Peter Frailey Photography: Blog https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Peter Frailey Photography pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) Wed, 16 Dec 2020 21:47:00 GMT Wed, 16 Dec 2020 21:47:00 GMT https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u1041195402-o11290045-50.jpg Peter Frailey Photography: Blog https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog 90 120 Macros: Discoveries viewed on the monitor but not seen in the Field https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/macros-discoveries-viewed-on-the-monitor-but-not-seen-in-the-field One reason I love macro images is that when they are viewed on a monitor they are larger than real-life.  (Though I suppose that may not be true when viewed on a cell phone... but it certainly is true when, say, a butterfly is viewed on my ipad or computer monitor.)

Landscapes are just to opposite.  You can have three mountain peaks (I'm thinking Grand Teton National Park) in one image, but I can view them no bigger than on my 24" computer screen or perhaps a 30" print.

Because macro images are seen bigger than life on the computer screen, you often see things you did not see with the naked eye or through the camera's viewfinder. The image below of a coneflower is such an example.

Do you see the partially hidden inch worm?  That made me smile. I had no idea it was there until I viewed the image, larger than real life, on my computer screen.

Coneflower with Inch WormConeflower with Inch WormOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Coneflower and Inchworm"
August 3, 2019
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm F4 @ 100mm (200mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/400sec - ISO200

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/macros-discoveries-viewed-on-the-monitor-but-not-seen-in-the-field Wed, 16 Dec 2020 21:47:03 GMT
Have a Very Macro (er, Merry) Christmas https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/have-a-very-macro-er-merry-christmas During these days when we are spending so little time traveling and exploring, and so much time at home, it's hard to be motivated to take photos. But here's an idea. If you collect hand-made Christmas ornaments, they become nice subjects for macro photography. 

These were taken over a year ago, with the Olympus E-M1 and either the Panasonic 40-140mm zoom F3.5-5.6 or the Olympus 60m F2.8 macro lens. About half of the photos with each.  I see that those taken with the 14-140 (which has good close up capabilities as you can see) were taken wide open at the range of 40mm (F4.7) to 125mm (F5.5) depending on the size of the ornament. Those taken with the 60mm were at F2.8 or F4.

The ornaments were placed on our wooden coffee table, sometimes covered with fabric. Our Christmas tree, with lights turned on, is in the background, sufficiently distanced to provide some blur. 

I set the camera on a tripod and attached a flash to the hot shoe.  The flash was bounced off the ceiling and wall to the left of the ornaments. I don't remember exact exposure settings, but usually I will reduce camera exposure by one stop. One stop reduction results in reducing the light by half.  This of course would darken the photo if the flash were turned off. I then set the flash on manual mode, and use whatever fraction of full power (1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, ... 1/250) is needed to bring up the exposure and get it right. In this way I am balancing ambient light and flash light by about 50/50.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Holiday VikingsHoliday Vikings

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) macro https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/have-a-very-macro-er-merry-christmas Sat, 12 Dec 2020 20:31:04 GMT
Two Seascapes from Maine https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/two-seascapes-from-maine My wife and I really missed vacationing in Maine this summer.  Due to the pandemic, it just didn't work out for us.  

So these two "seascapes" were from the summer before last. The body of water is Penobscot Bay, Maine. Both are sunrise photos.

I'm posting them here today because they came to mind this week as I searched my Lightroom catalog for several digital images to submit to my photoclub for the monthly "salon" (a fancy word for competition, though I think it's healthier to think of it as an opportunity to get feedback from a skilled and experienced (usually) judge).

These were submitted to the club for the category of "scapes".

 

Schooner at DawnSchooner at DawnOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Schooner at Dawn"
July 13, 2019
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm F4 PRO zoom @17mm (35mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/30sec - ISO400
Edited in Lightroom CC and Photoshop
______________________________________ 

 

Waiting for the SunriseWaiting for the SunriseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Waiting for the Sunrise"
October 3, 2019
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm PRO zoom @ 14mm (28mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/40sec - ISO800
Edited in Lightroom CC and Photoshop

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) maine seascape sunrise https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/12/two-seascapes-from-maine Wed, 09 Dec 2020 21:09:22 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #23: Frosty Oak Leaf https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-23-frosty-oak-leaf Saturday night was cold, and gave us our first real frost of the season. The result was a rather beautiful Sunday morning of looking out over frosted grass and leaves, with the air temperature at 25F. But as the sun rose above the trees, the ground warmed and the leaves rapidly turning wet. Before everything melted I grabbed my camera and looked around for a decent composition in the areas still in the shade.

