Victoria Gardens, Canada Pavilion, Epcot
Victoria Gardens, Canada Pavilion, Epcot
Delta Lake State Park
Today’s image is from the end of my photography adventure on Saturday. I was able to get out and capture both the sunrise and the sunset, with this sunset being at my old stand-by Delta Lake State Park. The water level in the reservoir is always low during the winter so I was able to walk out quite a ways toward this familiar point to capture the sunset light reflected in the layer of ice.
Lock 20, Barge Canal
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post my adventure for a sunrise began at Lock 20 on the Barge Canal. The morning light combined with the clouds was creating some beautiful colors. On the downstream side of the lock the canal was no longer frozen although there were ice floaties… yes, that is a technical term. LOL
Due to the ice layer further down the canal an upper level current was swirling the floating ice pieces. My trick was to get the right amount of time on the exposure to show this current (like a star trail in a night sky photograph) without blowing the highlights near the horizon. The moments just prior to sunrise and the cloud cover allowed a 15 second exposure. As you can see in the bottom of the image, there is a very cool dynamic with the current.
Union Station, Utica, New York
Saturday morning was a mad dash around the county for me. I wanted to get out early and find a nice sunrise image. I then was going to move some furniture I no longer needed and maybe find some time to go out for the sunset. The dashing part came in mostly in the morning.
I headed down to Lock 20 of the Barge Canal since I knew there would be open water in the canal below the lock. I could use that water to ‘catch’ the morning colors. That was successful and I am happy with what I captured. Next, I hopped over to North Utica for some gas.
As I was coming into Utica on my way to pick up the van I was borrowing, the sun just started to break the city skyline. It was a spontaneous decision to swing down to the train station and grab some images along the tracks. That worked out well for me!
I picked up the van, moved the furniture, had a great burger for lunch and went home to relax before the sunset. Just as my daughter headed to work I gathered up the camera and headed to Delta Lake for the sunset. Another good decision as the sun was reflecting off the clear portions of ice that had formed on top of the frozen lake. The recent warm weather created nice conditions for sunsets at the beach.
Selecting the image for today was tough with so many good choices. I went with the train station as it is a little different from my normal landscapes. I also really liked how it turned out with the sunburst at the end of the tracks and all the sight lines leading right to it. I wasn’t going to complain about that sky either!
There was another reason for me to choose this image. I successfully used a technique I learned about from Jimmy McIntyre from Shutter Evolve. This technique can be used when capturing images that have strong light sources in the view. Typically the lens will reflect the light internally and create spots in the image. Previously I had to decide if I wanted to move my camera position to minimize or remove those spots. Sometimes that would change the composition to something less desirable.
The technique I learned, which really could be called a hack, is to capture your image then capture a second image using your thumb to cover up the light source. This will remove the spots from the image and then you can use an image editor to paint out the spots using the second image.
Here are my original two images…
Radiator Springs Area, Art of Animation Resort,
Walt Disney World
When I was on vacation in December we spent two days over at Walt Disney World (shocker, I know!). Rather than drive back to the east coast of Florida it was better to get a room on property which would also allow us easier entry into another park. As luck would have it an Annual Passholder discount was available so I quickly booked a room at the Pop Century Resort.
I personally enjoy staying at Pop Century when I can not use my DVC points. Not only is the resort full of photographic opportunities it is just a walk across a bridge to the Art of Animation Resort. One of my favorite areas at this resort is the Radiator Springs area. You can walk Route 66 and see all the characters from the Cars movie.
On the morning of our second day I woke early to capture some sunrise images. I didn’t bring my tripod on this trip to Disney (planned attempt at traveling light). So I knew I would be pushing my ISO rather high to capture the early morning light. For this image I was at ISO 1600 which will leave a little image noise even with the best noise reduction software.
I really liked the sky over the Cozy Cone Motel and the meandering path of Route 66 into the image. I got low to the ground (OK, sitting on it) to enhance the effect of the road leading in. The Motel sign actually spins so I had to time the capture just right. Also, due to the rotation I wanted to minimize any motion blur which prompted me to lower the aperture to f/2 in order to get a 1/500s shutter speed. Overall, I like how this one turned out.
Photo Fix Friday
The second edition of Photo Fix Friday is here. I don’t believe I can call it a regular feature of my blog yet, but I am working on it. Surprisingly there are quite a few opportunities in my early images.
This Morning Trail image was captured on my way to work back in April 2012. The town had cleared off some land designated for a new town park and offices. It was a cold morning and the frost hung heavy on the ground. I spotted the sun breaking the horizon through the trees. It was creating some great shadows in the path toward the woods. I pulled the car around and returned to the small entrance. I grabbed the camera with its tripod and quickly captured the scene.
What I remember most about the view was the frost on the grass along with the light and shadows. As you can see in the first image I over-processed the scene by increasing the colors. I’m sure I ran the image through my Topaz Labs Adjust program to create a pseudo HDR effect and in the process destroyed what it was about the scene that made me stop. If you look in the tops of the trees on the right of the image you can spot the halo effect of using the HDR function too much in Adjust. Another sure sign for me is the loss of blue in the sky. The sun was not that over powering, that is all in my post-processing.
The second image is basically straight out of the camera. This is what I initially captured. The horizon is tilted and the image is a little underexposed. You can also see the true color of the sky as well as the frost on the grass.
Now for the fix. I changed the crop that I used. I know I went with the 16×9 crop in the original because I had to place the horizon using the rule of thirds. I was still working on understanding everything I had been reading and was not focusing on the feel of the image. For this new image I stayed with the original 3×2 image ratio but brought the top right corner in and down.
My tweaks in Lightroom were done to lighten up the shadows and tone down the highlights. I did not want to over saturate the image again so I only did minor adjusts to the color. The frost needed to stay visible to me. You can still see the effects of the sun but it is not overpowering the image. I also wanted to keep as much of the shadows as possible but did bring back some of the detail hidden in the darker portions of the image.
My fix on this image is truer to what I remember about the scene. It is not necessarily the way every image needs to be processed. Some images I process with a look in mind and proceed to change the image to achieve that look. For me this image needed to be brought back to what is in my memory.
In the Shop – ITS18
Another rough morning/day at work yesterday. Sitting eating my salad for lunch I thought I really needed to get away from the place to recharge. Then I remembered what I always do to recharge, so I grabbed the camera, put on the 25mm lens and went out into the shop.
After the first couple of blah captures it hit me. Look for patterns. There are patterns everywhere if you look for them. I was in the zone and the worries/frustrations from the morning melted away. I changed it up a little and included broken patterns. Don’t look too close at the images, I work in a forge and machine shop so there is a little bit of dirt and grime… :)