Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Winter

On a personal note...

On February 11th 2014, Amalia Rose Torres Springer arrived! My new granddaughter was born at 11:31 pm February 11th to Jamie Torres Springer and Maria Torres Springer in New York. Mother and daughter are fine, Jamie survived too, judging from the 2-word emails we got! Yahoo!

Big sister Leah meets her new day old sister Amalia for the first time. Photo credit Jamie Torres Springer

Back on the Ice

I took the ATV out on the ice for the first time since my injury. It's a little uncomfortable: I can't stand up and drive (which you need to do for better traction and balance sometimes) because my wrist won't bend enough to reach the throttle when I'm standing.

I wasn't really inspired. Struggling a little with the camera one-handed... still I did get a few shots.

Wonder what it's like inside the ice-fishing huts? It's toasty warm despite the icy floor! And how great is North-Facing-Window light? 

Here I combined the wide angle lens, a polarizing filter and an HDR blend to capture the feeling of this bright day. By the way, I use Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 for my HDR blending, and five images with the D800, which only allows one stop between brackets.

Topaz has a real winner with their "Simplify" plug-in. I've been using it a lot as my readers can tell, It can add a real painterly flavour to your images. Sometimes you need the edginess of high detail HDR processing and sometimes the smoothness of a simpler image is called for.

Same day, just a few minutes earlier. Here I used the 200mm lens and Topaz Simplify to make a tonal watercolor-like image with a completely different feel. I love the textures in this image. This should work well as a large format art print on the Cold Press matte paper.

I actually combined HDR and Simplify processing to  make this smoothly textured toned image. The high resolution D800 is a real advantage here.

"Working the Scene"... four completely different looks on a short visit out on the ice. Change lenses. Shoot wide. Shoot long.  Shoot inside. Visualize.

New offer from Topaz

If you're reading this before February 28th, take advantage of the half-price sale Topaz is holding on the Simplify module. Use this link, then enter 'febsimplify' in the discount code field at checkout.

It's Winter...

...and even here in the Highlands, where we all adore our four-season outdoors, neighbours greet each other with, "so have you had enough winter yet?". I don't know if it's a record-breaking year but it seems like it's gone on forever. Huge snow levels, endless days with sub-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures. Although it's nice out there as I write this (-10°C, sunny), it was -27°C when I got up this morning.

Visitors from Toronto don't get that you don't drive your car – even if it's an Audi Quattro – on the snowmobile/ATV trail out on the lake. It may look easy, and it is when you're actually on the ice, thanks to the crew from the Red Umbrella Inn who clear it, but the entrance is tough, even for an ATV. CAA got the call.

Some people CAN drive on ice. Every weekend there's ice racing at the Minden Fairgrounds. Imagine racing bumper-to-bumper on a track surface made of ice!

Yes, Minerva, that car is really that colour! I used HDR Efex to bring up the detail level and Simplify for the painterly textures.

Winter's not over yet... coming up: the DogSled Derby on March 1/2. Then maybe, Spring. Just keep telling yourself that!

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