Sunday Spont – Rancho Chloride

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(Please click on the image to see a much bigger version. OK, maybe only a little bigger. But it IS better. I promise!)

So this was one of our Sunday spont trips. But it might have been a Saturday instead of a Sunday. And it might not have been totally spont. Spontaneous. My wife Lynn always has wanted to visit Chloride AZ ever since we first passed it going to Sedona AZ, one of my favorite places in the whole world! (True, I have not raveled all over the whole world but, when I do, I am positive Sedona will still be in the top ten! Anyway….)

There is nothing much in Chloride, which used to be a mining town. We read that there are about 250 residents still living there, which does not qualify it as a ghost town. But we did manage to get a few photos out of the trip. Good in my opinion, at least.  This is one of them.

Oh, and the clouds? All real!

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Why I do What I do!

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Most have been accepting, some have even been complimentary, of my need to enhance these clear blue skies of the southwest. My wife has recently taken the credit for opening up my eyes, helping me to see the beauty of a cloud littered sky. To keep the peace I have deleted any images of such skies prior to our having met and married.

Gotta keep the peace.

As for a visual presentation of why I do what I do, below is a shot of a mountain top in Zion National Park during golden hour one fine late autumn afternoon.

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Below is how I saw it!

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‘Nuff said?

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 Over on Facebook, Terri  Buckner says of someone else’s work (not mine) that “…I generally don’t like heavily photoshopped shots. For me, photography is a documentary art and too much editing overshadows the reality.”  Well, we would have to first argue her terms and I doubt I have the intellectual prowess to do so. But in their own ways, didn’t cinematography and even painting begin as documentary arts? Did they not evolve into  fine arts? Did Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, ever worry about overshadowing the reality? For that matter, did Adams, Cartier-Bresson, Arbus, ever get into the darkroom and simply develop their images without dodging and or burning? Maybe Ben or Joe or Cybele can argue these points one way or the other better than me.

My head is hurting now. 

One Four Challenge – June Week 4

Prompts and Challenges
Original Bus

Original Bus

After my confession that I was bored with this image, many commented that I was a wuss. OK, not really. But they did suggest I step out of my comfort zone occasionally, try something creative rather than recycle old presets or filters.Yes, they really did say that! And me? I took it to heart! Sort of. There is as much difference as possible in this week’s processing, I think, as Lightroom will allow as I have not yet delved into Photoshop, which I have acquired as part of the Lightroom CC package. Heck, I haven’t even looked at the intro to the Cloud.

Allow me to show you a brief retrospective of the month of June. To date:

So, without further ado:

Week 4-4

Week 4

I can hear you all clamoring to know what I have done. Well, hell if I know. Actually, I do but it didn’t quite turn out as I had expected. I wanted to create a dream-like image, those hot, lazy days of summer. There are four gradiant filters used rather than a split tone. They are orange, purple, blue, and then one of green. They all seem to effect different ares of the image differently. Then there is a brush throughout to throw a haze over areas. In the original image there was only a dirt field beyond the trees. I colored a section blue to mimic a lake or pond where the school kids are traveling to. I then cropped at a ration of 2.35 to 1, which is the ratio used for movies shot in Cinemascope!

As always, the One Four Challenge is hosted by Robyn of Captivate Me. Please stop by to see the rules if you want to join in, and to view all the other fun submissions. That is, assuming you found any fun in mine,

After-Before Friday Week 53

Prompts and Challenges
After (2)

AFTER

No stories to tell with this image. Except that we had just been married for maybe two days and she was ready to get an annulment due to me starving and not wanting to stop at a Burger King for a fish sandwich when nothing else was open at 1 am on a week night morning.

I am not pleasant when hungry and tired!

Before

BEFORE

So let’s get started. This was an image I have totally ignored for just slightly over 3 years. It just didn’t do anything for me. But when looking for an image to play with, I came across it and it now has quickly become one of my favorites. We start with the BEFORE image straight out of the camera, shot in jpeg only because I was afraid of RAW at the time. I cropped it to get in tighter. That is the only reason I decided to crop. No artistic explanation. No justification. It is my image and I can do with it as I please! 🙂

Cropped

Cropped

The next step was to adjust the highlights and shadows, blacks and whites. I added contrast and clarity and reduced the blue saturation shift to remove the cast from the metal banister.

Adjust, add, and lower.

