What I’m Looking At

A State Park with fantastic rock formations, a birch grove unfurling chartreuse leaves, a sod farm, skunk cabbage – even parking lots are looking good to me these days. The day before yesterday I walked down to Pike Place Market after a meeting in Seattle and took loads of photos of the flowers they sell there – that’s for next time.

It’s quieter colors for now:

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I played around with the processing on a few of these photos.  The parking lot –  I rarely do this, but I used an in-camera preset – “toy camera” – I like the effect.

The sixth photo down, of a truck in the sod field viewed through an irrigation line wheel, was taken while I held my sunglasses in front of the camera lens.   They give a warm glow and good cloud definition without the cost of a filter!

Those old irrigation lines with their rusty wheels are still in use, and the farm manager I spoke to doesn’t like them.  The vintage-look photo was done with a sepia preset in Lightroom. Then I added some subtle textures and a border with Perfect Effects (a free program you can find online).

The Black & white windswept tree has a warming filter applied in Photoshop Elements, and the skunk cabbage has a preset called Antique Light, applied in Lightroom, with more fiddling around after that.

Some people say that if you get the picture right in the camera, you don’t need all these effects.  There’s a lot of truth to that. Still, I enjoy experimenting with effects. I usually keep them fairly subtle, and I think I learn more about what I’m looking at as I apply them.

And that’s what it’s about – thinking about what I’m looking at, refining the way I see it, and sharing it with you.

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The weathered sandstone formations are at Larrabee State Park outside of Bellingham, Washington. The birch grove is at Mercer Slough, Bellevue, WA; the parking lot is in Woodinville.  The sod farm is not far from the Microsoft campus in Redmond. The windblown tree is on a knoll that reaches into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, at Rosario Beach on Fidalgo Island, WA.  The skunk cabbage is in a swampy area at Bellevue Botanic Garden, Bellevue, WA.


25 comments

  1. Lynn, I love all your effects, especially the idea of putting the sunglasses in front of the lens. That sounds like something even I could handle. I love the parking lot photo, the windswept tree, the wagon wheel and the farmland. Beautiful as always. 🙂

    • Cathy, I always like to hear which are your favorites. I sense that this week it’s the ones that resonate more emotionally; that’s good for me to remember. And you know, if you wear nice big girlie sunglasses, all the easier to shade your camera lens with them!

      • I have big girlie sunglasses, but I think they have a bit of a rose tint to them. That would make for some rose-colored pictures. Yes, as far as resonating emotionally, I think many of your photos do that for me but I hadn’t really thought about why I’m drawn to particular ones. Thanks for your insight. 🙂

  2. This is a fascinating collection. I like your sense of adventure, though I’m not totally convinced that mixing so many styles in a single group is a good thing. I have no problem with post processing. You are making pictures and if the subtle use of filters or whatever enhances what you wish to express, then that’s fine in my book. The use of colour is very effective – even transforming a potentially boring car park into a dramatic scenario. My favourite, of course, is the first. I love the patterns and textures with just a hint of colour – the blue and orange.

    • Louis, I know you’re right about not showing too many different styles together – I just have too many photos that I want o post! I know the black & white one gets a bit lost here among the others. Oh well. I’m glad you like the first one. Those rock formations obviously beg to be photographed but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and I was really pleased with that one.

  3. “And that’s what it’s about – thinking about what I’m looking at, refining the way I see it, and sharing it with you.” LOVE that sentiment and your expression of it!!!!

    Now, the parking lot and the lighting… striking. And the image of the tree, it was like looking at mother nature standing there with long, flowing hair and outstretched arms. Liked too the depth, the boulder in foreground, her (the tree) in the middle and the mountains in the background, it created a relationship amongst the objects that at first glance seemed barren, but actually becomes intimate. Okay, maybe I’m just weird! 🙂

    • Thanks, Charlotte, for commenting on the words – they don’t come easily to me. Your thoughts about the photo are weird? Not to me. And it’s like you’re trolling Zen thought again, probably unconsciously. There’s a lot of talk about intimacy in Zen. Certainly when I was there, it was all-of-a-piece. Rocktreemountain could not have been more connected, but it all falls apart when the camera box gets in between, sometimes anyway. So I’m very glad it hit you that way.

  4. What a fabulous variety of shots, all of which have a certain lingering quality to them, they stop us in a space while reminding us of the connections between urban and open places. The brilliant car park shot centres them all and I love that you had fun playing with the pre-sets and the sunglasses etc because the results are so damn good!

    • Thank you so much, Patti. I really appreciate your thoughts & feedback – I know you’re an accomplished photographer, so your reactions mean a lot. Lingering – funny you say that, because I tend to do that. I’m glad it comes through.

  5. I really love the organic feel to your first image with the slight graininess of the sandstone colours .
    I like seeing other peoples experimentation with effects ..beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂

    • Yes it is, and thank you so much for the comment. That sandstone is really grainy – so grainy it provided perfect hand holds as I clambered around. And strangely, there’s no effect added to those two shots – that’s the sandstones own texture.


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