Writing with Light


Lighting the Tomb

I have a backlog of images that still need to be processed and as I started to go back to those I realized that there are still a number of images from my trip to Israel and Jordan that still require my attention. This is an image from a tomb in Petra.

It was so dark as we entered the tomb but also a welcome relief from the scorching sun. When I turn around to face the entrance I just came in from there was this beautiful beam of sunlight coming in from an opening high up. I shot 3 brackets to get the full dynamic range of the scene. After making some small adjustments in Lightroom 5 I processed the brackets in Photomatix and then brought it back into LR5 for some additional adjustments to the highlights and shadows.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution version (it really does look better & you’ll get all the detail) or to Purchase a Print.

Petra, Jordan, The Treasury, monument, travel, tomb, sunbeam

Bellagio Street

Bellagio’s town centre is made up of narrow streets running up and down on cobblestone steps. Each street is filled with boutiques, restaurants and cafe’s and all roads lead to the lake.

Click on the image to see a high-resolution version (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Bellagio, Italy, walkway, street, stairs, village, travel photography

Old Jaffa Arches

Old Jaffa is a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets and alleyways with stone archways that lead the visitor to beautiful galleries and delightful middle eastern eateries.

I was actually looking for a gallery I had heard about and made a wrong turn and came upon this green lit scene.  I shot 3 brackets at +2, 0, -2 and processed the brackets in Photomatix. I then brought it back into lightroom and did minor adjustments to shadows & highlights.

Click on the image to see it in high resolution (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Old Jaffa, Israel, archway, stones, green light, travel

Night Colours

The central square in Old Jaffa is a lively spot at night enjoyed by both tourists and locals alike.

On Friday I shared an image of the square with the bell tower of St. Peter’s Church as its centre point. You can see that post here. Next to the church is a restaurant with a fountain in front of it that is beautifully lit at night. You can see the lights of the restaurant in Fridays post but I wanted to get in closer so that I could capture the fountain and the colourful display.

Click on the image to see a larger version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

On another note I was out volunteering at Toronto Animal Services last weekend and I’ve just posted images on my PhoDOGraphy by Edith site of all the wonderful animals up for adoption. Click on the link and considering sharing the post. You never know you may be helping one of these cuties find a forever home.

Israel, Old Jaffa, night photography, restaurant, lights, coloured lights, fountain, water long exposure

Old Jaffa & The Beacon on the Hill

Located in the central square in Jaffa is St. Peter’s Church and the Bell Tower that dominates the hillside.

The church was built-in 1654 over a medieval fortress, in dedication to Saint Peter. It was twice destroyed and rebuilt in the late 18th century and the current structure was built-in 1894. The church is open daily and masses are conducted in English, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew.

The bell tower overlooking Jaffa’s old port and dominating the view of Jaffa from the sea, has for over a century acted as a beacon for sea-faring pilgrims signalling that the Holy Land is near.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Israel; Old Jaffa; clock Tower; blue hour; town square; long exposure; HDR; travel photography

Upstairs Downstairs

Happy Monday Everyone and a very Happy Easter for all those that celebrate. I hope you had an amazing weekend. I’m happy to report that it was a glorious weekend, weather wise. I think (and I hold my breath as I say this) that Spring is finally here.

Here’s another image for the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This was taken from the upper lobby level of the centre looking down on the multiple staircases that leads to the lower lobby. I love the contrast between the wood railings and the chrome of the staircases.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better in high resolution) or to Purchase a Print.

Toronto Performing Arts Centre, lobby, interior, Art Deco, North York, North Toronto, Theatre, upper lobby, staircase

Red Truck Grunge

Happy Monday Everyone. I hope that those that got hit by all the snowstorms this weekend have managed to shovel themselves out. We got about 10cm on Saturday and we finally got the driveway cleared yesterday.

