Tag Archives: HDR

Azure Shores

6 May

Azure Shores

So…I think it’s time to admit something.  I’m a wide angle junkie. It’s my go-to lens for most landscape projects and a major player at events.  Sure, there is some distortion, but often, I kinda like it as an artistic choice.  Sure, sometimes I want to get a closer view and can’t walk up to the subject…but that’s a simple matter of swapping a lens.  I’d say the most notable drawback for me is filter vignetting. Now, this isn’t an in-depth review of filters, stacking, philosophies etc…(you can get a nice breakdown on the topic here though)…really, it’s more of a public service announcement.

Azure, Vignetted

Azure Shores, Vignetted

The short version, if you’re using a wide angle and filters, you run the risk of vignetting.  If you stack filters to achieve some artistic goal (and don’t mind image quality loss, or increased changes of rogue light between the extra layers of glass), then your vignettes become more pronounced.

So…what do you do about it?

Option 1: Zoom in, so you cut the vignettes out of your field of view.  Alternatively, crop in post processing.  Either way, kind of defeats the purpose of having a wide angle on. haha

Option 2: Pray for the best when it comes to software lens correction.

Option 3: The old clone stamp in PhotoShop (or its equivalent in your editing software of choice).

Option 4: Go naked and avoid the whole thing.  Uh. Filterless. (Naked will probably get you arrested)

Like so many other things in photography, knowing the effects a tool or decision will have on your final image are part of the art of photography.  In the case above, the scene called for a wide angle, and I knew I needed to cut the light down by several stops…so I used filters, even knowing the final image would take some work to remove the vignettes.  If I could do it again, and had infinite resources at my disposal, I might choose a different mount, or one filter that cut down more stops so I didn’t need to stack.  Probably both.

The reality of the situation, however, is that I didn’t have those things at hand, so I used the tools at my disposal (including an awareness of the editing nightmare that was to come) and made lemons out of lemonade!

Or…’Azure Shores’ out of lemons?  ………..Eh…you know what I’m saying.

So, in closing, ‘Knowledge is Power”.  Also, “The true method of knowledge is experiment.” And, <insert inspirational knowledge quote of your choice here>! 😉

Ebb And Flow

22 Apr
Ebb And Flow

Ebb And Flow


The sun sets on another day

Our one world

Great big tiny world.


It’s Earth Day, where we are reminded to protect our natural resources and to appreciate the beauty of our world.

More than ever, it truly is a connected world.  What happens to one region of the planet affects us all.  It may not be within your resources or abilities to plant trees, or mount large fundraising and awareness ventures…but it is within all of our abilities to be responsible citizens of the planet.

Recycle where you can, be conscious of how your actions affect others, try to use sustainable options, be mindful of our future, of your children’s future, educate yourself, care….  You can’t control the actions of others, but you can be responsible for yourself.

At the moment, this is the only planet we have.  It is up to every one of us to do our part to preserve it.

HDR pano taken on March 22 in Rhode Island.  

Edited (and re-edited…and re-edited….) with several techniques: hdr and manual blend, luminosity masks, AND the good ol’ dodge and burn.  


iso 100



Dare to Begin

18 Apr
Dare to Begin

Dare to Begin


Take pride in how far you have come, and have have faith in how far you will go.

Lately, difficulties have been piling up and I was starting to feel a little down about it.  I have bills to pay, a day job that can be stressful, a stomach bug, car problems…house problems…  Photography goals that have yet to be obtained.  You know.  Life stuff.

But, after a few days of sitting at home sick as a dog, watching inspirational videos on the Facebooks and flipping through my meaningful quotes board on Pinterest, I started to feel better.  More determined.  I don’t want to focus on the negatives, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, I pulled up my photo editors, and I started working.

I started with the above image – my contribution to this round of our 10 minute fun challenge.  (At my buddy Will’s request, the deadline has been extended for a few more people who want to participate, so if you haven’t sent in your entries, by all means, feel free.  It’s a fun challenge…meant for you to help you…but I’m happy to market the heck out of your personal growth! :-D)

Anyway…yes…the above image.  Taken at a park exactly 7 minutes from my house, 3 minutes into the walking trail through a marsh.  I was actually surprised at where I ended up on the trail…there are two fun bridges, one before and one after this section of walkway…and I assumed I’d end up at one of them.  I had a great plan for either, but as is the point of the exercise, ended up with neither.  Still, I scouted this location a bit, looking for the best angle, the best height, the best camera settings, the best lens and filter to capture both the feel of the day (grey, rainy) and the sense of place I wanted to convey.  The editing took some doing, but in the end, I got this image.

