Pretty in Pink (and Red and White)

Last week — on one of the final days of our three-month heatwave — I took a morning trip to Oakland Cemetery to snap a few new photos. I out-maneuvered the heat for about two hours by mostly slinking around in the shade, and ended up with a nice collection of images of some of the many plants that are still blooming this late in the gardening season. The photos I posted on Wordless Wednesday: Four Small Signs of Early Fall were from that same trip.

With more fall-like weather finally making it into Atlanta, I’ll be heading back for more photoshoots in the coming months, as fall is one of the best seasons to spend time at this beautiful Victorian garden cemetery — 88 acres of greenery, flowers, tombstones, mausoleums, and architecture surrounded by an 8- to 10-foot brick wall that immerses you in silence, despite being located at the intersections of some traffic-heavy neighborhood streets.

I didn’t see any markers near the flowers featured in these galleries to help me identify them, but did figure out that the last nine photos in the second gallery are Spider Lilies — a hardy, early-fall-blooming lily of rich red color and a complex flower structure. And a likely addition to my garden — but for next year, as 2019 gardening will be wrapping up pretty soon.

Thanks for taking a look!



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Autumn Flame at Oakland

Over the weekend — a pair of bright sunny days in the middle of two weeks of rain — I ventured into the neighborhood to see if the colors of autumn were making any progress. There’s still an enormous amount of green everywhere; many of the huge maples and oaks that form the area’s canopy haven’t started to change yet. On Saturday, I photo-walked Oakland Cemetery — a 48-acre Victorian garden cemetery, established in Atlanta in 1850 as one of the first such garden cemeteries created in the United States — and took the photos you can see in the gallery below. The extreme sunlight provided me with some challenges, as I think I’m more accustomed to — and photographically speaking, more comfortable with — trolling around in the woods and dealing with low-light rather than high-light conditions. Still, I think I ended out with some interesting results, and tried to capture how the yellows, oranges, and reds glowed in the sun, even with excessive backlighting that needed adjustment once I got home.

On Sunday, I took a similar walk through Grant Park, and I’m working through about 100 photos from spending the morning there. Look for those later in the week. 🙂

Select the first image below to begin a slideshow; as always, thanks for reading and taking a look!

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Wordless Wednesday: Southern Red Oak

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Before and After: Blue Window

I was browsing through some old photos on my computer the other day, and came across this one that I took about a half-block from Oakland Cemetery a few years ago. The building shown in the photo has since been demolished, but I remembered taking the shot because I liked the color of the boards covering the window and the suggestion of similar colors in the siding. I never did anything with the photo, just kept it, but thought it would be fun to see what I could come up with by experimenting some more with Adobe Lightroom and with the Nik Collection that I downloaded last week.  Here is the original, unedited photo:

My first step was to use the Transform panel in Lightroom to shift the photo to a perpendicular perspective, so that it appears you are now looking straight toward the window rather than at the angle shown in the original. The transformation also resulted in a segmenting the photo almost equally into three distinct elements: the siding to the left, the window in the center, and the leaves coming in from the right side and partially covering the window.

At this point, in Lightroom, I made some exposure adjustments to brighten the image overall, to deepen the contrast, and to increase color saturation on the colors in the siding and on the window. The focus on the leaves was not great, so I adjusted sharpness, clarity, and noise reduction to try and repair some of that, but it didn’t really help. Even though the siding and window boards are clear with reasonably good detail, the fact that the leaves were originally out of focus is still very apparent. But sometimes you gotta work with what you’ve got, and see where you end out when you end out there.

I used this image to become more familiar with different capabilities in the Nik Collection filters, but didn’t keep close track of each incremental adjustment. However, the key changes that got me to the result shown below were these:

  • Adding structure to create additional detail in the siding on the left third of the photo, which also brought out the scraggly vine running up the wall;
  • Using the Remove Color Cast filter to eliminate cyan color from the photo, which shifted the siding colors to blue/gray, purple, and magenta and the window boards from a washed-out light cyan/blue tone to a deeper blue;
  • Using the Remove Color Cast filter to remove most yellow color from the photo, which shifted the leaves on the right side into a richer and more consistent green color rather than a yellow/green blend;
  • Adding the Classical Soft Focus filter primarily over the leaves and slightly over the window boards to reduce the impression that the leaves were out of focus, and create a soft transition from the leaves to the window boards.

With these adjustments done, I returned to Lightroom and added saturation to purple and magenta colors for the siding and blue for the door, to emphasize three individual color panels in the final image. Here’s where I stopped, with this substantially different representation of the original photo. Click the image to see a larger version.

To see the progression as a slideshow from the original unedited image to the stylized version shown above, click on the first photo below:

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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