Tag Archives: photography

Anatomy of a Photograph – “Early Snow and Fall Color, Smokies”

Final Processed File using Lightroom 3 and Process Version 2010. Canon 5D with Canon 100-400 at 200mm 1/13 sec @ f22 ISO 200

A number of my non-photographer friends have asked me on numerous occasions why their photographs don’t look like my photographs.  And of course the sentiment I hear most often is that “I must have a really great camera.”  And I tell them, “of course I do, but I could make the photographs I make with just about any camera.  It all has to do with how I take the photograph, and knowing what to do with it after I take it.”

Many people incorrectly attribute this answer to mean that I am “Photoshopping” my photos, but when they do, their impression is that that means something sinister or unethical.  I try to explain that a lot of what I do is no different than what might have been done with film in a darkroom.  I just don’t have to do it with chemicals, I do it with a computer.

This article is written primarily for me to be able to point my friends to something that explains, better than I could possibly do in the lunchroom at work or at dinner in a nice restaurant, what I mean when I say that I “develop” or “process” my photos in Lightroom.  And hopefully some of my photographer friends will find this interesting and perhaps even informative.

This photograph was taken in October 2011 on one of those rare times when the fall color was just about at peak, and an early morning snowstorm came through with just about perfect timing.  An hour before this photo was taken I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at Clingman’s Dome, being buffeted by gale force winds when a snow plow driver stopped to tell me that I had better get started down because he was planning to lock the gate.  I wisely retreated to a lower elevation and found this scene.

The scene in front of me was overall pretty dark and lacking in contrast, because even though the sun was lighting up the clouds the light was pretty diffused and the sun was not shining through all that brightly.  I knew from experience that my camera would try to overexpose to bring the values closer to an average exposure.  But I also knew that the snow and clouds were on the brighter end of the scale and would cause my camera to want to under underexpose the snow and clouds.  I figured (correctly) that the two would just about balance each other out and made no adjustments to what the meter was reading.  I confirmed the exposure with the histogram after the shot.

At the time I was pretty certain that I had captured some good photographs of a pretty amazing scene, but I also knew that a great deal of post-processing would be required to obtain a final image that looked like what I “saw” while I was standing at that overlook.  When I got home and imported the files into the computer, the first thing I saw was this flat looking gray mess that some people might be tempted to toss.  But I had a plan and went to work.

Unprocessed RAW file as imported to Lightroom

The first thing I did was to adjust the white balance to warm the scene up a little.  My camera does a very good job with finding the “right” white balance, but I knew I was going to need to add some warmth to get the look I was after.  About 500 points was plenty to get what I wanted.  Next, I knew I needed to add a lot of contrast, since the snow and clouds made for a very low-contrast scene.  I ended up adding a lot of black – about 70 points (this is Process Version 2010 in Lightroom – the new adjustment tools had not been invented yet!).  Some adjustments to the mid-tones and highlights and I was starting to get somewhere!

After some basic adjustments to white balance, tone and contrast.

My next step was to add some additional color contrast by using Split-toning to cool the shadows while keeping warmth in the highlights.  This is pretty subtle but gives the scene a bit more vibrance.

After extensive use of the Adjustment Brush for localized dodging & burning, contrast and saturation

After a bunch of time spent cloning dust spots – the photo was shot at f22 – I was ready to move on to some fine tuning.  I made extensive use of the Adjustment Brush to selectively darken and lighten specific areas of the photo, added some contrast and saturation to areas that needed it, and generally “shaped” the image to direct the viewer’s eye through the scene.  A little vignetting to keep the viewer inside the frame, some tweaks to the capture sharpening and noise reduction and it’s done.  Or done for now, as I haven’t yet tried to make a print of this photo.  Doing that will undoubtedly require another round or two of adjustments once I see what it looks like on paper.  I’d also like to experiment with this image using Process Version 2012 in Lightroom 4, but when I click the button to convert it the photo turns to crap again.  So we’ll have to save that and printing for a future episode!

After some additional fine tuning and sharpening, and adding a subtle vignette.
After some additional fine tuning and sharpening, and adding a subtle vignette.

