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Rusty Old Wreck - Original Capture

Rusty Old Wreck – Original Capture

Above you will see the original version of a lovely, rusty old wreck that was photographed today during one of Denise Ippolito’s numerous workshops that are planned during her visit to the Toronto area. This morning the weather conditions could not have been better as we were presented with lots of fog and some rain and drizzle to help saturate the colors of the rusted old wrecks we were photographing. Denise will also be presenting her “A Blend of Art & Nature Photography” lecture for the Toronto Digital Photography Club on Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm at the Edithvale Community Centre in North York. To find out more about how to sign up for the lecture, please click here.

Below you will see the various creative renditions I conjured up using various photoshop plug-ins. Each of the image captions will inform you of the software used to create the effect as presented. Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions. Also, please take a moment to let us know which is your favorite of these renditions.

Rusty Old Wreck - Topaz Black & White Effects 2

Rusty Old Wreck – Topaz Black & White Effects 2

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Silver Efex Pro 2

Rusty Old Wreck – Silver Efex Pro 2

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Nik HDR Efex

Rusty Old Wreck – Nik HDR Efex

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Fractalius

Rusty Old Wreck – Fractalius

 

 

 

 

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Rosseau River_1635Rosseau River in Ontario’s Muskoka Region

Recently I purchased the new Nikon 18-35mm lens and have had a blast using it on my favorite subjects – waterfalls and bullfrogs.  If I could only have one lens it would most certainly be a wide angle zoom lens. The corner-to-corner sharpness of this lens is amazing. I will do a more in-depth summary of my thoughts on this lens in the near future. Above is a recent capture made along the Rosseau River. The water levels were quite low during my visit and I was able to cross the river to an area that is inaccessible during periods of higher flow. This image was created using the Nikon 18-35mm lens on a Nikon D800 firmly mounted on my tripod. An ISO of 250 was selected with the aperture set to f16 for an exposure of 1.3 seconds. After reviewing a few test images on the D800’s LCD screen to critique the amount of blur to the flowing river, I determined this to be the look I wanted to achieve. Below you will see a Black & White conversion of the image and a creative rendition too. The B&W version was created using Nik / Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2, while the creative version was created with Topaz Labs Black & White Effects 2.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and take a moment to let us know which is your favorite and why.

Rosseau River_1635-B&WRosseau River in B&W (Silver Efex Pro 2)

Rosseau River_1635-B&W EffectsRosseau River – B&W Effects 2

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Ferns in B&W_9675-1

Topaz Labs Restyle – Grass Swing Preset

I have been working on few black and white conversions of some recently captured images and was about to prepare a blog post for them, but then I was notified of a cool new photoshop plug-in available from Topaz Labs called Restyle. By entering the coupon code “restyleit” you will only pay $29.99 and this code will be good until the end of August. I downloaded the software this morning and began playing around with it. I select three images that I had converted to black and white and then began to explore various options by scrolling through the vast number of presets. Above you will see a black and white image of a cluster of ferns that was tweaked by selecting the preset ‘Grass Swing.’ As I explore this new plug-in in my creative tool-kit a little more I will do a more in-depth blog post to discuss its pros and cons.

In the images below, which are both from along the Rosseau River in Ontario Canada’s popular Muskoka Region – a killer destination for autumn color. I have indicated in the image captions which preset was used on these black and white conversions to achieve the desired effect. To find out more about this cool new plug-in and to download your own copy please click here.

Do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions and let me know your thoughts and favorite image with the Restyle effect applied :)

Topaz Labs Restyle - Dark Dreams

Topaz Labs Restyle – Dark Dreams

 

Topaz Labs Restyle - Blue Black Ice

Topaz Labs Restyle – Blue Black Ice

 

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Winter Wheat_487Winter Wheat Field near Thornton, Ontario

As mentioned in my previous post I recently spent a week photographing with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens that was on loan to me from Gentec International, the Canadian distributor of Sigma Lenses. I had a ton of fun using this lens and the creative possibilities that it offered me were virtually endless. I enjoyed using the lens to capture bullfrogs, landscapes, water lilies, rusty old wrecks, and waterfalls too. In fact, I photographed roughly 1,500 images with this lens during the week in which I used it. The main subject I sought to photograph with the lens was the bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake, in the Parry Sound region of Ontario. I will share many more of these with you in future posts.

The Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens is a diagonal fisheye lens in that the scene is shown full frame within the field of view. Circular fisheye lenses are shown as a circular image within the field of view. Fisheye lenses are noted for their extreme wide angles with significant visual distortion. Yes, distortion can be your friend when used creatively. When a fisheye lens is pointed downwards the field of view will have a convex appearance and when pointed upwards a concave look. This aspect of the fisheye lens creates unique perspectives and intriguing effects on a wide variety of subjects. I personally love the rounded look that can be achieved as it resembles our planet, which is round.

Bullfrog_8922Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

This lens was an outstanding performer for the bullfrogs that I sought as it has a close focusing distance of 5.9 inches. Nikon’s version will only focus down to a tad over 10 inches, while the Canon equivalent will focus to slightly more than 8 inches. That’s a huge variance when you are photographing smaller subjects.The lens was used on my Nikon D800 where I was able to play around with the sensor crop features of the camera to capture both full frame and 1.5 sensor crop images. The latter was useful for images such as the one above, while the former captured the bigger picture seen below.

Bullfrog_9257Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

And with the Fragrant White Water Lilies in full bloom I could not pass up the opportunity to capture such beautiful blossoms with the fisheye perspective.

White Water Lily_227Fragrant White Water Lily Blossom

One evening after supper I decided to give the lens a work out with some low light conditions over at Lower Rosseau Falls. I created numerous compositions at this location with the camera firmly mounted to my tripod to capture the flowing motion of the river. Due to the extreme wide angle it is often tricky to compose images with a downward pointed fisheye lens as the tripod’s legs will be poking into the frame however, with a little practice and patience you will get the hang of it. For the B&W image of Lower Rosseau Falls I could not compose the scene without one leg in the frame, so back home in photoshop I cloned out the leg, which was in the lower right area of the frame.

Rosseau River_8530Rosseau River in Ontario’s Muskoka Region

Rosseau River_8568-B&WRosseau River in Black & White

My next excursion with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens was on the shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario’s Killbear Provincial Park. The rugged shoreline here is note for its wind swept pines and beautiful pink granite. I really enjoyed the creative possibilities that the lens offered me here. The significant distortion qualities of the lens were used for artistic purposes which can be seen in the Killbear Provincial Park images below.

Killbear Provincial Park_9839Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Killbear Provincial Park_9720Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Towards the end of my photography trip, a family function led me to the Peterborough area of Ontario. I decided at the last minute to take along the fisheye lens one last time before returning it to Gentec International. I was glad I did as I was staying near Millennium Park and the design of the park lends itself well to the distortion qualities of fisheye lenses. Due to the over-cast, white sky conditions I chose to convert the image to black and white.

Millenium Park_Peterborough_Ontario_358-B&WPeterborough Ontario’s Millennium Park

The fisheye perspective is my new favorite way to create imagery. When the distortion qualities are used to accentuate curves in the landscape they can often have a very pleasing effect. The majority of the photos I captured using the lens were done so handheld. All of the bullfrog-scapes were done using the Live View function of the D800 with the camera held millimeters above the surface of the lake. To maximize my depth-of-field I tended to stay in the f11 – f16 range of the lens. Each and every frame I captured the auto-focus was accurate, any blurred images were a result of errors on my part or by pushing the hand-holding limits too far and shooting at shutter speed that were just too slow. If you don’t push these limits you will not know what you can accomplish in given situations. While reviewing the images on the computer at home I did notice some chromatic abberation in the extreme corners but for me this is no biggie as it can easily be corrected in photoshop.

I do not test or review lenses by photographing charts and such to examine their sharpness from corner to corner. I much prefer to take the gear into the field and see how it will perform with my style of shooting, with the subjects I love to photograph, and to genuinely find out will it get the shot I want. I can honestly say that I loved using the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens and will certainly be adding it to my tool kit in the near future. It far exceeded my expectations and the lens literally spent the better part of my travels attached to the Nikon D800. I would highly recommend this lens to anyone wishing to explore the wonderful world of the fisheye and unleash their creativity.

Do remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions and let us know which is your favorite and why.

Throughout my travels I did come across a new rusty old wreck, with bullet holes nonetheless, and another wreck near my home, which I decided to give a quasi-grunge look. See these images below.

