galestonerimages: Blog http://galestonerimages.com/blog en-us (C) galestonerimages 2017 gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:54:00 GMT Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:54:00 GMT http://galestonerimages.com/img/s/v-5/u492503893-o1065258466-50.jpg galestonerimages: Blog http://galestonerimages.com/blog 80 120 Overcoming Gray Skies http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/overcoming-gray-skies CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLUGIN - A TOOL FOR EVERY SITUATION

If you're into landscape photography you know that it can be frustrating to arrive at a great location, with a great subject, and then be faced with poor weather conditions.  I prefer a partly cloudy day with big, fluffy clouds scattered about.  That allows me several lighting options.  I can shoot the scene, highlighting the blue sky and clouds, or I can wait for the sun to go behind a cloud and shoot in diffused light.

A total gray sky with no texture can produce a very boring image.  That's when plugins can come to the rescue.  I applied a texture layer to this image to create some interest and add some depth to the sky.  Then I pushed the blue saturation slider a little to create contrast with the red roof of the lighthouse.

 

 

 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) eagle harbor lighthouse fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images lake landscape michigan upper peninsula water http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/overcoming-gray-skies Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:51:22 GMT
Mid-day Challenge http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/mid-day-challenge IT DOES NOT ALWAYS GO ACCORDING TO PLAN - DO THE BEST WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

The long-range forecast had predicted overcast skies.  If you've been following me for awhile, you know I prefer cloudy days, as do a lot of photographers.  Obviously, the forecast was wrong.  Bright sunny day with patches of fluffy clouds.  And with the location about 3 1/2 hours away, there was nothing to do but try to make the best of it.  The forecast also indicated that the Japanese maples would be dressed in their brilliant red.  That too, was not the case.

I'm beginning to realize I get motivated with facing a challenge, particularly with photography.  So my idea of meeting the challenge was to rely on post-processing.  I know, ideally you want to capture the shot in the camera, but I don't live in a perfect world and software and plugins are there for a reason.

A push of the vibrancy slider, a tweaking of the saturation and luminance sliders and a little texturing rescued the day. 

 

 

 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images georgia gibbs garden japanese garden japanese maples landscape pond water http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/mid-day-challenge Wed, 08 Nov 2017 17:39:30 GMT
Positioning The Horizon http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/positioning-the-horizon GIVE MORE SPACE TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT - MAKE IT PART OF THE COMPOSITION PROCESS

This image has special meaning to me.  This bridge is located in Duluth, MN.  This is where my wife and I spent the first three years of our marriage  So when we had a chance to return to Duluth, I already new the aerial bridge was a must stop.

Earlier in the day, we scouted out the locations to shoot from that would provide the best night view.  Once there, I started setting up for the shot.  At 33 degrees, I wasn't eager to spend a lot of time getting my gear ready.  My wife was hoping I would just hit the shutter button and head for the warmth of the car.

The tripod was setup, the camera settings were dialed in, it was time to get the picture.  Then the moment of decision came.  How do I compose?  Do I lower the horizon line to reveal a lot of the sky with the hint of magenta in the clouds?  Do I raise the horizon line to reveal more water?  So what was going to make the image?  I decided it was the reflection of the colored lights in the water.

Obviously, this is a personal choice.  A choice every photographer makes when preparing to hit the shutter button.  There is no wrong answer here regarding the horizon.  I simply chose to emphasize the reflection.  My wife was quick to agree with my choice because it was 33 degrees.

 

Aerial BridgeAerial Bridge

 

 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) aerial bridge bridge duluth fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images lake superior landscape minnesota water http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/11/positioning-the-horizon Wed, 01 Nov 2017 22:08:44 GMT
Making Lemonade http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/9/making-lemonade DISGUISE THE PROBLEM - SIMPLE ABSTRACT SOLUTION

Was scheduled to visit a small botanical garden in South Carolina.  On the day of the photo outing, the lighting was not ideal and it didn't help that it was the time of year when there wasn't much in bloom.  It was one of those gray, flat days that are best to stay inside and post-process some old images.

But since this was the only time I would be at this location I didn't have many options.  As I was heading back to the car, I had to walk around a small pond.  On the bank was a cluster of river birch trees.  Fortunately, I remembered a technique I learned from Tony Sweet, get a slow shutter speed and move the camera parallel to the straight lines in the viewfinder.  It took about 10 attempts using different shutter speeds, aperture and arm motion and this is the result.

