Friday, May 11, 2018

2018 DU Member Photo Contest - Overall Winner

Each year, Ducks Unlimited has their member photo contest and this year, I submitted a nightscape shot that I captured after I set up my decoy spread for a morning duck hunt in the dark. After all the entries were in from across the country, I was selected as overall winner.

View the article and the details on how I captured the shot on DU"s webpage below:

 Ducks Unlimited Photo Contest

Below is the image:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Winter Farm Landscapes in February

Equipment Used: Nikon D750, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 G2 lense, Vanguard Abeo Plus 363CT tripod, Lightroom & Photoshop CC

With a blanket of snow back in February covering the ground, I ventured out to a few of my favorite scenes to photograph while the sun was setting.

The D750 and the Tamron 24-70mm was used to capture the scene that was shot in RAW. ISO was 100 and I had the aperture set at f7.1 and f16. I used f16 to get the sun rays on the last two images while shooting from the VanGuard tripod because the shutter speed was slow at that aperture.

Using Lightroom Classic, I first changed the white balance to shade and then started making adjustments to the basic sliders to boost the colors of the sky. I then used the graduated filter tool to improve the color of the snow has I wanted to keep it a bright white. Clarity, sharpness, saturation, and lens correction tools were also used in LR.
                                                                                                                    
In Photoshop CC, unwanted objects were first cloned out using the clone tool or content aware fill tool. These objects included dust spots in the sky from my dirty sensor along with power lines between the barn and corn crib. I straightened the image and cropped if needed in PS.


The snow didn’t last long once the warm up occurred but I was pleased with what I was able to capture on my two trips out into the cold and snow.

#1.

#2.

#3.

#4.

#5.

#6.

#7.

#8.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lake Panorama National G.C. - Summer/Fall 2017

Equipment Used: Nikon D750, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 G2 lense, Vanguard Abeo Plus 363CT tripod, Lightroom & Photoshop CC

Once again, Lake Panorama National Golf Course was in great condition during the golf season last year and I was able to get out to capture the beauty of it. Late August and the middle of October was when I was able to get out with the Nikon.

The D750 was used to capture the LPN and I had the Tamron 24-70mm on it. Shooting in RAW, ISO was 200 or 400. I shot handheld or put my camera on the Vanguard tripod. My aperture was f9 or f11.

Using Lightroom Classic, I started making adjustments to the basic sliders in hopes of creating a preset that I could use for all my golf course images. Some of the adjustments that I kept included reducing highlights and blacks while increasing shadows and whites. Clarity and vibrance was bumped up to +15 and +10. Under saturation, yellow were decreased while green and blue were increased. Under luminance, green and blue colors were decreased as well. I saved the preset and used it on all of these images.

In Photoshop CC, unwanted objects were first cloned out using the clone tool or content aware fill tool. These objects included dust spots in the sky, geese in the fairway and yardage/water stakes. I rotated and cropped the image to help get the flag stick on the green has straight has possible. A new step that I implemented on these images was using a color lookup layer mask and using the tension green color under the 3DLUT File. I reduced the opacity on this layer til I liked the look of the green for the putting surface. I then used the brush tool to mask out the color for the fairway and sky area of these images.

With snow currently covering the golf course, I’m looking forward to the spring, the Masters and the golf season to capture the golf course once again.

My favorite from this collection is #24 of Hole #5. The sunrise provided a color filled sky while the dew on the green added another element to the image. 

#1.

#2.

#3.

#4.

#5.

#6.

#7.

#8.

#9.

#10.

#11.

#12.

#13.

#14.

#15.

#16.

#17.

#18.

#19.

#20.

#21.

#22.

#23.

#24.

#25.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2017/2018 Waterfowl Season

Equipment Used: Nikon D750 & D90, Nikon 24-120mm f4 lense, Lightroom & Photoshop CC

Captured these images during the 2017/2018 waterfowl season in Iowa and South Dakota chasing ducks and geese in fields and marshes.

#1.

#2.

#3.

#4.

#5.

#6.

#7.

#8.

#9.

#10.

#11.

#12.
 #13.

#14.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Autumn Colors on Lake Panorama

Equipment Used: Nikon D750, Nikon 70-300mm f4-5.6 VR Lense, SB-700 Speedlight, Vanguard Abeo Plus 363CT Tripod, Lightroom & Photoshop CC

This fall, I was looking forward to the autumn tree color after a dry summer that can produce brilliant leaf color and the south shore of the main basin of Lake Panorama didn’t disappoint. One morning, I headed there with my camera equipment and started shooting with the sun shining on the shore.

I used the 70-300mm lense on my D750 and put the set up on the VanGuard tripod to help with sharpness along with I was going to shoot some pano images. Shooting in RAW, ISO was at 100 with an aperture of f7.1. I used live view to help focus and then turned off autofocus and VR on the lense. To help with the dramatic range of colors of the scene, I used bracketing on the D750 too. A three second self timer was used on the camera too. I shot from three or four different locations around the marina to capture these images.

Using Lightroom Classic, I first used the landscape preset and either left the white balance at shade or changed it to direct sunlight. I increased the saturation slider on red, yellow and orange to help enhance the fall color. Lens correction for the 70-300mm was applied to the images as well. I also used the graduated filter tool to improve the look of the water or trees has the final step in LR.

To create the panoramic images, I used LR to combine four or five different images into one using its panoramic feature that worked well for these images.

In Photoshop CC, unwanted objects were first cloned out using the clone tool or content aware fill tool. Next came layer adjustments using the levels and vibrance masks to put one final color adjustment on the water and trees. The brush tool was used on these masks to determine which parts of the images I wanted adjusted. I then straightened and cropped the image if needed. A sharpening layer was then applied as the last step of the process.


Just days after capturing these images, the trees were past their prime color and the wind started to blow the leaves off so I think I captured the south shore at its peak this fall. 

#1.

#2.

#3.

#4.

#5.

#6.

#7.

#8.

#9.

#10.