DeBalko Photography: Blog https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog en-us (C) DeBalko Photography david@debalkophoto.com (DeBalko Photography) Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:54:00 GMT Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:54:00 GMT https://www.debalkophoto.com/img/s/v-12/u211534368-o390663908-50.jpg DeBalko Photography: Blog https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog 120 80 Diane's Flowers Up Close https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/6/spring-flowers-up-close Luckily, since we've been around the house so much this spring, the flowers in our garden have decided to wow us with the best show they've put on in years.  Dave has spent many mornings, often after a night of rain, out in the garden with his camera. This forced "vacation" seems to have made him notice the garden more, mostly while having coffee on the front porch.  Recently we have had some very busy years, and he hasn't had a chance to pull out the camera at just the right time for the blooms.  All spring he has been photographing my flowers, beginning in late March with the magnolia (see blog from 4/3) and in April the grape hyacinth and tulips...

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Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens
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Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens
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 Red tulips shot with a Nikon D850, Nikkor 200-400 f/4G ED VRII lens
 

...then in May capturing bearded iris (divided and transplanted from my mother's garden, but having enjoyed our garden for 20 years.)

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051620iris_997w051620iris_997w Both Iris shot with a Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens
 

This red honeysuckle vine, "Major Wheeler" crawls up over our pergola to help shade the pond.  It blooms fully in May then continues with flowers throughout the summer.

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051620honeysck046w051620honeysck046w Honeysuckle shot with Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens


And by mid-May these cousins of the onion, Allium, send up their dramatic round balls on top of sturdy stems.

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shot with Nikon D850, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED  051720allium_113w051720allium_113w 051720allium_100w051720allium_100w

 These 2 allium shot with a Nikon D850, Nikkor 200-400 f/4G ED VRII lens
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Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens
 

These past couple of weeks, in late May and early June, the foxglove have been showing off.  They have spread from just a few plants in front of our porch railing, all the way down the sidewalk to our driveway.  Foxglove are self seeding and if you leave some of the flower heads on to go to seed each year, and refrain from pulling them up as weeds when the plants appear in new areas of your garden, you can get a gorgeous display of tall (varying from 2' to over 6') stems with heavy bells (or gloves for foxes?!) and draw beneficial insects like ladybugs and bumblebees.  Don't worry, the bees are completely focused on the flowers and have no interest in us! 053020fxglv_355w053020fxglv_355w
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All foxgloves shot with a Nikon D850, Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED lens

 

Here are a couple of photos from my iPhone, NOT Dave's photos but I just want to show you the overall look of foxglove in the garden.

This first photo up by the front porch... IMG_0488IMG_0488

...and this a cluster near the end of the sidewalk.

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last 2 photos shot from Diane's iPhone

 

 

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david@debalkophoto.com (DeBalko Photography) 2020 allium April bees DeBalko debalkophoto flowers foxglove grape honeysuckle hyacinth iris June ladybug lanternfly May photography spotted tulips https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/6/spring-flowers-up-close Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:53:35 GMT
Our Metal Lawn Chairs https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/5/our-metal-lawn-chair How many of you have or grew up with these vintage metal chairs on your lawn?  We have had a couple for 20 years and they will never go out of style!  Loving all that is nostalgic, and always enjoying a good episode of American Pickers, we're currently on the hunt for 2 more chairs to circle our fire pit.

_DDP0759MetalChair_59 Every once in a while we have sanded them down and given them a new coat of paint.  While sanding, colors from the past are revealed, and memories are relived.  Some layers are before our time.  This chair was white when we got it, but we could see the original teal paint as the sander dug deeper.  Our first coat of paint was a dusty green, which was all the rage in the late 90s.  Over the years we found that it visually blended into the grass too much, and when it started to chip we went with a buttery yellow.  We sat on these yellow chairs and watched as the boys practiced lacrosse in the backyard, and enjoyed our new pond and pergola.  Next thing you know, we had red accents on the deck, and the chairs had to go red.  Another coat of darker red topped them off to get them ready for  Diane's parent's 60th anniversary party in 2009.  Now they've sat chipping for years, begging for some attention.  With our homebound status this is the spring to take on a project, and why buy new chairs for our fire pit when we had 2 perfectly good ones already?  So we are going back to the chairs' roots, and have found a nice vintage teal, which will be remembered as the color of the quarantine year of 2020.  We're looking forward to relaxing on the chairs around the fire pit.  And what else is there to do?
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Shot with a Nikon D850 with Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8G lens
 

