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)