landscape

Life Thru the Lens 33/52... A Little Summer Fun

We have been soaking up the sun, and enjoying the last rays of summer before fall sets in and the seasons shift.

A summer day in photos: the good, the fun, and the random...

Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Life Thru the Lens | Summer Fun | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

DO YOU HAVE LAST MINUTE SUMMER PLANS????

OR, ARE YOU LOOKING FROM WINTER TO SPRING, AND DREAMING OF COLOR??


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

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Life Thru the Lens weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

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editing HDR photos, and creating graphic design photos

I have been working on a couple of photography projects over the last few months... HDR photography, and graphic design in photography. 

HDR Photography; What is it?

I think some feel that HDR photography as pushing the limits of contrast, saturation and clarity in editing. If HDR photography is not merely pushing your editing techniques to create the surrealistic look of a HDR photo, then what is it?

High Dynamic Range photography, in a nutshell, is the difference between the darkest dark and the lightest light captured in a photo. 

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

To create HDR images you'll need....

~ A tripod, especially if you are trying to capture a cotton candy water scene. However, I did take these photos hand held, but I was wishing I had trekked my tripod, around the lake, to this point.  

~ You'll need to learn how to shoot a bracketed series of photos. (Bracketing.... taking 3 plus photos at different exposures: one underexposed, one overexpose, and one exposed correctly.) I took two shots of each of these photos. One exposed for the sky and one exposed for the rocks. However, I usually take between 3 to 9 photos for an HDR capture.

~ A Program that can merge your photos, or in other words photo-staking. I like photo merge HDR in Lightroom, and HDR Effect Pro 2 by Nik in Photoshop. {If you haven't heard Google made their Nik collection free. It is a great program that I have been using for years now. If you would like to learn how to use the Nik platform Tim Grey is now offering his Nik Collection Class free.}

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

HDR Photography Tips....

~ Moving subjects are practically impossible to make HDR. Trees, plants, and moving people create ghosting in HDR images once they are merged, so a still subject is optimal. 

~ You'll want to capture a scene with a drastic range of light and dark areas. Although my captured photos did have a wide range of darks and lights, I think I just barely had enough contrast work with.  

~Shoot RAW. I always shoot RAW, especially for HDR photography because I will want as much information as possible to work with when I edit my photos.

Lately I keep getting the question.... is that an edited photo? I love Matt Klowskowski's answer to that question, "Of course it is edited!" ALL photos shot in RAW need editing, whether it be a small amount of sharpening or an overall sweep of hand edits. You can think of editing like this.... capturing a SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot is like sitting down with a bowl of your favorite ice cream. Editing is making that bowl into an ice cream sundae. 

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

~ Practice makes perfect. My first HDR attempt wasn't perfect. I think you remember my moving water shot from a couple weeks ago. It may not have been flawless, but it was fun to try to capture the scene, and to edit it.

"The Purpose of art is washing the dust of the daily life off our soul." (Pablo Picasso) Art should be fun! If you are stretching your abilities with a new technique and it isn't fun, set it aside for a little while, and then come back to it.   

A Graphic Design Project....

A Graphic Design Project | Sylvan Lake | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I have been working on a graphic design project for the last month, or so. My main focus was to learn how to create a photo with a painted, or watercolor look. Once I figured that out, I thought it might be fun to create a series of photos, and make them into postcards. I love the National Park posters, and decided to pattern my postcards after that look, but not copy it completely. Some of you might recognize this lake; it has become extremely popular for treasure hunters over the last few years. Sylvan lake is my favorite lake in The Black Hills, and yes this is the lake that was feature in National Treasure 2, and no there is no treasure under the lake. :-D 

What Projects are you working on.... home, hobby, personal, work?

Life Thru the Lens 5/52... life on the trail

The Good....

The Thinker and I missed hiking. For three years we lived in a place that did not have trails easily accessible to us. After living in Germany for seven years, where we could walk out our backdoor and find a plethora of trails to explore, it was painful to live in a place without that option. We are both outdoor people and there is nothing like a long hike to clear our minds and recenter our worlds. 

