I went for a walk around the farm, while it was snowing, the other day. I thought I was going to shoot the fresh snow on the trees, but some areas were too icy to risk walking through. Instead, my girlfriend and I took photos of some of the 40 horses on the farm. This was one of my favorite outfits.
Shot with ProShot using an Iphone 7. Edited with Snapseed, Mextures, and VSCO.
Somehow life got in the way of this blog, and creativity in general.
Work. Relationship. Exploring. Work. And did I mention work?
My life has been much busier in Maine than it ever was on the west coast. Thats probably a good thing, but its gotten in the way of my creative time. I have quite the backlog of Nikon images, which made me want to stop shooting for a while. I even stopped doing much with my iPhone 5s. Honestly, cutting back on the iPhone was more about it being on its last legs. The battery was barely hanging on by a thread. The colder weather here was draining it within minutes 😦
Luckily, there was a great deal that popped up at the right time, and I got myself the iPhone 7, which I never intended to get. What a huge jump in technology it is from the 5s to the 7. I’m loving the camera and the video, along with the processing speed. I feel a renewed sense of wonder with my phone and I can’t wait to see what creative things I do with it 🙂
Here are a couple of images from my first time taking it out to play.
The light was pretty cool. I only wish you could also see the snow falling in the light as the wind knocked it down from the trees.
This is what passes for a trail in Maine…
Shannon and I stopped at this lighthouse on our lighthouse adventure day. This seems like the obvious composition to me, but it works so well. I tried other angles, but it just doesn’t have the same visual impact as this one.
After we took our shots, we decided to film a segment on focus stacking for our photography students. We explained how to approach a scene like this, and how to get everything in focus from front to back.
If you think you want to learn about advanced techniques such as focus stacking, you may want to join us over at the Light & Landscape members area, where we are teaching photography to over 20 students right now. I don’t even want to announce the price here because its ridiculously low at half off for the first month with a money back satisfaction guarantee. If you want more details, you can contact me at email@example.com or Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a 2nd house down the road that looks vacant. When I opened the screen door to look inside, there was a sign with some peeling wallpaper covering part of it. I wanted to see what it said, so I lifted the wallpaper up.
“Come on in, everything else has gone wrong”
And that summed up the vibe of this place. I walked right back out. What I did see in that room was chaos. There were old car batteries strewn about, and piles of garbage. I’d love to explore this place some more, but the musty smell and the unwelcoming vibe make me hesitant.
I find these abandoned properties in Maine to be super interesting. They’re like museums for the people that used to live there. You can try to piece together a picture of who they were, or are, by finding interesting things in each room.
If I find enough of these properties to shoot, I can definitely see myself putting together a story for Stellar. Btw, are any of you using Stellar? I haven’t really been on there since they featured a few of my stories around the new year.
Shot this with my iPhone. Edited in Snapseed, Mextures, and Stackables.
Now that I live within driving distance of her, Shannon and I can have more photo adventures, which is what we’re doing right now. It’s been just over a month since we shot in Oregon, and here we find ourselves on the coast of Maine.
We tried to go shoot a shipwreck at this beach, but the sand had buried most of it. There really wasn’t any point in shooting it this time. At least the sand patterns were really cool.
Now we’re on our way to more lighthouses and a state park.
Last night, around sunset, we had stormy skies that had a few breaks in it. I was feeling optimistic, so I went for a walk down between the ponds. For a moment, it looked like the sky was opening up right where I needed it to. Unfortunately, it closed back up after 5 minutes, and about 15 before sunset.
Instead of walking back with nothing to share, I stopped at the house on the corner to take my first shot at it. It’s abandoned and falling apart, obviously. There is so much cool detail and texture on the outside. I plan on exploring it more thoroughly one day. For this shot I just wanted a wide shot of the property. Next time I’ll be up close with my super wide angle iPro lens. I may even see if I can have a look around the inside.
Shot with ProHDRX. Edited with Snapseed, Mextures, and iColorama.
My experience with waterfalls in Maine has been pretty underwhelming so far. I saw one of those onlyinyourstate articles on the best waterfalls in Maine, or something like that. Btw, I’m not a fan of their articles. They use sensational headlines to get you to click and share. Usually, the articles are just a collection of stuff for whatever list they’ve compiled, with no real order or justification for the list. I swear whoever wrote the ones for Oregon waterfalls or trips had never been to Oregon before.
But I digress lol.
What I was getting at was, the list of “best waterfalls” was pretty sad. None of them compared to stuff I’ve shot in the PNW. Luckily, my girlfriend is very outdoorsy and knows of falls that weren’t on the list. Guess what, this waterfall was better than any on that list.
