Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Tis the Season! (And a little learning)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & a safe and wonderful New Year to you and your family!
Tommy's Park at twilight last week, all lit up for the holidays.
Tommy's Park looking back toward the Trompe l'oile building.  The streaming lights in the road came not from a car but from one of the Clydesdale-drawn wagons that makes the circuit through the Old Port during the Holidays.
By the light of the silvery moon: looking down Exchange Street as the moon rises above the Old Port at twilight.  Streams of light from head and taillights are everywhere, as it was a busy evening. 
When taking photos with an ultrawide lens like the 12-24mm, one often gets the keystone effect (the buildings take on an almost triangular shape--smaller at the top than the bottom than they should be.)  I discovered the easiest tool in Photoshop to correct for this problem.  It's called the Perspective Tool.  
It was laughably simple to do.  I literally just dragged the right corner out to the amount you can see in my screenshot above.  The left side went along with it.  Within about five seconds, I had a straight-looking building.  Then you simply allow for the correction to be made by pressing the crop tool, which will ask you if you want to make the change and you click okay.  Then, you crop to the edges of the picture that you can see.  Otherwise when you try to print your picture, the edges that you dragged out using the Perspective Tool will show up around the borders.


I hope you all have Merry Christmases, a Happy, Healthy New Year and safe journeys wherever you go. 

Best wishes, Cindy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Lights at Twilight

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's childhood home at twilight, decorated for the holidays!
A dreamy HDR composition of Maine College of Art's (MECA) beautiful holiday decorations and streaming head and taillights of cars on Congress Street at twilight. 
Portland City Night Lights with streaming head and taillights--an HDR.
Ghosts of Christmas Present--This is an HDR composition of three images, but I love how one of the cars stopped at the light long enough during the 30 second exposure to show up as a ghostly silhouette of itself. 
Longfellow Square Holiday Trees with streaming head and taillights again due to 30 second exposure. 
Monument Square's enormous Christmas Tree with streaming head and taillights at twilight.
I went out to Portland's downtown on Saturday night before the big rainstorm we had on Sunday to capture some beautiful twilight along with the holiday decorations of Portland.  As you can see from all of the streaming head and taillights in these long exposures, there were a lot of people out, enjoying the night or heading to dinner and events for the evening.  It was crisp and cool as I strolled up and down Congress Street, enjoying these beautiful sights.  My favorite, hands down, was the Longfellow House, where our favorite son, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, grew up.  I wonder what he would make of electric lights twined around the trees and fence?  I also have a non-HDR (High Dynamic Range) version of the Longfellow House:

Single image of the Longfellow House at twilight.  I'd love to hear which image readers prefer. 
And I also processed a single image of Maine College of Art:
Maine College of Art Single Image--do you like this one or the HDR version (above) better?
I'm hoping to get out to Portland's beautiful Old Port some time this week and do a similar shoot of the holiday decorations at twilight.  Tommy's Park has particularly interesting decorations, similar to the ones in Longfellow Square, so check back to see if I've gotten down there. 

And please take a moment to do the survey at the top right hand side of the blog, regarding what you'd like to see more of, photographically from me and my blog. 

Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season!  Best wishes, Cindy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Very Victorian Christmas

Victoria Mansion after last year's first snowstorm.
The Grand Dining Room, decked out for Christmas.
The beautiful wood-paneled library.  Imagine reading a book in here!
The Turkish Smoking Room.
An ornate parlor complete with musical accompaniment.
Another lovely parlor, decorated for Christmas, including the ornately-carved mantlepiece with a beautiful array of Poinsettia plants as garnish.

The Grand Ballroom.  This panorama took over 50 single images to capture every detail.

A sweeping staircase in the main hall leads you to the second floor.
The top of the stairs, looking across the second floor, with a huge skylight above.
The Red Bedroom with yet another incredible mantle piece/fireplace!  I'm not sure how comfortable it would have been to sleep in this bed, but it sure would have looked good!
Another lavish bedroom on the second floor. 
This is the ceiling of the Turkish Smoking Room.  Incredible details and so much gold leaf!
Last December, I was asked by Portland Magazine to photograph the Victoria Mansion what many consider to be Portland's finest historical home that one can tour.  It is always a pleasure to visit the mansion, but at Christmas, it really comes to life, as what could be more of a Victorian holiday than Christmas?  Various designers and floral companies from the area decorate the different rooms each year in fabulously lavish ways, which makes it even more fun to tour through and discover what lifestyles of the rich and famous of the Victorian Era were like. 

The decorations are different every year, and the tour is always great and worth every penny.  According to their website, they're open daily 11-4:30 pm.  

You can click on any of these pictures (above) to see a slightly larger version, or you can visit my architectural gallery to see them even larger on a black background by hovering your cursor or pointer over each large picture until a vertical box pops up allowing you to click on the various sizes you may want to view the pictures in. 

Some of you may have seen these photos before in Portland Magazine, but I thought that since it is that time of the year again, and many of you hadn't seen them, now might be a nice time. 

I'd love to hear what you think about the pictures, so feel free to either comment at the end of the post or on my website at the bottom of the page.  Or as always, you can send me an email. 

Happy Holidays to you all!  Cindy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Windy Sunset in Stonington, Maine

The pictures below are mostly panoramas of 9-12 images, taken handheld from the town dock in Stonington, Maine on Thanksgiving Eve after a day of 40 mph gusty winds.  To me, these panoramas make the scenes look peaceful, but it was anything but that!  Those winds were still howling and my fingers were stiff with cold by the time I'd finished taking the pictures 10 minutes after I'd gotten out of the car. 
Stonington Harbor at Sunset. . .