I chose light contrast over deep shadows for a few reasons.  First, the light that day was filtered through thick cloud cover and the trees above.  Second, I wanted the image to be a bit like our path in life.  Sometimes jumbled, sometimes confusing, but never so intimidating that we feel we can’t take the next step.  Each of us has a path to blaze, we just need to be bold enough to create it.

This image has so much texture, a black and white seemed like the obvious choice.  Strangely, it lost a lot without the color.  I think the color variances help the eyes know where they are supposed to be in the image.  That being said, it was very important to me that the image not be over-saturated, as it was a grey day and too much color would both unrealistic and distracting.  I wanted rich but not overwhelming, so I pulled the colors back a bit.

I also warped the light a bit.  It was so overcast, there was nothing interesting going on with the light.  Nada.  I didn’t feel drawn to or invited into the scene.  So…I brought up the light a bit from the right side, about 2/3 up the image where the sunlight would have been falling if it weren’t positioned behind the clouds.  I tried to keep it subtle…just enough change so the image didn’t feel completely flat.  It was a difficult balance to accomplish the first goal (no deep, scary shadows to bring the mood of the shot down) but enough light and dark in the scene to create some…how do they say it in music…?  Dynamic.  Yeah. I wanted that.

In the end, I got two things out of this 10 minute challenge.  I got to practice around with all of my “in the field” skills, but I also took the editing as an opportunity for trial and error.  I played with a few new techniques.  I listened to your…YES YOU!…feedback on my portfolio regarding the importance of interesting light (its such a no-brainer, yet so easy to overlook sometimes.)  I sent versions of the image to my peers and friends and listened to what they had to say.  And most importantly, I enjoyed the process.  It’s supposed to be fun, after all. 😉

The rest of the 10 Min Gallery will be posted….as soon as I have the entries. haha

In the meantime, as always, thanks for your support!

Love and Hugs,

This and That, Hodge and Podge

10 Apr
Vigilance :: Beavertail Lighthouse :: RI

Vigilance :: Beavertail Lighthouse :: RI


So I learned a few things this past week….

First, many many thanks to all of the people who were kind enough to give feedback on which images to cull from the Places gallery.  I have taken out several based on your suggestions, though I do have a few more to cut out still.  Let’s call it a work in progress…therefore, your input is still appreciated if you care to give it. haha

Second, thanks to your input, I found out that way more of you like the above photo than I thought. That actually came as a bit of a surprise.  It’s one of my personal favorites (and that isn’t just because I had to brave a raging ocean to my right and the whipping winds of an oncoming storm while I balanced myself and my tripod precariously on slippery rocks…which…by the way, don’t do that.  It was stupid!) but all this time, I never got feedback either way on the image.  Y’all made me smile an awful lot to know it’s an appreciate image!

Thirdly…third-ish? Ummm…next….I wanted to remind everyone that this weekend is the final weekend to take and submit an image for the 10 minute challenge.  Now look…I’m just as much of a slacker as the next person (meaning, I haven’t done mine yet either) but by the time Sunday rolls around, I expect to see my email brimming with your super awesome images, mmmkay?  Brimming!

Brimming…such an odd word, but so satisfying to type.  Brimming, I say!

Ummm…what else?  Oh yes, a little business time. Because I have my business socks on. (FOTC fans out there?  No?) I was super humbled today when I started my day off with 900 followers (more now)…I am grateful that each an every one of you takes time out of your day to take a galnce, every now and then, at some of my photos.  It is so difficult to make it in the world of art, both in the financial sense and in the “hey, the market is overly saturated with a ton of talented people” sense.  So, I am flattered that you all chose to follow my work, my vision and my terrible sense of humor. 🙂

Of you 900, if any of you are Facebookers, can you do my a little itsy bitsy favor, and make sure to like my Facebook page as well?  All of that stuff helps to spread the word.  To you it’s just a like and some (extremely awesome, stunningly, achingly beautiful) noise in your feed.  To me, it’s marketing.  Every comment you leave puts the photo you enjoyed into the feed of your friends, who might…just maybe…enjoy the image as well.  Or own a high end gallery in New York and want to hang my work there.  You know…either or. haha  So, if you’re in a generous mood, go here and follow my stuff. 🙂

Okay…so in summary… Thanks for being so supportive, thank you for the feedback on The Great Gallery Clean-Up of 2014, and don’t forget to submit your 10 minute challenge photos to seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com!



8 Apr


In the clutter, the rush, the chatter, the wasted noise of everyday, music and photography are my escapes.  I put in my ear buds, and pull up some photos to edit on the computer, and I find my center.  It’s the harbor in life’s storm, a calm place for me to lose myself completely, to forget the stress of everything else for a little while and just create.


