One Photo: A Single Oak Leaf with Lightroom's New Masking Tool

Yesterday I went for a long walk, leaving the house with my new (for me) small camera and lens.  Last month I bought a used Panasonic GM5 from eBay and I already had the mini (about 3 ounces) 12-32 zoom. 

This is a mFT camera so all my lenses for my Panasonic and Olympus gear fit the GM5, though the camera is so small I haven’t yet determined which lenses will be comfortable to use on it.  I am also hoping it will weather the winter enough to go with me skiing, as I want something with better image quality than my old but trusty Panasonic TS3 point and shoot weather-proof camera.

The camera and lens fit wonderfully in my jacket pocket.  It is a sturdy little camera, but the total weight of body, lens, cap, battery and memory card is only 10 ounces.

What you see below hardly needed me to carry the camera very far.  It’s actually the only photo I took on my 45 minutes walk, and it was only 10 feet from our front door.  We had had an overnight frost and there were a few oak leaves that had blown down overnight and were residing on the lawn.  (The maple leaves had fallen and been removed a while ago.)  Usually, fall oak leaves are not exactly “pretty”, certainly when compared with the reds and yellows and oranges of maple leaves.  Fallen oak leaves are usually shades of brown.  But add a bit of frost to their undersides and they take on new life.

The leaf I chose to photograph was a near-perfect specimen.  Since I have the before and after images below you can see that I did nevertheless boost the colors to what I believe is the upper end of the range of normal oak leaf color variation, while at the same time darkening the background.  Which image is “better” is indeed a matter of personal preference.  What I enjoyed in creating the “after” image is playing with Lightroom Classic’s new masking range tool.  Basically, this is what I did:

  1. Darkened the entire exposure by about 1.5 stops in the basic panel
  2. Used the selection brush to paint over the leaf.  I usually hit the “o” key (I believe it stands for overlay in this case) which shows the painted areas as red.
  3. From here I only worked in the “mask” and  “brush” panels
  4. Turned on the mask to “color” 
  5. Turned off the overlay (hit the "o" button again)
  6. Used the dropper to define a rectangle of the leaf with the color I wished to work with
  7. Added 1.5 stops of exposure to the masked leaf, and played with all the rest of the sliders to taste.

Frosted Oak Leaf
Panasonic GM5 plus 12-32mm zoom @ 32mm (64mm equiv)
1/100, aperture priority F5.6, autoISO200
Processed in Lightroom Classic CC

Frosted Oak Leaf



I Missed Nearly All the Fall Colors

We had a strange fall.  In our area, October was the warmest October in history, with an average temperature many degrees above normal.

The other day I was looking through my images from October hoping I'd taken some nice fall images.  Well, there is hardly a one!  Fall was a couple of weeks late this year and by the time "peak" color was forecast to hit eastern Massachusetts, we had several days of heavy rain and wind. After that there was nothing left on the trees... unless you count ugly brown oak leaves.

That being said, I do enjoy these three photos I scrounged up.

Ivy on Maple Tree
Panasonic GX80/85 with 100-300mm lens
@300mm (600mm equiv)
1/640, F5.6, ISO200

The Tiniest Maple Leaf.
Spots of mold, but unchewed by bugs!
Panasonic GX80/85 with Olympus 60mm macro lens
1/60, F5.6, ISO200
Taken in our kitchen on a white surface with Olympus 36R flash

Imperfect But Beautiful.
I like the red/orange color against the blurred green background (our lawn)
Panasonic GX80/85 with Olympus 60mm macro lens
1/125, F4, ISO200


One Photo: Maine Sunrise

I'm so grateful that I am an early riser!

"Maine Sunrise"
Olympus E-M1 plus 12-100 F4 zoom @ 66mm (132mm equivalent)
1/6400sec, F4, ISO800
(I don't know why this was not taken at ISO 200, which would be my preference)
Processed in Lightroom


One Photo: Eerie Morning At Pumpkin Island Lighthouse

The Pumpkin Island Lighthouse no longer operates as a commissioned lighthouse, and has been privately owned since 1933 when it was decommissioned and sold to the highest bidder for $552.  It has been in private hands since then.

If you google it, or go to Wikipedia, you’ll find some interesting stories about the early lighthouse keepers.  It’s entertaining.

Funds for its construction were approved soon after the U.S. Coastal Survey recommended in 1852 that a lighthouse be built to mark Eggemoggin Reach, which is between the mainland and Deer (and Little Deer) Isle, Maine. The original structure was built in 1854.  I’m not sure what it actually cost but Congress approved construction costs of $3,500 in 1853.  If it was like government projects today, I’d have expected them to have spent every penny of the appropriated amount. John Tibbetts (sounds like a great old Maine surname, doesn’t it?) was the first keeper, at an annual salary of $350.

This image was taken from quite a distance on a foggy morning with my lens fully zoomed in at 600mm equivalent.

"Eerie Morning, Pumpkin Island Lighthouse, Maine"
Panasonic GX80/85 plus 100-300mm zoom @ 300mm (600mm equivalent)
Hand held 1/640sec, F5.6, Auto ISO320
Processed in Lightroom


One Photo: Schooner "Lewis R. French"

This is the 64-foot schooner "Lewis R. French", out of Camden, Maine. Launched in 1871, she is the oldest commercial schooner in America, and was recently designated a National Historic Landmark. I took this picture from the shoreline of  Penobscot Bay after the schooner exited Eggemoggin Reach. I love that name. It makes me think of egg nog.

This shot was taken during a summer trip to Maine.  I first posted it in August in color on Instagram. But I’m now thinking it looks better as a black and white image. I like the contrast created by the dark (water and masts) and light areas (sales and whitecaps), and the sky is basically grey either way. Perhaps if the sky were a bit more interesting I’d vote for the color version.  

Schooner Lewis R. French
Panasonic GX85 and 100-300mm zoom at 300mm (600mm equiv)
1/1000sec, F8, ISO250
Processed in Lightroom