm 3.5-5.6L IS @ 400mm, f/7.1, 1/1250 sec, ISO 1600

A couple of days ago, I took a couple of hours to visit Peace Valley Park to try to get a couple of nature shots.  As I arrived, three bus loads of kids arrived for a field trip.  There went my opportunity to get any wildlife shots with all the noise.  It was a great day for the kids though.  So I put my camera to my side and just enjoyed the walk in the woods.

When I got back to the nature center, I thought I would try the bird blind.  It provided a good spot to try out my new 100-400mm zoom and the low noise and fast shutter speed performance of my new Canon 7D MkII.  I was pleased with both.

Ice Patterns

150124_Ice Leaf by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 135mm, f/11, 1/125 sec, ISO 800

I love to walk along the edge of a stream and explore the ice configurations that have been formed.  My imagination wanders as I visualize different shapes created in the ice.  This particular image reminded me of the tip of a maple leaf.  The basic shape formed the edges of the leaf.  I could also see the veins of the leaf within the ice crystal.  I become hypnotized as I watch the water flow under and around the ice.  The reflections create patterns of their own.

At times I get so intrigued by what I am seeing, I do not pay attention to some of my camera settings.  For instance, this was shot at ISO 800 on a tripod.  I could have easily reduced the ISO down two stops and still captured a nice image.  Also, how would this image have looked if I would have slowed the shutter speed down to blur the water passing by the leaf.  However, this was a walk in the woods enjoying the solitude and silence of nature.  If I would have spent a lot of time working this image, the spontaneity would have been lost.

Lesson Learned:  Maintain the balance of wonderment and the mechanics of capturing images.  Many times it is best just to put the camera down and enjoy the moment.

Winter is Here

150122_Neshiminy Creeek by © 2014 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 31mm, f/16, 1/180 sec, ISO 800

Looking at Neshaminy Creek as it enters Lake Galena makes me feel cold and realize that winter is really here.  I already long for Spring to come.  However … I do enjoy walking in the countryside on a bright crisp winter day.  Beauty abounds in its own way.  I guess winter is not so bad after all.

Lonesome Leaf

150121_Ice Crystals & Leaf by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 88mm, f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

Ice crystals covered a little runoff stream in Peace Valley Park, I saw this one leaf fall on the ice.  It looked out of place, hoping for a breeze to blow it off into a warmer bed of fellow leaves.

I started out processing this image in B&W.  I could not make the leaf pop out like I wanted, so I added subdued selective color.

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 .

Painting Fall Colors

141014_Painting Fall Colors-2 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji XT-1, XF55-200mm @ 95mm, f/11, 0.6 sec, ISO 500

Gloomy grey days highlight great fall colors.  Add a little artistic flair and voila … out comes an impressionistic painting.  The colors here in eastern Pennsylvania are rapidly changing.  One day makes a big difference.  A great college friend and I took the opportunity to get a little damp and explore some of the countryside and covered bridges here in Bucks County.  The colors were great, but most important, just being out with a good friend made the day.

Look Up and Imagine

140629_Leafy Texture by © 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1. XF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/350 sec, ISO 1600

Over time, I have learned to frequently look up and see.  On a hot day walking along Lake Galena, I looked up and saw the bright sun shining through these maple leaves.  In the bright sun, the leaves looked pretty flat.  At the time I took this image, I thought about adding a texture.  So off I went looking for something interesting.  I found an old cherry tree covered with a thin green fungus.  The texture caught my eye.  I combined the two to come up with the above image.

For reference, the texture image is below.

140704_Texture Background by © 2013 Karl Graf.