I was processing some more images from my Rockwood Autoyard shoot (boy am I behind in processing) and I came across this image of a dilapidated red pick-up truck. When I first saw it I knew it was the perfect candidate for some HDR work. This was a 3 exposures processed in Photomatix and then in Photoshop and Topaz Clarity to give it an additional subtle pop.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Rockwood Autoyard, Ontario, Rockwood, truck, red, grunge, HDR, forest, pickup

Super Hero Hall of Fame

This past summer while strolling through Westwood Village in L.A. my husband and I spotted a Soda Pop & Candy Store called Rocket Fizz. We walked in and I just about kicked myself for not having my tripod with me…sometimes you just need to give your back a break.  I was really like a kid in a candy store…OK…maybe not a kid but definitely in a candy store. It was retro, it had candy and comic books and soda pop and while my husband was admiring the vintage collection of comic books and all that soda I was trying to figure out the best angles to shoot and what settings I should be using to get the best shot. Enjoy and no you can’t eat the lollipops 🙂

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Rocket Fizz, Los Angeles, Westwood, California, candy store, comic books, super heroes, root beer, pop, HDR, retro, lollipop

Eat Lotsa Lobster

In my last post I posted an image of Stearns Wharf at sunset. I think I mentioned that I was standing behind a restaurant near the end of the pier to take that picture. I thought it only appropriate to show you the restaurant in question, The Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. This is a HDR (3 bracketed images) processed in Photomatix. I decided not to “de-ghost” the flag as I wanted it to be fluttering in the wind.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Santa Barbara, California, pier, wharf, Stearns Wharf, restaurant, seafood, lobster, HDR, travel photography

Under the Hood

As promised here’s a shot from the Rockwood Autoyard of an actual vehicle in all its grungy goodness. This was 3 bracketed exposures merged in Photomatix. I used Topaz DeNoise to clean up a bit of noise as a results of the HDR.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Rockwood Autoyard, Ontario, tires, truck, hood, rust, HDR, windshield

Ground Floor, Please.

Because of the nature of its stacked design, The Elgin Theatre on the main floor and the Winter Garden Theatre on the top floor, access to the Winter Garden is via the grand staircase or the hand operated passenger elevator. Yes this is the real deal, grill door and all! And it works…I went for a ride 🙂

Click on the images to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Winter Garden theatre, Elgin Theatre, Toronto, elevator, vintage, operated, interior,

Winter Garden theatre, Elgin Theatre, Toronto, elevator, vintage, operated, interior,

Let Me Entertain You….

Here’s another view of the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. In yesterday’s post I gave you a little bit of the history on this beautiful theatre (you can see the post here) but didn’t give you any shooting information…sorry.

Knowing that I’d be shooting inside this theatre and having been here before (as a theatre patron not as a photographer) I knew that I would need a fairly wide angle lens. I rented the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens and I fell in love. I loved the versatility of this lens and have now added another item onto my wish list.

Due to union rules we couldn’t turn on any stage lights so the only lighting available were the house lights. A tripod was a must and 90% of the images that I took were bracketed.  Today’s image was 3 separate exposures of 30 sec, 1.3 sec and 30 sec.  With both yesterday’s image and todays I adjusted the white balance in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) before tone mapping the brackets in Photomatix. I then brought the tonemapped image into Photoshop and used Topaz Detail to bring out some of the finer details in the scene. Don’t forget you get a 15% discount on all Topaz products by using the code ELPHOTO.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

theatre, Winter Garden, Toronto, interior, stage, balcony

The Pool Deck at Sunset

Well I don’t know about you but Toronto was hit with one of the worst snowstorms it’s seen in years this past Friday. I know that our neighbours to the east, both here in Canada and in the U.S. were hit just as bad and in some cases worst. I hope everyone stayed safe and snug indoors.

Of course when the cold and snow hits my thoughts often meander over to warmer destinations and as I’m still working through my images from our recent cruise I couldn’t help but think that I would really rather be on the pool deck of the Navigator of the Seas then shovelling my drive way.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Navigator of the Seas, pool deck, sunset, cruise, bar, ocean

A Cool Place To Eat

A couple of months ago I headed down to Buffalo with my family and thanks to Guy Fieri (of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) we tried the Lake Effect Diner. This diner is circa 1952 and was originally located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. It was saved from demolition and moved to Buffalo in 2001 where it was renovated and equipped with a state of the art kitchen. I love old diners and the best part of all of this…(Guy was right) the food was excellent.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better or to Purchase a Print.

Lake Effects Diner, Buffalo, New York, diner, retro, vintage

Back to the Niagara Apothecary & Topaz DeNoise

I was going to post another fall foliage image today but realized that I’d forgotten to publish this post and wanted to get it out before the discount on Topaz DeNoise expired. (let me get to that in a minute).

Last month I posted an image from the Niagara Apothecary (you can see the original post here.) and I finally got around to processing some more images from that trip. Sorry but I’m a little bit backlogged. When I shot these I didn’t have my tripod with me so I pushed the ISO to 1000 and while my Canon 7D does a good job of handling noise when I merged my brackets in Photomatix it magnified the amount of noise as is usually the case.

This is image was 3 brackets merged in Photomatix which I then brought in to Photoshop where I adjusted levels and applied a touch of contrast. Click on the images to enlarge and really see the difference.

Niagara, apothecary, niagara on the lake, Ontario, wine country,

without Topaz DeNoise

Niagara, apothecary, niagara on the lake, Ontario, wine country,

With Topaz DeNoise

The following images were also run through Topaz DeNoise. Topaz Labs is having a special 30% off savings on Topaz DeNoise until October 12, 2012 (which is why I wanted to let you know about it) Just enter coupon code “NoiseFree” at checkout.

Niagara, apothecary, niagara on the lake, Ontario, wine country,

Niagara, apothecary, niagara on the lake, Ontario, wine country,

This last image was processed in much the same way but I really wasn’t pleased with the way Photomatix handled the exterior so I masked in the exterior from one of the original brackets and then applied DeNoise.

Niagara, apothecary, niagara on the lake, Ontario, wine country,

You can visit my gallery to purchase prints of any of these images.

Exciting News & A Bit of Ancient History

I was away from home this weekend attending a landscape photography workshop on the Bruce Peninsula here in Ontario. Aside from the very early mornings and less than ideal weather on the first day it was a fantastic experience. I will tell you more about it a little later in the week and post some images once I can sit down and process them.

Before heading out for a four drive on Friday to meet the group I received some very exciting news. The kind folks at the Travel Supermarket announced the overall winners of their Capture the Colour competition and I came in second overall. You can see their post announcing the winners here. Needless to say I was a little stunned and over the moon. Here was my submission / blog post for Capture the Colour. Thank you once again to Susanne from Buntscheck blog and Ingrid form Cosy Travels of the Viking and his Kitten for the nominations.

Now on to today’s image… (this is the ancient history part)…The Roman Coliseum.

Click to enlarge (it really looks better).

Rome, Italy, Coliseum, ancient ruins,

Stewman’s Lobster Pound – A View from Underneath

While in Bar Harbor  we had dinner one night at Stewman’s Lobster Pound right on the water. While the food was delicious, the surrounding landscape (or seascape) is what kept pulling my attention. After the meal I excused myself, dragged my friend with me, and proceeded to explore. I found myself taking a ramp down to a platform on the water where picnic tables were set up. This also placed me at the bottom of the pier.

Click to enlarge (it really looks better) or to purchase a print.

pier, Bar harbour, Stewman's Lobster Pound, HDR, Maine,

The Print Shop

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s.  A quick post today as I’m heading out-of-town to Quebec City for some skiing and what else…photography. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates while I’m there. I’ve got a couple of posts lined up for the rest of the week and hopefully will have some shots from my trip to share when I get back.

For today a trip to The Print Shop at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

2011 – A Year in Review

I started this blog on June 2, 2011, almost 7 months ago. It hasn’t been a full year yet but as we bid farewell to 2011 and get ready to welcome in a New Year I thought it fitting to look back on the short life of this site and how I fit into this thing called the World Wide Web. I launched Edith Levy Photography & Project 52 as a way to share my images with family and friends and ensure that I make a commitment to get out and shoot on a consistent basis. I also hoped that this blog would allow me to connect with the photographic community, get feedback and learn from others.

Well what’s happened in the last 7 months has completely exceeded my expectations. I’ve been posting more than once a week. I’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting. I’m learning new post processing techniques everyday. I have met so many wonderful and supportive individuals….people that I’m proud to call “Friend.” I want to say Thank You to everyone that follows this blog and comes back day after day. It means so much to get your encouragement and feedback. I’m truly proud to be part of this community.

This blog has grown since its inception and I’m amazed to say that as of yesterday I’ve hit over 20,000 views. As I look forward to 2012, ideas keep swirling around in my mind on where I’d like to take not only this site but my photography as well.  The only thing that I really need is time which there never seems to be enough of. The ideas are taking shape and I’ll tackle them methodically, one at a time until they become reality.

