Monday, November 24, 2008

8GB Walk-about- Part II

That little 8GB trek, which was more like a meander of 3km (2 mi) along the shoreline of Nykobing Mors, was a very enjoyable method to exploring the beaches and forest areas.

Sharpening and colour enhancement to red part of boat and a little de-sat and darkening of grass.

Setting a goal for the number of images I wanted to take and for this photo walk, which was almost 500 photos, wound up giving me more ‘sense of freedom’ in my approach to photography.

B&W adjustment layer for tones and then a base copy on top set to color mode

It didn’t start out that way. I was on a family holiday and every now and then I needed to be out by myself, seeing what I could discover and create ‘anew’ with the camera.

Background masked with B&W adjustment layer. Curves applied only to this part to lighten lighter parts of background. New layer set to color mode with a light brown fill and masked for background. Some darkening and highlighting applied on background.

It wasn’t until I had taken a few images that I realized it was now somewhat easier to take photos and I was having a little more fun. Usually, when I am out taking photos I am trying to find that great shot. If something seems interesting I over-analyze the light, composition, the shooting positions to determine if there is a good angle to get that right shot (if it exists at all).

New RAW layer added as smart object and boat colours adjusted on the luminance and saturation sliders and then masked in.

I found that by setting a ridiculous, at least for me, high number of images to be taken, that there were some benefits that were obtained.
  • More relaxed approach to taking photos.
  • More depth in exploring the locale. Knowing you need a lot of images you tend to look in more corners and alleyways, etc.
  • It breaks some of your old habits or routines, as there just isn’t the time or energy to tackle the subject matter in the tried and true methods you normally use.
  • Changes your approach to creativity as you need to analyze less and just shoot what catches your eye or emotion.

This is not guaranteed to make big changes in your style but it may open up new approaches you hadn’t as yet tried. Also depending on your own style you may already be using this method.

I do find that it is fun to try new techniques or styles with my camera. They are not always completely successful, but I do learn from them and there are always, even if just 1 or 2 that I am pleased with.

New RAW layer added as smart object and boat colour adjusted reduce brightness and increase sat

The landscape did lend itself to taking panoramic images and that sure also helps with the shear quantity I need. I always seem to find something magical about large panoramic landscape images. There is a sense that you almost walk into them. That lovely rich detail that encompasses your vision.

I will show some of these in next weeks article.

One RAW layer to keep water slightly blue and increase brightness of spit. Another raw layer added to increase contrast of the sky and make neutral in color.

Niels Henriksen

To see part I of article My 8GB Walk-about

Monday, November 17, 2008

My 8GB Walk-about

That’s correct, the distance is measured in giga bytes, not miles or kilometres even though I walked for a 4-hour period. It is measured by the amount of memory that is loaded in the camera.

One windy but dry afternoon, things were quiet at my sisters’ place in Denmark and I decided to head out along the shoreline of Nykobing Mors. This city is located on an island, which is surrounded by a sea and all of this is located within the mainland peninsula of Jutland. On the southern part of the bay, see map below, the shoreline being mostly sand, is easily accessible and there are large tracks of treed and wild grass sections to roam about without being crowded by residential housing.

The yellow shows the route I travelled. At one point there was little room at the shore edge so I headed inwards for a bit and came back another route.

On a previous excursion further south I took the photo below and I knew that I wanted to explore this area towards the city.

As part of my walk-about I had predetermined that I was going to use up the entire 8GB of memory card, which to some of you would seem extreme but with 18MB per RAW file (D300), which is about 450 pictures. Still a good number.

With the short distance (3-5 km) to opposite shoreline across the sea, there would be good opportunities to get several long panoramic images, as my nephew had requested a B&W for his living room wall.

It always amazes me that when you are in a new location, how many photographic images seem to jump out at you from ever nook and cranny. Yet when I am in my home environment with similar settings (Ottawa has a river with rocky shoreline) it can seem ho-hum. There are finds but not at the same intensity. It must be the sense of adventure and the unknown that jump starts those creative juices and makes all things a wonderful discovery. Even when they might appear mundane to the locals.

The above image was darkened and de-saturated along the outer edges to dramatize the effect of a tunnel created by the trees and the path to water’s edge.

I wonder how many others walk through here and have the same sense of this place and can see it the way I see it.

