Monday, June 27, 2016

monochrome monday

I knew nothing but shadows and I thought them to be real. 
Oscar Wilde

I was going through my iPhone photos the other day trying to clean up a bit, 
and came across this image.
It caught my attention because I didn't recall taking it and rather liked it,
and I had just had a chat with someone who commented that
my images were generally not moody.

Intentional camera movement. ICM. 
It's a great way to generate an abstract quality to an image. 
Color, spatial arrangement, light become the primary subjects of the image, 
rather than a well focussed and tack sharp object, person, or landscape.

To do ICM, you just need low a ISO, a small aperture, and a long shutter speed.
If using a DSLR or mirrorless camera you can use polarizing or ND filters to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor so you can employ a longer shutter speed during the day.
If it's an overcast day or nearing dawn/dusk, filters aren't typically needed.
If using a mobile device, there are apps available that allow for a long shutter speed.

Once you've got your ISO, aperture and shutter speed set, shoot and move the camera. 
Swipe the camera horizontally, vertically, add some swirly curly motions, or loops, 
and check out the image in the LCD.
Don't swipe too fast, nor too slow.
You'll see the output and know whether to speed up/down.
If it's too bright, adjust one of your parameters. 

Keep playing until you get what you're after.
Sometimes, I don't know what I'm after until I see it.
So don't stop if your first attempt doesn't catch your fancy.
I can spend hours photographing trees in the sunlight when I'm on my trail walks.
I have to force myself to stop and keep walking!
If using a mobile device, be it sucks the life out of your batteries.

As always. Just go out and have fun.

Monday, May 2, 2016

monochrome monday

City’s just a jungle; more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, tryin' to get away
I was raised in the country, 
I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down
~ Bob Dylan

I don't typically take pictures of cars. Mostly, because I don't know how
to get a good shot of one.
But, this car.
It was a beauty.
Confirmed by the fact that everyone that walked by it - stopped. 
Walked around it.
And, pulled out their mobile devices to take a shot.
Including us.

I was initially captured by the interesting reflections.
There is even a little selfie in there.

I have no tips to provide on capturing this kind of subject.
I would gladly welcome any thoughts about shooting cars,
and more specifically, reflections on cars.

Keep shooting!
Stay out of trouble...unless it gets you the shot!

Fuji XT1 ISO 640 1/100 f/5.6 XF18-155mm (67mm EFL)

Monday, April 25, 2016

monochrome monday

Let the rain kiss you. 
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. 
Let the rain sing you a lullaby. 
~ Langston Hughes

Fuji XT1 ISO 250 1/100 f/4.5 XF18-155mm (67mm EFL)

Monday, April 18, 2016

monochrome monday

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden. 
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Introducing monochrome monday!

I've been processing many of my color images into black and white.
I think some images are stronger in monochrome,
as you can focus on the subject and not be distracted
by all the color...not that color is in any way bad.
Sometimes, you just want to create a no frills image.

Do you know what the above image is?

You might recognize this more easily.

I captured the above image in camera, rotated it, and processed it into black and white.

I like to rotate images like this.
It makes one think a bit about what they are really seeing.

Go out and tweak reality.
It's easy enough to revert to normal if you really want to!

Fuji XT1 ISO 400 f/6.4 1/100 sec XF18-55mm (48mm EFL)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, 
we will continue to grow. 
We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. 
It happens in its own time. 
~ Denis Waitley

I had a vision when I saw this tulip.
I wanted to isolate the bloom and the leaf on the left from the
remainder of the image. I didn't have a macro lens with me and figured
I would have to do some creative cropping.

In post, I played around with NIK Silver Efex Pro2 (now available for free).
I was able to process this color image to the tight image of just the leaf and flower
that I originally envisioned.
I think the preset underexposes the image a great deal so only the very light areas show.
By altering some of the color filters (blue) I was able to isolate the bloom and leaf
even more. Strong vignetting may also be a part of the preset in order to bring attention
to the center of the image.
I did not expect that a preset for black and white processing
could so radically change this image.
I can still be surprised!
Love that.

This plug-in collection is powerful and empowering.
You don't have to settle for just clicking on a preset,
and letting the software determine your image's destiny.
You can further adjust your image globally, or selectively.
You can tease apart what elements changed the image the most (exposure, vignette, filter),
and apply these concepts manually to your images in photoshop or lightroom.
Make it your own.
Make it your vision.
Give your image the destiny it deserves.

