After a month-long visit with the grandchildren, it’s time to get back to the photography, and I began yesterday with a midday walk on the beach. The sky was clear and blue, and the sunlight was strong — perfect conditions for Infrared Photography.
I like the way the sun gives the palms and the sky this nice contrast. I chose to process this “super color” image with the palms rendered in a golden yellow, even though they look green to the eye and with the rest of the image in high contrast black and white.
I enjoy experimenting with Infrared Photography, because it’s a new way of looking at the world around us.
Walking through the Naples Botanical Garden, I realized that the plants are quite familiar to me, as I have walked the trails with my camera many times. This time, I was on the lookout for something new. At the edge of the water lily pond, I looked for some nice reflections and saw this tall palm tree looking quite a bit like an Impressionist painting.
Just two hours before sunset, the sun was low in the sky and the ripples in the water created the perfect filter. Today, Claude Monet was my inspiration.
Waiting for the Supermoon to rise into view this evening, I was driving a golf cart around the course, looking for the best location I could find. The official rising time of 5:26pm had passed, but I did not have a clear view of the flat horizon. Killing time, I clicked a few photos of a great blue heron.
I kept checking the alignment of my shadow, to make sure I was looking for the moon rising in the right location, and suddenly… there it was, and it DID indeed look big.
This was one of those moments that I wish a friend or family member was at my side to share the excitement. “There it is!” I murmured to myself.
With my husband and photography friends having departed, I woke up on my own in Maui this morning, but my productive photography workshop with Gary Hart gave me a tip to start my morning in a unique way. On a rainy afternoon in Hana (on Maui) this week Gary shared his methods for moonlit, full moon, and star photography. Then, last evening I remembered that this morning was just one day after the best day of the month for shooting a moonset — still close enough to capture something. Yesterday would have been better, but it was cloudy in Hana. On the second morning after a full moon, the moon (waning but 97% full) will set two hours after sunrise, when the landscape will be gently lit to balance the light of the moon. AND, as fate would have it, my room at Napili Shores opens on the Pacific Ocean, facing west where I saw the sunset last night. I looked up the time of the sunrise and moonset on my Focalware app, and set my alarm. It would only take me five minutes to put my clothes on, grab my camera and set up my tripod outside.
About 30 minutes after sunrise, when the full moon was about 20 degrees above the horizon was my best opportunity for an image. I was able to frame the moon with the silhouette of a palm tree, and the sky would only get brighter in the next 30 minutes, making it harder to separate the brightness of the moon from the brighter sky.
I did venture down on the lava rocks by the ocean in an effort to capture the moon sinking into the ocean, but clouds got between us (the moon and me), and that view didn’t happen. (Daily reminder: Mother Nature does whatever she wants. Cooperation is not in Her vocabulary.) I did capture some other cool images that I will share in future blogs, though. A vivid rainbow appeared for a few fleeting moments, and I captured that. Stay tuned to this nature photography blog…now is great time to subscribe by entering your email address. I’m posting some other cool Maui and Hawaii images on Instagram. Follow me there at @cathykellyphotography.
It would be really cool if I were this good with watercolor painting. In truth, I make images that start as photographs, then apply my creativity with digital tools, and sometimes the end result looks very much like a watercolor. As a photographer, I look for dynamic compositions in nature. Walking on the Naples beach recently, I found this one.
The tidal pool formed a leading line to the horizon. Then, it seemed to bisect the horizon, revealing a green wedge on the land side and a blue wedge on the water side. A few interesting details offset the symmetry: the palm tree on the left side, and the tiny bird on the right. The watercolor effect smudged most of the detail in the image, and emphasized the compositional lines and soft colors. I added some finishing touches with dodging and burning in Photoshop — the digital equivalent of the old darkroom technique. I cropped the image square to eliminate what seemed like too much foreground.
“Et voila!” An iPhone photo transformed. Do you like it?
Have you ever looked up into a tall Royal Palm and seen pink and yellow highlights? Well, now you have! I hope you enjoy the second image in my series of painterly effects on photographs of tropical plants and scenes. In this work, I began with a strong composition featuring a receding diagonal line leading to a star pattern, and applied a Topaz filter to enhance the lines and colors of the palm tree. The resulting image connotes a brilliant sunny day when you have time to look up and soak up the scenery. Of course, you will be wearing your Lily Pulitzer or a Tommy Bahama fashion statement. How does this image make you feel?
I am looking for input from my followers for what kinds of notecards, tiles and prints to bring to the Sewickley May Mart. Would you be interested in this technicolor palm on a notecard, or a tile, or as a print? Let me hear from you! And if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or your favorite social media outlet.
I see a new series developing. It can be rewarding to play with some painterly effects in Photoshop after shooting the diverse shapes of Nature in Southwest Florida. On a walk through the Naples Botanical Garden recently, I tried to see and photograph something different this time. The Queen Palm looked so pretty with its overlapping leaves sunlit along the lake.
When you are going to shoot a sunset, the first thing you have to do is choose your position. In Naples, Florida last evening, I surveyed the mostly clear sky, the flat horizon of the Gulf of Mexico, the crowd of sunset spectators on the beach and looked for some type of foreground that would add interest to the composition. I spotted a low palm tree and thought that I might use the palm fronds to create a sunstar and to add interest to what might otherwise be a view that was too plain. Do you think this works?
If I did not have water or distant land forms for a simple horizon, I would be looking for ways to simplify — not add interest — to the horizon. Every sunset is different: every location, foreground, every cloud formation, every day. While you may have an idea that there will or will not be clouds to reflect the orange and pink hues of the sunset, it is hard to know for sure. It is also hard to determine if there are or are not clouds right on the horizon, as you typically cannot see them until the sun (or moon) intersects with them. Will there be a green flash, only visible when no clouds block the sun’s last seconds above the horizon? As experienced as you get, it is nearly impossible to predict what the day’s sunset will bring.
My equipment: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens, Nikon circular polarizer, Singh-Ray reverse graduated two-stop filter, Really Right Stuff tripod and ball head.