Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bullwinkle, At Last!

Uh oh. I've been musing again...

I came across this quote today and find it very appropriate, especially in view of the show that Nature is putting on for us out there at this time of year:

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein

Some more musings:

I did a whole bunch of work yesterday and today and when it was done, it didn't look as though I had done anything. And it occurred to me that's how it should be when you use Photoshop... sometimes!

Here's the work I did. When I moved here (8 years ago!) I had a truckload of gravel brought in. Before that, it was impassible in the spring when the ground was muddy. But over the years, my car had dug a couple of tracks into my "driveway" so I added a few cubic yards of gravel/tar mix – won't tell you where I got it! – using my ATV and the little trailer I have on semi-permanent loan from Styles. Then I tamped it down with the ATV and by driving back and forth over it with the car (a roller would have been better but I didn't have one). Now it's nice and flat.

My arms and pecs are sore from shoveling, it took me about 4 hours to do (do you know how much you need to fill in a 6" or 8" deep rut? Or how heavy a cubic yard of gravel weighs? Kudos to those who do this all the time!. In a few days, you won't be able to see the difference, as the pine needles cover it. But the puddles and soft ground after every rainstorm are gone. It will be invisible.

Loading the gravel from my secret source with my ATV and my trusty "555" Styles trailer 

...and unloading it on the driveway. This is about the 6th load, and it's day 2: a little rain last night told me which spots needed a bit of touching up so I got back to work. If you're going to do something, do it right. 

So I worked away and sweated for several hours for what? If you look at my driveway a few days from now when the pine needles are covering it, or a month from now when it's blanketed in the white stuff, you won't be able to tell that I did anything – unless you were there when I started. The same thing is true of Photoediting. 

Your work in Photoshop or whatever editor you use, should be invisible. But you need to address all the details: no dust spots; no unwanted lens flare, toning and skin just the way it's supposed to be, a slightly burned edge, horizons level, and so on. Address all the details. And don't stop until you're done.

Of course sometimes you edit an image with the INTENT of making it look surreal or impressionistic. I do that a lot. But I think that somewhere during the editing process, you need to bring the image to the point where it's perfect and your editing should be invisible. Something to strive for.

Fall Colours are Addictive!

Every year I say I'm not going to shoot the colours. Every year I do anyway. How can one not: when you see something this spectacular, you have to share it! So here are a few shots around the Haliburton Highlands.

If you are located in the Highlands, perhaps these images won't 'grab' you, but many of my readers are from other parts of the world and this is for them!

This is not an uncommon look, since Richard Martin espoused the concept of moving the camera while the shutter was open... however that's not how this image was done. The motion blur was added in Photoshop to a more traditional picture. I did it this way because, well because I CAN. Besides, I wanted to draw the viewer's eye to the birch tree and its colleagues just right of centre, done with a layer mask. I also added a texture overlay.  

I shot this on October 9th, on Oliver Crescent just off the west side of Kushog Lake near Carnarvon. The colours had peaked in spots like this one. I added a touch of Topaz Glow and a smidgen of the Degas preset in Impression, just to add some texture. 

At Hall's Lake. The brilliant colours stand out even more against the rich greens of the pine trees. I used the "coloured pencil" preset in Impression as the baseline from which to edit. 

Tired of fall colour pictures yet? I have bad news for you: more to come! I took a trip yesterday with Amin Shivji from HHCC to Algonquin Park, in search of fall colours, and moose. Let's just say we had a good day!

On the way up, the sun broke out momentarily as we were passing (I think) Kushog Lake.  

As we got into the park, we stopped at Fisherman's Point on Smoke Lake, where we found, wait for it, some fishermen (OK, "fisherpeople"!).  

As we continued further East, we stopped at spots where we hoped we would see moose. Nada. But we did find this wetland on Opeoongo Road, which I thought was quite scenic and told the Fall story.  We went for lunch at the Mad Musher in Whitney where we ran into a quartet of photographers, one of whom, I discovered, reads my blog! (Thanks, Mitch). Another guy has wildlife pictures published all over the place. He reluctantly told us about a spot where he'd seen, not only moose but wolves as well. I promised not to reveal its location. It was threatening to rain, and it started while we were at lunch.

Indeed. I took this through the windshield (thank you, Adobe, for the really nice de-haze filter!). I even blurred the trees a bit to soften it and make it three dimensional. 

As we continued westward, we came across some spots where the colours were spectacular. We stopped a couple of times. 

An impressionistic view of the outrageous colours in a maple bush. 

On to the secret spot. These mallards flashed through the sky overhead, but I had something in my left hand, so I could only swing the camera (complete with 1.7x converter and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens) with one hand, pressing on the back-button focusing while tracking the birds. It wasn't perfect, so I turned it into a sketch, which I call "Couples". 

And now, la pièce de résistance, a bull moose swimming across the water about 100 meters away.  

Here's another shot, more tightly cropped. 

Using Topaz Impression to turn it into a painting, I edited the same image as the cropped one, to tell more of the story. 

We had a good day! I can't wait to visit Algonquin Park again soon. 

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