I’ve had some people ask if I sell my images…I do. Keep an eye out because early in January I will be adding a gallery to the site where images can be purchased.

Below are some of my favorite images from 2011…Enjoy.  Wishing you a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!

You can click on the images to see a larger version.

The Saddler & Harness Maker

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  As I eluded to last week I would be posting some images from my visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village.  The village is a recreation of what life looked like in 19th Century Ontario. The site includes 35 restored heritage buildings including a Blacksmith shop, General Store and Schoolhouse.

We start our visit today with the shop of the Saddler & Harness Maker. (You can click on the images to see a larger version)

This was such a terrific building to photograph. The sun was shining on this day and casting some awesome shadows on the building itself. I positioned myself a few different ways until I got the shadow of the tree the way I wanted it with the branches almost hugging the building. I really wanted the focus to be on the shadows and felt this worked best in B&W which I processed with Topaz B&W Effects.

The next 2 images are from the interior of the building. All I could think of when I was in there was that this would make a great Ralph Lauren ad.

Bagel Time!

Now if you’re in Montreal on a Sunday morning (or any morning really) there’s a time-honoured tradition that you must have a bagel for breakfast…preferably with some lox and cream cheese. There are many great bagel places in Montreal, where they hand-roll and bake the bagels in a large wood fired stone oven. Our favourite (and home of the original Montreal Bagel) is Fairmount Bakery.

When it first opened in 1919 the bakery was located on a little lane just off of St. Lawrence Boulevard which was known back then as “The Main.” In 1949 the bakery moved to Fairmount Street (just one block north of St. Lawrence) where it still resides today. Mmmmm you just can’t beat a hot, fresh Montreal bagel (hmmm…I think I may hear from some New Yorkers after I post this 🙂 )

The image above is 3 bracketed exposures processed with Photomatix and then using Topaz Adjust 5 I applied the Vintage Grunge Preset 2 from the Film Collection.

To HDR or Not To HDR

Project 52 – Entry #7

Last week I posted a sunset picture that I made reference too as being a HDR image and I thought I should probably get into that a little bit more this week. Now there’s a lot of debate out there as to whether HDR photography is realistic or not. Well that depends on the picture and who you ask. Some HDR images are processed in such a way as to have a very “grungy” look and that works in certain situations and for specific subjects. HDR  is also used in difficult lighting conditions where metering for one area may leave another either underexposed or overexposed (such as my 3rd photo below where the interior was quite dark but outside it was a bright sunny day).

So what is HDR?

Distillery District, TorontoCanon Xti, Sigma 10 – 20mm, f/14, 1/200, 14mm                                                                                                                   

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range imaging. It’s a technique that gives a photograph a greater dynamic range of shadows, midtones and highlights or the darker and lighter part of an image. In some instances what the eye actually sees is not interpreted in the same way through the lens. DSLRs will pick up a lot of detail in a scene but not the full dynamic range.

I’m not going to write a whole tutorial on the subject but I did want to give you some insight to what HDR is all about.

A HDR image is made up of anywhere from 3 to 9 bracketed exposures (yes I’ve seen some photographers use 9 but let’s stick with the low-end of the spectrum for now). By the way “bracketed exposures” are a sequence of images taken at different exposures that are then merged in post-production using software such as Photoshop or HDRsoft’s Photomatix Pro.

A few key things to remember when shooting your brackets:

  1. always use a tripod (although I’m bad because I’ve found myself in situations where I didn’t have my tripod with me. It’s amazing how one learns to hold one’s

    Canon Xti, Sigma 18 - 200mm, f/5.6, 18mm

    breath in these situations.)

  2. Use a consistent aperture, ISO & focus. I always stick with 100 ISO so   I don’t have a lot of noise in my final image.
  3. If you can, use a remote shutter release to avoid even the slightest camera shake

Now that you’ve taken your shots, downloaded and merged your brackets you’re now ready for tonemapping. What you thought you were finished? This is where the hard work comes in but I’ll tackle that in another post.

If you’re interested in learning more about HDR Photography then you need to check out Trey Ratcliff from StuckInCustoms.com who just released a new HDR Video Tutorial which is awesome!  Click here to see Stuck In Customs.

Canon Xti, Sigma 18 - 200mm, f/9, 1/125, 28mm