Autumn

I love fall because of the moderate temperatures and the changing of colours. Here are some of what I captured – old and new. The first few locations are taken in Hamilton and it is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World. While I’ve only been to a handful, I hope to see more in the next few weeks while the weather is great. Many of these trails are located along the Bruce Trail which run about 900km from the Niagara Escarpment to Tobermory.

Tiffany Falls

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tiffany Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Devil’s Punch Bowl

Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

<Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Devil's Punch Bowl, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Rattlesnake Point (Milton)

Rattlesnake Point, Bruce Trail//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm (Milton)

Fall Season at Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm Tractor Trailer Ride//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm Store//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Springridge Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chudleigh’s Farm (Milton)

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Tractor ride//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A day at Chudleigh's Farm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Riverwood Conservancy (Mississauga)

Red Maple Leaf, Riverwood Park//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Scenes from Point Pelee National Park

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Did I ever tell you how much I like going to Point Pelee?

I never really knew this place existed until, oddly enough, I played Hangman on the computer. The word Point Pelee kept coming up. It was an odd word and I never knew it existed. One day, curiosity got the better of me and I did more research on it.

Located in Ontario, it’s the southernmost point in Canada and lies just below the 42nd parallel. It is as far south as Rome, Northern Spain and the northern border of California. It is also known as the Carolinian Zone where the average temperature for the year is 8°C. As described on the official Parks Canada site, “Early scientists called this region the Carolinian zone. Now, it is more generally referred to as the eastern deciduous forest, except in Canada where the term Carolinian is still popular because of its southern flavour.” Considering the massive size of Canada, this zone is only a tiny fraction of the country. The reason it stays warmer than Laramie, Wyoming (which is considered the center of the continent and on the same parallel as Point Pelee) is because it is surrounded by large bodies of water that helps to maintain heat better. It serves as a migration center for birds in the spring and fall and plays host to 370 species of birds.

This year, I managed to make two trips to the park and only because I was working on location in nearby towns. With the three hour drive from where I live to get to Point Pelee, it’s difficult to make it there on its own, unless I make a weekend trip to the area. It just makes it more difficult for sunrise and sunset photography. The park does operate from 6:00am – 10:00pm in the summer and it does change depending on the time of year it is. As you can imagine, if I really wanted to, I’d have to make an effort to leave at 3:00am just to make it to the gate at sunrise. That is why when I did so, I appreciate being able to get the sunrise shots all the better.

Without further adieu, here’s what I captured in recent weeks:

Lookout Point
Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Marsh Boardwalk
Marsh Boardwalk, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily (Spatterdock)
Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A Beautiful Day

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© All Rights Reserved

On Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, I grabbed my camera and decided to learn how to do time lapse. Initially, I took a cable release and stood there as the sun started to set. I set my Nikon D7000 on timer with 9 photos per click and 3 second delay between photos. I ended up spending almost 50 minutes. While the sunset was beautiful, I’m sure there was a more efficient way to do time lapse as I’ve seen several examples of night photography with star trails. There are cable releases specifically made to have a timer on them. My camera can also do intervals. You can set how long you want it to run with x number of photos to be taken and how many seconds or minutes you want it to wait between each shot. This is far more effective as I went online to do more research. I was limited to the number of shots I can take since I only had a 16gb SD card and I shot in both RAW and Fine jpeg formats.

Uploading and doing minor edits took a long time but in the end I was happy with what I got. On the fourth try, I took a little more time in ensuring the camera was set perfectly, i.e. focus. It was an oversight. I focused on the subject and switched the lens to manual mode thinking it would help time lapse run smoother. I did learn how to do animated gifs over a year ago and tried to apply the same principles on Photoshop to create a time lapse. I also wanted to compare how much better, or easier it would be to create a time lapse on Lightroom. I found that it was a lot of work to manage all the layers on timeline in Photoshop. At the most for one time lapse, I had about 500 photos and at the very least, I had about 150. On the other hand, Photoshop has a lot of good editing features as well as having a lot of options when converting to a video for rendering. With Lightroom, there is a plugin to create a video. I did see online that there are some extra features if you have it. In this case, I did not. After completing my edits, I went to Slideshow, converted the photos to create a slideshow and exported it as a video. Here are the results:

Click on the links:
A Sunday in Mississauga

Mississauga After Dark

For more, check me out on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/greceln_ifoxygn/

Portraits

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© All Rights Reserved

Have any of you tried pet photography?

If you have, you would know the difficulty in capturing pets because they are constantly moving around. With the guidance of the owner, you can get a pet to look at the camera with commands and calling out their name. I had the experience of photographing a handful of pets to build a portfolio. While difficult, especially with the last dog being blind, I found it tiring as well as satisfying.

I’ve talked to several people about pet photography. For those who have lost their loved ones, they have told me they wish they had professional photos done as a keepsake. Up until I had three cats, I never understood why people were so attached to their four-legged fur friends. I now know that pets are considered family and it’s tough when you lose one. I once gave one of the kittens away when my cat gave birth to three. I cried.

