Exploring in a New Light

There are times in all of our lives, whether professional, personal or creative, that we need to find a new spark of inspiration to drive us to that next level.

I have been looking for a while to find a that source of ignition in my creative endeavors, as my photography was suffering from seeing the world around me in the same way that I have for a long time. One area of photography that has intrigued me for a while is that of Infrared photography, or, more accurately, filtering out a significant part of the visible spectrum.

As there was an upcoming Infrared photography workshop led by Lee Varis and Bobbi Lane (link) rather nearby to me, I took the plunge and had one of my DSLRs converted to a sensor that would filter all light wavelengths shorter than 590nm. As 590nm is in the yellow-orange part of the visible spectrum, the sensor will capture from there to the deep red and infrared bands.

Here is an image that I captured yesterday during this workshop…

Nature’s Beacon

The image is an allium flower backlit by the afternoon Sun. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect of a slight bit of lens flare within the body of the flower, as if provides the sense of hot gases escaping from a celestial body.

Part of what I enjoy thus far in IR photography is that what you see through the camera is not the image that you’ll create after processing. The Raw capture by the camera looks like this:

Nature’s Beacon (unprocessed)

In this unprocessed image you can see the part of the spectrum that was capture. While I’m still learning more about the processing of 590nm IR images, the basic steps I follow are these:

– Convert RAW image to DNG for white balance adjustment
– Select my 590nm white balance profile in Adobe Camera Raw
– In Photoshop swap the Blue and Red channels in the image and make other edits

As I gain more experience with the processing, I will put together a post about it.

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon (all Day)

It’s been a busy week, and still a bunch of things to do around the house before a short work-trip this coming week, so nothing like the present time to play around a bit editing some more puffins to share with you.

Which Direction?

After leaving the island in the afternoon, we toured a bit around the shoreline for several different views, which provided the opportunity to see these lovely birds floating on the calm sea. I’m still not sure, if they were just passing each other or they couldn’t agree on the direction to the next tasty morsel of fish.

My beak is shinier!

Part of the fun was observing all the interactions among the puffins; these two atop the rock stood there for quite a while, as if to decide who was getting the best spot in the neighborhood; of course, the referee might be the only winner in this contest!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunsetting the Week

As this week comes to an end, or begins again, depending on your perspective, I thought I’d share another sunset from last year’s outing to Maine.

While enjoying some more spectacular weather, we spent time sauntering around the lovely downtown waterfront of Bar Harbor, anticipating the sunset. Near the end of this exploration, I was fortunate enough to be able to view this scene in front of me.

Bar Harbor Sunset

Part of what attracted me to this vista are the people who have ventured out onto the sandbank, as they provide a sense of scale. The gently gliding seagull made for a lovely bonus element.

This image was captured using a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4/L lens; exposure was 1/1600s at f/9 and 125 ISO. These settings were chosen to purposely underexpose the image a bit with this much sunlight coming straight into the sensor. Post-processing focused on bringing a bit more detail into the water and darkening the sky to get more balance between the bright sun and its reflection in the water.

Hope you enjoy this one!

Impression of a Boat

As I’m going through the images from last year’s photography trip to Acadia National Park and surroundings, it’s fun to see some of the moments that were captured away from the main events of the trip. Yes, there was lots of stunning scenery, cute animals and grand vistas, but that shouldn’t take away from those times when the eye catches a slightly different moment.

The moment shared here was from when we wandered around the docks of Bar Harbor in preparation of capturing the amazing sunset that presented itself there. Out of the corner of my left eye, I noticed this reflection of a boat that had lots of interesting light on it.

Impression of a Boat

The first thing you may notice is that the image is not tack-sharp, which is what we often look for in our photography. That was my intent, as I wanted to soften the image in camera to get an effect of becoming an impressionist image. I shot this with the Canon EOS R5 using a Canon RF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens at 0.6s, F7.1 at 125 ISO; there was a lot of light there, which is why I dropped the ISO and the longer exposure allowed the rippling of the water to have this effect.

Processing was done in Luminar Neo to add a bit of warmth with the Instant Result preset and followed up by work in Photoshop to reduce the impact of the brighter white part of the reflection near the top of the image.

A very early sunrise in Maine

During the photography trip to Acadia National park in Maine, there were several key photo opportunities that were not to be missed; one of these is to photograph the very early sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain in the park.

During a large part of the year, Cadillac Mountain allows one to see the earliest sunrise in the United States, a fact that attracts a significant number of photographers to this location, despite the incredibly early hour. The following is one of the images that I captured during this morning session…

Cadillac Sunrise

This was captured at 4:45 a.m. on June 8, 2021, as the Sun is just beginning to show a sliver of its orb above the horizon. The weather really cooperated on this day, as the clouds made for a great canvas for the Sun’s early rays to paint the rose-fingered dawn, as Homer might say.

This image was shot with a Canon EOS R5 using a Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens; aperture was at f/9 with an exposure of 1/250s at 800 ISO. Post processing was done using Luminar 4 by Skylum.

