Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Icy Beauty...

Just one photo to share today.  Met three friends early this cold morning to photograph one of my favorite waterfalls, Taughannock Falls near Trumansburg, New York. The frozen waterfall and the fresh snow laying on the rocks were the lure for us all.

Here is what I found.

At 215 feet, this is the tallest free-drop waterfall east of the  Mississippi River.  Capturing the reflection of the falls made this the one image to value above all the others.


Paul Schmitt

Friday, December 13, 2013

iPhoneography on a Snowy Day

Is anyone not busy in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  It has left little time for photography, and each time that I set aside time to photograph, the weather ruins the plan.  On top of the normal holiday business, I have been learning this new iPhone 5S which is so unlike my familiar iPhone 4. I have been putting off testing the camera in this new phone. Today, I changed that.

As I was leaving the Nevin Visitor Center at Cornell Plantations, I was suddenly consumed with the beauty of some snow capped berries on the viburnum bushes, and best camera that I had available was my smart phone.  It was also the only camera that I had available, so it was the best camera by default.

In the few minutes I had in our schedule, I worked hard to create a nice image and overcome the wide angle lens' tendency to show a lot more background than makes for a good image. I got just two that I like.  This one has a lot of negative space so that you definitely know what the subject is.

I had another image which I liked, but it needed some editing to control the viewer's attention to the closest berries.  I did all of the editing on my iPhone 5S.  Here is what I started with.

This image needed some adjustments to exposure and composition to hold the viewer's attention relative to the busy background.  The image, first of all, was too dark and the sides needed cropping.

Next, I duplicated the image so I had two layers with the top remaining as it came from the camera (with crop and increased exposure) and the layer beneath processed to acquire a soft blur. Picture this as two transparent slides stacked one on top of the other.  Then I made the periphery of the top image transparent so that the blurred background became visible. Voila, the periphery is now out of focus!  This is the  same effect I would achieve if I had my DSLR camera with a lens that had a more narrow field of view.  The distant background for a telephoto lens drops out of focus rapidly leaving just the foreground subject sharp.

Finally, I wanted a more painterly image.  So, I took the image to MobileMonet to create the sort of image that would result for making a pen and ink drawing and using watercolor to fill in the colors.

Maybe this will give you some ideas for using your camera. I am always available to fill in the details.

Now, if I was just there when the birds come in to feast on the berries. Sadly, that will have to wait for another day.

Best regards to you!