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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Couple of Kookie Bird Pics

Going through photos off and on the last couple of weeks, I've run into some that bring back cool memories or that deserve a "oh, I remember that day!"

There's so many but a couple are here:

American tree Sparrow eating from John's hand

Mallards flying funny - they look placed in - wings all aligned

Friday, 25 October 2013

John's Canon and a Panorama

Since my camera has been out of commission, I've been using John's Canon. I love the value transitions Canon gets, though John has a good lens on his, better than Nikon. Though I will stick to Nikon out of use familiarity and also lens compatibility with the ones I have already, one being an old old manual lens I love.

During walks though, I've been using his camera. I forget what model it is. It is about the same age as my 7+ yr old D70 though. We don't have a 70-300 for his Canon so I've been stuck using the 35-70mm lens again. So, no pics of birds lol! However, his lens has an aperture of 2.8 which I LOVE! I can do close up images of cool little textures and lower light shots than with my lens, which has only a 5.6 aperture ability as its widest open ability. This is closer to my manual Nikkor lens, which has an even wider aperture than that.

I shot a series of images of the sky over Lake Ontario, always haphazardly, hand held and just manually panning lol! John helped stitch them together in a panorama and remove a hint of tree branches on the very right of the picture plane which added nothing, and took away from the flow of the image's composition. I cannot use Content Aware Fill with PS Elements as it does not have it. I do that kind of thing manually in Elements but then it destroys the pixels somewhat and noise to match the rest of the noise in the image often needs to be added. Content Awareness Fill is an amazing amazing tool!

The colours here, the way the light seems to be opposite, dark and light transposed, almost creating a Rorschach like feel, are so appealing to me.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

To Process or Not to Process, That is the Question

As a painter, and I guess too as a photographer, I was not so much into over synthesizing my imagery. As many artists who know me have mentioned, I am a tertiary palette liker. I love earthy and natural tones, natural light, and don't buy many "man made" colours when I buy paint. I stuck mainly to natural colours, though of course, not just the 3 primaries.

These preferences stretched into everyday things as well. I do not like HD tv - the over crisp hard lined outliney, high contrast images, dark flat shadows, that seem to be the norm for television the last decade or so. I prefer more subtle value change, especially in figures and faces. Not to say though that I don't love dramatic light conditions.

Photography has always sort of been there, along with painting. I loved working from photographic reference for my paintings, logical since I loved painting portraits (who the hell has time to sit for someone all the time lol!) and also since my love was realistic rendering. Though I have drawn from life since age 16, and still do, and do it well, I prefer my finished pieces to be from worked out compositions and proper reference for subjects or objects, though I am not a slave to my reference material.

Photography has sort of actually taken a forefront seat as my artistic outlet the last 2 1/2 yrs. This was mainly due to limited space in which to work, possibly eyesight changes, and gawd knows what else, but my painting instincts and abilities seemed to just leave me. Hopefully they will return, but if they don't......I guess photography will have to do.

I have even begun to consider a photo a finished piece of artwork, and not just a tool for or stepping stone to a finished painting or drawing. I can't just treat a photo anymore as "who gives a crap as to what is in the background, I don't need to draw that in anyway" or "who cares what colour that is" etc., Or...I'd be doing a hell of a lot of work in Photoshop Elements to clean up my obliviousness to composition and distractions mistakes at the photo taking stage lol! I have to consider my composition at the time I shoot now, if I want something I can work with to create a composition that works in the end. And I know, myself and from others, I am a nitpicky visual artist lol! I like to tweak and finesse till my eye and emotions are satisfied lol! Even if in the end I am the only one who feels the whole image works lol!

Beginning to actually consider the advice a few have given me that I should offer my images for sale, I have come to realize, somewhat sadly, a fact. Natural images with soft transitions and not always sharp sharp detail, do not attract the eyes of many viewers, hence buyers. Viewers want highly saturated colour, high contrast, over abundant detail everywhere, etc. They love HD'd to death images. I don't. But, I will admit, having used a couple filters recently, I have been excited by my original image as well as the finished product I get after "processing". I still try to maintain something of the original that drew me to shoot the image in the first place, and some images lose their special thing when processing is added so those, I don't do too much to, possibly just clean up distracting little things in the subject matter, such as sticks sticking up, little weird shapes in the background, grungy spots on petals, etc. that take away from the subject. Other images, I have used a combo of filters and hand work, such as erasing back and forth with a brush on a layer mask or eraser, to maintain blurred backgrounds but keep a focused subject 3 dimensional and focal. Which means I do have to do a lot of manual labour, like a painter, on my image to get it where I want it, to where my eye and brain go "Yeah!" So, this means not just applying a filter and voila, a perfect photo no sweat.

Unfortunately, the images that have the most "pumping up" with processing seem to garner the most attention, votes, likes, comments, etc. sad but true :-( Some do end up as my favs but I must say, most of my true favs among my own photo work are often ones that are very close to exactly what I saw and shot.

My 500px

My Fine Art America site

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Broken Camera :-(

I guess I'll see when I can replace it. Got 7 years out of it and probably close to 40000 or more shutter clicks so considering myself pretty fortunate. Hope I can get a D600 in a few months. Update: Ixnee on the D600, D7100, I leanred from someone who knows, is better suited for what I want in a camera :-)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Black Throated Blue Warbler

Not so much into the birds lately, mainly due to time and also more so concentrating on taking and working with my nature and flower and texture images. It's so bad that I am used to taking pics of things that Don't move lol! and I've lost some of my lightening quick photographing skills (within the limits of my camera and lens' ability to focus fast of course). Therefore, I've missed a few 1 sec excellent opportunities when I've spotted a bird that I haven't seen or rarely seen.

However, I did get an ok shot of a new to me bird the other day. It is a Black Throated Blue Warbler, I am fairly sure. the site is unfortunately not working the way it used to so I have to rely on Google image searches which are not always reliable since people miss-tag birds and more.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Woolly Apple Aphids - a Continuation of the WTF?! Post

Today, the day my camera died, and our walk through the eastern most area of Second Marsh, just past the GM plant in Oshawa. However, before my camera gave up completely :-( it had two revivals. Luckily as we saw the most incredible and freakishly odd yet adorable creature we've ever seen.

As we walked through the path, we spotted what appeared to be these neon periwinkle blue lavender coloured little tiny flying creatures. They appeared to float lackadaisically through the air. I reached out my arm to catch one on my black sleeve and here I saw this tiny little fuzzy moth like flying insect. Little pieces of itself seemed to come off and stay on my sweat top cuff as it crawled a bit along the material. They appear to be almost dying. I tried getting one shot with my camera in between its death throes but they are difficult to photograph. This is probably due to their minuscule size as well as the fact that they get overblown easily because of their almost white value.

Here is the previous post I made about them, not realizing what this clump of fuzzy white stuff all over a tree branch was. Turns out it is a huge hoard of these aphids. Incredible! In my life I have never seen or heard about these insects. Though they are pests they are adorable and fascinating to see with the naked eye.

To add to the images in my previous post, this photo, which completely freaked me out as I opened it on my computer and upon closer inspection realized that the petals are not dead dried Pink Cone Flower petals, but are the flowers' petals covered in thousands of these aphids!

Here is another interesting article on these aphids, on Wordpress.