Moravian Cemetery, Hope, Indiana and Flat Rock.

Today, I’m feeling more myself and so we took a quick trip to Hope, Indiana to visit a cemetery Gale had read about.

It was fine and I took a few snaps. On the way home we stopped at a cemetery in Flat Rock. I think it’s Morristown, but Gale would know better. This was actually more conducive to photography and the sun was playing hide and seek behind a cloud.

I took a lot of photos at both places. I wasn’t blown away by any of them at the time, but since I’m still on this split-tone kick, I thought I’d try it on some of them. I’m slightly happier in monochrome.

For the technically minded. Canon 6D with a 17-40mm and 50mm. Postworked in Lightroom 5.6.

Split-Tone

Black and white photography.  Gotta love it.  With an absence of color the mind can concentrate on shapes, shades and contrast.

But you can do more than just remove color from a photo.   You can tint the monochrome to a slight color, brown to give an aged look, blue to give  a cold look.  Or split-tone.    This is a way of tinting highlights and lowlights to a subtle color.  Back in the olden days of film, it would be accomplished by using different chemical baths that reacted differently depending how exposed the print was. Digitally, it’s much easier and less smelly.  In this case I’ve tinted the highlights to blue and the lowlights to red.
Celtic Cross DuotoneSee how the dark clouds around the edge have a slight red tinge and around the cross are more blue?  Neat huh?  It adds more dynamic to an otherwise monochrome image.

Here are two more:Dead Body House Du-Tone Statue

Cave Hill Louisville, Kentucky

A quick trip to Cave Hill for a few photos of the fall color, which wasn’t quite there yet.

Crown Hill HDRI

Today we went to Crown Hill to take some fall color pictures.  Which I didn’t, but I did get to use my new 6D and then play around with Photomatix.

Canon 6D

Gale got a new camera a while back.  Her first full frame.  Big deal I thought.  Is a full frame really that different?

YES IT IS

When I first looked through it I couldn’t stop laughing.  Not that it’s funny, but just what a difference it makes.  I literally did a double take.  She has a 17mm lens and I’m sure it has a 90 degree field of view. Actually I just looked it up, it’s 93 degree!   For comparison, my 40D was 67 degrees with the same lens!  This is HUGE!

But it meant that I got her 40D for a great deal.  I was happy, she was happy, we was happy.

Until it broke.   I was taking shots of flowers and it shuddered, gurgled and stopped.  Then all it would do was give an ERR99, which is a generic fault for a million different things.   I suspect it was the curtain lens busted.  $200+ repair.  Or I could just spend the extra and get a 6D.

So I did.

6d

Today we are going to Crown Hill to try it out.  her with her fancy 17mm and me with my 50mm (which I love)

FYI on my old camera my 50mm acted like an 84mm which gave me a 24 degree field of vision and now gives me 40 degrees!

Single Image HDR

I’ve played around with HDR before. Both in Photoshop and with Photomatix.  The usual way is to take three shots at different exposures and then use the app to combine them into a tonemapped image.   The problem is, that without a tripod, it’s really tricky to keep the camera still for all three shots.  The program will do what it can to line the shots up, but they are never perfect.

What would be better would be to use a single RAW file and create the three under, normal and over exposed images.  In photoshop you can do this with camera raw and then combine those three images into an HDR file.

Photomatix has a SINGLE SHOT option which does it for you.   So I tried that today.  The shot on the left is the regularly exposed image and the one on the right is the HDR Image created from it.    Not too shabby.   Maybe not as good as a real bracketted shot, but hard to tell unless you were to compare the two.

Just another option for creating HDRI after the fact (when you didn’t think about it at the time of taking the photo).

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Retired Letterbox – Nice Work!

Back in June of 2003 I placed two letterboxes in woods near Tunbridge Wells. One was quickly removed. I hid it behind a wall and think the land owner probably removed it.
The other one, however, remained in place. This trip I checked on it, as you may have read in a post from a few weeks back. After 12 years it’s not in great shape. The stamp and pad are going and the pages have several forms of fungus and mold. I had planned to transplant it to America, but having watched The Strain, I’m worried that I may introduce some pathogen to the colonies.
In order to preserve all the stamps I collected from people that found it, in creating this album.

