Photography: My Shot – Reflections on Dinner

I have always been interested in lighting, shadows and reflections. Most of us have probably looked at reflections of ourselves in a glass ball, a jar or perhaps a glass doorknob and became interested, if not fascinated, about the distorted representation of ourselves.

I recently returned to a restaurant we like which has a great view of the Phoenix, AZ valley. As a matter of fact, the restaurant is called Different Pointe of View. It is part of the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs complex in the Moon Valley section of Phoenix. The hotel and restaurant sit on a mountain top.

While we were dinning, the sun set and as I looked at the view of the valley in the large glass windows, not only could I see the city lights, I could see the reflection of our dinner table and it was mesmerizing.


Reflections of Dinner at a Different Point of View
“Reflections of Dinner at a Different Point of View”

The coffee cups and teapot are very discernable as are the two frontmost glases of water. What makes the photo most interesting to me is the reflection of the two people in the foreground combined with a view of the distant city lights. When I consider this was taken with my iPhone, I am pleased with the abstract result.

 

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Metadata

File Name: reflections_on_dinner_1431.JPG
Capture time: 8:38:34 PM
Capture date: march 17, 2018
Exposure: 1/15 sec @ f/2.4
Focal Length: 4.12mm
ISO: 3200
Camera: iPhone 5
Lens: 4.12mm f/2.4

Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

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Photography: Videos – Landscape Hints and Ideas

There are many, many videos on the Internet related to almost every aspect of photography ranging from the technical to the artistic and abstract and everything in between. One field of photography in which I have a strong interest is landscape photography and hobbyists can spend days on end watching nothing but videos about landscape photography.

I have seen dozens over the years and I want to highlight the two resources below because I feel they are especially well done and they have worthy ideas that may be new for many.

My TOP 5 best TIPS for composition in Landscape Photography
by Mads Peter Iversen

Mads Peter Iversen offers his most important tips for successful landscape photography. What I liked about this 16:35 video is that Mads not only offers his ideas, but then he demonstrates what he wishes to convey by showing examples. This makes it immensely useful!

Here are his five areas of concentration in the video below:

  • Focal point
  • Leading lines
  • Brightness, contrast and faces
  • Balance
  • Elements within the frame and the need for “breathing room”

Simple IDEAS for CREATIVE outdoor photography
by Nigel Danson

From the YouTube page:

The possibilities in photography are endless. Landscape photography is no different. Whatever the light or location you can get great images. In this video I talk a bit more about getting creative with out of focus elements and intentional camera movement ICM. And preview the ICELAND series coming soon….

See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE showcasing a number of landscape photographs.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: Why Use Post Processing Software?

Although I had been interested in photography as far back as my teenage years, after my thirties and a number of life changes, photography took a back seat to my other interests and obligations of life.

I had used professional gear in my twenties and early thirties, but for many years after, I used a point-and-shoot digital camera with between 5 and 8 megapixels. (As a frame of reference, today’s standards would probably call for a minimum of 16 or 24 megapixels for professional use.) My Canon AS590 IS provided a no muss, no fuss regimen for me and I was comfortable just capturing ptographs as a matter of record.

Of course as time passed, post processing software improved and I became interested in revisiting some of my older photographs and trying to “process” them to bring out the colors and beauty that encouraged me to take the photographs in the first place.

When pondering the question, “Why use post processing software,” let me offer the following.

My wife and I enjoy hiking and exploring as readers of JBRish.com know. In 2012, we visited Monument Valley, UT. Sure enough, I had my Canon PowerShot AS590 with 8 megapixels. It took very nice jpeg photographs. Unfortunately, however, the settings and ability of the small sensor was limiting.

Look at this picture for example:


Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

The above is a composition in which I was very interested, but the bright sky and haze did not enable the camera to represent the scene as I envisioned it. The camera did the best it could capturing the scene, but the equipment didn’t render the red rocks and sand as I saw it. The green and yellow grasses played well against the red rocks, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the photo above.

