King Menkaura and Wife

He-and-SheYesterday’s visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Art found me once again admiring this 4500-year-old sculpture of an Egyptian pharaoh and his wife. Found during a museum-sponsored Harvard expedition in 1911, this is considered one of the finest works of ancient sculpture ever found.  The unfinished sculpture is life-size and this image shows only the upper portion.

 

The image above was edited in Photoshop using Tony Kuyper’s TKActions V4 which I had forgotten that I had. The image below essentially out of the camera, but with some noise reduction as it was shot at ISO 1600 f1.7 @1/60thKing Menkaura and Queen-1

The exhibit card can be read here.

 

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Fiddling With A Guitar

The Boston weather is cool. The drive from Florida went well and was timely in that we missed the rain and wind associated with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine.

Yesterday afternoon we visited the Boston Museum of Fine Art and I shot several dozen images with the Panasonic GX-7 using the 20mm pancake lens. Last night, I worked on a guitar image taken in their music instrument gallery. I may play with it some more. A darker background may enhance the image.

National Guitar

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Entropy

Entropy is an image that dates back to 2005 when I spent some time near Yankeetown, Florida. I was standing on the northern edge of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, where it would have entered the Gulf of Mexico had better sense not prevailed to cancel the project. I had worked on this image several years ago and had never been happy with the result. Today, I revisited the image and like the result.

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Taken with 3.0mp Olympus camera.

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Fun With a Boat.

When the light is right even the mundane can look good.  Wandering the docks at the Municipal Marina the other night, I came up with this one:

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The boat was on a lift-dock.  I liked the way the light interacted with the design elements of the bridge console.  The patch and clone stamp tools helped take the bird turds off the windscreen.

 

 

 

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Special Moments

There are special moments in photography, when the gods come together and without anticipation you are there, in the right place, at the right time, with the right – or almost right – equipment. That happened the other night on Lido Beach. We had come to watch the sunset and, having brought a couple of sit-on-the-sand stadium seats, plunked ourselves down a few feet from the water. We were there to enjoy the sunset and, perhaps, capture a few images.

 
There was still enough light that my camera was set to my usual aperture priority, f/11. Given the hour, the ISO was 400. The camera was in my lap, aimed more or less, down the beach with the 18-200mm DX lens pulled all the way back to 18mm.

 
Couples, young and old strolled by – the firm and the infirm. Gulls wheeled overhead and the sounds and warm breeze nearly lulled me to sleep. Then, along came two young women who, stopped a few yards away and stayed – conversing in the warm light – while one practiced her dance and balance movement. Is it possible for a photographer to resist this? Click, Click, Click – without ever picking up the camera.

 
The light had declined and because of the distance, the image is cropped way down to where it’s only 2.5mg. I was able to push the color and contrast; and I think that enhances the specialness of this unique moment. I captured a number of images. Three came out well. This one, I like best. There is a lesson here: special light makes special moments – but you have to be there.

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Standing Woman

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise was modeled in 1932 and cast in bronze in 1955. It is a striking, dark, larger than life sculpture that captures an iconic female force. In a gallery crowded with other exhibits, this photo was shot at 1/45 with an ISO of 1100.

Original Image:

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise.

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise.

The original image on the left  fully captures the blackness’ of the work. The next step brightened the image ; but in the final adjustments in Silver Efex Pro 2, I brought it up even more to fully capture the inherent power.

Final Image:

 

Normally, I would eliminate noise before sharpening but, in this instance, I sharpened first and then dialed it back.

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Spinning Ball

I enjoy working with sculptures. Here is the first of two sculptures that I photographed last week at the Brooklyn Museum.  Both images were taken with a Nikon D7100 using a 35mm f1.8 lens. Due to generally poor lighting conditions in the galleries, I used aperture priority set to f4.8

There is a story behind each image and I’ll borrow liberally from the Museum’s cards.

Liberty 2015, part of the Punctum series, in fiberglass with an auto paint finish. This work by Hank Willis Thomas, b. 1975,  is the artists 3 dimensional rendition of a 1976 Life Magazine photograph of a Harlem Globe Trotter standing in front of the Statue of Liberty spinning a basketball.  Thomas cast the arm of retired NBA All-Star, Juwan Howard to produce the piece which begins at the shoulder.  I chose to use only the upper portion of the work. Since the sculpture’s initial inspiration was a photograph that 40 years later was turned into a three dimensional piece, I decided to return the image to its original dimension and portray it as street art.

