Channeling John Singer Sargent …

Several years ago, I became acquainted with John Singer Sargent during a member’s preview of his seascapes at the Corcoran Gallery. I really liked the way he captured the light, atmosphere and water, and those impressions have remained with me ever since.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Charleston, SC with a couple of photo buddies, and the last morning I was in town, we went to Folly Beach for sunrise.  The big draw at Folly Beach for most people is the pier, which extends for what must be nearly a quarter mile into the ocean. I took some obligatory photographs of the sunrise behind the pier, but was not really inspired until I looked to my right, away from the sunrise, and saw the light playing off the water – it immediately reminded me of John Singer Sargent.   I made exposures as long as the magic lasted, and the one below is the first of what I hope will be several images from those few minutes.

I stood in the surf and aimed my camera down the beach, away from the rising sun toward the boundary between night and day.  I wanted to include some of the beach in the frame, but had to be careful not to include any of the early morning beachgoers,  I used a longish exposure (1 second) in order to capture some of the wave motion, but  still retain a hint of detail on the water’s surface.

This picture proved incredibly difficult to process to the point I wanted – I suppose part of that was due to the fact that I tried to do as much as I could in Lightroom 5 instead of Photoshop by itself.  The print, though, turned out very well and will be displayed at the Workhouse Arts Center in the Associate Artists Gallery (Building W-9) during May.

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One More Time …

I decided to take another look at the photograph in the last post, but this time in B&W.   I invoked Nik Silver Efex Pro from LR5 (sorry for the geeky gibberish), and made the conversion to B&W.  I then went back into LR5 and invoked Color Efex Pro to add some tonal contrast, using the softening option to keep things from getting too gritty.  From there, I used the Split Toning function to create some feeling of depth, adding a subtle blue tone to the dark areas of the image and then some warm tone to the highlights.

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There and Back Again…

Not quite  “There and Back Again” in the Bilbo Baggins sense, but the last time I made a post to this blog (a long time ago I am afraid) I was sitting in this very chair at our friends house in Venice, FL.  Lots of things have gone on in the photo world for me, but I was negligent in keeping this site up to date. For that I apologize.

One of the big changes for me has been to incorporate Lightroom 5 into my workflow.  It was not something I was considering, but when LR5 was offered as part of the photographer’s pack in the Adobe Creative Cloud, I thought I would learn what I could and see if it makes sense to me.  Being old and slow, this has taken some time, but I think I am getting the hang of it now. I have spent considerable time with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: Classroom in a Book,The Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5 by Michael Frye.  (The latter is an ebook with interactive lessons and linked videos that are very helpful.)  So what does this have to do with anything, you may well ask.  The answer to that question is that this blog post contains the very first photograph I have processed in and through LR5, and I am pretty happy with it. 

I imported the photos I have taken over the last couple of days into a special “in-the-field” working catalog that I will merge with my master catalog when I get home as I move the images from my portable drive to my RAID 1 setup.  I then did basic processing and editing in LR5, but then used Photoshop CC to gain access to the Nik plugins.  I can access the Nik software directly from LR5, but I loose the Brush function that is in PS that allows me to apply a filters effect very selectively.

All that is too geeky for now.  This image was captured this morning in between waves of rain coming in from the gulf.  There were some neat clouds in the approaching storm on the horizon that I wanted to capture, while at the same time smoothing out the water to emphasize the rocks that are part of an old break water.  I think the effort worked out fairly well, and I would appreciate your opinion on the matter.

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