Snowstorm!

Peter's Cove, Blue Hill, ME

Peter's Cove, Blue Hill, ME

A pretty good snowstorm hit the area today, and I made a quick and risky stop on a barely plowed road to make this image of  Peter’s Cove. There was no time for a tripod due to the poor road conditions, and due to the fact Peter’s Cove is at the bottom of a hill. Hand held for 1/25 sec at f/11, ISO 200 and 24mm focal length . A snow plow coming down the hill beeped at me and I had to abandon further shooting.

Blue Hill Hearth, Blue Hill, ME

After picking up my girls from school, we went to the Blue Hill Hearth for an after school snack. The bakery is in back of North Light Books, and serves a great variety of delicious baked goods, as well as soup and pizza.

Blue Hill Hearth
Blue Hill Hearth, Blue Hill, ME

Today, Liz (on left) and Molly were working and kindly let me photograph them as they worked,

Cleaning up, Blue Hill Hearth
Liz (on left) and Molly cleaning up.

and even posed for a more serious shot ( :-)  )

Liz & Molly, Blue Hill Hearth
Liz & Molly, Blue Hill Hearth

Meanwhile, Eva (left) and Rose were engrossed in reading about Charlie Brown and Snoopy while grazing on a tasty muffin:

Dining at Blue Hill Hearth
Dining at Blue Hill Hearth, January 2011

A new website for Paul Andrew Photography.

My main portfolio site is hosted at paulandrewphoto.com, and has been constructed and maintained with Apple’s iWeb since 2003 (if memory serves me correctly). However, I’ve never been completely happy with the lack of customizability inherent in iWeb, and I’ve tried to find some simple web design software (short of Dreamweaver) that I can use to create a more elegant and simple web site.

Finally, I found a nice solution—Freeway Pro 5.5 by Softpress. I spent all day yesterday figuring out how to work the software, and once I made some serious progress, I became rather obsessed, and finished a working mock-up of the site, and didn’t go to sleep till about 3 am. (The down side of this was not so pleasant, as I had to get up at 6:30 to make breakfast for my kids and drive them to school this morning.) After dropping my kids off at school, I completely removed my old iWeb site and replaced it with the new improved version.

There are a few more pages to add, but the main work was going through my Lightroom library and culling through 1000+ images and choosing which images to include. I settled on about 7 black and white images, and 20 color images that I felt were a good representation of my work.

The interesting (perhaps somewhat demoralizing!) aspect of this process was how much more critical I have become of my own images. The more photographs I make, the more my older photographs seem to become flawed in some way.  The image above is an exception to this general trend—I still find this to be a well-composed and pleasing image. But that’s a subject for another post—after I have a good sleep.

Do you find the same dissatisfaction with your older images in general?

Canary Cove, Maine

During my semester break, I have been going through my image library—adding keywords, deleting bad images and picking images that I want to use when I eventually go on to redesign my portfolio at www.paulandrewphoto.com—and I came across this image that I made back in September of 2010. I pass by this little nub of an island many times each week, and for most of the time, it’s not very photogenic. The evening I made this image, a thick fog bank was lifting off of Blue Hill bay, and I managed to be passing by as this scene unfolded.

The fog erased the background from view, which is normally distracting and by doing so, created a simple, beautiful scene which allowed me to create an image that I think is worthy for inclusion in my portfolio.

White Balance in Architectural Photography

I just finished editing a set of architectural photographs for Steve Prescott of Fiddlehead Designs in Brunswick, Maine. This is a total kitchen redesign he recently finished for a client. Steve did all of the cherry cabinetry for this job, and he had custom glass created locally for the cabinet doors. It’s an impressive job, and anyone who has had any experience with woodworking will immediately notice the attention to detail from the matching of wood grain, to the extremely uniform reveals and excellent joinery.

Photographically, the job required an extremely stable tripod, as I wanted to show the kitchen in the lighting conditions actually present in the kitchen. I used the available light to photograph everything, and this meant at ISO 100, exposures of around 2 seconds at f/11.  The most challenging aspect (that threatened to take even more post processing time than I  wanted to spend) was the very blue (and very bright!) outdoor light streaming in through  the windows, while the indoor color temperature was due to the “warmer” tungsten lights (It drives the physicist part of my brain absolutely nuts to call blue light “cool” and red light “warm”—who came up with this?). The best way to have dealt with this would have been to have to drop the window shade, but that would have made my exposure times either very long or required me to go to higher ISOs than I like. So I used Photoshop CS5 to select the window area (and a few “cool” patches in the image) and applied a warming filter. Not perfect, but it made a marked improvement. Perhaps lowering the window shades would have been better? What would you do?

Lightroom 3, with its ability to correct for lens distortion and make manual adjustments made my 17-40 f4L lens into a pretty close approximation of a tilt-shift lens, and I could perform all these corrections on the raw images non-destructively. This is a completely fantastic feature, although it really seems to slow down processing of the images when this is enabled.

More images of this kitchen can be seen at this site.