This photo was taken at Gunn Brook Falls in Sunderland, MA. 🙂

Feedback Needed

2 Apr
Bixby in the Blue

Bixby in the Blue :: CA

So…I don’t know if you know this…but I have a gallery page.  And on that gallery page are pictures…48 pictures, to be exact.  I am looking to pare that number down a bit, as an overhaul to the page.


I am looking for you, my reader-friends, to pass along your two cents.  I’m in chop and toss mode, so I’d love to hear what you think I should KEEP.  Think of it as a favor.  You do this for me, and in the future, I will buy you imaginary pizza and beer.  Unless you’re underage.  Then, imaginary juice. 😉


Thanks in advance for your time and efforts.  Only you can prevent forest fires….er….photo deletion!




Dusky Blues

26 Mar
Dusky Blues

Dusky Blues


What’s the most important component of a landscape shot?  Location? Composition? Light?  This is the tail end of the sunset from last week’s post, where I spent as much time as I could fully exploring a spot that resonated with me, trying to find the best conditions for the images I wanted to create.  Although it’s the same location and subject matter, to me, the deeper blues of dusk give it a completely different feel.


When you shoot, what do you guys look for?  Do you go where the light takes you?  Or do you find a spot you like and wait for the weather to work with your vision?

Making Fire

20 Mar
The Day's Last Blush

The Day’s Last Blush

I recently read an article in the Light and Landscape Magazine by Scott Reither. It’s well thought out and written….I don’t want to butcher it by trying to re-hash his ideas….so I will briefly paraphrase and fully encourage you to wander on over to their page to read it yourself. 🙂

In essence, Scott tells the people he teaches that when you survey a landscape, you’ll see things that stand out to you.  Most people will take a few snaps, settle for a few satisfactory compositions, and move on to the next angle/spot/perspective.  Scott’s article, though, challenges photographers to fully explore a scene.  Don’t just settle for a spark (a decent shot)…push each composition to it’s limits, nurturing the spark until you’ve made fire (an extraordinary shot).

After reading that, I thought of all of the failed outings I’ve had….heck…that every landscape photog has.   I wanted to do better.  There were so many places close to home where I had felt that spark, but didn’t do my very best to bring an image to life.

This river and pilings (pylons? parts of the pier for the ferry!) is just a few minutes away, and while I enjoyed my first visit, the original images were lackluster.  This attempt is not perfect…the wood-sticky-uppies could be sharper, I forgot to do an exposure or two for the moon itself, wish the wind hadn’t been so fierce as I was having a hard time staying warm and sheltering the wind……..   But thanks to Scott’s article, and subsequent inspiration, I’ve got another, better version of the site to add to my photo collection. 🙂

I <3 Joshua Tree

11 Mar
Key's View Sunrise

Key’s View Sunrise


Welp, almost exactly one year ago, I was dragging my butt out of a comfy-ish bed to yawn my way out to Key’s View in Joshua Tree National Park.  It was one of my better decisions in life. 🙂

I’ve finally gotten around to editing this pano and I’m not gonna lie…pretty darn proud of this. It turned out very close to what I envisioned when I was setting up for the series (aka, trying very hard not to slide down the scree with my tripod and camera!).

Hopefully, you guys enjoy the view!

(Wintery) Mixed Feelings

5 Mar
The Road Home

The Road Home

See what I did there??  Wintery mix? Get it??

Well, we’ve made it to March.  Spring is just around the corner.  I mean, it’s still 5 degrees out, but officially we have less than 20 days left of winter and I honestly can not wait for warmer weather.  I mean…Northern lights, Iceland, dog sledding…they’re all on the to-do list.  But with none of those being in my immediate future, the next best thing would be a few 60 degree days.  Please and thank you.

So…where do the mixed feelings come in?  New England can be so dang quaint in the winter.

Wrapped in Soft Silence

Wrapped in Soft Silence

The first photo is a pretty typical scene around these parts.  Old tobacco sheds are found all over the top half of the state, and when I stumbled (aka, took an adventure-drive) on the scene, it immediately felt like home.

The second photo is from what I like to remember as Narnia-Day.  It was our first snow fall of the year, and it was one of those soft, gentle falls that feels like you’re walking through a Walt Whitman poem.  Or the Wardrobe.  If I were in a movie (other than a CS Lewis flick), I would look up at the falling snow, with my hands in the air while the camera spun around me, focusing on the snowflakes landing in my eyelashes.  Yeah, it was that kind of day.

So, until we start to see a few warmer days, which…did I mention…I’m looking forward to?…then I will try to remember to appreciate the beauty (and the hot cocoa) of the hardest season of the year.  Now, move over Starks!  Spring is coming.