Monday, January 20, 2014

KLMarkert Photography has LAUNCHED!

I've been taking photos for years, have worked as a portrait photographer and have spent time as a darkroom tech for another photographer. 1983 was when I started off in my own darkroom, or rather the one my father built. I am FINALLY kicking off my own photography business -- KLMarkert Photography. Original, right? Anyway, within hours of finally turning on the "shopping cart" of my online gallery, I made my first sale! WOW! Here's my updated website:

This photo is one of my favorites from a wedding I shot in Colorado last summer. FUN!
I've also started a new Facebook page: 

The Facebook cover includes photos from an office photo session, family portraits and the wedding couple from last summer.  
How exciting! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thinking Outside the (Camera) Box

High dynamic range (HDR) infrared (IR) image of Niagara Falls,
taken with my Nikon D5100, on a tripod, using a Hoya R72 filter
I don't know much about infrared photography post processing of images. When I took my IR photos in the past, I plainly desaturated them, then processed the images as if they were black and white pictures. The last set of colored IR photos that I've posted are not my style. SO WHAT? It can't hurt to learn something new, and to keep learning until I find something that does work. I refuse to ever be stuck in a "photo rut".

Lately I've been putting together a small in-home studio. My efforts have been focused on building up the portrait side of my photography as a business. I fell asleep last night thinking about a few seniors who I will be photographing soon. What poses would work best for these seniors? How can I get to know them first, so they feel comfortable working with me? Will I have my new lighting gear in time to shoot their photos? Where could we go for a nice on-location shoot in the middle of winter?

What a nice change of pace to pick up myIR dedicated camera and shoot something so completely different than a portrait. While I'm not thrilled with my recent IR images, it's good to try something new. :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

More Infrared from the IR-Converted Nikon D40

I can tell that working with the color balances of processed IR photos is going to take a lot of practice! Here are the results of my quick trip outside, with my handy "new" camera snapping away.

Workflow? Import to Lightroom. Mess with color balance, cool it down until green branches have a soft blue hue w/reds at a manageable level (vs. whole photo super saturated with red). Edit in Photoshop (directly from Lightroom). I created an action in Photoshop that switches the red and blue channels and then desaturates the reds and magentas. Tweak the saturation levels a little bit. Save photo which is picked back up in Lightroom. Manipulate the exposure, whites, clarity, etc. Crop. Tada! This process seriously only takes a couple minutes per photo.

Considering I can now create a photo now from start to finish quicker than ONLY taking the photo via the old filter method, I'm quite happy! Someday I'll mess with the "white balance" profile, using the .DNG converter and editor...someday. :)

UPDATE! I just couldn't go to sleep tonight with three of the photos being so PURPLE. I almost worked on the chapel one, too, but just have to draw the line somewhere. I've placed the updated photos below the ones I originally posted, so you could compare the coloring.

Flickr gallery of photos:

First Edit of IR photo.
Updated photo.
First edit of the IR photo.
Edited color balance of the IR photo.  THIS one, in the end, was my favorite balance of colors in the batch. I would still like more of the pink tint taken out, which may happen after I get a better color profile calibrated w/DNG editor. 
Left the coloring of this photo alone. Good enough for tonight. 
THIS one is WAS my favorite balance of colors from post processing. I like the soft touch of blue in the sky. Originally, the church sign out front and the road were also blue. I desturated them in Lightroom to better balance off the whites and grays. The more I look at this photo, the more green tint I see to it, hmmm...
I wish this was a little more blue than purple. I probably should have desaturated the gate and wall here, too, like I did with the Bakers Creek Air Crash Memorial. I think this is Selfridge Gate to Arlington National Cemetery on the right. 
This is still a little green for me, but closer to what I was hoping for. 

