Finding Beauty in the Commonplace


Learning About Photos

Water drops on fern fronds

I had all but written off this image until I used it as a new background image on Facebook and received some feedback from a friend. The next day, my Digital Photography School newsletter contained a processing piece on sharpening for the web with Photoshop. The combination of my friend’s feedback and the DPS article led to this post.

I decided to try out the processing suggestions using this image. It took up a sizeable portion of my early morning to experiment with the suggestions. In the end I decided on the image that I have posted here.

Comments and constructive suggestions are always welcome.

Shout-out to the Happiness Engineers

During this past week, I have experienced some issues with this site and its connections to the rest of the digital world. This post is a thank-you to the support folk at Automattic (, Jetpack, etc.) who did such an excellent job of helping me sort things out.

I was getting to be a bit of a wreck with the broken connections and misconfigurations that had crept in with changes over the past year and with the migration from on hosting service to another.

The “Happiness Engineers” did a bunch of work on my behalf, but also provided references and links to help me upgrade my knowledge and understanding. This is such a sharp contrast with attempting to get help from a certain other social platform that I use.


Snow Days Update

Japanese garden

It’s not that frequent for us to have snow closures in Southern Vancouver Island. This past week there was the longest snow closure of schools ever … three days. After the snow stopped falling and parking lots and paths were cleared I went for a bit of a walk to record the largest snowfall since 1996. Meanwhile my little gallery show hasn’t had much traffic. Too many folk shovelling and too few shopping for art. The featured image and the scene below are from Butchart Gardens.

Reflective globe in snowy garden

This bridge below lives in Beacon Hill Park. By the time of this photo, the snow was starting to get a bit scrappy but was still enough to give the idea of a winter scene.

Stone bridge

Part of the purpose of this little post is to test out the newly completed installation of at SiteGround. The move has given a much quicker and more responsive version of the site, but was not without a few frustrating moments along the way.

Upcoming Feature at Village Gallery

BC Ferry at sunrise

I have a small exhibit starting on February 1 at Village Gallery in Sidney. There will be 6 canvases featured for about 6 weeks. I will also have the usual stock of Art Cards available. These vary seasonally.

One of the images that will be showing contains a tree that is no longer there. “Morning Oak” shows the oak tree that stood in the field near East Saanich and Mount Newton. During the big December storm, that tree became a huge pile of rubble. Unfortunate because this tree and its field was a truly iconic piece of Saanich Peninsula beauty. This image shows the tree in the early morning when it was still whole and reasonably healthy.

Oak tree in a field


What is the Real Colour in an Image?

Another post republished from the previous site.

I had a comment from a Facebook viewer a couple of days ago to the effect that she was disappointed in some images I had posted. Her complaint was to the effect that the colour in the images was not the real colour. My reply was that I find exact reproduction to be a boring pursuit in my photography. I create images that come close to matching what was in my imagination at the time I clicked the shutter. Here is a little sequence of stages in one image that illustrates my point.

The featured image is final product image that I might print. But it is far from the original RAW file that my camera recorded. The RAW image looked like the following:

This is what the camera recorded. I think everyone would agree that as it stands it’s a pretty disappointing photo. It is also not a reproduction of the “real” colours that my eye saw.

If the photo had been recorded as a JPG file it would have had the camera’s intervention. It would show what the camera interpreted as the “real” colours and would have probably looked something like this:

This was created by using the automatic basic adjustments in Lightroom. Definitely more lifelike than the RAW image but much bluer in cast and less interesting than my eye saw and much less interesting than what my imagination saw.

The next two images involve some processing to bring things to what my imagination saw.

Because of the backlighting in the photo, I reduced the foreground shadows in order to create some interest in the subject. I warmed the colours somewhat and managed a bit of translucency in the leaves. This matches my imagination of the light flowing through the gaps and highlighting the foreground leaves.

The last step toward my imagination was to filter in a bit of reduced realism.