The original photo:

A portion of Liberty 2015 by Hank Willis Thomas

A portion of Liberty 2015 by Hank Willis Thomas

And the final:Spinning Ball

 

 

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St. Augustine Beach Scene

Topaz Impression is my current favorite among Photoshop plug-ins. I don’t go to it all the time, but some images just cry out for it. The problem with using a plug-in like Impression is that the better one becomes using it, the more images seem to beckon toward it. Every image has a limit beyond which our taste for it diminishes. Finding the sweet spot takes time and no two images can ever be treated exactly alike.

This image, taken on St. Augustine Beach in late January seemed to call for Topaz Impression. The light was constantly changing – one minute warm and lovely; the next grey and somber with a dark, threatening sky.

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I was captivated by the reflections of clouds in the wet sand. After some initial adjustments in Lightroom, a few more were made using Topaz Impression within Photoshop. Lastly, I cropped the image to a 16:9 aspect ratio.  (Check the article on Aspect Ratios in Landscape Photography by Elliot Hook on the Digital Photography School website.)

I’m a newbie when it comes to having my work printed.  Trying to stay within the confines of standard frame sizes has proved trying. Should I crop as each image seems to call for and deal with custom framing? Or, is the image close enough, with matting, to work it into a standard size frame? We all have to make our own decisions regarding presentation, but here is a listing of the most popular frames which FrameUSA produces as standard:

Stamdard Frame Sizes

Accompanying Article

 

MatDesigners has a useful chart giving suggested Opening Size by Mat Size.

 

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A Visit to Deep Hole

Those of us who have visited Myakka State Park over the years have accumulated a lot of images. I have images of trees, flowers, birds, turtles, canoes, fish, people and, of course, alligators. There was one special day back in 2013 when I decided to get a trail permit and hike to Deep Hole, a 130’ deep sink hole in the Myakka River.

Getting the shots that I got that day had everything to do with being there at the right time. The river was low and the late February morning was cool.  Deep Hole provides a pleasant place for creatures to gather. I have refrained from ‘prettying up’ most of the images and, with only a couple of exceptions tried to represent the scene as closely as possible to my view of it on that day.

From the trail head it’s a mile and a half walk, down this road, to Deep Hole:

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Coming to a tree line along the river, I followed it south before turning to the dried-up river bank and heading back north along it.  Approaching Deep Hole from the south, I had to bring up my telephoto to verify that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.

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I walked slowly toward the hole…stopping every few yard and eventually setting up the tripod, taking a couple of shots, then moving slowly forward.

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The sun was well up and the day was becoming hot.  I decided to come at it from the north side and moved into the shade for a while.  I found a nice clearing in the trees, picked out a shady spot, brought out my camp stool and had some lunch.

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Finished with lunch, I moved through the grass to the north side of the Hole. The images from the north side were the best of the day.  It’s wild Florida – 30 minutes from Sarasota.

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The walk back to the car produced one additional images which I pushed a bit.

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We often get grouchy when we see how the Florida around us is changing and becoming urbanized. Those of us old enough to remember, recall how tropical-kitschy Florida was back in the 50’s, how Disney changed it in the 70’s, how disco it was in the 80’s and how the pace of growth accelerated in the 90’s and in the process, with popular coastal areas now teeming with human population, Florida became something different.

How precious are places like Myakka. In reference to a wonderful book by Patrick D. Smith, A Land Remembered, an older Florida is only a half-hour drive from Sarasota.

For more on Deep Hole see: http://www.pangeaadventureracing.com/community-forum/topic/94 which contains an excellent description of Deep Hole along with an aerial photo. Also included is a brief description of a diving expedition – as well as an account of paddling across the hole at night. Thank you for visiting and be sure to visit Myakka State Park.

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Window Portrait

This image is one of my recent favorites.  On an evening walk, we came upon a woman sitting for a portrait in an artist’s studio. The curtains weren’t drawn and the setting seemed almost a continuation of the attached store-front art galleries that lined that side of the street.  I couldn’t resist and pressed my rubber lens hood against the glass and shot with the 20mm lens (40mm equivalent) on my 4/3 Panasonic GX7.

Window Portrait

Compositionally, the unseen woman, whose image was being painted in, next to her husband on the canvas, didn’t work.  She was on the far left and was cropped out.  I was left with a view of the back of the artist and the woman’s husband (a guess) staring at me from the canvas.  On the first pass through Photoshop, responding to some sense of a privacy issue, I blurred the fellow’s face.  Then, realizing that he was only a painting, took back the blur.

Using a mixture of brush strokes and textures, I gave the the already warm image an artistic feel. Following up on a friend’s paper suggestion, I had it printed 10″x10″ on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

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