Now I got it!

February 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

C. B. Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL Feb 2016

CB Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL
February 2016

I had somewhat of a breakthrough this week in my infrared photography.  It came about unexpectedly, as these things usually do, but it left me with an amount of knowledge in various infrared photography techniques that escaped me for a long, long time.  I'll get to what those techniques are in a minute.  

I was looking through Google+ as I frequently do (BTW, it's better than FB for enjoying others' photos), and was specifically looking for infrared photography, when I noticed a lack of these types of images in my feed.  I come to find out that the Google+ Community of which I was a longtime member, ceased to exist.  I looked everywhere, and couldn't find it.  And so I searched for another community to join, and in the process stumbled upon a Google+ collection by none other than Jason Odell, of the Image Doctors podcast fame.  In looking through his collection I saw that he shared a similar vision as I did in IR, albeit with better images than me.  And then I discovered that he had a link to a short video tutorial that he had put together in Infrared.  It turns out that inside his videos were specific discussions regarding the very techniques I was wanting to learn, or at least fine tune.  Now, I typically don't buy these kinds of things, especially with things like YouTube around, where you can literally find dozens of videos on every conceivable subject.  But in looking through the contents list of Jason's videos, there were the very specific techniques I needed.  So I plunked down the $20, and proceeded to absorb the entire presentation in one sitting.  It was excellent.

Now, those of you that have at least dabbled in color infrared photography know that accurate white balance is key to achieving the proper balance of colors in the final image.  Auto white balance can't cut it, as today's digital cameras simply aren't calibrated to adequately determine white balance.  Therefore it requires a precise manual setting using either gray cards, or, as I chose to invest in, an Expo Disc ($60).  Yeah, I'm serious about my IR.  Anyway, within Jason's videos was a very clear explanation of how to create a specific camera profile using Adobe's DNG Profile editor, so that it could be used in Lightroom or Camera Raw, to be able to adjust white balance in these applications.  I'd seen discussions on this before, including a free video that Jason had created (but he did leave out the small key details of specifically how to go about doing this).  But in any case, here it was.

And so I created the camera profile, installed in in Lightroom, and low and behold, had complete capability to tweak white balance as in normal color photography.  Now, Jason's videos went on the describe his techniques, including getting a 720nm IR look from the 590nm filter that I have inside my camera.  This is the other piece I was missing.  It's a look that can be slightly tweaked to give you an image with light pastel blue foliage, against a dark or black sky.  This is a look that I could never achieve.  It turns out that I haven't been able to go shoot specifically with this look in mind, but you can visit Don Ellis' kleptography site titled "Infrared Bali".  I think it's beautiful, and now this look will be within my reach.

To see more of my IR images simply click on the photo above to be taken to the gallery.  Not the greatest, but a vast improvement over my previous work.  Incidentally, the look you see above was achieved through the use of Lightroom, Photoshop, and the Nik collection of plugins.  Yes, infrared is fun, at least to me, but it does require a significant amount of post processing.  So if you want to dabble in it, first have a look at Jason's videos.  They'll get you started right away.


The Eyes Say It All

July 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Burrowing Owls, Brian Piccollo Park"I Can't Believe You Said That!"Burrowing Owls, Brian Piccollo Park


Burrowing Owls
Brian Piccollo Park
Cooper City, FL
July 2015

It's been quite a while that I've visited these little guys.  In fact, the last time was when I bought my first micro four thirds camera.  Bird photography being one of my favorite genres, it was only fitting that I should go and try out this new gear on my favorite "birds".  So now I've come back, with a new set of gear.  Still micro four thirds, but this time I switched from Panasonic Lumix cameras to Olympus.

I really do hate writing about gear in this space.  That's what SmartPhotoGear.com is for, but being that this outing was specifically to test out my new camera and lens, I suppose I have no choice.  The owls did not disappoint, although the weather could have been better.   I wound up taking my Lumix 100-300mm lens on my new Olympus E-M5 MK II.  I gotta say, the improved 5-point image stabilization of this camera is absolutely great.  All of these shots were handheld, with the lens racked out to nearly 300mm.  That's 600mm equivalence!  Unbelievable for me, whose body sway is absolutely terrible.

In any case, I just wanted to share these little guys, whose eyes make it so simple to convey an emotional expression in a picture.  If you run across this post, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  I'll be adding to the gallery as I post process more of them.  Till next time.....


Hiawassee Barn

April 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Hiawassee Barn
Hiawassee, GA
October 2014

One of my favorite subjects to photograph are old barns.  They offer so many opportunities to explore different styles!  I frequently travel to Hiawassee Ga, a small town a couple of hours north of Atlanta, and just on the border with North Carolina.  And every time I've been there, I pass this old barn.  Well, I finally got a chance to stop and get some shots. 

I knew from the get-go that it would be a small black and white project.  I shot this in RAW, naturally, so I also had the option to keep it all in color.  But once I got into the post processing, I couldn't resist the B&W.  Since this is my very first barn project, I really didn't have a plan as to how I would shoot, such as angles, light vs shadow and so forth.  So I just shot.  As it was, I didn't come away with as many shots as I would have wanted.  But then again, one can only present a few images of one specific subject before boring a viewer.  

I found I really enjoyed this, but more importantly, I came away with many more ideas, not only for this particular barn, but for others I may come across.  Next time, I'll have a more planned shoot.  

For a few more images, go to this link, or simply click on the image;  

http://andygarcia.zenfolio.com/hiawasseebarn

Thanks for visiting and taking some time to read my photo blog.  I'm by no means a "pro", nor do I have any interest in "going pro". I'm just another guy with a camera, or two, that's blessed to have a day job that allows me to enjoy photography purely for the fun of it.

My goal with this site is simply to share my passion, and to share what I find along the way.  Thanks for looking.

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