The Flatirons, just west of Boulder, Colorado. But seen in infrared, and with some color tweaks in post-processing.
I love the Flatirons, but they’re one of those subjects that is exhaustively photographed here in Colorado. So, how to make a shot of them that doesn’t look like a million others? Oh, and I went hiking on kind of a “blah” sort of morning — light overcast, some snow on the ground (but not enough to really set off the rock). My regular color photos taken with a regular digital camera were… underwhelming.
Fortunately, I also took along my E-PM2 camera body (which I’d had converted to full spectrum imaging), and a 720 nm infrared filter. Do a little color channel swapping, fiddle a bit with levels to separate the rock from the trees, and presto — you’re on a distant world.
Olympus E-PM2 camera (full spectrum conversion), M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ lens, 720nm filter
ISO 200, 19mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec
A calm, yet colorful scene in Keukenhof Park, Netherlands.
What can I say about Keukenhof….? Well, it’s a big flower garden / park outside of Amsterdam, that’s only open to the public for 2 months out of the year — and during those two months, it’s covered in mind-blowing levels of floral color. We were able to visit it this year, and it’s got to be one of the most amazing visual experiences that I’ve ever had.
Recently, Topaz Software released the latest in their line of plugin and post processing software — Impression. The idea is that this software (which you can run stand-alone, or as a Photoshop plugin) can turn a photograph into something resembling a painting. And you can choose from approximations to any of a number of painting styles, with lots of things to tweak. It’s available at a discount through the end of the month, so I thought I should download it and a trial code and give it a spin.
My raw material was this shot of aspen trees turning — I took it last weekend down in the San Juan mountains thinking it’d make nice wallpaper for my various gadgets. Starting off with one of Impression’s “Van Gogh” presets and tweaking a bit, I rendered the original into this:
Another piece of art glass by Dale Chihuly (two pieces, actually), currently located in the Denver Botanic Gardens‘ Monet Pool:
This arrangement is one that absolutely looks better at night. In the daytime, you’re distracted by people and plants and benches behind the piece (from this vantage point). At night, the lighting on the glasswork helps isolate it from what would otherwise be clutter.
Oly 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 21mm and f/4.5 on E-M1 camera
1/25 sec at ISO 1600
This weekend, the local honeybees were giving some echinacea blooms in our yard a good workover, so I thought I was overdue in documenting their work.
Normally, the bees seem to prefer working solo. But even though we’ve got a swath of echinacea for them to work on, sometimes they need to “double up” in order to keep working. I used an Olympus E-M1 and 60mm macro for this shot, BTW.
Along with all the amazing ruins, the ancient Maya site of Palenque also offers some really nice waterfalls not too far from the site center. Dubbed the “Queen’s Bath,” it’s actually a series of waterfalls with terraces. It can be a really amazing thing to see and photograph.
But can it ever change its appearance with the seasons.
Our most recent trip to Palenque was timed to fall just after the end of the wet season, in early December. Enough water was flowing in the Otolum creek to give the Queen’s Bath some life:
Note that this is a 1/13 second exposure, so you can see that you can get some nice blurring of the water without a tripod (note that you can’t use a tripod in the ruins without a permit requiring paperwork in advance, etc.). At least, an exposure like this will work if your camera or lens offers image stabilization.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a shot taken from nearly the same spot two years earlier (but at the end of the dry season, in mid-May):
When we stopped at the Chicago Botanic Garden on our recent trip to the windy city, we found they had a whole courtyard devoted to bonsai trees. Â Better still, the trees were displayed with frosted glass backings — making for some really nice photo compositions.
In this particular case, the glass could have been a bit taller. Â But I’d never been to Chicago before, and have no plans to return anytime soon, so I wasn’t about to be fussy. Â A bit of work in PS Elements, and the size of the frosted glass became immaterial.
Personally, though, I prefer the silhouette / monochrome version. Â Gives it a nice, crisp look, don’t you think?
If you’re curious, this tiny forest is a Sawara False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’).