Week 17, Theme 13 Starburst

Man’s best friend.

I was up early and decided to try my hand at getting a starburst. I tried a couple different locations at the park, then ventured over by the bridge. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man walking and thought “I hope he walks across the bridge!”

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Week 16, Theme 7 View from Below–Pinellas Bayway Bridge

It was hard to pick one image from under the Pinellas Bayway Bridge. This bridge connect St Pete to St Pete Beach. I chose this one because I liked how it shows St Pete Beach on either side, while still showcasing the beauty of the structure itself.

Week 15, Theme Starts with Q

Quest for quiet? Quest for fish? Quest for solitude? Quest to see the Sunset?

I do not know, but he was on some kind of mission.

He pulls up, jumps out of his car, grabs his fishing pole and quickly walks up on the dock. He only casted his line a few times before leaving. (I looked at the time stamp on my photos and he was there for only 5 minutes)

He provided a nice silhouette against the sunset and sky.

Week 14, Theme 6 Forsaken–The Redington Long Pier


Per the official Redington Long Pier website: “The Pier is a priceless historic landmark that was first built in 1962 in the Town of Redington Shores, Florida. In 2007, the Pier underwent an extensive renovation project which involved the construction of all new pilings, deck-expansions, and complete board refurbishing. … The structure is equipped with a large tackle shop, concession stand, several shelters, benches, and restrooms.”

The website is a bit out of date, the 1,200-foot-long 57-year-old pier was deemed dangerous by the state and closed in February 2018. The pier was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. The cost of repairs is $650,000. Tearing it down is “only” $390,000. The owners say they can’t afford either and want it rezoned so they can sell the property to be redeveloped.

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

“The fishing off the pier brought people from all over the world. Three fishing TV shows were filmed on it, and it was one of the few places anglers could catch tarpon and kingfish.

The pier was renowned for being one of the best fishing spots in the area — and without it, that leaves the Suncoast Skyway as the only place that comes remotely close for over-the-water fishing.”

Whatever happens, it’s sad to see it in such a derelict state.

Week 13, Theme 5 Macro–Dahlia


Beautiful Dahlia


I was in Bal Harbor Maine in mid-October (which is about the end of the dahlia growing season for that climate).   While walking around town, I came across a bed of Dahlias and could not believe my luck! I did not have my tripod, so my photos were all hand held.  This was shot with my RF 24-105MM lens at 1/320s, f/4.0, ISO 400, 105MM. 

As Floridians we can only dream of growing Dahlias or, for that matter, even buying them.  Dahlias are colorful spiky flowers which generally bloom from midsummer to first frost, when many other plants are past their best.

In the cold climates of North America, dahlias are known as tuberous-rooted tender perennials, grown from small, brown, biennial tubers planted in the spring.  They love the morning sun and afternoon shade, but they do not fare well in the heat which is why we only dream of Dahlias here in Florida. 

For photographers, the Dahlia is a perfect subject for macro photography.  The bloom is a series of florets that are flowers in their own right. However, the florets are often mistakenly called petals.  It is the intricacy of these florets that make this plant such a beautiful flower to photograph. 

Enjoy the beauty of this bloom! 

Week 12, Theme 42 High Key

I wanted to think outside the box for this photo—I decided to combine multiple items: landscape, high-key and refraction.

High Key is a term to describe images that are bright and contain little to no shadow. (The term comes from the early days of broadcast television when scenes with higher contrast were not reproduced well. To make a scene that was easier to properly show on screen, the ratio between the key and fill lights was minimized. It is also sometimes used to describe photos and the photographic style that is simply bright, often with an overexposed background.) *1

Refraction is the phenomenon that causes a light ray to bend when it hits an optical lens surface (or other medium that can act to transmit light e.g. water). Refraction occurs when light strikes the surface of the new medium. Refraction definition: The light wave bends because light moves slower in glass than air.*2

When used well, refraction creates compelling images that will make your audience take a second look—much like photos you see with a fish eye lens. I think landscape scenes make great refraction photos. 

I’ve had this Crystal ball for quite some time but have not really used it much. I decided to give it a try for a sunrise at Vinoy Park in St Petersburg.  

I did a bit of research on refraction photography before heading out. One tip I read was to fill your ball with your subject.  Lens selection is also important.  A macro lens or a telephoto lens works best. I used a 24-105mm lens for this shoot, set at 105mm. Choosing the correct aperture is another important factor when composing your scene. An aperture that is too small won’t blur out the background and one that is too large makes it hard to get a sharp image. I chose F 11, 1/1000 and ISO 400.   Securing the ball is also very important. In this photo, Danny held the ball, which worked well.

Although this photo was not shot in the traditional high key mode, I achieved the high key effect through the editing process.    This was fun to try, and I love the artistic result which means I will soon grab  my Crystal ball and head out again!

*1 https://www.slrlounge.com/glossary/high-key-photography-definition/

*2 http://www.photokonnexion.com/refraction-definition/

Week 11, Theme 45 Full Edit–Portland Head Lighthouse

Final Image

We have all seen those ads luring you to buy some special effects, course video or plug-in to make award winning landscape photos. The ads go something like this: “do you want your landscape photos to look like this?” The ad is usually accompanied by a magnificent looking landscape photo.

I decided to delve into a photo I recently took in Maine and see if I could do a similar edit using only Lightroom. Well, by the end of it, I had used Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar

I love the way I was able to achieve the glorious sky reflecting in both the rocks and the water. I know that on the right morning, this view can look like this and hopefully on another occasion, I will see a sky with majestic colors such as the one I recreated for this full edit challenge.

Technical Details

I started out photographing this lighthouse on its east side, but the sky looked much more interesting around the sun so, after sunrise, I moved to the other side of the lighthouse.

I saw several issues with the photo (original photo is at the end of the post):

1. Around the sun was slightly overexposed, and the water and lighthouse were underexposed. (multiple exposures would have prevented these issues).

2. The photo was taken at 7:51, 50 minutes after sunrise and well into blue hour and after golden hour. In other words, the color needed help!

3. The front of the rocks had two spots from lens flares (my lens hood and/or holding my hand above the lens would have prevented the spots, but, at the time. the thought didn’t cross my mind.)

This was a learning experience… I started off in Lightroom, I decreased the highlights, brought up the shadows, warmed the temperature and increased the vibrancy and saturation. I tried to fix the lens flare and remove the rock in the front using the spot healing tools but wasn’t happy with the results, so I brought the photo into Photoshop. Using the content aware tool, I easily corrected these issues. I also used a curves layer to further increase the brightness of the lighthouse and rocks. I still needed to address the color, so I took the photo into Luminar where I enhanced the sun rays and applied the golden hour filter. The latter I could have done in Lightroom or Photoshop, but it would have been a more time-consuming task.

Knowing what I know now, I would approach my edits differently. In addition to using Lightroom for all the global adjustments, I’d also use it for the shadow recovery specific to the lighthouse and rock areas (using the auto mask feature of the brush tool). Then Photoshop for the content aware fixes and Luminar for the sun rays and golden hour filters.

Initial Lightroom edits
Straight Out of Camera,  1/200, f 16, ISO 100, 33mm (Canon EOS R, RF 24-105 lens)