An Early Fall Getaway

Morning light and clouds at Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 413

Kathy & I had a last-minute chance to take off to the mountains this past weekend and meet up with some friends.  There are definitely signs of color in some spots, primarily the higher elevations.  We didn’t spend a lot of time photographing, preferring instead to explore the towns of Waynesville and Sylva.  I did manage to crawl out of bed early on Saturday for an attempt at sunrise, but we left with no evidence that the sun had risen other than the fact that the sky got lighter.  We did end up seeing some sun later in the day and on Sunday, but for the most part things were on the cloudy and foggy side.

Like many weekends in the mountains, this was one of widely variable conditions.  We found sun in some spots, were totally socked in with fog in some spots.  We discovered fall color in some places, while in others summer was still holding on tight.  We stopped by a waterfall along one of the side roads and in 15-20 minutes didn’t see a car, while earlier on the Parkway traffic was starting to get busy.

Waterfall on West Fork Pigeon River, Route 215 Lake Logan Road, Pisgah National Forest

I’m still struggling to find my photographic “groove” and I didn’t help myself much this weekend.  I guess I’ve just allowed myself to get out of practice.  It has been a crazy year so I have a good excuse, but it’s frustrating to feel so out of it, creatively.  I’m back on the upswing though, and am confident that I’ll get things back on track over the next month or so.

All in all we had a great weekend.  Good food and good times with friends are tough to top!

City lights of Hendersonville, NC shine through the pre-dawn fog from Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 413.

***

 I love the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it is one of my favorite places to visit any time of the year, especially in the fall.  But more and more I find myself struggling with the sheer number of people that head for the Parkway when the leaves start to peak.  In particular I’m bothered by what appears – to me at least – to be an increase in the irresponsible behavior and lack of respect that some drivers have.  This past weekend I witnessed a number of “bad apple” drivers, in particular motorcycle riders, doing stupid and reckless stunts.  Passing on curves and in no-passing zones, tailgating and intimidating drivers who weren’t going fast enough to suit them.  It really takes away from the peaceful experience that I have always gone to the Parkway for.  I understand that not everyone goes to the Parkway for peace and quiet, but when the antics of a few people manage to wreck the experience it is hard to tolerate.

I had already made plans to experience fall in other places this year, but after this past weekend and some similar experiences last year, I think I’m going to wait until I have time to plan my visits in mid-week to hopefully avoid most of the crazies.  I realize that most drivers and riders are careful and responsible, and that for the most part their biggest offense is making a lot of noise, but I think I’ll wait and head back in November and December, when only the most hardy adventurers are willing to brave the elements.

Morning light and fall color at Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 413

Fall happens everywhere, and I think my goal for this year will be to find Fall in some of the less-discovered places!  We’ve got some interesting adventures coming up, so stop by again soon to see what we’ve been up to.

Morning light and fog at Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 413

Protection, or Overkill?

Curves and Angles

When I was growing up I had an aunt, or a cousin or some relative who had the seats in her car covered with plastic.  I always thought that was a little strange, to take this nice comfortable fabric and cover it with hot, sticky plastic, just so it wouldn’t get dirty or wear out.  I don’t remember for certain, but I think she might have had the furniture in her house covered in plastic too.  People used to – probably still do – use plastic carpet runners to keep people from walking on the carpet.  I’ll admit that I can see the logic in covering carpet with carpet runner, in the winter, when it used to snow, and we people would come in the house with snow on their boots.  But in the middle of summer?  Nah!

Too Lazy for Sunrise

Today, we can’t buy a cell phone without being offered a “screen protector.”  I don’t understand why I would buy a fancy new phone with a gorgeous display and stick a piece of foggy plastic on it.  So it won’t get dirty?  It’s a touch screen, for Pete’s sake!  It’s going to get finger marks on it!  When I bought my last laptop, one of my students was appalled that I hadn’t paid another $50 or more for some rubberized piece of goo to cover the computer.  I said, “someone went to a lot of trouble to make this computer look so nice, why would I want to cover it up?”  We get sold $10 UV filters to put in front of our camera lenses, we can buy “skins” to cover up our cameras and lenses, but for what?  So it won’t look like we use them?  Come on, we don’t use them enough as it is, why cover it up with some aftermarket stuff someone thinks we need, just to keep our gear looking nice.

I have no idea why that was stuck in my head today.  Well actually I do, and I feel much better now.  Thanks!

