Posts from the “photography” Category

It’s A Photography Contest!

I am officially kicking off my newly revamped photography community blog with the first of many monthly photo contests.

This month’s theme: Motherhood

Prize: $20.00 gift card Best buy and feature on The Daily Viewfinder.com

To Enter, go to The Daily Viewfinder Facebook page and upload your image via comment on the current months contest announcement.

This is definitely open to interpretation. Portraiture of course will lend itself to this months theme, but I will be updating my blog with other ideas that will support “Motherhood.”

Winners will be announced at the end of every month.

Bath-Mary-Cassatt

Mary Cassat

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Spring Is In the Air!

It’s been a few years since I have taken advantage of my proximity to the Tulip fields near my home in Bellingham, Washington. What a treat! If you are reading this from another part of the country, do yourself a favor and visit Western Washington in the Spring. I have never in my life seen more color. The Rhododendrons are starting to bloom in about every hue imaginable. The impossibly vibrant Azaleas are due to show themselves at any moment. The fruit trees are lining the streets with their white and pink fluffiness. The spectacle of it all is really magical and appreciated by all who survived the gloomy winters.

Here are some photos I took in Skagit County, in the Tulip fields.

 

Springtime in Washington

Tulips are a huge tourist attraction here in western Washington. Since I am still going through a black and white phase, I decided to shoot a bouqet we had in our front yard.

Thanks for stopping by!

“Welcoming Party”

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Expect Nothing, Get an Owl

It has been a long and gradual journey for me from casual to serious photographer. I first picked up a SLR back in community college, when I was being instructed how to shoot slides of my artwork. At the time (and for most things today) tools involving numbers or precision did not appeal to me in the least. For some reason, this tool with its focus ring, light meters and shutter speeds, really spoke to me and it wasn’t long until I spent a hefty chunk of my student-job paycheck on the cheapest 35mm SLR I could find. At first, I went fully automatic on all the settings, but I eventually came to a point where I could work fully manual. Back then, success to me meant creating photographs that were in focus and exposed well. My compositions were just so-s0, and none of my images were of a quality I would consider very artistic. That was frustrating. I was a decent artist that could draw and paint well. I understood perspective, lighting, color, tonality and line, but all my images just looked like snapshots…and I wanted them to look like Ansel Adams. Turns out, composition is HUGE in photography, and it would take me many more years of study for that to really sink in. With painting, if something doesn’t work, you can change it. In photography, you work with what you get! What a challenge. I had to learn P A T I E N C E.

Dang it! Patience. Waiting. Slowing down. Acceptance vs. anxiety. Going with the flow. All that stuff you see in the inexhaustible stream of Memes on social media today. Patience; the word that all of my instructors at one time directed towards my stubborn ears until the one day I finally embraced another concept and patience finally penetrated my young thick skull. I became humble. I realized I could actually get help from people and it was okay. I became a better student and my art and photography began to improve.

Twenty years later and I am still learning the rewards of patience. Learning that some days are going to yield amazing photographs, while others might only provide a single cup of good coffee, is an ongoing lesson for me.

Last week, I was in one of my favorite parks I use to prime my creative juices. I wasn’t really expecting much, but I was hopeful. There are a lot of places to shoot water, but the sun was already high and I wasn’t going to be able to take very long exposures. I decided I would just shoot trees and plants. Since it is a heavily wooded area, I could catch splashes of light hitting random sections of limbs and trunks of the cedar and firs. I wasn’t getting anything spectacular, but I was in acceptance of my situation and allowed myself to enjoy the smells of the park and the coolness of the air coming of the stream. After gathering up my gear, I headed towards a walk bridge and spotted something sitting on a tree limb. Almost immediately after I spotted it, a patch of light hit the object and I saw that it was a Barred Owl!

After a minute or so of admiring this beautiful bird, I suddenly thought, “camera!” I desperately dug out my camera from my bag and fitted my longer zoom and began shooting. To get it’s attention, I began making “hoot” sounds and knocking on the hand- rail of the bridge. It would slowly rotate its head long enough for me to get a few shots before returning back to whatever it was gazing on before. To push my luck, I decided to slowly walk around the owl on a trail that would get me another angle. After snapping some photos from the new angle, I looked over in the direction it was gazing and noticed a mother duck and its ducklings. Bonus! I was too far away to get a tight shot of the duck, but the lighting and the greenery in the foreground made for a nice composition.

It was a great nature photography day for sure. In the past, I would of looked at the harsh lighting and not pursued picture taking on a day like that. Experience has taught me that you can make just about any lighting situation work, and with enough patience and the right mind set, even your worst photo outings will be rewarding.

Thanks for stopping by! If there is a photography topic you would like to read, whether it be technical or artistic, let me know. I am happy to share all I know-Shawn Pagels

The WatchWho Goes There SmallGuardianSmallMotherhood

 

 

 

 

Spring Warm Up

It’s been a while since my last photography outing. I decided to get out of the house today and soak up some sun while taking a few happy snappys. It was a beautiful morning, but the sun was already rising and the light was becoming harsh. Luckily, there is a fantastic park nearby that is heavily wooded. Splashes of light here and there aided in these two shots captured with a 35mm prime lens. I enjoyed getting my bones warmed up today, but I will be looking forward to that next overcast day when I can capture all that April color.

tiny towers Complex

River Ghost

Here is a photograph I took near Maple Falls, Washington. There is something about large birds I find compelling and mysterious. After getting about knee deep in smelly river mud, I was able to get just close enough to frame this shot.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)

Making the Grade (part 1) photoshop tutorial

Create Graduated Neutral Density effects in Photoshop by blending two exposures into one. In landscape photography, graduated neutral density filters help balance the bright sky and keep it from losing detail and getting overexposed while maintaining clarity and detail in the areas below the skyline. In the digital age we can use software to fix many of these problems if we don’t have a filter at hand. One way to do this is by blending two different exposures of the same image.

Blending two exposures:

Here is the same image shot with different exposure times. Notice the one on the top has more tonal variation and detail in the sky and the one on the bottom has more detail and variation below the skyline:

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To give us the best of both exposures, we are going to blend the two layers using a layer mask with a gradient fill:

1) In photoshop, place the image with the best details in the sky on a lower layer

2) on the layer above, place the exposure with the best details below the skyline, then create a layer mask

ps1

3)With the mask selected, activate the gradient tool in the toolbar

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With the mask selected, start from the top of your picture while holding shift+mouse about 1/5 the way down and release. You may have to do this a few times, dragging more or less down the image, to get the desired result.

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That’s it! You may wish to continue editing color or whatever, but now you have an image with balanced tonality in the land and sky.

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found this tutorial useful. Come back and see part 2 of Making the Grade.

Happy Shooting,

Shawn Pagels

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