HDR saves problem Waterfall Photo… by Susan Lawrence

Connestee Falls by Susan L. Lawrence

Connestee Falls by Susan L. Lawrence

Woo-hoo!  I got 4 or 5 HDR shots in Brevard that made me happy—my first HDR successes.  The compositions themselves are not world class, but the HDR at 1 full stop +/- gave me a pleasing dynamic range. What do you think?









I forgot to turn off HDR when I turned around to shoot bees—processing bracketed bee shots in HDR gave an

Bee on Flower by Susan L. Lawrence

Bee on Flower by Susan L. Lawrence

interesting quality to them that I can’t quite describe.  Not what I am used to seeing from my camera but has creative possibilities as a technique…

See!  I really did learn something!  Thanks

Susan B


Here’s how I did it…

The Connestee Falls HDR image was created using 3 bracketed exposures,  +/- 1 stop, shot Aperture Priority, fully stopped down, at ISO 320 with a focal length of 425mm. The 3 exposures were at 1/8, 1/15 and 1/30 sec. HDR post-processing was done in Photoshop with HDR Efex Pro2, a NIK plug-in filter.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.

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Wild potato vine to work or art by Susan Lawrence – How she did it…

From Photgraph to Painting by Susan L. Lawrence

From Photgraph to Painting by Susan L. Lawrence

 by Susan L. Lawrence

The Wild Potato Vine – How I Did It

I really liked the low-angle shot of the Wild Potato Vine taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway but I thought it lacked pizzazz —even after tweaking it in Lightroom.  So I opened the photo in Photoshop and started experimenting with various filters, looking for a way to go from a “blah” photo to an “eye-catching” flower illustration or painting.  Nothing seemed right until I realized that what I REALLY needed was a big ole bumble bee in the picture. After extracting a bee from a old photo,  I placed it on a Photoshop layer above the flower. 

Original Wild Potatoe Vine, Blue Ridge Parkway by Susan L Lawrence

Original Wild Potatoe Vine, Blue Ridge Parkway by Susan L Lawrence

What a difference that made!  Once the bee was in place to complete the composition, everything seemed to come together effortlessly.  It only took a few passes through various Topaz plug-in filters to pump up the color, reduce the photographic details, and add illustrative elements to the image to create the final colorful, eye-catching painting. 


Camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.






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Chuck Dayton contributes his photography talents… “Listening Point Foundation”

Listening Point talk: “Nature as Oracle: Sigurd Olson’s Never-ending search for spirituality in WIlderness”

Nature as Oracle: Sigurd Olson’s Never-Ending Search for Spirituality in Wilderness  

By Charles Dayton

Sigurd Olson: the very name conjures up visions-the North Woods, the deafening silence of the deep winter, campfire light flickering on a leathery face, the long low wail of the loon at sunset, a lone canoe slipping silently through the mist. His lyrical word pictures of the beauty of the North Country expressed the feelings of those fortunate enough to have been there and made it live for others who had not. But Sigurd Olson went far beyond nature’s beauty, in order to seek its meaning for the human spirit, and therein lies


