While I was in the bay area this weekend, I decided to stop by the Winchester Mystery House to snap a photo for a friend. I lived in SJ for 21 years and I always end up making a few trips every year, but I’ve never been to the Winchester House. I didn’t take the tour this time because I was about to meet up with friends and it was more expensive than I expected.
This was a difficult shot to get because the lighting was so harsh. It was taken just before noon with the sun shining right into the lens. Using a regular camera app blew out the sky and lost part of the roof. In high contrast scenes you can use an HDR app to try and replicate what you see with your eyes. In this case, I used TrueHDR. I was pleasantly surprised with the result, save for the beam of light on the left.
The blended image from an HDR pretty much always needs to be edited in another app to add contrast so it looks more realistic again. I used Snapseed to do the trick. Then I decided I wanted more texture and drama in the image so I used SimplyHDR. Finally, I wanted to see what a ShockMyPic version would look like (below.)
Sometimes, if a photo doesn’t work, its because you need to be closer to your subject so it fills the frame. In the photo above, I was most interested in the clover at the bottom with balls of water on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t move in closer for the better shot. I don’t even know how much closer I could have gone with my iPhone. What I ended up with was a lot of extra space that doesn’t add to the image in this case.
To improve the image, I cropped very tight with Snapseed. Then, I used Tangled FX for the painterly edit.
On another note, I’ll be heading out of town again tomorrow. This time, I’m going to the bay area for an engagement session. Hopefully, I’ll remember to take some photos with the iPhone during it.
To answer your question, yes, the water was that blue.
This is one from my trip with Shannon to Big Sur, CA. We camped at Limekiln State Park, where this was shot. Early on, there is a fork in the trail. To the left is the waterfall and limekiln. This is off to the right. I hadn’t gone that way before, so this was a wonderful find.
I took the easy way out on this shot, but it still came out great. Instead of hopping across some rocks and onto a log like Shannon, I stuck my tripod in the creek from the bank and used the LCD to set up the shot.
In other news, I was recently asked by Topaz Labs to share some photos for their online gallery and be a guest blogger, so I think I’ll be sharing how I edited this lovely shot with their plugins.
This is the kind of place I could hang out at for hours. Under some big trees. Next to some water. Away from civilization. With good company and my camera. I guess I’m just a simple man
This was a trail at limekiln state park that I hadn’t checked out before. There were a few awesome spots for photos along the creek. I’m sure I’ll be posting those sometime soon. I’ve edited an image from my Nikon, but I’m letting it sit for a while so I can look at it again with fresh eyes. I think I might want to start over from scratch and go over every pixel to make it perfect because it has a lot of potential.
This was shot with camera+ and edited with SimplyHDR.
Normally, when I go to Julia Pfeiffer Burns in Big Sur, I, like everyone else, hike the short trail to McWay Falls. This time, we had a little time, so we hiked the other direction and found this little waterfall on a hike through the woods.
It was a tricky spot with big, ugly logs just below the frame, and really harsh highlights from sun beams poking through the trees. I think we both made it work though.
I think if I wanted to make the image even better, I would use TouchRetouch to remove the twig from the bottom of the frame, but I don’t have time to go back and do that. I have tons of editing to do already!
Shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed. The drama filter did a great job of bringing detail back into this image.
Ok I have a few minutes to kill before I hit the road again. That means you get to see one of my images from the last trip. This was shot with my Nikon D7000.
Thats not a small bridge, its a huge redwood. This was just on a random trail off of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway in northern CA.
On my way out of the bay area yesterday, I stopped at Uvas Canyon because I heard there were waterfalls out there. The park is in a very rural part of Morgan Hill and kind of reminded me of the pacific northwest. There are lots of trees with a trail, with several wood bridges, that meanders alongside a creek. There seemed to be quite a few little falls. I didn’t have enough time to scope everything out because I arrived just before the park closed. I’m thinking I could spend a couple of hours there next time I’m in the area.
