Alan Pelletier Photography

Landscape and Travel Photography

Posts from the ‘photoshop’ category

Recent Photos – Traveling the Turquoise Highway

Going to New Mexico this past May I had several compositions in mind for some photos. One was finding some southwestern or Spanish mission style churches. This was my second trip to the “Land of Enchantment” with my previous visit to beautiful Santa Fe. During this previous trip and my May visit to Santa Fe, I was inspired to photograph more churches like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi
Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

Prior to my trip a fellow photographer who lived in New Mexico suggested that I take the Turquoise Highway from Albuquerque north to Taos my final destination. Formally known as State Route 14, it’s a scenic 50-mile drive north to Santa Fe passing through the towns of Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos. From Albuquerque you drive east on Interstate 40 to Cedar Crest to start the journey on the Turquoise Highway.

Turquoise Chevy Belair

My first significant stop was the Town of Madrid a former mining made famous by the movie “Wild Hogs” starring John Travolta, William Macy, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence. Being a former mining town that pre-dates the State highway, the road narrows as you approach the town and then meanders through the center of town.

Maggie’s Diner

I obviously took photos of the Maggie’s Diner, which was actually built for the film and left as a gift shop in Madrid. I also wandered through the small town and visited several shops and purchased some amazing chocolate at Shugarman’s Little Shop.

Shops in Madrid

As I approached the town of Los Cerrillos I noted a turquoise dome church off the State Highway.  I quickly turned around and proceed toward the church.  It was just after midday and the side streets were very quire with no traffic, perhaps it was siesta time.  I took several shots of the front of St. Joseph Catholic Church from different angles, including a close-up of the wooden statute in the front of the church.  Afterwards I continued my trip north to Santa Fe and then onto Taos.

St. Joseph Catholic Church – Los Cerritos

For processing I primarily used Lightroom with the exception of the removal of some overhead powerlines that I prefer to use Photoshop. Being midday, I wanted to convert my photos into black and white images to take advantage of the contrast between light and shadow on the church. I used the black and white profiles provided in LR CC as they have numerous options to explore. I selected one that darken the sky and provided a nice texture to the clouds and desired contrast for the church itself. Making some final tonal and sharpening adjustments my black and white image was ready. For additional information on photography or my processing technique for black and whites, please feel free to contact me.

St. Joseph Catholic Church – Los Cerritos
Statue at entrance

Photo of the week

Blogging is something new to me and quite honestly time consuming as I found that I was writing long blogs about vacations and photography. This coupled with my need to carefully craft a blog post and reviewing it several times before I would release it was a daunting task, especially when posting on IG and FB each taking time along with all the other things in my life. So, I’m trying a new formula with a shorter blog post that features one of my recent photos that I have posted on my other social media outlets.

Waterfall at Day Pond State Park

Today’s photo features a waterfall at Day Pond State Park in Colchester, CT. I have seen numerous posts on IG of the waterfalls and being in my hometown, I needed to find it. After reviewing information on the CT DEEP website about getting to the waterfalls, I packed my gear and headed out. It’s about a 0.75 mile hike from the outlet of Day Pond, mostly downhill to the waterfalls. The waterfalls are comprised of several cascading falls with an overall drop of about 40 feet.

Being late in the afternoon and located within a fairly thickly wooded area, I did not need to use filters to create a longer exposure of the falling water. Depending on the volume of the falling water, I find that exposures between 1/5 sec to 2 sec typically give me the look I desire. For processing I used LR and PS with DXO Nik Color Effect 4 to provide the detail in the image. For additional information on photographing waterfalls or processing, please feel free to contact me.

Grand Canyon and looking behind you

It’s something I always need to remind myself when taking photographs, that’s to look behind me and all around for different subjects. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when taking photos at the Grand Canyon. Obviously, my main objective during my last visit this past January to this wonderful location was to take pictures of the Canyon. However, one just needs to look around to find beautiful images besides those of the Canyon.

Shadow and Light
70-200mm, 120mm, f/11, 1/40s, ISO 100

When walking up to the rim it’s so compelling to just “click” away at the expansive beautiful scenes in front of you with so many incredible possibilities. Each location along the Canyon providing different views and perspectives from its sloping canyon walls to the numerous plateaus and an occasional view of the Colorado River. Different photographic opportunities to capture its immense size and tighter compositions that capture its endless textures and colors. How the sun produces new palettes of vibrant colors especially at sunset and sunrise. It’s ever-changing seasonal views with winter being my favorite as the snow provides contrast to the multiple colors of its geologic layers. My favorite photos of the Canyon included those at sunset with the low angle of the sun providing dramatic contrast and textures of golden light and dark shadow. Another favorite was from Navajo Point at the eastern end of the Canyon that provided fantastic views looking down into the Canyon at the Colorado River.

Navajo Point
24-70mm, 45mm, f/11, 1/8s, ISO 100

While I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of the expansive beauty of this National Park, it was some of my other photos when I reminded myself to look around that were my favorites as well. This includes my recent IG post of a pine tree branch silhouette at sunset. A photo that I captured as I was moving my tripod to a new location on the rim with the light from the setting sun filtering through a pine tree that caught my attention. I took several photos, including those with the full tree and the Canyon in the background. But it’s this particular photo of the single branch in silhouette with diffused sunset colors that I ultimately posted.

Pine Tree Silhouette
70-200mm, 122mm, f/11, 1/15s, ISO 100

Another photo that I posted from my trip was that of a raven. While not the most intriguing birds to photograph, unlike the California Condors I photographed at Horseshoe bend during a visit to Lake Powell a few years back, I do find them to be fascinating. From their distinctive call that reminds me of the desert southwest to the sound of the air flowing over their wings as they fly overhead. Usually, upon hearing them I stop to find and observe them. If you observe closely in the right light you can catch a hint of blue or teal in the feathers. They are somewhat comical when interacting with other ravens. A symbol of southwest they represent change/transformation and the bearer of messages and magic to many Native Americans.

70-200mm, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 400

Photographic Tips: When taking photographs into the sun I often take a bracketed set of 3 photos using the auto bracket feature of my camera. I typically use 1 stop intervals providing 2 underexposed photos in addition to my normal exposure. This ensures that I capture the full dynamic range of the scene that I can process as an HDR photo in either Photoshop or Aurora HDR. In the case of the pine branch silhouette, I selected one of the underexposed photos as a starting point. Turning down the shadows and blacks to ensure a dark silhouette. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact me.