Showing posts with label photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photos. Show all posts

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reviewing Photos from 2021

 

Beauty from Behind

Whether you are taking photos for fun or professionally it is a great exercise each year to review the photos you took the year before.  By doing this you will help yourself to become a better photographer. Looking through the previous year's photos and picking your favorites will tell you a lot about yourself as a photographer.  It will give you a better idea of what type of photos you tend to gravitate to and also what types of photos you need the most improvement.  I challenge you to take some time to look at last years photos and pick out few that you feel are your best. 

My Review of 2021 Photos

I took this challenge in a couple of photography groups in which I participate.  I found it to be a fun and rewarding experience. 

I have three different cameras that I use on a regular basis.  A Sony DSLR A57, a Sony mirrorless 6300, and my iPhone 11 Pro.  When I went through the photos, I did not look for ones from each camera, but rather just looked for the photos I liked.  I was surprised to find that all three cameras were represented in the 13 photos I ended up choosing as my favorites.

I had played around a lot in Lightroom and Photoshop during 2021 and I found a few photos in my favorites that reflected some of the new features I learned.  But I also noted that some of my favorites just went back to basic good photography without any enhancements added.

My Favorites for 2021

One of the photos I really liked was a photo of the Wolf Moon taken on January 28, 2021.  This photo was taken with my Sony DSLR and a 600mm lens.  I used an f stop of 6.3 and a speed of 1/400.  
I always like to photograph birds and birds in the snow are particular favorite shots.  Here is one I captured in February with my DSLR with the zoom at 250mm.  It was taken through my sliding glass doors of some Cardinals at a feeder on our deck.

Since we were homebound much of 2021, I found that I had a lot of backyard bird photos.  Here is another favorite.  A bluebird I took in April.  Again, with my DSLR camera this time with the lens zoomed in to 600mm.

In April we got a new dog, Dixie, and she became a favorite model.  Here is a photo I took of her in May.  This one was taken with my mirrorless camera and a 25mm lens.  I edited it in Lightroom to select the subject and then black out the background with the exposure slide.  I like the effect.

In June I went to a lavender farm to find some new subjects for my photography.  I took several shots with my mirrorless camera.  This one caught my eye with the bee on the plants.  It was taken with a 210mm lens and enhance in Photoshop with a Neural filter.  I like the look the filter gave to the photo.
Lavendar Farm

In July I captured these coneflowers with my iPhone.  It really does take great photos and the colors are brilliant.  

A photo outing in September was to Art Hill in St. Louis where there was a display to honor those who were killed from 9/11.  It was called Flags of Valor and this photo was taken with my mirrorless camera with a 24mm lens.

In late September we took a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I had my Sony mirrorless camera with me.  It is really my go to camera now whenever I am out and about.  It is lightweight and I think takes a quality photo.  Here is a photo taken of some water lilies at the garden.
The next photo, also from the botanical garden is of the Japanese bridge.  Fall colors were just started to come out so I took this photo into Photoshop and enhanced it with a Neural filter.

In October I went to a farm with a group that I am the mentor for their photography club.  We took photos of pumpkins and animals and some farm machinery.  Here is a photo of a tractor.  I was using my mirrorless camera and this one I took into Photoshop and used one of the Neural filters.

In December I went with the group to downtown historic St. Charles.  Here is a photo I took of the visitor center.  Again, I was using my mirrorless camera.
 
The photo at the beginning of this article is one I took in October of a final flower on the pot on our deck.  I was using my Sony mirrorless camera.

My Photos on Zazzle

I enjoy making Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I made from my favorite photos from 2021.




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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Reviewing New 2021 Updates in Lightroom


Tractor Edited with Vintage Preset

In October of 2021 Adobe Creative Cloud introduced a series of updates to their photo editing programs.  My favorite program in the Creative Cloud is Lightroom Classic and I am very excited about all of the updates that were included in the latest version.

Presets

One of the updates in Lightroom Classic is a number of new presets that are available to the user.  Presets are a series of editing features that are put together to give a certain look or feel to a photograph.  With these presets the photographer can give a slight change to the photograph in just one click.  Some of the presets included in the new update were ones for portraits, landscapes, vintage looks, retro looks, black and white and many more.  In the photo at the top of this page I took a photo of an old tractor and used one of the vintage presets on it. In deciding which preset to use I merely ran my mouse over each choice and a preview of the photo with that preset was displayed.  I then chose the one that I felt best fit the mood I was looking to create.

Masking

The biggest and I believe the best new feature is the Masking feature.  In this feature all of the local adjustment tabs were merged into a single masking icon.   The existing adjustment tools were all moved to this icon and in addition two new options were added.  These are the options I am really excited about and feel I will use often.  They are Select Sky and Select Subject.  These options use artificial intelligence to select the sky, people, animals and other object in the photo.  You then have the ability to easily adjust just the selected objects.  Let me show you with a few examples.

