Sundowners

The Kruger’s Wilderness Trails include a daily morning hike and a shorter evening walk or sundowner.  After a tiring morning, our group opted for sundowners the first evening.  Our guides drove us to a tranquil viewpoint, from which we could enjoy the sunset over one of the few rivers which have survived the drought.

Sunsets from Suikerbos

Over the Christmas holidays, my family (my parents, 2 guinea pigs, and 3 beagles) and I stayed for a few nights at Saamrus Guest Farm in Magaliesburg.

I took these sunset / blue hour shots from the balcony of our cottage.  We had a stunning view over the sun catching the clouds at sunset every evening.

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If you missed my first post from our trip, you can see it here.

One Photo Focus – September 2016

After-Before Friday is an event which allows photographers to share their processed images, and, if they choose, their post-processing steps. On the first Friday of the month, all participants have the opportunity to edit the same photo in the “One Photo Focus” challenge.

As soon as I opened up the image I knew that I wanted to create a warm sunset scene (this proved easier said than done, but I was happy with the result in the end).  These were my main steps, excluding a few basic tonal adjustments in Camera Raw and Lightroom:

1/ First off, I opened the image in Photoshop, duplicated the background layer, and converted it to a Smart Object.  I then applied a Camera Raw Filter to bring out some texture in the sky. Using highlight luminosity masks (Jimmy McIntyre has a great set of Photoshop actions which can be downloaded for free) I created a layer mask to ensure that only the sky was visible.

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2/ Next I created a new blank layer, filled it with black, and applied a lens flare filter (Filter > Render > Lens Flare > Movie Prime) – this would become my sun.

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3/ I applied a Camera Raw filter on top of that, to increase the warmth and brightness of the layer.  I changed the blend mode of the layer to screen, added a layer mask, and voilá; I had my sun. 3.jpg

4/ I used a duplicate layer with a different layer mask and a lower opacity to add the sunlight on the water.

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5/ The scene was still missing some of the warmth that one would associate with a real sunset – so I added an orange Gradient adjustment layer, which I set to 17% opacity and colour blend mode.  Then I added a new layer, filled it with orange, and set to it soft light blend mode.  I added layer masks to both layers to concentrate the effect on the sky.

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6/ I then added a curves adjustment layer to darken the image.

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7/ I merged all the layers and applied a final Camera Raw Filter, where I used a Radial Filter to lighten the shadows around the boat.

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8/ A couple touch ups using the Clone Stamp Tool, and I had my final image.

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I had fun editing this image – it really pushed the boundaries of my Photoshop skills!

I hope you enjoyed my edit, and gained some tips along the way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the final image.

 

Cape Recife Lighthouse

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.

After touring SAMREC we went for a walk/shoot on the beach at Cape Recife; a nature reserve including SAMREC and the Cape Recife Lighthouse.

The beach was full of abstract patterns, textures…

…and rocks of interesting shapes and sizes.

While exploring, I discovered this section of rock covered in flies – I half expected to find a rotting body around the corner. (By the way, did you know that a group of flies is called a business?)

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about my images!

Maitland beach

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.  After a boat cruise and late lunch on the first day, I took some shots of the sunset at Maitland beach – being the middle of winter, and fairly far south, the sun rose and set at very respectable times (these shots were taken around 5 pm).

In the middle of the beach stood a deserted lifeguard’s hut, which immediately drew my interest.

I approached the hut from multiple angles, including above. This was taken from a viewpoint next to the road.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see that P.E. has a few wind farms, which are able to generate renewable electricity (though later I found out that they have severe implications to birds which migrate through those areas – so perhaps it’s not a good thing after all).  The turbines from one such farm could be seen peeking out from behind the dunes.

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As always, I’d love to hear any comments and critique on my photos.

Chobe – Sunset on the river

My family and I recently went to the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge for a week; we stayed on the Namibian border and went on a cruise up the river every morning and evening.

I have so many decent photos from the trip that I decided to split the posts into categories (in conjunction with my blogging revolution to write shorter posts).  These are my sunset images.

Though I think sunsets can easily be cliché, I also can’t resist them.

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The previous image is technically a sunrise, but I didn’t think it deserved its own post. I used a slow shutter speed, with my camera on a mini tripod and my 70-200mm f2.8 lens.

Sunset at Heia Safari Lodge

Earlier this year, I began an outdoor photography course.  Unfortunately, I was sick during the last two sessions – one of which was an outing at Heia Safari Lodge.  The catch-up outing took place last Sunday afternoon.

The afternoon was spent photographing the animals near the chalets, as well as capturing Lake Heritage and the sunset.  As it was cloudy, the sunset wasn’t as richly-coloured as we’d hoped it would be – however, I still enjoyed myself and managed to take several shots I was happy with.

The zebras we photographed were tame enough that we could get very close without disturbing them.  I loved the patterns created by their stripes, especially after I changed the photos into black and white (which was done in Lightroom5).  And look at those eyelashes!

The day was very windy, but in the end that turned out to be surprisingly beneficial in that it made for some interesting shots.  These were taken on continuous mode, after a gust of wind – pity about the telephone poles in the background, but perhaps I’ll be able to clone them out in photoshop later on.

A couple of giraffes were eating out of an elevated feeder – nothing unusual, right?  Until I found out that the one giraffe (which had no horns) had been hit by lightning!  My heart went out to the poor guy, who behaved none-the-worse-for-wear, simply continuing its meal while I watched.

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Lake Heritage contained a small waterfall, which I occupied myself with for a while, playing around with different shutter speeds.  In the end, this was my favourite photo – I like the triangle formed by the two sticks.

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I left shortly after taking this photo at 7 PM.

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