My wife and I live in Wisconsin, which is located in the Midwestern/North Central U.S. My wife is from North Dakota, which is both in the Midwestern U.S. as well as solidly in middle of the Great Plains, which are very generally the flat lands between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and roughly the same area in Canada that is east of the Rockies. We regularly travel to North Dakota and typically bring our two dogs when we go. It would be difficult and expensive to fly with the dogs so we typically drive when we travel there. Driving through the Great Plains means mile after mile wide open space with distant horizons. The photos here are a few of the horizons we have seen traveling through the Great Plains and are submitted for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizons.

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  1. […] Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon (Plains Style) | Points of View […]

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  2. […] Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon (Plains Style) | Points of View […]

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  3. Beautiful photos! I have been to South Dakota (Pine Ridge Reservation) many years ago but I have never been to North Dakota. I love the results of your Photoshop tweeking of the hayrolls. I will have to check out Filter Forge. Thanks for sharing.

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    • beluga53 says:

      Thanks for the compliment. North Dakota and South Dakota are quite different. I ‘m not sure I ever would have made it to North Dakota if I hadn’t married my wife. That said, I have developed a great fondness for the state and its people. The current oil boom is having a big effect on the state and at the moment, a lot of is not so good. Perhaps when things settle down a bit some sanity will return. Filter Forge can do a lot of things, but it isn’t perfect, just another tool in the tool box.

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  4. Tina Schell says:

    Midwestern skies – nothing like them anywhere! Nicely captured.

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  5. mithriluna says:

    Stunning images! When my daughter was 4, she called those hay rolls, “round animals”. She’s 24 now. 🙂

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  6. webcentrick says:

    beautiful photography. Would love to know your technique used on “Canola Field and Hay Roles”. That is very creative and unique!

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    • beluga53 says:

      Thanks. Glad you like it. The original photo was taken using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 compact camera from a car moving at about 55 miles per hour down a bouncy country road. The focal length was 15 mm. The exposure was ISO 80, f/5.6. 1/500 sec. My wife was driving her dad and me (with me in the back seat taking photos) to go see a relative for lunch. I saw this field coming up with the hay rolls but had already asked my wife to either slow down or stop enough times that we were going to be late for lunch if I continued so I didn’t even ask her to slow down. The resulting picture had issues the major one being that 1/500th sec. was too slow to completely compensate for the motion of the car particularly with the zoomed lens (it was fine for things I had been shooting earlier) so objects “close to the car” were fairly blurry while the hay rolls were less so as were more distant objects. I loved the overall look of the image so I got to work. First, using Photoshop I selected the hay rolls, trees and sky and then inverted the selection. I opened up Filter Forge (FF), a Photoshop plug-in (which, incidentally is a great tool that I use often) and selected the CrossBlur filter, one of the hundreds of filters developed by users of FF and provided for free to other FF users. Almost all of the filters have from 5-12 presets that are then customizable. Since the hay field and canola field were already blurry, I went with that and blurred them to pretty much what you see now (I subsequently cleaned up the edges). This took a bit of tweaking to get to exactly what I wanted (the CrossBlur filter is quite easy to use, but it still has hundreds or maybe even thousands of possible variations). After I had applied the CrossBlur filter and returned to Photoshop, I sharpened the hay rolls using Photoshop’s sharpen tool (I am using CS6 where the tool is far better than what it used to be). I used a polarizing filter from Tiffen Dfx 3.0 (masked so it just applied to the sky) to make the sky more blue and to get the few clouds in the sky to pop out a bit more and voila I got what you see. A little complicated, but I hope this is helpful to you.

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