2019-01-07: Monochrome Monday

Good Morning everyone!  I just have a single image to share today for monochrome Monday, as trying to export this one was an immensely frustrating process.  I’ve been working with the new On1 Photo Raw 2019, and there are some serious export issues with the program.  In reading some online forums, it seems to be an issue that a lot of people are having.

It took me 5 tries to export this image and have it resemble the image on my screen.  The first was incredibly dark, a second version very light, one version everything was tinted red.  I wish I would have saved all these junk exports to share, but I deleted them in frustration.

At this stage, I am actually contemplating switching up my workflow again and going back to Lightroom, as I really don’t like wasting a bunch of time doing things over and over again.  So far there have not been any updates to the program that have addressed these issues.

This image was shot at Joshua Tree National Park in California, back in October.  I was playing around with an infrared filter that I had purchased.  I have much to learn about properly shooting with this filter, but I am happy with the result I got.

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Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

2019-01-01: Happy New Year!

One of the projects that I undertake in December, for myself and a few family and friends is creating custom calendars; formatted both for hanging on a wall (I use a clipboard) or smaller sized to fit in freestanding wood blocks.

This year I’ve decided to share them on the blog, for anyone that would like to have one.

January and February for the half fold calendar is shown below.  They are sized for 11″ x 8 1/2″ paper; I use cardstock to print them.

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There isn’t a particular theme to the calendars this year; just images that I enjoy looking at and that bring back memories of wonderful times traveling.  I hope that these will brighten up your wall or desk a little more than a freebie calendar from the bank 🙂

Click here to download the half-fold calendar for January and February

Click here to download the full page calendar for January and February

March and April will be included in my February Month in Review post.

Wishing everyone a fantastic year ahead.

 

2018-12-30: Backyard Birds

I must apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t intended on taking any time off the blog in the run-up to Christmas, but time just got away from me.

Christmas Day saw a very unusual visitor to the bird feeder – a Blue Jay.  To those on the east coast I’m sure that doesn’t sound very exciting; but they are considered rare in my area, and I’ve not seen one since I was a kid growing up in Ontario, so I was thrilled.  The jay was very skittish though and while I have seen it a few times over the past couple of days, they are usually blink and you’ll miss it moments.  All I have to show for it are some fuzzy shots through my office window, but at least I have proof that it was here.

We’ve had a fair bit of snow the last few days, and it’s been very busy at the feeders; chickadees and nuthatches, flickers, downy and hairy woodpeckers, gray jays and even a visit from the magpies that I generally only see a couple streets over from where I live.  The ruffed grouse has also been around quite frequently.  I’ve been battling a bug with a nasty cough so I haven’t been outside much with my camera, but I did manage to capture the magpie and the grouse.  Now that I am starting to feel better I am hoping to get out and capture more of birds in the yard, and perhaps with any luck the blue jay will make another appearance.

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2018-12-16: Luminar’s Sky Enhancer

Last week I decided I would play around with one of the new features in Luminar, a filter called AI Sky Enhancer.  Perhaps the timing wasn’t so good though, as yesterday evening I downloaded the newly release Luminar 3, and with the added library function, I was having a bit of trouble navigating the system (since I haven’t yet looked at any resources on how to use the new software).  Despite a bit of floundering within the libraries function, the actual photo editing and filters layout remains the same, and I was able to complete my self-appointed task.

This first image wasn’t solely about the sky; it’s kind of hard to ignore the leopard in the tree!  I wanted to enhance the natural colours of the sky and bring up some of the shadow areas.  I started with the AI Sky Enhancer and added other filters as needed (which was how I approached all the images).  I’ve included a split screen showing before and after and the edited image for each one I worked on.

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Next up is a photo shot while on a boat on the Boteti River in Botswana.  Shooting into the sun left the sky quite washed out; I am impressed how well I could enhance the sky colour and the clouds with Luminar without it becoming to HDR-like.

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The Okavango Delta is an amazing place for sunsets; the colours in the sky are incredibly dramatic from my experience.  With that much colour already, it is easy to take the image a step too far and have it look radioactive.  The AI sky enhancer did a great job accentuating the detail in the clouds, without pumping the colour up to 11.

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Finally I have included a sunset from the Hoanib desert in Namibia.  There was a lot of airborne dust and sand that evening, so while I did do some noise reduction in the sky to reduce the visible grain, there is definitely still a lot of texture.  This was also shot with my Panasonic camera, which is much noisier than the Nikon I was also shooting with.  Regardless, I am please with the realistic tones, the detail in the clouds and the textures in the desert and the hills.

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I’m going to ow have to spend some time familiarizing myself with the layout of the new Luminar software, so I can work using their library function in an efficient manner.

2018-12-10: Monochrome Monday

I think elephants look stunning in a black and white interpretation.  The amazing texture of their skin gets emphasized in such a wonderful way.

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Lots of wrinkles, and wise eyes.
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An old bull elephant enjoying a drink in Etosha National Park.
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This elephant gave us one head shake, but when she realized the rest of the family was completely chill with our presence, she went back to calmly grazing.

2018-12-09: Artistic Impressions

This week, I felt inspired to play around in Topaz Impressions and create some of my artistic impression images.  Or as I like to say, what I would paint, if I could paint :).

Next week, I am going to try and work with the new AI Sky Enhancer that Luminar just released.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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A young elephant seen on an early morning game drive.
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A leopard scanning the horizon at sunset in the Okavango Delta.
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A regal lion laying in the tall grass just after sunrise.
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A large warthog moving through camp.
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A fiery sunset – Africa has the most expressive skies!