SAHM, that's what my wife calls herself, a Stay At Home Mom.  SAHM, that's what I call Stay At Home Macro.

From time to time I will purchase some flowers, my wife thinks they are for her, but no, they are for my SAHM.  See what I did there? ;)

I setup the flowers in a vase on the dining room table next to a window.  I will use the available window light and if I need more, I will use one of the little LED lights that are designed for on camera video lights.  They work great for adding a little light to a macro subject.  In this case, a daisy.

ISO 400, 90mm, F/16 @ 1/4 second

Hover over the image to see the camera settings used.  Click the image to view it larger.

The angle of light plays a very important role in the final image.  Holding it an angle that will accentuate details you want is important, especially if you plan to process the image as a black & white, as I have here.

Another tip...Glycerin.  If you mix a 50/50 water glycerin mix you will have a liquid that will not evaporate.  For the most part, it will stay where you put it, too.  This single drop remained here during and after my entire shooting session.

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  This setup was mounted on my Sirui W-2204 Tripos and K-20 Ballhead.  THe image was process in Lightroom and converted to black & white using On1 Perfect B&W.

A Couple of Updates

So, I've been on the road for the last few weeks without access to a computer.  Good news, though...I got some great shots and had a great time traveling for a week along the East Coast from Charleston, SC to St. Augustine, FL.

Tonight I will be giving a presentation at Huntsville Photographic Society and will we sharing many images from this trip!  This will be my second time presenting to this group.  If you are in the Huntsville, AL area and want to hang out with a genuine good group of folks and photographers, check them out.

In latest software news, On1 has updated their Perfect Photo Suite to version 9.5.  I have been using this software for the last few years and have grown to love it.  It is a very quick way to greatly enhance your images!  To check it out, or download a free trial, go to this link.

Speaking of Charleston...and's one of the images I managed to gt at a place called Dixie Plantation.  

ISO 400, 57mm, F/11 @ 1/6th second

I normally shoot a scene like this with an ISO as close to 100 as possible, however the wind this evening was causing the Spanish moss to blow around and blur quite a bit, so I raised my ISO until I got a "fast enough" shutter speed to prevent this.

I also processed this image in the new On1 Perfect Effects 9.5.  I used a preset called "Big Softy"  then added a filter to enhance the greens.  This software save me time and is pretty dang easy to use to boot!

Upcoming Old Car City Workshop

The Nature In Focus Workshop at Old Car City starts this coming Friday. I am super excited about all the offerings we have this time around.  We are going to be doing casual shooting of the cars on Friday including HDR and macro.  We will also be working on composition and working with tough exposure situations.  Then on Friday night we will have the place to ourselves for a little light painting work.  Saturday we have arranged for a few models to show up to work with lighting and portraiture.  It's going to be a blast!

In an effort to get geared up for this event, I went back and looked at some unprocessed images that I shot there last year.  This one is probably the most photographed scene there...the office.  When I approach a scene like this that is frequently photographed, I try to find a way to put a different spin on it.  In this case I tried to anchor the foreground with these blue car seats.  Then I try to lead your eye up to the office and even on past to the old cars in the background.  In an effort to help guide your eye, I've darkened and blurred the edges so you look directly at the subject.

I processed this image in Photomatix HDR Software, Adobe Lightroom and OnOne Perfect Effects 9.

5 images bracketed at F/11 and ISO 100.  Focal Length 24mm.

5 images bracketed at F/11 and ISO 100.  Focal Length 24mm.

This image was taken using my Sony A7R and Tamron Lenses 24-70mm Lens.  All Mounted on top of my Vanguard Abeo Plus 323CT Tripod.

Win a copy of OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 9

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Here's all you have to do to be entered for a chance to win a copy of OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite 9:

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Remember to do all three!

That's it!  Good luck!

The Barber Shop

One of the favorite locations when we walk around downtown Apalachicola, FL is the old barber shop.  It is definitely a place time has forgotten.  I typically shoot this scene every year.  We walk by when the shop is closed and shoot directly through the window.  This works out really well for several reasons but mainly no one is inside, so you can focus on the building, which is what you want in the first place.  Secondly, if you shoot from inside back out many times you end up capturing this cool, old building with a 2014 model car parked outside, which ruins the scene totally for me.

A few small things change here from year to year.  This year the barber was also making and selling Martin Birdhouses and he had one right up front on the bench.  This hasn't been something that has been there in the past, so I was excited to include that in my frame.  Other than that and a sign or two missing, it's pretty much the same.

We got to spend some time talking to the barber and a few of his family members the day before and they shared quite a bit of history of the place, which was very cool!

So, I shot this scene with my Canon 7D and Tamron 16-300mm Lens (excellent walk around lens) mounted on my Vanguard Abeo Plus 323CT tripod.  I simply positioned the lens placed directly against the front glass of the barber shop window.  This is important, because if you aren't pressed right up against the window, you will most likely get reflections in your shot that you do not want.  Once I got the lens where I wanted it, I positioned the tripod so that the lens wouldn't move then I fired off 4 or 5 bracketed shots.

I then processed this as a HDR shot using Photomatix Pro, did some tweaking in Lightroom and finsihed off in OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.  There are a few presets in the OnOne Photo suite that I love for HDR shots.  The first is one called Kryptonite.  It really punches the colors and details while blurring the edges.  The next one is called Just Enough Darkness.  Like you would think, this darkens the image quite a bit.  I typically will dial this effect back quite a bit, but it really adds a mood to the images and it works great for HDR shots.  Here is an image processed using both presets.

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

So, I couldn't decide which way I wanted to process this, so I thought "Let's go with a lot of color, or not much at all.".  So, I took the image back into OnOne and used the Perfect Black and White 9.  This time I processed it to retain just a very small amount of color.

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

Since, I couldn't decide I thought I'd share both.  Maybe you can help me decide.

OnOne Announces Perfect Photo Suite 9

Suite 9

OnOne Software has announced Perfect Photo Suite 9, an updated version of its photo editing and effects app for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. Included in the new release are many significant performance and feature improvements, all designed to help you streamline your photo-editing tasks, so you can spend more time shooting and less time processing your photos. 

For more info, click the image above to go over to their site and check it out.

The Old Plymouth

I've really got no news or anything exciting...

So, I thought I'd share with you this image I made at Old Car City.  This was shot with my Sony A7R using my Metabones Adapter with my Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Lens.

I shot this in Aperture Priority Mode at F/22, ISO 100 which resulting in a shutter speed of 1/2 second.  

Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 Now Available!

I received an email earlier today that OnOne had released the updated version 8.5 of their Perfect Photo Suite.  I came home right away and updated mine.

Here's a few of the things that have improved in the latest version:

"The update to 8.5 will provide a faster browser, way faster actually! It will also have substantial improvements to the Perfect Eraser and make results that much better. Overall stability and performance has been improved in the Suite to make it that more powerful of a photo editor."

Here is a video from OnOne of the new perfect eraser in action:


Existing owners of Perfect Photo Suite 8 are eligible for a free update. New users may purchase the Premium Edition for $179.95 or the Lightroom & Aperture Edition for only $99.95. The Standard Edition, a standalone application, is available for $79.95. Owners of earlier versions of the Perfect Photo Suite can upgrade to the Premium Edition for $99.95 or the Lightroom & Aperture Edition for $79.95. 

Click this link to download.  This one!