This shot remained dormant on my hard drive for years and then I began to learn about Adobe Lightroom. Once I understood the basics, I realized I could recapture some of the colors and nuances of the shot that inspired me to take the photograph in the first place.

Once processed, the scene is rendered more as I saw it that afternoon.


Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

Keep in mind that this camera has a very small sensor and by today’s standard is probably equivalent to a smartphone or perhaps less than that. When looking at the picture, understand that the camera did capture information such as which areas are brown, red, green, blue, light, dark, etc. It took the software to help me bring out the colors and contrast nearer to as I recalled them when I stopped to press the shutter. Some of the detail is lost in the transition and the picture is more painterly than I would prefer, but it is certainly closer to my recollection than the original the camera recorded.

This is why post processing software and learning how to use it properly is so popular!

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Metadata

File Name: 8871_yei_bi_chei_spires_totempole.JPG
Capture time: Sept. 10, 2012
Exposure: 1/400 sec @ f/4.5
Focal Length: 16mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom

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See more JBRish.com photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot – Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ


When we visited New Zealand in 2009, the only camera I took with me was a very small point-and-shoot Canon AS590 IS, which at that time was considered fairly good for its class. Even with this small-ish 8 megapixel count, I was able to capture some amazing pictures.

The photograph below was taken at Larnach Castle in Dunedin, New Zealand. The sky was overcast and the colors were vibrant in themselves. This photo was edited a bit in Lightroom, but trust me when I say that this was a striking picture before the editing process.

I encourage everyone to record their adventures as large or small as they may be with whatever camera or smart phone they have with them. The images will be a treasure to review and appreciate over time.

Interestingly enough, there were a number of plants in this garden that we grow in our Sonoran Desert area.


Stormy skies over Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ
Stormy skies over Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ

You can find more information about the Larnach Castle & Gardens HERE

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Metadata

File Name: larnach_cast_grdn_)133.jpg
Capture time: Early Afternoon
Capture date: December 17, 2009
Exposure: 1/1000 5.8mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom

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Photography: My Shot – Yaquina Head Lighthouse

While hiking down the coast of Oregon, we enjoyed visiting a number of lighthouses along the picturesque coastline. A challenge photographers face when they arrive at such an area is that many other people want to enjoy the same view and that is a good thing!

The issue is how to capture a picture with as few distracting elements as possible. There have been several times when I have been at a prominent place in a national park where the scene was spectacular, but in the field of view there was a couple having lunch or a snack wearing bright orange or luminescent green garments.

Obviously this can be addressed by waiting for the people to move or fix it in post processing. In the picture below, there were a number of people, cars, RVs, etc.(middle right) that would prove problematic for the composition for reasons mentioned above. Rather than work on each piece in Photoshop, I decided to use a toned, black and white image (duotone) to maintain the focus on the distant lighthouse.

I hope it works as I thought it would!


Yaquina Head Lightouhse & Naural Area, Newport

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Metadata

File Name: oregon_coast_XT2A0212.RAF
Capture time: Sept. 11, 2017
Exposure: 1/30 sec @ f/13
Focal Length: 28.9mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lens: XF18-55mm, F2.8-4 R LM OIS

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See Jeff’s other photographs on Instagram


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: Shadow and Light: Mostly Black and White

I have always appreciated and enjoyed the play of light and shadow especially when they create fascinating patterns. While visting my eye doctor for a routine exam during an early spring morning in the Phoenix, I was intrigued by the interesting patterns I found and how they would look once rendered in black and white.

I didn’t have my camera with me during the visit, but with smartphones nowadays most people have access to a camera and that is what I used. This project was not planned ahead of time. I became enchanted with the colors and shadows in and around the office and was inspired to capture these photos.

The images below were converted to black and white with other enhancements in Adobe Lightroom.


