Entries in landscape (18)
When the horizon is contained in the composition of your photograph, a lot of attention has to be paid to it. The first thing is to make sure it is straight. Then where it is positioned in the vertical part of the frame is another thing to be mindful of (read about that photo tip here). Add to your horizon checklist the search for intruders at the edges of the frame. In the above photograph, only part of the condos on the left are shown. This makes them intruders to me. Either have the condos completely in the frame, or not at all. Now, on the right of the horizon are some trees. These are part of the natural landscape and I do not view them as intruders. The trees do not breakup the natural flow of the horizon when looking at the photograph, but the condos at the edge do. Buildings are what you need to look out most for at the edges of the horizon. Overall, always pay close attention to the horizon when composing a photograph for the best results.
I have heard that Montana is called Big Sky Country. Picturing that in my mind has fascinated me for years. I have lived in claustrophobic places, where glimpes of the sky are all that is allowed. Fortunately, for a majority of my life I have been able to gaze westward across a 180 degree expanse of the Gulf of Mexico. The horizon is not infinity, it is Texas. Still, since 1992 when I first discovered Sunset Beach, it has become a sacred place to me.
A whole novel could be written about my time on that half mile strip of sand over the past 19 years, though I would not want to share those stories, at least not yet. For now I will only share the view that has given me solace and freedom of mind.
My friend i-cjw is the premiere mountain summit photographer in Japan. He has the photography skill to produce such images, but what makes his images all the better are how rare they are because few have his mountaineering skills to get to the mountain tops he does. His most recent photo story (view here) made me miss being around mountains even more than I already had been. In case you did not know it, Florida is basically a pancake. So I had to dig into my archives to find my own mountain summit images of Mt. Fuji taken from the summit of Yatsugatake. The above photograph shows Mt. Fuji peaking just above the clouds. It was not visible again the rest of the time I was at the summit after I made this shot, so I am glad I took out my Nikon first and sandwich second!
As you can see, Mt. Fuji was actually quite a distance away. The lead photograph is a good example of how a 200mm lens can actually be a very good lens for landscapes.
These photographs have no editing done to them other than vignetting removal (due to the not so great 18-200mm lens I had at the time) and some cropping on the above image. The blue tones are natural.
It is an absolutely unique feeling to stand atop a mountain summit after spending the previous hours hiking up it. When you finally return to the base and look back up at the summit, I always do not believe my legs had just carried me up to such a high place. I have always enjoyed a view.
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I am spending more time at the new Dali Museum and discovering the very different views of the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront it offers. The above panorama photograph was made from a parking lot across from the museum at twilight. Here I detailed my process for creating such panoramas.
From this vantage point The Pier does not dominate the waterfront, and can only barely be seen behind the sailboat masts toward the right of the photo. Instead, the Mahaffey Theater is the most prominent structure. There is also a gradual light falloff from left to right instead of the harsher light falloffs when photographing directly into the sun. I look forward to returning to this location to find more panorama photograph opportunities.
I received a phone call from Ed all the way in Jacksonville (about 3 hours away) asking about taking extended 1-on-1 Photoshop CS5 lessons. I am not a certified Photoshop expert or anything like that so at first I wanted to make sure he was not looking to learn how to do something like someone's face and put it onto another person's body. My Photoshop skills lie mostly in the areas that pertain to editing digital photographs, not graphic design. After talking for a few minutes though I realized that what Ed wanted to learn I could most definitely teach. We booked two lesson sessions, one for today and another for tomorrow.
Ed had his own photos to use during the editing lesson and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Grand Tetons. Florida photographers of course have no local opportunities to photographs mountains of any kind. Ed's photographs already looked good, but there is almost always something that can be done to improve any photograph, and for sure any published or portfolio photograph by a serious hobbyist or a pro has had at least some editing done to it. I am not afraid to say that editing is often 50% responsible for the final look of a photograph.
The example above did not need that 50% level of editing. I showed Ed my workflow which starts with cropping (I cropped the photo even more here than I did during the lesson to better show the edits we made) and then removing any dust spots on the sensor that appear as dirt blemishes in the photo by using the healing brush (keyboard shortcut - j). Then I taught how to use the quick select tool (w) to highlight only the mountains for a contrast adjustment. Then the foreground grass and fence were selected for a color balance boost. Lastly, we used unsharp mask to increase the overall sharpness of the image resulting in more defined blades of grass and details in the fence and mountains.