Fallen Warrior

Unlike the first leaf photo posted today I changed gears and looked for a composition where everything was tack sharp. I spotted a fallen leaf, covered in raindrops that had fallen from its tree and landed on an evergreen branch. The detailed green background made for an interesting study in complementary colors and contrast.

One of the challenges of the day’s shoot was working with the low light caused by the super overcast sky. Rain clouds were hanging low diffusing the light and allowing rich, saturated color and crystal sharp detail. I chose ISO for most of my pictures knowing that would not be an issue with my Fuji X-E1. I could have gone to ISO 6400 and still feel comfortable as long as I fill my camera frame and don’t plan on doing a lot of cropping. That’s part of my knowledge of photography, knowing how to get good results in trying conditions. The shots I took Friday would not have been possible on a bright sunny day. Take what nature hands you and work with it.

Single Fallen Leaf

Sunkissed Leaf

It actually wasn’t sunny yesterday when I managed to get in a trip to the zoo. I was in between rain showers for the hour I managed to snatch from Mother Nature. I’ll take it! In reality this photo of Fall foliage was backlit, giving the impression that the sun was highlighting the central leaf. I had plenty of subjects to choose from as the trees were exploding with color after all the rain we’ve had in the past week. I was looking for gradient color with unique edges. Again, the selection was endless so I picked the shot most pleasing to me.

Sunkissed Leaf

JPG vs RAF vs DNG

The portrait I shot today of a grandfather holding his granddaughter gave me an idea. I framed the shot in camera and therefore had no need to crop it in post processing. It’s a golden opportunity to compare three different digital formats, JPG, RAF & DNG. Understand the conditions for this comparison: Processing on the RAF (RAW) file and DNG file were only accomplished in Adobe Camera Raw. No photoshop editing was done on these lossless processes. Only the JPG final photo was carried forward into Photoshop for additional processing. Take a close look and you can see how very little editing I needed to do from the original file coming straight out of the camera. Even though I shot the photo at ISO 3200 at F/8 and 1/320″ I managed to retain a high quality image with barely any noticeable noise. I used no noise reduction software on any of these images. My main editing in Photoshop included adding additional shadow detail, adding more detail and structure to the baby’s hat, enhancing the grandfather’s eyes and a touch of sharpening the image. My secret weapon to doing all these localized adjustments is Google’s NIK Software’s Vivesa 2. I added structure & detail to the baby’s sleeve & hat with it as well as bring out additional detail in the man’s fur collar.

Format Samples

Grandfather’s Pride

I asked this grandfather if I could take his picture with his new granddaughter and he agreed. I gave him a contact card telling him I’d send him the picture if he simply sends me an email. I hope he does because I love the way it turned out.

Grandfather's Pride

Oregon Zoo’s Trains Running Again

The new track has been laid and the staff is firing up the trains for a test run. I heard the staff saying this morning that they want to get the trains running in time for the annual Zoo Lights ornament display during the Christmas holiday. It was good to see them running again.

Train Test Run

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Toys for kids or adults

This was a bit of a challenge for me to look through my archives and find toy photos that I could enter into Cee’s challenge. I have several, actually, but what category they would be in amongst all the folders is like the proverbial needle in a haystack. I found this one filed simply under “Misc”. Cee is a wonderful photographer who posts a lot of great photographic challenges over on her blog site at: http://ceenphotography.com/.  Notice the toy the father and his daughter are both carrying. :)

The Teddy Bear Test

Child & Father 1

Father & Bird 1

“You Can Lead A Horse To Water…”

What can I say, a person wants to print 3 different 4″x6″ pictures on one 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper. I set up a template and post it for them to allow a simple drag & drop operation to accomplish this. They respond back that my idea doesn’t work. I mention that it had to have worked for me to print the picture of the template. Doh! Seeing Is Believing! The one thing I can’t do over the internet is hold their hand.

Template 2

test 2

An Exciting Time

This past week or two I’ve really gotten excited on a number of fronts. A lot of it has to do with technology. I’ve solved my off the grid desires to get away from cable and network TV while still being able to get the shows and movies I want over the internet. So you might ask what is the difference between broadcast TV and internet TV? The first BIG difference is the commercials. Who out there is tired of watching or even hearing Geico commercials? I struggle to get to the mute button fast enough to shut them down. With internet TV through Plex and my Roku “There are no commercials”! Did you catch that? There are NO commercials. Your 1 hour TV show such as CSI or NCIS is 42 minutes without all those commercials. Next, TV off the internet is watched when you want to watch it. It’s like having a DVR with a remote control. You can pause for potty breaks, phonecalls and snack breaks. It’s better than  Hulu or HuluPlus because there are no annoying commercials and you don’t need to wait 2-3 days to get the latest episode.

I still watch local news, sports & weather on my local channels over the internet on my 21.5″ iMac computer. I watch ABC, NBC & CBS national news through Plex and Roku on my HDTV, when I want to watch them. We who live on the west coast are always 3 hours behind the east coast folks. It’s nice to watch the east coast news as it’s being broadcast 3 hours earlier than the special west coast edition.

Another exciting change in my life involves editing software for my photography. I spent very little money out of pocket and have the latest Photoshop, Lightroom, and Elements software in my hands or on the way. I say on the way because OnOne Software’s latest version of their Perfect Photo Suite 9 Premium Upgrade should be released and available for download on October 31, just 8 days from now. I’ve already paid the $89 upgrade fee and received an activation code. I’m stoked.

Oregon’s long rainy season is in full motion with temperatures sure to drop more during what is called our winter. I’m housebound until almost the middle of June when the rain stops and everything dries out. In retirement I need mental and physical activity to keep me going through the long wait for better conditions to get out there and shoot everyday again. When you have every minute of every day free to do anything you want you’ve got to make plans because it’s not healthy or wise to go into hibernation for 5 months. I thank God I’ll be entertained as well as educated to new heights over the coming months. And, I’m able to do all this on a shoestring budget that I can afford.