Go See Do Photography

The Photo Blog of Mowers Photography, LLC

Category: Chris’ Corner (Page 1 of 2)

Chris Corner 16: My New Style

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A few months ago, I saw this video on color grading in cinema. I thought it was remarkable that this type of color editing is so common in video, but is not really taught to hobbyist photographers, nor is it often discussed in any of the online photography communities of which I am a part.

This began my deep dive on YouTube and anywhere else into the world of color grading, and it has become an indispensable part of my style. The idea of individual photographic style is one that really appeals to me, and I have been seeking to find mine. I think that for me, there are two things that I’d like to be known for. Those things are not being afraid to go abstract/impressionistic, and not being afraid to manipulate hues and tone curves in tasteful, and cinematic ways.

20161029-20161029-DSC_0030-2.jpgTo the untrained eye, I actually don’t want to be known for the second one. I think the real art here is not knowing the work done to the original image, which can be seen on the right.

I hope you’ll continue to join me on Fridays as I share my art with you. Also, please comment on this post or on social media so that we can discuss this and other works together.

How to see my work:

I am focusing on Instagram right now, you can see my work here, and please follow me!

Chris Corner 15: A new format, and McConnell Springs

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I’m back on the blog!

In most of my previous posts, I would write a bit about the photo- where I took it, or how I took it or processed it. I would then follow with the technical details of the shot.

I’m going to change this format up and now simply talk about the photo- why I took it, or why I like it, or what it is supposed to say. I will bring up technical details if they are relevant, but I’ve spent the past few months trying to think less technically and more artistically, so my posts will reflect that.

The image above was taken at a park in Lexington, Kentucky called McConnell Springs. It’s in kind of an industrial area but once you walk back into the park you wouldn’t know it. This is the start of the Town Branch, a small river that runs through Lexington. It actually goes underground a few times between here and the main part of the river.

I really like the shape of this image. If you look from bottom to top, you see a series of ascending triangles, or maybe chevrons (^) going up to the top. The light lifts your eyes down the creek and up to the sky. The shapes in the creek help with this as well. You can also see one V shape from the top corners coming down to about the middle of the frame. This causes an X shape in light that draws your eyes to the middle of the frame. Finally, we have this filtering of red light on the left side of the frame that hits green in the middle and right of the frame. Red and green are a highly satisfying combination of colors.

I hope you’ll continue to join me on Fridays as I share my art with you. Also, please comment on this post or on social media so that we can discuss this and other works together.

How to see my work:

I am focusing on Instagram right now, you can see my work here, and please follow me!

Chris Corner #14: In Memorium

This is a departure from my normal format. I wanted to use this post to remember our cat that Ashleigh and I lost to kidney failure last Saturday.

Incidentally, I had been wanting to try out Adobe Spark to make something for our vacation photos. This was a really helpful tool in getting my feelings out and healing. I would recommend trying it out (it’s free) the next time you want to tell a story. https://spark.adobe.com/

This particular Spark features photos taken by both Ashleigh and myself. Click the picture below to see the full story.

Ebert

Chris Corner #13: Scott Falls

Scott Falls by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

We nearly didn’t make it.

That morning, we set out for Munising, MI from Houghton, MI. It was one of our shorter days of travel. Because it was so short, we decided to try to see some waterfalls, and our short trip turned long and frustrating.

First up was our attempt to visit Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park. Apparently there is a right and wrong way to try to get to this park- and the two track that we tried to follow only was only an hour long exercise in proving that our Kia Soul, awesome as it is, is no match for Michigan’s more rugged terrain.

Scott Falls, pictured above, was our second waterfall stop of the day. Our information said it was simply off of M-28. Great! This one should be a piece of cake to find. So we pulled into the roadside scenic turn out, walked to the shore of Lake Superior, and couldn’t help but notice that despite being at Scott Falls scenic turnout, that there was no presence of any waterfall.

Frustrated, we continued east, but luckily in a few hundred feet (if that) we saw the waterfall on the other side of M-28. We had to pull over on the side of the road and walk back, but after all that frustration it was nice to get a decent photo of Scott Falls
About the photo:
It’s a long exposure on a tripod. Exactly what you’d expect for a waterfall shot.

Camera Gear: Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Date Taken: June 29, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.
Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #12: The Tent Shot with the Mackinac Bridge

Tent at the Mackinac Bridge by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

From the moment I knew we were going to stay at Straits State Park in St. Ignace, and that we would have a campsite right on the water, I knew that I wanted to take a photo of my illuminated tent with the Mackinac Bridge in the background. This post will walk through the process I took to come out with this image.

Planning:
I took the photo during late blue hour because I wanted a relatively even exposure between the lights on the bridge and the illuminated tent. I considered using my speedlight in the tent, and that may have yielded a better illumination, but in the end I decided to use a few LED flashlights, as I didn’t want to be obnoxious in the campsite with a flashing tent. I walked around the site to get the best composition, and then set up my tripod.

Shooting:
It would be very easy to get all of this (and more) in frame with a lens on the wider end of the spectrum. This was my first instinct; however, my first peek in the viewfinder reminded me of a very real issue: when shooting below approximately 50 mm, background objects appear increasingly smaller as compared to how they are viewed by the human eye. In other words, at 18mm, everything is in frame, but there is a huge tent and a tiny bridge. This is no good.

