early morning

Saving a Sunrise

The art of photography is certainly fun and enjoyable. The fact that you can freeze time and preserve events like your kids school play or the toddler's first steps is quite fascinating. But creating photos is not without it's disappointments as well.In today's image I was fortunate enough to catch the sun rising in Las Vegas as I walked down the street. Sunrise and sunset shots are always a thrill. I can remember the excitement of catching this sunrise with it's brilliant colors, thinking this would look nice when processed. If you have been behind a camera for any period of time, chances are you've been in this situation too. You open your images on the computer and take a closer look at what you thought was a fairly decent shot, only to discover that it's far from what you had expected. In this case, the image was cluttered with power lines which I saw initially but simply discounted in the excitement of catching the sun's ascent.  At the time of the shot, I had no idea there were so many of these distracting objects in the frame, as seen below.

Saving a Sunrise
Saving a Sunrise

This RAW file is not what I had in mind during the shoot. There is even a billboard that I find unattractive with it's truncated text. But I decided to soldier on and see if I could save this sunrise and thus, preserve the fond memory of that wonderful morning.

After opening the image in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and adjusting a few sliders to recover some color and detail, the image was then opened in Photoshop CS6. Once there I applied a Topaz Adjust 5 > Cool Tone 1 filter. This was done first to be sure the image was worth the effort of removing the power lines, which can be a little painstaking at times.

Next it was time to grab the Spot Healing Tool (J) and get to work. I began with a brush size 40 for the open spaces, removing the easier to reach lines. For the tighter spaces the brush is reduced in size, as small as 15 in some areas. Some areas may require zooming in for a better view (Ctrl +).

Once the lines were removed I decided to replace the billboard image with one of my own and a fictitious "Visit Smith Park" text overlay. The image was darkened with the burn tool (o) and the text layer's opacity was lowered to 8%. To complete the recovery the background layer was sharpened slightly (Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask>110).

Sunrise Sunset
Sunrise Sunset

And so we have the final result above and a before & after below.

[soliloquy id="4259"]

Thanks for visiting!

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The Quiet Farm

I have always found farms, barns and all things related to this rural lifestyle as attractive photographically. Today's image was taken on another early morning drive. There had been rain during the overnight so I was out early hoping for one of those unpredictable but surprisingly nice sunrises as the sky cleared. It never happened on this morning so I setup and tried to make the best of things from a spot along the roadside where vehicles can temporarily park.

The Quiet Farm
The Quiet Farm

Click image to enlarge or purchase ~

This is the same farm the gave us "Til the Cows Come Home" in a previous post. This time, there were no signs of activity and it was eerily quiet. I guess the cows went home afterall. :-)

I wondered what this image would look like after a black & white conversion. You can see the result below.

The Quiet Farm
The Quiet Farm

Click image to enlarge or purchase ~

As the Winter season winds to a close there will be plenty of activity to see in the coming weeks and months. The now quiet farms will spring to life as the planting and growing seasons begin anew.

Thanks for visiting!

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
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4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM

Dawn of a New Day

The dawn of a new day, there is just something special, even mystical about this time. Having long been a fan of early morning photography, I have had my share of disappointments when it comes to shooting into the sun. Years ago there were the overblown flares and blown out skies that dominated the image, producing less than acceptable results. But being an experimental and creative type, I learned that the trick was all in the exposure. Exposing for the brighter portion of your image creates silhouettes in the darker portions and opens the door to numerous creative possibilities.

Dawn of a New Day
Dawn of a New Day

Click image to enlarge or purchase

Shot info: Nikon D5000 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6, lens set at 56mm, f/18, ISO 400.

In the image above the goal was to have a more dramatic and colorful sky, a bit of an edge of night foreground while the background transitions to a new day. Playing with exposure settings can provide a better understanding of light and interesting results.

Thanks for visiting!

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
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4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM

Mid Winter Sunrise

Well friends, we've reached another Friday... woohoo! These weeks are just getting too darn busy, goes against my grain.  Anyhow...

On a cold mid Winter morning, the sun rises over a farm. The previous night a dusting of snow had fallen to remove the olive drab grounds and hillside. This is a place I've passed many times and although it's a nice spot for sunrises, in the Summer there is too much green. During the Winter months, well, it's not much to look at either. Not to sound like Goldilocks, but this time things seemed just right. :-)

Time was of the essence!

I pulled over, grabbed the camera and braced myself between my vehicle driver's door (makes a nice shooting base in a hurry). Rattling off  about 5 sets of brackets before the Sun cleared the ridge and blew out the entire scene, this was the best of the lot.

Enjoy!

Mid Winter Sunrise
Mid Winter Sunrise

Extra Large View

As always, I wish each of you a great weekend and thanks so much for your support. I really enjoy the community we've all built together, it's a lot of fun.

Until next time...

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