Dartmoor

Wistman’s Woods

Dartmoor is one of the most magical places in England.   The bleak moors, the endless hills, the mysterious piles of rocks.

The most magical place on Dartmoor is Wistman’s Wood.  Trees grow between rocks, all covered in a layer of moss.   Photos fail to do it justice, but here are some anyway

Mudsock Meanderers

You may have heard me talk about letterboxing before. If you haven’t and don’t know what it is, here’s a quick run down (via Wikipedia) –

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Me stamping a log book.

Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art, and puzzle solving. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly accessible places (like parks) and distribute clues to finding the box in printed catalogs, on one of several web sites, or by word of mouth.

Individual letterboxes contain a notebook and a rubber stamp, preferably hand carved or custom made.

Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp in their personal notebook, and leave an impression of their personal signature stamp on the letterbox’s “visitors’ book” or “logbook” — as proof of having found the box and letting other letterboxers know who has visited. Many letterboxers keep careful track of their “find count”.

We’ve found quite a few Letterboxes, both over here and over there and I even placed one in Kent about 10 years ago.

Gale and I are off to Britannia soon, to Dartmoor (among other places), the birthplace of Letterboxing.  We wanted a unique stamp, but carving is tricky and you have to be pretty good to get a decent stamp.

There it is!

Gale pointing to the location of a letterbox.

But guess what?  Gale has a 30watt laser engraver sitting in our spare bedroom. So she ordered some laser engravable rubber and dumped it on my desk with a “work this out” kind of look.

A few Googles later and a quick read of the laser manual and I powered up Corel Draw and came up with a design.
Sent it to the laser and then sat and watched a rubber stamp appear before my eyes.

We’re pretty pleased with the result and once we’ve finalized the design (Gale wants more stars) we will be ready to go find us some Letterboxes.

If you have any interest in finding Letterboxes near you, check out AtlasQuest which is not great looking, but has a lot of information on how to start.

stamp

Mudsock Meanderers was Gale’s creation. The Fish is in reference to our home town of Fishers and Mudsock is the original name for Fishers, clever huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update update: And here’s my updated stamp. This is the one I’m gonna go with. The torch and stars are the state flag for Indiana.

Eiffel Tower Panorama

OK Kids, back in the olden times we didn’t have fancy smart phones that could take panoramic photos.  We had to do it the old fashioned way, down a mine, for 16 hours, after a 14 mile hike.

In 2005 we went to Paris and I, of course, took a photo of the Eiffel Tower.  But to get it all in frame with the cheap camera I had I had to stand about 5 miles away.   So instead I took 4 shots with the intent to stitch them together in Photoshop.   9 years later and I’ve still not done it.

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I was looking through my photos and came across them and thought I’d give it ago.   Guess what?   Photoshop does all the hard work for you.  just chuck multiple photos at it and you get a perfectly stitched panoramic image.  I know where the joins are and I can’t see them.  DSCF2891-Edit

 

Saline – August 2014

Just got back from our long weekend in Saline to have a big old family get together.   I’ve uploaded a few photos I edited on my tablet while I was there, but you can’t really beat Lightroom.

Perfect Effects 8

Is FREE right now.

I’ve never heard of these filters, but free is good, right?   Worst case, I uninstall it.

So far, I like it.  It’s a photo filter and enhancer.  I won’t use 80% of the filters, but the photo effects and contrast modifiers are pretty nice.

Here’s an example:

IMG_5594This is the photo right out of the camera.  It’s in RAW format, which I would normally tweak in Lightroom.  But I sent it over to Perfect Effects and hit one of the high contrast filters and got this:

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Sharper, more contrast and more detail.  And just one click.   Totally worth the FREE price tag.

The app works in Photoshop and Lightroom but if you don’t have either you can use it as a standalone app too.   The image management isn’t as good as Lightroom.  But, and I say it again, it’s FREE!  If you are an avid photographer I really suggest you check it out.

Go get it HERE before the offer runs out.

Stream Cliff Farms

Stream Cliff Farms is a small farm which has become a cute place to get a good meal, wine, and flowers.   I did none of that this time, but did get some quite nice photos.

New Camera!!

