28-135mm lens, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Luminar AI, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Revisiting Old Photos

This post touches on a few things that I think are important to consider when it comes to post-processing. The first is that as you gain more experience, your editing skills and knowledge base will improve. Because I think this is true, I would argue this is a reason you should keep one original file in its best available format of most of your photos. This is an example of this:

ISO 160 f/5.6 1/500sec 135mm

This was shot in October 2011. Not only was my Canon 50D relatively new to me, it was also my first DSLR, had a kit lens, and my knowledge of photo editing software was just in its infancy.

The photo was shot in the RAW format though, which means there is a lot of information in the file, I just needed to learn how to extract it. Now, almost a decade later, I know right off the bat there are at least three simple starting point fixes. The first is adjusting the white balance using the eyedropper tool. The second is to increase the exposure and lighten the shadows. Here is a screenshot with those edits in place:

This shows the white balance and shadows edits.

Another thing I have learned about photo editing is that it really does open up a lot of possibilities and it’s often fun to play around and come up with something that is both creative and still aesthetically pleasing. In this case, I made a black and white image of a subject that is more frequently shown in color and I also created a custom crop:

ISO 160 f/5.6 1/500sec 135mm

Neither of these changes would work on every photo I edit, but I would argue that they do work here. I’m glad I kept this file all those years. Your thoughts and comments are welcome below.

Added to CBWC, Flight.


Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar AI, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Photo to Wood Transfer, Making Decisions

I wrote in my previous post on this project that I had figured out the process of transferring a photo to wood. Now for the next two steps, choosing the photos and figuring out the layout on the wall. I chose the photos first. For this particular wall, I am displaying a selection of images from our time living in England. The process of going through the photos took a while, but it was fun to look back through everything. I narrowed it down to 45 images. Then I got some input from my husband. Then I narrowed it down. Then I got some more input and it expanded the number of images. The final number of images ended up at 19. At this point, I took all the images and in Luminar AI added the template, Travelogue. What this does is give them all the same finish. I chose this particular template for a few reasons but an important one was that it muted the colors of the images a bit. With 19 images this wall will be somewhat busy. It’s a lot to look at, and I did not want the colors to be too screamy:

All photos are 4×6 on wood.
All photos are 4×6 on wood.

Then I measured the wall and created a spreadsheet in Excel:

The original Excel spreadsheet

Then I took a screenshot of the spreadsheet and opened it in Powerpoint and arranged the photos:

Excel spreadsheet in Powerpoint with photos.

This gives me an idea of what the wall will look like when it is finished. When all the woodblocks are finished it will be time to put them up on the wall!

Any thoughts or comments you have about this project are welcome in the comment section below.


Added to Lens-Artists, Special Moments.

10-22mm lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar AI, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Split Toning

I spend a fair bit of time thinking about color. While I can’t say that I was considering making this image into a black and white when I shot it, oftentimes original photo files that have quite a pop or contrast of color before they’ve even been edited, make nice black and whites.

The original image is an example of that:

ISO 500 f/18 10mm 1/80sec

I did create a color version of this image, but I was only somewhat satisfied with it. I thought maybe a black and white would work so I made a version with that treatment as well. I liked it but I guess I was still thinking about color. I decided my next step was going to be trying split toning. Because split toning changes the color tones of the image, it is most often used in editing color images. It’s a really powerful tool, and can have some nice applications in black and white as well.

But first here is a screenshot of the image without split toning:

Screenshot without Toning

Luminar AI calls this edit “toning”. Split toning is the way I’ve always seen it referred to in other software, and I think is a more accurate label. What I have done here is made the color tones in the highlights warmer and the shadows cooler, hence the idea of “split”. In the edit below, the highlight slider is moved towards yellow and the shadows toward blue.

With toning:

Screenshot with toning

Final Version:

ISO 500 f/18 10mm 1/80sec

I’ll be honest, I like both the toning edit and the one without it. The one with toning definitely has a warmer feel to it, so I think which you prefer might have a lot to do with how you feel about that particular element. Feel free to leave a comment or question below.


Added to Lens-Arts, From Forgettable to Favourite.

11-22mm lens, 18-55mm lens, 50mm lens, 70-200mm lens, Canon 50D, Canon 80D, iPhone SE 2nd Generation, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Keeping Up With the Kit

What’s in my bag these days:

The bodies: Canon 50D and Canon 80D. A working film camera, it is a Canonete 28, that belonged to my great-uncle and has been passed on to me.

