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Black and White vs Color

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One decision you need to make when editing is whether the image works better in color or black and white. This is mostly a personal preference and not everyone will pick the same option. In the shot above from a house boat ride near Alleppey, Kerala, India I prefer the black and white version. The trees stand out against a pale sky and draw attention to themselves. High contrast photos tend to work well as black and white. If you find that a photo has too much noise or grain in it, it might work better as black and white. I also will convert to black and white if I ended up with too many blown highlights (aka the light or white parts of the image got too bright to fix as the details are lost and you see pure white). Blown highlights don’t stand out as much in a black and white image.

So which image do you prefer above? The black and white or the color? Do you ever convert to black and white?

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Photographing the Moon

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I went out to shoot the super moon last night. It wasn’t something I had really planned, nor was I in the best location. Kids had gone to bed, so I went out to our front yard with my tripod to shoot. We had no clouds (both good and bad–could see the moon, but nothing else interesting was in the sky) and it was too high to get any skyline.

But, it did make me interested in how to get a moon shot. I used my 75-300 mm lens at 300. If you’re lucky enough to have interesting skyline, you might be shooting close to the 75 mm range. I’d heard about the Looney 11 Rule from some photographer friends. It basically means to set your f-stop to f/11, your ISO to 100 and your shutterspeed to 1/100. If your ISO doesn’t go to 100, then do 200 and a shutterspeed of 1/200. From there you may have to adjust your settings up or down a bit, but it’s a good start. I did exactly the f/11, ISO 100 and 1/100 settings for my shot above.

Here is a great article with some other moon shooting tips.

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Shooting the Little Things

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I was so excited to head to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a wedding sans children. Not only does that make staying out late easier, but it meant I got uninterrupted photography time! Taking photos while wearing a baby on your back or trying to keep a preschooler out of the creek doesn’t always lead to quality work. We took a walk through the Minnehaha Regional Park. Along with grand shots of waterfalls, I kept my eyes open for the little things like the seed balls in the shot above. I didn’t have my macro lens with me, but my 28-105mm let me get close enough. If you zoom all the way out, you can get the lovely background blur that I did. This was shot at 105 mm to get the blur and f7.1 to keep enough of the shot sharp.

If you don’t have the chance to travel or your vacations tend to be at Gramma’s house, can you still find cool shots? Of course! Close ups, tight framing, and creative angles can all give you fun, unique shots without leaving your town or even yard.  Look down when walking through woods or fields or your backyard to find mushrooms, seed pods, plants and bugs. Look in trees for animals, birds, bark, flowers, and leaves. Look on sidewalks, fences, houses and decks for interesting patterns. I love to take my camera outside in the yard when the kids are playing and see what I can find.

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Beach=Happy Place

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Walking along the beach in the early morning or late afternoon/evening is a favorite of mine. I definitely consider the beach a happy place! This particular happy place is in Garden City, South Carolina, USA. If you’ve never been to a US East Coast/Atlantic Ocean beach–go! Each section has a different vibe and this part of South Carolina was definitely pretty chill. Head up to Myrtle Beach for a more populated vibe.

I’m always interested in what settings people use to capture certain photos. For this photo, I did:

Canon EOS 6D (full frame) with a 28-105 mm 3.5-4.5 Canon lens. Shot at ISO 100 at 100 mm and f/4.5 at 1/2500.  Then I used Photoshop CC to convert to black and white.

Don’t know what those numbers mean?

ISO 100–picked for the bright sun conditions (lets in less light)

100 mm–How zoomed in I was. As my lens went to 105 mm, I was almost all the way zoomed in at 100. The helps create the blur and the close-up action of the shot.

f/4.5–this is the f-stop. It does a lot of things, but depth of field is one of them. The smaller the number, the less depth you have and the more blur you create. This lens is a 3.5-4.5 minimum depending on what I have it zoomed out to. At 100, 4.5 was as low as I could go. I have one lens that goes down to 1.8 and some people have lenses that go even lower.

1/2500–that’s the shutterspeed. That particularly speed balanced out my exposure triangle based on the ISO 100 and f/4.5. 1/2500 is pretty fast, which was necessary for the bright light.

 

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Safdarjung’s Tomb in Delhi

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Safdarjung’s Tomb in Delhi, India was started in 1753 as a tribute to a man known as Safdarjung, who was a governor and then a Prime Minister to Muhammad Shah, a Mughal ruler.  It is built in the same style as Humayun’s Tomb (and therefore, the Taj Mahal) and you might see many similarities. Like most Mughal-era tombs, you have the charbagh style of garden. The tomb sits in the middle with one garden in each of four quadrants.  Also similar to other Mughal tombs, there is a water feature at the front that can provide nice reflections. This is the last monumental tomb garden of the Mughals.

In terms of visiting, it is a quieter tourist destination than many nearby stops and is perfect for a picnic or some quiet reflection. It is in the middle of the city near the much more popular Lodi Gardens. Flowers are gorgeous in the spring.

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Fun Fact Friday: Flower Market

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Fun Fact Friday (one day late)–oops! Missed this yesterday. Did you know that most of the hotels, restaurants, stores and markets in Delhi, India get their flowers from the wholesale flower market on the outskirts of the city? Each morning it opens up really early to supply fresh flowers to retailers and service provides all over the city. Soon you see cycle rickshaws and other vehicles loaded up with flowers pedaling off to their destinations. These boys were helping their families sell flowers and were eager for a photo.

In Delhi? Want to visit? It is near the Akshardham Temple on the Noida side of the river. It is called the Ghazipur Flower Market or Ghazipur Flower Mandi or Phool Mandi depending on how much English the person knows.  Here is an article about it. Great for photo ops and for getting really cheap flowers–bring small bills and bargain hard!

Misty Mountains of Shimla

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We’ve had a lot of rain here, which made me think about monsoon season in India. The monsoons were actually pretty light both years we were there, but we did get to experience the misty, rainy, relatively chilly period of Shimla in July. Shimla is in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India. It was the British summer capital as Delhi would (and still does many would say) get too hot in the summer to comfortably exist. So the British government and many of its citizens would make the annual trek up to Shimla.

It is still a popular destination for tourists and locals alike in the hot summers. We really enjoyed the walks and hikes through the ups and downs of the town and nearby forests. The mist and fog that sat on the mountains was particularly gorgeous and made us feel like we were in, and often above, the clouds.

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Soldier at Grand Palace, Bangkok

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The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand served as the royal family’s home from the late 1700s to early 1900s. While the royal family currently lives elsewhere, it still hosts official events, plus swarms of tourists. The King’s Guard is part of the Royal Thai Armed Forces and performs ceremonial duties, protects the palace and protects the King and his family. We saw them marching when we visited the palace.

The Grand Palace is worth a visit. It has a lot of gold, which makes it very beautiful!

The Marwari Horses of Rajasthan, India

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The Marwari horse is a rare breed from the Marwar (now Jodhpur) region of Rajasthan, India. Rajasthan is in north India, near the border with Pakistan. They are very hardy and are known for their turned in ears. At a museum I visited in Rajasthan, they said the Marwari horse has the turned-in ears to prevent a sword from cutting off the tips in battle. These horses are a cross between sturdy and small Indian ponies and Arabian horses.

I got to see these horses at the Pushkar Camel Fair, which happens every year sometime in October or November in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. The small village comes alive with people selling horses, camels and livestock and religious pilgrims coming for a Hindu festival. It was a sight to see!