Dipping Dipper  \

his greatness. Sig’s experiences as a guide, a naturalist and a teacher had filled him with a great love that demanded release and expression. He described the process this way: “As time went on there was a certain fullness within me, more than mere pleasure or memory, a sort of welling up of powerful emotions that somehow must be used and directed. And so began a groping for a way of satisfying the urge to do something with what I had felt and seen,  (something) that would give life and substance to thoughts and memories, a way of recapturing, and sharing again the experiences that were mine.” IMG_0300.JPG He had a peak experience while viewing a simple and beautiful scene: “The little raft of ducks floating out in the open were caught that very instant in a single ray of light, and as the somber brown hills were brushed with it, the glow was around and within me.  Sigs-Ducks- “Then the sun dropped behind a cloud and the hills were dark as before, the ducks black spots against the water. But for a time, I saw them as they were in the glow, and knew nothing could ever be the same again.”IMG_7241   In that flash of insight he knew: he must write.spider web.041 “Suddenly the whole purpose of my roaming was clear to me, the miles of paddling and portaging, the years of listening, watching, and studying. I would capture it all, campsites and vistas down wild waterways, the crashing waves of storms and the roar of rapids,IMG_7769.JPG   sparkling mornings to the calling of the loons sunsets and evenings, whitethroats and thrushes making music.Nights when the milky way was close enough to touch I would remember laughter and the good feeling after a long portage, and friendships on the trail.” IMG_7162 - Version 2 But, the editors of Sig’s earliest stories wanted only simple descriptions of adventure in the woods, and they slashed away “bits of philosophy or personal conviction.” Finally, the editors accepted an article with a philosophical tone, and encouraged him in his belief that the sense of awe and mystery that he felt for the wild, his belief that humans could sense the meaning of life from the timeless cycles of nature, should be expressed.  In that article entitled “Search for the Wild,” Sig took issue with John Burroughs, a nature essayist.  Burroughs  had written that Thoreau viewed nature as an oracle questioning her as a naturalist and poet. While  Sig agreed with Burroughs’ characterization, he disagreed strongly with Burroughs conclusion  that Thoreau did not find what he was looking for.  Convinced that the “lifetime search of Thoreau had been fruitful and what he sought and found in the woods and fields around Concord, Walden Pond, and the Merrimack River was what we all seek when we go into the bush, . . .  I tried to prove that the never ending search for the essence of the wild was the underlying motive of all trips and expeditions…. I had dared speak of my deepest convictions, and for once there were no deletions. Read more …

<<FYI, I did have a chance to share my photos this spring when  I gave a talk to the “Listening Point Foundation” in Minnesota, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Here’s the link to my blog.


Inspirational! Thanks, Chuck . Perhaps other Lens Luggers will find a way to share their work. –Bob

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Photos close to home – Soco Falls

Soco Falls, NC near Maggie Valley by Berverly Slone

Soco Falls, NC near Maggie Valley by Berverly Slone

“This image was taken from below the platform at Soco Falls while balancing on a rock and holding onto a rope that had been put up to get to the bottom of the falls.  This was made more difficult by folks going up and down and vibrating the rope.”  — Beverly Slone Lens Lugger World

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Photography close to home by Duke Miller

Blue Ridge Parkway by Duke Miller

Blue Ridge Parkway by Duke Miller

This image was made at Haywood-Jackson Overlook, Mile Marker 433-ish, Blue Ridge Pkwy. Very windy and cold –  I put camera on interval shooting, one capture per minute, and sat in car eating my McBiscuit and drinking McCafe! That’s all that was open at 5:00 a.m.

Shot with a Nikon D800e, Nikon 14mm ED lens, ISO 100, f/11 at 1/4 sec.

Duke Miller

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Chuck Coburn’s House On Fire — 2014

House On Fire by chuck Coburn

House On Fire by Chuck Coburn


I spent the month of May on the Colorado Plateau with a group of six
photographers. This is one of my favorite images - House On Fire. 

After a 1.2 mile hike in to the South Mule Canyon and a climb up the 
canyon wall we arrived at a large ledge. The ledge has a grainery 
built by the Anasazi about 1000 years ago and is unrestored. Having 
arrived we had to wait about an hour or so for the sun to hit a 
ledge and reflect up to the overhang. Once that happened it was just 
a matter of shooting the spectacular scene before our eyes.

Image was taken 5/13/2014 with Nikon d70s,at f/4.5, 22mm, 1/800 sec.

What an amazing place the Southwest is when you spent that much time
there and get to know and appreciate it.

Chuck Coburn

Ed note** This was a Don McGowan Event. For more information on the 
McGowan programs and to sign up for Don's free newsletter go to 
http://earthsongphotography.com/ -Recommended
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Fireflies, a close by image by Chuck Dayton

Fireflies by Chuck Dayton

Fireflies by Chuck Dayton

Click on Image to make it larger

HI, Bob,

Here’s an image of fireflies, below, that may be of interest. Its near exit 100 on the road up to Laurel Ridge country club. Its done by stacking a number of images in photoshop, most are 15 seconds, although there is a longer exposure for the stars.

