Winter blahs

However – looking on the bright side (which after 11 days of subzero temps is really hard to find!!) I get to spend more time on my indoor photography and/or learning CS6.

So I started here straight out of camera:

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What can I say?  It was a Friday night, I was bored, and had recently read an article about bokeh so I decided to break out the 50mm and play.  Camera is set on a tripod to the right and I’m standing to the left with a flashlight.  Notice the dust on the shelf (EEEKS!!!), the smudge on the wall to the left of the glass not to mention the distracting texture of the painted wall.  But when I set up this shot I had a selective color vision in my head.

And after surprising little work in PS my shot became this:

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Some of the dust is removed, the wall smudge is removed, and I brought down the sharpness of the painted wall to remove that texture.  Selective coloring is added using a levels layer that increases the reds just of the wine glass.  Incidentally when I posted a rough draft of this shot on Facebook some people liked the dust – they felt it added something so that is why I only spot removed the most distracting pieces.

So what started as a way to kill time on a Friday night – and an excuse to drink wine – became a shot that will likely get printed and hung.  You just never know where the wall hangers are going to come from – so keep shooting!!

 

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Compare and Contrast

The days are getting longer and even a little bit warmer – WooHoo!!  Just as a reminder of what we’ve been through:

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Once upon a time this is where I learned to swim!!

The blue in this shot is actual – not a white balance error.  Although I too thought I had mistakenly left my white balance on iridescent when I saw it.  But I missed the sunset that had been my intent and was trying to make the best of it.  I added clarity to the bottom icy part of the picture looking for a grunge sort of feeling and brought down exposure in the clouds to really emphasis the one small break in the overcast.

But then this is winter and ice and ick and also the time I tend to move towards black and white (since there’s usually no color to be found anywhere).  So I processed another shot in b&w with some heavy vignetting to make it feel cold (cuz it was):

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Personally I’m leaning towards the b&w although the vignetting might be a bit heavy I left it because I usually don’t like a heavy vignette and I’m working on breaking out of some ruts.

Which shot do you like better?

2013 in review

Though I cut back considerably on my blogging in 2013 I still have a few followers out there.  Thank you Scott, Mike, Karma and everyone else who’s stuck with the blog despite my many absences!  I don’t know what 2014 will bring – I have verbal commitments for at least 2 more hangings at some local businesses.  My camera’s been pretty quiet in December – I think it’s time to dust it off and get back to it!!

Happy New Year everyone!!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Vacation – Have to Get Away

That song’s going to be in my head all day now!!

 

Anyway – I’m not waiting until the last minute to participate in Scott’s latest assignment – vacation photos.  So you have lots of time to join me and the rest of Scott’s blogging buddies and share your own vacation photos.

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Day’s Cottages – near Provincetown, MA

This year Hubby and I took a family vacation with Mom, Sister, and Sister’s boyfriend to Cape Cod, MA.

Nauset Beach Lighthouse

Nauset Light

And I learned that there are big differences between a photography vacation and a family vacation.  As photographer’s we know the best light is early in the morning and late in the evening – usually when everyone else wants to eat or sleep!

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Climbing Highland Light

So this will not be a post featuring a lot of sunsets and such because there just wasn’t a lot of that (there was some so there will be a future post don’t worry!!)

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Entry in the sand castle competition in Yarmouth, MA

Instead this is a post featuring all the fun things we did together.  We saw sand castles and went on a whale watch and wandered through several of the areas lighthouses.

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But not to worry – our last night on the Cape Mom and I did take in a sunset…..

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It was amazing and totally worth postponing our last Cape Cod ice cream cone!!

Make Pictures vs Take Pictures

I have a new goal – I am going to MAKE (not take) more pictures.

Cavern Cascade - Watkins Glen State Park

Cavern Cascade – Watkins Glen State Park

What’s the difference you may say?  I suspect that depends on the photographer.  But for me it means I am going to take more time, be more selective, study more angles, and in general think more about what it is I’m trying to say with my pictures and what my audience is hearing.

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Lower Falls – Letchworth State Park

So I’m going to cut back on the blogging as one way I intend to meet this goal.  I have been so caught up in taking pictures to share on the blog that I feel I’ve lost sight of quality in a constant struggle to come up with 4-5 shots to share 2-3 times per week.  Now I’m going to focus more on quality over quantity.   And if that means I only have one shot to share – I’ll only share one shot.

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Taughannock Falls – Taughannock Falls State Park

So for now – I’ll be blogging once a week and sharing with you what I hope will be my highest quality work to date.  My plan is to take fewer, better pictures.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

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Rainbow Falls – Watkins Glen State Park

As you can see from the above I got out and about quite a bit for the autumn leaves this year.  As always I’m quite behind with my processing but I feel as though these are my best autumn shots for 2013.

Vegas Baby!!

DSC_9991You’ve just got to love a job that sends you to Vegas for four days!!!  This was the view from the hotel room (after I spent a lot of time removing dust spots from the window!)

DSC_0153In true Debbie fashion I researched all the things to do during my off time and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower was tops on my list.  I didn’t get to it my first night because the 12 hour trip and time change just wiped me out.  So my second night in Vegas – I had a plan…..

DSC_0132Sunset from the Eiffel Tower – didn’t get much cloud reflection – do they even have clouds in Vegas?

DSC_0111But if you walked to the back side of the Eiffel Tower you were treated to fewer people and a gorgeous moon rise!!

DSC_0144Vegas is different from anywhere I’ve ever been – the nonstop activity, the way people only come out after dark, the hotels the size of small cities – completely different from anything I’ve ever done.  This shot of The Strip is my favorite from the trip and illustrates the level of activity going on as seen from above.

DSC_0221The Bellagio Fountains were a favorite (and free) thing to do while I was visiting.  I think we stopped every single time we walked by to catch a fountain show.  Just an amazing sight to see – and especially amazing at night!!

Croton Dam

If you subscribe to any of the Flickr NY waterfalls groups – you’ve seen shots of the Croton Dam.  I couldn’t wait to try my hand at shooting this amazing structure.  Our first visit was at 9PM at night with a full moon.

DSC_1815See the stars and the plane streaking by?  This is a 30 second exposure with a 1600 ISO – never in a million years would I have believed the dark could light up like this!!  Left a fair amount of noise in the shadows though.

 

DSC_1821-EditBless the noise reduction algorithms!!  I spent more time cleaning up this shot from the base of the dam – still 1600 ISO but the shutter speed is “only” 20 seconds for this one!

DSC_1898The next morning we proceeded to the top of the dam – for these shots I’m standing on the bridge you can see in the first two shots.  I wasn’t terribly pleased with these shots – I just don’t feel I captured the scope of the fall colors and the rushing water.  I am pleased with this close up shot of the water going over the dam (the falls in the prior two shots are behind me as I take this picture).

DSC_1903Also taken from the bridge with the falls rushing below and behind me.  The scope of this place is just mind-boggling.  So many angles – so many possibilities.

DSC_1993One last shot taken at dusk this time from the base of the dam.  A closeup of the autumn leaves with the water going over the dam.

Even though it’s four hours away from my home – you can be sure I’ll be visiting Croton Dam again and again.  The possibilities are endless!!