As I begin to practice more with pets, I managed to capture a few photos in HDR – high dynamic range. For those who know, HDR photos require more than one photo bracketed in different exposures. When merged, it will give a greater tonal range between highlights and shadows. To achieve this is extremely difficult with pets because they are always on the move unless resting. An example below is my pet cat in HDR.

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

What separates a picture from a portrait is how the image is captured. A plain picture can be made extraordinary by changing the angle or zooming in to give it a different perspective.

For more images on animals and pet photography, click on the link here: http://goo.gl/IKwJQc

HDR – High Dynamic Range

What is High Dynamic Range?

While many photographers know what high dynamic range is, we shouldn’t expect everyone to know it. According to Wikipedia, high dynamic range is a set of methods used in imaging and photography to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods. What this essentially means is that a camera at normal settings cannot capture the same tonal range as what the human eye can see. HDR helps to a create a greater tonal range between between highlights, shadows and midtones by first taking three or more photographs at different exposure levels (called bracketing) and then merging them into one.

Here are some tips for HDR:

• Great for portraits outdoors, landscapes, architecture/real estate, low light and backlit scenes
• Not so great if something is in motion like people and animals
• Use a tripod and a shutter cable release to avoid ghosting and misalignment
• Learn to automate bracketing on your camera; basic instructions for Nikon D7000 camera below
• Buy software that helps to merge the photos together
• Have a computer and external hard drive with a capacity to hold large amounts of images

Here are some examples of HDR photos created from bracketed photos.

ROM HDR-2

HDR

Wordpres

Canadian National Exhibition

Sauble Beach

Sauble Beach 2-2

Origami

Places - HDR

Sacred Stones Tour

In two samples above, I compare an iPhone photo with no editing and with the same photos created in HDR. Also, the last photo taken in a church shows greater detail in HDR. There is contrast between the backlit room and the dark wooden pews. Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult to balance the place out because of the highlights where sun is coming through the windows and the dark pews. Without editing, either the windows would be overexposed or the pews would be under exposed. In all instances, I used Photomatix to create HDR.

Here are the steps to creating HDR:

Prepping for HDR using a Nikon D7000

1. Press the bracketing button (below the flash button called BKT). In the settings display, change the exposure value (EV) to between 0.3 to 2.0 using the aperture dial and use the shutter dial to increase the steps to 3F.

2. Change the shooting dial from S (single) to CH for continuous burst mode.

3. When photographing, hold the camera button or shutter release cable down long enough for all three photos to be taken.

When merging in Photomatix, it will ask you to choose bracketed photos. A dialog will pop up and you can choose your options for processing which include alignment, remove ghosting (it occurs when something in motion passes through a long exposure photograph or when an object in a multiple exposure image don’t align) and reduce chromatic aberration [the inability of a lens to bring all wavelengths of light (especially red and blue) into the same plane of focus] and cropping. This is very important if you didn’t use a tripod. Unless you have very sturdy hands, any slight misalignment will show around the edges when the images are merged. After options are selected, click process. This will take time and the three images will turn into one. From here you have numerous options including sliders on the one side for editing. When complete, click process again and it will take you to the final stage for completion. This will include contrast, colour, and sharpness.

Creating HDR can be long and tiresome if you have several of them to do. I have learned to be selective but when the opportunity is there and I only have thirty seconds, I will take the photo. It is a hit and miss. When it does work, it’s definitely worth while. Below are more tips and advice from sources I’ve found.

Resources

HDR Software Review

Top 20 Best HDR Software Review 2016

How to Geek “What is HDR photography, and How Can I Use It?”

HTG Explains: What is HDR Photography, And How Can I Use It?

More Tips For HDR

Faking HDR Effect
http://still-scripts.com/photoshop/faking-the-hdr-effect-using-only-one-photo-and-photoshop/

My HDR Photos

Places - HDR

Whatever Your Camera Can Do, My Camera Can Do Better

It’s been a few years since I picked up a DSLR camera and learned its functions. I wanted to know how to become better because the honest truth was, I was jealous of all those who took fantastic photos. DSLRs, yes, is expensive but I always felt that to produce the best you must choose the best. Since then, new hybrid point and shoot cameras have come out with interchangeable lenses.

When I first started, I went through the manual and did numerous tests to see for myself what it all meant. I took courses and workshops. I was then put to shame while on vacation because of my limited knowledge and just the kit lens. As we rounded the tip of South America on a cruise and saw Cape Horn, someone’s ultra zoom lens on her point and shoot managed to capture the lighthouse on the island with clarity. My aunt asked me why I couldn’t produced the same result. Since then, I’ve learned about the various types of lenses, how to take portraits in a studio, and worked with strobes. I have also learned about post production using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Aperture.