I wasn't too excited about any of the photos I took. The oak leaves and even the maple leaves were all brown, and I was hoping for something more colorful.  (Weeks earlier the red maples had dropped their leaves and they had already been gathered and dismissed to the woods, so there were no more colorful leaves on the ground.)

But a little with the Lightroom brush tool had me smiling.  Basically I used the brush to reduce the exposure on everything surrounding the hero oak leaf that is the main subject.  Because of the white outline of frost on the edges, by darkening the surrounding leaves I was able to make the subject leaf "pop".  This also kept the background from being (too) distracting.

 

After cropping and processing in Lightroom:


"Frost around the Edges"
November 15, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro
F5.6 - 1/125sec - ISO320
Processed in Lightroom Classic
_______________________________

 

Before Cropping and Editing:

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fall flora leaf oak https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-23-frosty-oak-leaf Mon, 16 Nov 2020 20:52:54 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photgraphy: #22: Dragonfly https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photgraphy-22-dragonfly Backyard dragonflies are easy to capture with a photo.  In our yard they favor the dried up stalks of daylily blossoms, and they will sit there resting for minutes on end.

As I mentioned in the prior post, we actually never see daylily blossoms, though we have plenty of planted bulbs.  Our problem comes from the deer, all of them having created a worn highway through our yard.  And it's as if our property serves as a rest area where they can stop to snack on our bushes and planting, during their daily travels along this highway. With the daylilies, they eat the bud just before it is about to blossom, and they leave everything else; as if they know that by leaving the greenery they will have a supply of blossoms available to them next season.

The photo below is a fairly typical photo.  

Dragonflies are very compliant, so you can usually get quite close.  They will often rest like this for many minutes before flying off.

In this case I did not get too close, perhaps 3' away. That is because I was experimenting with a newly acquired (but used) 2x teleconverter for the 40-150mm F2.8. I was all the way zoomed in at 300mm (600mm equivalent).  Image stabilization worked great because I shot this hand-held with 10 stacked images, each image at 1/100 sec. shutter speed. 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
"Dragonfly"
August 1, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 40-150 F2.8 plus MC-20 (2x teleconverter) @ 300mm (600mm equivalent)
F8 - 1/100sec - ISO800
10 images focus stacked

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) dragonfly fauna https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photgraphy-22-dragonfly Sun, 08 Nov 2020 19:03:04 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #21: Water Droplets and Crane Fly and Butterfly https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-21-water-droplets-and-crane-fly Despite the title, the actual common theme in these four photos is the greenery.  These are the leaves (fronds?) of a bed of daylilies. Daylilies provide a great way to collect water droplets and insects.  The leaves are very waxy and water droplets from an overnight rainfall can linger all the next day.  

Daylilies are pretty too, but unfortunately all they have been able to collect in recent years are deer, and all the buds are eaten before they blossom.


"Droplets"
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro
F5.6 - 1/125sec - ISO500
21 images focus stacked 
________________________

 


"Butterfly"
Olympus E-M1
Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro with adapter
F? - 1/1250sec - ISO500 

This may look like a moth, but note the proboscis for sucking nectar.
Moths do not have proboscuses.
________________________________

 


"Butterfly"
Sony A6500
Tamron manual focus 90mm F2.8 Macro 
F? - 1/300sec - ISO250
Note the slightly redder color cast coming from the Sony A6500,
compared with the prior image of the same butterfly,
photographed with the Olympus E-M1
_____________________________________



"Cranefly"
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro
F5.6 - 1/125sec - ISO250
21 images focus stacked
________________________

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fauna flora https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/11/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-21-water-droplets-and-crane-fly Tue, 03 Nov 2020 21:44:35 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #20: Snowiest October on Record https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-20-snowiest-october-on-record Yesterday Boston received 3.5" of snow.  That's a record for October, going back to the beginning of when records were kept.  That was 1872.

According to our local meteorologist Gary Fischer (CBS Local affiliate), records show that in years when a measurable October snowfall was received, the winter snowfall that followed was "lackluster". Not good news for we skiers.

Another interesting fact is that in 2020 we had the fewest days between snowfalls, with .7" on April 18 and 3.5" on October 30.  Because both those days had below freezing temperatures this also means we had the shortest growing season on record, at 193 days.

When I got close to this maple while walking in the yard yesterday, I imagined it asking me, "Hey Peter. What season is it?" That tree must be very confused: green summer leaves, yellow fall leaves, white winter snow.