Adjust, add, and reduce.

I then exported the image into Perfect Effects 9 and added clouds which, for me, seems to add so much to an image.

Clouds

Clouds

I then used the preset that Stacy gave to me last month because I gushed over how much I liked it. Stacy’s a softy. Maybe if you gush enough she’ll send you something, too!

East Brunswick Ink preset

East Brunswick Ink preset

I now adjusted the contrast and clarity again!

Contrast and clarity

Contrast and clarity

I then lowered the exposure, removed more of the blue cast to the metal, adjusted luminance and removed the chromatic aberration which showed up as a red outline along the metal edges of the stairway and banister. And there you have it:

AFTER

AFTER

OK, so please visit Stacy’s Visual Venturing for boring rules and exciting photos.

And be thankful it’s not the other way around!

And please feel free to click on any of the images above to see a larger version.

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X-T1 OMG!

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Somewhere in Hidden Valley

Somewhere in Hidden Valley

What else needs to be said? True, I have not tried out any other mirror-less cameras, nor have I tried any non-mirror-less cameras. But why bother? The price, the quality, the weight, the lens, the bells and whistles…. OK, let’s talk about those bells and whistles.

I received the Fuji X-T1 with a Zeiss 32mm f 1.8 lens Tuesday evening, on loan. “On loan” makes it sound so much more professional than “I rented it!” OK, I rented it. Bad news is it cost me just under $200. Good news is they extended the rental period from one week to two, just for me. And for anyone else who had the special coupon code. The camera and lens were actually a lot cheaper than the cost above. But once you add insurance and shipping and tax, well…

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I spent reading the online manual so that I could set the camera on full automatic- which takes most of the fun out of using it. Those first two days I contented myself with shooting clouds. Friday afternoon I played hooky from work and went down to the strip to try some street photography. I lasted less than a half hour as the temperatures are already well over 100 degrees here in Las Vegas. On Saturday, my wife and I jumped into the car planning to drive up to the cooler climes of Zion! But as we drove up the 15 freeway there were several exits that we decided to explore instead. The first was BYRON, a town we couldn’t find. The second was UTE, of which we found only a dirt road. The third? Pay dirt. HIDDEN VALLEY (of which I can find no mention on the internet). And it really is exactly what you would imagine. Or, at least what I would imagine, as I don’t really know you, or what you might imagine.

Wait a second. I’m getting carried away. Bells and whistles, bells and whistles…

There are a lot of them. But I still have no idea what the camera can really do. For that, it might be best to contact someone like Joe Giordano of Monochromia who is the one who talked me into trying out the camera just by talking about it. And talking about it. And talking about it. And sharing his photos.

It’s really a remarkable camera as far as I can tell.

And Joe is just an all around great guy. Contact him. Look at his images. He has 4 WordPress sites and a Life In Black & White on Facebook. We are a mutual admiration society.

Well, I admire him!

One Four Challenge – June Week 3

Prompts and Challenges

I’ve got to tell you I committed to the One Four Challenge this month and can honestly say I am sick and tired of this image. From now on I will pick an image I like, not one on which to prove a point. My point was to make this shot more exciting and all I’ve done is bore myself. Should I not admit the truth? Some of you have said you like what I’ve done with weeks one and two.  And I do like this preset. But that’s exactly what it is, a preset, and I did no fussing with it except to convert week one to black and white first, then clicked on the Vintage button in FotoSketcher.bus--4-2

Please visit Robyn’s Captivate Me for all the other One Four Challenge submissions and as for the rules:

“This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.

We will all process / post edit our own chosen image and share a different version each week.

Process it however you like… and tell us a bit about it. You don’t have to show the original image unless you’d like to.  

Try new things, experiment.  Be as creative or subtle as you wish to be.

Each week starts again on Monday (Aussie time) and closes off the following Sunday (at the end of the day), so there is a whole week for you to create your post, link up here and tag your post.

This is a ongoing challenge. We will do the 1st four Mondays of the month.  If there are 5 Mondays in a month – we’ll still only post on 4.

Please TAG with One Four Challenge – thanks so much.

As well as a link (to my blog post) in your own post – would you mind leaving your post link on my blog post too please – in comments if you could – this way we are aware of everyone’s blog posts. Thank you!”