Believe me when I say this would be a very boring image if you could see the scene in detail.  This would have been "lemons".  However, the creative technique gave me lemonade.

 

 

 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) abstract carolina fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images south trees http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/9/making-lemonade Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:50:25 GMT
Train Station http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/7/train-station THE POWER OF LINES - DRAWING THE EYE

It's been awhile since I posted to the blog.  I can fall into the trap of needing to find the perfect image.  It needs to be the the perfect subject in perfect light.  It needs the perfect composition with the perfect post-processing.  The perfection trap can be a major barrier to my creativity and photographic energy.

On a recent day trip to Chattanooga I was struggling to find perfection.  Four hours into the trip and I hadn't even taken the camera out of the bag.  I finally gave up and decided to start photographing what I hadn't been seeing.  This image is one of them.  It was only after I saw the image on the computer screen that I reminded myself that an interesting picture doesn't have to be perfect.

The composition rule of leading lines plays a strong role in this image.  And the black and white version provides some character.

Looking for advice?  Don't let the trap of perfection get in the way.  Allow your photographic vision to be less than perfect.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) chattanooga fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images hotel train http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/7/train-station Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:43:02 GMT
Ghostly http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/5/ghostly LONG EXPOSURE - FILTERS CAN SAVE THE DAY

On a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, the mission was to photograph water.  I know there is a variety of opinions regarding water images.  Several photographers that I admire, suggest there should be some texture in the water flow, and they avoid a shutter speed slower than 1 second.  Of course, the shutter speed is determined by how fast the water is flowing and how much texture you want in the image.  I usually follow the advise of the experts since they are the experts.  Generally, the sweet spot for me is 2 seconds.

However, as with many things in life, how you photograph water is purely subjective.  I already had envisioned this ghostly look before leaving the hotel room that morning and I was confident I would get the look I was going for because I had a variable ND filter in the bag.  Once I set up the composition, all I had to do was experiment with the dial until I got the look I was hoping for.  It's a good day when a plan comes together. 

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) cascades fuji summit fuji x-series fuji xt-2 gale stoner images river smokies townsend tn tremont tn water http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/5/ghostly Tue, 02 May 2017 13:16:40 GMT
Wartrace TN http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/2/wartrace-tn TEXTURING -  ADDING DEPTH

I can't count how many times I've passed by this location, always commenting, "Someday I need to stop and take a picture."  This time, I made this location the destination.  So I began to shoot and shoot and shoot.  So many angles and compositions all in an attempt to find a unique image of two gas pumps and a Texaco sign.

I finally settled on this image but I was disappointed in the result.  I almost hit the delete button on the keyboard but thought I would give the shot one more attempt to make something of it.  OnOne Effects software gave life to the image.  Sometimes you just have to keep chipping away until something shows up.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) digital art fuji x-series gale stoner images onone software service station texaco wartrace tn http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/2/wartrace-tn Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:17:03 GMT
Oxbow Bend http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/2/oxbow-bend DO OVER -  PROCESSING MATURITY

I had posted the first version of this image in 2015.  The popular photographic location known as Oxbow Bend.  The first time I posted this image I used a 3-image HDR process.  I had already gotten over the power of HDR and I went for the "natural" look.  But this week, I looked back at some of my images from less than two years ago and wondered, "What was I thinking!"

So I went back into the archives and worked on the normal exposure shot from that bracketed series.  I then worked the image in Lightroom CC and finished it in OnOne Effects.  What I think I produced was a much better overall look.  It's closer to what I saw the day I shot this.  Thank goodness for digital and the ability to have a "do over".

Oxbow BendOxbow Bend

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Fuji Gale Stoner Images Landscape Mountains Oxbow Bend Tetons Wyoming http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/2/oxbow-bend Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:42:27 GMT
Okay To Think Small http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/1/okay-to-think-small SHAPES OF THE SUBJECT -  OR THE SHAPES ARE THE SUBJECT

The plan was to take advantage of the forecast of partly cloudy skies and small chance of rain.  Should be great for some landscape shots of a series of waterfalls about 90 minutes from home.  Well, by the time I got to the shooting location, the clouds parted and the sun took over.  Water was flowing great but it was already 11:00am.  I know I could have put on a neutral density filter to get the silky water but the water would have been blown out in the direct sun.

