XDrive Photo Lesson – 10 – Black & Whites

Raj’s Photo Less 10 is about black and white–why and when a photo needs to convert them to B&W; I always have hard time to decide which and when… Raj makes it easier for us to understand the B&W conversion. Sometimes, I choose the photo that has some white or black. Click to view the large version.

The one below was captured with iPhone.

There were many serious photographers everywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. This beautiful young photographer climbed up to the top of the rock with her Canon D1 (7.2 pounds) and a heavy lens. As I was looking up, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph her.

1/800 sec. f11 ISO 100

Below was taken in San Francisco downtown with my iPhone.

Looking forward to hearing your critics, Raj!

Raj’s Photo Less 10

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In addition to the critics and suggestions for our weekly submissions, Raj provides a Monthly Review for the XDrive Photo community.

Comment from Raj: Since the horse has longer face, I thought the longer frame would work better than the square frame:

Raj: Removed the “non contributing” horse and distractions from the image:

Raj: Just improving the framing: (I think Raj did more than improving the framing.)

Raj: If your image has something special, enhance it.

“Before” is my submission and “after” is Raj’s edit. He also did for other bloggers’ photos. Take a look.

Can’t thank you enough, Raj!

Green Fades to Gold

The mix colors of yellow and orange paint the hillsides of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The color of Aspen trees is gorgeous in fall.  It also plays an important role in the ecosystem as food for elk, deer, beavers, and a number of other rodents living under and around their distinctive white trunks.

Aspen trees are stems of one plant. All these connected aspen stems, known more accurately as a clone, turn color and lose leaves in the fall in unison because they are one plant.

It was such a treat to capture nature’s colorful display.

Happy autumn!

WPC: Layered

Greetings from Estes Park Colorado

Estates Park is known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park and home to wildlife and miles of trails; the elevation is 7,522 ft (12,105 km). 

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This beautiful area is 2, 3 miles away from downtown. On our last day at Estes Park, I took a few photos with my iPhone .

It’s the peak time of changing color of Aspen trees in Rocky Mountain National Park, and it only lasts for two weeks. As you can imagine, the town is crowded with visitors.

Snow may start soon, all shops and most of the restaurants and hotels will be closed at the end of this month.

More photos later this week.

Thank you for visiting. 🙂

XDrive Monthly Review

Besides the critics and suggestions for our submissions, Raj provides a Monthly Review for the XDrive Photo community.

Comment from Raj: Since the horse has longer face, I thought the longer frame would work better than the square frame:

Raj: Removed the “non contributing” horse and distractions from the image:

Raj: Just improving the framing: (I think he did more than improving the framing.)

Raj: If your image has something special, enhance it.

“Before” is my submission and “after” is Raj’s edit. Btw, he did for others’ photos too.

“Thanks to all contributors and visitors for your likes and comments of encouragement. I loved these sessions a lot to great satisfaction. Requesting everyone to go through the examples linked above and if you have a question on anything, comment in this post itself, so that I get notifications and I will be able to reply. Also if you want to make an contribution on any of the topics above, please do so now. Don’t feel left out later.” — Monthly Review for August.

Can’t thank you enough, Raj!

Sine I’m taking a trip this week, I’m taking Wednesday’s slop to share the review that Raj put out for us. Hope I’ll apply what I have learned during this trip.

Recap and Travel Stories

It’s time for me to give a recap of my posts, between May and August, 2017.  I also want to take this opportunity to share a few heartwarming travel stories with you.

Top three in May:

My carry on luggage probably weighs 8 pounds extra after I stuff my camera gears and lenses. Most of the time when I take a solo trip, a gentleman who sits before or behind me would volunteer to offer help to get my luggage up to or off the cabinet.

A couple months ago, I made a solo trip from Texas to another state. When we were on board on the plane, a gentleman standing behind me said to me gently, “I’ll help you…” He did. He then turned around to get to his seat two rows ahead of mine. Three hours later, the plane landed. As soon as he was up from his seat there were three passengers behind him. He looked toward where I was sitting, then asked the person who sat behind me to help me get my luggage and pointed to him where my luggage was. I did a chance to thank him.

