What Does Music Look Like

Classical, New Age, Country, Classic Rock, Rock N Roll,  Gospel, Acoustic etc…  We all know what music sounds like, but what does it look like?

One of my favorite music movies to watch is August Rush.  August talks about the music “being all around us.”  This young little musical genius (my words) creates an amazing symphony all based on what you see and hear around you.  The trees blowing in the wind, the grasses moving in the wind, the water, the sky, the sounds of a city, everything.  It is a very heartfelt movie.  

So that brings me to, what does music look like?  If you know it’s all around you.  What does that awesome blue sky with the puffy white clouds sound like?  Can you imagine it?  

I love music, I have always been around it.  I can read it, play it, and sometimes sing it. (depends on who you ask) Some of my best memories are of listening to my brothers play the guitar.  I love a good old fashioned acoustic guitar.  One of my brothers could totally rock The Ventures Pipeline, while one would nail country, and my youngest older brother would make up songs, or sing The Troggs, or Bob Dylan.  I was introduced to music at a young age.  

I would sneak into my youngest older brothers room, and grab the electric guitar and strum until I had a blister on my thumb.  (insert Beatles “I Have Blisters on my Fingers” In that wonderful english accent) I still have that guitar. It belonged to two of my brothers.  Something I will always cherish! 

My sister and I would hold concerts in our bedrooms and sing to the #1 Hits of the 60’s.  I still love to listen to her sing.  

What type of symphony would you create if you could with your pictures?  Would you choose the rush of living in the city? Or would you scale it down and choose the country?  Would you create your life as living and working on a farm? We all know what that would look like!  Putting them all together, you can see what it should sound like!  At least that’s what I think.  I could write a song about Montana with my pictures, as well as Oregon, or any other place I have visited or lived.  Where would you choose to write your song with pictures?  The beach?  The mountains? Or just spending time with family?  All of them could make a wonderful song.  Try it!  

My symphony would be titled My Montana. 

I grew up on both sides of the state. The far east side in the Badlands of Montana, then in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana.  The best of both worlds in my opinion.

As a child I really didn’t appreciate it like I do now as an adult.  There were chores to do growing up, and now that we only plan “vacations” to go “home” it’s a lot different.  As an adult I haven’t been able to see as much of Montana as I would like.  I would love for hubby and I to go back and explore Western Montana.  There is so much to see, and so much I would love to share with him.

So to sum it up. Create your symphony. 

To you, I give “My Montana”

Montana 01 copy

Glndive 02 copyGlendive 01 copyBNSF copyBlack bridge copyGlendive 03 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAGusthauf copy copyMontana sky copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIntake copyPleasant view copyRosebud copyYellowstone 01 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERARiver in Missoula copyFLorence 01 copyCarolne lane copyBitterroot valley 01 copyBitterroot River copyBitterroot Valley 03 copy

Caroline Lane 02 copy

Famiy copy

As you can see, My Montana is a symphony of beauty.  One of memories of growing up in the best of both sides of the state.  I relate Montana to always being home.  No matter where I live, it always calls to me.

Find your symphony.  Perhaps you may find it in your children, your animals, your place of worship.  It’s out there.  Its up to you to create it.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the music.  It really is “all around us”

Blessings to you all.

Tracy Lynn

 

Flag in Glendive copy

High Dynamic Range – HDR

According to Wikipedia, “HDR is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.  The aim is to present a similar range of luminance to be experienced through the human visual system.  

HDR images can represent a greater range of luminance levels that can be achieved using more traditional methods such as real-world scenes containing very bright, direct sunlight to extreme shade.  This is often achieved by capturing and combining several different exposures of the same subject matter.”  

In my lesser technical world,  HDR can be shot using 3 pictures on up to however many you decide.  My cameras will allow me to shoot 3 shot HDR photos.

The series is this; one at normal settings, one at a step up to capture the highlights, and one a step down to capture the shadows.  You are shooting the same photo composition 3 times.  It may sound silly, but sometimes you can get more depth, or feeling in a photo that has more shadows or detail.  IMG_5813

Normal Photo

IMG_5814

1 Stop down to capture the shadows

IMG_5815

1 Stop up to capture the light

 

Photomatix

Three shot HDR, processed using Photomatix

Aurora HDR copy

Three shot HDR, processed using Aurora HDR

Yes, you need specific software to “merge” or “layer” your images.  I use mostly a software called Photomatix.  When I first discovered it, I had a fun time learning.  Yes some of the photos were a bit over processed, but it was still fun. You can indeed take one photo (instead of 3) and run it thought the gauntlet so to speak, and make it a new image to you.  This is a photo you may have taken 10 years ago!  It’s all about learning and trying new things for your old photos, and of course your current photos.

