More pictures, no food

So today’s excuse for not posting recipes (which I REALLY intended to do) is this: I NEED TO PRACTICE PHOTOGRAPHY. And photo processing! This trip to Africa is coming up FAST and I’m SUCH an amateur. The exact reason I haven’t been posting, or even really doing that much creative cooking, is I needed a new laptop to take to Africa to use for processing my pictures while we are there, and after MUCH research (I struggled mightily against the inevitable), I ended up allowing Mark to buy me a MacBook Air (I know, I let him do it; aren’t I generous?) even though I’m not into and don’t know how to use Macs. But in the end the desire to use Adobe Lightroom got to me and I decided that OS X was a lesser evil than Windows (I’m a Linux user by default, and Lightroom is not available for Linux), plus I’ll need the longest battery life I can get on safari and the Air seems to have the best battery life of any ultrabook by a long shot. So what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks is learning how to use Lightroom, which is kind of surprising because honestly I get really antsy when sitting under a computer for hours on end (I do enough of that at work) and I have never enjoyed post-processing photos very much. It’s just kind of been something I have to do. But for some reason I’ve been having fun with Lightroom! (But boy do I dread having to learn Photoshop!) So, no, I don’t yet have the seitan and yogurt tutorials I’d planned, or the gooseberry recipe. or all the other grandiose blog posts I thought I’d spend July putting together. THIS is what I have done instead:


One of the first images I processed in Lightroom; this is Painted Turtle Pond in Occoquan Bay NWR.

A bunny at the refuge.

Scott’s Run in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. This is my first real attempt at HDR! I hadn’t even intended it to be HDR, but I took several different long exposures and when going through the pictures thought, heyyyyy, why not HDR them? (Yes, I just used HDR as a verb.)

This is where Scott’s Run spills into the Potomac in a nice little waterfall. This is also HDR.

This is the Potomac River from a lovely overlook rock in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. Another HDR/long exposure.

The Burling House ruins – pretty much just a fireplace – in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

Long exposure of Scotts Run maybe a quarter mile north of the waterfall.

Another take:

It’s kind of hard to resist taking self portraits when doing long exposures, what with the tripod already set up and the shutter remote in my pocket…this is me at Scott’s Run.

Scott’s Run was Friday night after work. Today, Sunday, Mark and I went kayaking on the Occoquan River. This is the historic town of Occoquan.

Mark kayaking. Here is a fact about me: I taught myself how to use a film SLR in high school, eventually becoming a photographer for our school newspaper, and I strongly preferred B&W to color film – probably 75% of my pics from high school and college are B&W. So I’m loving the B&W “film” options in Silver Efex Pro.

Me kayaking in B&W.

My dilemma: how to express my love of the look of vintage photography without having my photographs look like Instragram filters…I think this is the first time I have ever ADDED grain to a photo. Yikes.

There is an old water treatment facility that is no longer used on the Occoquan River in the town of Occoquan. Fairfax Water is supposed to be removing it to allow for the creation of a park. It’s kind of an eyesore, but then I also kind of like industrial shots.

There are some really cool rocks in the river near the water treatment facility, although you can’t go too far amongst them and they prevent you from going any further upriver which is kind of annoying. I called this photo Houses of the Holy. :)

I DON’T OBEY SIGNS.

Waterfront property in Occoquan, again (although I tend to despise new construction, I really like these houses):

Finally, this is not a great picture because I was using my cheap waterproof camera instead of a dSLR but I include it for Jes – a bunch of black vultures let me kayak right up to them as they bathed.

Okay, enough photo bombardment. I will hopefully be back soon with some more tutorials. Hell, maybe my food pictures will actually improve now that I’m “developing” Lightroom skills! (Pun intended because I am a dork.)

1 Comment »

  1. Josiane Said,

    August 4, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

    Beautiful pictures!
    It must be quite exciting to know that your trip to Africa is happening in the very near future! All the learning and practicing you’re doing will certainly pay off. I’m looking forward to reading your posts about your trip and, of course, seeing the amazing pics you’ll take there.

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