Spit Tone Test 1

Split Toning in Lightroom

I read an interesting article on dPS (Digital Photography School) today about using the split toning tool in Lightroom.  It caught my eye, because that’s one of the keys of Lightroom that I haven’t figured out yet.  DPS’s article cleared that up for me, especially after playing around with it on a few photos.

For the first test and above photo, I used both the shadow and highlight tool to create very blue cast to the photo, which was taken in Pennsylvania’s Bald Eagle State Park.  I wasn’t quite sold on split toning with this photo, but I kept playing around.  For reference, here’s the original below.

Lightroom Test 1 original

Next, I decided to use this photo and see what I could do with some minor adjustments and contrasting colors with split toning.

Split Toning Test 2

For reference, here are the settings I used in Lightroom in the screenshot below.

split tone screenshot 1

I rather like the results I got, but I read the dPS article further, which was written by Pete DeMarco, by the way, and had an a ha moment.  Before that, though, here’s the original for the tree and flowers photo.

Split Tone Test 2 Original

Now for that A HA! moment I promised.  I read DeMarco’s article further, and he usually uses either the highlight part OR the shadow part, but usually not both.  DUH!!! I was using both.  The results for me were gaudy, especially with the lake photo.

Ok, I can do this.  Here’s my photo using just the Highlights sliders.  It’s crane in a junkyard, and I’m using a magenta cast, which DeMarco uses a lot, so I wanted to see what the results were like for myself.

Use highlights if your photo is bright, such as the sun in the original below, according to DeMarco’s advice.

Split Tone Test 3 Original

If your photo is dark, he suggests using the Shhadows sliders if a photo is dark.  Here’s the original photo of a chicken I took at a local farm.  It’s darkish.

Split Tone Test 4 Original

Here’s what happened when I used the Shadows slider with a blue cast.

Split Tone Test 4 Shadows

Funky chicken!

This split toning thing for is going to take some practice, and that’s fine!  I like learning new post-processing tips and tricks.  I encourage you to read the entire article and learn more about split toning on dPS.  They have some stuff over there.



Himalayas in India. Photo by Susan Gottlieb

Susan Gottlieb: Pictures of India

My aunt, Susan Gottlieb, is currently traveling in India, through the Himalayan mountains, Buddhist monasteries, and winding valleys.  I am quite jealous!  I want to share some of her pictures here.

Aunt Suzy is an extremely accomplished artist, traveler, and family woman.  She has taught art in different places, spent time in Italy studying her craft, and has traveled all over the world, in addition to India, which is her second time in there.  Last time, she was in the southern portion.  Now, she is exploring the mountainous north.

I would like to share a few of her photos here, so all photos in the post were taken by her, obviously, as I am still here in Pennsylvania.  Please, enjoy them, and get a taste of a different part of the world.

Prayer flags in the Himalayas in India. Photo by Susan Gottlieb.

Green Valley at the foot of the Himalayas. Photo by Susan Gottlieb.Wrath!  Photo by Susan Gottlieb.

Peaks and Prayer Flags. Photo by Susan Gottlieb.

Butter Lamps. Photo by Susan Gottlieb.

I implore you to check out more of her photos and learn more about her journey on her Facebook page.  Also, a lot of her photos are featured on her Instagram account, too.


View of the Kissel Hill Flower Field

Kissel Hill Flower Field

At the intersection of Kissel Hill Road and Oregon Road in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, is a beautiful field of wildflowers on a farm, which is right by the Lancaster Airport.  The owners of the farm kindly let people wander around the field, as long as you don’t pick the flowers.  People have been telling me to get out there and take some photos, so I did.

I got some great shots!  Beautiful shots!  It was lovely to stroll around this place on Sunday afternoon.

The above shot, of course, is from that field.  Here are a few more shots I would like to share with you.

Yellow daisy amongst other smaller white daisies.


Red and yellow wildflowers


Now, want to see the rest of them?  You’ll have to hop on over to my portfolio for that! And it’s worth it.


Wild Spanish Mustangs on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, USA

Shut Up, and Take My Money!

That’s what I’m screaming at Adobe right now.  Ugh.  I have that meme of Fry in my head as I yell, “Shut up, and take my money!”

Philip J. Fry "Shut up, and take my money!"

I have been playing around with Adobe Lightroom CC.  I love it.  I’m going to end up getting a subscription.

I have been using Adobe Photoshop Elements for a long time.  I think I’ve outgrown it a long time ago.  My photo editing workflow is not what it should be.

For instance, I have been picking random unedited RAW files out of my library of photos and working on them in Lightroom CC.  The above photo of the wild Spanish mustangs on the beach in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, USA was taken last year.  It didn’t quite make the publishing cut, but it otherwise made a good photo to practice with.  For reference, here’s the original.

Wild Spanish Mustangs, OBX, NC, USA original file

So, I’ve been having fun playing around with Lightroom’s tools and presets.  I love the idea of presets.  I love the idea being able to adjust presets and copy them to other photos.  I’m glowing.

The photo above wasn’t the only one I worked with.  Here’s a few other before and after shots of photos that tested Lightroom on.  The originals are on the left hand side, and the edited outcomes are on the right.

And, lastly, I think this one’s editing is the most dramatic….

So yeah, Adobe, you can have my $9.99 a month.  I think this software on the Creative Cloud is worth it.  I can’t wait to dig in further down this rabbit hole!

Oh, and I would love any tips, tricks, and pointers you could give me.  I’m learning, and I’m sure there’s a lot to unlock in Lightroom CC!


