Discovery and Learning on Thanksgiving Day

It’s been awhile seen I posted but it has been really busy the past few months. I took on a special project at work, plus my photography and my duties at the camera club. Been challenging but I have been learning in leaps and bounds both at work and with my photography.

I have made the biggest leap forward by learning how to use filters in Color Efex Pro 4 (www.niksoftware.com) and figuring out Photoshop Elements 10. Still need to have a strong photo to edit so continuing to learn how to handle my camera. I am struggling to learn manual mode on my camera which is frustrating and a big skill I need to master.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in October so my sister, mom and I took a drive to Niagara on the Lake. We decided to take the long way home via the Niagara Parkway. My sister noticed out of the corner her eye a sign for something called Willowbank. After turning around my sister headed down a dirt road for which I was wondering if we were trespassing. Then in front of us this huge house appeared. Thankfully even though Willowbank Estate (www.willowbank.ca) is a restoration school the public are allowed to tour the grounds and during off season the interior. The house is being restored and repaired. Due to some structural issues the third floor is off limits as told to us by one of the students who is assisting with renovations on the house.

This is where a wide angle lens (28 mm), filters and elements came in handy. Took a fairly good shot of what is actually the front of the house but is referred to as the back of the house after the 1930’s renovations.

After doing basic fixes in Lightroom, took photo into Color Efex Pro 4 and applied a recipe I downloaded. Recipes is a wicked feature in the new software, you can apply multiple filters to get the perfect look. Adjusted recipe to fit photo then transferred photo to Elements. After several failed attempts finally figured out to fix lens distortion, remove picnic tables and take out the bare bulb over the door (probably at one time this would have been a chandelier).

Now I have to resist the urge to go back and try new techniques on past photos.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Refining a Vision in Lightroom

This is a short post on my neglected blog. It has been so far a crazy summer! I have several posts brewing but for now thought I would post about the fun I am having in Lightroom 3.

Lightroom 3 is by far the biggest purchase I have made to date in regards to my photography. It has been well worth the short term pain to my budget. I had thought I was doing pretty good with the program until I started reading David DuChemin’s Vision and Voice. Suddenly I had a whole new perspective on the develop tools in Lightroom and quickly realized that I wasn’t using them all that well.

I took the photo below from my recent trip to Bon Echo (longer post coming!) and shows the fun I had in finding my vision for the photo:

(30mm 100ISO f10)

(adjusted crop, gradient, tone, tone curve (light & dark), contrast, clarity, saturation and temp)

Now I have a big itch to go through the photos I took over the past year or so and see if I how much I can improve them although I have to confess most are in jPegs. I only started shooting Raw in the past six months. Plus my newest toys are in the form of filters which improved my photos immensely.

Till next time which I hope will be much sooner than later!