I use two programs.  Photomatix, as stated above and Aurora HDR.  I am still learning the Aurora HDR, and I find it a bit qwerky, but I guess it’s all in the learning process.  Photomatix was my first, and I do believe it was one of the first HDR programs.  Used by many photographers,  the Aurora HDR was created by an amazing photographer Trey Ratcliff, who I learned alot from watching his Photomatix video tutorials.  I think (but don’t quote me)  Aurora HDR was first created strictly for Mac computers.

How did I get into the world of HDR?  I used to be big into digital scrapbooking, and one of the guru’s that made all kinds of neat things for that hobby, was also a photographer.  He did some awesome amazing HDR of Montana, close to where I lived in Western Montana.  I followed his processes, and bought a few books.  Then I discovered Trey and took a course of his and thats how I got hooked.

There is something in HDR that is called “Ghosting” and sometimes this gets the best of me.  If you are like me and take mostly hand held photos, there is going to be some movement.

When you take the three picture HDR, there are great chances if you are not using a tripod, you will have movement.  So when your pictures are merging they also need to line up.  So if they don’t line up properly, you get “ghost” effects on your photos, it can be pretty ugly, and no amount of adjustments, will take away the failed photo merge. I know this because I have given up on trying to merge the three photo set numerous times.

I do not claim, nor will I ever claim to be an expert on HDR photography and processing. Because once you claim you are an expert, you quit learning.  I learn something new every time I process photos.  Once I really like the outcome of the HDR process, its time to step into the studio so to speak, I will remove any unsightly power lines, or spots that are on my sensor that come through. I will also remove signs, if I find them annoying.  The bottom line digital footprint is still there, but I am merely enhancing my photo.  It’s not for everyone!  And I don’t do it to all my photos.  Most of what I post online are “SOOC”  Straight Out of the Camera.

IMG_9986

Normal Photo

IMG_9987

1 Stop Down

IMG_9988

1 Stop Up

Malin Theatre_01

3 Photo HDR

In this final photograph, I removed most of the power lines, removed buckets and trash, and cleaned up any other distracting objects that I felt were not beneficial to the photo. As a side note, this particular photo I entered into the local county fair in the Digital Manipulation category, and I am happy and proud to say, that it took Best of Show!  I was/am a very happy girl!

You can indeed as stated above, turn a one photo shot, into an HDR, similar photo.  I have done it many times just to give it a “pop”.

I have friends and family that don’t like the “digital manipulation” and that’s OK!  They’re entitled to like what they like.  They like the real stuff.  So do I, but sometimes a photo straight out of the camera just needs a punch of something.

School

School 03 copy

The world of HDR isn’t just for color photos either!!!!  While you process them the same, they can really make a Black and White Photo really pop as well.

IMG_2361

IMG_2362

IMG_2363

IMG_2361_62_63

3 Photo  HDR Black and White

If you notice the signature in the above black and white, it is my husbands signature, with my camera of course.  He loves to shoot in HDR but refuses to learn the processing part.  That’s okay.  I give him credit, but the photo belongs to Tracy Lynn Hart Photography.  In case you are wondering why he was taking these,  I have a fear of all things ticks.  AND…  this was a field, in eastern Montana, with tall weeds, so I refused to go beyond the gravel road.  He was the one that took the shots for me!  Good job honey! You had a great teacher!!!

While HDR seems to be used in mostly landscape photography, I sometimes play around and use it for flowers, still life, and whatever else I think might work. If it works great, if not, there is that lovely delete key that will move the stuff to my trash can!

My advice to anyone wanting to try HDR. DO IT! You can download free trials of the programs, that is what I did in the beginning. You will need to learn your camera settings. Most DSLR’s have a custom setting where you can program it to take the 3 shots. Or however many your camera will take.  Read your manual, google it, find out how to make it work for you.

Experiment! It’s all about finding what you as a photographer like!

Alot of your cell phones now have an HDR feature, I know mine does, and I think it works okay, but it’s not what I am used to.