Rain Cloud Cosplay by Samantha Leigh Fern

Omni Lens Studios Cosplay Photos

I am really pleased with the photos I got from the Omni Lens Studios cosplay event.  I only wish I would have stepped up and taken more!  Still, with that being said, I am very happy with the shots I did get, such as Samantha Leigh Fern‘s delightful rain cloud cosplay costume at the top here.  She made it herself, including adding the LED lights.  I loved seeing people’s creativity that day!

Here are a few more that I took that I want to show you before I send you over to the portfolio.

Ms. Eclipse Nighshade's JRPG cosplay

Ms. Eclipse Nightshade here was a master at JRPG costuming.  I like the contrast of her outfit on the red painted brick wall.

Katie Dempsey as Cruella Deville

Katie Dempsey here was specialized in Disney cosplay, as she is a smouldering Cruella DeVille here from 101 Dalmatians.

I am really please with the shots I got, I really am.  The models and tools I had to work with here excellent, so thanks to all for their time and talents!

Now, to send you over to the portfolio.  Word of caution.  There are a few shots that feature graffiti with strong language.  If you are easily offended, skip over the ones you see the graffiti in the thumbnails.  Consider yourself warned.  Otherwise, head on over to my portfolio, and see what I got!

Omni Lens Studios Cosplay Portfolio

Comic book sound effects graphic

Cosplay Fun at Omni Lens Studios

I’ve been curious about Omni Lens Studios for a while, as I have driven past it for a quite a bit, as it is a local business in the Ephrata, PA, USA area, very close to where I live.  After meeting up with the group on Facebook, I decided to attend their cosplay photo shoot event on July 3.

Walking into the studio is cool.  Very cool.  Every inch of the place, including the bathroom, can be used as a photo shoot spot.  There are so many interesting details, right down to the colorful to the steampunk, to the goth.  Fantastic.  Oh, and the dark EDM playing in the background, spot on.

I had a great time!  The event was open to both photographers and models, both professional and amateur.  I couldn’t decide which to do.  So Chad Geist, the mastermind behind Omni Lens Studios, said I could do both.  Neato!

I really don’t do cosplay, but I did dress up weird, just for fun, and brought some of my hoops with me.  (I do have one outfit, but I’m debuting it at an event on Saturday, which you should totally come to.) I modeled, took some photos of others, and talked photography shop with people.

There were a wide range of cosplayers there.  Lots of DC Universe characters, and some great anime outfits.  Someone was Abby from NCIS, and The Crow showed up for photos, too.  I love seeing people’s creativity and thought in their outfits!

I did learn a few things.

  1. I am out of practice with strobes.  I’ve worked with strobes before with the Lancaster County Photography Meetup, but it’s been a while.  Some of it eventually did come back to me, but I need to work with them more, for sure.
  2. I need to be more creative when posing models.  I can pose myself generally for photos as a model, but when it comes to directing people myself, I need to be more, well, direct.
  3. I need to relax.  As usual, when I’m with a group of new people, I tense up and get weird.  I know I was in an unfamiliar environment, but the people were nice, and it was a good crowd!

Photos will be forthcoming, both that were taken of me and taken by me. In the meantime, hop on over to Omni Lens Studio’s Facebook page, and check the place out!


“Proud to be in America” Photos

Yay!  The French family that belongs to my photography meetup group just got their green cards!  As a celebration, one of the meetup members organized a “Proud to be in America” picnic to honor such an occasion.

The picnic was located in Overlook Park, Manheim Township, PA, USA.  It was a lovely day outside, a tad warm, but otherwise gorgeous.  The picnic started off with a photo walk around the park, which had some pretty interesting details and scenery around it.  Here are a few of my photos.

Black-eyed Susans

Dew on pear tree leaves

Two little girls at play.

What a great day!

Oh, I couldn’t resist bringing some of my hoops along to the picnic, too.  Adults and kids alike got into the hooping action, which you can read about here on my hooping blog.  In fact, here’s a photo of my friend Diane giving hooping a shot.

Diane hooping.

If you would like to see the rest of my photos from the picnic, I encourage you to head on over to my portfolio site to check them out!

Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflowers in Binn’s Park

I’m glad I had my iPhone with me the other, because the purple coneflowers are blooming in Binn’s Park, Lancaster, PA, USA, and they are gorgeous.

I always think of purple coneflowers as harbingers of summer.  Once they bloom, I know it’s getting hot outside.  Know the herbal supplement echinacea?  Well, you’re looking at where it comes from.

Here’s another one of the blooms I saw in the park.

Purple Coneflower in Binn's Park, Lancaster, PA, USA

I like the lighting in this one, actually.  What do you think?

I just wanted to do a quick Friday post to share these photos.  Have a great weekend!

Screenshot of iPhone camera grid

The Grid

I’m a big fan of using the Rule of Thirds, so that’s why I like using the grid on my iPhone when taking photos.  (The grid is automatically added in your camera app.  It’s even available for selfies.)

In fact, that’s why that grid is there; it’s there to help you compose better photos, if you want.  When I went to Ocean City, New Jersey, USA on Saturday and got my phone out to take some photos, I decided to use that grid and see check out my results.

Here’s the first photo:

Seagull on a lamp post in Ocean City, New Jersey, USA.

I lined up the light post vertical line on the left hand side, and made sure the bird was right at the point where that line and top line intersect, which is pretty much how the Rule of Thirds works.  It made for a pleasing composition with this photo.

As for the second one, this is what I got.

Kites, the moon, and the Atlantic Ocean at sunset at Ocean City, New Jersey, USA.

It was such a clear evening, and the moon was beautiful of the ocean.  Along with the kites, I tried my best to line up the top kite at one intersection, and the moon at at another.  For taking a photo without zooming in, I think it turned out decent.

So, that’s how I use the grid in my iPhone, in case you were wondering why it’s there.  I hope that help you our with taking photos on your phone.  Happy shooting!