I finally made it out yesterday to take some photos of the fall colors in Ashland. The Japanese garden looks great right now!
I really wasn’t happy with my original exposure because the highlights behind the tree were blown. The clouds had just cleared and created problematic lighting. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it work to my liking with a regular workflow, I went the painterly route.
I molded the light with some dodging and burning, along with some painting with light in photoshop. Then I used Topaz Impressions to get the painterly style. This was using the preset Van Gogh I.
Normally I don’t like my images this small, but this one actually looks better small. The level of detail was just right at this size, and something is lost when the image is larger. So, mini it is!
This weekend, I took a client out for a private photography lesson with her Canon. She was a total beginner that didn’t know anything about aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. After about an hour, she was getting some well composed shots. I was kind of surprised, actually.
I enjoy teaching other people how to use their gear, and how to go beyond snapshots. A few years ago, my first client went on to start her own photography business and made money shooting events and portraits. But, I digress.
One of the lessons I taught my client this weekend was about moving around and looking for different points of view. Everyone can take a photo from their normal eye level, but not everyone is willing to get down on their belly, or crouch down for a different angle.
This is an iphone photo taken from my eye level.
It’s not a bad view, but I’m sure its been done a lot. Next, I crouched down by the water and put my phone very close to the ground for a more unique angle. I also edited the shot below with Artista Impresso, for the painterly look.
All it takes is a different angle, and you can create images that are very different from the norm, which is a good thing!
Oh Lithia Park. You’re one of my favorite places during fall. The Japanese garden alone is enough to keep you and your camera busy for a while. I could totally put on a workshop here. Too bad I didn’t think of that before the peak had passed. I suppose there is always next year.
I didn’t spell out “fall” with the leaves, it was already there, so I got a quick shot of it. I wouldn’t take the time to do something like this because it’s too instagrammy for my taste haha. If someone else goes through the trouble, though, I’ll snap something.
If I share a photo a day from my hour spent in the park that day, I would have awesome photos to share for a couple of weeks. But, I probably won’t do that to you. I have quite the backlog of images now. Thats probably a good thing, just in case I end up hibernating this winter.
I also have some awesome images that I created to troll Tinder. My friends suggested I join, and create some ridiculous photos in photoshop, so I did. They’re kind of a hit haha. Quite a few girls are eager to talk to the photoshop wizard that created a sexy centaur and a sexy merman of himself. You know you want to see that. The question now is, do I want you and the rest of the public that google me to see it?
I was approached last month by Emil Pakarklis, of iphonephotographyschool.com, for an interview. The timing was tough for me with the move and everything, but he was very patient and gave me all the time I needed.
As time consuming as interviews can be when you’re giving thoughtful answers, I find them to be a good exercise in redefining what you’re doing and why. It gives you a moment to stop, breathe, and reflect on what you’ve accomplished (or not) up to that point. I was forced to go through most of my iphone photos and choose the ones I felt represented my best work up to this point. Some shots still look great to me, others I had trouble appreciating because the perfectionist in me sees something I could have done differently to make them better.
Overall, I felt like I could have done much better because, although my iPhoneography is appreciated by more people than I could have ever imagined, I still haven’t taken it as seriously as perhaps I should. Most of the images are just fun, quick snapshots to me, which means I’m not taking my time to find the best possible composition or point of view. The perfectionist side of me wants to take this pursuit a little more seriously now and see what I’m really capable of. Now comes the hard part of remembering to follow through…
I had a great day yesterday. I finally found time to finish an interview for an iPhoneography website and I was asked to write up a tutorial for the topaz labs newsletter. Yay for more exposure. Even more importantly, I was able to focus and get some work done, instead of micromanaging my grandmother’s life. It felt like a day off even though I worked past 9pm.
Now, about today’s shot from Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA. I thought I would also share the before picture below so you can see what I started with. I had a hard time deciding how to edit this one. Sometimes, if you don’t previsualize what the final image will be, it can be a challenge making a very average photo stand out. As you can see, the original was flat and lacked pop. I tried a number of my painting apps because I thought this one would work as a painterly image. Wrong.
I knew I wanted to bring more drama to the image, so I made some edits in Snapseed and tried the drama filter. It just didn’t work for me on this one, so I canceled it and just saved the other edits. Next, I used SimplyHDR to pull out detail and add a very subtle vignette. It still didn’t seem done, so I saved the image and imported it into Tadaa where I used the HD clarity filter and the Sylt filter at a lower opacity. The result was more of a film look that had the pop I was looking for.
What do you think about the difference between the before and after shots?
It’s been a very rough few days for me here. Grandma has been extra anxious and forgetful. I hear she has a hard time after visitors leave and my aunt just left after staying for a few days. It’s also been rough because my new Internet got connected on the 1st but its hardly faster than what we had and comes with the added benefit of instability. It constantly drops every few minutes so I can’t get anything done on the computer. In fact, I spent over 20 minutes trying to upload a photo and post this morning before I gave up and decided to use my iPhone. Someone should be here Friday to try and fix the connection. I hope to blog more regularly after that.
Now, about this photo. I went to hakone gardens the day after I shot the wedding. I had all that great gear and wanted to use it somewhere nice. The garden was $8 to enter and they charge extra if you’re taking commercial photos. We showed up with like $7000 in gear and they didn’t think to charge us extra haha.
The pond was nice, full of turtles and koi. There was even a nice waterfall flowing into it. I think it would have been a better experience for us if there weren’t children running around like the trails were for jogging. I might go back sometime, just not soon.
I love fall. Colder weather. Beautiful colors. The beginning of the holiday season. Theres a lot to like about it.
This is over at the Japanese garden in Lithia Park. We’re still not at the peak colors yet, but soon!