The lenses: 50mm 1.8, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, 11-22mm f/3.5-3.5 IS, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS.

Shot with my iPhone SE

What I’ve learned along the way is that if you don’t get to know the gear you have, you won’t be able to create the best possible photo. I’m a firm believer in trying out a new camera body before you purchase it. Does it feel comfortable in your hands, are the buttons and menus set in ways that make sense to you? If there is something not quite right here for you personally, look at other options.

Since we are not travelling or getting out a whole lot right now, I have taken to switching out my lenses on my 80D and taking it on my walks around the neighbourhood. I’m doing this to stay familiar with the camera body and the lenses, how they work best, what sort of thing each lens is best for. My Canon 50D is mostly retired now. It has some sensor issues, so I keep it as a back-up. The film camera is something that I use the least. I am still working on when I would like to use it and the ways in which it works best.

Just for fun, here is my gear shot in the app Hipstamatic:

The Kit, Hipstamatic version

Added to Lens Artists, My Photography Journey.

Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Photo to Wood Transfer Update

I last wrote about my photo to wood transfer attempts in October. It wasn’t going particularly well so it was back to doing some more research. I started by googling something that included the idea that it “wasn’t working” and I got a surprising number of hits. As a result, I tried using a hard type of wood, which helped but wasn’t what I would consider a fix:

Taken with iPhone

It’s a better result than the softer wood, but hardly a good result. Then I tried a different type of paper:

Taken with iPhone

Much happier with this. I went ahead and tried both the hard wood which is above and the soft wood:

Taken with iPhone

The hard wood had a better result and was easier to do, the transfer process was smoother. Most instructions say that you do not need to seal these, but I have, I think they will last longer that way. In this case, I used a gel matte medium, brushed on and left to dry. To get these photo transfer results I used these two sources, the first is complete written instructions. The second is a short video. I found them to be helpful when used in combination, which is why I have included both links.

I used the tattoo transfer paper brand that is mentioned in both links. The type of paper ended up making this project something enjoyable and relatively easy to do, A nice plus for me is the fact that the tattoo transfer paper is made for an inkjet printer, most other photo to wood transfer instructions require a laserjet printer, this means I can print it at home. I will say also that it did look like the company made a version for laser printer as well if that’s what you are working with. A downside to this is that the size of the final project is limited by the size of the printer paper.

Now that I have found a process that works, I am on to the next phase of the project. My idea is to create several of these that will hang on our living room wall. My working theme is photos from our years in England. I am in the process of selecting those photos.

As this project is a labor of love for me, I am adding it to the Tuesday Photo Challenge, All You Need Is Love.


18-55mm lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar 3, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: LUTs

The original file:

ISO 400 f/11 1/500sec 18mm

The image above is what I started my editing session with. I did a few of my usual edits, beginning with a crop. Once I was satisfied with that, I decided to add a LUT. This type of edit will change the color values in your photo. It’s a preset, but for color only. A lot of other editing presets will change multiple things, but this is a singular edit. A deeper explanation of LUTs can be found here. I created three different versions.

The LUT, Chrono-Steel:

ISO 400 f/11 1/500sec 18mm

The LUT, Blue Trace:

ISO 400 f/11 1/500sec 18mm

The LUT, 1960:

ISO 400 f/11 1/500sec 18mm

Both the Blue Trace and 1960 version have had the slider on the LUT itself moved down, Chrono-Steel is set at 100%.

LUTs are available many places. Luminar has some that come preloaded. The one above called “1960” is one of those. They are also available for purchase and in some cases free. Google is a good way to search and identify ones that would most appeal to your sense of style within your photography. I find them to be a fun way to change things up a bit. Let me know if you have a favorite of these three in the comments below.


Added to CFFC, Water.

18-55mm lens, Canon 80D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Further Adventures in Custom Settings

About a month ago I wrote a post about creating custom settings in my Canon 80D with the hope that those photos would need fewer steps of post-processing. I’ve used them several times now, and overall am happy with the results. I have a setting in color and one in black and white. Of the two, the black and white setting is my favorite at this point. This week I got this image:

ISO 800 f/5 1/640sec 31mm

It’s rare for me to publish a photo straight out of the camera, but this one is. I was pretty excited about that. Equally as exciting was this photo:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/640sec 50mm

Do you see the fox? Both these photos were taken at the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is in the city limits of St. Louis in a heavily residential area. The garden is a lovely oasis in the city. A seeing such a healthy-looking fox was a real treat. A great outing all around for me.