Old Rusty Mercury_8604Rusty Mercury Truck with Bullet Holes

Rusty Old Chevy_420-alternateOld Cheverolet Truck with Quasi-Grunge Treatment

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Old Wreck_7229-Yellowed 2Old Wreck In Field – Silver Effects Pro 2 – Yellowed 2 Preset

After dropping my daughter off at school the other day I decided it was time to drive to a local conservation area not far from my home. As I made my way there the rains began to come in and were getting heavier. As I drove along the concession road bound for my intended destination I happened upon this old wreck sitting at the edge of an agricultural field. I could not resist the temptation and slammed on the brakes, grabbed my gear and proceeded to create a few images that I could take home to play around with on a rather wet and dreary day.

In the first image I chose to use Nik/Google’s Silver Effects Pro 2 and the Yellowed 2 preset as a starting point. I just love the aged look and border that this preset creates. To create the additional variations below I used Topaz Labs Adjust 5 – Psychedelic Preset and two of my custom presets from the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius. Denise Ippolito and I have written an eGuide for the Fractalius plug-in that should be available shortly.

For folks who love to get creative with there imagery I highly recommend heading to Kitchener, Ontario on June 3rd as Denise will be doing a presentation for the Grips Camera Club, click here for more information.

Hope you enjoy the old wreck creations. Do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

Which is your favorite rendering?

Old Wreck_7232-topazOld Wreck – Topaz Adjust 5 – Psychedelic Preset

Old Wreck_7232-fractaliusOld Wreck – Fractalius

Old Wreck_7232-Fractalius 2Old Wreck – Fractalius

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Tniy Marsh_7197-B&W

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area

Last weekend I made the trek to Tiny Marsh so that I could see how things were shaping up for this season. Tiny Marsh is located near Elmvale, Ontario. This is just one of many great landscape photography locations featured in my eBook ‘The Photographer’s Guide to the Ontario Landscape.’  The day I chose to visit Tiny Marsh was rather dreary as storm skies threatened above a landscape that has yet to show any signs of greening-up due to cold spring weather.  While being presented with these elements my thoughts immediately turned to Black & White photography and scene above represents the only scene photographed on this day. After carefully composing this image, placing the horizon line in the center for the mirror image-like effect, and creating a few frames, the rain began to fall heavily. By the time I had made my way back to the car I was thoroughly soaked. but I think the resulting image was well worth the effort. I did make note of the vast number of Leopard Frogs that were already chorusing during my visit. I will be planning a trip back to Tiny Marsh at night to explore the wetlands for night-time frog photography soon and am considering to offer this as a private one-on-one workshop. More details will follow soon.

The above image was converted to B&W using Nik/Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2 software. Please do remember to click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version. Hope you like it :)

Sigma Scholarship Contest Update:

The deadline for the Sigma Scholarship Contest is fast approaching. The contest closes on April 30, 2013. If you are a full-time photography student enrolled in an accredited Canadian College or University and photograph with Sigma lenses you are eligible to enter. To find out more on how to enter and to learn about the killer prizes available click on the Sigma Scholarship Contest logo in the sidebar of the blog or click here. Gentec International is the distributor of Sigma lenses in Canada. Best of luck to all who enter the contest.

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Oxtongue River_3536-B&W

Autumn on the Oxtongue River near Dwight, Ontario

One last post before heading off to Port Antonio, Jamaica for a week and a half of sun, fun, and of course photography too :) I am planning on visiting a couple of lovely waterfalls, a hike in the Blue Mountains, and of course assorted bird life and reptiles as well.

Lately I have been using Nik Software’s Silver Effects II software to convert some of my river / waterfall images captured over the last year or so into B&W photos. Often I am finding that I like the B&W versions just a little bit more than the color one. I guess I will have to try my hand at some tropical B&W images upon my return.

Please remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions and leave a quick note letting me know which is your favorite and why.

Take care folks.

See ya soon!

High Falls on the Muskoka River near Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

High Falls on the Muskoka River, Bracebridge, Ontario

Magpie Falls_1422-B&W

Details at Magpie Falls, Wawa, Ontario

Magnetawan River_4009-B&W

Autumn along the Magnetawan River, Emsdale, Ontario

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