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/5.6 1/500 sec XF18-55mm (69mm EFL)

Monday, February 29, 2016


The three great elemental sounds in nature are 
the sound of rain, 
the sound of wind in a primeval wood, 
and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. 
~ Henry Beston

We spent the night at the coast this past weekend.I love the ocean.
I don't think I could ever live in a state that didn't have the ocean on one of its borders.
Not ever.

We went to the South Jetty in the Ft. Stevens State Park.
I love this location.

We were hoping for a nice sunset, but this is the best we got.
So, what do you do when expectations aren't met?
With landscape photography it's a bit more disappointing as you have traveled
a distance to be at a particular place at a certain time for the 'party',
but mother nature didn't get the invitation.

Don't cry. It's all good.
First, just enjoy the place you've found of expectations.
Second, if you're intent on making a picture, there is always something to photograph.
Readjust your 'sights' and look around with new eyes.
You'll see something. 
Maybe even something better than what you were planning to capture in the first place!

Regarding the top image: I loved the vantage point
we had after climbing onto the rocks.
We were inline with the dilapidated wooden trestle, rocks, and the water, rather than viewing them from above via the observation tower.
If you've been visiting the blog, you know I'm a fan of long exposure water photography.
For me, the contrast between the textures of the hard rocks and wood and the 
soft water worked to create an intriguing compositional element.

I realized in researching elements of composition, that I had layers of the four 'elements'
in this image corresponding to:
Earth (rock), Wood (trestle), Water (sea), and Fire (sun).
I didn't think about this at the time I was making the image...maybe I did subconsciously...

In post-processing, I cropped out most of the sky except for the wee bit
of light at the top to provide context. 
Maybe I don't even need that...thoughts?
I do like the contrast between the warmer sky and cooler water, and keeping
the bit of sky in provides that contrast.

Below: An intact trestle near the Jetty.
Another favorite spot. We were able to walk all the way to the water's edge in the grasses.
I need to work this location more...we'll be back!

Let's round out the 'elements' theme of this post with a few links on 
elements of composition and strong imagery:

I especially liked this article:

p.s. if you visit the jetty, be prepared for is always windy!
Bring plenty of microfibre cloths to dry off your lens/filters and glasses if you wear them...
the mist and splashes (yes, we were that close!) were unrelenting!
Carry a small water bottle, too...the sea spray is horribly sticky
on lens/filters/glasses.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


You can't wait for inspiration. 
You have to go after it with a club.
~ Jack London

I need a club.

On this evening I explored a different place about an hour from home.
I enjoy the water and the blue hour, 
so shooting long exposures at this time of day is always a good thing.
Exploring a new venue was interesting as the drive to the destination was different and
the location itself was great.

I've read that others also go to different places and at different times of day than usual. 
If you're a street photographer, for example, you'll see different people or different activity in the morning vs. late afternoon or mid-day.
Some people use different lenses and focal lengths than customary.
Some people pick a subject to shoot, such as 'red' or benches, etc. 
again, anything out of the ordinary to make you see differently.

I found my way to a new spot on this evening.
But, I might need that club tomorrow.

What about you,
what do you do to find inspiration and spark your creativity?

Fuji XT1 long exposures; small apertures XF18-135mm lens

Thursday, February 11, 2016


There are two primary choices in life: 
to accept conditions as they exist, 
or accept the responsibility for changing them.
~ Denis Waitley

Color or monochrome?
Sometimes the choice is easy.
Sometimes, not so much.

I was feeling a bit monochromatic on this day,
and the black and white image fit my mood better.
But, I also liked the color image.
It was a glorious February day and the color image was a perfect portrayal 
of the day and scene. 

I like monochrome because it accentuates the subject, and reduces the distraction caused by color. 
Some say you can see the soul of the subject when you shoot in black and white.

So, color or monochrome?

I don't believe there is a right or wrong when it comes to image processing...except regarding over sharpening (wrong) or swapping skies (also wrong)...but those things aside, how you process your image is personal.
You were there. You know what you saw and what you felt.
Your image is an echo of that moment.