I must admit, to become a professional photographer is a difficult choice. Everyone is buying their own cameras and editing software. It’s very competitive. I’ve heard of professionals who have been in business for years and then close up shop. I have even experienced being hired to do professional work and while I’m doing my job, everyone wants to jump in and get their own photos – whether it’s a DSLR, point and shoot, smartphone or even iPads.

If you are at an event where there is a professional photographer, please be considerate and allow them to do their job. They are being paid and want to deliver on the goods. Also, even if Photoshop is made available, we don’t want to spend hours editing people out from the background. I saw on T.V. how a guest at a wedding stood directly next to the bride and groom taking photos with her fantastic DSLR while the professional couldn’t get a clean shot.

Here are some things to consider if you are undecided on what to do. All you know is that you want better photos. Some of you don’t want to invest in such an expensive DSLR and don’t even feel like lugging around this heavy piece of equipment. That’s understandable. This information is a bit general but there is plenty of information on the internet and brick and mortar places like Black’s and Henry’s to help you make a more in depth decision.

• What will you be using the camera for? It could be any one of these things – hobby, family and friends events, landscape photography, action photography like sports, building a portfolio. Research the different types of cameras and what they can do. Forget the debate between Nikon vs. Canon. That will only limit your thinking. Know the difference between full frame sensors and crop sensors. Sony has even come out with mirrorless cameras. Just as you would research DSLRs, look at their line of lenses.

• How much are you willing to invest? Consider your budget. Even if you do have money to drop $3000 on a full frame camera, and that’s not including extra lenses, will you get a return on investment? Full frame cameras are fantastic for product photography and billboard advertisement. Essentially, if you are doing corporate work, you’ll get your money back on your investment. Consider reading your manual for the point and shoot that you already own because there are a lot of things in there that can help you take better photos. For example, you should be able to change White Balance (WB) for different lighting environments, change between modes – manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and program mode, and change ISO. As I previously said, there are point and shoot cameras with interchangeable lenses. This will also allow better zoom.

• What is your skill level? Some people just don’t put any thought into their photographs and assume that all you have to do is press the button. I have come across people who don’t even wait for people to stop and smile. I have awful photos of myself when I’ve given my camera to others. On those few occasions, the person didn’t even wait for me to look at him/her, even when that person has taken photos at least twice. If you can afford it, definitely take courses and workshops to improve your photos.

• After you have chosen your camera, you wonder why your photos are no better. Are you willing to invest more money and time into editing software? It’s a lot of work. Adobe Photoshop is great but it is expensive. Consider Adobe Lightroom because it is much cheaper and you can do basic editing. You can also watermark your photos and create slideshows.

I was once asked what’s better – a smartphone or a point and shoot? The honest truth is I’ve only owned a smartphone for less than eight months. It is convenient because I usually have it on me for phone calls, I can take a photo on the spot if I don’t have my DSLR on me. Plus, I don’t have the option of receiving calls on my DSLR. That hasn’t been invented yet. There are numerous apps for smartphones for photo lovers. I specifically like Camera Awesome and even purchased their extra filters. It’s limited in that I have very little control over what I can take. I’m sure most photo apps will allow you to increase/decrease brightness, contrast and zoom in. There is only so much you can do with it. The quality isn’t the best either. It is more evident where lighting isn’t great and you can see noise in the photo. Yes, yes, flash can be used. However, flashes can be very harsh depending on how close you are to the subject.

Below, I have some examples of photos I’ve taken with both an iPhone and my Nikon D7000 camera.

Hamilton Marina

iPhone using Camera Awesome

iPhone using Camera Awesome

Nikon D7000 HDR using Photomatix

Nikon D7000 HDR using Photomatix

It is a bit extreme. I did spend more time on the HDR photo. I could have given more effort to the iPhone photo.

Here are a couple of iPhone photos both taken in a dark environment. One shows more grain than the other. I attribute the ambiance to the difference in quality.

iPhone Photos

Everyday life

Ultimately, a good photograph is based on the skillful eye of the person. Even if someone has an excellent camera, it doesn’t make him/her any better. I’ve seen photos posted on Facebook where people have uploaded blurred photos, whether it’s motion blur or simply out of focus. In some photos, people are not aware of the background and there are things like poles sticking out of the subject’s head. Below are more photos I took using an iPhone and Nikon D7000. Very little editing was used on the iPhone photos while creating HDR from my DSLR took a little more work.

iPhone - Camera Awesome App

iPhone – Camera Awesome App

iPhone - Camera Awesome App with Hancock filter

iPhone – Camera Awesome App with Hancock filter

iPhone - Camera Awesome App

iPhone – Camera Awesome App

iPhone - Camera Awesome App

iPhone – Camera Awesome App

HDR, Nikon D7000

HDR, Nikon D7000

HDR, Nikon D7000

HDR, Nikon D7000

HDR, Nikon D7000

HDR, Nikon D7000