Here are a couple of pictures I took while out at Lake Hefner recently. The first was with a Nikon 55-200mm zoom lens. I was pretty zoomed in on this one, maybe even all the way. It’s great to have a lens with VR as it prevents the shake from a hand held camera while zoomed in. It really does work:
A shot of the lighthouse at Hefner super close up with an ultra wide angle lens. I was almost touching the lighthouse when I shot this. Ultra wide angle lenses let you get really close and you can sometimes pull of some cool views:
Re-worked a previous picture taken awhile back at Lake Hefner. Messing with “duotone” in Photoshop lately. Pretty neat tool that gives you unlimited options vs. straight black/white. You pick any two colors and mesh them together using curves. In this particular picture I used black and a light muddy green color. I thought the “duotone” colors set a pretty eery mood. This was actually taken on a sunny evening but these dark clouds seemed to be circling overhead, creating the look of a storm.
Our state is full of so many unique landscapes if we’re just willing to look. Many of them hidden on back roads, away from busy streets. I’d noticed this field with an abandoned red barn for a while and finally caught it in some good light:
Maybe not quite as exciting as snow-covered mountains but Oklahoma does have a certain agricultural beauty to it. The lines and rows of crops leading into the barn were what first struck my eye. As a side note, I got absolutely hammered by mosquitos while shooting this, even after a thorough application of repellant. Apparently they can bite you through thin clothing. News to me, but at least now I know.
More to come (PICTURES, not mosquitos-at least hopefully not),
Also, I caught another thunderstorm/lightning pic that I’m gonna share soon,
This is for anyone who might be interested in the technical side of photography. My final edited version of the state capitol building looked something like this:
A few problems remain though. The columns are not vertical, the horizontal part of the building bows out a little, and the building isn’t very sharp The first two problems are the result of me looking up at the building while using an ultra wide-angle lens. Sometimes these distortions are an advantage, especially when coming up with creative camera views, but I’m not sure the composition I chose benefits from these distortions (blame that on my lack of compositional skills with a wide angle lens – still a work in progress!)
I ran the picture through a program called PT Lens and did adjustments for my camera, lens, and focal length, which corrected the bowing of the building. I also adjusted the perspective so my columns were completely vertical all the way across, along with some other subtle color changes with my final image looking like this:
Notice how the top sides of the building are horizontal, with the columns vertical all the way across the image. Really it’s a matter of being either technically correct or going with the artistic aspect of the distortion. I prefer the straight columns but I’m sure there are others who would disagree. For my third problem, I learned how to use layers which lets you focus on and edit one part of the picture, like the sky for instance. Basically you save two copies of your photo and work on both simultaneously and merge them into one final layer. In my original image there was a lot of color noise in the sky so I “de-noised” it while leaving the building alone. As you can tell from the first image, the building was “de-noised” along with the sky so the building looks a little soft and not as sharp as should be. In this last image, while using layers, I was able to achieve both my goals of getting rid of color noise in the sky, while keeping my building as sharp as possible.
A bunch of technical jargon for those who might be interested. The true mark of a talented photographer is getting everything right in camera so I’ve got a long way to go. 😉 This learning process has been really fun for me though!
I was pretty pumped to get my first lightning picture and couldn’t have asked for a cooler place to get it! Set my tripod up and did a 30 sec. exposure and got extremely lucky!