Stucco Shadows

A Week At The Beach

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

I’ve been away for a while.  I didn’t go far, but things are finally settling down after a difficult and hectic August.  Kathy has gotten her Dad’s affairs pretty much in order, and to the extent that I’ve been able to help I have helped.  Work demands have taken some of my attention too, so there just hasn’t been a lot of time for writing and creativity.  The blog got pushed to the side for a little while, but here I am.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

Kathy & I spent Labor Day week at the beach.  Besides all the hoopla that was already playing out in Charlotte (the DNC, for those who pay even less attention than me) it was time for a break.  Kathy was just about wrung out and so was I, so it was perfect timing.  A trip to the beach was definitely in order.

Our “beach of choice” is Hilton Head Island, SC.  We’ve been going there for years, starting with a weekend each year, then a week, and now we try to get there for a week and several weekends each year.  We like it there, the beach is beautiful, and it’s generally quiet.  There is plenty of activity for those so inclined, but this year we literally rented beach chairs for 7 days straight and sat on our backsides.  We walked, talked, read and just generally chilled.  And I took a few photographs.  Not many, but I managed to haul myself out for sunrise a few mornings, and even got Kathy to come with me for one (I promised her breakfast!).

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

One of the best things about “going to the beach” for us is the state of mind we go with.  We don’t live hectic lives by a lot of peoples’ standards, but it gives us a chance to “put it all away.” And yes, while the DNC was perhaps a historic event, just because it happened to be in Charlotte didn’t change my lack of interest, and it certainly didn’t give me reason to turn on the TV.  We don’t watch TV anyway, so we certainly don’t do it at the beach.  I guess we had a TV, but I never opened the doors of the entertainment center to look.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

I do very little blog reading or Facebook on vacation.  I don’t have a need to post constant “jealousy updates” that my friends can “Like” and tell me how lucky I am.  I do some photography but that is not the focus of our time or attention there, and unless I have a rainy day with nothing else to do, I’ve gotten completely away from processing photos.  I prefer to live in the moment, and the minute I put my nose into the computer screen “the moment” goes away.

The same holds true with writing.  I sometimes think I’d like to spend some time writing while I’m at the beach, but instead what I do is think and take notes. For the same reasons I don’t like to process photos, I don’t want to take time and attention from being there.  In many ways I write for escape, and when I’m already “escaped” I want to keep it that way.  So I think my thoughts and make my notes to refer to later when something sparks the need to write.  I plant seeds.  I like it that way.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

We don’t completely escape from reality on vacation.  Hilton Head has numerous wonderful restaurants.  We have a number of “have-to” favorites and always like to try some new places.  This year the new ones were about 50-50 successful, some of the old ones are getting a little old, and a few places we had been to only a few times but tried again were worth a visit.  We sometimes get out to do some shopping or visit a gallery or two, but this year the weather was so beautiful we didn’t have a reason to leave the beach.  We do more of that in the winter if we visit in January or February.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

But we’re here now, back to “reality” for a little while.  I’ve got some photos to share and a few stories to tell.  And we’ll be back to our usual traveling routine after a few weekends at home.  So, sorry if you missed me, but thanks for sticking around.

Sunrise on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC

September Wallpaper

The Whalehead Club at Currituck Heritage Park near Corolla, North Carolina

I set this up to auto-post on 9/1 and hopefully it will work!

This is one of my favorite photographs from a visit to the northern Outer Banks back in 2009, and I thought it might make a nice intro to fall.  The nice clear sky hints at the return of autumn while retaining just a hint of summer’s warmth.  I had walked around this building earlier in the day and loved the windows.  The possibility of a reflection of the sunset in those windows at dusk were what brought me back.

The building is known as The Whalehead Club and is located at Currituck Heritage Park near Corolla, North Carolina.  It is the restored private residence of northern industrialist and conservationist, Edward C. Knight Jr. and now houses the Whalehead Club Historic House Museum.

The Myth of Manual?

Frog’s Leap Public House Restaurant in Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Several weekends ago, Kathy & I were having an interesting discussion about why someone should or should not shoot in Program or Auto mode on their camera instead of using one of the “serious” modes such as Manual, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, and what might be right or wrong with that.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, actually.

Kathy knows more about the workings of a camera than a lot of people I know who have spent much more time in photography.  But she also knows that trying to remember all those things can sometimes take the fun out of just going out and making photographs.  So she asked me, and we talked about, “what’s wrong with just shooting JPEGs in Program Mode?”  What’s wrong, indeed?  Kathy & I were talking more in terms of the camera, in many cases, being smarter than we are.  And to a certain extent, she makes a very, very good point.

Frog’s Leap Public House Restaurant in Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

My very first SLR was a Konica TC that I bought back in the late 70s, and while it had a meter, it was Manual everything, so when I set the aperture, a little needle would tell me whether my shutter speed was high or low, so I adjusted until I had it where I wanted it.  And I learned about things like exposure compensation the hard way, after I got the film back and tried to remember what I did!  But because I first learned photography with a camera that only had manual controls, it’s pretty easy for me to think in terms of aperture or shutter speed on the fly – I have “Program Mode” in my head!

I put the Konica away sometime in the 80s then shot for years with a number of different point & shoot cameras while the kids were growing up.  This worked fine until I decided to get back into photography more seriously and bought a Nikon N70 around 2000.  It had auto-focus and auto-metering!  But I mostly shot it in Manual and Aperture Priority because that’s what I was used to.  I would venture to guess that most people buying that camera, however, probably shot it in Auto mode.

Light fixture in Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Shortly after buying the Nikon, someone suggested that I needed to buy a medium format camera, so I went out and bought a Mamiya 7 rangefinder and a 65mm lens.  Soon after I added a 50mm lens and a 150mm lens.  That camera was manual everything with a funky little meter that, once you learned how to use it, worked pretty well.  Again, I was perfectly comfortable with the manual exposure controls and manual focus, because that is how I learned.  I eventually ended up trading all that Mamiya film stuff in toward a Canon 5D.  And I’ve wished for that Mamiya 7 back until recently, when I got my 5D Mark III.  That is the first camera I can say is better than the Mamiya 7, but that’s a story for another post.

In a recent post on his blog, Paul Lester talks more about how people are perfectly satisfied with photos they are taking with their phones.  No controls, no exposure compensation, no thought, just point and shoot.  Paul recently met and talked with photographer and teacher Ibarionex Perello who told him that he no longer teaches aperture in his classes, because no one wants to know about it.  Students can’t be bothered learning about depth of field or the effect of aperture on shutter speed.  They just want to take pictures.  I’m sure some of them will eventually drift into the World of Manual as they explore various creative options, but most of these students will be perfectly happy using their cameras in Program mode, and if they want to get creative with their photos, they can always do that later with software.

Shadows and Gate, Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Along this line, some of the commentary surrounding the recent Canon EOS-M camera has fascinated me.  Like the Nikon mirrorless cameras, they are designed to shoot primarily in Program or one of the various “custom” or “scene” modes.  While they do have the ability to shoot in a manual or semi-auto mode, those controls are menu-based instead of accessed simply by turning a dial or two.  This has fostered some real debate.  Hardly anyone has actually touched one of these cameras yet, let alone shot a few photos with one, but immediately the analysis and commentary began.  People started using words like (and you can find them easily) “crippled,” “mundane, run-of-the-mill, off-the-shelf-with-spare-parts,” “uninspired,” No EFing Viewfinder!!! Well that is a deal-breaker for me.”  Every camera that is introduced inspires its share of forum jockeys who are too busy making excuses about every camera that comes out that they never get around to actually taking photographs.  Give me a break!

Yellow Coneflower at Beartrail Ridge Overlook at MP 430 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Do you honestly think that a company with the research and marketing budget that Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony and others have is going to bring out a brand-new camera that is such an immediate failure that no one will want it?  Probably not.  It’s just that so many of these photographer wannabes think that no one else in the world could possibly want to shoot in Program Mode.  In truth, I think these cameras are aimed squarely at a very clearly-defined market.  It just ain’t us, sorry.  Canon will probably sell millions of those cameras.  And that will fund the next 5D megacamera that I’ll want!

There is absolutely no reason that a person with a basic level of interest in photography has to shoot in anything but Program to be serious about their photography.  Granted, for a lot of us more serious folks, the ability to control exposure and depth of field is critical.  But we often forget how long it took us to get to the point where we were comfortable with manual controls.  I shot in Manual for years before I really learned how to control background blur or balance exposure between a bright sky and a dark foreground.  But today, some cameras can figure that out for you, and for all the money we pay for our equipment, we might do well to just let it!

Yellow Coneflower at Beartrail Ridge Overlook at MP 430 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

So anyway, someone who is starting out and just wants to let their camera take pictures will do perfectly well over 98% of the time.  And if they shoot JPEGs and learn how to properly expose their shots they won’t need to work on their photos in software.  What a deal!  I know a number of successful commercial photographers who shoot everything in JPEG and beat the snot out of a lot of people who shoot RAW.  Granted they are probably using manual controls and are sometimes using studio lighting, but if you know what you are doing, it’s no different than shooting slide film.  Remember that?

In many ways, photography is like riding a bike.  We don’t start off riding the fanciest machine that a Tour de France participant would ride.  As kids we start off with a single-speed bike with training wheels.  As adults getting back into cycling we might dust off the old “10-speed” and ride it around for a while.  Eventually we will decide that we could be more comfortable, ride faster or generally be happier with something newer, lighter or more advanced.  If we get really serious we buy the shoes, the jersey and the spandex shorts so we really look the part.

The same holds true for photography.  Those starting out will use their phones, their point & shoot cameras or their SLRs – all in “P” mode.  And for most people that’s as far as they’re going to get.  A few of them will start experimenting with things like depth of field and shutter speed and realize that the camera they are using might not suit their needs.  At that point they might move up to something with more manual controls, or they might just make do with the camera they have.

Bluegrass player sculpture in Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Kathy understands a lot of the mechanics of photography, but wants to spend more of her time looking at the scene in front of her and pondering composition and expression and less of it on figuring out the right f-stop.  And I support that.  If she gets turned off now by all of the technical stuff and gives up the camera entirely, than how is that success?  If she can enjoy what she is doing now, and later gets to the point where she wants to do more with the controls, I think that is perfectly fine.  And if she never moves beyond the “P” setting but enjoys her photos, that is perfectly fine and I support it!  There are many ways to do this photography thing, and very few of them are wrong!

Bluegrass player sculpture in Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina

Finding A New Normal

South Beach Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

This year has truly exemplified the term “roller coaster ride.” Kathy’s Dad died last week after an extended illness.  Her Mom died in May.  They had both been ailing for quite some time before they moved to an assisted living facility in April of this year.  In between we managed to squeeze in a trip to the beach, several weekends to the mountains, including a great weekend with friends at Shenandoah National Park in April.  Then her Mom died in May, later in the month we took a wonderful vacation to Alaska and California, and since then we managed to sneak in a few weekends away, but in general the last several months were consumed with taking care of Kathy’s Dad.

It’s been a tough year.

Kathy & I love to travel, obviously.  And we often use our travel as a way to escape – both mentally and physically – from our everyday realities.  The last 6 months or more have been emotionally and physically draining, and we feel fortunate to have been able to intersperse the grief and sadness with some well-timed getaways.

Beach at Sunset, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

It’s surprising how the body and mind can take on additional burden without us realizing it, until such time as the burden is lifted from us and we realize how much we had been carrying.  We are starting to feel that lifting now, and it may take a while longer before we fully appreciate it.

We were talking with friends this past week and one of them mentioned that we would be “trying to find our new normal.”  That comment hit home for both of us, and we have talked about it a lot over the last few days.  I really like the concept of “a new normal,” as if feels like what is happening to us now (I say ‘us,’ but of course Kathy has been carrying the burden, and I have been supporting her as much as I can).

It’s a huge change, to go from caring for two people who have loved you for your entire life to having them gone completely in a few short months.  I went through it myself years ago and it still comes back and smacks me in the head when I least expect it.  And I suspect it will continue to do so for a long while to come.

South Beach Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The attraction of this “new normal” idea is that it presents one of those rare times when we have at least a little bit of influence about what that “normal” looks like.  Will it mean big changes for us?  Probably not.  But I know that losing both of my parents at an early age – my Mom was 53 when she died, my Dad was 54 – has had a profound influence on how I have looked, and how I continue to look, at my own life as I approach (and hopefully pass) those ages.  Let’s just say that I’m hoping for a heck of a birthday party for July 2013!

The concept of “a new normal” is very appropriate to me, because it aptly describes the adjustment process that inevitably takes place when a major change occurs in our lives.  Many of these changes are very subtle, such as not having to remember to make a phone call, or not having to plan our route so we come home via Statesville.  Some of them are pretty major, as in the fact that having someone living close by and being primarily responsible for their care was one of the major influences to us in terms of staying in the area.  Does that mean we’re going to sell the house and move to Alaska?  Not today, but when we do decide it’s time to sell the house – which is the only “physical” thing keeping us here – who knows?  The kids are here, and our jobs (for as long as we want them or as long as our employers want us) are here.  But fewer ties mean more possibilities.  And that is what “new normal” means for me right now.  What will it mean in a few months or a few years?  Time will tell, but I’m looking forward to figuring it out.

