One of the more recent additions to Lightroom is the “Transform” function, in particular the perspective correction tool. I find myself making use of this tool a lot, as it “corrects” photos where I’m forced to shoot from an angle – side to side and up to down – and making them look normal. I don’t generally use it to “cheat” but rather I like to use it when I don’t have a choice about where to stand.
I’ve been going back through some old unprocessed photos and came across a group of sunrise photos from 2010 in Belhaven, North Carolina. One of the distinguishing features of the harbor in Belhaven is a break wall that separates the harbor from the larger Pungo River. The break wall is a well-recognized landmark of this area, but the problem I always have with it is that it doesn’t run perpendicular to the places I photograph from. As a result, there is always a perspective mismatch between the horizon line and the line of the breakwall. They never looked right when I processed them, so I’ve always been hesitant to use them for anything. Until now.
Looking at this photos, I wondered if the perspective correction in Lightroom could be used to “fix” the position of the breakwall so it looked “right” in my photos. Lo and behold, it does! There is a little bit of falloff in focus in the areas that are actually father away, but it’s hardly noticeable. And yes, I could have done this a long time ago in Photoshop. But that misses my point. And of course, someone who lives there and is used to the view would likely recognize the change immediately. But for most folks, they wouldn’t notice the difference.
I’ve attached a couple of photos as examples, including one “before & after composite. I think it turns a photo that never looked quite right into one that looks pretty good for all but the pickiest few among us. And chances are they don’t read this blog! 🙂
One of the things I had been hoping for during our visit to Colorado was a glimpse of some of the legendary “Gold Rush” of Aspen trees in their fall splendour. While there are parts of the state that are “better” for Aspen, I knew that there should be enough of them around Fort Collins to make the effort worthwhile.
We spent today along the Cache La Poudre River in the Poudre Canyon. The Aspen were starting to turn, and there were a number of places where the color had just about reached their peak. Combined with our visit to RMNP, I’m very happy with the returns from our efforts.
Tomorrow it’s on to northern Wyoming and some drastically cooler weather. After seeing 70s and 80s here in Colorado, we’re looking at 40s in Wyoming and Montana.
There was a recent post on The Online Photographer titled “How to be a Professional Photographer” where Mike Johnston commented about how difficult it was to make a living as a professional photographer. There were a number of comments both in support of his post as well as lamenting the difficulty of the profession. There were also a few humorous comments.
The joke that I’ve always loved about being a professional photographer goes something like this: An amateur photographer is someone who has a good job so they can buy nice gear and travel to exotic places to take photographs. A professional photographer is someone whose spouse has a good job so they can buy nice gear and travel to exotic places to take photographs. Somehow that’s never worked for me – I couldn’t get the spousal support I needed to pursue my passion. I’m kidding, of course!
Kirk Tuck chimed into the conversation with a thoughtful comment and a post on his own blog. Most of Kirk’s post was his usual well-reasoned commentary. He is a professional photographer with a lot to be proud of. He has seemingly mastered the business side of the business while staying current with technology and changes in the marketplace. His is a voice to pay attention to when it comes to operating a photography studio as a business. The statement that got a little under my skin, however – probably because it is a bit of a sore subject for me – was when he said that “retirement is only for people who didn’t like their careers.”
Of course the publishing world is full of people writing about how everyone should be pursuing their passion/finding their North Star/determining the color of their parachute, etc., and that if they aren’t living their dream they need to (after buying the author’s particular book, of course) set off on their own path of self-discovery and do their own wonderful passion-inducing thing. Wouldn’t that be lovely? In my opinion, very few folks are fortunate enough to even figure out what they are passionate about, let alone have all the skills and (to a certain extent) good luck required to actually make a living from their work. And that assumes they figure out what they are passionate about early enough in their life to actually do something about it!
The rest of us get jobs. Even if it is banking or insurance or hospitality or something that isn’t terribly glamorous, hopefully our jobs provide enough of whatever kind of satisfaction we are looking for, pay enough to cover the rent and save with a little left over to spend on something fun. If we’re really fortunate we are able to keep our jobs long enough to call it a career while saving and investing responsibly so that at some point we can walk away from work and do something – anything – else. Not that our work sucks or that our careers have been a failure, it’s just that instead of “pursuing our passion” we found a good enough job that we were able to do long enough to finally be able to walk away. That’s not failure, it’s a different kind of success!
Retirement is a subject I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and preparing for. I’ve had a great career and am proud of what I’ve accomplished over 40 years in banking. Even though I haven’t been “pursuing my passion” by someone’s arbitrary standards, I’m very happy with the direction things have taken and am looking forward to being able to explore the world with the person I love without the constraints and distractions of work. And that is something I’m very passionate about!
Last day at work – for both me and Kathy – is May 25! 🙂
Kathy & I recently returned from a cruise to the Caribbean. We’re getting pretty good at the cruise thing – this was our 23rd cruise – but we’re still practicing!
This cruise was on Celebrity Summit. Celebrity has become our favorite cruise line, mostly because they just know how to do good food and good service. While all of the lines are good, we’ve come to really like Celebrity.
Summit is one of Celebrity’s older ships, but we chose it because it is one of their smallest, at just 2,000 passengers. The ship we were on last year was over 4,000 passengers, while we saw a ship this time that was over 6,000! While I would love to experience one of those ships, that’s just a shipload of too many people!
This cruise was supposed to stop at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, but Punta Cana doesn’t have a dock for the cruise ships so it is one where they need to take passengers ashore using tenders. The seas were too rough there for tendering, so we ended up in San Juan, PR instead. While we looked forward to Punta Cana, we love San Juan and were not at all disappointed to end up there.
Kathy & I spent our time in port walking around Old San Juan. We had lunch (and Pina Coladas!) at a nice restaurant that claims to be the birthplace of the drink. More to come on that, but for now, here are a few random photos from our time walking the streets of the old city.
Here is a sampling of my photos from the 2017 Folkmoot Festival Parade of Nations in Waynesville, NC. My success rate was compromised a bit by a less than ideal location (about 20 yards from the main performance area) and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but I managed to get a few photos that tell the story. After seeing the parade for the first time, I’m now determined to go back and capture the festivities from before the parade to after. I think it might make a good project and would be good practice at telling a story.
An annual event in Waynesville, NC is the Folkmoot Festival that takes place at the end of July. We typically get to Waynesville during the month of July, but for all our trips there we had never made it to the Folkmoot Festival or anything that had to do with it. This year, while planning our July visit I happened to notice that some of the performers would be participating in the annual Street Dance in downtown on Friday night, and that the Parade of Nations on Saturday would be right down Main Street That was too easy to pass up, so we went.
At Friday’s Street Dance, the Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia (Siberia) were featured. They put on a great show with several groups of performers. These photos are from that performance. I also got some photos from the parade the following day, but those will need to wait for another post!
Kathy & I just returned from a week in Nevis, a Caribbean island that along with St. Kitts is part of the West Indies. This was our second visit there, after thoroughly enjoying a visit there last year. It is a small, quiet and friendly island, with great people, a number of nice restaurants and plenty of scenic views.
This is photo is one of a number of blog-worthy photos that I will share as I get them processed. In the meantime I wanted to get something posted to break my drought!
This past weekend, Kathy & I paid a long-overdue visit to one of our favorite day-trip destinations, Chateau Morrisette on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Virginia. Those who know us well understand that most of our favorite destinations involve something to do with food and wine. Chateau Morrisette is one of the largest wineries in Virginia, and also happens to operate an award-winning, AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. Chateau Morrisette has both food and wine!
Our timing worked out that we were able to have a nice dinner, proceed to one of my favorite sunset destinations for photography, and return to the restaurant for dessert before starting the drive home. How hard is that?
The Saddle Overlook is a few miles north of the winery in an area called Rocky Knob, and is so named because the “saddle” is a low area between the two peaks of Rocky Knob. It has both easterly and westerly views, so depending on the time of day there are frequently interesting things to photograph. Most of my time there has been spent at sunset. The west view has an interesting panorama of the valley and Buffalo Mountain in the distance, but as with most sunset locations it is most interesting when conditions result in a nice sky.
When we first arrived at the parking area there were a few cars, mostly families returning from an earlier hike and a few people just hanging out in their cars. No obvious overload of photographers like some of the more popular spots in North Carolina. Not too much was happening in the sky, and with a general absence of clouds I knew that the best photographs would likely come after the sun had set.
The parking lot has a really nice view, so it is possible to just sit in the car and watch the sun go down. And I could have simply set my camera up in front of the car so I didn’t have to go far. But preferring to work alone and having been at this place before, I have a favorite spot down the hill and off to the side so I can get out of the way of the “tourists” and generally avoid the chatter that inevitably happens when the “drive-by cell phone photographers” start filtering in right at sunset.
Things happened pretty much as expected, and as soon as the ball of the sun sunk below the horizon, the engines started firing up, car doors slammed and in 5 minutes the place was practically deserted. Figuring that it was probably safe to retreat to a spot closer to the car before it was too dark to see, I gathered my gear and headed back up the hill toward the car to complete my evening’s work. I set up my tripod again and framed up a few more shots.
Pretty soon I hear a couple of guys behind me that were looking at the image on my LCD and commenting on the great color I was getting. One guy walked over and started asking me questions and repeated his comment about the nice color I was getting, and I explained that even though it was dark, there was a lot of color in the sky until well after the sun goes down, but that most people miss it because the best color often happens after most people have packed up and left. That they think the sun crossing the horizon is the “main event.” He seemed surprised to hear that but agreed that based on what he saw on my screen it must be true. Seeing is believing! With that, his buddy announced that it was time to go, and he ambled off with a “nice talking to you” and was gone.
I never mind chatting photography with an interested observer. I probably didn’t make a convert, but hopefully I spread a little knowledge. It interests me though the most people just don’t take the time to look, or to think about the things that we photography nuts take for granted.