So, I gave up on the landscape search and went for something smaller.  Little details, textures, shapes, and sizes abounded on this little town square.  The color of blue caught my eye as I was walking past this door.  And the rectangle of the padlock with the circular shape of the door lock forced me to stop and extend the tripod legs.  A little processing in Color Efex Pro gave me something to bring home.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Digital Art Gale Stoner Images Locks Tennessee Watertown abstract http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/1/okay-to-think-small Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:05:21 GMT
Creative Light http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/1/creative-light BOTANY BAY - CREATIVE LIGHT

If you follow my blog entries, you may remember this image in black and white.  I wanted to get a little creative with the natural light that I experienced when I was setting up for this shot.  I wanted to give the image an artist look by adding texture and modifying the color balance.  I don't know if I like this version or the black and white version better.  Maybe you can let me know.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Botany Bay Gale Stoner Images Landscape South Carolina Tree On The Beach abstract http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2017/1/creative-light Wed, 04 Jan 2017 15:26:43 GMT
Summertime Dining http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/10/summertime-dining SIMPLE SUBJECT - SPECIAL LIGHT

I honestly don't know why this scene caught my attention.  Maybe it's the contrast between the blue umbrellas and the white table and chairs.  Maybe it was the simplicity of the subject, two umbrella tables in an open field.  Maybe it was the touch of light from the setting sun.

Maybe it was all of those.  I'll let you decide.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Another Time Gale Stoner Images Metal Table and Chairs Umbrellas abstract http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/10/summertime-dining Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:49:12 GMT
Tree In The Middle http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/10/tree-in-the-middle  BLACK AND WHITE - SELECTING THE RIGHT SUBJECT

Another veterans cemetery in Nashville, TN.  I don't know why I don't do a lot of black and white images.  When I convert to black and white I'm reminded of the emotion that it creates that color can't do.

Nothing vibrant, exciting or majestic about this image.  In fact, it was a morning with heavy mist and an occasional downpour.  The subject and the lighting conditions demanded black and white.  I shot this knowing I would convert to black and white.  It was the right subject.

 

Tree In The MiddleTree In The Middle

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Black and White Cemetery, Gale, Gale Stoner Images Graveyard Headstones Images Stoner Tree Veterans http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/10/tree-in-the-middle Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:35:31 GMT
Dogwood Canyon http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/9/dogwood-canyon MORE THAN JUST FISHING - THANK YOU JOHN MORRIS

On a recent vacation to Branson, MO, we discovered a nature area call Dogwood Canyon.  What a beautiful location.  This fantastic river runs through the canyon with numerous cascades and waterfalls.  The river is full of trout; more fish than in a hatchery.  All of this provided to the public by the founder of Bass Pro Shops, John Morris.  According to our guide, this structure was only recently built early this year.  The stonework is absolutely amazing, spanning the crystal clear river.  Just needed the water wheel moving.

Dogwood Canyon MillDogwood Canyon Mill

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Branson MO Dogwood Canyon, Gale, Gale Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape Stoner Stoner" http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/9/dogwood-canyon Wed, 14 Sep 2016 14:46:15 GMT
Bringing Back Memories http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/9/bringing-back-memories LITTLE SURPRISES - ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL

When I have my camera bag on my back, I'm usually looking for that perfect landscape shot.  Maybe I'll have the opportunity to discover a dramatic sunset or a magnificent waterfall, and with camera in hand, I can try to capture the moment.  Walking around the Top Of The Rock area outside Branson, Mo, I was looking for the big landscape shot.  As I walked over the hill to get a better view of the lake in the distance, I came upon this little scene.  Forget the lake, forget the sunset, get the image of the old Airstream that serves Frosty's.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Branson MO Cedar Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape Lodge Stoner Top Of The Rock http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/9/bringing-back-memories Wed, 07 Sep 2016 13:22:04 GMT
Ribbons of Color http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/6/ribbons-of-color LINES - GOD MADE AND MAN MADE

If given a choice, I think I like sunsets better than sunrises.  The obvious reason, I don't have to get up as early to catch that first glimpse of good light.  After all, I'm already up and available for the sunset.