This is just an iphone shot because I forgot to bring my tripod along. I had my hands full of stuff that I had to carry to the car, since we had to go to a family birthday party before our adventure. It’s alright though, because I wouldn’t have been satisfied with my photos in these conditions.
At any rate, this particular waterfall was pretty cool. The one challenge that I’ll have when shooting is the amount of visitors that sunbathe or swim out there. I got lucky that a large group had just left, and I got some shots off before a large group came in.
We saw one other good sized waterfall that was also pretty photogenic. I mean, it wasn’t Oregon, but I found compositions that I know the locals will love. It was also a beautiful walk through a green forest that was filled with bugs. Btw, I’ve never had so many bug bites in my life since moving here. I literally wake myself up at night scratching at my bug bites.
And on that note, I’m going to go apply some hydrocortisone cream and go buy some strong bug spray for today’s adventure.
(shot with the default camera app. Edited with Snapseed, Mextures, and TouchRetouch for one bit of flare.)
I’ve been in a Maine for a week now. I have to say that this place is the opposite of where I grew up in Silicon Valley. I was pretty worried the first couple of days, because of culture shock. I knew this town of 4000 people was going to be small, but it felt even smaller once I actually saw it. It’s definitely going to take some time to slow down and adjust.
I feel like I’m going to be forced to disconnect from the 21st century and get back to nature. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. The few times that I’ve been able to get out, I’ve found Maine to be incredibly peaceful. There are so few people that its very easy to find yourself in a remote area surrounded by nature.
My biggest challenges are not having a car, cell phone service is spotty, and wifi signal is awful in this house. If I go anywhere outside of civilization, my cell phone is useless, so I need to get a physical map and a compass, since I don’t know my way around. And a new challenge that just popped up is my iMac suddenly lost power while typing this up. Yay for old farmhouses.
Thats enough complaining. Trust me, I could go on about several other things, but I’m just going to have to accept that my old way of life isn’t possible here right now.
On the bright side, I already made a new photographer friend here. She is still learning, but is already creating cool surreal composites. She was nice enough to show me around the other day while she searched for the perfect pond with lily pads. There doesn’t seem to be too much talent out here outside of the two of us, and maybe one or two other people. I suppose thats a good thing for me. She already wants to open up an artist space together to display our work and run workshops. I’m still feeling the market out before I commit to that though.
(This was shot with the default camera app on the iPhone and edited with Snapseed.)
I did my taxes yesterday…and shortly thereafter, I got a scowl on my face because I owe a bunch of money. I immediately wanted to run off to a wide open landscape to relax, or to sell everything and go to Alaska, but neither one happened. Instead, I sat around working on my landscapes, and coming up with more ideas to make money with my photography. One of which is going to be selling sets of photos for use as wallpaper on your mobile devices.
This morning, I’m going to head out to some waterfalls to relax for a while. There was a chance of snow out there last night, so I could be making my way out to a magical scene very shortly. I hope you all enjoy your day.
To really appreciate the effect, you should click on the image and view it larger. I especially like the painterly effect on water, but I also like how the sky was smoothed out.
Last week, one of my friends saw a tutorial for a painterly effect for portraiture. He suggested I try it out on my landscapes, to see how it looks. After glancing at the workflow, I thought it would make my life easier to just turn it into an action.
There are only a couple things to know, when using this action. First, when choosing the radius for the high pass filter, you want to choose a low number, between 1-3, where the details are just beginning to show. Don’t worry about being super precise.
The next window to pop up will be for surface blur. 50 seems to be a good radius, but you can play with it if you’d like. The threshold controls the detail in the painterly effect. A lower threshold will keep it looking more like a photo. A higher threshold will give you more of a blurry watercolor style. If you do try a higher threshold, play with the radius, because it can dramatically change the effect.
The last thing you should know about this effect is the surface blur can take quite a while on larger images. I’ve got 24gb ram on my iMac, and sometimes it takes a few minutes to complete if I’m working on a file that’s about 1gb in size…yes my files frequently get that large.
Go to my dropbox folder here, to get the action for free.
To install the action, go to your Photoshop folder, open the Presets folder, and put the file in the Actions folder. Or you can load it from the actions panel inside of photoshop.
Acadia Gold by David Pasillas
This is one of my new favorite photos. There are a lot of elements that I like about this photo from Maine, but my favorite is the amazing golden light from the sunrise. You don’t get to see too many of those in your lifetime.
