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Posts Tagged ‘creative visions’

Sunrise on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 50
f16 @ 0.6 sec

 

The recently concluded, inaugural, Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat was a fantastic success. A very BIG thank-you to Don Johnston for his hard work and assistance with this event. We had 10 fabulous participants that were eager to explore the landscape amid wind, snow, and rain. Our efforts were not only to photograph the grand, magnificent scenes before us, but to also concentrate on the smaller details at our feet as they can often tell an important part of the story as well. We were grateful that the first two days presented beautiful sunrises and sunsets. On the third day we had a lovely sunrise at the onset of what turned out to be a very windy and rainy day, which allowed folks time to rest after a busy first two days and to process some of their imagery from the first two days as well. On the fourth and final full day of photography we enjoyed many areas of Lake Superior Provincial Park from the Sand River area to the Old Woman Bay area under mush calmer conditions although it was chilly with the air temperatures hovering around 2 degrees Celsius.

Lake Superior has long been my favourite location within Ontario for landscape photography. The possibilities are endless. During this retreat I enjoyed composing scenes with my Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens as it was my first trip to the region with this extreme wide angle lens in my gear bag.

Below are a series of my initial edits from the retreat…stay tuned for more imagery soon.

I will be planning a second annual Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat. For those that are interested in registering for the event please do send along your contact info to me, by clicking here, if you are not already on my contact list. Don Johnston and yours truly are very well travelled along the Lake Superior coast and know where to be during the given weather conditions to maximize the photographic efforts.

 

Sunrise on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 50
f16 @ 0.8 sec

 

Sunset on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 100
f16 @ 13 sec

 

Sunrise on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1.3 sec

 

Sunset on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens at 29mm
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 50
f16 @ 5 sec

 

Wave Polished Stones on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm lens at 170mm
ISO 50
f18 @ 1/8 sec

 

In-camera Wave Blur, Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens
ISO 50
f32 @ 1/5 sec

 

Crashing Wave on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
ISO 50
f16 @ 1/60 sec

 

Moonlit Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens at 31mm
ISO 3200
f11 @ 13 seconds

 

Sunset on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 50
f16 @ 1.3 sec

 

Sunset on Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
Singh Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
ISO 100
f16 @ 5 sec

 

Rugged Lake Superior Shoreline
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.8 sec

 

Wave Breaking at Katherine Cove, Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens at 35mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 0.5 sec

 

Wave Polished Stones, Lake Superior
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm Lens at 125mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.6 sec

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Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

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Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Earlier this month while relaxing by the water of Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I took notice of the patterns created by the gentle, undulating surface of the lake. The weather conditions at the time was mostly sunny with numerous puffy white, cotton clouds in the sky. In the sections of water that were cast in shade, the reflected sky and clouds were creating ever-changing patterns of white and blue. Using my Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens I zoomed in on different sections of the water to record several images of these patterns as they evolved. I found it best to set the Nikon D500 to record the images at 10 frames per second so I would not miss any of the subtle changes in the patterns. After creating a rather ridiculous number of these images I narrowed down the keepers to these three images. Each of the images in this post are straight out of the camera with only minor adjustments to contrast and some cloning of debris floating on the surface of the water.

Please do remember to click on the photos to see the larger versions.

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 200mm (35 Equivalent = 300mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

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Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec

High-Key lighting in portraiture has a very classic look and feel in the resulting imagery, with bright white, distraction free backgrounds and minimal shadows on the intended subject. While on my recent trip to Cayman Brac I had a few opportunities to explore using this high key technique on some very co-operative birdlife that I encountered. Each of these high key images were created using the Nikkor 200-500mm lens on a Nikon D500. Each of the birds were photographed in a backlit situation whereby I simply dialed in additional exposure to open up the shadows, allowing the background to fall where it may, ignoring any blinkies (highlight warnings) on the background, but ensuring there were no blinkies on the subject. While making my initial edits to each of the images in Adobe Camera Raw I varied the amount of brightness in the backgrounds, allowing the endangered West Indian Whistling Duck portrait to be the brightest as I felt it complimented the lighter tone of the ducks feathers.

Please do remember to click on each of the photos to view the larger, sharper version.

 

West Indian Whistling Duck, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/125 sec

 

Green Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/200 sec

 

Tri-colored Heron, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec

 

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Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm

 

One of my most favorite winter subjects to photograph is the skeletal forms of tree in winter. Living in a rural area in Essa Township provides me with ample opportunities to photograph these winter trees. Often I will head out at either sunrise or sunset to photograph them and when doing so I always search for the trees that are a slight rise in the terrain so that I can compose them against the sky being very careful not to allow any of the branches on the tree to merge with the horizon. It can also be rewarding to create artistic renderings of winter trees with a variety of photoshop plug-ins. In this post I am revealing two such creations that utilized the Topaz Labs plug-in Simplify. For the two artistic renderings at the end of this blog post I selected one of the sketch presets in Simplify and tweaked the sliders until I achieved the strong black and white treatment.

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

Winter Tree, Innisfil, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

 

Winter Tree - Topaz Simplify

Winter Tree – Topaz Simplify

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American Toad (Bufo americanus) Artistic Rendering Using Topaz Glow

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

I have been very busy over the last few weeks with print sales, writing projects, and household renovations. Each of the images in this post have had an artistic rendering applied to them by using the Photoshop plug-in Glow by Topaz Labs. To check out various examples of what this great plug-in is capable of doing please have a look at the Topaz website by clicking here. I was very hesitant to give Topaz Glow a try when it was first released several months ago because I was so accustomed to using the Fractalius plug-in available from Redfield Plugins, however, with the release of the newest version of Fractalius I was very disappointed and found it virtually impossible to create my most favorite frog fracts that I used to do. With Topaz Glow I feel that my artistic frog imagery has been given new life and that I am able to create effects that I was never able to create with the Fractalius software. I was able to create a couple of nice custom settings with the new version of Fractalius, but do feel that I will revert to my older versions for my most favorite custom presets that were featured in the eBook Fractastic, which I co-wrote with the very talented Denise Ippolito.

Please click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and let me know what you think of these Topaz Glow amphibian creations 🙂

American Toad (Bufo americanus) Topaz Glow Fur & Feathers II Preset

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Heavy Metal Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Heavy Metal Preset

 

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)  Topaz Labs Glow - Fur & Feathers II Preset

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Glow Wire Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

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Stones on Lake Superior Shoreline. Nion D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 200, f22 @ 25 seconds.

Lake Superior Shoreline Details. Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 200, f22 @ 25 seconds.

I have been busy trying to catch-up on a back-log of image processing over the last few days. Today I spent some time optimizing some of my images from my 2013 trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park. I remember this mid-September evening well, the temperatures were getting chilly, the sun had all but gone, and I was playing around with some long, intimate landscapes of shoreline details at Old Woman Bay. These small stones are often a mix of colors and are rounded and smooth as silk, from centuries of wave action.

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

Lake Superior Shoreline Details. Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 500, f22 at 30 seconds.

Lake Superior Shoreline Details. Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 500, f22 @ 30 seconds.

Lake Superior Shoreline Details. Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 100, f6.3 @ 1.6 seconds

Lake Superior Shoreline Details. Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens, ISO 100, f6.3 @ 1.6 seconds

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