The solution to this problem is to go telephoto. Above 50mm or so, objects in the background appear larger than they do to the human eye, and the greater the focal length, the closer one will get to a point where background and foreground are nearly identical in perceived size.

The telephoto presents a second issue though, and that is that I could not back up far enough to get everything in frame. We have a technological solution to this though, and a relatively easy one to execute since I was on a tripod. I started on the left and took an exposure, then I panned until I had about 2/3 of the frame as new stuff and I took another exposure. I repeated this process until I had everything covered, with a decent amount on either side in case I had to crop due to my technique not being perfect.

My exposures were at f/11, ISO 400, for 30 seconds.

The Lightroom Editing:
The first step was to stitch everything together, which is easily accomplished in Lightroom. Then I cropped, and made simple exposure and contrast adjustments, as well as some color corrections.

The Photoshop Edit:
This was the time consuming bit of the edit. I’m just going to list everything that I did.

  • Using content aware fill, I removed the branding from the tent
  • Using luminosity masks, I did the following
    • Corrected some exposure issues in the bridge and water
    • Brushed noise reduction into the shadows
  • Using a high pass filter, cloned and emphasized texture in the tent
  • Using the camera raw filter, I added vignette and other minor finishing touches

 

So that’s how I got the shot. It’s not perfect, but I think it tells a great story and I learned a lot. I am confident that the next time I am in this kind of situation I can come out with something even better.

Date Taken:
June 26, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #11: A Planned Shot

Gold and Black Aisle by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

My work of the past few weeks has been rather uninspiring, so we’re going to hit the back catalog today.

This is not a perfect photo by any means, but I wanted to post it because it is an example of a planned shot. I wanted a shot of an aisle between trees, and then I went and got it. Sometimes in photography, one will grab his or her camera, go to a great location, and hope for the best; however, very frequently, the best pictures are those which one will consider in advance.

Good light for photography is a fleeting thing, and when shooting landscapes one doesn’t always have enough time to really get it right without forethought. Being familiar with locations and thinking of compositions in advance can be a helpful practice.

 

About the photo:

This photo was taken near our cottage in Paris, MI. In the upper part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, there tends to be a lot of trees that were planted in rows such as this. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted them this way. I do not know if these particular trees were planted by the CCC, but certainly this is typical to see.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
June 25, 2015

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #10: Driftwood

Driftwood by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

The posting of the photos that I took while on vacation continues this week, and we are back to Silver Lake State Park near Mears, MI.

We were at Silver lake on this sort of blustery, cold day, where rain was imminent.  Really, it was actually snow that was imminent, but we didn’t know that yet. Overall, that week’s weather had been pretty nice for the first week in April, but the upcoming weekend was about to teach us a lesson, and that lesson was to not assume that spring had arrived just yet.

 

About the photo:

This beach, near the Little Sable lighthouse, had some really cool driftwood; this one was my favorite piece. Unlike the picture I posted a few weeks ago, where I had enhanced the light beams, these ones are straight out of the camera.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
April 9, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #9: Path to Water

Path to Water by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

I have visited the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore many times. As a child, the “Dune Climb” was something to be done every few years. One time, in my college days, I tricked Ashleigh into doing the entire hike with me all the way to Lake Michigan. “Just one more dune,” I would say, and eventually we made it to the lake. We also one time had the good forture of being able to have a fire between Lake Michigan and the first large dune near the Lake Michigan overlook, which was really special.

About the photo:

This photo was taken from the Empire Bluff Trail, a really great trail just south of Empire, MI, with a picturesque view of the dunes, Platt Lake, and at least one of the Manitou Islands. It was pretty cloudy the day we were there, which allowed for nice, even lighting.

 

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
March 30, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #7: Eagle Profile

Eagle Profile by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

I like this one.

Ashleigh and I walked around Howell Nature Center a few weeks ago because we were interested in doing some wildlife photography. I should be clear in saying that these animals are living in captivity, so maybe not wildlife photography in the traditional sense, more like zoo photography.

Most of my photos for the day were pretty blah, but I did get a few great shots of an eagle. This may be the best one.

 

About the Photo:
I was shooting in shutter priority. What?!? I never shoot in shutter priority. The thing is, this guy was moving so fast it was all I really cared about.  The picture was taken at 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 1/1000 of a second. That shutter speed was not necessary for this frame, but I got a few others that only turned out because I was shooting so quickly.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
March 6, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Chris Corner #5: Reflection Restored

Reflection Restored by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

 

I must continue to post pictures that are impressionistic. My last couple posts have been too realistic!

This one was taken at Island Lake Recreation Area, east of Brighton, Michigan. Island Lake is part of the Michigan State Park system, which is renowned for the quality of its parks and the skill with which they are administered.

Island lake has great opportunities for hiking, biking and boating. It also connects with Kensington Metropark, one of the gems in the HCMA Metropark System.

About the Photo:
As far as photo impressionism goes, this one is pretty simple. It is a single exposure of the reflection of trees on Spring Mill Pond, rotated 180 degrees. I did do some fairly heavy color adjustments, but that’s really about it. Nature did this one for me rather than Photoshop

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
March 4, 2016

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

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