South Beach Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We had already planned a trip to the beach over Labor Day weekend, but we had an opportunity to extend that into a full week.  I think a week of sand, sun and ocean will do us good.  Some quiet time to think and talk, a nice beach for long walks, and a number of good restaurants where they treat us like locals.  It is one of our favorite places to visit, and a good place to start getting in touch with our new normal.  Indeed.

A Little Breathing Room

Pedestrian overpass in Roanoke, VA

I mentioned in several earlier posts that I had just about run out of hard drive space, and that coincidentally one of my three drives – the one that had been my main working hard drive for three years – had been acting weird and giving my trouble.  I switched over to one of my backup drives, relegated the old main drive to temporary backup status, and ordered new hard drives.  Exciting, huh?  Non-photographers can probably stop here…this is as good as it gets!

This past Monday I took delivery of three new 2 Terabyte Western Digital My Book Studio external hard drives to replace the 1 Terabyte drives I had been using.  It wasn’t a hard job, in fact it was remarkably easy.  But given that those drives contain all my photos from the last 8 plus years, I wanted to shut down Lightroom and stop processing photos until I was finished.  The third drive finished copying sometime this morning.  It took about 15 hours to copy the data from the old drive to each new drive, but now I have three identical copies, one that stays connected to my computer, one that lives in a cabinet in my home office, and another that lives offsite at my work office.  I then use SuperDuper! to run incremental backups on a regular basis.  I did a backup on each of the new drives just for fun, and each one took 30 seconds.  But of course nothing had changed, so that was what I expected.  No problemo.

Acquainting Lightroom with the new drive couldn’t have been simpler.  I opened up Lightroom, pointed it to the new main drive, and in seconds it was synched.  Piece-o cake-o!  Back in business and ready for a few more years worth of photos.  Hopefully another 3 or so years, but it’s hard to say.  These files are getting rather large!

4th of July Fireworks

I finally got a chance to spend some time at the computer today and decided to work with some of my fireworks photos from July 4th.  I knew when I took the photos that I would be making some composites in Photoshop.  These were all taken handheld with the 5D Mark III and the 40MM 2.8 pancake lens, f4 at ISO 3200. My shutter speeds ranged from 1/5 to 1/50 of a second.

All the photos had some initial processing in Lightroom, including a little sharpening and noise reduction, then were composited in Photoshop.  Once I brought the composited file back into Lightroom I added a little more punch in contrast, vibrance and saturation.

There’s no question that these are more than a bit over-the-top from the standpoint of reality, but that’s what artistic license is all about.  This is what I saw and this is what I felt, so here it is!

This was the first time I had used Photoshop on any 5D Mark III files, and I must say that I seriously challenged the capabilities of my 5 year old iMac.  Each file is around 1 GB, and I had some serious beachball action (it’s a Mac thing) going from time to time.  If I do much more of that I’m going to need to look at upgrading the computer hardware a little sooner than I planned.

Long Overdue

Kathy & I had been trying to find a weekend to head to Waynesville, NC – our favorite little town in the NC mountains – since March.  With the exception of our Alaska and California adventure, things just haven’t been very conducive to getting away for the last several months.  We finally had our chance this past weekend and took advantage.

As luck would have it we didn’t get a lot of relief from the high temperatures, as Waynesville – while about 10 degrees cooler than Charlotte – was still unseasonably hot, to the point where most of the HVAC systems were doing their best to keep up.  Most of them were up to the task, a few were not.

We wisely headed out early and got our in-town sightseeing done early.  In the heat of the afternoon we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few hours, and while it was 97 in town, it was an unusually warm but relatively cool 84 at Waterrock Knob, an overlook and visitor center at 5,820 feet.  After a stop for ice cream it was back to town for a nice dinner and some rest in our thankfully-air-conditioned room.

Sunday was spent getting back to reality, and after a stop in Statesville here we are.  A couple of work days with a holiday sandwiched in, and before we know it we’ll have another weekend!

No serious photography this trip, but I had a camera with me at just about all times!