I spend hours in the studio, mostly when the weather is bad or early in the morning.  I would rather be outside taking photos or just being outside, instead of being cooped up inside.
It’s all a learning process and curve. I feel fortunate to have done as well as I have with my HDR processes.  I have done alot of research, watched videos, and took a course online.  I refuse to put alot of money into something that I don’t know if I will like. That is why the trial versions of the programs are a huge help!

Try something different! Be brave! Step out of that box!!!

Most of all, Enjoy!

Be Happy!

 

IMG_2295_6_7_tonemapped

Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

IMG_2331_2_3_tonemapped

Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

IMG_2859

IMG_2860

IMG_2861

IMG_2859_60_61_tonemapped

Historic Hotel Meade, Bannack Montana

 

Happy Shooting!

Tracy Lynn

 

The View From Above

The last month and a half, our skies have been filled with smoke from too many forest fires.  The smoke on some days was so thick you couldn’t see down the road.  While it made for some unique sunrises and sunsets, and a few good pictures, it was sad.

The last couple weeks we’ve been feeling “fall” in the air.  This past week it was really starting to feel like fall with the change of the weather, our first freeze warnings, and a little bit of rain.

The blessing in the change of the seasons was in the higher country in the form of snow.  In my home state of Montana, they have lost over 1 million acres of beautiful forest land to forest fires.  I will not get into my opinion of why, because this is a happy blog.  They said the only thing that could help Montana put out the fires was snow.  Glorious snow.  We also got the snow in Oregon and rain in Washington state to help with the fires.

At work this past week, the clouds were just beautiful.  And we all know how I love clouds!  I thought it was a good thing I didn’t have my camera at work because I would want to be outside capturing the beauty.  So I waited.

Friday morning (my day off) the Hubby and I went into town for breakfast and it was awesome to see white puffy clouds and clear blue skies. No smoke on the horizon.  We did some shopping and while we were in the stores, we came out and our puffy white clouds were gone and our skies were filled with white and gray clouds.   I think they were calling to me.  So we drove home to grab the cameras and go above it all.

To the top of a mountain called “Hamaker”

“1958-1979 A Cold War Air Force Radar Station was first established in Keno, Klamath County Oregon.  Named Keno Air Station”

To me, the above sentence is merely a “golf ball” on the top of Hamaker that we can see from our house.  But, there is history up on that mountain top.

Hamaker 11

 

Keno Air Force Station.  Established in 1958 and became operational in September 1958, manned by the 827th AC&W Squadron.  The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission.  The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force Interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft.  Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using vice commands via ground-to-air radio.

I could go on about the logistics and big words I didn’t understand in the article, but it is pretty interesting.  You can find more information here:

http://www.fortwiki.com/Keno_Air_force_Station

My story is this… It was a beautiful day in the Basin and the clouds were abundant and we were going to the top of that mounting to get some fresh air and beautiful views, and hopefully some pictures too.

It’s about and 8.5 mile drive to the top which is about 6500 feet. Don’t quote me on that, I was looking at the GPS on my phone.

We had been up here before when we first moved to the area.  I know it gets a lot of snow.  Hubby decided one day in March, to go on an adventure and travel to the top.  I am extremely glad I wasn’t with him. The last mile or so isn’t maintained.  It’s bad enough without the snow.

Hamaker snow 02

He made it back slowly to tell about it!

Once on top of Hamaker, you can look to the northwest and see Mt. McLoughlin, which you can also see from Medford on the other side of the Cascades.

Hamaker 06                                      Mt McLoughlin with a fresh blanket of snow!

You look out to the north, you see the Klamath Basin, farmland, Klamath Lake, Klamath River, and points beyond.  I truly love it up here.  Except it was 43 degrees and a light breeze.  Once the breeze quit, it was quite nice!

Hamaker 01

Hamaker 03

Hamaker 07

Hamaker 10

Hamaker 08

Hamaker 12

There is one thing for sure, that you can’t deny.  It is beautiful here every season.  (except fire season)

My advice is this;

If it’s the beginning of fall where you are, put on that hoodie or flannel shirt, pack the camera, maybe a picnic lunch, and go find your view from the top!  You won’t be sorry.  If it’s not feeling like fall, wait a couple weeks!  It might skip fall and go right into winter.  I say this because it almost always gets really cold or snows before Halloween!

Enjoy fall.  Enjoy the Pumpkin Spice everything.  Enjoy life.

Just a girl and her suitcase 01_01

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn