Sunset At the Lake

I was about to write a little rant about HDR photography, but I’ve decided to save it until I have some images with which to illustrate my points. There are plenty of “good”, “bad” and “why?” HDR images to be found online. But, I figure I might be taken more seriously if I prove I can produce some of each myself. So for today, I’ll just be sharing a few shots from an evening by the lake.

A couple gulls head home for the night. By Jameson Gardner

My parents are bird watchers, I am more of a landscape and cloud watcher. Naturally when they invited me on a walk by the lake with them, they looked at birds and I tried to get photos of mountains, dirt and whatever else was around. I did find myself framing some shots and wishing an interesting subject would plop down in them. Alas, nobody sailed by in a boat, walked up in their hipster garb or trotted past on a horse. Even the seagulls kept their distance 🙂

Gull feathers litter the shore of Utah Lake at sunset.

I ended up with some plain old landscapes, a few shots of myself and an abandoned tire.  The one above is actually a composite of two exposures of the same frame. Basically I’m just simulating a graduated neutral density filter to get detail on the shore without blowing out the sky. It’s the only shot to which I’ve really done any editing. Everything else is pretty much as shot, with the exception of bringing up the shadows  just a titch on me and the tire. I don’t really believe in making things artificially vibrant or saturated etc. Stay tuned in the future for my HDR rant 😉 I was actually a little surprised by how naturally blue the water seemed at that angle and in contrast to the sky. I guess I am just used to looking down at it from the benches at which vantage it usually looks brownish, greyish or at best light blueish.

I hope you’ll all forgive the lens flares—though, what do you expect when we are pointed right at the sun?

Sunset at Utah Lake by Jameson Gardner

An abandoned tire on the shores of Utah Lake at sunset. By Jameson Gardner

I also took a few panoramic sequences. This one below is the only that I’ve stitched so far. Photoshop’s photomerge tool is helpful, but I often find myself fixing things or doing big chunks manually when merging more than 4 or five images. Photoshop can also lose track of things if there are areas of busy detail or which lack distinctive landmarks. I could have achieved this one in two shots with a wider lens, but there is something about knowing that I could make an enormous print at full resolution which appeals to me (even though I’ve never had a reason to do it). Go ahead and click on this one to get more of the panoramic goodness 🙂 It’s been scaled way down for the web, but should still be fun.

panoramic image of Utah Lake and Wasatch Range. By Jameson Gardner

Nelson, Swan and the Queen

These are just a few random shots that I decided to group for fun. This one of Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square is another of my stitching projects. So far I have been pretty happy with the results. Like Saint Paul’s and Big Ben, this one merged pretty well. The only one that hasn’t was my attempt to get a 360 panoramic from the top of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. I had to take a step between each shot to move around the dome and the resulting perspective doesn’t really match up.

Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square, London. By Jameson Gardner

This Swan was at a little nature reserve near Newhaven. I’ll be posting more pictures from that area later. I have to admit that I edited an ugly house out of the background—it sort of ruined the nature reserve feeling.

Swan at nature reserve near Newhaven, UK. By Jameson Gardner

This last one is my wife taking a photo of Buckingham Palace. The flag was flying and we thought maybe we caught a glimpse of the Queen peeking out at us 😉

Woman photographing Buckingham Palace, London. © Jameson Gardner

Back from England and Wales

We just got home last night from our trip to England and Wales. I have a-gillion photos to go through, but here is one from London.

Tower of Big Ben in London ©Jameson Gardner Art

 

I wanted to save space and weight in my bags so I only packed a 50mm lens and a 75-300 zoom. That meant that the 50 was my widest angle. I quickly learned that I often just plain wouldn’t have the space to get an entire site or building in the shot. That meant that I had to try to compose something nice in what frame I had, or as with this one of the tower of Big Ben, take multiple photos so I could stitch them together at home.