2018-10-29: Monochrome Monday

I met a friend for a tea and a visit last week, and as she also feels a connection to elephants, I started telling her about the elephant encounter I had on the last day of my last safari trip.  Since I still had a few flagged images from that sighting that I wanted to edit, I thought they’d make a great post for today.

I posted a bit of the story of these elephants before, which you can check out here if you’d like, along with a couple more images.

I hope you enjoy my selection of images, and hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

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A tiny elephant calf dwarfed by Mom and an aunt.
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One of the youngsters coming up to the vehicle to check me out.
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An elephant calf enjoying a fresh drink of water from a burst landscaping pipe.
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Adults and youngsters all jockeying for position around the water.  The littlest seemed to be trying to do a balance beam routine on the small log, and nearly tipped over just after this was taken.

 

2018-08-26: Elephants edited with Luminar

Since it has been far too smoky to get out shooting, I decided I needed a theme for my Luminar editing this week, and I decided on elephants (surprise!).  I’ve not watched any more Luminar tutorials this week, but I have decided for the balance of the month I am going to search out resources on Luminar for Windows, as the program is a bit less advanced than the Mac version.

I actually tried to edit an image on my Windows computer using Luminar, but got frustrated with a clone and stamp issue and gave up.  Currently, I’m letting that computer download the latest update while I write this, so perhaps the issue will be resolved with the latest version.

Editing elephant images has given me a chance to work with a variety of tools to bring out texture and contrast.  An elephant’s wrinkly skin is such a wonderful feature, and raw files really need to be worked with to bring that back to life.  I’ve found that Luminar does an excellent job with this, but you definitely need a gentle hand with the adjustments as they can go up to 11 very quickly.  The other feature I am enjoying on Luminar is the Accent AI slider.  It analyzes an image and tries to adjust automatically for exposure, contrast, clarity, saturation… but like the filters that affect details, I find it it needs to be used with a gentle touch, otherwise the image starts to look overdone.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week.  Wishing everyone a great week ahead.

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One of the desert adapted elephants in the Hoanib River bed.  Namibia, April 2017.
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A pair of elephants checking us out before heading down to drink.  Phinda Game Reserve, May 2017.
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Seeing double – a pair of juvenile elephants along the edge of a dam on Phinda Game Reserve.
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This bull was not particularly pleased with our presence, and shot out a blast of air from his trunk, sending sand up all around him, like confetti.  We were driving on the airstrip to give him lots of space on the road, but we certainly didn’t stick around any longer, as he was in musth and we didn’t want to chance annoying him any further.
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This young lady couldn’t have been more different to the bull elephant above.  We were parked on the roadway and she approached us and then just chilled out along the side of the road, waiting while the rest of her family had a drink from a broken water pipe.

2018-08-06: Monochrome Monday

My Mom was looking for some elephant images to hang up, and originally thought she would like a sepia tinted photo, so I worked on this edit for her in Luminar.

In the end we decided a colour image would look better in the frame that she had, but at least I had another opportunity to do some editing of my very favourite animal.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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A bull elephant at a watering hole in Nxai Pans Park in Botswana.  April 2017.

2018-05-06: Topic of the month – Painterly Effects

To some, using software to make a photo look as if it were sketched or painted may seem like an abomination.  Photographers often go to great lengths (sometimes at great expense) to create sharp and crisp images that show the viewer exactly what the scene looked like.  But what about those times when that beautifully crisp, perfectly exposed image doesn’t convey the feeling of the moment?  Or, heaven forbid, what if you goof up on the exposure, or mess up the focus a bit, but the moment was great and you still want to do something  with the image?  These are just some of the reasons for exploring painterly effects with photography.  I’ve edited photos in the past for all those reasons and while I don’t post them too often, I do have a gallery of my favourite Artistic Impressions or Photo Art images.

This week, I was inspired by a vintage style travel poster I have had hanging up for around the last 12 years or so.  I see it every time I walk towards my sitting room; this week I was struck by the interest in creating a photo series inspired by it, whereas most of the time I just look at it and think “I really want to go to the Serengeti someday”.

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A quick snap of the poster that inspired this week’s editing.

I decided to do a series of Big 5 animals; I can imagine these in a vintage travel brochure advertising visiting the “Dark Continent” to see the wild and ferocious Big 5.  I edited all of them using the Topaz Simplify filter through the Topaz Studio program.

I hope you enjoy!

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2018-02-25: Revisiting Old Work

During this month of revisiting old work, I’ve had the opportunity to take many trips down memory lane, remembering amazing moments in nature and the challenging times trying to work out what to do with my camera to make the image that appeared on my LCD match the thought I had in my head.

What this monthly topic has hammered home is that the gear doesn’t matter, its what you are able to do with it.  The software used to edit images doesn’t matter, its understanding how to make the tools work for you in the best ways possible.    These things get said time and time again, but they really become apparent when you start reviewing a collection of work gathered over time that has been captured and edited with a variety of different resources.

No one looking at my images is going to say “You shot that on this camera body and then you edited it with that software program.  There are times when I have been out shooting with more than one camera and once the images have been uploaded to my computer, I don’t know which image was shot with which body, without checking the info panel!

At the end of the day, the only thing that should matter is if the image moves you in some way.

And with that, here are a few images I have reworked this week.  I hope you enjoy, and please check back next Sunday to find out what the topic of the month will be for March.

A rhino with her calf seen while doing volunteer work with Wildlife Act in 2014.
Not a spectacular picture, but a fun memory for me. I took a day off work and went out shooting for a school project I was working on. It was a fine fall day so I took Spencer with me, and he was overjoyed at having the opportunity to dig in the sand next to the river. October 2013.
My first foray into Botswana included viewing elephants in the water from a boat. An amazing experience!  April 2013.
For my then and now image, I chose this wild dog lounging in the shade, seen while working with Wildlife Act in 2014.
Here is the now version of this image. I think I was much better able to highlight the texture of the fur compared to the original edit.