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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Country Road

We have some before and after action today! Tomorrow I meet with my "computer programming guy" to install the before/after rollover feature for the photographs i post on my blog. For those of you who are new to my blog, this feature will allow me to post only one image box showing the After image. However, when you roll your mouse over the image, it will reveal the Before version. Really cool. I am very excited about this. Unfortunately, there is not an easy way to install this feature. It's not like a plugin you can add to Photoshop and all you have to do is click a button to activate it. I'm going to have to manually write in a bit of computer coding each morning when I write my post in order to get this feature to work...This should be entertaining...Hello!! I'm a complete moron when it comes to computers. Since I began this blog and entered the "blogging world," I've noticed all these functions and features related to blogs. I have no idea what any of it is, but I get the feeling that it's important stuff. For instance, what the heck is a 'feed', or RSS? Or all these other little buttons like "click to digg??" OMG! I have no idea. Anyways, I'm a little scared of how my blog is going to look after i write in my own computer coding. Stay tuned for that disaster...

This image is an HDR image created from one single RAW file. This can work out really well sometimes, and really bad other times. It depends on the image you try to tone map. Fortunately, it worked out pretty well for this one. I opened up the image in Photomatix and messed around with the settings until I got it to look the way I wanted. I then opened up the tone mapped version in Photoshop and then brought in the original RAW file and put it onto a seperate layer. With the tone mapped layer on top, I added a layer mask to the top layer and painted in some of the features from the original image. Certain sections of the farm house on the tone mapped version were color distorted. So, i simply painted back the original farm house. I removed the telephone line with the Spot Healing Brush Tool (Awesome tool by the way!!). I also painted in highlights and shadows throughout the trees with my brush tool set at the appropriate blending modes. After reducing the noise and sharpening the image, I opened it up in PhotoTools and used the color boost filter to add some pop, and the black frame filter to add that subtle black frame around the image. Viola!

I don't know about you, but I'm always searching for places to go to get some great photographs. Most of the time when I'm in a new area, I'll just drive around for awhile and see what I stumble on. I have a GPS, so I simply program my starting point (home, hotel, or where ever I'm staying). That way, no matter how far i wander, I can always get back home...Except for when i wander into really remote areas and I can't get a signal for my GPS...I hate when that happens. Anyways, I wanted to share a few places in my neck of the woods that proved to be worthy destinations for the eager photographer. 
1) Delaware Water Gap. This is a huge hiking area/park that runs along the Delaware River, between NJ and PA. There are several trails you can hike, but my favorite is the main trail (don't know its official name) that runs along a large creek, to the top of the mountain. There are numerous little waterfalls along the way, and it is a photographer's dream. 
2)  Spring Lake, NJ/Manasquan, NJ. These are 2 specific beaches in New Jersey that offer very interesting scenery. Rocky piers, docks, sand dunes, etc. There are many beaches along the New Jersey coast that are relatively boring, but these 2 beaches are worth the drive!!
3) Doylestown Lavender Farm: This is a beautiful lavender farm in Doylestown, PA that turns into a sea of purple during June and July. I was really psyched when I discovered this place, because lavender farms are not easy to come by...unless you're in France. 
4) Downtown New Hope, PA: Very cool, very eclectic, very artsy boutique town with lots of interesting architecture and people. If you're into street photography, this is the place to be.   

OK. So there you have it. A few photo opp destinations to get you started. I'll be posting locations in other states that I've traveled to in the near future. Cheers!!

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