ImageSpotlight: Blooming Azaleas

Azalea Blossoms.  Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm | ISO 100

Azalea Blossoms. Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm | ISO 100.  Click on image for better view.

If anyone happened to watch The Masters golf tournament on television this past weekend, it would have been impossible to miss the beautiful colors of the many azalea blossoms. It is not an accident that the tournament is played each April as the Georgia landscape comes to life at that time. However, Augusta is not the only place where one can see those blooms. Further West in the state, one can find breathtaking views of their own. This past Friday I visited a favorite local hot spot and was greeted with the scene featured here. With the overcast sky, I had soft muted tones that were simply vibrant. The calm windless day made for a creamy smooth lake reflection. This was shot at approximately 11:00 A.M., which would have been impossible on a sunny day. It’s a simple composition but one that I really enjoy and hope you do as well.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

VideoSpotlight: “Surreal”

I spent last Saturday morning photographing at my favorite garden hotspot. I eluded to the surreal experience in my previous post and was inspired to share those images, all of them rendered in artistic form, in this short video. I created this in iMovie and on that, the image quality is fantastic. I hope this translates to a high-quality video on this blog but I still have a learning curve to go through when it comes to video. I will follow-up with the still images in a later post. Until then, I hope you enjoy “Surreal”.  –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Springtime Blossoms

 

Garden Bridge (Artistic Rendering). Canon 7D | 10-22mm | f10 | ISO 100

Garden Bridge. Canon 7D | 10-22mm | f10 | ISO 100

I’ve been extremely busy since my last post. Many trees have bloomed and by now, many have passed their peak. With each passing day, I’ve cringed at the inability to get out and photograph, using some of those blooming branches as bird perches. Checking the local reports, I knew the Azalea’s were blooming at a local garden I often frequent. Realizing how fast the blooms can come and go, I decided to put everything aside this morning and hit the trails. I found beautiful splashes of color at the garden and was thoroughly enjoying my morning stroll.

When photographing a hardwoods scene, I prefer to have an overcast sky as this allows me to capture great detail, depth of scene and color. If the sun is shining, then one has to contend with dark shadows and bright highlights. Checking the weather forecast the day before, the morning was supposed to be “mostly cloudy” so I knew I’d have periods of great opportunities. I photograph in manual mode when shooting landscapes and often shoot between f/8 and f/16. I saw a lot of people photograph on and near this bridge, but to me, the best photo was just passed the bridge, looking back at it. To me, it was as important a photographic element as the blooming azaleas, and including both in a pleasing composition was key to the success of this image.

I am including a copy of the image as it was captured in the field (below). Above is an artistic rendition of the scene, created in Adobe Photoshop CS6. I’m pleased with both images but the artistic rendering seems to best capture the mystery of the gardens.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

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15-Minute Photo Challenge: Country Church

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Country Church. Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm | ISO 400

It’s winter here in Georgia, and the once vibrant fall colors of the leaves on deciduous trees have dropped, juxtaposing their fine branch ramification against the evergreens in the forest. I did not set out on a photographic excursion on this day. We have friends from Texas visiting for the holidays and we took advantage of warmer weather to go for a bicycle ride at a local garden/nature park. I carried the camera along to document the children enjoying each other; but, as a nature/outdoor photographer I’m always on the alert for a great photo. After a few miles up and down hills, we rode up on this old church in the woods. It’s a beautiful scene and we would be there for no more than 10-minutes. Of course, the family images with the church came first. After that, I had to make some fast decisions on what to capture.

The water was extremely still so I had a great reflection to work with. The sky was dull and grey, but the light was diffused and soft. I decided to compose the image you see here but in the dull grey light, the colors were less than vibrant. In Photoshop, I decided to render this as an oil painting. Since I opted for an artistic impression, I punched up the reds and yellows to give the image a little pop. I used the oil filter tool in CS6 and adjusted the sliders until I was happy with the overall look. I used a layer mask on the window and a couple of select items on the church to leave that detail.

Soon after, we were back on the bicycle trail enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells along the piney wood trail. Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: A Fall Scenic

Fall Scenic. Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm @ 59mm | ISO 100

Fall Scenic. Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm @ 59mm | ISO 100

Today I had the opportunity to get out and photograph in the afternoon so I ventured to a local park in search of a Fall scenic. The area where I live is not known for its extreme fall colors (need to drive about 3 hours North) but compared to where I just moved from, seeing any shades of red/orange/yellow is a welcomed sight.

I had no specific goals in mind on this afternoon shoot; a part of me simply wanted, one could argue needed, to get out into the natural environment. Thus, I grabbed my camera/tripod, a general purpose walk-around lens (ef-s 15-85mm), and challenged myself to capture an inspiring image. As I enjoyed the fall sights, sounds, and pine-filled scent in the air, I came across this lake and was instantly drawn by the bridge, warm colors, and reflections in the water. Once I found the perspective I wanted, I composed the image. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN