Scary Halloween - A Lensbaby Blog Circle Post

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the fall colors, the falling leaves, and Halloween! I don't go out treat or treating, but I do love walking around my neighborhood capturing images of the interesting, fun, and sometimes scary Halloween decorations. This year I took my Lensbaby Sol45 with me to see what I could find.

Ready for Halloween.

Ready for Halloween.

I love the blur around the edges and the lights in the above image. It also softened the background in the image below. I must say that it was quite a sight to come across this ghost on my early morning walk.

Spooky.

Spooky.

Welcome and boo!

Welcome and boo!

This neighbor’s house is always well decorated every Halloween. While I was taking this photo, a young man came by and told me that there was a real scary spider web just a few steps away. He was right!

Now this was really scary to me.

Now this was really scary to me.

Down the block there are always scary decorations - all inflatable - that are fun to photograph.

Doesn’t look like the pumpkin is too worried.

Doesn’t look like the pumpkin is too worried.

Then there was this car decoration. He looks like he is a passenger.

Ready to roll.

Ready to roll.

And finally my all time favorite Halloween decoration - the local grocery store puts this witch up every year. It always makes me laugh.

Don’t drink and fly.

Don’t drink and fly.

For those who celebrate Halloween, this is a great time to explore for the best decorations. I enjoyed using my Lensbaby Sol45 this year. It gave me a new twist on this holiday. Happy Halloween everyone!

If you would like to read another person’s experience with Lensbaby, take a look at Seonaid Teal’s post on A Dog’s Life. It is a great read and you can keep following the Lensbaby Blog Circle.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

Making the Most of Your Images

Until recently the weather here in Seattle hasn’t been the most ideal for taking landscape photos. The skies have been overcast, the water in Puget Sound was grey, and it just wasn’t as interesting as I would have liked. That didn’t stop me from taking my camera out, however, but it did mean that I needed to rely on post-processing to make the images that I had envisioned while out walking.

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Over the years many photographers have argued about ”getting it right in camera” versus using post-processing to create impactful images. I agree that it is important to get the elements right in camera, but I shoot in raw mode, which means that the images are pretty flat. The good news is that shooting in raw gives me plenty of data to play with in post-processing. The image below gives you an idea of what a photo looks like when first shot with light editing in Lightroom.

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I took this with my new Lensbaby Sol45, so you can see the blur around the edges. I uploaded it to Photoshop to remove some of the bright spots, and then decided to use Nik’s Collection Silver Efex Pro (now owned by DXO) to transform it into a black and white image. I loved what I was able to create.

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By turning it into a black and white image I was able to create a mood that was far more interesting than the original, slightly edited image. I also use Skylum’s Lumniar 2018 which is an amazing editing system that you can use as a stand-alone or as a plugin for both Lightroom and Photoshop. Again the sky was overcast, but the vivid fall colors spoke to me.

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The image below is what I started with, which wasn’t too bad after some editing in Lightroom, but I think the top one pulls you into the brilliant orange.

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Whether or not to use post-processing is a personal decision, and in some types of photography such as sports and photojournalism, post-processing is taboo. But for most of us, it is an option that we can use to make our photos pop. I subscribe to the belief that 50% of an image is captured in camera and the other 50% through post-processing. I love creating photos that have impact and express my creative vision. I welcome your thoughts, so please comment below, post on my CameraWalking Facebook page, or send me an email: carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

If you would like to receive new posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

Seeing Things Differently - Sol45

I was honored to be a beta tester for Lensbaby’s Sol45 lens last Spring. After a few months, I passed it along to the next tester and have been waiting patiently, well maybe not so patiently, for my lens to arrive. It came this weekend and I was out at sunrise the next day to capture images. I was struck by how a new lens can help me see things differently. Along with my +4 diopter, I explored my neighborhood and found some fun shots.

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I was so pleased when I got the images back home. The texture was surprising. It really took my breath away.

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Even an ordinary fern became a wonderful image with rich color and texture.

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I love taking photos of sunflowers, but most of them are located in community gardens that have many distractions. Sol’s blades transformed this messy background into a lovely back drop for the flower.

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And with the diopter I could get close up to the flowers.

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I am looking forward to experimenting more with the Sol45 over the next few months. Stay tuned! If you want to read about another person’s experience with Lensbaby, take a look at Barbara Resch Marincel’s post on Macro Love  and you can keep following the Lensbaby Blog Circle. 

If you would like to receive new posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

2017 Reflections

This is the time of year when most of us look back and reflect before looking forward to a fresh slate of ideas and goals. I am no different, and so when I looked at 2017 I realized that it was a year of learning, particularly in my photography pursuits. Learning has always been important to me, but now I know that it is central to my sense of self and it kindles my passion and excitement. 

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I spent a week in Portland, Oregon last September taking a flower workshop with Kathleen Clemons and Donna Eaton. It was a fluke that I got in because the class was full when I contacted Kathleen. I had been reading her E-book, All about Textures, and experimenting with applying textures to my flower images when I had the urge to write to her and thank her for her work, instruction, and book. As a result of our email exchange I learned that there was one cancellation in her upcoming workshop, so I jumped at the opportunity to join the class. This was another reminder for me to thank people who you admire. Without reaching out to her, I may not have learned about the workshop opening. 

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I learned so much during that workshop. Kathleen and Donna were right there to critique my photos, give suggestions, and encourage me to experiment with new equipment. I took over 1,000 photos that week, many of which were okay, but some were spectacular, if I do say so myself. I also met some fun people who are passionate about flower photography. I learned as much from them as from the instructors. 

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Although I use many type of lenses, for the past year I have been experimenting with Lensbaby creative art lenses that produce some amazing effects. My first Lensbaby was the Velvet 56mm lens. Like all Lensbaby lenses, it is a manual lens, so the learning curve was steep for me. I remember after using it for some time, I took one of my zoom lenses out with auto focus and was shocked at how much easier it was to capture the image. But the effect that I could get from a Lensbaby kept pulling me back.

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Over the years I have added to my gear with other more creative Lensbabies, such as the Velvet 85, the Sweet 50 & 80, Twist 60, and soon the Sweet 35. Every image is different and I feel like it is expressing my inner sense of the world.

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I recently joined a closed group on Facebook called Lensbaby Unplugged with over 1,500 members from around the world. I have been so inspired by the images and approaches that these photographers are taking with their Lensbabys.  It has encouraged me experiment, to push outside boundaries, to capture more creative images. 

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As I look to 2018, I know that I will prioritize learning as one of my most important goals. Although this applies to all parts of my life, it is especially true in my photography.  In fact, I have a Sweet 35 arriving today, so I look forward to experimenting with it. I appreciate your comments, so please let me know how you keep learning fresh in your photography.