June:

Another time, I left my iPhone in the lady’s room, I noticed it I was already out of the exit gate. I asked the guard if she’d let me in because of my cell. Without a word, two other female guards at the exit gate literally ran to the lady’s room and got the phone back to me. This time I had a chance to thank them.

July:

When we were taking a train from Sarlat back to Paris via Bordeaux, the train slowly stopped at a station, then we heard a long announcement. A lady who sat across from us kept looking at me. A couple of minutes later she walked to me and asked politely, “Do you understand?” “Non” I said. She used mixed English and French to explain that the train had a problem so we all needed to get off and change another train. I asked, “où et comment?” (I know a few French words.) She said, “I will take you there, but I have only 12 minutes for my next train, no train for me after this one today. We have to run. Fast.” We ran with her to a ticket station to issue our tickets, then rush to our train stop. In no time, she turned around and dashed to her train stop direction. I didn’t even have a second to say “Merci beaucoup” to her. I was so thankful, but wondered the entire time on the train (even to this day) if she got on her train.

August:

Their kindness, thoughtfulness, and smiles stay with me wherever I travel.

Thank you so much for you clicks, likes, and delightful comments!

I will be taking a short break. See you next week! 🙂

Pink Himalayan Rock Salt And Saffron

I thought since butterflies are gone and blooms are over, it’s time to put away my 60 mm macro lens until next spring. But, Raj encouraged me to find other subjects to practice, like dry leaves (but Helen’s leaf shots were remarkable.) He also mentioned about tripod.

This time, instead of looking for subjects in trails and woods, as I normally do, I went to my pantry, pink Himalayan rock salt and saffron were my choices.

I did a few shots at f 7 and f 9 and ISO 1600 without a tripod on the pink Himalayan rock salt. When I turned aperture to f11, I set my camera on the tripod. When I reset the ISO, I had to plugged the cable onto the camera. Master Raj was right, narrow aperture and a tripod made a difference.

Below is the actual size of the rock salt.

I bought a jar of saffron when we were in London last fall. It took some effort to opened the tightly sealed jar.

I’m wondering if f 11 and f 14 are too narrow for these shots.

Wanna see how thin these saffron threads are?

I had a long debate with myself deciding on the items, then getting a simple display ready was a battle. When the tripod, camera, and lens… were in place, it was another 60 minutes. I can’t  imagine how much time and effort Helen (HHC Blog) spent on shooting her beautiful studio photos.

Thank you, Raj for your critics and suggestions. Click HERE to visit Raj’s XDrive Learn Photography and join us. 🙂

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After photography was done, I had to use this spice. So, I cooked the Moroccan Saffron Chicken for our Sunday dinner.

Do you know it takes over 14,000 of tiny stigmas to create an ounce of saffron?

To glean 1 lb (450 g) of dry saffron requires the harvest of 50,000–75,000 flowers; a kilogram requires 110,000–170,000 flowers. Forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. —Wikipedia

Recipe:

1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tp cinnamon, 1/2 tp turmeric, salt and pepper

Brown flour coat chicken (6 pieces of thigh), when it’s done, set aside, stir with red pepper, onion for 7, 8 minutes or so. In a small pan, sauté chopped garlic and 1 tp ground ginger for a couple of min., then add the above spice mix and 1 tp flour for another 1 min.

Cook 1/2 cup of wine for 2 min, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, chicken, and the spice mix, cook for 15-20 min at low med heat, stir 2, 3 times.

Top with cilantro and crumbled saffron thread. Voila!

Serve with rice and Chardonnay. Bon Appétit! 

You’re invited, Master Raj 🙂

Waiting…

I don’t know what the Great Blue Heron and deer were waiting for, I do know photographing them is all about waiting, waiting for the moment.

WPC: Waiting

Thank you for visiting. 🙂

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