Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

Posted in Breaking News

Sunday Morning Walkabout

Sunday morning the alarm went off early in our household. Our furry kids, Micah and Niki were thrown off guard. The thought of their humans getting up at dark thirty had them totally flummoxed.

After breakfast, the Lensbaby Duo hit the road and drove to Sarasota for a walkabout with our Lensbaby gear. We started our walkabout in historic Burns Square. It was a warm morning, so I had my air conditioner on stun level, which of course totally fogged my Sweet 35 optic as soon as I got out of the car. I decided to create some images with the lens fogged over. This is the best of the lot.

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

At the south end of Pineapple Street is a restaurant with what I’d classify as Mediterranean architecture. The restaurant has changed ownership many times. As interesting as the outside of the building is, I was intrigued by the inside of the restaurant and the reflections in the window.

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

Burns Court has a little bit over everything, including an eclectic variety of shops with very interesting window dressing.

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

Sweet 35 optic @f/4.0

Burns Court is home to many quaint houses and some upscale restaurants. I loved the details in one restaurant, but the dynamic range was more than my camera could handle. So I created three bracketed exposures (-2.0 EV, 0 EV, +2.0 EV) and merged them in HDR Efex Pro 2, which is part of the Google Nik package.

Sweet 35 @f/4.0-bracketed exposures merged in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2

Sweet 35 @f/4.0-bracketed exposures merged in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2

Sweet 35 @f/4.0-bracketed exposures merged in HDR Efex Pro 2

Sweet 35 @f/4.0-bracketed exposures merged in HDR Efex Pro 2

We ended up at one of our favorite Sarasota buildings, home of the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Because of the sculptures outside we have affectionately dubbed it “The Egg Building.” In addition to having very cool sculptures outside, the glass walls of the building are great subjects because of the reflections and the name.

Single Glass Optic - f/4.0 aperture disk

Single Glass Optic – f/4.0 aperture disk

All too soon the temperature started climbing to an uncomfortable level and as the sun rose higher, the shadow edges became very harsh, which meant it was time to head home and edit images.

Cheers,
Doug

Posted in Picture Postcards Tagged , , , , , , |

Myakka – The Cure for Cabin Fever

When you work a 9 to 5 job —an oxymoron with many companies— or pursue a career in writing, you spend a lot of time in a conditioned environment with little or no exercise and artificial light. The result can be a bad case of cabin fever, which Roxanne and I both had last week. Our cure for cabin fever is to create images in one of our favorite locations. Wednesday was nice and cool thanks to a cold front, so we chose a visit to Myakka State Park as the cure for our cabin fever. I decided to travel with Lensbaby gear only.

When we got to Myakka, we drove to Fox’s High Trail, grabbed our gear and started our commune with Mother Nature. On the hike out, I shot with my Sweet 35 optic, and on the hike back, I used the Edge 80. It was a beautiful day with lots of puffy clouds in the sky. We stayed ’til early afternoon and headed home to edit our images. Here are some of my favorite images from the trip. Post processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, with extensive use of the Graduated Filter and the Radial Filter.

Enjoy!
Cheers,
Doug

Doug's Blog-1

Fields of Gold
Sweet 35 Optic f/2.5

Fox's High Road Edge 80 Optic f/4.0

Fox’s High Road
Edge 80 Optic f/4.0

Doug's Blog-3

A Bend in the Path
Edge 80 Optic f/4.0

Doug's Blog-4

Along the Road, Your Path May Wander
Edge 80 Optic f/4.0

Posted in Images, Picture Postcards Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Lensbaby Magic at Myakka State Park

This morning we got up at the crack of dark thirty, drank a cup of coffee to kick our brain cells in gear, then it was out the door, destination: Myakka State Park. We started our morning at the Weir, a dam built by the Army Corp of Engineers in the 1940s. I was equipped with my Soft Focus optic, and the Double Glass optic. It was overcast when we got there,  then the sun started peeking through the clouds, and I started shooting. Some of my images were bracketed exposures, which I merged into HDR images using HDR Efex Pro 2, which is part of the Google Nik package. We spent about an hour at the Weir. Then it started warming up, so we wound our way out of the park. When we neared the entrance, we noticed purple flowers by the side of the road, swamp iris. So naturally we had to stop and create some images with our Lensbaby macro gear.

