Posted by pae on March 2, 2014
After spending most of the month of February neglecting my photography, I finally got myself out again a few hours before the end of the month. It had been a nice day, and there were a number of clouds in the afternoon sky, so I was hopeful for a dramatic sunset.
I grabbed my camera and tripod, and again drove over to Garden of the Gods. As I was heading there, I could tell that the skies were clearing a bit (as sometimes happens around here right around sunset), so there weren't nearly as many clouds as I would have liked.
Still, I walked around the central garden area, looking for a place that might give a nice composition of the clouds, along with some contrasting colours between the rocks and sky. The area where I ended up setting up was off of a dirt trail at the southern end of the central garden--a place that I don't recall ever visiting. It's on the far northern end of the Sleeping Giant formation.
To the north there are nice views of the central garden formation, and to the south, some views of the town of Manitou Springs. I took a few shots facing to the north, and then started looking toward the south. Between two formations there were a few puffy clouds that were showing a bit of colour, so I took a few shots there as well.
The image above is from a single exposure of 1/8 of a second, at f/13.5, and ISO100 at 18mm with a Pentax K-3. A bit of post-processing work was done in Lightroom and Photoshop to bring up the contrast and saturation.
A couple more images from the same spot are below.
Posted by pae on February 17, 2014
GenghisCon XXXV was this past weekend, and it was a busy one. I taught 4 classes in total, and spent a lot of time on Friday and Saturday finishing up one of my entries for the competition.
Rhonda Bender was scheduled to attend, but weather out east interfered with those plans, so the CMPA had to scramble a bit to get her classes covered. Add in a bit of confusion between the convention's database and what they printed in their schedule, and things got a bit chaotic. But overall, it went pretty well.
I ended up entering a total of 5 figures into the competition, and three of them were winners. First, my Kalee from Hasslefree took first place in the Masters division (total surprise to me). Second, a elf fighter that I painted a while back won the DarkSword Manufacturer's award (also a surprise). Finally, my Alice piece from Nocturna won the Hangar18 special theme award. That was the one I was scrambling to finish at the last minute.
Best in show went to Ian Markon for his ReaperCon Sophie (also winning best Reaper piece). Very well done stuff. I really wish I had gotten some time to talk to him at the convention, but as I said before, things were a little bit crazy this year.
I definitely am looking forward to teaching again at Genghis next year, and maybe I'll even start thinking about doing some non-local conventions/competitions again at some point. Lately my running hobby has been a higher priority for me, and that's carved out some time already for this summer.
Posted by pae on January 31, 2014
For the past few weeks, I really haven't had much of a chance to get out and about with my camera. Usually the sun is going down as I'm leaving the office, and on weekends, I tend to have other things going on. That doesn't leave a whole lot of daylight in which to be taking pictures. Sure, I could get up early in the morning for some sunrise shots, but I've never been a morning person.
However, there have been a couple of days in which I took my camera with me to the office, on the off chance that the sunset on that particular night looks promising. I work just down the street from Garden of the Gods park, so I don't have to go very far to have a very nice location to take pictures.
It seems like the days that we have spectacular sunsets are the days on which I've left my camera at home. But a couple of the nights that I've been out, the skies presented me with at least something to work with. The image to the left is one of those shots.
Posted by pae on December 17, 2013
In September of 2012, I spent a few days hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and came away with a number of decent photos. On this particular day, I had hiked from Bear Lake up to Lake Haiyaha, and then was on my way to Loch Vale by way of one of the few trails in that area that doesn't get a whole lot of traffic. It was then that I came upon a small stream that crossed the trail.
The canopy was very thick in this area, and the small gap in the trees where the sun was shining in created quite a bit of a challenge with this shot. The original photo was slightly overexposed for the highlights, and quite underexposed for the shadows.
Initially, I had discarded the image, and was kicking myself for not taking a few more shots to see if I could have done a better job of capturing this scene. However, I came back to this one today and did a bit of work in Lightroom and in Photoshop in order to bring the highlights down, and to bring the shadows up. It's still not quite what I was hoping to capture, but it does have a bit more detail in it that certainly couldn't be seen in the original.
In another example, this image had the sky and sunlit portions slightly underexposed, and the remainder of the image severely underexposed. Again, it's an image that I had discarded when I first looked at it.
However, I thought I'd try to see what I could salvage out of this one using Lightroom and Photoshop. First, I created a couple of virtual copies in Lightroom. The original I left untouched. One of the copies I pushed the exposure up by a stop and a half. In the other copy, I pushed the exposure up by three stops. I then took all three of these images and sent them to Photoshop as separate layers.
In photoshop, I took the alpha channel of the darkest photo, inverted that, and applied it as a mask to the lightest photo. This gave me a good selection of the shadow areas from the lightest image. Then I took the alpha channel of the lightest photo and applied it as a mask to the darkest photo. This gave me a good selection of the highlights from the brightest image. I superimposed both of these selections on top of the middle exposure. In essence, this lessened the extreme contrast from the original image.
Back in Lightroom, I did a bit more tweaking. Again I bumped up the exposure, and then applied some contrast, highlight, shadow, and vibrancy adjustments, as well as a few selective graduated filters.
The before and after are shown here. To see the final image, click on the before/after image.
Posted by pae on November 27, 2013
For those of you in Canada, I know that you had your Thanksgiving last month.
I'd like to thank everyone who has come along to support my work, both in the miniatures realm, and in the photography world. I greatly appreciate all of the encouragement that you have given me.
As this holiday weekend (again, here in the States) traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season, I'd like to announce that I'm running my first ever special on photographic prints. Between now and December 4th, you can get 25% off plus free shipping on any of the products I have available through Zenfolio. Just use the code 'FP25off' at checkout. Follow the link below to get to the site.
Feel free to share this info with your friends and family.