Let your heart be your really is the perfect gps!

if you save your original image with all the layers intact,
you can easily choose between monochrome and color 
as your mood and creative process dictate at some future date.

For me, I really like both of these images.
Usually I have a clear preference.
What about you, do you like one over the other?

Do you know what's more important than choosing how to process your images?
Yep! Shooting!!

Close down this blog post and go out and make pictures!
Do it now!

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/16 1/30 sec XF35mm (23.3mm EFL)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

a rainy night

Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists 
between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.
~ Earl Nightingale

Remember my comments recently about microfiber cloths being your BFF?
I forgot them on this night.
You can see the little rain spots on the image.
I kinda liked the mood and texture the rain spots added, but... wasn't what I had intended.

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/11 14 sec XF18-55mm (42mm EFL)

Monday, February 1, 2016


When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.
~ Alfred Eisenstaedt

My first images with my DIY pinhole camera!!
Too fun!!
The nature of the images with a pinhole camera are to be soft. 
I think with a professionally tooled pinhole you can gain better focus.
The DIY pinhole has a greater chance of rough edges that can lead
to diffraction and increased softness.

I turned my DSLR into a pinhole camera by modifying the body cap.
Very easy. The most advanced tool you need is a drill with a 1/4inch bit.
I plan to revise my making method to improve the focus/softness.
I am really pleased with my first attempt to make one! :)

See here for making tips:

I took these shots "blind" in that the light was low and I had
to aim and shoot and hope I got the subject framed as I wanted.
Not too bad.
The fix to this is to take my 50mm lens (the approximate focal length of the pinhole body cap),
and "preview" the image then switch to the body cap.

Especially in low light, you can't escape a long exposure with a pinhole camera.
A tripod and remote release device are must haves.

I guesstimated the exposure time. But with a real lens I can make an image and then
calculate the time to get an equivalent exposure with the pinhole.

See here for exposure information:

More links:

Canon 6D ISO 400 f/125 - f/185 appx. 45" - 1'  Pinhole body cap (EFL ~50mm)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

autumn redux

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine 
by staying in the house. 
So I have spent almost all the daylight hours 
in the open air. 
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

How about a 'Throw back Thursday' post on this rainy January day?!

I love photographing the St. John's bridge in Portland, OR. 
It is iconic.

Every fall I seek out a venue from Cathedral Park 
that showcases the bridge framed by fall leaves.

This image is from an afternoon of leaf peeping on my birthday in October 2015. 
I was in a different part of the park than prior years.
I think it pays to revisit the same area more than once.
I will go to this park several times every autumn just
to watch the leaves change and fall over time.
That's always a thrill for this dyed in the wool autumn girl!
More practically, you learn which perspectives work, and which ones don't.
After all these years, I was delighted to find a fresh point of view.

FujiXT1 ISO 640 f/8.0 1/100sec XF18-135mm (112mm EFL)

Monday, January 25, 2016

night notes

Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber!
~ Lord Byron

I will never, ever tire of this view.
Night photography. Of the city. Down by the river.
Will. Never. Tire.

This particular night it was raining. 
I just can't seem to escape the rain these days...but that's another story.

I quickly took a few shots before the men on the dock moved out of the frame.
I think they were enjoying the view, too!

A few thoughts regarding night photography:

A tripod is a must for night shots.
You can never go wrong by using a tripod at any time of day.
A wired/remote shutter release is also a must.
A flashlight or other light source is helpful to see dials/settings. 
If you use the flash light mode in a mobile phone, make sure it is fully charged (don't ask how I know that!).

Pop an extra battery into your pocket.
If you use live view it eats up your battery life.
So do the long exposures, especially if you use long exposure noise reduction.
If a spare battery is in your pocket, you have easy access to it.
Change your battery at the first indication it is low in the camera.
You don't want it to poop out during a long exposure.

Microfiber cloths are your BFF, especially in the drizzle. Not only do lenses get wet,
but so do glasses!! And then all bets are off if you can't see to check your focus, etc.!
If it's dusk, an ND filter may prove useful to achieve long enough shutter speeds.
Another trick is to use multiple exposures at faster shutter speeds to get the silken water effect.

Dress can get chilly when the sun goes down, even in summer. 

As always...just have fun!
In the end it doesn't matter if you get the shot or not if you enjoyed the process!