One Four Challenge – June Week 2

Prompts and Challenges

The rules and regulations for submissions to Robyn’s One Four Challenge have not changed, so if you read them last week, there really is no need to read them again, unless you have a memory like mine. In which case you can find them below.

Original

Original

I took the cropping and Lightroom corrections from last week and converted into black and white. I then darkened the road with a brush and added lighter highlights with a radial filter. I then added highlights in the trees and some subtle light streaks in the sky (which is devoid of clouds in this version). I also added a very slight split tone of green and yellow.

Week 2

Week 2

Please visit Robyn’s Captivate Me for all the other One Four Challenge submissions and as promised: About the challenge and how it works:

“This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.

We will all process / post edit our own chosen image and share a different version each week.

Process it however you like… and tell us a bit about it. You don’t have to show the original image unless you’d like to.  

Try new things, experiment.  Be as creative or subtle as you wish to be.

Each week starts again on Monday (Aussie time) and closes off the following Sunday (at the end of the day), so there is a whole week for you to create your post, link up here and tag your post.

This is a ongoing challenge. We will do the 1st four Mondays of the month.  If there are 5 Mondays in a month – we’ll still only post on 4.

Please TAG with One Four Challenge – thanks so much.

As well as a link (to my blog post) in your own post – would you mind leaving your post link on my blog post too please – in comments if you could – this way we are aware of everyone’s blog posts. Thank you!”

Happy Anniversary ABFriday/One Photo Focus!

Prompts and Challenges

Happy Anniversary Stacy!!!

For June’s One Photo Focus, we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of ABFriday and the six-month anniversary of 1PF by post-processing one of Stacy’s own photos! I can’t wait to see what havoc my cohorts have wreaked on her fine photo. Please go check out all the versions on her site Visual Venturing!

Final

Final

My wife and I were traveling the Chicken’s Neck, a narrow stretch of land located in West Bengal, when we came across this home so totally out of character with the rest of the India territory that we begged the bus driver to stop and allow us to take a few pictures. Behind the house, cattle grazed freely; cows, sheep, goats, and one water buffalo. Aakar and Tamanna the owners, invited us to spend the night but we had to…. OK, OK! AS I said above, it’s one of Stacy’s own photos. You can’t blame me for wanting to take credit for it, though. (And my story is much more entertaining!)

Original

Original

Stacy has stated: “…what I’ve chosen is a very overexposed image of the Mork and Mindy house in Boulder, Colorado. While some may be unfamiliar with “Mork and Mindy,” an American sitcom that ran from 1978-1982, I’m certain all have heard of Robin Williams, its young comedic star. This Boulder landmark became a memorial for Mr. Williams upon his tragic death in August 2014.”

I imported Stacy’s RAW file into Lightroom and clicked on Enable Lens Profile (which gets rid of any lens distortion), Chromatic Aberration (which removes any color outline on objects), and Upright Perspective (which straightens the image).

Lens Profile, Chromatic Aberration, Upright Perspective

Lens Profile, Chromatic Aberration, Upright Perspective

I then proceeded with my usual workflow of adjusting the shadows and highlights, and also the black and white clipping.

Shadows and Highlights, Black and White clipping

Shadows and Highlights, Black and White clipping

I then lowered the overall exposure by 1 stop, brought up the clarity by +25, and got rid of the blue saturation to turn the sky gray.

Exposure, Clarity, Blue Saturation

Exposure, Clarity, Blue Saturation

I then exported into Perfect Effects 9 to add clouds in the sky. Obviously I really dislike a clear blue sky in photos!

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Clouds

Back in Lightroom, I added a radial filter to adjust the exposure on the porch, then clarity and contrast.

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Radial Filter, clarity and contrast

I then used the East Brunswick Preset that Stacy sent to me when I told her I loved what it did on one of her images.

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East Brunswick Preset

I then lowered the overall exposure by -1.3

StacOne7-

Exposure

I added a highlight streak on the upstairs windows with one Radial Filter.

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Radial Filter

I then added highlights on the walkways and separately on all the lower porch windows.

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Brush Filter highlights

One Photo Focus is a once a month challenge wherein all participants submit their post-processed version of the same pre-selected image. This month, the image was After Before Friday’s own Stacy Fischer, who is celebrating the one year anniversary of ABF and the six month celebration of 1PF. Please visit the rest of the submissions for this week here and join in next time for either After-Before Friday or One Photo Focus.

Please click on any of the images above to view a larger version!

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