Monochrome Monday – 1

Under a different light, yet still simple!

Just for fun, something light for Mondays: let’s go to black and white! There’s always something captivating about reducing an image to its basic components and stick to the variety of black and white tones that we can express in it.

Here’s a recent one that kind of stood out to me…

B&W Leaf under Red Light

The fun part of shooting this is that it was lit up with a red spotlight, which provided rather interesting contrast on a green leaf. The resultant structure really pops and produces a pleasing effect.

Goodbye to 2022

Happy New Year!

As we started this year, 364 days ago now, we knew that it couldn’t be as bad as the year(s) we lost to COVID; we held out hope and a conviction that things were looking up!

Guess what? 2022 turned out pretty good, and I, for one, am even more optimistic about 2023, as we turn over the next leaf…

B&W Leaf under Red Light

Like this leaf, life started looking a lot better over the past year, as we started traveling again (Iceland and river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel for personal travel). Inspiration started coming back with a more positive outlook, which turned to creating more images. Work, albeit insanely busy, allowed me to take an entirely new look on how to organize a modern software development organization (looking forward to the rollout of this in 2023).

I feel that the momentum is there once again, and I plan to keep moving things forward!

Oh yes, the image… I photographed this leaf during the Night Lights event at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill; the lighting on this leaf was red, which led me to take the black&white direction.

Happy New Year to one and all and I look forward to sharing our future explorations!

My Photo Workflow

Turning over a leaf

Last week I shared an example of an edit that I did to highlight a blue canoe on a rather dreary, sleety day. In that post, I mentioned that quite often I do very little to adjust a photo. So in today’s post, I’ll detail my standard workflow.

Even though I do a lot of little adjustments in Lightroom for events, I only use Lightroom for print preparation. To get any image ready for print, I use Photoshop, as all my printer/paper profiles are available to me in Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at the steps that I used to process this image of a solitary leaf that I used as one of my test images to explore the Fuji X-T1.

Solitary Leaf

In Photoshop, my first step is to duplicate the background layer (Cmnd-J/Ctrl-J), as I don’t want to make any changes to the background layer that I might want to undo later. This also has the advantage of doing quick comparisons between layers.

Select this new layer, I will apply some amount of sharpening using the Unsharp Mask filter. My typical range of settings for the Unsharp Mask are:

  • Amount between 50-100% (note that too much sharpening will create some artifacts
  • Radius in the 2-4 range
  • Threshold in the 3-5 range

These values tend to work pretty well; for this specific image I used 70% with a radius and threshold of 3.

Next, I duplicate the Unsharp Mask layer and select the Soft Light blend mode for the new layer. Soft Light darkens or lightens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened as if it were dodged. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened as if it were burned in. As the impact of the Soft Light blend mode can be pretty overwhelming, I tend to use an Opacity of 7-15% on this layer (it’s usually more than enough). The effect of using the Soft Light blend mode is to provide a subtle bit of saturation without overdoing it. I find this works better for me than using the Saturation adjustment.

Last step is to adjust the Brightness/Contrast to make sure that the brightness is right. Also, I make sure to use Contrast to ensure that the image is not overly muddy.

At this point, I save the Photoshop document and, if I want to create a cropped version of the image (quite often I don’t) that is a next step. There are times when I have a specific format in mind that I will crop for; if that’s the case, I save the cropped version as a separate Photoshop document.

That’s all there is to it! Hope that this was interesting to you, and feel free to ask questions, if you have any.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 147

Crawling up a leaf!

Welcome to the 147th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Lots of great Crawl photos with a ton of creepy crawlies, although I find most of them rather enticing and lovely! There were some touching crawling shots of babies, and even some adults! There were even multiple interpretations of Crawl, ranging from the Australian crawl to skin crawl and crawling with ants!

Thank you all for putting together this wonderful array of posts that were a blast to read. I hope that all of you enjoy them as much as I did!

Here’s a lovely little crawler…

Going for a bite!

This is another shot from one of my visits to Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I noticed this bug crawling on this magnificent leaf and loved the textures that were presented to me.

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge with links to their posts:

  1. Sarah posted some great photos in her post in By Sarah; those are some serious crawling hills!
  2. Kammie found some lovely crawlies in her post in Nut House Central; Nature provides some great variety!
  3. In Don’t Hold Your Breath‘s post we get treated to a lovely sight: some rather cute monitors!
  4. Na’ama really unlocks the potential of crawling in her poem in Na’ama Yehuda and that photo just makes me want to sit there and enjoy!
  5. In theonlyD800inthehameau‘s post, there is a rather a cute twin crawling, who now plays rugby!
  6. In Pictures without Film, Ken has two great caterpillars! Which one do you prefer?
  7. I just love the photo in the post in Chateaux des Fleurs, which is a great example of what may crawl up on us!
  8. In Junk Boat Travels, Jackie shares something that made her skin crawl… I can understand why!
  9. This week, pensivity101 shares some lovely crawlers with us, something that made her mum’s skin crawl!
  10. In a fun post in Reflections, we get to see that Lucy knows how to crawl under the bedding. We have one of those at home too!
  11. Ann-Christine’s post in To See a World in a Grain of Sand has a wonderful combination of beautiful photos and humor; go enjoy it!
  12. Jase’s post in Proscenium shows that there might be no way to do anything but crawl out of that driveway!
  13. Debbie’s photos in her post in Travel with Intent are stunning and colorful, as those snails crawl ever so slowly in Baku!
  14. Sandy would love to see more than a bit of crawl in Winter’s progress, as we see in Out of my Write Mind; she’s ready to plant tomatoes!
  15. Captain Jill brings us some wondrous crawly sea creatures in her post in Capt Jills Journeys!
  16. In another fantastic post in Heart to Heart, we get to catch up over coffee, as traffic is crawling by!
  17. Irene’s photo in her post in Heaven’s Sunshine shares the beauty of metamorphosis that is being achieved with a crawl!
  18. Brian’s post in Bushboy’s World features the color green, as it slithers along the tree’s branches!
  19. The wonderful photo in firehorseworld features a bit of crawl, which also has quite the jump!
  20. That’s an wesome photo in Geriatri’X’ Fotogallery, where we get to see how a dog crawls through the snow! Our corgis can relate!
  21. Klar captured a gorgeous caterpillar in her photo in Sliku svoju ljubim II, which is a beautiful blog!
  22. Maria’s post in her blog KameraPromenader has a gathering of creepy crawlies… which is your favorite?
  23. Susan’s post in Musin’ with Susan documents the misadventures of Mathilda, who makes Susan crawl…go check it out!
  24. Hammad’s post in the Blog of Hammad Rais highlights that one kind of crawling that none of us enjoy: crawling traffic!
  25. I love the post from sgeoil, which is crawling with ants that are crawling everywhere!
  26. Tracy’s post in Reflections of an Untidy Mind documents the plight of insects, as their populations are dwindling. Her photos are stunning and her post makes a very sound point that we need to mind!
  27. In a great post in Another LQQK, we go up close and personal with some Japanese beetles, who are getting a food meal!
  28. This week’s post in One letter UP – diary 2.0 shows that rolling stones can gather more than moss!
  29. Woolly’s post in Woolly Muses brings us the history of the Australian Crawl, which is very interesting!
  30. Khürt provides another amazing post with stunning photography in Island in the Net, where he explores the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve!

Please let all of these great bloggers know your thoughts about their posts!


Rather enjoyable

The WordPress Photo Challenge provides the interesting theme of I’d Rather Be…, which is a rather surprising one!

What would I rather be doing, when I have all that I need in my life…  It’s almost an expression of never being satisfied with what we have.  Of course, one could find oneself in a predicament or bad situation, but barring that, acceptance of one’s current condition is a preferred way to achieve a semblance of inner peace.

Given that thought, there’s probably not much that I’d rather do than admire the wonderful structures produced by Nature…

Leaf Structure in Yellow

Capturing leaves that are backlit provides for interesting images, as both light and texture come into play…

What are some of your favorite pastimes that you’d rather not give up?

Fan-tastic Structures

Natures origami

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the theme of Structure, which has made me very happy, as there is lots of structure in Nature and the world around us.

Yesterday’s post focused on the structure of a cabbage, as it grows and produces fractal geometries.  Today, I’m going back to a leaf structure, but very different from the first in this series.  Whereas the first leaf showed off the strength of support structures, this one is all about using fan-folding as a means of providing rigidity.

Here’s that incredible fan, as it radiates out…


This leaf is simple in its construction, filled with elegance and truly minimalistic, yet incredibly strong.

Hope you enjoy!

Structural Integrity

Holding it all together

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the theme of Structure, which is right up my alley, as I love finding structure, where not everyone might be looking for it.  Expect to see more than one post this week with a theme this fitting!

In particular, I enjoy going to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts, which is a mere 10 minutes drive from where I live.  There is always something to photograph on any day of the year, and I have built up quite a catalog of images from there.

Here’s a bit of structural integrity…

Structural Integrity

As you can tell, I used the Sun’s light coming through this leaf to capture the strong definition of its structural members.  This leaf has wonderful definition!

Hope you enjoy!

Turning a New Leaf

Beauty is everywhere!

As a follow up to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge theme of Structure, I figure that I’d share another image from those I captured at Tower Hill Botanic Garden during last Sunday’s visit.

This image is of another leaf that is lit bu sunlight pouring through it…

Big Leaf

Hope you enjoy this image and have a wonderful weekend.


Solitary Leaf

Singular promise

To me, a big part of the enjoyment of being in Nature is allowing the vibrations of the environment to wash over myself and becoming more attuned to the surroundings. As that happens, I tend to discover the little things that are everywhere, such as in today’s image.

Solitary Leaf

The solitary leaf stands tentatively, capturing the morning sun among its many competitors, here at the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge.  As I was walking I noticed these singular leaves popping up, standing filled with expectation for a future filled with promise.

What do you discover during your walks?

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100mm f/2.8 lens.  Exposure settings were 1/80 second at f/11 and 400 ISO.

photo roberts blog 2

ich zeige euch meine stadt wie ich sie sehe

The Wee Writing Lassie

The Musings of a Writer / Freelance Editor in Training

Pencil Notes

Pencil on paper. Images arise. Message received.

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Mama Cormier

.... my journey to a healthy life, making new memories and so much more

Don't Forget the Half

Loving the sum total of all my parts!

sound mind journal

a quiet place where our minds meet

My Camera & I

This blog is my creative outlet where I can share my photos, my travels, my random thoughts and a bit of myself.

Maria Vincent Robinson

Photographer Of Life and moments

Does writing excuse watching?

Wasting time on the couch.

Dare Boldly

Artful Words to Inspire Everyday Living