Stonington at sunset. . .
A single shot of the sun setting over Stonington. . .
It had been unrelentingly gray and ugly all day, in addition to the high winds, as we drove to visit my mother for Thanksgiving in Deer Isle.  I had really been hoping to get a little photography in while I was visiting, because Deer Isle is absolutely magical.  Almost every turn on every road brings a new vista or interesting sight. 

I was rewarded about 1/2 hour before sunset with the sight of the sky beginning to clear, fast moving clouds scudding across the sky rapidly turning purply and pink colors like the ones you see in these pictures. That was all the encouragement I needed.   I grabbed my coat and camera bag, jumped into the car and raced down to Stonington from my mother's house to the town dock, where I quickly took a number of panoramas from different vantage points, and a few single shots, too.  They were the best shots I got out of the entire weekend!

On the way up, we stopped at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge because there was a short period of time with breaks in the clouds, and I took this HDR composition of the bridge that I'm quite happy with.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge HDR
And this one from a single shot that I worked on with my father, to produce an interesting antique photo effect:
Penobscot Narrows Bridge with antique photo effect
I hope your Thanksgivings were good and that you had lots of fun, family times!  Best wishes, Cindy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Designs at my Zazzle Storefront!

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

No need to buy anything when you visit my Zazzle Storefront, but I wanted to let everyone know that I have designed a number of new products, from iPhone and iPad cases to men's and women's t-shirts and an all new 2011 Calendar of my best flower images!  Check them all out by clicking on any of the individual links within the panel, or just click HERE to go directly to my Zazzle store! 

Let me know what you think!  And if you would like a different item designed with any of my photographs, just drop me a line to let me know and I'll be happy to do it!  Cindy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Little Witch on Halloween. . .

Once upon a time, there was a little witch on Halloween. . .
She wore pink striped tights and shoes blacker than midnight. . .
You had to watch out, or she would CURSE YOU! 
Of course, when that happened, the Good Fairy would always show up to say, "Snap out of it!"
Hope your Halloween was as fun as ours was!  Cindy

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ginger Gold

It's a grim, drizzly, rainy Novemberish afternoon here in Portland, Maine, so after eating doing my errands and eating lunch, I headed upstairs to my new tabletop "studio" (an EZ Cube with lights ) to take pictures of some beautiful, locally grown Ginger Gold apples I bought at Rosemont Market.
Ginger Gold Apples 1
Ginger Gold Apples 2
Ginger Gold Apples processed with a Painterly effect in Photomatix Pro
Ginger Gold Apples--another view. . .
Anyhow, it was a nice way to spend the afternoon, while listening to Chill Lounge type music on Pandora Radio to the accompaniment of rain on the skylight above me.  Hope this post finds you warm and cozy indoors on this chilly, Autumn afternoon!  Cindy

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chase's Daily, Belfast, Maine

I really enjoyed photographing Chase's Daily, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Belfast, Maine over the past year.  Portland Magazine just published a couple of the pictures in their November 2010 issue, but I wanted to share a collage of my favorite shots that might offer you a bit more of the flavors of Chase's.  Chase's is located in the heart of Belfast's downtown at 96 Main Street.  (Phone: 207-338-0555)  They are committed to providing great local produce at all times of the year, as well as wonderful brunches, lunches and dinners.  My personal favorites when I visit are the goat cheese tartlets and the cherry tartlets.  Don't miss this Downeast gem!

In order of appearance:
1st Row: Beets, Bok Choi, Big Squash
2nd Row: Dried Beans, the front window, fresh greens
3rd Row: Gourds and Squashes, peppers, Emily Kourand, waitstaff, squashes
4th Row: Empire Apples, Delicata Squash, Diners in the dining room on a Sunday morning.
5th Row: Mesclun greens, the coffee grinder, Holli Merri, Assistant Baker, Back Door Sign
6th Row: Antique stools at the counter, the famed Cherry Tartlets, Bread for Sale, a squash

Please feel free to forward my blog posts to your friends and relatives, and be sure to show your support for my work by clicking on the Follow button in the upper right hand column of Photo Quest.  The only list it will put you on is my list of followers, promise. . .  Thanks for all the nice comments and visits to my blog everyone!  Happy November 1st!  Cindy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some recent shots from this Autumn

Route 116, New Hampshire
Saco Heath
Saco Heath Forest
Saco Heath Aspens
Red maple, Yellow Fern
Halfway up Mt. Washington--5 image handheld panorama
Mt. Washington Base--12 image handheld panorama
Glen Elis Falls, New Hampshire--20 image handheld panorama
River Road Antique Cape and Autumnal Windbreak
Saco Area antique truck
New Gloucester winding road
These past two weeks, I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, as they sometimes say in Maine.  I've been taking Autumnal pictures for Maine Office of Tourism and Visit Portland all over the Greater Portland area and other parts of Maine.  I couldn't get to nearly as many places as I would have liked, of course.  And then we had some rain during the height of the foliage time, which took a couple of shooting days away, but I think I've managed to accrue a few nice images.  We also spent the weekend in New Hampshire, with my parents-in-law, and I got the chance to take a ride up Mt. Washington (only halfway actually, because the winds were literally 80 mph on the top!) and see the beautiful Glen Elis Falls.  I didn't have a tripod, so I couldn't capture Glen Elis the way I wanted to, but what I got will do for now!

Hope all you are all having a wonderful, colorful Autumn, as we have, and that you've been able to get out and enjoy the weather and the beauty of wherever you happen to be.  Thanks for looking, as always!  Cindy


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