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Posts Tagged ‘creative visions’

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

It was in bright, afternoon sunlight that I found myself along the shore of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Coldwater River in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park, during my trip to the park in September of 2013. I knew that I wanted to create an image whereby the waves on the lake would be blurred to a smooth texture so that they would not compete with the other elements within the composition. But the light was too bright to obtain a slow enough shutter speed to allow for this vision. At the last minute before departing for Lake Superior I decided to throw the B&W 10-stop Neutral Density Filter in my gear bag.I was glad I did. After attaching the filter to the lens I had the extended exposure that was needed for this composition. The above images was the result of a 15 second exposure that blurred the wave action on the lake and captured the passage of the swiftly moving cotton clouds.

For folks planning to attend the upcoming Long Point Workshop I will have this filter on hand for anyone that may wish to give it a try. If you missed the Long Point Workshop announcement you can find it by clicking here for more information.

Please remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Windswept Snowscape

Windswept Snowscape

Today was a day of wickedly, wild winds, snow and numerous road closures. As the daylight began to fade I could not resist grabbing my Sony RX100 for a troll down the rural road that I live on and play around with a few compositions of windswept snow patterns amid the blowing snow. Above is my favorite image that I captured. Operating the tiny controls on the Sony RX100 is just a tad difficult with gloves on so I had to work quickly with bare hands, tucking them into my jacket pockets to warm up when I had the chance. After about ten minutes my hands were thoroughly frozen and it was time to head back into the house to warm them up.

Please do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

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Winter Trees, Orillia, Ontario (original version)

Winter Trees, Orillia, Ontario (original version)

On Saturday I was in Orillia, Ontario helping my folks with a few chores that needed to be done, as they have received a significant amount of snow this season. There is roughly four feet of snow on the ground. It was a dreary winter day with a mix of fog and rain due, so I took some time to go for a drive in search of some fresh winter tree images. I only found one scene that really caught my attention. I was immediately drawn to the form of the main tree. You will notice that I carefully composed the image by choosing a low perspective to eliminate any merging of the trees branches with the distant trees or horizon. Also note how I lined up the main tree with the distant trees so that the tallest trees help to fill in the space to the left of the main tree. After composing and capturing a few variations of this scene it was time to have some fun at the computer. Here is what I came up with. Let me know which is your favorite version and why.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version.

Winter Trees with Silver Efex Pro with the Preset Film Noir 1

Winter Trees with Silver Efex Pro 2 with the Preset Film Noir 1

Winter Trees with a Panoramic Crop

Winter Trees with a Panoramic Crop

Winter Trees - 3 Image Stitched Panorama

Winter Trees – 3 Image Stitched Panorama

Winter Trees - Invert Adjustment Appication

Winter Trees – Invert Adjustment Appication

 

 

 

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Window Frost & Reflection

Window Frost & Reflection

The last couple of morning here in south-central Ontario have been bitterly cold. This morning the outside temperature was -26 degrees Celsius, without factoring in the windchill factor. On mornings like this, my living room window gets covered with some very interesting frost patterns. While the window is in need of replacement and I dread the day when I do change the window and lose these cool effects, but for now why not have a little fun with nature’s frost paintings :) In the above photo, I stood outside to catch the frost pattern and reflection of the large spruce tree that sits in my front yard. In the two images below I sat in the comfort, and warmth, of my living room to carefully compose the resulting frosty paintings.

Window Frost

Window Frost

Window Frost

Window Frost

And with such cool patterns I could not resist the temptation to run a couple of them through the Photoshop Plug-in Fractalius. To learn more about how to use this very addictive and highly creative filter please check out the eGuide FRACTASTIC, which was written by the very talented  and creative Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

Fractalius of Window Frost & Reflection

Fractalius of Window Frost & Reflection

Fractalius of Window Frost

Fractalius of Window Frost

 

 

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6 Image Multiple Exposure of Autumn Forest Scene. Parry Sound, Ontario

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Autumn Forest Scene. Parry Sound, Ontario

On the Canada Thanksgiving Weekend I arrived at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario to close-up for the coming winter. Most often this weekend is when the fall colors are at their peak condition in this region of Ontario however, this year they were past peak, with significant leaf fall. Below the forest canopy there was some lingering color and I decided to try my hand some additional multiple exposures while taking my dog Koko for her morning walk each day. I captured countless multiple renditions and thought I would share three of my favorites.

Please click on each of the images to view the sharper, larger versions.

6 Image Multiple Exposure of White Birch and Autumn Color

6 Image Multiple Exposure of White Birch in Autumn. Parry Sound, Ontario.

 

6 Image Multiple Exposure in Sugar Maple Forest. Parry Sound, Ontario.

6 Image Multiple Exposure in Sugar Maple Forest. Parry Sound, Ontario.

 

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6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Colour

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

On Tuesday, October 8th I spent the day with Denise Ippolito photographing in the Coldwater area just north of Toronto. We were in search of some lovely autumn scenery however, with the prolonged heavy rains that we endured on the past weekend much of the autumn foliage had fallen. As we drove around we did come across some lovely stands of Aspen trees that were set among a mix of yellows and reds, following Denise’s lead I set my my Nikon D800 to it’s multiple exposure setting, dialing in a total of 6 images for this technique. The results we achieved by doing so quite lovely and the images photographed using Denise’s multiple exposure technique turned out to be my favorites of the season. To learn more about this technique for photographing such scenes head over to Denise’s blog here where she explains how she created this killer effect.

I am off to the Parry Sound region to close the cottage for the coming winter, so the blog will be quiet for the next few days.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

 

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

 

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

6 Image Multiple Exposure of Aspen Trees and Autumn Color

 

 

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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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Woodland Interior_9943-Fractalius“HIGH VOLTAGE” Woodland Interior at Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

In the newly published and popular eGuide “Fractastic: A Creative User Guide for the Redfield Fractalius Filter” Denise Ippolito and yours truly share many of our favorite, custom presets that we use regularly to create artistic renderings of our favorite photos. Whether you use our presets or develop your own set of custom presets doing so will save you a ton of time. The three fractalius renderings in this blog post were each created by selecting the presets found within the guide. In fact,the presets chosen worked so well for these images that I made virtually no further adjustments to the slider settings in the Fractalius interface. I simply loaded the images into Fractalius, selected my preferred custom preset and then hit the green check mark to apply the settings to the image. For the fish-eye lens woodland interior above I chose my ‘High Voltage‘ preset and set the left asterisk to black and the asterisk on the right to white – done.

Dahlia_632-Fractalius“ELECTRIFY” Dahlia Blossom

By loading this stunning dahlia blossom into Fractalius and selecting my ‘Electrify‘ preset the above rendering was born.

Old Mercury_8648-Fractalius“LINES-FROGS” Rusted Old Wreck (Gimme a Bullet)

What do frogs and a rusted old Mercury truck with bullet holes have in common? My ‘Line-Frogs’ preset. To create this rendering I simply scrolled through my bank of custom presets until I found the one that seemed to work best for this photograph. It just so happened to be one of my newer presets that I created for my frog fracting.

Do note that I will often load my fractalius renderings into Nik / Google’s Viveza 2 and add a little extra punch with the Structure slider.

To order your copy of this eGuide please click here.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

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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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The Cookstown Pub_1

I have decided to start something new here at the blog and I will call it Smartphone Snaps. Recently I ditched my old cell phone, upgraded to a smartphone and am now having a blast (isn’t that what photography is all about anyway) playing around with the camera function of the Samsung S2X and the various apps available for download. I will try to commit to posting a Smartphone Snap on a weekly basis as time permits. What better way to kick off these snaps with a creative capture of The Cookstown Pub located in Cookstown, Ontario not too far from my home. I used the Cartoon Camera app for this image. Simply click the shutter on the phone and let the app do the rest.

As I embark on a learning curve of smartphone photography I will share with you tips and techniques as well as the various apps that I find most beneficial to my needs.

I can’t wait to try this out on Bullfrogs :)

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

 

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