Equipment, Software & Technique

Abstract Photography Techniques

October 13, 2015

Here lately I have been experimenting quite a bite with abstract photography techniques to create a new series of prints. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful place surrounded by water and I wanted to create a series of images that capture the beauty and tranquility of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. There is also a certain amount of uniformity and monotony in the landscape of a state that is at sea level, however, I have notice the water color changes throughout the day as the sun progress through the sky and the color of light changes. It is very interesting to observe and has provided me with a new appreciation for where I live. Using the motion or swipe abstract photography technique, I have been experimenting with capturing the varying colors and consistent vertical and horizontal colors.

This abstract photography technique requires a very slow shutter speed and smooth movement of the camera along a vertical or horizontal plane. Since I am capturing so many horizon lines, I typically shoot on a mono-pod or tripod. If you are not using either, keep your arms tucked in close to your body to provide stability for your camera. Your shutter speed must be slow, typically around 1/10 to 1/20 of a second. I generally use a small aperture to help achieve a slow shutter speed. On some images I have also used a polarizing filter to reduce exposure. Start moving your camera at a slow, but even pace and click the shutter. The important part is to click the shutter after you have started moving.  This abstract photography technique will require a certain amount of experimentation on your part to find the right aperture and shutter speed that works with your subject, but that is all part of the fun.

Here are a couple of examples:

Title: “Seaside”

Abstract Photography Example

abstract photography

Title: “Gulf Waters”

Abstract Photography

The full collection of my water images can be viewed here.

We all love to go somewhere new to become inspired and create new work. Fortunately, I have found being creative with abstract photography techniques has provided the perfect tool to become excited once again with the place I live.

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed on susanmcanany.com or at my Etsy Store.

Checking In, Equipment, Software & Technique

Pros & Cons of the Canon 5DS R

September 10, 2015

I just completed a 4 day rental of the new Canon 5DS R that I have been lusting after since it was first announced some six months ago.  My initial impression was it seem lighter than my 5D Mark III which thrilled me. But after checking Canon’s website the difference is so small, I can hardly believe I could notice the difference. The Mark III, body only, weighs in at 30.5 oz.; 5DS R weighs in at 29.80 oz. Initially, I also was not impressed with the sound of the shutter release on the Canon 5DS R. To me it sounded rather plastic-y, however, my partner liked the sound better on the 5DS R than the Mark III so obviously this is just a personal preference.  It certainly wouldn’t deter me from a purchase. Below is a list of the major pros and cons from my experience with the Canon 5DS R.

5DS R Pros

A whooping 50.6 Megapixel file for gi-normous prints and wonderful cropping opportunities.

More sophisticated focusing technology that needs to be fully understood.

Great new Mirror Lock Up options permitting the camera to perform the second click after a designated time, reducing camera shake.

Knobs, dials and menu system quite similar to my Mark III, so operations were easy and transition to the new camera would be a snap.

As with other Canon cameras, image quality was great.

5DS R Cons

Don’t be in a hurry with the Canon 5DR S because those big files take awhile to write to the card in the camera.

Photographer’s technique needs to be close to perfect when shooting.  Any errors are magnified due to the size of the file capture.

Although, I have plenty of storage space on my computer, the processing speed got somewhat bogged down in Photoshop especially when working with 16 bit, Smart Layer files.  I may need to factor in a new computer. Yikes!!

When I look at the images now, I can’t see that great of image quality improvement from my 5D Mark III.   Image size Yes, the files are BIG.  But then any new camera requires a period of adjustment to learn how to get the most from it. I am sure the time I had with this camera was not long enough to get everything out of it that it offers.  The more you use the tool, the better results you will get.  I have owned the Canon 5D, Mark II and Mark III and to this day I think the Canon 5D Mark II produced the best result for me. I know is only because I did a tremendous amount of shooting with that camera in the studio, on location and everywhere else. I knew it like an extension of my body.

In the end though,  I was sorry to pack up the Canon 5DS R camera and send it back to lensrental. Like any good camera junkie, I will probably purchase one sometime in the not too distance future. Who knows, maybe Santa will surprise me.

Thanks for reading and check out my work at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

Print Size Feature In Photoshop

August 24, 2015

Ever wonder if the Print Size display feature of Photoshop is accurate in showing you the detail of your image? This Photoshop feature for CS6 is located under View on the top toolbar of Photoshop.

If you have a lot of prints professionally printed like I do or if you print yourself, you want to get as accurate visual of your print as possible prior to sending it off to a printer or printing it yourself. In order to do this you must make sure the resolution of your monitor reflects as accurately as possible the pixels per inch you plan to print. The default is Photoshop is your screen dpi.  We all know printing cost money regardless of how you do it.  Thus when using the Print Size feature in Photoshop you are a little bit closer to viewing the actual output .

After doing some research, here is a quick and easy way to determine and adjust your monitor resolution.

  1. Open Photoshop and create a blank square white page at 300 dpi utilizing the top tool bar File > New. For this example I made mine 7 x 7.  New Page Screen CS6
  2.  In Photoshop go to View > Print Size.
  3. Using a ruler or measuring tape carefully measure the width of the blank square white page. Be carefully not to scratch your display. I used a soft measuring tape and it worked great. My page measured 6 inches. Yours will undoubtedly be different. It depends on the monitor you are using.
  4. Next, divide the width of your white blank page by the measured inches. I divided 7 by 6 for a quotient of 1.16
  5. Multiple 1.16 by 72, which is the current screen resolution on your monitor. My answer was 83.52 that I rounded up to 84.
  6. The final step is go to Photoshop>Preferences>Units & Rulers and update the screen resolution to the number from step 5.  Units & Rulers Screen CS6

And that is a quick and easy way to synch your screen resolution to reflect your print size and hopefully gauge print output using the Print Size feature of Photoshop.  In order to utilize this function when viewing an image be sure to look at it in actual print size by going to the top tool bar in PS and selecting View>Print Size.  Also, this technique is geared for Photoshop CS6.

Thanks for reading and my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

Creative

Wild and Free

August 4, 2015

The wild and free feeling from my adolescence seems to be an overwhelming feeling as of late. Maybe it is due to a big birthday I experienced recently or the doldrums of Florida’s summer weather urging me to a cooler climate. Whatever the source of my restlessness is really not important, however, I did have an ah-ha moment when I recently viewed a field of wildflowers. These flowers growing wild and in heavy concentration where living the epitome of a wild and free lifestyle totally unattended and where only the strongest survive.

I took several snaps as you can imagine. They were hard to capture due to a slight breeze and the sheer volume and density of the flowers. I didn’t want to wade too far into the field for fear of bug bites and who knows maybe even that ghastly poison ivy lurked. Once again I thought they are exhibited their wild and free attitude and this only added to their allure.

Many times I am pretty happy with my work right out of the camera, but right out of the camera didn’t do these wildflower justice, didn’t exactly portray their wild and free personalities. In Photoshop, after using the healing brush tool to clean up any sensor spots, I took the image into Nik Color Efex and used the Cross Processing Filter which give it more of the blue tone. I then used the Detail Extractor in certain places to pull out more of the intricacies of the flower pedal. And of course we have the bug! Love the bug!!

“Wild and Free”

wildflower abstract

Missouri Wildflowers

Thanks for stopping by and if you get a chance this summer, go out and do something that makes you feel wild and free! I know I will be.

More of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

Checking In

Happy Independence Day

July 4, 2015

Independence Day is one of the those day that makes me stop and think just how fortunate I am to live in the USA and truly experience all of the liberties and opportunities it has to offer.  I use to think everyone needs to visit a third world country to realize just how good we have it. Now, with the 24 hour media cycle and the internet, one only needs to choose to be aware.  So on this 4th of July enjoy and take a moment for gratitude for all you have in life, but especially the independence that comes with living in the USA!

“Folded Flag”

wall art of folded usa flag

“Folded Flag” © Susan McAnany

Thanks for visiting and more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

Checking In

Alligator Land

June 14, 2015

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I live in alligator land, more commonly known to locals as gatorland. Not only does this apply to sports teams names that are abundant in the state of Florida, but also applies to nature walks.

Throughout this spring, we have taken to exploring more of the interior of Florida and have found that no kidding,  alligators are in a lot of places and Florida has earned the name of alligator land or gatorland.

Recently on a walk we encounter a small nest of three baby alligators. There they were, nestled in a nature made pool of sticks and fallen trees along the banks of the Myakka River. They looked so cute and I can totally understand why they are endangered. Someone with a medium size net could easily just scoop them up, removing them from their natural habitat and take them home. Of course, eventually they would get too big and too dangerous and we would have another dislocated alligator released somewhere to fend for itself.  This is what I was thinking on the way up the trail!

Baby Alligators

juvenile alligators in Myakka river

Juvenile alligators in freshwater pool.

 

On the way back we thought, lets take one more look at these adorable reptiles in alligator land of Myakka. As we approached the area, we heard a very loud, big snort. Of course, I am beginning to panic! As we get closer, we see two adult alligators heads raise from the fresh water of the Mayakka River and one big roar. Now, I have never heard an alligator roar or snort and I am not familiar with how fast they can climb an embankment, but I do know they are fast!

Needless to say we pass rather quickly so we are downwind of the two adult alligators and circle back to take one more look at the baby alligators and spot the adults in protection mode.  Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the roar. Truthfully, I had no desire to provoke or disturb the wildlife. I have read enough books to know the lengths wildlife can go to protect their young.

Parent on Patrol

adult alligator in Myakka River Florida

Adult Alligator on Watch

However, when I returned home and did some research and discovered alligators in Florida’s alligator land are not found of human meat I was comforted and ready to take another hike looking for them.

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

 

Checking In

New Website for My Art

May 22, 2015

I am just so thrilled that we have finally completed the new website for my art. It has been in the works for the last month and definitely a labor of love. The redesign of my website has given my art a new fresh look.  I could never have done this by myself and so happy I chose Stijl  for my design partner to get the right look that represent me and my art. I really do want to give a big shout out to Scott at Stijl who wouldn’t stop working on it till we got it just right. I also know I can pick up the phone or send him an email and he will help me out with any future changes to the new website for my art if needed.  That kind of Customer Service is hard to find.  My hosting company IBOD was also so accommodating with all of my test databases. It would have taken forever and a lot of frustration to get answers to some of my questions with one of the mega hosting companies.  A big thanks to both of those companies and huge recommendation if you are looking for a design or hosting company. Thanks for reading and check out the new website for my art.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 4.19.48 PM

 

Checking In

Etsy IPO

April 16, 2015

Today is a great day for Etsy as it launches it’s Etsy IPO. The stock is set to open at $16.00 and trade up to $33.00 throughout the day. Who knows what the Etsy IPO will do after today, but I am confident that the company going public will bring more eyes to Etsy and my shop, McAnany.  My shop has been doing great the past month or so. Lots of new traffic and record number of inclusions in Treasuries. What is not to like about featuring great art in a Treasury.

It is quite interesting to see the scoop of items being sold on Etsy. Some are original one of a kind, referred to as OOAOK. This is a new term for me. Also, I am finding quite a bit of vintage items sold by resellers. Some very interesting items that often spur creative inspiration for me.

Sales at my store are increasing. Two new sales over the last week. Spiritual, a relatively new print I just released after going through my archives.

Spiritual

Also, Attraction, which is part of my On Black Series.

Attraction

If you are interested in fine art photography, more of my work can be viewed on my website or at my Etsy store.

For today though, lets tip our hats and raise our glasses to toast Etsy as they launch their Etsy IPO!

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

 

 

Checking In

Week at Etsy

March 22, 2015

It has been an incredible week at my Etsy Store. I have been working diligently on driving traffic to my Etsy store and increasing the amount of store listings. I am so happy to write I have broken 100 listings on Etsy and looking towards 200. I know I have plenty of art; it is just going back through many of my archives. It is an interesting process looking at images I shot months, and in many cases, years ago and assessing what I like or don’t like about the photograph. I have to admit I have been pleasantly pleased. Only big drawback is image size due to size of sensor on camera’s using at that time. My first digital SLR was only 6 megabytes which seems tiny now.  I am eagerly awaiting the release of Canon’s new 5D which I believe will be around 50 megabits. Also it only captured in jpg and tiff files; no raw files. And of course the tiff files took forever to record due to the slow cards that existed. Also the color profiles were limited to srgb or at least that is all I was aware of at the time. Amazing how technology has changed in a decades time along with my knowledge. Lesson to be learned, shoot in Raw and process in Pro Photo rgb for the largest color capture capable. You can always reduce for final output.

Below are a couple that I uploaded to my Etsy store from my archives. I have always loved tulips and since it is the beginning of spring thought it would be a timely addition. Also I am finding the pink, green and white a real upper!

Prints Available for Sale on Etsy

Tulip love

Tulip Love on Etsyperfection

Perfection on Etsy

 

Thanks for looking and check out more of my work at my Etsy Store or on my website.

Checking In

Take a Chance

March 15, 2015

“You can fail at what you don’t want so why not take a chance on doing what you love.”

– Jim Carrey

Inspirational words from Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation. (Maharishi University of Management)

 

More of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com