"What season is it?
October 30, 2020
Sony A6500 
Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 @ 27mm (40mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/60sec - ISO100
Lightroom Classic

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora maple https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-20-snowiest-october-on-record Sat, 31 Oct 2020 17:54:51 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #19: "October Fern" https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-19-october-fern Many of our ferns have crumbled into dust as the fall has progressed, yet a few (different variety?) are working hard to hold onto their chlorophyll.

I liked the contrast between this fern and the brown oak and maple leaves that are covering the ground. The fern was bent over and about one foot above the leaf-covered background, though it does look like it is actually lying on the ground. Perhaps that is because so much of the scene is in focus.

I took this photo from directly above.  Because of the bend in the fern I focus stacked four images to get the entire fern in focus, the middle being closest to the lens and the bottom and top being farthest. Unfortunately, the stacking did bring the brown leaves into sharper focus than I wanted. But all-in-all I was pleased.


"October Fern"
October 27, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro
F5.6 - 1/30sec - ISO200
4 images focus stacked in Photoshop
Processed in Lightroom Classic

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fall flora https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-19-october-fern Fri, 30 Oct 2020 21:55:54 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #18: Wabi-Sabi Oak Leaf https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-18-wabi-sabi-oak-leaf Until a year ago I had never heard of wabi-sabi*, but it was chosen by my photoclub as one of our monthly assignments last year. A the time I came up with a photo of a dying fern, all brown and shriveled, lying on top of several living green ferns. I liked the composition as well as the detail seen in the brown blades. I definitely liked the assignment.

What I have posted here today is another wabi-sabi composition. It's a single oak leaf resting on two split oak billets. One doesn't ordinarily think of a fall oak leaf as gorgeous.  Perhaps that's because they lack color compared with maples, and are usually all brown.  And, to be honest, our lawn all covered (as we speak) with brown oak leaves is not pretty at all.

But having said that, there is one small oak sapling on our property that has this year put out these (relatively?) colorful leaves.  The reds and oranges and browns are subtle, but when viewed closely I just found it all so beautiful.  

*wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transcience and imperfection.  The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty in nature that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.


"Wabi-Sabi Oak Leaf"
October 24, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro
F8 - 1/125sec - ISO1000
Edited in Lightroom, Nik Viveza, and Skylum Luminar

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fall flora leaf https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-18-wabi-sabi-oak-leaf Tue, 27 Oct 2020 18:35:46 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #17: Fall Ferns https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-17-fall-ferns When sitting outside and enjoying our yard, I spent the summer looking at this clump of ferns surrounding the double trunk of a hemlock.  Back then, the ferns were of course green. As they changed color to yellow the light seemed to make them "pop" against the green and darker background.

I further darkened and softened the background by surrounding the ferns with an oval, using the radial tool in Lightroom.  Then I darkened and softened (decreased sharpening and texture, and increased noise reduction) the area outside of the oval, to draw attention to the main subject.

Today, a week after I took this photo, the ferns are brown and shriveled up, having been beaten down by the season and the rain. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to grab my camera and take a shot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Fall Ferns"
October 3, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm @ 100mm (200mm equivalent)
F5.6 - 1/200sec - ISO1000

Given another chance, I think I'd use F4 and 1/100sec.  This would
allow me to decrease the ISO to about 250. 
On the other hand ISO 1000 is not particularly objectionable to me.

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-17-fall-ferns Mon, 12 Oct 2020 00:10:46 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: #16: “Broomrape” flower – What a strange and off-putting name https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-16-broomrape-what-a-strange-and-off-putting-name “Broomrape” – What a strange and off-putting name for this small group of flowers on the edge of our gravel driveway. I have never seen these before or anywhere else.  They are small flowers.  The stems are about 4" long. 

I was hoping it would turn out to be a rare and sought-after plant, only to find with a bit of research that it is considered a “weed pest” and a “parasite plant”!

It has no chlorophyll-producing leaves. It seems this means that it is getting its energy from a host plant. This is apparently done through the root system, with the broomrape’s modified roots penetrating the host plant. (FWIW, the host plant was not obvious or discernible, but these were growing at the edge of our bed of day lilies that abuts our gravel driveway.)

Like many of the flowers I have been posting I used in-camera focus stacking and photoshop to combine (into one) a series of identically composed images focused at different points (front to back) on the flowers. In this case I used 20 images to get everything sharp from front to back. Photoshop combined them all in one .tiff image which I then further processed in Lightroom Classic.

