Thursday, October 27, 2011

What to do with grey cloudy day photos

During our recent trip to Nova Scotia we spent several days with rain, clouds and fog following us everywhere we went.  We basically had dull grey days.   These are great for some photos where the fog can enhance the mood, especially if the photo does not contain any sky.  See the Rainy Days and Fridays post from October 14 for some examples.   Sometimes you can't avoid getting a large part of the sky in the photo and mood comes out blah like this.

Edited with Lightroom to bump up the contrast, clarity and tone curve.

There are always options for dealing with these dull photos.   For fun I processed this photo four different ways.  The first one is the photo above edited in Nik Color Efex 4 using the Detail Enhancer filter.   This is a great filter that was added to version 4.  It will pull details out of the dark and light parts of an image without adding a lot of noise.  This filter alone is worth the price of the upgrade!  In this case it really brought out the detail in the lighthouse, rocks and gave the clouds a very dramatic feel.

Edited with Nik Color Efex 4 Detail Enhancer

This is better but other than the red lighthouse top, there is not much color.   Sometimes no color is better than a little color.   Here's the second image edited with Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert it to black and white.

Edited with Nik Silver Efex Pro
I'm really starting to like dramatic black and white images like this.  Without the dull colors, you concentrate more on the textures, contrast, and composition.   I think this is my favorite version of this photo.

Finally, I though I would try something I've seen others do.   Starting with the second image in Lightroom I desaturated all the colors except red.   This essentially created a black and white except for the  lighthouse top.  Our eyes are naturally attracted to red so it's the thing you want to look at first in this image.
Edited in Lightroom to remove all color except red.

I'm not a fan of this style and this is not my favorite of the four.   The good news is everyone has different taste and this might appear to someone.  I'd love to hear which one you prefer.  Post a comment and let me know what you think.

These are photos of the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia.   Peggy's Cove is a quaint fishing village that draws tourists by the bus loads.  The day we were there it was cold and the winds were gusting to 80 mph.  The tour buses were there but not many of the tourists were out on the rocks or near the lighthouse.   Made it easier to photograph without people in the picture, but the winds made it very hard to get a sharp photo.  I set my tripod as low as it would go, sat on the ground, and held it down so the wind wouldn't blow it over.   I felt like a Weather Channel reporter when I was taking these photos.   June was on lower ground praying I didn't blow off the top of the rocks.

Here's a couple more from that day.

You can view larger versions of any of these photos by clicking on them.  This also allows you to easily flip through each one to compare them.  They are also available for purchase in the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Gallery

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What a Way To End a Week

I'm sitting in the Bangor International Airport waiting on USAir to fly me home.   If everything works according to plan I'll be home by midnight.   Today was the last day of a fantastic 8-day photo workshop.   I have learned a lot in eight days and more than that, I've made a lot of new friends from all over the US.   It was a privilege to have the opportunity to spend a week with two dozen great Christians making photos of God's Creation.   I'll be glad to be home, but am sorry to see it end.

To wrap the workshop up we went to Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park for sunrise.  God provided perfect conditions (AGAIN!) and I was able to try out a new technique or two.   In this photo the sun was up and bright, but I was able to add two neutral density filters to my lens to get a 30 second exposure.   This long exposure made the waves hitting the rocks turn into fog.  The beach is covered with round polished pink granite rocks which captured the beautiful light of sunrise. 

Canon 7D, Tamron 17-50 @ f/20, 30 second exposure.

I now have a few thousand images to go through when I get home.   As I send the next several weeks working on these photos it will remind me of the great time and great fellowship on this trip.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rainy Days and Fridays

It's hard to believe that it's been 40 years since The Carpenter's Rainy Days and Mondays went to #2 on the charts.   Today brought that song to mind.   Our photography workshop group spent the morning shooting in drizzle and fog on Cadillac Mountain and The Wild Gardens of Acadia in Maine.   Cloudy days are great for photographing a variety of different subjects.  The clouds and fog disperse and soften the light eliminating almost all shadows and giving things a rich color.   Today we had blowing drizzle when made shooting a challenge.  Most of the time I wasn't wearing my glasses because they were covered with water.  I had to trust the camera to get the focus right because I couldn't tell if I was even close to in focus.   I had to constantly wipe the front of my lens and then quickly take the shot.

I'm not complaining.  These conditions gave me the opportunity to take photos like these.

It has been cold enough that some of the vegetation on Cadillac Mountain has started to turn red.  Add some evergreens, the pink granite, and some fog and you get a decent photograph.
 The granite was worn smooth by glaciers long ago and has since cracked, which make great leading lines in the photo.
This bunch of grass had turned golden.

After stomping around on the mountain we went down to the Wild Gardens of Acadia.  There was not much blooming in the gardens but many of the ferns had turned golden.

 I was able to move around to get a green background behind the golden ferns making a nice color contrast shot.

Tomorrow promises to be a nice sunny day.  We'll get out and shoot but it will be different from today.   I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blessed By New Friends

This week I have the privilege of spending 8 days in a photography workshop in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with some of the best instructors around and and a couple dozen outstanding photographers.   After three days I have found my photography has already started to improve and I'm learning a great many things that will help me to continue to improve. 

This evening Matt Kloskowski spent some time running our group through some great tips on using Adobe Lightroom, plus some on Photoshop and Nik Color Efex 4.   I couldn't wait to try out what I learned.  Even though I got up at 4:30 this morning to head out for sunrise and have to get up at 5:00 tomorrow to do it all over again, I came back to my room to try out my new skills editing one of the images I took today.   Here's the end result.

I'm pretty pleased with the end result.  Here's one I took yesterday morning.

Besides being an opportunity to improve my photography, this trip is also an opportunity to make a lot of new friends who are all great people.   I am blessed to be able to spend time with these folks in this vibrant fall season in New England.  I'm looking forward to getting up in 7 hours to start all over again.

Be sure to check out Bill Fortney's blog where he is chronicling each day.