I just got a great deal on a Canon 40D!  40d

So off to the park we trot, hoping for something worth snapping.   Maybe the white-tailed squirrels which play there.  It seems they are camera shy.  However, when we got home, Gale noticed the duck on the retention pond had a baby with her.   So I wandered over and took a few shots.  Bear in mind, the camera is new to me and I haven’t quite worked out where are the settings are.    It’s a great camera and does a lot of things I really like which my old one wouldn’t.   I have always said that more mega pixels doesn’t make a better picture.   The sensor and the lens make a better picture.   But having 10.1 megapixels certainly helps.  It’s also quicker to take rapid shots.   AND it tethers directly to Lightroom and to my tablet!   Going to be great for our trip to England.

Here are the photos.  The sun was low and bright, which didn’t help and ducks move, a lot, and I’m still learning the camera.  But still cute.

 

 

Spring Grove Cemetery

A few photos from our trip to Spring Grove Cemetery.

The Five Stages of Grief

It’s NOT broken

AGHH!  It IS broken, damn it!

Please don’t be broken.  I’ll do anything.

Wow, I’m pretty bummed out that it’s broken.

Oh well, guess I’ll go buy a new one.

My beloved tablet committed tabicide off my shelf at work.  Probably hitting a few things on the way down.  It took my phone on it’s fall with it, but the phone is unharmed.

I didn’t get a extended warranty, since I never do.  And it would have been outside the 2 years anyway.

It was due for an upgrade.  I just didn’t really want to spend the money right this minute.  But that’s why we have credit. Right?

BrokeWhat did I learn?  Make sure it’s flat on the shelf and not resting on a book.  Maybe leave it in a cover case when it’s not at home surrounded by a couch or a bed.  Expensive lesson.

I have the opportunity now to look at other tablets.  But you know what?  I LOVE my Nexus.  Being Google’s own, it just got upgraded to 4.4.4  How many Android devices are at 4.4.4?

Why would I consider anything else?  I don’t want a kindle fire.  The galaxy tab is just fine.  but I know the Nexus.  I want a Nexus.  AND it’s 32GB which will be perfect for taking to England to store all my photos.

Just killing time waiting for 10am so I can go pick it up.   Bestbuy have it for the same price as Google (plus tax) with a free cover! and I can use Paypal at Bestbuy.

Oh!  :-(  My broken nexus just gave me an email notification.  It doesn’t know it’s dying.  That’s just really sad.  I should probably shut it down and put it out of its misery.

 

Laser Cut Astrological Steam Punk Clock.

I made this a while ago.  It’s a simple cheap clock mechanism with five layers of laser cut clockage. Inspired by the amazing work of  Eric Freitas.

I designed the cogs in Corel Draw and then cut and engraved them on Gale’s Zing 30watt laser.  Then I spray painted each part. The cogs don’t move, but it does (or did) tell the time.   The number 3 and VII are laser cut paper.

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Close Up

Raining, again!

But kinda cool to take photos of.

Every photo needs editing.

Some out there are purists and believe that what ever the camera sees should be the final product.   Me, I think that’s tosh.  Even before digital a film camera shot needed postwork to get it onto paper.  How long to expose the film, how long to expose the paper, what kind of paper, what treatment, what cropping.

Cameras are not great at creating JPG files.  Too much control is given away and the end results can be poor.  Lots of aberrations, poor choice of colour and contrast.   Taking photos in RAW format is THE best option.  but the photos can be a little lifeless.  The colour and exposure need some help to bring out the best from any photo.

For example.  This morning a baby squirrel was playing on my deck.  I snapped away and got some shots that were almost in focus.   I took these at iso800, which on my camera is pretty high.  Also at f11 which is about mid range.  It means the background was more in focus than I really wanted.  But I wanted the critter to be in focus.

IMG_5914It’s cute enough for a snap shot.  But the contrast and color is wishy-washy, not helped by taking this through a window.  The squirrel isn’t the focus of the photo and it needs cropping and sharpening.  The flower and the top of the chair are distracting.  None of which I can do in camera.  Especially after the fact.

This is where software comes to play.  I use lightroom.  I cropped in close to start with.  I wanted the squirrel and the wood to be more the centre of attention, so took the green saturation down a little and the reds and brown up.    I also increased the contrast and shadows.

Added a little bit of sharpening, but not too much or it goes too grainy.  A little blur on the top and bottom.

Here is the final result.

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