Archives For photos by jeff

Valley of Light

My wife and I spent the weekend near Leavenworth, Washington at a cozy cabin with this as the view. Although I didn’t know if there would be much of a sunset the first night, the sun shone horizontally down a nearby valley for a wonderful show. Having a glass of wine at hand didn’t hurt, either. (Click to view the image larger.)

About the photo: I merged three exposures using Lightroom’s built-in HDR tool and then edited it further in Lightroom.

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Sunflower Sunset

Usually when I visit my mom at the farm, I take it real easy. And I certainly did that on this week’s visit. But I also told myself I would try to do some photographing while here. One evening, my mom and I headed to a field of sunflowers in time to catch the sunset. Except for almost losing a shoe in a muddy stretch of irrigation at the edge of the field, it was a nice little excursion.

About the photo: Single shot captured on a tripod, 12mm at 1/30 second at f/2.8. Normally I’d use a narrower aperture to get more detail in focus in the background, but the light was fading pretty quickly, so I left this lens wide open. I exposed for the sunset so it wouldn’t be blown out, and brought up the detail in the field using a graduated filter in Lightroom.

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20160415 Selfie

A woman captures a selfie in front of the EMP museum in Seattle.

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Cherry Blossoms at Twilight

With scheduling and the big wind storm that ripped through the area last week, I figured I’d missed my opportunity to go to the University of Washington and enjoy the annual cherry blossom bloom. However, those hearty trees held on, and my family and I were treated to a vibrant display one late afternoon.

UW Cherry Blossoms 2016

It was crowded with people, of course, which makes getting photos an adventure. Sometimes you end up with ghost crowds, as shown below (although it wasn’t such a problem that I would have cropped them out).

Rainier at the UW

I was happy with the results, though—most of these are HDR images processed either in Aurora HDR Pro or Lightroom. I was also fortunate that it wasn’t windy, which makes HDR shooting difficult; when branches move between exposures, the result is often blurry.

Moon and Cherry Blossoms UW Cherry Blossoms 2016

The kiddo had a great time, too.

Ellie and the Cherry Blossoms Lift

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Dockside, Downtown Seattle

A pause while unloading trucks at a dock in downtown Seattle. (Click the image to view it larger.)

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The Wirecutter just published two enormous guides about photo accessories, which includes a couple of pieces I wrote for them. The guides cover a huge range of topics, from flashes to storage to camera straps and more.

It was great to work with the Wirecutter editors, a truly top-notch bunch of professionals who know their audience well. I contributed the Lens Filters (UV, ND, and circular polarizers) and Direct Backup for Photographers sections of The Best Camera Lens Filters, Flashes, and Accessories for Taking Great Photos piece.

You’ll also like the other piece, The Best Camera Bags, Straps, and Accessories to Carry With You, in which I’m quoted speaking favorably about the Peak Design Everyday Messenger.

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Believe.

Realizing that we haven’t explored enough of our city, my family and I decided to spend our Saturday afternoon in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. It’s an older section of the city, with mixed industrial and residential areas, and lots of architectural character. One stretch features a renaissance of restaurants and shops, including a parking lot that includes the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.

As I was photographing the Airstream trailer in the background, I was initially annoyed that someone’s umbrella had pushed into my frame. But when I looked up I realized a better scene had presented itself. I stepped back a few steps (I was shooting with a fixed 50mm lens), refocused, and grabbed a few shots while this man warmed up next to the burning barrel. Thank you, dear sir, for making a static image much more interesting. And for reminding me to not get so locked into making one photo that I miss spontaneous opportunities.

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Aurora title beach

For years when I’ve been out photographing landscapes, I’ve dutifully shot bracketed exposures: three or more images that represent light, dark, and balanced views of a scene. The advantage of brackets is to combine them later into a single HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo that includes more detail than what a camera sensor by itself can capture.

Rivulets brackets

Making good HDR images, however, has traditionally been a dark art involving several steps and multiple applications, so most of those brackets in my library have remained untouched.

Now, I can’t wait to go back through and process them, thanks to Aurora HDR Professional, the new application by MacPhun and HDR expert Trey Ratcliff.

In fact, I was so inspired by this new professional tool that I wrote and published an entire book about it during the time between its announcement and release! It’s been a crazy, sleepless, caffeine-fueled two weeks, but I think you’re going to like the result.

AuroraHDR cover 400pxI’m excited to announce my new ebook Aurora HDR and Aurora HDR Professional: A Photoversity Guide!

This 53-page ebook starts with techniques for making high-quality original photos and then dives straight into using Aurora HDR and Aurora HDR Professional to turn those shots into HDR images. The full-color PDF covers the software’s comprehensive suite of image editing and HDR adjustment controls, using presets (and saving and sharing your own), and then moves into working with layers and masks for even more control over the final photo. Aurora HDR Professional works as a stand-alone application—no Photoshop needed—or, if you manage your photo library in Adobe Lightroom, also exists as a plug-in for round-trip editing. (For a great review of Aurora HDR Professional, see Mason Marsh’s entertaining writeup at Photofocus.)

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The book costs $12, but is on sale for $8 to celebrate the launch of Aurora HDR.

For more information, including sample pages and HDR example photos created during production, visit Photoversity.com.

Beach Rivulets HDR

This project also serves as a soft-launch of Photoversity, an entity for all sorts of photography-related projects. More to come later on that front…

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Two in the Hay Maze

My daughter and her friend chase each other through a hay maze at Jubilee Farms in Carnation, Washington.

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Redwoods Bridge Noiseless final

Have you ever left your camera’s ISO setting at a high level from shooting dark situations the night before, and then forgotten to change it before shooting the next day? Guilty as charged. The result is a lot of excessive digital noise in the next photos. That’s what happened to me in the photo above, one of my favorite shots during my photo workshop in May.

Modern camera sensors are much better at dealing with noise, but sometimes you need to push the ISO to get a shot. Or, if you’re using a smartphone’s camera, you don’t have a choice and the camera increases the sensor’s sensitivity, which adds the noise.

Macworld just published my review of MacPhun’s Noiseless and Noiseless Pro apps, which use algorithms and a lot of optional manual controls to minimize or reduce that noise without turning an image into a smeary mess. Noiseless also now includes an editing extension for Photos for OS X, so you don’t need to leave Photos to take advantage of the tool.

Read the article here: Noiseless and Noiseless Pro review: Clean up your photos shot in low-light conditions.

Noiseless bridge balanced

[By the way, you can order the top photo as a print! Contact me at jeff@jeffcarlson.com.]

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