Fixing Up Old Photos: Hollywood & Vine

After completing my homework for the first week of Lightroom 101, I tried my hand at improving some older photos (not that old, just predating the class) that needed a little love.

Remember this photo from my visit to Hollywood?

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

I liked that it was a kind of retro illustration of the famous intersection, but the image is definitely overexposed and the colors look more faded than they did in real life.  I took the original photo in JPEG and not RAW so I had less flexibility in Lightroom, but I still think the result is an improvement on the original!

hollywood_and_vine_sign_edited

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

It’s not perfect, and I honestly just realized that it’s cropped differently than the original — oops!  Guess I have more learning to do on how to use the export function :\

Have you ever gone back and edited old photos?  Do you have any tips on working with JPEGs (or other non-RAW files) in an editing program?

Hollywood!

I recently had the chance to take a quick trip to California!  There was some personal business that took me there, but we were still able to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing in our free time.

It was challenging to capture what I felt were “good” pictures (particularly in composition) given the limitations of things like crowds and traffic.  I was getting spoiled by shooting still lifes under controlled conditions back home!  Also to my shame, I temporarily forgot about changing ISO and was fighting camera shake during unnecessarily long shutter speeds in dim areas.  Oops.  I came to my senses later in the day, but I’m glad most of the sights were out in the sun.  For the record, I had my camera set on aperture priority mode so as not to slow us down too much, but I made adjustments here and there.

Without further ado, here is a small sampling of my photos of Hollywood:

We got off the metro at Hollywood & Vine to find a very Hollywood-themed station.  This shot is of the ceiling.  There were film strip and camera motifs all over the place.

f/4.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 800

f/4.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 800

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

I learned that I can’t rely on the screen on the back of my camera to verify that a photo came out 😦  This next image is much darker than I thought it would be.  This would probably be an easy fix in an editing program once I learn how to use one.

f/5.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

The first Emmy Awards were hosted at the Hollywood Athletic Club which is not currently occupied.  We peeked in the windows and it looked beautiful inside!  The room we could see had kind of a Spanish revival feel.  I hope someone leases it and gives it some love soon!

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

Entering the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  This was the site of the first Academy Awards and is reportedly haunted by Marilyn Monroe, among others.  This is where I FINALLY remembered about changing my ISO.  DUH.

f/3.5, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600

f/3.5, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

Does anyone have any tips for taking better photos out in the real world?  I’m always looking for constructive criticism, so leave a comment!  I know a lot of the small things that bother me can probably be fixed in post-processing.  All of these images are SOOC, but I’m looking forward to the Lightroom class I’m taking next month!

The Grounds of Monticello

Finally, here are some images I shot around the grounds of Monticello away from the mansion.

f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

The gray dome in the middle of the next image is the rotunda at the University of Virginia — Jefferson’s pet project — as seen from a porch at Monticello.  My 55-200mm lens got a workout!

f/5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

The Jefferson family burial ground is still being used today.

f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

And with that I’ll conclude this drawn-out visit.  Thanks for having us over, Tom!

f/3.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

Monticello

This past weekend the mister and I took advantage of the spring-like weather (finally!) took a day trip to Monticello.

Monticello was the home and life-long project of Thomas Jefferson — it took roughly forty years to complete!  I’m sure that was not helped much by his total revision of plans halfway through construction following his years as the ambassador to France.  With its inspirations from classical architecture, there was no other building like it in the U.S in its time.

f/9, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

monticello_3

f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO 100

We made it out on their last weekend of off-season prices, so the landscaping was still a little bare.

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

But it was still nice to revisit this piece of Americana and enjoy the spring-like weather.  It’s snowing (again) as I write this.  This should not be happening in late March!

f/13, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/13, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

I have some more detail shots that I’ll share in another post.  As always, I appreciate any tips for improvement you might have to offer — just leave a comment!

Amaryllis

There hasn’t been much greenery around the house recently.  I don’t keep houseplants around as a rule (I usually forget to water them regularly), and I haven’t been doing much of the grocery shopping lately where I’m liable to pick up a bunch of sale flowers just because.  Nor did I get any this past V-Day (not complaining, just saying) since we were snowed in that weekend and there was no way either of us could get to the store.  So currently the only other living thing hanging around our house these days is an amaryllis that we got as a Christmas gift.  I’ve managed to not kill grow one of these a few years back, so I knew we could handle it again.  (Don’t over water?  Check!)  We planted it about two months ago, and it finally started to bloom!

Last week we got our first hint of what color our amaryllis would be:

f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

I tried to balance the plant with its shadow in the next photo, but I think the shadow is too small and the additional shadow from the sliding glass door is distracting.

f/3.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

Looking back, I should have increased the DOF in this photo or at least set my focus point on the tips of the pistils rather than the center of the flower.

f/3.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

And I finally thought to change my metering mode from matrix metering to spot metering.  What a difference!  I wish I had taken more closeups using this setting.  Composition still needs work.

f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

It’s definitely an interesting pattern — I’ve not seen this sort of streaky coloring before — but I’m still looking forward to having the rest of the buds bloom one by one.  Maybe there will be a little bit of extra color in our house for a few more months!

Linking up:

Click Chicks Blog Photography Challenge

Side Note:  I’ve found my homework for Photo 101 to be a good starting place for blog content and document my photography journey, but I’m going to skip this week.  The focus was on posing and lighting for portraits so my poor husband had to be my subject in all of the photos.  I’m not going to post them out of respect for his privacy.

Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: Aperture

Even though I spent quite a bit of time reading about the technical aspect of manual photography and had a bit of experience with film SLRs in high school (about ten years ago), I decided to take the Photo 101 class offered by Nicole Gerulat.  I was hesitant to sign up — why pay a tuition fee when there are so many free tutorials out there? — but ultimately the promise of a more focused approach (accidental pun!) with instructor feedback and a New Year’s sale reeled me in.  The class just started last week so I haven’t received Nicole’s opinion on my photos yet, but over the next few posts I’ll share some of my homework from Week 1.

First up: Aperture

The goal here was to take two nearly identical photos, one with a small aperture and then again with a large aperture to achieve high and low depths of field, while manually adjusting shutter speed and ISO for proper exposure.

small aperture/high depth of field

f/22, 1.3 sec, ISO 100

large aperture/low depth of field

f/1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 100

Aside: I made those Valentine’s Day jars myself, but the inspiration came from Pinterest which links back to The Pleated Poppy.