Tag: Strasburg

ON1 Effects 2019 Review

Firefly
Firefly

I got this software free with a photography magazine a couple of months ago and wanted to do a review of my initial impressions. I needed a new photo to use and since it was raining decided on a wet horse in bad light.

So after getting the newspaper and coffee I drove to the back of my local Aldi parking lot where the horses wait, contemplate the meaning of life and stare into space for a while.

A buggy soon pulled up just as it stopped raining and I said hello to two Amish girls, asked if I could take a few photos which they said was fine, and they told me their horse’s name is Firefly.

She’s hard to see because I shot wide but there is a woman walking towards me between the mirror on the right and the small tree. I said hello but was completely unprepared for a lecture on morality.

After standing there with her arms crossed and shaking her head for a while I looked at her and said: “What?” She mumbled a few things I couldn’t hear and I went back to trying to get a decent composition.

Then she said: “This is very disrespectful.” I told her that I had permission but she continued so I said: “Disrespectful to who, the horse?” This seemed to confuse her but finally she said: “It’s disrespectful to the whole culture.”

Now I was mad, my camera was acting up, it was starting to rain again and I had missed the decisive moment. I thought about fighting her but she was big and I wasn’t sure I could take her. Photo shoot ended.

ON1 Effects is fun to play with but in a way it’s a little like Photoshop. There are so many different effects and filters, each one customizable, that after a while you start to wonder if you should take up golf.

For this photo I used an effect called Automagic and one of the thousands of borders. I felt this would be a good one for Firefly to post on his social media and discuss ethics with his friends.

On my way home I wondered if Miss Manners was right, so I told the story to a girl at a convenience store who said the woman was stupid and arrogant. I would have used different words but okay.

Case closed, morality issue solved. Someone once said do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish opinions. Someone else said that opinions are like a wet horse in a parking lot, shoot first and ask questions later.

The Thing

McCormick-Deering Grain Drill
McCormick-Deering Grain Drill

I saw this thing, which I now know is a McCormick-Deering Grain Drill and thought it might make an interesting abstract for Cee’s photo challenge this week. I attached an L-Bracket to my camera to shoot vertically and set up my tripod.

The light wasn’t cooperating so I sat there and waited for a while when the first guy walked up and asked what I was doing. I gave him the short version and asked him what this thing was which he somehow knew.

Ten minutes later a second guy walked up and said: “One mans junk is another mans art right?” I liked his attitude but he was casting a shadow so I asked him to move. He stood there patiently apparently waiting for a response.

I told him I felt there were too many postcard type photos theses days and I like to photograph ordinary things in unusual ways. To see something like this close up and out of context you look at it differently.

So was it worth getting up early, using a tripod, waiting for the best light and processing the files? I’d say yes, it’s much easier than taking up golf and the last thing I want to do in the morning is spoil a good walk.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Anything with 1, 2, or 3 Wheels

March

At the laundromat
At the laundromat

After shoveling off my car this morning it began snowing again when I went out to grab a cup of coffee. I noticed this horse at our local laundromat and stopped to say hello but he did not look happy.

He was either furious that winter was back with two more days of snow and ice predicted or he accidentally ate some laundry soap. The owner and her two kids were waiting to leave as I took a few photos and I didn’t ask.

So here in Lancaster, P.A. March may go in like a foaming horse but I seriously doubt it will go out like a lamb. I don’t think their legs are strong enough to pull a buggy and three people.

Farm Living

Amish Plow Horses
Amish Plow Horses

I stopped to photograph this Amish farmer getting his field ready for planting and it was such a tender moment that tears came to my eyes. It might have been the near freezing temperature and biting wind, but the scene reminded me of many things.

Time passing so quickly, the changing of the seasons, the beauty of spring and the hard work of these farmers. As the smell of horse manure rose into the air, I thought of the show Green Acres, and Oliver deciding that working with his hands was more important than working as a lawyer in the big city.

I would say that farm livin’ is the life for me, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside. But I don’t like getting muddy, or working in a field all day, or having obsessive photographers standing there taking my picture while I’m trying to do my job.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Tender Moments

The Theory of Emptiness

Emptiness
Emptiness

The Dalai Lama said: “The theory of emptiness is the deep recognition that there is a fundamental disparity between the way we perceive the world, including our own existence in it, and the way things actually are.”

In other words, check the train schedule before you go.

Photomatix Essentials Review

Amish Plow Horses HDR
Amish Plow Horses HDR

I was driving home after getting coffee this morning and saw an Amish farmer plowing his field. I almost always stop for horses so I decided to walk over to where he would end up and wait until he got close enough.

He seemed to be having some trouble and after about ten minutes ran into his barn to get something. After another ten minutes he ran back in again, this time coming back with a tractor. Since he was in the middle of a very large field I found an old milk crate and sat down to watch.

Finally I saw the horses heading towards me and told myself to wait until I could see the whites of their eyes, at the same time trying not to get the farmers face in the shot, some are OK with a photo and some are not.

Still sitting down with a perfect view I framed the shot and took about five. I felt I had at least one good one and got up to leave as the horses stopped to look at me. I didn’t know if they wanted to pose for more or were just confused, then I realized I was in their way.

The farmer smiled and said good morning then continued with what looked like a long day of work. The photos were all sharp but I couldn’t get the color right in Lightroom and black and white seemed like a cop out.

I have Photomatix Essentials that I got free from a photo magazine a while ago and uploaded just the one RAW file, then chose the default preset, saved it as a TIFF and imported it back into Lightroom. Usually you’ll want to upload several bracketed images but this was just an experiment.

It turned out surprisingly well and brought the blue back to what was a very gray sky. I don’t use this software much because the results are usually a little overdone but it was better than deleting a photo I spent almost 45 minutes to take.

Photomatix HDR Photo Editing Programs & Plugins