I am breaking this series into 2 parts to show some of the different finds along the route and a 3rd article will just be about the panoramas.

Originally I had done this in colour. The red boat was set amongst the red-brown of the tall swamp grass and I emphasized the red and orange saturation and luminance. I find that the strong wind movement shows up in the better B&W version. I’ll show this colour at another time.

The bridge connecting the island of Mors to city of Skive on the mainland.

It is not hard to have fun when you have dramatic skies (underexposed a half a stop) like these and you are also outdoors doing landscapes.

There is a certain freedom to be gained, especially from your own judgement, when you know that during a certain period of time you must obtain a large number of images. There is just not enough time to second-guess yourself. Shoot what pleases the eye and you will be amazed at some of the good images you have in the collection.

Niels Henriksen

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crazy Hot Air Balloon

The other night just after the sun had set I looked out the large kitchen window, which gazes upon the Ottawa city green belt (natural tracks of land within the city boundaries), and the whole sky at first was a brilliant flaming RED.

It took a second or 2 to realize that a hot air balloon was just about to land a few hundred feet past my backyard.

I quickly screamed out to my wife “Look, Look” as I ran downstairs to grab my camera.

I ripped open my bag and as I race up I am already adjusting the iso to about 1,000 as it is already dusk and I knew there was not enough light to hand hold at slower iso.

I run out the back door and and take a few clicks as I am trying to get through the hedge. From the shutter sound I already know that this iso is not fast enough. Quickly crank it up to 6400 as I want to get a few shots as they are still applying the flame to turn the balloon for a proper deflate.

F5.6, iso 6,400, 1/60 sec at 170mm

Don’t ask me why I am not checking the shutter speed in the viewfinder but I guess panic takes over for common sense.

It is then I realize I am still in my stocking feet on the cold wet ground. Thank goodness that I have a vibration reduction lens because at that focal length and crop factor I should be shooting faster than 1/250 sec.

I went back inside to put some shoes on and as I am heading out again they are starting to deflate the balloon. I use a wider lens settings which gives me more light and I can now drop the iso 3200 for better noise control

iso 3200, f5.6, 1/8 sec, 44mm

The above shot I do manage to hand hold down to 1/8 sec and still remain sharp. But there were a few images which were quite blurry. The interesting thing about cameras is that for the second shot it is actually darker outside, but because of the longer shutter duration it appears a lot brighter than the first image. This is almost night photography as the first image actually represents the real darkness I saw, while I was taking these images.

Are there images of you as a Photographer?

One thing about photographers is that we do tend to have a lot of images but very few if any of ourselves.

During an Ottawa Camera club outing which I had organized late one cold November one of the members took an image of me taking a photo.

This is an old abandoned building and through the window above you can see one of the inner walls and a doorway, which makes the open window seem strange.

The object of my desire or attention is shown below.

The window frame was burnt and I love the textures and patterns created by the charred wood and the bright cloudy sky adding highlights to the edges.

Niels Henriksen

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

The other day I received the Kreativ Blogger award. While not the same as a Nobel prize, it is non the less very rewarding to be recognized by another blogger for the effort in sharing and fostering community involvement to one’s craft.

Anita Jesse on her blog
Through my Lens made the announcement that 5 bloggers and myself deserve this internet blog award.

I am very honoured to have received it.

I really enjoy visiting Anita blog for the peace of mind, if this makes any sense. Her photos have a quality that for me, has a feeling of taking me home. These are images of her surrounding that convey a gentle place. A place to be able to sit and ponder. As an added benefit there is her writing style, as she openly discusses this place and lately the transition to her new location, which brings that comfort as we may also be wondering about our lives.

Do visit the site and spend some time there.

This being a photography blog I felt I had to add at least add one pretty photo.

Taken with a cannon A30 - 2mp P&S camera

I am not sure where this blogger recognition event started, but I think it is a great thing as we should all on a continuous basis take the time to thank all the bloggers, whether in our particular niche or in other areas for the effort and more importantly the way bloggers bring people together who have a particular passion.

The Kreativ award is a bit like a chain letter where bloggers who receive this award take the time to send the same award to 6 bloggers who deserve the recognition. The hard part is only limiting it to six.

The great thing I find about blogging, while for some it is business driven; they all bring a personal face and their passions to what they love.