"Broomrape"
May 28, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro (120mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/400sec - ISO200
20 focus bracketed images stacked in Photoshop
and further processed in Lightroom Classic

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-16-broomrape-what-a-strange-and-off-putting-name Mon, 07 Sep 2020 20:08:47 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 15: Garlic Chive Flowers https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-15-garlic-chive-flowers Not much of a story here.  But I liked the pretty flowers.

Laurie bought some seedlings in the spring to create a small garden of herbs on our deck.  She grew a few flowers on the deck too, and the Cosmos I featured in my prior post created some beautiful pink blossoms.  

What you see here are the flowers of a “garlic chive” plant. We are not sure what parts of the plant we will eat, but we understand that the entire plant is edible.  For example, both the stalk and leaves of this mild garlic flavored vegetable can be used as one would use onions, chives, or green onions. Regardless of what we will include in recipes, the flowers are pretty and I thought nice enough to photograph.

Here I stood on a stool because the stalk is about 3’ high, and I stacked 10 images to get (most) everything in focus. The background is blurred significantly but you can still make out the clay pot that holds this plant.

 


"Garlic Chive Flowers"
September 1, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Panasonic 30mm F2.8 Macro (60mm equivalent)
F2.8 - 1/100sec - ISO200
10 focus bracketed images aligned and combined in Photoshop
Additional processing in Lightroom Classic

 

For size and perspective 

 

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-15-garlic-chive-flowers Fri, 04 Sep 2020 20:46:49 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 14: Cosmos Blossom with one Drop of Water Remaining https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-14-cosmos-blossom-with-one-drop-of-water-remaining I snapped this blossom on our deck after the rain stopped Saturday, but before the last drop of water fell from the petals. The colors of this flower are so rich, amd this is helped by the film of water over the petals. 

Further down is a "before and after" comparison to show the result of applying a vignette surrounding the flower. I think it really makes the blossom pop. But as always, YMMV.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Cosmos"
August 29, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm F4 @ 100mm (200mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/200sec - ISO640
Processed in Lightroom Classic


 

 

Before and After Processing

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) cosmos flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/9/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-14-cosmos-blossom-with-one-drop-of-water-remaining Tue, 01 Sep 2020 22:00:00 GMT
Vignettes are a Nice Technique in Flower Photography. Here's and example https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/vignettes-are-a-nice-technique-in-flower-photography-heres-and-example A great use for a vignette is with flower photography.  It is a very effective way to focus attention on the flower(s) and to keep the viewer's eyes from migrating to the background, especially if the background is busy, in focus, and/or brightly exposed.

Applying a vignette is part of my workflow for flowers.  I will usually use the radial tool in Lightroom to darken the area around the flower, all the way to the edges and corners.  I will also back off on the sliders for sharpness, texture, and noise control, in an effort to soften the background.

If the vignette bleeds over onto the flower (it usually does), I will use the brush tool and the "erase" mode for the brush to erase the vignette effect from the outer edges of the flower, where the bleeding takes place.  This allows me to bring the vignette right up to the flower without actually affecting the flower itself.

As a final touch, I incorporated the brush tool again.  This time I set it at something like -.5 on the exposure slider to provide darkening by one-half stop wherever I applied the brush. I used this to brush over the lighter areas in the background so they are not distracting, but I didn't darken them fully as I wanted the flower to be viewed in the context of its environment.  In this case it meant darkening the brightest green areas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The image above is an example from yesterday. This is the final version, after processing in Photoshop and Lightroom Classic. It's a hydrangea that has begun turning pink. This is not a technically good picture. It is not worth keeping, except for illustration purposes. I used focus stacking to combine 10 images. But there was some breeze, which moved the flower a bit in each subsequent frame. This created a nightmare for photoshop to align the images. If you look closely you will see some ghosting of edges (no you do not have double vision) where photoshop couldn't align the edges of some of the petals. Aside from that, to get to this final image I used the workflow suggestions outlined above.

 

Some of the processing steps

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The original image
There's plenty of room to crop to taste
I find the leaves distracting. YMMV

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Vignette applied to darken and soften the areas outside of the flower

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Final cropping. Tighter and with a 5:4 aspect ratio.
Applied a brush to the brighter green areas to darken and further soften those areas.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Same as the image above this one, except that Content Aware in
Photoshop was used to eliminate a couple of blown out (white, no detail) areas.