We are both out of shape though. We used to be able to knock out 22 miles (easily) in a day. So, we have decided to hit a trail any time it is nice enough to head outdoors. This last week, while the eastern part of the nation was being pounded with snow, we were living the high life in 50-60 degree weather. 

We would take the snow though. We bought snowshoes at the beginning of winter and have not had the chance to use them. The snow that we have had was not enough to snowshoe in, and the snow that is left is icy because it has gone through several cycles of being warm enough to melt one day and then being in the negatives the next. I am not a huge fan of a frigid winter with no snow. 

The Random...

The logging company has been through our woods marking trees to be cut down. I understand the purpose of logging, and to some extent I support it because we have felt the tragedy of forest fires in our are. Still, it hurts to know so many trees will be missing one day. 

The Fun...

The sun is still setting rather early here, so we often find ourselves running out of light when we hike. I do not normally mind that, but since we know there are mountain lions roaming our paths I am not  a huge fan to find myself walking along one at dusk. But still, to miss this view and the sunset is also heartbreaking. I think I'll just have to toughen up and be brave; not to mention buy some bear spray. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens MondayImage-in-ing, Our World Tuesday,Random-osity and Friday Photo Journal.

WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and/or link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

~The link-up will open at 8:00 A.M. Mountain Time. 

Life Thru the Lens 51/52... a winter hike

"I'm happy when I'm hiking, pack upon my back. 
I'm happy when I'm hiking, off the beaten track. 
Out in the open country, that's the place for me....."

~ I'm Happy When I'm Hiking

Last weekend The Thinker and I went on our first winter hike of the season; no snowshoes needed, just good thick socks and hiking boots. Or, so we thought. It was a gorge hike, so we did not think about the trail climbing up out of the ravine, and we did not think about the snow not melting on the north side of the trail. Needless to say, we had to turn back just a mile into our hike becasue of the icy accents with drop-offs to our immediate left.  Yes, that's right, I wasn't quite ready to die that day. 

Before we hit the higher elevations, we found this along the way. 

The hard part about hiking with my camera is... one, we never trek to far down the trail because I am always stopping to take a photo and two, I find that I do not enjoy myself as much becasue I am always stopping to take a photo.

 In Europe, I had the same experience. When we returned from one particular destination and I could not remember an incident that happened with my family, I decided something had to change. I became extremely intentional about taking a few shots, and then putting my camera away. I know I missed some key shots. However, I also cherish the memories I made by leaving my camera at home, or in it's bag. 

I have decided that I want to go back to this trail at least three times. Once, becasue I already know where I want to spend more time with a tripod, and a remote trigger. Then, I need to hike the entire thing sans camera so that I can build brain memories of the hike and not just photographic memories. And then, the third time to take photos of things further along the trail. 

Brain memories are equally as important as photographic memories, and maybe even more important. A photograph will not trigger a brain memory if one has not been made. 

My tips to you...

~ If you have already experienced something once, leave the camera behind the second time. The shots will all pretty much be the same ones you took the first time. Once my kids began middle school I began taking my camera with me for one soccer game for each child, each season.  I have found that one really good shot of the season satisfied my need to document. You really do not need multiple shots of the same types of events year after year. 

~ If you haven't experienced an event before, then take your camera but be intentional about tucking it away. Tell yourself, I'll take five photos and then put it away. When I was traveling I would take five photos of a beautiful area, then I would tuck it away and enjoy the ambience of the place, and then take my camera back out further into the day. Honestly, I hated all the mid-day sun shots of places anyway, so that became my memory building time. The golden hours were my shooting time. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens MondayImage-in-ing, Song-ographyOur World TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday,  Wednesday Around the WorldLittle Things Thursday, andFriday Photo Journal

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 48/52... a wintery ride

It started to snow last week.  I thrive in winter, when there is snow. If there is no snow I tend to melt away and struggle into the darkness of winter. Snow is the sweet balm to my winter chapped soul. 

A little news... did you see that my email subscription is working? If you are still not receiving it try signing up for it again. 

 I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Our World TuesdayTexture Twist,  Wednesday Around the WorldFriday Photo Journal, Sweet Shot Tuesday

 

LIFE THRU THE LENS

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.



friday randomness... why phoneography is a legitimate art

I have been pondering an article, or many articles, that I have read over the last year about phoneography not being a legitimate form of art. Over the year, I have come up with five random reasons why I think phoneography is a legitimate art form....

Samsung s5

1. If you ponder on phone cameras just a bit, you will realize that they are no different than the first point and shoot digital cameras that emerged into our creative culture in the early 90's. If those cameras could be used as a legitimate form of photography, then why are phone cameras not given the same credit?

2. I've read the argument that the reason phoneography is not legitimate is that you have no control over the settings of the photo you take. Doesn't that fly in the face of the argument that it is not the equipment that makes a good photo, but the photographer?

3. Phoneograph will teach you a ton about light and perspective, if you let it. Honestly, I find it much more challenging to capture a quality photo with a phone camera than I do my big camera. I have to think about the lighting, and my perspective, much more thoroughly when I am using my phone because I can not rely on the settings to create the "look" I am going for. To me, any form of instrument that teaches you about light and perspective is legitimate in the art world.

Samsung s5

4. People are making brilliantly creative photos with phones... isn't art really all in the eye of the beholder?

5. Many feel that the apps used to alter a photo is cheating... but how do you distinguish that from Photoshop? If it is creative leeway to alter a photo in Photoshop then the same should ring true when a phone photo is altered with an app.

None of these reasons are too scientific, they are merely my thought process put forth on paper. And, putting pen to paper is also an art form, so maybe I am a wee bit biased in this entire thought process :-).

We went out on the ATV's last Saturday. It was a fun was to celebrate Spring; the weather was fantastically warm. I realized a few things while we were out there.

THE GOOD

~Although it was a ton of fun, I am getting older, and I was extremely sore the next day from all the jostling around.

THE RANDOM

~Just because a puddle looks like a puddle, does not mean it is a puddle. The Thinker decided to try his fate with a puddle and as we capsized, and I stepped off I found out it was about three feet deep. YUCK!

~ It is way more fun to ATV in the mountains, or at the very least on an open piece of land. We were on an 80 acre bit of land, which wasn't much of a challenge after a couple hours. Although, it is nice that we have a place to ride, so I guess we cannot complain too much :-D.

THE FUN

Samsung s5

~The best part was finding this beach totally made out of old bricks. I would like to learn the history of the site. Was it a dumping ground, or was there a magnificent house laid out on that beach by a tornado?

~ I do love this lake, and would like to truly capture it someday. It is chalk full of old dead trees jutting out of the waters. The trees give the lake an eery feeling, which I love.

I'll be sharing more of our ATV adventures on my Instagram feed this weekend, come by and check it out.

Linking with Friday Finds, Friday Unfolded, Little Things Thursday, The Good, The Random, The Fun, A Rural Journal, Check Out That View

friday randomness: 5 things to capture during each season

We took a hike last weekend. One of our favorite things to do, in the winter, is to traipse down a trail with fresh, unbroken snow.

As I walked in the silence, and traced back the years of our time in Europe, and the trails we hiked in the winter, I realized just how desperately I need, and cherish, the seasons throughout the year. I long for fall and spring, and I re-energize in summer and winter.  Every season, whether you love or hate it, deserves to be documented in it's entirety. Really, it is simple to document the season; it takes five simple steps.

1. Document color. I think it is easy to miss color, especially when you live in a monotone world during the seasons; brown for winter, green for summer, with only spring and fall to yield vibrant arrays of color. And, I am well aware that sometimes it is possible to live in a world that does not even offer a splash of color in the spring, or fall. However, I also think that color can be found in any season, anywhere if you look for it. True, sometimes you have to search color out in the minuscule purple flowers of summer, or the rays of a sunset on the horizon, but color is there if you choose to see it.

2. Document the ordinary. You know, those mundane things that you think will eat you up if your day happens to be the same as yesterday, and the day before that. It is hard during the monotony of life to remember that time does pass, and the years will fill with the changing of the seasons, and before you know it you will be two, three, ten years older, and you will want to remember what life was like two, three, five years ago. So, document the pot of soup on the stove, or the cup of coffee with steam rising from it... or, even document your cute wellies hiding in the snow.

3. Document the loves of your life. Those people, or pets, that live life with you. Document them so that you will have tangible evidence of what life looked like lived with them. Someday, someone will care. Whether that be you in the future, or your kids once you are no longer around, or your grand-kids as they try to explain who you were to their kids.

4. Document living in the seasons. Capture the moments lived that you do over and over: a hike through the woods, a run down the trail, a coffee date with your kids. Document those as well, and document them with the seasons showing. Show the spring crocuses lacing the trail in the woods. Show the new grass beneath the feet of your running shoes. Sit outside with your kids and take a photo of them in front of the brilliantly bright fall foliage. Do not just document life, but document to preserve the seasons. To document in the season it really comes down to changing your perspective.

5. Document the season. In all it's glory, document the season, which means taking a walk in the snow. Standing under an umbrella to capture a spring storm. Donning your bathing suit and taking a dive into the deep end, to snap away at the water, and the ciaos of the pool, on a hot summer day. Swatting away those pesky gnats, as you stop to capture the leaves as they glimmer their colors, on a warm autumn day. It is easy to excuse the season away due to the weather. But instead, embrace the nuances of each season and head outdoors to capture their essence.

BUT STOP... that is not all!!

I read the other day that, "this generation is the most photographed of all generations, but that they will have the least amount to show for it."  {I'm paraphrasing this great article... you should read it.} Why? because we document, and forget. We forget to download those photos off of our phones, and we forget to back them up. We have intentions of printing the family photos we took, but never find the time to do so. And, we throw the discs, and thumb-drives, in the drawer and forget, we forget about our documented lives. Document... but do not forget to print, in some from or fashion, make hard-copies of your life.

And, a February in review, using these thoughts.

Joining Friday Finds, Whatever is Lovely,  and Mona's Picturesque, Little by Little, Friday Unfolded

Do not forget about Life Thru the Lens... come link-up and be a part of the community.

Also I have started a Monthly Color Hunt Challenge on Instagram. Head on over there to check out this months color, and to link-up your photos. I'll feature a few every Friday at my Instagram home.

Vianden Luxembourg... 3 things to take pictures of when traveling

Vianden was the first "official" trip we took out of Germany. I remember being a bit nervous about crossing the boarder for the first time. And then, I remember The Thinker, and I, laughing as we recounted that experience on our last trip to Vianden, in 2011.

Vianden is a quaint little village tucked away in the Valley of the Seven Castles, in Luxembourg. It was also the chosen place of exile for Victor Hugo. After visiting, it is not hard to understand why Hugo was called to the village. It swelled with soothingly peaceful alleys, tucked between crooked buildings, that echoed a history of time and stories into one's soul.

Based on some regrets I have about what I did not capture while we were in Europe, I came up with a few "must capture" moments of travel...

1. The little things. We all think about the big tourist things to capture, The Eifel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, but I wish I had captured more of the little things. Like, cups of coffee in Italy, street views in Paris, gutters with "look right" in London, and stunningly clean sidewalks in Switzerland. I wish I would have taken photos of the essence of a place, rather than the landmarks of a place.

2. My people. I actually have trips where I was so engrossed in capturing the environment that I completely spaced capturing my people in the environment. I do have "a" photo of us from every place we visited, but I wish I would have captured more of the everyday, moments. I notice as I look back through our photos that, in the beginning, when photography wasn't so much about capturing that perfect photo I did capture a ton of my kids just being a tourist. But, as I began to think more about creative composition, and techniques, those moments went away. Do not forget about the everyday moments.

3. The environment. I wish I had taken more photos of wine bottles lined up on tables at festivals as drunk Germans celebrated the season. Or, tables stacked full of dishes after a three hour meal as a group of friends departed for the evening. I wish I would have taken photos of umbrellas lined up in the doorways to stores, or people walking on the walkplatz in the rain. I wish I had captured people more in their environment.

When you are out exploring the world, do not forget to capture your exploration in the very tiny nuances.