_DDP0925r_DDP0925r This and the first photo were shot with a Nikon D850 with Nikkor 105 f/2.8G micro lens
 

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david@debalkophoto.com (DeBalko Photography) 2020 chairs DeBalko lawn May metal paint Photo photography refurbish restore sand vintage https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/5/our-metal-lawn-chair Tue, 12 May 2020 15:18:11 GMT
B&W Magnolia, finding subjects in my yard. https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/4/b-w-magnolia-finding-subjects-in-your-yard Staying near home and looking for inspiration in my own yard.  When the magnolia blooms each year I think I should get out there and take some photos when it's at it's peak.  I usually miss the perfect moment because of jobs and other obligations that pull me away.  This year, like most of you, I've got time on my hands.

magnolia3.30.20_028bwmagnolia3.30.20_028bw magnolia3.30.20_028cmagnolia3.30.20_028c Magnolias have such a nice tonal range, I knew they'd make great black and white shots.  It had rained earlier that day, and the rainwater was clinging to the flowers in the afternoon.  When I first started photographing I shot b&w in the camera, just to see how it was going to look, but then I switched to shooting color in camera. If you are able to shoot camera raw* files, both the color and b&w information are retained in the file for you to choose in post production.  If you shoot jpegs I would recommend shooting color and converting to b&w in your computer software.  

* A Camera Raw image is an unprocessed photograph captured with a digital camera.  After the photographer processes and manipulates it as desired in computer software, it is usually saved as a Jpeg or Tiff.   

I went into the shoot planning on using these photos as b&w, but there are some that I might prefer in the color version.  Leave a comment, do you prefer black & white or color, and why? magnolia3.30.20_198bwmagnolia3.30.20_198bw magnolia3.30.20_198cmagnolia3.30.20_198c magnolia3.30.20_247bwmagnolia3.30.20_247bw magnolia3.30.20_247cmagnolia3.30.20_247c Shot with a Nikon D850 with Nikon 200-400 f4 VR II Lens with a Gitzo GT2530 Tripod and a Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 Ball Head.

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david@debalkophoto.com (DeBalko Photography) 2020 b&w black color DeBalko Magnolia March Photography raw white https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/4/b-w-magnolia-finding-subjects-in-your-yard Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:01:19 GMT
Focus Stacking while Social Distancing https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/3/focus-stacking-while-social-distancing Untitled_Panorama1wUntitled_Panorama1w

Everyone has their own way to stay busy while social distancing.  I've been out in the studio playing around with something I've been meaning to try for a while.  Focus Stacking.  The photo above may look like one photo but it's actually a combination of 25 photos.  Photographers usually don't want out of focus images unless they are trying to achieve a soft background.  You'll see below the first and last photos of the 25 shot, which show the focus range of the group.

Focus Stacking allows photographers to work around limitations of depth of field and create images that would be impossible to capture otherwise.  

Depth of field can be so shallow that interesting aspects of the photos are not sharp.  Setting to a smaller aperture may be used to increase depth of field, but that will move the aperture farther from the lens's "sweet spot."  That will introduce diffraction into the image, giving the feel of some fuzziness.  The lens used in this photo is the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, I find the "sweet spot" for this lens to be at F8, which is what I used here.  I also want to shoot with a low ISO so as not to introduce digital noise to the image.  It's important for the camera to be mounted on a solid tripod.

My first image is focused on the front of the foreground apple and then 24 additional images taken all the way to the back of the bowl.  You can work with less photos but you'll get a smoother transition with more.  I didn't include images of the background board purposely, keeping that in soft focus.

Camera used is my Nikon D850.  Lit with Dynalite pro lighting system with a medium Chimera softbox.

The next steps are done in Adobe Photoshop, and Diane did this part.  First, open all (25!) images at once (jpegs downsized from original first to make reasonable sized files.)  Go to File>Automate>Photomerge and choose the option "All open files."  Uncheck "blend images together."  If you are using 25 photos like we did, it may take a little while.  Next, select all layers in your layers palette.  Now go to Edit>Auto Blend Layers and choose the option "stack images."   When it was done, we could see the 25 layers with layer masks on each, and there were "cut-outs" in the layers to reveal the focus areas.  She flattened and saved, and then did a little editing.

Everyone stay healthy and stay home for now!

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david@debalkophoto.com (DeBalko Photography) 2020 apples DeBalko Photography focus focus stacking Nikon photography Photoshop https://www.debalkophoto.com/blog/2020/3/focus-stacking-while-social-distancing Tue, 24 Mar 2020 13:54:59 GMT