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower technique https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/vignettes-are-a-nice-technique-in-flower-photography-heres-and-example Sun, 30 Aug 2020 18:30:00 GMT
I'm Using a Vignette more and more when Processing Images https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/im-using-a-vignette-more-and-more-when-processing-images What I have below is a cell phone photo I took the other day at a local farm stand, springdellfarm.com. I was picking up peaches for my wife who was planning to make a peach crisp.  (I posted the recipe on our cooking blog, here: 
https://essentiallycooking.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/peach-crisp

With regard to "vignetting" I've included here a screen shot showing the "before and after", so you can compare. It's subtle but I think it improves things. 


Because I wanted to emphasize the tables full of peaches, I used the Lightroom "brush" tool to darken the corners and edges of the photo and I brought this in toward the table. You can especially see the result in the gravel surface on the left, and the road and cardboard boxes on the right. I did not use the "auto mask" feature. I think of it as vignetting because I am darkening the outer areas of the photo... but this process certainly also fits the definition of dodging and burning.

 

Before/After
 


I most often use the "radial" tool for making a circular or oval or oblong vignette, but in this case the brush tool let me darken a more defined (and not circular) area.  I darkened the areas outside the table by about .5 stops. 

That was all I had planned to do with the image before posting it on our cooking blog.  But then I thought: why not brighten the peaches a bit.  So I used the brush tool again to brush over the peaches, and I added about .5 stops of exposure. I did use the "auto mask" feature so that the brush would only apply a mask to the color of the peaches.

Vignettes are a great way to focus attention to the main subject of the photo. By darkening areas outside the main subject, it prevents (reduces) those areas from being a distraction.

 

"Springdell Farm Peaches"
August 25, 2020
iPhone 5S
4.15mm F2.2 lens (about 28-30mm equivalent)
F2.2 - 1/120sec - ISO32


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) technique https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/im-using-a-vignette-more-and-more-when-processing-images Fri, 28 Aug 2020 04:45:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography #14: The Edge of the Storm https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-14-the-edge-of-the-storm Afternoon thunderstorms have been a bit frightening (i.e. noisy) the last few days.

We dodged a bullet yesterday as I watched this cloud from our yard.  It stayed to the south of us, and I heard from a friend in the neighboring town that she'd had a torrential downpour... while we had barely a drop.  

The cloud itself was beautiful, especially framed by a bright blue sky.  But I thought the shafts of light seen here were especially awesome... enough for me to run into the house and grab my camera.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

"Edge of the Storm"
August 24, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm F4 zoom
F5.6 - 1/2000sec - ISO200
Raw file ​​​processed in Lightroom and Luminar


 

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) clouds weather https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-14-the-edge-of-the-storm Wed, 26 Aug 2020 19:01:52 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 13: Garden Geranium https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-13-garden-geranium Our little geranium plants have been blooming all summer.  I wish we had more of them. 

The two blossoms in this photo are at different maturities, though I doubt I appreciated this until I viewed the image closer on my computer monitor:

On the right, the five-fingered stigma (this is the female part of the flower and it is in the very center of the blossom) is closed with the tips of the fingers touching each other, and the stamens (the male part of the plant) that surround the stigma have not yet opened to release pollen.

Compare this with the blossom on the left, where the five fingers have opened and look like a starfish. At this time the stigma is said to be "receptive" (to pollination). You will also notice that the pollen has begun to be released from the stamens... it's the powdery yellow substance which is likely to be carried from blossom to blossom by bees.

For this image I (likely) set the Panasonic GX80/85 for 10 focus bracket shots, though I see that I only used six. I'm guessing that the others were out of focus. I combined the six raw images in Photoshop which automatically aligned and stacked the images into 1 tiff file. I then brought the tiff file into Lightroom where I made some adjustments using the basic panel, in particular pulling back the highlights and opening the shadows. I also used the radial tool to create a vignette to darken the edges and corners of the image.


After stacking and processing

garden geraniumgarden geranium

"Garden Geranium"
June 6, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro (120mm equivalent)
F3.2 - 1/400sec - ISO800
(1/200sec at ISO400 would have been a better choice)
Stacked in Photoshop and further edited in Lightroom Classic

 


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-13-garden-geranium Mon, 24 Aug 2020 19:45:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 12: Spirea https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-11-spirea On the line between our property and our neighbor is a beautiful Spirea bush.  I'd say it's 10 feet in diameter and 8 feet tall.  The flowers are small and white and easy to ignore.  But like most macro photos, when looking at the images on a computer screen or in print, the details are incredible. Most of us never see this.