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/11 6 sec  XF35mm (53mm EFL)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

winter water

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
~ Joseph Campbell

We went exploring in the rain this past weekend.
We went to Beaver Creek Falls in Clatskanie, OR.
The water was running high and fast!!
Very different from our visit last September!

Looking back on my notes from back then,
I did have a tripod with me, but wished that I had an umbrella connected to the tripod this time.

I routinely carry a lot of microfiber cloths to dry off the camera and lens, 
and was very glad to have them!
A towel would've been nice. It was a soaker!

I did have boots in the car and, in fact, made a mid-day shoe change.

I had my cable release with me, so I was well prepared overall...except for the umbrella attachment. 
I visited Amazon to purchase one when I got home!

In the picture above, you can see the top of the falls depicted below.
You can also see how the bottom of the trail had been completely washed
out after recent flooding in the area. We couldn't get down to the bottom of the falls
and had to shoot from a different vantage point.

To add to the 4 lessons from last September:
Lesson #5: Always carry microfiber cloths (you can never have too many) for drying of your lens, 
and add a small hand towel for drying off your camera for really wet days or wet areas, e.g. waterfalls that spew a lot of spray!

Lesson #6: Carry boots and extra socks.

Lesson #7:  Carry an umbrella or other kind of protective 
wrap to protect your camera/tripod/self from rain and drizzle. If it isn't too windy and you
can attach the umbrella to your tripod, all the better!

Lesson #8: Use caution and be prudent when walking trails in the winter time. Damp moss and leaves are slippery. I used my tripod as a walking stick in some areas, but would've liked a true walking stick
to keep in the trunk and have available as necessary.

What items do you include in your everyday photo carry?

Canon 5DS R varied ISO and speeds 24-70mm f4/L IS

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I prefer winter and fall, 
when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, 
the dead feeling of winter. 
Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
~ Andrew Wyeth

I'm sure you know by now that I like to play with my images - pre capture and post.
I like to play in setting up small vignettes of still life scenes in unconventional ways, adding textures,
turning images upside down, and popping them into black and white.

This time I inverted the black and white so that black became white and vice versa.
Too fun.

I use black to white gradient maps to create my B&W images. There are many ways to turn a color image into B&W, this is one way and it seems to work fine. I create three layers of gradient maps (all black to white) with three different blending modes, Normal, Screen and Multiply. I adjust the opacity in the Screen and Multiply layers as needed and use a soft brush to adjust finer details on their respective layer masks.
For the top most image I did the normal B to W gradient, then I added two W to B gradients.
I was smitten.
I loved how the graphical elements stood out, and the different tones in the water popped.
It totally changed the feel of the image.

The original and B&W images are below...which of the three do you prefer?
I imagine a little goes a long way and I won't be doing this B&W inversion often.
But it was fun to play with it in this image.
This is the home of the Whimsical Pixel! ;)

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/2.8 1/40 sec  XF35mm (53mm EFL)

Monday, January 11, 2016


While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph 
can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, 
there is another in which it proves to us 
how little our eyes permit us to see.
~ Dorothea Lange

I wanted to change things up a bit when processing this image. 
I turned it 180 degrees and what were once branches reaching skyward,
became 'roots'.

I'm not a philosopher, so I will just leave it at that.

I like to process my images. Sometimes I do very little,
and sometimes I add textures and such.
 I like to see if there is another story to tell or another mood I can
evoke via processing that may not have been in the original image.
And sometimes, when I'm very lucky, the image SOOC is just what I wanted!

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/2.8 1/75 sec  XF35mm (53mm EFL)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Everything that is possible demands to exist.
~ Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The first image of 2016.

I'm thinking about how to mix it up this year.
Spark my creativity a bit.
I've been listening to some photography pod casts in which a 52-week project is discussed.
One picture per week for the year.
365 day projects are a bit more demanding
and can become a chore.
Not what you want when you want to spark creativity.
 Chores can the photographer to gravitate to taking
mindless images just to produce something and meet a deadline.
Versus a 52 week project.
A project with a fresh theme each week.
I don't think there are any rules other than 
making an image each week.
It seems like a doable project.

Quite possible in fact.

Happy 2016!!

FujiXT1 ISO 320 f/2.4 1/280 sec  XF60mm macro (90mm EFL)