Holland- renowned for tulips, windmills, and extracurricular activities. On my recent visit though, I stuck to PG-rated pursuits. I was determined to get windmill shots while in the Netherlands, so I carved out a day to visit a small village outside of Rotterdam. This impressive location about one and a half hours south of Amsterdam is the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk. A series of nineteen windmills, mostly from the 18th century, are spaced out along canals stretching approximately two miles. Continue reading
I was thinking on how quickly everyone is now to assume a picture is Photoshopped these days when something looks too good to be true. But other than manipulating images to try and mask reality, there are practical reasons to adjust images. One great use of the Photoshop tools is to salvage an old photo that has been mistreated or has faded with time. Here are two examples where a small amount of retouching made a noticeable difference. The first picture I downloaded from the Library of Congress. It’s an old Edward Curtis shot of “Weasel Tail” from about 1900.The scan from the transparency has a red tint and there are a few light scratches and some dust. I used a spot healing tools and then adjusted the color and contrast back to a richer black & white using the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plug in. Probably less than 10 minutes of work made this much change. Continue reading
Johannesburg is a relatively new city. Though In central Johannesburg, one of the oldest structures, the Old Fort, was built at the end of the 19th century. For most of its life, until it closed in 1983, the grounds served as a prison. First as a place to confine war prisoners, then gradually to a more ominous history during the apartheid period. It was a place where both Mahatma Gandhi and later Nelson Mandela were held. Today, it’s preserved as a museum and you can walk in the formerly overcrowded cells, including Mandela’s. Continue reading
Recently I took a safari trip to Botswana in Southern Africa. It was at the height of the Ebola scare, but the portion of the trip I dreaded was the 16 1/2 hour flight between Atlanta and Johannesburg. At some point, the plane’s pilot mentioned it was the second longest commercial flight in the world, so I made a mental note to avoid that one longer flight if ever given the chance. From South Africa, it was only a couple more hours north to Botswana. Once the logistics of getting to the camps were over, the lodges were very comfortable given the remoteness of the areas visited. It was the start of the rainy season, and the Linyanti River area near the Namibia border was starting to transition quickly to a greener, more dense landscape. Continue reading
The Museum of Art in Philadelphia is one of the largest in the U.S. It’s been a few years since my last stop inside so I made an effort to visit last week while in the area. The exhibits are divided among two large floors, with the contemporary and special exhibits on the first floor, and Asian, European, and miscellaneous collections on the second. Separating the floors is a grand staircase with a large statue of Diana on the balcony.
Photographing in large museums is usually pretty easy as the lighting is well designed and the galleries provide a lot of space to move around. I shoot in raw, so any fluctuations in light temperatures are easily corrected back at the computer. I do usually have to increase the ISO settings to 800-1600 to get an adequate shutter speed to avoid blur.
I’ve seen some nice photographs from the Palouse region in the past, so it’s been a location on “the list” to try and visit. It’s probably safe to say that if you’re not a farmer or a photographer, the odds that you know where the Palouse is are not very high. Located in the eastern portion of Washington into Idaho, it’s both a unique landscape and a very productive area for agriculture, particularly wheat. Formed by volcanic activity, wind blown silt became dunes which became the rich soil that underlies the heart of the Palouse. For photographers, the light and varying colors of green and gold are often compared to Tuscany. Continue reading
The Smoky Mountains in Spring are usually a safe bet for a productive photography trip. From the heavier flowing falls, the wildflowers and possible sightings of recently born animals, there are plenty of subjects to focus a lens on.