A Ray of Light

Wow, it’s been along time. I can’t believe I haven’t posted in over a year. It’s amazing how so many things creep in and steal your attention. This time of year always brings me back to the blog however, because it is nearing the anniversary of when I started this endeavor. I’m a bit sentimental, plus I’m reminded of this because of the bill WordPress sends me for my automatic renewal, which arrived a few days ago. Not only that, but this is easily my favorite time of year to get out there and photograph the world. The trees are turning, and an early morning hike through the woods takes on a magical tone. I was out the other day and managed to grab this shot of a singular light shaft as it made its way through the trees. This time of year, the trees not only change color, but the sun is at nice low angles in the sky as well. With the leaves falling, the sun makes its way deep into the woods, under the canopy. It’s an amazing time to be a photographer. Make sure you find a moment to take it all in; you won’t regret it.

Dreamy Waterfall

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Well, it’s time for a little experimentation.  I have been fooling around with photoshop a little bit trying to create a “dreamscape” type of shot.  You might notice that some areas of this picture are kind of blurry, and some are in relatively crisp focus.  It’s an effect I’ve seen out there and I really like it.  Some would call it a painterly effect, but I don’t really think that’s what I’m going for.  I’m sure that if you asked 10 photographers how they achieve their unique effect, you’d get 11 different answers.  Mine involves Gaussian blur in one layer and a high pass filter effect for ultra crispness in another layer.  Then I used a layer mask to paint blurriness in.  I used a reduced flow brush to put more blur in some areas than others and believe me, lots and lots of use of the history tool to erase all kinds of mistakes.  Overall, I’m pretty ok with the end result, but I reserve the right to work a little more on the technique.  I’ve heard of photographers taking two different pictures to create this same effect.  Each picture set at a different aperture for a different depth of field, or two completely differently focused images.  This might be a great idea, however, I had no idea I was going to try that with this image when I took it; so I only had the one image to work with.  I’ve also heard of people using textures to achieve this effect.  Like I said, 10 photographers, 11 answers.  If you’ve ever tried this sort of thing let me know.  That is if you don’t mind sharing your secret sauce.

A quick note about this picture.  It is, of course, of a waterfall.  As I’ve said before, waterfalls are one of my favorite subjects.  I took this image at Rickets Glen State Park, which is a short drive from my home.  I’ve posted waterfall shots from this place before, and I have plenty more to share. There are a few dozen of them in the park.  It was late afternoon, and a really hot day.  Some friends of ours from the UK were with us, and we happily obliged them in a quick nature hike along a cool stream.  Later that evening, we roasted marshmallows and made them speak with American accents!!  It was awesome and hysterical!!!  Almost as funny as our British accents, that is!!