Select Subject

Often, I have a great photo of a subject, but the background is too cluttered.  In this photo my husband is seated in front of a busy looking bookshelf.  I was able to use the Select Subject and with just a couple of clicks I selected his photo and then was able to pull the exposure all the way down on the background to turn in black.

I will give you another example.  In this photo you see a bird but it is really not standing out in the photo.  Here is the original.

Here is the same photo with the bird really standing out.

Here are the editing steps I took to create this look.  First of all I cropped the photo to pull the bird in close.  Next I used the mask feature and did a Select Subject to isolate the bird.  After that I inverted the mask to have the background selected and I played with the various sliders to get the background I wanted.  In this case I used the exposure, temp, tint, clarity and dehaze sliders.  All of this took just a couple of minutes and I believe I went from a mediocre photo to one I really like.

Select Sky

I have often gotten a great photo of a subject but was very disappointed with the sky.  I knew I could fix the sky, but this was often very time consuming.  With the new Select Sky feature I can now change the sky in seconds.  Here is an example of one photo I took on a day when it was very cloudy but the direction the photo was taken from made the sky appear very plain.  First the original photo.

I took this photo and went into the Masking feature and did a Select Sky.  I then used the dehaze and texture sliders to give more depth to the sky.  Here is the resulting photo, which I like much better.

Here is the software I use for editing.  I love how easy it is to use and of course the results.
 




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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Autumn Colors in Missouri 2021

 

Fall Color November 2021

I love the beautiful colors of Autumn.  It is my favorite time of the year and after the long hot summer I am always looking forward to the cool, crisp days of Autumn.  This year the hot days of summer seemed to never stop, in fact they carried on well into September.  This delayed the beautiful colors of Autumn to well into October and in my area the peak didn't come till the first week in November.

Peak Colors in Missouri

In order to discover what is normal for peak colors in Missouri I went online and read the Missouri Conservation website.  
That site lists the normal time for Autumn colors beginning about the middle of September, with the peak being by mid October.  But as you can see in the photo below at my home in the St. Louis Missouri area the changing colors were only beginning at the time of the Autumnal Equinox on September 22.
View from my Deck
Here is a photo from a walk in the park in mid September when the leaves are getting a tinge of color.
September

The Missouri Conservation website states that predicting fall color in Missouri can be difficult.  Missouri is blessed with a large variety of bushes, shrubs and trees which change colors at different rates.  The entire autumn color season will last from 4-6 weeks and where the best colors are best will change according to what varieties of foliage is in a particular area.  The changing of colors in Missouri start in the northern part of the state and progress southward.  The weather plays a big part in when the colors change.  This year we had 90 degree temperatures into September and high 80's into October.  This set records for one of the warmest falls on record.  These temperatures delayed the fall colors.

What Makes Leaves Change Color

For a review on what makes leaves change color I looked online for some basic information.  I found out that leaves are green because of chlorophyll production and lots of chlorophyll produces green color and mask any colors underneath.  Light regulates chlorophyll production so the shorter days of Autumn produce less light and thus less chlorophyll production.  The photo below shows a tree in my front yard as the days are getting shorter and the green is disappearing.

Peak Colors for 2021

Today is November 5th and the colors are really starting to pop.  The television newscasters last night said that the next week will be our peak colors.  Here are a few photos I took yesterday.   I love the bright colors.


November 10th Update

Here is an update on the colors from my front porch on November 10th.  The colors are certainly vibrant now.



Zazzle Products from My Autumn Photos

Autumn  photos are great for cards, mugs and other products I make on Zazzle.




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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  It is the day we give Thanks for all the blessings we have received. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a good time to look back over the past year and express our thanks for all of our blessings.  In this post I will be showing you through my photographs a few of the many blessings I have experienced during the past year.

God, Family and Church

Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, two great children and their spouses and four wonderful granddaughters.  For this I am grateful.

I also belong to a church family that has many wonderful supportive members.  They are true blessings.

Photography

I enjoy taking photographs and honing my photography skills.  I belong to a photography club that gives me opportunities to learn more about my hobby and also provides the opportunity for field trips around the area.

Fort Zumwalt Park
Civic Park

St. Louis Riverfront


Nature Photography

I enjoy taking photos of nature, but I am particularly grateful for all the opportunities to take nature photography in my own back yard.  Here are a few of my favorites from the past year.





Lighthouse Photography

Over the past 12 years since my retirement, I have enjoyed photographing lighthouses and have photographed over 150 in that time period.  This year I am thankful for the lighthouses I was able to photograph on the east coast.



Photography Near my Home

I live in the St. Louis metro area and have some wonderful opportunities for photography near my home.  Here are a few from the past year.
Art Hill



History Museum

St. Louis Wheel
Bandstand in Forest Park

Sunrise and Sunsets

I find the variety in sunrises and sunsets to be amazing.  I love photographing them at all different times and different weather conditions  The first photo here is a sunrise in Jupiter, Florida and the second is a sunset in Cape Cod Massachusetts.





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