Monday, January 31, 2011

Adobe Lightroom 3 Experiment

I recently asked around in search of finding the perfect image editing/storage software.  I noticed my files getting a little hefty for iPhoto, and decided to download a trial version of Aperture 3.  My first impression was that it was simply iPhoto on steroids and lacked some basic functionality I wanted.  Also, my research showed that the file organization methods employed by Aperture create a web of files on the computer and make it difficult to switch to another program in the future (possibly an attempt by Apple to keep customers from switching).  I also read that this type of file organization could weigh heavy on your computer, causing it to run slowly.

So, I posted on several forums looking for advice, and was led to this little gem in the Adobe lineup.  It's called Lightroom, and it is currently on it's 3rd edition.  I decided to give it a try before I purchased it, so I downloaded the free trial and gave it a whirl.  I quickly noticed that it was not as intuitive as Aperture or iPhoto, but that it was much more robust and offered a much more comprehensive editing experience.  I still haven't quite figured out the storage aspect, but that's simply due to a lack of research and learning on my part.

Anyhow, I tested the program on a photo I recently took on my D90 equipped with the 18-105mm stock lens.  I thought the photo looked pretty good straight out of the camera, but was VERY impressed at what Lightroom 3 added to the photo.

Take a look...

This is the original file in RAW format.

This is the file after a few slight modifications in Adobe Lightroom 3.

I attempted to use the content-aware fill to get rid of the telephone pole, but to no avail.  I'll have to work on that later.  For now, I think Lightroom is the frontrunner as far as software is concerned...

Monday, January 24, 2011

He shoots...he scores

Snagged some 5th row seats at a recent BYU basketball game during a trip out west, and it made for some great photo opportunities.  The gentleman in front of me had a rather large head, making it difficult for me to get a good shot of BYU's star player, Jimmer Fredette, but I managed to get a perfect angle on this fade away jumper by Noah Hartsock.  I was shooting in Sports mode, which sets the shutter speed to "extra fast" in order to capture the movement in a single frame, and I also maximized the chances of me getting a quality shot by using short bursts of photos.  It was my first chance to do any sports photography, and let me tell you, I gained a new respect for those sports photographers!

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/320 sec
Aperture: f/4.2
Focal Length: 32mm

ISO: 1600

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cape Buffalo

Here is an original photo of a mounted Cape Buffalo taken out of Africa.  I found it in a lodge I visited recently, and really liked the way the light below the mount cast the shadow on the ceiling.

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/15 sec
Aperture: f/4.2
Focal Length: 30mm

ISO: 400

Saturday, January 22, 2011

UGA Arch in Fresh Snow

This was one of the most difficult photos I've had to shoot.  You can't really tell from the photo, but it was snowing sideways when I took it, so I had to keep wiping the snowflakes off my lens!  On top of that, countless groups of students were walking by taking pictures in front of the arch in the snow.  I also wish all of the lights behind the arch were the same color, but that was out of my control.  This arch can be found at the northern end of The University of Georgia campus, and has been there for years.  The rumor is that if freshmen walk under the arch they won't graduate.  That rumor has extended to include all students.  In fact, the cement that makes up the steps on the right side of the arch is more worn than is the cement leading up to the arch.

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 2 sec
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 18mm

Southern Snow

Our recent snowstorm in Athens shut the city down for a week.  Since I moved from Utah to Georgia, I have been wanting a layer of snow to enhance my photographs.  It adds a different dynamic to the photos, for sure.  The above photo of the streetlight was another attempt at a slower shutter speed to try and capture the snowflakes falling sideways.

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/8sec
Aperture: f/5.3
Focal Length: 70mm
Iso: 1600

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I recently saw some photos taken of a birthday party and the food items really stood out.  I remembered being able to see the icing on the cake shine in the sunlight (an outdoor, summertime party).  When my wife recently made cupcakes, I attempted to capture the detail in the icing and sprinkles, while using a low aperture to keep the cupcakes in the background out of focus.  I did some post production editing in photoshop 5.  I adjusted the color, contrast, and sharpness.  I didn't want to blur the edges at all because that would have taken away from the clarity of the closest cupcake.  

Photoshop Test

Here's my first attempt in photoshop.  I found that many of the options available weren't applicable to what I wanted (paint brush and stained glass type stuff), so I adjusted the colors a little bit.  I only spent a couple minutes on this, but I soon realized the impact that photoshop can have on one's photography.  I was able to bring out colors on the stone wall on the left that I didn't know were even there.  I think the moss growing on the top of it adds a nice touch.  I would gladly accept any feedback and any recommendations as to other things I might modify or change...

Below is how my original photo looked.  You'll notice it's the same as I posted earlier in my blog...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This was one my first attempts at capturing something in the foreground, while still attempting to frame the rest of the shot to include an interesting background.  A part of the mantle along with the door handle were the available subjects for such a shot, and I think it turned out quite nicely.  I antiqued the photo a little in iPhoto (I'm downloading the PS5 Trial as we speak), and I think it gave the photo a nice touch.  While the eye immediately focuses on the flowers, the remainder of the photo is still pleasing to look at due to the doorknob and mantle being in the background.
Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/4sec
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 52mm
Iso: 200

Handheld, but sitting down for stabilization due to the slow shutter speed.

Christmas Eve

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  One of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch near the Christmas Tree (with the lights on, of course) and watch TV or read a book.  I've been doing more of the TV these days since most of my brain capacity is used up reading my school books in graduate school.

I thought this photo depicted all of the elements of a relaxing evening...the tree, lights, a candy jar, and a reading lamp.

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: f/5.3
Focal Length: 70mm
Iso: 1250


Monday, January 17, 2011


The above photo accurately depicts the rushed feeling that even small towns can have.  It was an attempt to freeze the time on the clock while simultaneously portray the speed of the passing automobile.

It was my first attempt at capturing movement with a still camera.

Body: Nikon D90
Lens: AF-S DX 18-105mm
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 105mm
Iso: 1100

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Southern Architecture is like none other.  This was my first attempt at accurately portraying two different objects at two very different distances.  The branches of the tree in the foreground appear clear with a touch of moisture from the early morning shower, while the majestic columns stand tall in the distance.  This photo was taken on The University of Georgia campus.

Nikon D90 Body
AF-S DX 18-105mm lens
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 32mm
Iso: 280


I had the chance to visit a cabin in rural Utah recently, and some of the images from the trip are simply stunning.  There's something about being up in a secluded area close to nature.  It sure helps to forget your worries and just analyze the world around you.  

University of Georgia Graduation

As I wandered campus experimenting with my D90, (18-105mm zoom lens), I came upon a few grads posing under the arch for a photo. I think their relaxed look portrays the relaxation felt after accomplishing any major feat, such as earning a college degree.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Athens Snow

I've been playing around with my new Nikon D90 i got for my birthday. It's been a lot of fun. The night before school was supposed to start, it snowed 5 1/2 inches of snow in Athens, GA. It was the largest snowstorm Georgia has seen since "the blizzard of '93".

My wife, Allison, and I decided to take a stroll through The University of Georgia campus...just to see it covered in white. As we finished our walk and headed across the street to Starbucks for a hot cocoa, I caught this view of the arch. I thought this scene captured the feel of downtown Athens, GA after 5 1/2 inches of snow the prior evening.