Creative Possibilities

Having converted a Sony mirrorless camera (a6300) to “Infared and SuperColor,” I’m now learning how to process these odd images. When you capture an image with infared light and visible light only 590 nanometers and up, you get some unique color effects, so you need to adjust white balance, swap blue and red, set white and black points, adjust the tonality of each color and adjust hue and saturation. While that sounds like a ridiculous amount of work, the process becomes interesting because you learn about what each individual color (red, green and blue) is doing and how each individual color looks as it interacts with the others.

While you may or may not find that color study interesting, you will probably like the creative possibilities in the different results one can achieve. Here are some examples:

greyscale infared photograph
This image is essentially black and white with a blue filter applied. Processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro. Infared is known for giving you the raw material for a high contrast greyscale image.
Infared photograph
I like the effect of showing the foliage as white while rendering the sky in a deep blue hue. I find it ethereal.
Infared photograph
Since I like images that are somewhat realistic, and I love Fall color, I also like to render the foliage as yellow or golden, while maintaining the sky an attractive shade of blue. I could render the foliage as light pink or magenta, but that’s not my style.

Feels like Charleston

A second floor sleeping porch, the perfect place to catch a breeze on a hot, muggy night might remind you of houses in Charleston or Savannah or New Orleans. But this picturesque home is found in Sewickley, Pennsylvania where I live.

Painted white with black shutters and shrouded with green trees, it seemed like a good subject for infrared photography — a medium that shows green foliage as white.

Infared photography shows foliage as white and skies black.
Infared photography can be processed many ways, but one way shows green foliage as white and skies as dark or black on a sunny afternoon.

I have just started this week experimenting with Infared photography, having bought a Sony 6300 camera and having sent it to LifePixel to have it converted to “Super color” Infared. Stay tuned to this blog for more interesting results.

Gratitude in the Garden

Sitting on the ground beside the garden wall, I noticed some purple plants reaching upwards and the pink ones reaching out. In the gap, I noticed the short garden wall. What I had was a squirrel’s eye view.

Taking a moment to look at the garden from a squirrel’s height, I found an intimate spot and a moment for reflection.

While admiring the  flowers’ vibrant colors, I thought about gratitude.

Gratitude for this quiet, peaceful moment,

For my eyesight and my health

For my camera and my photography practice

For nature’s freshness and vitality

For summer.

Environmental Portraits

While I devote most of my time to Landscape and Nature Photography, I also practice Portraiture. When possible, I like to tell a story with the portrait, and place the subject in their home environment. My Sewickley friends Kelly and Steve enjoy raising chickens, so they held two of their favorite hens for the shot.

#environmentalportrait, #familyportrait, #portrait, #chickens, #hens, #freerange, #coop, #farm, #fall, #story
Kelly and Steve are happiest home on the farm where they raise hens, bees and vegetables.

Lupines in Evening Light

It’s amazing how a warm ray of evening light can make a garden look special. That ray of light is even sweeter after a day of heavy rain.

#lupines, #light, #garden, #june, #may, #purple, #pennsylvania, #sewickley, #flowers, #nature
Purple Lupines have withstood the heavy rain and stand out amid the lush greenery in the evening light.

Lupines are one of my favorite flowers. They bloom in Western Pennsylvania in late May and early June. I enjoyed photographing them in New Zealand in December. The seasons are reversed Down Under!

Peony Season

How can peony season be nearly over? I came home to Pittsburgh after a week out of town, and the weather had nearly ruined all my pink and white peonies. Dozens of blossoms were falling apart and lying on the wet ground. I’m afraid it was a bad week for a gardener to leave town.

Just a few late bloomers have withstood the heavy rainstorms and stood tall for today’s photography.

#peony, #white, #may, #spring, #rain, #season, #sony, #depthoffield
On a cloudy day in between rain showers, this white peony shows off its delicate petals.

#peony, #peonies, #whiteandpink, #may, #spring, #rain, #raindrops, #mygarden, #season, #earlyspring
The white and pink peonies from the same bush share the spotlight.

White Dogwood Welcome

On May 10, this white dogwood tree is in bloom and is welcoming visitors to the back porch of my home in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

#spring, #dogwood, #whitedogwood, #backdoor, #pennsylvania, #sewickley, #may, #home
Welcome to the Kelly’s house in Sewickley.

For the past week, I’ve felt a bit of “creative block.” Back home where my surroundings are familiar, I can’t seem to find a subject to photograph. Then, I noticed the sun hitting the white dogwood blossoms, and I thought I’d better go have a look through the lens before a hard rain or a sharp wind gust tossed them all to the ground. A wide angle lens made the flowers take center stage in the foreground.

Right Place, Right Time

Three weeks ago, I promised myself that whenever I spotted a great location for a photograph, I would stop the car, even turn the car around if necessary, and get the shot. Today I put my new rule into practice while driving in Sewickley Heights just minutes before sunset.

#sewickley, #rainbow, #scaiferoad, #october, #rain, #fall, #shower, #pennsylvania
My own shadow bisects the golden field in Sewickley Heights below this spectacular double rainbow today.

I got wet in the rain, but that’s okay. You can’t plan these opportunities. You just have to be ready.

#rainbow, #doublerainbow, #sewickley, #nature, #october, #fall, #rain, #stopthecar
The end of the rainbow is here.

Vibrant Rhododendron

All year I look forward to that special week in May when the rhododendron bloom around my house, and color my garden shades of pale pink, magenta, lavender and deep purple. Somehow these hearty evergreens survive the bitter cold and snowy winters, and then announce loud and clear in May that they do love the Pennsylvania climate. Oh, if only those delicate blooms could last longer than they do.

#house, #spring, #rhododendron, #rhody, #victorian, #pennsylvania, #sewickley
The rhododendron have bloomed two weeks early this year around my house.

Here is a closer view of the blooms.

#spring, #may, #rhododendron, #nature, #sony
One bouquet of rhododendron, partly opened.

#spring, #may, #Ireland, #pennsylvania, #rhododendron, #bloom, #pink
While these rhododendron are blooming in my garden, I recall seeing lush rhododendron in Ireland, also in May. Who knew?

Pennsylvania cherry blossoms

Americans associate cherry blossoms with the iconic Tidal Basin in Washington D.C., but they are harbingers of Spring in western Pennsylvania too. On this cherry tree in Edgeworth, white and magenta flowers bloom side by side.

#cherryblossoms, #pennsylvania, #spring, #easter, #selectivefocus, #nikon
White and magenta cherry blossoms herald Spring in western Pennsylvania.