Our photo workshop was blessed with a beautiful sunset just outside Charleston, S.C.  Eight of us were lined up along the bank selecting the right lens, the right aperture and the right ISO.  And we all had the goal of capturing the scene that best represented our photographic vision.  My vision?  The horizontal lines and layers created by the ribbons of color.  How do you look at a sunset like this and not believe God is the ultimate artist!

In contrast, were the lines formed by the structure of the bridge.  Man-made but dramatic in its own way.

 

Ravenel BridgeRavenel Bridge

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Bridge Charleston Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape Ravenel Bridge South Carolina Stoner Water http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/6/ribbons-of-color Thu, 02 Jun 2016 12:19:15 GMT
Alone On The Beach http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/alone-on-the-beach BLACK AND WHITE - SEEMS APPROPRIATE

I don't process a lot of black and white.  I'm not sure why black and white is not on my radar but sometimes the subject just says, "Hey, go for the contrast."  It was a beautiful sunrise at Edisto Beach in South Carolina but the original image just didn't pop; colors were too soft, pastel and flat.  Silver Efex Pro came to the rescue and help create something of interest; something out of a Tim Burton movie.  I need to go back into the archives and see what images I have previously abandoned that might be rescued in black and white.

 

Standing AloneStanding Alone

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Botany Bay Charleston Edisto Beach Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape South Carolina Stoner http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/alone-on-the-beach Tue, 17 May 2016 13:32:02 GMT
Quiet Time http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/quiet-time YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR - NOTHING

Another beautiful location tucked away from the more traveled areas of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, SC.  I had the sense the magnificent oak was commanding the observer to slow down, take a moment to quietly enjoy and appreciate the beauty.  I'm glad the oak tree spoke to me and that I listened.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Charleston Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape South Carolina Stoner http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/quiet-time Tue, 10 May 2016 13:17:46 GMT
Shady Lane http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/shady-lane GOD'S SCULPTURE - YEARS IN THE MAKING

When I visited this iconic location near Charleston, SC, I was in awe of the beauty and magnificence of the oak trees.  I took a few minutes just to appreciate what I was experiencing before I mounted the camera on the tripod.  Since this location is private property, I could only shoot just off the shoulder of the road.  If this were mine, I think every time I turned onto my driveway I would feel comfort and serenity as the trees stretched out their branches to embrace my return.

Oak CanopyOak Canopy

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Charleston Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape South Carolina Stoner http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/5/shady-lane Wed, 04 May 2016 14:53:48 GMT
Springtime In The South http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/4/springtime-in-the-south ANOTHER REFLECTION - CALM WATER

I had an opportunity to attend a Tony Sweet workshop in Charleston, SC.  One of the shooting locations was Magnolia Plantation and Garden.  We arrived at the Gardens before daylight and spent the entire morning walking the grounds and discovering beautiful locations such as this image displays.  Around every corner, every turn in the pathway, and on the other side of every bridge, there was a magnificent, colorful scene.

If you've visited previous blog posts, you know I'm drawn to reflections on the water's edge.  And when I saw the contrast of the white bridge with the purple and white azaleas, it was a "must shot".  I'll be posting a few more images from this garden.  Make sure to check out Tony Sweet's workshop schedule.

 

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Charleston Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape Magnolia Plantation South Carolina Stoner http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/4/springtime-in-the-south Mon, 25 Apr 2016 11:14:03 GMT
Tulip Reflection http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/4/dreamy-garden CREATING REFLECTION - POWER OF POST-PROCESSING

This time of the year, it's hard for me not to be influenced by the color of spring.  The previous post was shot in Charleston, S.C., eight hours from home.  This image was captured in Cheekwood Garden in Nashville, TN, one hour from home.  Obviously, you don't have to travel far to find signs of spring.  This image was heavily processed.  Cropped out a lot of distractions in front of the tulip bed, added a soft glow filter, and added the water reflection.  Some would call this manipulation and qualifies as photography malpractice.  I take the view that it is creating something with visual impact.

 

On Water's EdgeOn Water's Edge

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gale@galestoner.com (galestonerimages) Gale Gale Stoner Gale Stoner Images Images Landscape Nashville Stoner Tennessee http://galestonerimages.com/blog/2016/4/dreamy-garden Tue, 05 Apr 2016 15:13:36 GMT