For this image I set the Panasonic GX80/85 for 10 focus bracket shots.  My intention is usually to use the largest aperture which is F2.8 on this 60mm Olympus macro lens.  But I see somehow I nudged it to F3.2.  I combined the raw images in Photoshop which automatically aligned and stacked the 10 images into 1 tiff file.

Not much was done to tweak the resulting single tiff file.  I did increase the exposure slider in Lightroom by about one stop, and I further brightened the whites by moving the highlights slider to +30. The texture slider was moved to +20. I left sharpening at default

I used the radial tool to provide a darkened vignette of the areas (the green background mostly) outside the blossoms. 

 


After stacking and processing

spireaspirea

"Spirea"
May 23, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro (120mm equivalent)
F3.2 - 1/640sec - AutoISO400
Stacked in Photoshop and further edited in Lightroom Classic

 


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-11-spirea Sat, 22 Aug 2020 19:45:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 11: Perfect Dandelion https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-11-perfect-dandelion Many of us are constantly battling with dandelions, trying to keep them out of our lawns. They are weeds and we don't like seeing their seeds flying across the lawn attached to little parachutes ready to drop down anywhere on the grass and start things afresh. Nevertheless when examined closely I find them to be things of beauty. And oh so intricate.

With this one, I went for maximum sharpness.  I set the aperture wide open at F2.8 to get a blurred background, and focus bracketed 10 raw images.  I combined the images in Photoshop which automatically aligned and stacked the 10 images into 1 tiff file.

All the images as well as the tiff file (see the "before" image at the bottom of this post) were washed out giving what appeared to be a nearly sold yellow flower with no depth nor any nooks and crannies. The histogram showed that the yellow channel was nearly blown out.

After stacking in Photoshop, and with a little work in Lightroom, I was able to bring out details. The sliders that received major use were those of contrast, texture, and dehaze. Not so obvious was the use of vignetting to darken the areas around the blossom. I used the radial tool for that.

 


After stacking and processing

"Perfect Dandelion"
May 17, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro (120mm equivalent)
F2.8 - 1/400sec - AutoISO200
Stacked in Photoshop and further edited in Lightroom Classic

 


After stacking but before cropping and processing in Lightroom

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-11-perfect-dandelion Thu, 20 Aug 2020 22:30:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 10: Mini Oak Leaf https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-10-mini-oak-leaf I plucked this off a tiny oak sapling.  It couldn't have measured longer than one inch.  Held up to the light (with the green of bushes blurred in the background), I loved the beautiful red edges and rim lighting that resulted from backlighting the leaf. I do notice that one result of shooting wide open at F2.8 is that some of the little pointy tips, and a couple of the other areas, are out of focus due to the narrow depth of field. I wish I'd tried focus stacking.

"Little Oak Leaf"
May 17, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85

Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro (120mm equivalent)
F2.8 - 1/400sec - AutoISO200
Edited in Lightroom


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora leaf oak https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-10-mini-oak-leaf Tue, 18 Aug 2020 22:00:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 9: Orange and Green https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-9-orange-and-green Even before I saw a few of these downed leaves in the yard yesterday, I was saying it felt like fall.  High temperatures reached just 70F at 3pm, with just a touch of humidity.  It was overcast with a 10mph breeze out of the northeast.  I'm thinking it was the northeast breeze that made it feel like fall.

What was interesting to me is that I found a dozen or so of these leaves in about a 10 foot area, but was unable to spot the tree (bush?) from which they came.  All the leaves I could see in the bushes and trees surrounding our property were green.  And none of them were shaped like these.  Hmm.

Below are the before and after shots. Obviously I took some liberties, and all adjustments were completed in Lightroom Classic. I used the clone brush to eliminate some of the brown spots and other "imperfections" in the green leaf blades. And I used a vignette to darken the areas around the orange leaf. I think it improved the composition by eliminating a distraction, but your mileage may vary.

 


Before

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


 

After

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

"Orange and Green"
August 15, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 12-100mm @ 100mm (200mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/200sec - AutoISO200


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fall flora leaf orange https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-9-orange-and-green Sun, 16 Aug 2020 19:24:26 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 8: Blueberry Blossoms with Stacking https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-8-soon-to-be-blueberries-with-stacking It's hard to believe that I stacking 23 images to create this one image.  All images were stacked automatically in Photoshop and then processed further in Lightrooom.  Nevertheless the depth of field is still rather meager.  But I do like that the "skirts" on five of the blueberry flowers are sharp, and still the background is blurred out nicely.

"Blueberry Blossoms"
May 17, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro
F4 - 1/500sec - AutoISO400
23 stacked images taken hand held using in-camera focus bracketing.
Aligned and combined in Photoshop.  Further processing in Lightroom.

