August 16, 2016

Door to be opened

In our lives, we pass by and through many doors, both real and figurative. There are doors we love and there are doors we are afraid of. There are doors we long to open and don't know how to approach them, there are doors that get out of our reach because of our hesitation. Sometimes the decision is ours whether to open the particular door or not, sometimes the life itself pushes us through not asking about our opinion. 

Whatever the doors look like, wherever they seem to lead, we never know exactly what we will see and experience when we pass through them, the same doors may lead to quite different worlds.

In the previous months I saw a door in my blogging future that I wasn't sure whether to open or not, but eventually I've made a decision. I've purchased a domain and webhosting services and I'm going to start a new blog based on Wordpress. I'm going to move most of my posts from the two blogs I've been contributing to here on Blogger to the new blog to have the better part of the history there and in the process I'm going to improve and adjust some of the older posts. 

I don't know much about Wordpress and it's been challenging to find my way through the technicalities of the webhosting but I've been drawn to this door for long enough to know I need to gather my wits and do what needs to be done. It means though that while I'll be working on the new blog, which may last for several months, I will not be posting anything new either in this blog or in my other blog here on Blogger.

I wish you to enjoy the coming months!
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July 01, 2016

Lilac and wooden birdie

Some time ago I took a photo of cut hydrangea in a vase placed by quite an ugly window, you could see it in my post Out of place. I decided to use the same vase and the same window for another out-of-place photo, this time with lilac and a little wooden bird that decorates my interior. 

Again, I was intrigued by the contrast between the beautiful flowers and the place. Here is different, let's say a bit more artistic, processing of the photo:

I already have other flowers in my mind to put there and shoot, such as yellow Lysimachia or white Marguerite, sounds like it might be a nice series one day... 

I played a bit and changed the background to create a different atmosphere...


...and scenery.

Have a nice day!
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June 21, 2016

Unexpected portrait

In the Czech Republic, we celebrate a name day, the date of the year when our name is presented in a Czech calendar. It's the same date every year. A few days ago my younger son had his name day and he was thrilled to get a T-shirt with the name of one of his favourite bands as a few days before that he had got a cap with the same name. He also got chocolate fish he liked and he came up with the idea to take a selfie to preserve the memory of the presents. I offered to use my camera to get a decent shot and when he accepted, I took him outside to find a better place for shooting than inside.

Frankly, I wasn't quite satisfied with the shooting as he was very impatient and I needed more time to think about the conditions but I took a few snapshots. Eventually I discovered one photo among them which I really liked and which I would like to share here, with my son's permission. I'm not into portraits and this is no fancy one but the fleeting opportunity came unplanned and I'm quite happy about this particular capture it left behind.

Here is a black-and-white version that I find even more interesting than the colourful photo above.

One photographic note at the end: Would you guess which mistake I made when taking the photo that I especially needed to correct when processing the image? I underestimated the darkness of the scenery... The gate at the background was dark, the T-shirt and the cap were dark as well, and thus the camera thought the photo needed to get lighter and increased the exposure. The resulting photo was too greyish then and I needed to bring the blacks back in the editing. I could have avoided that if I manually decreased the exposure before taking the photo and that was a good lesson to learn.
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May 23, 2016

Apple inspiration

The other day I was peeling apples and their shapes and colours caught my attention. I brought my apron (that I like but rarely use), picked a few leaves of lemon balm that grew in a pot on my window sill and played with my camera for a while. This is the photo that I liked most:

I played also when processing the photo and liked the following darker, less saturated version. It's tricky to try and change colours of fruit and herbs...

The following photo presents the same settings but quite shallow depth of field which makes the eye return to that focused part again and again. There is still enough detail but the parts are not that distracting.

Here is another view with more apples and a different perspective:

I experimented a bit more with that photo and sent it to Nik's Analog Efex plug-in and finally came up with this ghost-like image:

Unusually looking, isn't it? It stirs something deeply emotional within me though I'm unable to put my finger on it.

A few apples and lots of fun, as you can see...
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April 27, 2016

Charm of the faded

Back in March I was capturing books and tulips and I tried several settings. I shared some of the photos in my previous posts Books and tulips and Yellow and blue. There was one more setting though and today I'd like to share some images it brought. 

The titles of the books are not important. I chose the books because of their size and the colour of their covers, they looked great together.

Some of the tulips I was shooting with were already faded but I decided to use them anyway. Their last moment of glory...

I processed both photos in Lightroom and then I sent one of them into Analog Efex Pro, one of quite popular Nik Collection plug-ins that Google made available for free a few weeks ago. With the help of the plug-in I created two images that I really like. The first image expresses a mood somehow matching the process of the fading...

... and the other image displays not only a different mood but also different focus on the photo's parts.

Processing photographs and experimenting during that process have become part of my photography adventure, there is so much to try and see!
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April 01, 2016

Story of a badly taken photo

Today I'd like to share with you something different than my still life images and that is a story of a badly taken photo and what it taught me.

Unless you are always ready and prepared when holding your camera, you must have experienced a situation when you were shooting something and suddenly something else happened which you wanted to capture quickly and oops, you found out that you forgot to change the last camera's settings which turned up to be utterly wrong for the desired capture and the moment was irretrievably lost. This is how I took the photo that you can see below, it's straight out of the camera.

I liked the scenery and was playing around with my camera's settings when I noticed a man with children walking along the path. They were quite quickly disappearing from my view so without further ado I took a photo only to find out on the camera's screen that it was enormously overexposed. Normally I wouldn't have kept such a messed up photo but I sort of liked that haziness and I might have wanted to preserve the memory of that moment so I left it alone and waiting for me to come and see what I could do with it.

Now, I'm quite sure that if I had the photo just in jpeg format, there would be no remedy for the overexposed parts but fortunately I was shooting in RAW (as I'm always now) and when I processed the photo in Lightroom to my liking, I got this result: 

Not perfect but interesting, no lost highlights or whites, all pixels nice and neat inside the histogram. I wouldn't have believed that. But this was just a starting point for the two resulting images that I love. The first image you could see at the opening of this post, it's a triptych made just from the photo above, and the second image is the high-key image below. I find both of them so simple and yet so effective...

They say that by means of processing you can create an excellent photo from a very good one but you can't create a good photo from a bad one. In other words, you can improve a photo but you can't change its (lack of) worthiness. I generally agree with that philosophy but my experience has taught me that you can make an interesting photo or image even from a bad capture and that you can have a lot of fun with that process. Creativity stops at nothing.
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March 09, 2016

Yellow and blue

I love combination of yellow and blue and I used it in another set of photos with books. The first and second photos feature a fantasy novel by Jules Verne "The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz". It's an old book and I love all the illustrations it contains. I read it ages ago and when I was flipping its pages on this occasion, it felt tempting to start and read it again.

There are only little differences between the two photos but along with the format, I find them interesting.

The third photo features another book by Jules Verne "Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen". I might have never read it but I'd like to. Verne was such an extraordinary person and writer.

This photo is a bit busier but I like the colours and shallow depth of field and of course the grape hyacinth. I'm looking forward to plant it in my garden when the time comes.
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