This scene posed a bit of a challenge, no matter where we tried to shoot it form. The sunrise was much brighter than the foreground, which meant I had to create multiple exposures and manually blend them in photoshop. If you try to expose for the sky, not only is the water dark, but you lose the motion in the waves. If you try to expose for the waves, the sky gets overexposed. So, the fix is to combine the best of both of those exposures.
I shot this using my carbon fiber manfrotto tripod, its important to have a tripod for a scene like this, and my Tokina 11-16mm on my D7000.
If you’re on 500px, please head on over and vote for it here. Thank you!
I’m surprised that I actually like the way this image from Maine turned out. I got a little bit discouraged with the location because Shannon and I got there right at sunset, and there were already about 10 photographers set up on the rocks. We had to find our own angles that would give us a good composition, while keeping balding heads out of our shots. I also sat on this image for a while because our buddy Mike Mezeul got a sweet shot from a low angle. I didn’t think mine was as good, and I had plenty of other stuff to work on, so this one could wait.
The only problem I have with it displaying on my blog is the size. It really looks better if you click on it. The details are much more crisp when its a bit larger.
This image was created by manually blending 2 exposures in photoshop. One for the sky, and one for the water. I used the two exposures to mold the light on the rocks, lighthouse, and trees a bit, by picking and choosing which exposure to paint in different areas at different opacities. It’s a fun process. There was quite a bit more processing, including luminosity masks, nik plugins, a topaz plugin, and a subtle orton effect just on the crashing wave.
Thanks for looking! I’ll probably be away from the blog for the rest of the week as you all spend time away from the computer with loved ones. I think I’ll be alone this year, after moving far from my family, but there are a few locals that have been kind enough to extend an invitation for me to join them. Sitting at home, editing with my own cheesecake, sounds just as fine to me 🙂
Sorry about the title, I couldn’t help myself.
How about a behind the scenes shot from Maine today? This is the power stance of Canon shooters, sitting on the ground. Ok, I can’t really poke fun at her fun getting low. Low angles are great for creating interesting compositions. How often do you see things from your eye level? All day, everyday. Getting down low allows for a perspective that we don’t see too often.
If you’re going to shoot from a low angle with a DSLR, a wide angle lens is great. Just be sure to make sure your horizon is level, and keep an eye on the sky, as it will be overexposed in a scene like the one we were capturing on a grey day. Sometimes, theres nothing you can do about it, and you have to accept it, other times, you can look for different compositions to minimize the amount of overexposed sky in your shot.
The original photo of Shannon shooting down this path in the woods was nice and all, but I’m kind of in double exposure mode as I finish writing up that article today.
Here are the two images I used to create the above image in Union.
I’m pretty sure I used the multiply blending mode with the leaf image in the foreground. I’ll be discussing blending modes and how they work in the upcoming article. I’m trying to keep it simple and easy to understand. Math is hard…and theres a bit of math that goes into them.
Well, its back to work for me. Enjoy your weekend!
This is a moment from our second sunrise in Acadia.
None of the words I’ve tried to pair with this image feel right, today.
If you enjoy my photos, you might consider liking my FB photography page. I’m trying to be more active on there again 🙂
I’m also trying to be active on Instagram (@dpasillas). I resisted it for such a long time, but I’m finally on there, and sharing images. You never know who will come across your work on these various social platforms. Might as well be out there on them.
This is Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park in Maine. It’s a very popular lighthouse that everyone wants to shoot. I didn’t really understand why, while I was there. It’s a lighthouse overlooking the ocean, with very few places to shoot from. I’m not a big fan of going somewhere to shoot the same shot that everyone else gets. Oh well, people like lighthouses and might not have seen this one 20 times already.
Just in case you didn’t already know, its a good idea to get to your sunset location an hour before sunset. The main reason is because you don’t want to be rushing, or have to scramble to find a shot with only a few minutes before the light is gone. Another reason, when you’re visiting popular tourist spots, is you need to be there early to stake your spot, so you don’t end up shooting behind a pack of other photogs, or from a less desirable angle.
I mention all that because we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to get from Connecticut to Maine. Yes, we made it before sunset, but by the time we got there, there were already about 10 other photographers crowding onto the rocks along the shore, which apparently isn’t that many photographers for this spot. At this particular location, there is really only one small area to get a good angle from, and thats where everyone was. If you look closely enough, you’ll see a bald head in the bottom right of the frame. Luckily, it blends in pretty well with the rocks haha.
So yeah, get there early if you can!
This one was shot with ProHDR and edited with PS Touch. I wanted to add a yellow glow, so I used a raidal gradient in PS Touch to do that. I may have used Mextures as well. It looks like there is a bit of texture added, but I can’t remember…this was edited over a week ago.