Here are my favorite Lensbaby images from this morning’s visit to Myakka. Enjoy.
Cheers,
Doug

 

HDR image created with the Soft Focus optic

The Long and Winding Road: created with the Soft Focus optic

The Weir - HDR image created with the Soft Focus optic

The Weir – HDR image created with the Soft Focus optic

Path to the Weir - image created with the Soft Focus optic

Path to the Weir – image created with the Soft Focus optic

Swamp Iris Squared - image created with the Double Glass optic and f/4.0 aperture disk.

Swamp Iris Squared – image created with the Double Glass optic and f/4.0 aperture disk.

Swamp Iris - image created with the Double Glass optic, f/4.0 aperture disk and the +4 macro filter.

Swamp Iris – image created with the Double Glass optic, f/4.0 aperture disk and the +4 macro filter.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Breaking News Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Myakka State Park – Back to Basics

I am first and foremost a landscape photographer. Place me in a breathtaking landscape with beautiful light, and I’m happier than a kid in a candy store, which is exactly what happened this morning. When Roxanne and I were packing our gear to go to Myakka, I packed my Lensbaby gear, then I looked at my forlorn 24-105 mm lens, and decided to give it a little long overdue loving. Our first stop was the Weir, a dam built by the Army Corp of Engineers in the 1940s. It was overcast when we got there, so I started shooting with my Lensbaby gear. Then the sun peeked through the clouds, and I knew it was time to switch to my L-Series 24-105. I shot bracketed exposures —-2.0 EV, 0 EV, +2.0 EV— with the intention of merging them into HDR images with HDR Efex Pro 2, part of the Nik Google package. We spent almost an hour at the Weir. These are my favorite images that were created with my old standby, the 24-105mm lens.

Cheers,
Doug

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream...

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…

Magic Morning Light

Magic Morning Light

I really don't know clouds...

I really don’t know clouds…

 

 

 

Posted in Breaking News, Images, Picture Postcards Tagged , , , , , , , |

Critique and Improve Your Photography

The following is an excerpt from Doug’s book, Creating Better Images – Learn Tips and Tricks to Create Better Digital Images. This Kindle book is on sale for $0.99 until Sunday.

To grow as a photographer, you need to create more interesting images. After you master the technical aspects of using your camera, becoming a better photographer means shooting with a more critical eye to create more compelling photographs. A great way way to improve your skills is to critique your work. Look at the best images in your portfolio objectively and ask the following questions:

1. What do you like best about the photos?

2. Does each image have a strong center of interest?

3. Are the objects in each image unified, or are there objects in the frame that don’t belong?

4. Does the composition draw the viewer’s eye to the most important parts of the image?

5. What rules of composition do you use when creating your images?

6. Does each image convey a message, mood, or tell a story?

After you complete this exercise, you’ll know the strong and weak points of your photography. Make a list of your weak points and each time you go on a photo shoot, consciously focus on one point you need to improve upon. After you’ve improved one area of your photography, work on the next item on your list. Do this exercise every six months to continue refining your skills as a photographer.

After you critique your work, you’ll have some valuable information you can use to improve your photography. For example, if your critique revealed some problems with your flower photographs, create a self assignment to photograph flowers for an hour or two. When you go on a self-assignment with the goal of improving your photography, review your work immediately and compare it to your previous images to see how you’re progressing. When you schedule time to consciously focus on a specific area of photography, you get better. When you go on a self assignment, consciously focus on making the best pictures you can. To that I would add not to stray from the task at hand.

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Vince Lombardi

To find out more about the book, download a sample, or purchase the book, click the book cover.

Better_web

Posted in Breaking News, Tutorials