Back Yard Silhouette

If you can't make it good, make it colorful!

This is looking slightly southwest from my balcony over the shopping center behind my apartment complex.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ30
1/320 (it was quite breezy)
ISO 80
9.3 mm (aprox. 45 mm equivalent)
Topaz Detail 2 with other adjustment layers.

#2012Project52 #silhouette
+GPLUS::P52::2012 originated by +Giuseppe Basile , +Project52-2012 moderated by +Gretchen Chappelle +Shelly Gunderson +Gary Munroe +Gene Bowker +Sue Butler +LaDonna Pride and +Kate Church


The Emperor's Happy Place

A quiet walk in the private garden could be . . . er, romantic?

Forbidden City, Beijing – April 2009.
Near the end of a long afternoon touring the Forbidden City, one of the final areas you will pass through is the Emperor's private gardens. It is not uncommon to find man-made 'rocks' in Chinese gardens, but not all of them (no others that I saw) have such obvious characteristics. One can easily imagine the significance of this item standing amongst the trees as the Emperor escorts his wife or one of his concubines on a pleasant afternoon stroll. Ah nature. It's so, uh, stimulating, isn't it?

There wasn't room to stand back from this sight, so I took photos of the top and bottom sections and combined them with Photoshop's photomerge. There is also some HDR toning and a couple of other adjustment layers to separate the subject from the background.

#China #Beijing #ForbiddenCity #Travel


They Reached For The Sun

but they never left the ground.

The Summer Palace, Beijing – April 2009
The peony is the unofficial national flower of China, so it is rare to see a public garden or temple grounds that does not have peonies. They grow in several different forms- some are like typical garden flowers on thin stems, some grow on short shrubs, and these were on tree-like plants four to six feet tall. The larger branches are two to three inches in diameter.

#China #Flowers #Peony #Peonyflower


Home Made Cream Of Broccoli Soup

And it was delicious, I might add!

You do what you have to do. This week's +Project52-2012 theme was 'S' Curves, but there wasn't much chance of me getting out and about and I was wracking my brain trying to think of what I could do. After I warmed up some home made cream of broccoli soup, I stirred in a touch of cream. As I stirred, all became clear- so to speak. So I grabbed the cream again and laid in a dollop, then swirled it into the 'S' shape with my spoon. Voila!

I took several hand held exposures and ended up having to combine two shots vertically to get rid of a shadow of the lens from the flash. There was massive clean up of stray bits of soup, and masking out the counter-top which was replaced by a custom background. An additional custom vignette layer was added and set to 'exclusion' blend mode to make it all look like studio lighting. A final levels adjustment on the soup layer to make it pop a bit, and I was done.

+Project52-2012 +GPLUS::P52::2012 originated by +Giuseppe Basile, moderated by +Gretchen Chappelle +Shelly Gunderson +Gary Munroe +Gene Bowker +Sue Butler +LaDonna Pride and +Kate Church


Garbage In, Garbage Out

Some things can't be 'fixed' in Photoshop!

Due to physical limitations the last three years, I've not taken many new photos. I try to keep up with +Project52-2012, but some weeks I barely squeak it in. I do, however spend a lot of time fiddling around with some of my old photos.

The two here are from a UK trip in 2005. My nephew and I took the bus tour that includes Leeds Castle, Dover (just the beach, unfortunately- I have yet to visit the castle and want to very much!) and Canterbury. All I owned at the time was a cheap Made In China camera with a plastic lens that had its own issues, a sensor that was slightly cocked so that there was a left-to-right focus shift, and internal processing that, well, to put it charitably, sucked.

Every now and again, usually with the release of a new version of Photoshop and/or Adobe Camera Raw, I go back to the 2005 folder and take a stab (insert Psycho music) at seeing what can be dragged kicking and screaming out of the poor things. Here are some of the results.

I may feature a few more before and after shots, since rescuing my bad photos seems to be one of my greater skills. But I thought I'd start with this.

I know the water in the before version is more realistic, but it's dull, dull, dull. Did I mention the water is dull? So I cranked up the Cayman Island colors. It is, after all, just attempted salvation of a doomed snapshot.

#BeforeAndAfter #Photoshop


In Album Before-N-After

St. George's Chapel

Who's buried there?

In April 2006 I visited Windsor Castle. In the lower ward sits . . . or rather, stands St. George's Chapel. The original chapel was constructed in 1348, and has been plundered, repaired, expanded and remodeled a number of times. In various corners throughout the building are buried several historical royal personages, most notably from the last century, King George VI, Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother.

This photo was taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 camera before I knew any better about RAW vs. JPEG photos. My budget minded decision was to take a 1 GB SD card and stick with JPEG. There is a bit of Topaz, some NIK HDR Efex Pro 2, and . . . some other stuff.

#England #travel #WindsorCastle #Windsor #London


Del Puerto Canyon

With a borrowed sky . . .

Another hand held HDR from two iPhone shots. This one took some fixing, I'll tell ya! In the majority of the frame it doesn't matter, and now that I'm typing this, I want to bang my head on the desk real hard, because all the work I did really wasn't necessary. D'Oh!

One shot was for the sky (since abandoned) and the other is mostly what you see. The problem with the sky (besides noise) was ghosting that wasn't going to be dealt with. The wind was blowing, so in that wedgey-looking area in the center of the frame there were major ghost branches from the dark shot that I slaved over trying to get rid of them. Then I didn't like the finished sky result and replaced it anyway. I could have saved myself an hour or so of sore forehead by just tone mapping the lighter frame and replacing the sky in that. Double D'Oh!

Well, what's done is done, and I kind of like it, although a 'real' camera on a tripod making genuinely bracketed shots would have been nice. But, that wind. I don't know . . .

#landscape #iPhoneography #HDR #NIKsoftware