Infrared Photography with My "New" IR Dedicated Nikon D40

I adopted a new "baby" last night, an old Nikon D40 that was converted for infrared photography. I found it on Craigslist when looking for used photo lighting, and the price was just too low to ignore. Well, today I'm stuck in my "office" pretty much all day, so just took a quick photo break, and this is the result. Taken from our front porch, and with less than two minutes of editing, this is the result. NICE! There's certainly room for improvement, and I need to work on my post-processing workflow, set my white balance with the .DNG Converter, better channel mixing of colors--but I am VERY excited!
This camera has been modified for infrared photography. Before this camera I would take my IR photos with a filter on my lens: set up camera on tripod, get the shot ready and focused, very carefully screw filter on lens (it blocks all visible light, so need to set everything up first), then shoot photo w/guessing how long shutter stays open. Shots that way could take 15 seconds to 2 minutes of exposure, depending on the camera settings. This could create quite a bit of blur if the wind was blowing, branches moving. Now with the dedicated IR photo, I just point and shoot. WOW!!!!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wait, a minute... Is that MY photo?

Are you concerned about how your photos shared via social media are being used? I've given this a great deal of thought in the past year. I've even started a Facebook page to share what I've learned--and continue to learn! Would you like to read more? Check out MYPhoto Facebook page here (click on link or photo):

My views on sharing photos through social media continue to evolve. While online "theft" or misuse of photos is probably inevitable, sharing photos wisely can help a photographer with good feedback and exposure. 

What do you think about commercial sites that use other people's photographs on their site, with links to the original photos/sites, but w/o first asking permission to use the photos? Does the link back make it "okay" for the commercial site to use the photo? Can the photos be use with credit given, even if permission has not first been obtained? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Celebrating 500K+ hits on both Flickr and SmugMug!

I have very much enjoyed sharing my photos with everyone through my Flick account ( and my SmugMug account ( I just realized today that I've received over 500K+ hits on both accounts since March/April 2012. WOW! I'm not sure how accurate the counts are on each of these accounts, but here are screen captures I just took from both pages:

KLMarkert Flickr Account
KLMarkert SmugMug Account
I am very thankful to share my photos, and have learned a lot these past two years. What does this mean to me now? Seeing these numbers is motivating me to get serious about some projects I've been tossing around. I've made some great contacts w/other photographers. The people and places I've caught on "film" have been amazing, and now I crave to do even more. WHAT FUN!

What next? Hmmm... :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Using Polarizing Filters with Digital Cameras

Here's a photo tip I've picked up in the last couple of years. Digital cameras can't do everything, and they need filters, too. When I used film cameras years ago, I became very familiar with different types of filters and how they could help my photography. With digital cameras I forgot about filters, just figured that the computer inside the camera and my processing programs (Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, Photomatix, Perfectly Clear, etc.) could digitally add any filtered effects to the captured images. Not true.

I found this out the hard way on my first trip to Nepal. When taking photos of the mountains, I noticed the skyline was extremely washed out, overexposed. I hunted the shops in Thamel to find a good polarizing filter with no luck. Once I returned home, I immediately did my research and found a good polarizing filter (they are not all the same), and noticed an immediate difference in my photos. The original mountain photos were washed out. Without the captured data, there was no bringing back the detail of the mountains. The polarizing filter definitely helped me to capture more details on my second trip to Nepal.

I now have a new favorite lens (AF-S NIKKOR 18-200 mm 1:3.5 - 5.6 GII ED), and a new polarizing filter (Promaster Digital HGX CPL Filter - 72mm). I saved up for this filter, but have also used Tiffen circular polarizer filters with good success (much less expensive). From "The PROMASTER Digital HGX Circular Polarizing filter allows you to remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water, glass etc. It also will enable colors to become more saturated and appear clearer, with better contrast." When the filter is turned, I get different levels of the filtering effect. Posted here are examples of photos I took this week on the metro, all with the same filter.

I love photography. I can't stop taking photos, and won't stop learning as much as I can in the process. :)

Can view full reflection in the window. 
A small twist of my polarizing filter, and the reflection begins to disappear, I can see through the window.
I have some of my father's old filters from the 1980s, and they also work well on my newer lenses! I'm now looking at different graduated neutral density filters, after hearing a National Geographic photographer talk about he uses them with his work. I've always used UV filters to protect the exposed lens glass. Every photographer should at least be carrying one of these in their bags and using them on their lenses.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ooops... I'm a little busy at the moment.

I'm sorry for not reporting more survey results in a timely manner. As a military family member and shutterbug fanatic in the DC area, I'll be busy the next couple of days taking photos at the Army Ten Miler and the AUSA convention. More results will follow, though, soon enough. :)

Click on the photo to visit my ATM 2013 Flickr set.