Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Surprise

This week, Ann-Christine in her photo challenge asks us to feature images that are the result of a surprise. As it turned out, I have two surprise encounters with horses that I thought would be the appropriate responses to this week’s challenge. In the opening image, while traveling through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we rounded a corner on the scenic drive to discover several cars stopped in the middle of the roadway, no one was going anywhere and people were out of their cars, cameras in hand. A small band of wild horses parked themselves on the roadway much to the delight of the park visitors who happened along at that moment. Continue reading

But I Digress… Keeping Fit in Trying Times

Fargo, North Dakota.

So this week’s feature can be called “Untravel Tuesday.” While COVID-19 is up ticking through much of the country, it has been trending downward in North Dakota. One of the things I missed most over the last few months is daily attendance at the fitness center for my cardio and weight classes. The center I regularly use in Fargo is Total Balance. They offer physical therapy as well as a workout area and exercise classes. I’ve been a member since 2008. Though their physical therapists have been available by appointment, until recently, the center was closed to members. The instructors, however, like many around the country are offering online classes. Now that they’ve re-opened, class sizes are severely restricted with online first-come, first-served signup. In conjunction, they are broadcast via Facebook Live for those who prefer to continue to workout from home. Continue reading

Dronie Sunday – 28 June 2020

Fargo, North Dakota.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours mentioned Orchard Glen Park in the extreme south of Fargo along the Red River. What we learned upon our first visit is that if we headed further south and then east to the Red River, we would find another park known as Forest River Park. The two parks are less than a mile apart and we’ve discovered they are a popular place for people to explore and bird watch. Situated at an “oxbow” in the river, Forest River Park is about 2000 ft (609 m) by 900 ft (274 m), with the main trail and several smaller trails wandering through the trees. If you look carefully toward the top center of the photo, you’ll see a large house with a red and white roof visible just below the edge of the trees. That house is on the other side of the Red River in Minnesota, the river marking the north, east, and south borders of the park. If your browser allows it, you may have to select the photo to enlarge it for a closer view of the house. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Quiet Moment

This week for our Lens-Artists challenge, Patti Moed asks us to share captures of “A Quiet Moment.”  She writes, “Maybe it’s a walk early in the morning or the time you sit down with a book and a cup of coffee.  Include shots captured at home or in your neighborhood, or from a trip to a faraway place months or years ago.” You can view her entire challenge post here.

For my opening image, I am reaching back almost 40 years to my college days. I spent a week with a college buddy backpacking in the backcountry of the Bighorn Mountains near Sheridan, Wyoming. This image was digitally reworked from the original 4×6 snapshot. Early on a crisp, cool morning, we had the fire going as we started our day. Continue reading

But I Digress… Getting Used to the Samsung S20 Ultra

In April 2016, I accepted the volunteer position of Wing Commander for North Dakota Wing Civil Air Patrol. In support of that position, I was provided a cell phone that would provide my staff and our organization’s partners a way to contact me directly. That phone is a Samsung S7 that, by the end of my four-year term, was on its last legs. My own personal phone, a Samsung S6 was little used but beginning to show its age on battery life, even though it was off much of the last four years. Besides, as a reward for my hard work in CAP, I wanted to upgrade to a better phone once my term ended. My wife had acquired a Samsung S9 and its camera system is much improved over both the S6 and S7. My original plan was to probably go with the S10 in April when my term expired. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 21 June 2020

Fargo, North Dakota.

Recently my wife, Lynn, and I discovered a park that’s new to us. In a future Travel Tuesday, I’ll feature a photo story about the park and its beginnings. Over the Memorial Day Weekend, I was busy capturing images of the apple orchard that is the signature feature of the park. In late May, the trees are in bloom and the soft light of a thin overcast allowed me to capture some detail of a pod of apple blossoms. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Single Flower

This week, the photo challenge team welcomes a guest challenger, Cee of Cee’s Photo Challenges. I’ve been a follower of photo challenges she posted or others she’s mentioned almost since I started blogging about photography. Her challenge this week features images of a single flower. She writes, “When I was asked to guest host, my first thought was it had to be a flower challenge and as I thought more about it, I came up with the topic one single flower. One of my favorite quotes is ‘If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.’ Buddha.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

Though I have little knowledge of varieties of flowers, (you’ll note my lack of names referenced in these images),, I know beauty when I see it. This challenge allowed me to review my gallery to look for floral images to share. I paired that task with another, improving my skills with Luminar. For each of these images, I found the original source right out of the camera, and after some basic Lightroom tweaks, I exported each image to Luminar Flex to complete the reprocessing.

This image happened to capture a bee in flight. Even though I’d seen a couple of bees flying around the plants, I didn’t expect to capture one. In the reprocessing, I cropped the image square to include the bee and since the background wasn’t quite out of focus enough, I added a soft filter mask to the background and a dark vignette to emphasize the two subjects.

This image needed only minor adjustments. I increased the sharpness of the flower and since I’d used a telephoto lens with a wide lens opening, the background needed no softening. I added a subtle vignette in Luminar and called the image finished.

This image is one of the few flower images I’ve printed. The reprocessing involved lowering the background exposure with a mask to make the warm colors of the flower stand out even more.

A square crop, a soft-focus mask for the background, and a high structure mask for the flower brought out the delicate details in the petals.

This flower was processed almost identically to the image immediately preceding.

My favorite floral image in my archive is this rose. It is the only image not captured with a DSLR and telephoto lens. I saw the flower sitting on the counter in a glass of water. I used my Samsung S5 cell phone, holding it directly over the top of the rose. The dark gray counter provided a perfect backdrop for this image. The light gray at the bottom is the reflection of a fluorescent tube ceiling light. The reprocessing included only a crop to a square format and a tweak on the Structure slider to bring out the definition in the petal edges.

Thanks again to Cee for allowing me to share some of my favorite flower images.

John Steiner

 

Yuma Territorial Prison State Park – 3:10 to Yuma

Yuma, Arizona.

Notice: This post is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic and at this time, the park is closed to visitors. Please stay safe and follow your state or country’s guidelines for travel in your region. More information on the park’s current status can be found here.

Looks like they finally caught up with me. They put me on that train featured in the movie “3:10 to Yuma” and I must serve my time in the Yuma Territorial Prison. My “sentence” would only last a few hours visiting the once-notorious prison that is now a state park. That “mug shot” of me features a mirror that allowed prison officials to take a front and side view mug shot on a single exposure. The mirror is set up for guests to don a quick-change striped jacket, grab one of the prison numbers, and get someone to snap your photo. The Yuma prison is one of the first to use a mirror in creating prison record photographs. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 14 June 2020

Fargo, North Dakota.

Spring flooding has been an issue for many years along the Red River of the North in Fargo. At Lindenwood Park in south Fargo, a pedestrian bridge has linked Lindenwood with Gooseberry Park in Moorhead Minnesota since 1978. During the summer, that bridge joined the two communities but each year during flood season, the City of Fargo would bring large cranes to the site to lift the bridge out of the water to keep the floodwaters from washing the bridge downriver. In 2013, construction was completed on a new lift bridge that features concrete abutments and a lift system that brings the bridge above the 500-year flood level.

About the photo: This image was captured on my Samsung S20U cell phone using automatic metering and exposure at f/1.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO-16. It was edited in Lightroom and Luminar 4. In most browsers, you can click on the image to get a closer look.

John Steiner

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Long and Winding Road

The American Southwest.

This week Tina brings us the 100th Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Each week I look forward to either searching my galleries or grabbing my camera to find appropriate images to share that focus on the challenge topic. Tina writes in part, “This week, share your images and thoughts about the long and winding road. Feel free to be literal or metaphorical in your approach.” You can read her entire challenge post here. Continue reading