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-8-soon-to-be-blueberries-with-stacking Thu, 13 Aug 2020 21:15:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Photography: 7: Our Fawn is getting Big https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-7-our-fawn-is-getting-big A little background. My wife and I enjoy our first cup of coffee each morning while sitting outside, usually starting at 5:30am. It has only been since the beginning of the pandemic that we have done this, but under the circumstances it just feels "healthy" when we spend more time outdoors.  The enjoyment of our yard has been greatly enhanced by the arrangement we have with Mosquito Squad to come every few weeks to spray for mosquitos and ticks.  This has made our time outside so much more enjoyable.  I think the grand total of the mosquitoes that have bothered me this summer so far is three!

So anyway, for both of these images I was already outside enjoying the day when a fawn and doe emerged from the woods and began foraging along the edge of the lawn. I am not happy to say that deer seem to love eating anything that we have planted.

The first image below was taken July 13 and the second one was taken less than one month later, on August 8. Marks on the doe tell me that it is the same doe on both dates, so I believe this is the same fawn. The fawn is almost the size of the doe. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA "Fawn"
July 13, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 + MC14 teleconverter
210mm - F5.6 - 1/15sec - AutoISO 400
I clearly got luck with this photo. At 1/15 sec this is photographer error.
1/125 or faster would have been more appropriate
though ISO would have been very high (3200).


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

"Fawn"
August 8, 2020 (almost four weeks later)
Olympus E-M1
Panasonic 100-300mm F4-F5.6
218mm - F5.1 - 1/125sec - AutoISO 2500


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) deer fauna https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-photography-7-our-fawn-is-getting-big Tue, 11 Aug 2020 19:45:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 6: "Maple Tree 'Helicopters'" https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-6-maple-tree-helicopters Photographed in May, my notes tell me that this set of helicopters was lying on our driveway after a windy night, with the stem and branch attached.  I held it up with my left hand so it was backlit and positioned against a forest background.  And I took the photo with the camera held in my right hand.

I especially like the color combination of the pink/red/orange winged seeds against the blurred green of the forest in the background.

"Maple 'Helicopters"
May 10, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro
F2.8 - 1/125sec - AutoISO 500
Lightroom Processed. Note purposeful vignetting.

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora maple https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-6-maple-tree-helicopters Sun, 09 Aug 2020 19:15:00 GMT
"The Morning After" https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/-the-morning-after-and-im-looking-forward-to-gettting-a-new-iphone Two days ago Hurricane Isaias came through New England (by then a "mere" tropical storm).  Where we live it was pretty much a non-event.  Wind gusts were around 50mph. The next morning there were many tree branches down in the yard, but no tree limbs, and thankfully no trees had fallen. We had also been lucky not to have lost electicity.  About 250,000 in Massachusetts had.  And even today, two days later, 100,000 are still in the dark.

But the morning after the storm was beautiful. I took my morning walk a bit earlier than usual. 45 minutes on the track of the local high school is my usual walking route.  This is a safe place to use earpods and listen to podcasts on my old iPhone 5s, which is also the camera I had with me at 6:45am when I was given this beautiful light.  

I have always enjoyed the blue color reproduced by my iPhone, and this image is no exception.  

 "The Morning After"
August 5, 2020 at 6:45am
iPhone 5S @ 4.15mm (about 28mm equivalent)
F2.2 - 1/2300sec - ISO32
__________________________
I used the pano mode so I could caputure the light on the stadium as well
as to match the track with the clouds in the sky.


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) iphone https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/-the-morning-after-and-im-looking-forward-to-gettting-a-new-iphone Fri, 07 Aug 2020 20:10:39 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 5: Backlit Maple Leaf https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-5-backlit-maple-leaf This photo of a backlit maple leaf was taken as the sun was getting low, about 5:30pm in May. I find orange against green makes a great color combo.  Very pleasing and complementary. I love the simplicity of just the two colors, and I find the highlighting around the edges to be appealing.

 

"Backlit Maple Leaf"
May 17, 2020
Olympus E-M1
Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 @ 142mm




 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora leaf maple https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography-5-backlit-maple-leaf Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:15:00 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 4: Baby Maples Leaves https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography One of the nice things about plants, flowers, and trees in the spring is the new growth.  Walking around the backyard in May I was able to find these sets of tiny maple leaves. So cute! And so new and fresh, in perfectly healthy condition.