As a side note when receiving this ward the recipient should also list 6 thinks they like.

There are several other fine Bloggers that are already in my side list of favourite bloggers who have also received this ward and therefore I thought I would try and highlight great bloggers who were not already recipients.

Brain Auer at
Epic Edits is one of those people who not only takes great photos but has dedicated himself to helping out many other aspiring photographers. He has built a great community of users because of his passion for photography and drive to help others learn.

While I am not a professional photographer and I am not sure that I could really handle all the stress, John Harrington at
Photo Business News and Forum sure understands the business of Professional Photography.
He has written books on the subject and in his blog articles shares willing how to really be a professional and this means correct business sense, not just a wiz kid with a camera. Even if you don’t plan to be a professional his sound wisdom will help you in other parts of your life be successful in dealing with people.

As a blogger it is good to understand general best practices about blogging and for some like me to understand the code behind blogging platforms.
Blogging Tips is a site that covers both these issues very well.

Chris Brogan is a blogger that focuses on the organizational and business aspects of using social networks to collaborate, share knowledge and built relationships in this ever changing work-life thing. Even if you are just blogging for yourself is good to understand how we are interacting within our societies.

As photographers, and I think that is why you are mainly here, it is good to examine other art mediums. This will help you see or want to explore new artistic avenues. I therefore read several painting blogs just for the visual pleasure and the occasional new idea.

One site I enjoy is
Different Stokes form Different Folks by Karin Jurick.
He takes a photograph and then does is own painting and then requests others to submit their interpretations of the subject. It is great to see so many different views.

I also enjoy the
Daily Paintings by Justin Clayton and these should give good ideas for your own photographic subject.

The Six things I like. It could as easily be six dozen or 6 hundred. There are so many simple things to like in life.

I like the mornings when the sun rises and brings life and light onto the world.

I like moving water, whether an ocean, river or falling rain.

I like how new camera technology has helped me focus more on my subjects and less on getting the camera settings right. (but sometimes I still screw up)

I like the song ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

I like riding a bicycle

I like storms, especially when I am safe.

Thanks for reading and do take the time to thanks the bloggers who you read for the effort and passion.

Niels Henriksen

Monday, November 3, 2008

Triptych Plus 1, a 4 Photo Vertical Picture

The number 3 is one of the major standards for composition and design elements. In many photographs, 3 similar items will form a triangle when connecting the objects together and this is used to keep the viewer’s gaze moving around the photograph as we go from one item to the next.

In fact there is even a special name for a 3-image photograph or 3-panel painting which is a triptych. But what is when you want to include 4 items as in my 4-image frame below?

The above image framed would be about 5 feet tall and 20 in wide.

On the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend when I took the images for the article The Many Colours of Fall I also took the images used to form the picture frame above.

After I took the image of the 2 people silhouetted against the bright fall foliage I turned sideways and saw this old dead tree, which formed a transition between the green pine trees and the vibrant foliage on the rock face. I did not have any special idea at that time. I only knew that the textures of the dead tree and colours looked great and I decided to take 4 images as I moved from the pond reflection upwards.

This is a close-up section of the 2nd from the top panel to show the great detail in the dead tree.

Each image I composed was a stand-alone image as I figured that one of these would probably turn out to be a real keeper.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that combined together, they just might form an interesting multi-image photograph. When combined together in a vertical pattern set the trees do not line up in a standard tree pattern.

The location is more than 100 miles away and with fall foliage just one day can make a great difference in the landscape, let alone the lighting conditions. There was just no way to go back and re-shoot.

There is some advantage in not having perfect alignment as it does compel the viewer to spend a little longer on each image as they move up or down. It also, for a brief moment, causes the viewer to wonder if each image is from the same spot.

This may be a good thing, as they might spend a little longer time viewing and thereby pondering what meaning you are trying to convey, if any.

But I would like the option to see how other alignments work, without having, in my case, to crop the format.

I did try a 4 Horizontal arrangement as shown below.

Then a 3 image horizontal arrangement.

With the set of images I prefer the 3 set better for the horizontal version.

I will print and mat the 4 vertical set and see how this looks before I get a frame made. Sometimes the only way to really understand a photograph is to print and then give yourself time to contemplate the result.

Niels Henriksen


Related Posts with Thumbnails