Photo of the Day

Before my trip to Maryland I decided to try out my ND filter close to home to see what it could do. I knew that an ND8 filter would not give me too much in broad daylight so I had to use cloud cover to help me out as well. The potholes at Fall Creek Gorge near Williamsport really gives you many opportunities to try and slow down the water. When water is slowed down by using a very slow shutter speed you give it a dreamy quality. I really had fun trying this process out, and it really helped me out greatly when I made my way to the ocean. I will have a couple of those shots that I took in the next few days as I go through my pictures from the trip. For once I have not gone through every single photo yet. I usually look through my pictures right away the night I take them. I was the kid that had his baseball cards opened in the car on the way home. I usually do the same with my pictures, but I took this opportunity to spend some time with the family rather than going through pictures. I have found many that I liked during the trip, and I was pleasantly surprised with how some snapshots turned out.

Technical Data

The first part of this process was to change the image to black and white. I used the HDR black and white (light) preset by Matt Kloskowski in Lightroom 5 to start off. From there I made a highlight, temperature, and blacks adjustment to get the photo where it needed to be. This was actually a very quick edit. Those are the best kind. I did use my ND8 filter on the scene though to get the silky look to the water.

New SmugMug Site

Yesterday SmugMug rolled out a new design for their site. I have been using SmugMug for a little over a year now, and I finally feel like I am part of the site. I was basically just using it as a dump site for my photos in the past. Now I have designed a layout that I like with some links to other places to see my work. I will link to my new site here so that you can visit it if you wish.

New SmugMug site

Behind the Scenes Video

Below is a video that I made at the potholes on the day that I took this picture. I thought that it would be a good idea to use my GoPro Hero 3 to make a video of the short trip to the potholes.  I will try and do this for more and more of my shoots just so you can see a bit of what goes into the photo.

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Photo of the Day

Last week I woke up early on two mornings of our vacation to shoot the Ocean City Pier at sunrise. The first morning I knew that I would not get colors, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying a couple of things. I really liked some of those shots so they will end up on this site in the future. I wanted a shot with the colors of the morning though so I woke up early the next morning to try it again.  Early on you could see that the color would be nice so it was just up to me where to position myself. I was about twenty feet further up the beach originally before I decided to take a picture closer to the water with my point and shoot. I saw how much better the reflection was there so I moved everything closer to the water. I also moved my tripod closer to the ground. It really is amazing being near the ocean during a sunrise, and I will get up early again in the future in order to see this sight again.

Technical Data

This was shot as part of a three bracket series with the idea of making an HDR image out of it. I really liked the metered exposure though. In the future I will post a shot that was processed in Photomatix, but for now I will stick with the silhouette of the pier. It really only took a couple of tweaks in Lightroom to get this where you see it now. The main fix here was the spots in the sky. Being so close to the surf had one disadvantage, and that was the mist getting on the lens. With the new spot removal tool in Lightroom this task was not too hard though. I couldn’t imagine what I would have done with this shot in the past. Now though it is a fairly easy edit.

Behind the Scenes

I thought that once again I would include a small video showing the scene on the day of the shoot. With this video though I took the camera down to the water to show the surf up close.

Photo of the Day

Last week I had a great time in Maryland. One day after making some sunrise pictures at the pier of Ocean City I made my way over to Assateague Island to see if I could spot any of the feral horses there. I have heard that they are hard to spot, but since it was the first light of the day I hoped that I would catch some of them out and about. I was excited to see that a few where indeed out when I came upon one of the beaches. The horses were eating near the access roads so it was hard to get a shot that didn’t look like it was taken on the road. I made a couple of loops around the parking lot before decided to leave with a couple of decent shots in my camera. Then for some reason one of the horses decided to saunter in front of my rental car. The horse moved to the passenger side and started eating after taking forever to get out from in front of my car. When I looked out the passenger window I knew that I had a shot as the horse started eating. I love the layering here, and after making this shot I knew that I had one for the blog. These horses are beautiful, and I would love to see them again. They will go down to the beach to cool off, and a shot of them running through the surf would be amazing. For now though I was just happy to see these wild horses in person.

Technical Data

This shot was pretty much where I wanted it when I took it. That being said you always have to tweak a RAW file. I used a Matt Kloskowski preset that seems to be my go to called light sports gameday to get me close to where I wanted to be. I lessoned the vignette, and after a couple more minor tweaks this photo was ready to go. Once again I love the shots that don’t take long to process.

This was also shot with my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. This really was my go to lens on the trip. A couple of times I used something else, but for the most part this was the lens of choice for me. I usually use the new lens way too much on a trip after I bought it, but this is the third trip now since I bought the lens, and it is still the lens I pull out when I need a shot. I would bet that 90% of the pictures on the trip were taken with this lens. I think that in the near future it will be hard to knock this one of the top of my list.

Photo of the Day

I was amazed at how different the landscape looked once I descended into the potholes at the Fall Creek Gorge. I went from driving down a rural road to something that looked more like it was in the tropics. That might be the pull that keeps me going back to the gorge. It is really hard to make pictures like this without traveling very far, so I feel lucky that it is only about an hour from my door.