 

"New Growth Maple Leaves"
May 8, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm macro
F5.6 - 1/125sec -  ISO1600


 

"New Maple Leaf Cluster"
May 25, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm macro
F4 - 1/320 -  ISO400


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora leaf maple https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/8/stay-at-home-backyard-photography Tue, 04 Aug 2020 18:29:41 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photography: 3: Phlox https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/7/staying-at-home-backyard-photography-3-phlox A fresh blossom along the rock wall surrounding our house, using the small and lightweight package of a Panasonic GX80/85 with the Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro. It is always nice to photograph a flower before the bugs eat holes in the blossom.

[It is my experience that this is usually done from the underside where the bug is protected from view.  I think I remember from high school biology that there is more moisture on the underside of leaves (transporation?) so maybe the same is true of the blossom.... But don't quote me on that.]


"Phlox on the Rocks"
May 7, 2020
Panasonic GX80/85
Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro
F4 - 1/1250sec - ISO200
9:30am light was a bit harsh, but I wanted to capture this fresh blossom before the insects found it.


 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower phlox https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/7/staying-at-home-backyard-photography-3-phlox Mon, 20 Jul 2020 21:52:26 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photos: 2: Ferns https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/7/stay-at-home-backyard-photos-2 One of the few things that the deer in our yard seem not to enjoy is our ferns. I am pleased that we have several beds of native variety ferns.  It is so interesting in the spring to watch them grow out of the earth and begin to unfold their fronds.  There are several below, all taken over a one week span, April to April.

My favorite is the first one, which I did feature on Instagram.  I like to composition and the detail.

"Unfolding Fern"
Olympus 40-150mm zoom at 150mm (300mm equivalent)
F2.8 - 1/800sec - ISO200
17 images stacked

I'm not sure why this one particular fern is brown while all the rest
are green.  But no question that it is healthy.



 

 

"Family Sticking Together" 
Is it just me? Or do you see it too?
Olympus 12-100 @ 92mm (184mm equivalent)
F4 - 1/250sec - ISO200

Single image, no stacking


 
 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) fern https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/7/stay-at-home-backyard-photos-2 Mon, 20 Jul 2020 21:35:55 GMT
Stay-at-Home Backyard Photos: 1: Rhododendron https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/6/stay-at-home-backyard-photos-1 It's now been three months with our state's "stay at home" and "safer at home" rules in play. My wife and I have done just that - stayed safe at home. Today is June 14 and the last time I filled my car with gas was March 10.  And except for a brief visit to the dermatologist, I have yet to be in a building other than our house, since March 14.

I am able to work from home, though I do miss the people at the office.  My wife and I feel so fortunate to have a home with privacy, surrounded by wetlands and woods, and we feel grateful to have an income and food on the table.

Our children are adults and each continue to have their jobs, though there can be the expected frustration for them of teaching their children (our grandchildren) at home.  All are healthy at this time, though I do especially worry about my younger son who is a firefighter and paramedic in Cambridge, MA. Bless his heart, he has been doing the grocery shopping for us; though recently we have added Whole Foods delivery via Amazon Prime and curb-side pickup at a local grocery chain store. I also found Amazon Pantry. Seems to me that packages from Amazon are being delivered nearly daily!

Being at home, I found myself after the snow was gone in late April, grabbing my camera and walking around the yard looking for things to photograph. Eventually (April 26) I found my first subject: a rhododendron with a few early buds.


12-100 Olympus zoom at 100mm (200mm equiv)
F4-1/500sec-ISO200
I wish I'd used F8 get the two buds in the lower left (perhaps) in focus.
A lot of what I will post for flowers will be the result of focus stacking.
Keeping at F4, stacking of perhaps 5 images might have done the trick here,
while keeping the background out of focus


Nature is amazing.  Spring of course is a great time to see new life "springing" up all around.  We lack cultivated flowering plants at home, except some irises and rhodondrons. The deer have made sure that everything else has disappeared. But I have been able to find a number of wild plants growing and blooming, and even find weeds of interest and beauty. I have photographed a few little creatures as well.

I have posted a number of backyard photos on Instagram and Facebook. Nevertheless, I thought I would go back through them and place a number of them (and some others) on this blog, perhaps with a bit of explanation. Anyway, it is a project I now have time for.

 

 

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pfrailey@hotmail.com (Peter Frailey Photography) flora flower rhododendron rhododendron buds https://www.peterfraileyphoto.com/blog/2020/6/stay-at-home-backyard-photos-1 Sun, 14 Jun 2020 21:31:05 GMT