FYI, I did have a chance to share my photos this spring when  I gave a talk to the “Listening Point Foundation” in Minnesota, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Here’s the link to my blog.


I’ve also begun making prints and have rented a wall at the Cedar Hills gallery. As you know, I don’t expect to sell a bunch but its a way to share my work.

NIce work on the sunrise picture. Lovely.

Warm regards,

Chuck Dayton

On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM, Bob Grytten <bobgry@aol.com> wrote:

Hi all:

The lensluggers.com can be a great place to showcase some of our work. Last one was lens lugger Duke Miller. Send in one of your images with a few details about how you shot it or why you shot it. We would like to include our talented Lens Luggers. Thanks.

Also, I posted yesterday one of the images from an early morning shoot. Go to bobgrytten.com  Enjoy.

and keep shooting,


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Photography, close to home – sort of…

If two hours through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park would qualify, this  photo by Lens Lugger Duke Miller says it all.

Middle Prong of the Little Pigeron River. Duke Miller photo

Middle Prong of the Little Pigeron River. Duke Miller photo

This is the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River, a don’t miss close to Cades Cove.

Duke writes, “Okay, just fooling around. This is where i was getting down low to the water and trying to compress the distance from the near foreground to distant falls. I’m thinking “Mayhem on the Middle Prong” might be apropos title?! 

Shot with 70-300 at 85mm, .5 sec @ f/9. I’m thinking of getting the doohickey that allows you to use your iPad as a monitor when shooting in the field, plus you can control the camera with it. Had I had that it there, I think I would have closed the lens down a bit more for greater dof. The lack thereof in this one is what makes me want to do that.”

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Close to home… Soco Falls

Soco Falls, Soco Rd. Maggie Valley, NC Bob Grytten photo

Soco Falls, Soco Rd. Maggie Valley, NC
Bob Grytten photo


After a week of sunny days, we have rain in the forecast. I’m off before daybreak, wondering if the Rhododendrons are in bloom. No bloom; but nice light.

Aperture Stopped down all the way to f/22, the water still is not as silky as I like. On goes the polarizer – better. But it takes an EV of +1 to get the look I want – 2.5 seconds shutter speed.

What a beautiful morning! I’ll be back for the Rodes.





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Photo close to home #2

Photos close to home offer some great opportunities.

Azalea - Lake Junaluska, Bob Grytten photo

Azalea – Lake Junaluska, Bob Grytten photo

This one happened during a walk around Lake Junaluska, about 5 minuets from home. I had a small pocket camera Panasonic DMC-TS20 I bought it for it waterproof feature. Obviously, I wouldn’t have chosen to be out shooting in sunny midday – BUT — That subject is what caught my attention and offers an opportunity for discussion.

First, the camera is the wrong one to be shooting this with – Why, because it does not have a RAW feature. Why? Because I can’t make the kind of adjustments needed without RAW. HUH!? Well, for one thing, in Raw, I would revisit (change) the exposure and that could really help this image. Or if I had used my head when in the field, I could have cast a shadow on the section of flower that I was shooting. That would have eliminated the hot spots that just kills this image — except for use as an example.

There is a formula we use and it still is valid today. FAST. F is the first step Focus; A is for Aperture (adjust for shallow or deep depth of field); S is for Shutter Speed. Adjust that or if shooting in Aperture Priority it will adjust automatically. T is for Think. Ya gotta do that! I didn’t. I think I was excited about finding a good background.

So what to do?

Azalea Close, Lake Junaluska, NC Bob Grytten photo

Azalea Close, Lake Junaluska, NC Bob Grytten photo

I guess I could pick out a section of the image                                                                              that does not have hot spots.

It might look like this…

Incidentally, if we keep the color wheel in mind, we might have a clue as to what photographs well in certain lighting conditions. This color photographs particularly well in mid day – -

One other thought. We might have been able to use our flash (on camera or hot shoe) to use as the main light source. I’m going to replicate that and report back…

Have a Close To Home images ? Send it on to share. Thanks.



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