Tag Archives: HDR

Drink The Wild Air

28 May
Drink the Wild Air

Drink the Wild Air

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last Saturday, we spent the day hiking around upper Vermont.  Sometimes, you just need to spend some time in nature to recharge the internal batteries, to let go of the stress of our everyday lives and to appreciate something bigger than our daily routines and worries.

If you haven’t made time for Mama Nature lately…well…what are you waiting for?  Get outside!  Trees need love too.

This is a photo from Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.

13 mm, f/5, 1/50th sec, ISO 100 – edited with a combination of light painting and HDR.



Light Play

20 May
With Bated Breath

With Bated Breath

With the world being flooded with digital images, the edit you put on a photo is just as important as the thought, resources and skill it took to capture the files in the first place.  Your choices, your editing style and methods can totally change the feel of a finished product.

How so, you ask?  (Or if you didn’t, you should have!)

Well, the obvious answer is that art is subjective, our eyes perceive the world differently and when we begin the creative process – the moment when we put our eye to the camera – our idea of how the image should be shaped belongs to us, as the artist alone.

Our choice in edits helps to bring those ideas to fruition.

With Bated Breath :: Light Painting

With Bated Breath :: Light Painting

For example, this is an example of light painting.  The colors and highlights within this image were enhanced with a layer dedicated solely to painting in color and light where it needed a boost.  To me, the details still lack a bit of contrast, but I like the moody feel of the light and the boost given to the lackluster sunrise.

With Bated Breath :: HDR

With Bated Breath :: HDR

Now, this photo is an HDR – more detail, but lacks the depth that comes along with dynamic light.  This particular image, to me, has the feel of a painting.  It is a great re-creation of nature, but it doesn’t feel real.

For this particular image, I chose to mix the two techniques, masking in which parts of each version I enjoyed.  The final version is the photo at the top of the post.

Now, is any one way better than the others?  No.  Not really.  It’s art.  If you love the painterly feel, you’ll probably hang the HDR version.  If you love light bleed, you’ll shoot for the light painting effect.

That’s the thing about art.  It’s 100% in the eye of the beholder.  First and foremost, I work to learn and create images I enjoy.  Once you develop a style, then you will define your market.

An East Wind Coming

13 May

An East Wind Coming

An East Wind Coming

“…There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

My photo partner-in-crime (Melissa) and I got up at 1:30am and drove three hours to catch an epic sunrise at Perkins Cove in Maine.

You see the sun rising in this photo, right? haha

Thankfully, Perkins Cove is pretty sweet in all other ways.  It has quaint little shoppes, for those of you with money to spend.  It had restaurants (which aren’t open at 5:30 am) for those of you who like the idea of what breakfast would taste like.  Behind us, there were plenty of rowboats and docks and buoys and such.  You know…Maine type things to photo….

And in front of us…facing the ocean…was more foreground texture than we knew what to do with.  (Also, snails.  So so so many snails.  I had to tip toe between the rocks to keep from crunching their little snail-y homes under my sneakers.)

This was actually my first attempt at a composition, and at the time, I saw it as a bit of a throw away.  When I uploaded the images, it seemed to have a bit more potential than I originally thought, so I sent it through the initial round of editing.  Just now, I asked my boyfriend what he thought because I still felt as though something was missing.

He pointed to the right of the image and said I should PhotoShop a model in.

Friggin’ super genius!  Talk about a missed opportunity on my part.  Imagine, if you will, a stormy sky, to the left a wildly churning sea…to the right, some towering rocks with a person standing triumphant at their summit staring thoughtfully into the distance.  It would have been perfect.  It also would take another 6 hours of driving to accomplish.

Don’t you worry though!  I did the next best thing!  PhotoShop skillz to the rescue!

Perkins Cove Sunrise, The Epic Version

Perkins Cove Sunrise, The Epic Version

Technology is an incredible thing, eh? 😉



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!