Shot with the default camera app which is probably why some of the falls are overexposed. Edited with Snapseed and Tadaa.
Last night I thought about getting up early for sunrise. I guess that thought was enough for my internal alarm clock to set itself for 5am. Since I tend to wake in pain these days, I figured I’d get up instead of laying there uncomfortably.
This was shot with my Nikon D7000. I did take some with the iPhone4, I just haven’t got around to editing them because I was more excited about the cool shots I got with the DSLR.
I recently got a promo code for Aquarella, which means a review is coming soon! It turns your images in watercolors like this.
Yesterday, I went with a friend to check out some mustangs that some people had picked up from the BLM the day before. Amazingly, they were already able to touch one of the wild horses with their hand.
This photo is of 2 of the 10 mustangs they have on their ranch. When I saw the puffy clouds in the sky behind the horses, I knew I had to try turning this into a watercolor. I wasn’t disappointed.
Shot with camera+ and edited with Aquarella
I got a little creative with this one. I shot with mirrorgram and liked the image, but it was a little out of focus. I didn’t want to scrap it, so I used shockmypic for the painterly look. Finally, I used snapseed to add some contrast and darken the image slightly. The result is much better than a blurry photo, in my opinion.
I hope you’re a fan of symmetry because I’ve been shooting with mirrorgram the last few days. That means I have some cool new shots with symmetry to share with you over the next few days.
Shot with mirrorgram and edited with simplyHDR
In just a few weeks, Monica has whipped me into shape and got me riding independently with confidence. I’ve gone from being nervous and uncomfortable on the horses to riding bareback with no hands and my eyes closed lol. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer my eyes open and a saddle!
If it wasn’t for photography, I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity to learn to ride horses and appreciate them for the incredible animals they are. We met online by chance and I found out she wanted photos for her business in exchange for as many riding lessons as I wanted.
If you’re interested in horses, or mustangs in particular, Monica has a fb page, United Mustangs of America.
Shot with camera+ and edited in Snapseed.
It’s my 30th birthday today. That sounds weird to me. I never thought I’d live this long haha.
Last year I took on the challenge of taking 500 photos of one subject with my old Nikon D60. This is the orange flower I chose out in the garden. It looked interesting and I thought it would be pretty easy to take a lot of pictures of it. It didn’t take too long before I was out of my comfort zone of taking my usual pictures. This is what a challenge is for, pushing you beyond your comfort zone and forcing you to try new things.
I shot from my normal distance and I also shot from as close as my lenses would allow.
I used the two lenses I had at the time, my 18-55 and 55-200. This one below was with the 55-200, shot through a chain link fence. This is probably my favorite shot from the whole shoot. Normally when I’m shooting a flower, I don’t think about moving away from it and shooting through something, but look at those results!
Heres a similar angle with a much different edit.
I also tried a kinetic shot. I had recently heard about kinetic photography and was experimenting with that technique. For this one in particular, I believe I was zooming in while pressing the shutter. It certainly adds some interesting motion to the image.
I felt like I was running out of ideas towards the end, so I switched to manual focus, just to try something different. At one point when I was adjusting, I went almost completely out of focus and saw something interesting happen. The photo turned into a painting.
Since I’d done a whole lot of shooting with the flower open, I wanted to call it a day and come back in the morning when the flower was wet and still not open.
Don’t be scared to try anything you can think of and don’t worry about how you look when you’re doing it. When I first got my Nikon a few years ago, I wasn’t comfortable being that guy that always had his camera around his neck. Eventually, we all have to get to a place where we’re ok with looking like a weirdo crawling on the ground with a camera.
Back on the road again today with a 10 hour drive ahead of me. I’m heading back to California for a few weeks to figure out whats going on with my health. The timing kind of sucks because I was just about to set up 2 or 3 portrait sessions here.
If I see anything amazing from the road today I’ll post from my phone to keep me from becoming too bored.