The Ophthalmic mirror

The Ophthalmic mirror for projecting the eye chart


pholstered red corner chair

An upholstered corner chair for a patient’s relative or friend


Two mirrors used by eye doctors

Most eye doctor’s use two mirrors to project the eye chart because rooms are usually too small for ideal projection of the image otherwise


Strong shadows cast by the building's architecture

The building’s architecture created amazing displays of light and shadow…and those lines


Mysterious display of light and shadow

An alcove by the lower entrance mysterious enough for a Raymond Chandler novel


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

A variation on a theme with a bit of color added to a window view of the shade structure

 

That’s the beauty of photography, anyone with the ability to capture an image can find inspiration and creativity wherever they go. If you are a regular reader of JBRish.com, you know I enjoy quotes. Perhaps enjoy is too mild a term, but quotes are a big part of my creative process. So I will leave you with this:

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” ― Ernst Haas

Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: My Shot – Contrasts at the Museum

The Phoenix Museum of Art is a wonderful place to spend a day to gain inspiration or just enjoy the beauty that abounds. One nice benefit of visiting the museum is that parking is free and easy and just a short walk from the museum.

While visiting a several months ago, I was enjoying the contemporary art installations when I came across a young woman stopping to check her phone. The scene caught my eye because of the contrast of the fine art and the woman. The vivid colors of the paintings and the more subdued, but yet colorful long dress appeared to create a separate picture of their own. As indicated below, my photography this day was taken with a legacy iPhone.

Do you like the contrast of themes in this picture?


Young woman in colorful dress checking phone at the art museum

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Metadata

File Name: IMG_1181.JPG
Capture time: 12:07:28 PM
Capture date: Nov. 21, 2017
Exposure: 1/20 sec @ f/2.4
Focal Length: 4.12mm
ISO: 160
Camera: iPhone 5
Lens: 4.12mm

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Read the previous JBRish post about the Phoenix Art Museum: Phoenix Art Museum – Tire Totem

 
See previous Photography Posts HERE

See Jeff’s other photographs on Instagram


All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: What is Post-Processing?

When it comes to photography, I consider myself a journeyman or apprentice. I work alone with the Internet serving as my mentor and it has provided great benefits to me as a student of photographic skills. I have always been interested in photography and back in the days of “only film,” I had a black and white darkroom.

Nowadays, digital photography makes things easier; at least for me. Post-processing is chemical free and done on a computer where mistakes can often be easily corrected with a few key strokes. If you are new to photography, you might be wondering: “What is post-processing?” Let me try to give you a simple explanation as I understand it.

When a digital photograph is taken on an automatic setting, the camera, which is really a computerized device, gathers all the information about the scene such as how dark it is, what colors go where, what area should be in focus, etc. and then it interprets the data and converts into a digital image. The current camera models are really quite capable and most will produce good to very good results on automatic settings.

There are times however when the camera may become “confused” because the scene is more difficult to analyze. A picture with lots of snow or many dark areas or one with high contrast will often cause problems. With many cameras, the settings can be changed from automatic to compensate for these difficult situations if the user is skilled enough to adjust the settings manually.

There will invariably be times, however, when a picture is less than ideal. Perhaps the photographer made an error in one of the settings. Some times a dial or setting is changed unintentionally and the error is not noticed until several shots later. The good news is that many mistakes can be remedied after the fact, i.e. post-processing.

In order to have the most options to re-work or revise photographs, some formats are better than others for allowing the photographer to compensate for mistakes such as underexposure or faulty composition. The most common form that offers leeway is the RAW image format, but what I am writing about below applies to almost every format including JPEG, PNG and others as well. It is just that RAW offers more latitude than some and is most common so there are many programs to help correct a picture via appropriate software.

In the RAW format, the camera caputers all the data, but doesn’t put it together for the user as it would in automatic mode. The camera offers the user the opportunity to make most of the decisions about how the photograph is to look. It is as though the camera is communicating with the user and saying: “OK, I know there is red in the scene and I know where it goes, but what is the exact hue of red that you want and what should the saturation and vibrance be?” The user can then use software to manipulate the camera’s information to create the scene as they saw it when the shutter was pressed.

The photograph below, for example, was taken at the Tucson Botanical Garden. When I put the image on my computer to view, it was lacking much of the “punch” and interest that encouraged me to take it in the first place.



I didn’t realize it at the time, but there are too many distracting elements in the photograph. The eye is being pulled away from the main group of the yellow daisy-like flowers by the bits of colors in the pansies on the right.

The upper left also has some distracting plant material. My intent was to have viewers focus on the yellow cluster of flowers. Cropping (cutting off) some elements of the picture will help a bit. In the edit below, I removed as much of the pansies (right-side) as possible without cutting off any of the pretty yellow petals.



Once that was done, I used tools in Lightroom and Photoshop to darken the areas around the plant that were distracting. Making the corners and other areas darker helps to lead the eye directly to the flowers. I also enhanced the color to more closely represent the flowers as I remembered them. I tried to be careful to avoid removing the shadows which add an element of interest to the picture. I like the shades of yellow as they are altered by the varying intensities of the light.



I was relatively happy with the result at this point, but I didn’t like the flower on the extreme left. It was on the wane and seemed to be drawing attention away from the main grouping of four. Experts suggest using odd numbers of objects in a photograph as they most often produce a pleasing result, but I wasn’t sure about this specific image.

I decided to remove the flower on the left to see how that looked.



I like the edited picture above the best. What do you think? When you compare the original image to the final image, I think you will agree that post-processing, i..e. modifying the image after it has been taken, has created a more pleasing and artistic picture.

To quote one of America’s most famous photographers, Ansel Adams, “I don’t take photographs I make photographs.” This is what I try to do. I am an average user of post-processing software, but I continue to learn and enjoy making images. It is much fun and offers the photographer a chance to become a photographic artist.

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Metadata

File Name: yellow_flowers_0507-2.CR2
Capture time: 12:21:36 PM
Capture date: April 11, 2014
Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/8.0
Focal Length: 17.14mm
ISO: 125
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

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JBRish.com originally published this post

See previous Photography Posts HERE

See Jeff’s other photographs on Instagram


All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

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Hiking: Yellow-Throated Gilia, Sequoia National Park, CA

One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is that it offers opportunities for interesting discoveries; some anticipated and others serendipitous. We were hiking along the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail in Sequoia National Park nearly a year ago when we came across a patch of wildflowers tucked away in a wooded area…


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

It was hard to believe that these were real. The colors were so vibrant and unusual in combination. It was an amazing sight. The next day we were on the Sunset Point Trail and there was a large swath of these wildflowers covering the entire hillside.


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower
Love those standouts adding their all white accents in the middle of the patch!

 
Nature is the art of God.” – Dante Alighieri

Read more about Yellow-Throated Gilia HERE

 

Read more JBRish.com posts:

Hiking/Exploring HERE, Nature HERE, Photography HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

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Photography: My Shot – Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

The southwest is truly a spectacular part of the United States. That is not to say other states, sections, etc. do not have beauiful areas as well, but the southwest has been blessed with an abundance natural wonders.

Utah, for example, has their Mighty Five:

  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Arches National Park.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

I am glad to report that we have been to all of the above and we yearn to return to several of them to see more of what they have to offer. We hiked Zion two times and want to return at least once more. For those who love nature, hiking, etc. it is hard to overestimate the amount of wonder that can be found in all of the parks listed above.

As a side trip to visiting Arches National Park, we took a day to go to Canyonlands National Park’s Needles District. The day was stormy with periods of rain, but as long as it is safe, we hike rain or shine.

One site we saw was the Wooden Shoe Arch. I only had my 8 MP Canon point-and-shoot, but as they say: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” I took the picture below and I think it captures the beauty of the area.


Stormy Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

You may have to look carefully to see the “shoe.” It is the formation in the distance on the right. The heel and front of the shoe are separated by a space. The cloudy day makes it hard to discern so I put an arrow above the shoe in the picture below.


Stormy Canyonlands Wooden Shoe Arch

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Metadata

File Name: 8968_cl_woodenshoe_arch.JPG
Capture time: 3:02:01 PM
Capture date: September 11, 2012
Exposure: 1/200 sec @ f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com