Technical Data

This picture was one where HDR was needed for sure. Most of the scene was easily visible, but some of it really was deep in shadows. I wanted to show what I saw when I stood on this site. I took the three images that I bracketed at -2, 0, and +2 on site, and ran them through Photomatix. Usually I take the 32 bit file back into Lightroom, but I didn’t like the way that it turned out that way. I decided to edit the photo in Photomatix as I used to. In those days I would just work off of the Painterly preset that came with the program. I liked the look it gave me, but it was not very realistic. This time though I took what I have learned since then, and moved the sliders on my own. I think this end result is much more believable, and in the end I like it much more. I did take it back into Lightroom 5 to perform a couple of slider adjustments to it. The first one was to add some of the blacks back in.

Behind the Scenes Video

The day that I made these images I had my Go Pro mounted onto my camera. I made a short video of my trip that I have included below. I like the idea of these videos, and I hope to make more in the future.

Photo of the Day

This week I will be in Maryland looking at the ocean so I thought I would post this picture from a different portion of the Atlantic. I took this picture at Daytona Beach in 2009. We were there to see the Daytona 500, but we also did a lot of sightseeing in the days leading up to the race. I had really never been this close to the ocean before so the idea of the barnacle was amazing to me. I went under the bridge to get a couple of pictures. I had no idea that I would someday publish this photo, but something about it speaks to me. I thought that it was finally time to put it out there.

Technical Data

This was shot with my old Canon in jpeg mode. I don’t have the ability to adjust the file like I would a RAW file, but luckily that didn’t matter here. I just wanted to make everything a little sharper. I used the medium HDR Look preset by Matt Kloskowski to make it look better. I like the look of it, and the preset just made it easy to get there quickly.

Photo of the Day

Here is another picture from my trip to Ocean City last year. I made one of my favorite pictures that I have taken a couple of docks down just about an hour later. I liked the idea of this English phone booth right outside of the small restaurant. I wanted to make a picture of the scene, but for some reason I never really liked what was there. A lot of clutter got in the way of what I had in mind.

Technical Data

This is a groundbreaking picture. It is the first picture that I edited in Photoshop CS6. I recently picked up the program, and I love what it can do. With the program I was able to take out a dolly and a power line. Both of those items really were not something that I wanted in the shot, and I liked it much more without them. This was a three shot HDR image that I processed first in Photomatix. I liked part of the end result, but it was a little flat for me. I took it into Lightroom 5, and added some blacks as well as a little highlights. I thought that it was much more realistic, and didn’t look as flat to me. Over time I will be able to learn Photoshop a bit more, but for now I love the power that the content aware brush has. Ugly power lines will no longer be a problem, because they can be removed.

Photo of the Day

Here is another shot from Ocean City. This carnival ride really looked good to me. I knew that I wanted to make some pictures of it, but without a tripod I couldn’t do the long exposure that I was thinking about. This year I may just cart the tripod around the boardwalk so that I can get the pictures that I had in my head. The boardwalk is an amazing place that I think can provide some interesting images. We will see in a couple of weeks if that is the case.

Technical Data

This is a three shot HDR that was edited in Photomatix. From there I took the photo back into Lightroom 5 to use the sliders there. I did run the photo through Color Efex Pro by Nik Software to punch it up a little. I used the brilliance/warmth, detail extractor, and the glamour glow filters to give it some life.

Photo of the Day

Last year while in Ocean City, Maryland I experienced crabbing for the first time. Of course I didn’t do much after we pulled a crab up on the deck but photograph it. This photo though I thought was a little better than some of the others. I just liked the idea of the reel out of focus in the foreground. It gave me something that the plain deck in all of my other pictures could not. This is one of those things that I just tried on a whim, but I quite liked how it turned out.

Technical Data

This photo was processed using the light sports gameday preset. I really just applied the preset, and then did a minor exposure adjustment. From there all I did was export the picture to SmugMug so that I could place it here. I love it when a photo is this easy.

The Color Wheel

Photo of the Day

This photo was taken on my first night in Ocean City last year. I was walking around the boardwalk when I saw the sky lighting up. Most people point their cameras towards the sunset, but the color was great the other way. I knew that I would not make it to where I needed to be in time to make a picture from the side of this ferris wheel so I took the picture from where I was. I like the look of it, and I know something else that I would like to try when I visit the boardwalk this year at night.

Technical Data

This photo was processed using Color Efex Pro by Nik Software. When I first used the program I don’t think that I realized just what it was capable of. I never tweaked the presets, and I did not even realize that you could stack them. Two of my favorites are detail extractor and glamour glow. I usually run the glamour glow at about 50% opacity. It just seems to add a nice look to the photo. The detail extractor really seems to help things pop. When I brought the photo back into Lightroom 5 I used the light sports preset to sharpen it a bit. I toned the preset down a bit just so that it wasn’t over the top.