Puffins are magical!

As 2021 enabled us to slowly, carefully head back toward travel and exploration of our world, I did manage to take a photography trip to Acadia National Park in the wonderful state of Maine.

Acadia is an exciting park to visit, as it presents a wealth of photography opportunities with excellent variety. During this trip, we photographed the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, sunsets in Bar Harbor, lighthouses and nature in its many manifestations. It was a great way to unwind!

A side trip took us to Machias-Seal Island, which territory is disputed between Canada and the United States. The benefit of this dispute is that small groups are allowed to visit the island’s puffin colony, weather permitting. As our guide had reserved our tour’s spot well in advance (spots sell out in early January), and the weather cooperated, we had the pleasure of spending several hours photographing from blinds, as we were surrounded by puffins everywhere. Here’s one shot from that magical time.

Puffin Discussion

There were hundreds, if not thousands of puffins around us. From time to time, some of them would even run across the top of our blind, giving us a pitter patter of little puffin feet as a sound track.

This image was shot using a Canon EOS R5 using the amazing Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens. This lens absolutely blew me away with the image quality that it was able to produce.

There will be more posts coming from this trip!

Thoughts of Kharkiv

As the insanity of war has invaded the country of Ukraine, I can’t help but think back to my visit to the city of Kharkiv less than 4 years ago. The warm welcome that I was extended by the people of SoftServe made this a truly special visit.

These very same people are in my thoughts, as I see images of barbaric attacks on this great city, where I walked along the banks of the river

Kharkiv on a Spring Day

The visit may have been a work trip, but the camaraderie was heartfelt and time was enjoyed in each other’s company. Now, I can only hope that all of these work friends are safe and that this needless violence is stopped immediately, so that they can rebuild and get their lives back to normal.

This image was created using 3 shots taken with my Fuji X-H1 and processing them with Aurora HDR, using an Ethereal Drama preset; secondary processing was done using Luminar Neo. Both of these products are from Skylum, a company founded in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Let’s all do our bit and help the people of Ukraine defend their democracy!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Tomorrow

Crossing into tomorrow…

Welcome to week 213 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

You spread the love in your entries for last week’s theme, so I’ll now take you just a little bit into the future. As I looked through candidate images for this week, I came across one that made me think of what Tomorrow might bring. Is it an exciting sense of exploration, the opportunity to discover what lies ahead?

For this week your challenge is to share images that give you a sense of what tomorrow might hold in store; feel free to be fanciful and imaginative. This is one where I very much look forward to seeing what Tomorrow will bring!

As I let my mind’s eye guide me across the bridge…

Bridge to…

This shot came about during a walk with my great friend, George, architect and photographer extraordinaire! The light caught my eye as it played across the pine needles and brought variety of tone and color between foreground and background. Locking in on the branch, this composition came about.

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Stay safe and share your tomorrows!

Bring on the New Year!

A bit of play with Luminar AI

It’s been a bit of an absence! As we start 2021, let’s see, if I can get going again and revive some of the fun that I had prior to this shutdown of sorts.

First of all, a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to everyone around the globe with fervent wishes that we escape from this virulent frenzy and get back to visiting one another again.

All this lack of travel has been something that I have missed for quite a while, so I’m starting to look at doing something with images from previous trips, which I’ll start with a view from Ireland in 2019:

Cliffs of Kerry

The Cliffs of Kerry are absolutely stunning, and, in my opinion, they rival the Cliffs of Moher, especially, as there’s not nearly the crowds! The view and sense of scale of these cliffs is nothing short of breathtaking!

A little bit about this image, as I did a bit of processing on it. Here’s the (somewhat) original image, which is an HDR composite that was processed using Skylum’s Aurora HDR:

Cliffs of Kerry (HDR only)

This image was then taken into Skylum’s Luminar AI, which is a recent purchase. Luminar AI is very much a version of Luminar with additional very smart bells and whistles, such as lots of templates, skies, etc. With a bit of playing around, I selected the Street Theater template and added some edits to it, which include the Sunset.

Definitely a bit of fun to experiment with this image and impetus to try some other things in the future. As I get more skilled with this new tool, I’ll share more of my findings.

In the mean time, thank you for reading and stay healthy and safe!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Return

Return travel…

Welcome to week 209 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Back from a bit of a hiatus, I thought it might be a good idea to celebrate the idea of Return for this week’s theme… Whether it’s the travel to return home, a return to normalcy, the return of a book or a favor… There are many great returns in our lives! Your challenge is to connect one of those returns to an image of your choosing this week. Feel free to take any direction you’d like to take on this theme, and have fun with it!

Looking forward to seeing many happy returns!

Returning to Boston…

Back in Boston…

Upon arrival at Logan Airport from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, I didn’t expect a large line for luggage, as there were only 5 passengers on the flight… The emptiness of the baggage claim area was stunning! Good news, is that as I walked to the carousel, my bag came out and I was outside in seconds to meet my wife!

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Stay safe, healthy and let’s work toward a return to our preferred state of being!

Mama Cormier

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