Questions or comments about either photo are welcome below.


Written in response to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, What A Treat.

iPhone SE 2nd Generation, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: A Project Update

In September I started work on a photo transfer to wood project. I wrote a post about it, but here are my attempts so far:

I really like this idea of wood transfer, but I am far from satisfied with this round. Here is a closer look at what I consider to be the worst:

It was a problem with all the transfers, but this was the worst in terms of photo that ended up peeling completely off the wood during the process.

This one ended up being my favorite:

So from there I did some more research on the process. I’ve got a few things to try, first I’m going to sand the wood, then prep the wood before attempting the transfer. I’m also eventually going to try a different type of wood, as these panels may be too soft. Since I have these panels though, my next attempts will be on the back of them.

I’ll be back with another post on my progress, but I am also occasionally posting in-process images on my Instagram

Feel free to stop over to see me there. Your thought or questions on this project are welcome below.


18-55mm lens, Canon 80D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar 3, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creating A Look

Photographers often are particularly opinionated about the camera brand they use. When my Canon 50D started to go, I was in the market to replace it and was looking at the Canon 80D and a comparable Fuji model. My ultimate choice was the 80D because it felt familiar and also because my lenses fit that body.

I’m happy with my 80D. One of the things l like most about it over the 50D is that it weighs less. I still think about the Fuji though and specifically one of the selling points, their film simulation modes. An overview of what film simulations are is here, but basically, you to take a photo and it gets processed in-camera to a specific film style. I really like the looks Fuji have created.

So what’s a gal with a Canon to do? Well, I did two things. One was to find some Luminar Looks that I could add to my Luminar editing software that would allow me to create the look I wanted in the post-processing phase. I wrote about it a bit in this post from last week, but also I should add that I found those looks here.

But then there was a second thing I created, and that was my own custom shooting modes that I programmed into my Canon. I began by experimenting with what Canon calls picture styles. Those are basically just different combinations of settings that will give you different looks. I found a stash of ready-made ones here. From those I picked two that were close to the two Fuji styles I was interested in imitating, Classic Chome and ACROS +Yellow. With those two that were similar, I took a bunch of photos and continued to fiddle with the settings. Once I was happy with my two new modes of shooting I saved each as a custom shooting mode, details of how to do that are here. This process took several hours once you factor in the research and the experimentation.

Then it was time to take my new Fuji inspired settings for a test run in my Canon. On my Classic Chrome setting, I took this shot:

ISO 320 f/9 1/500sec 0.3ev 44mm

And then with a few edits in Luminar:

ISO 320 f/9 1/500sec 0.3ev 44mm

My ACROS +Yellow attempt is this one:

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/640sec 55mm

I’m happy with these results. I do realise that they are not exact replicas of the Fuji Film Simulation modes, but to be honest, even if I had that camera I would probably still fiddle with the settings and come up with something similar but not exactly what the camera was offering. Your comments or questions about my methods or results are welcome below.


Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Inspiration.

PS-Did you spot the Bald Eagle?


70-200mm lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar 3, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Negative Space

Today I was working on this file from Lake Manyara National Park:

ISO 800 f/9 70mm 1/3200sec

It was a beautiful and expansive landscape. I created two versions of this file, a color and a black and white. Before I applied specific edits I started with a few general things that applied to both versions. I adjusted the shadows and highlights and the white and blacks. Then I moved on to adding Luminar Looks. I have recently downloaded a few looks that imitate Fuji film looks. For my color edit I used Fuji Classic Chrome:

ISO 800 f/9 70mm 1/3200sec

For the black and white version I used Acros +Y:

ISO 800 f/9 70mm 1/3200sec

I’ve also created my own look that I call “Vintage Touch-Up”, It adds matte, grain, and vignette filters that can then be adjusted. I applied this look to both of files. This is one of those times where I am happy with all the versions, but that might have to do with the fact that I really liked this view.


This post was created in response to the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge, Negative Space.