A Turtle

A big one, too!

Inside the Forbidden City, April 2009.

The back lighting made this difficult. And my tour group was moving on, so . . . Maybe a return visit some day in better light?

#LightroomCC and #PhotoshopCC were utilized to create virtual copies that were adjusted to +1, normal and -1 exposures that were then taken into NIK HDR Effects Pro. I may still fiddle around with this some more, but for right now, my forehead is sore.

#Travel #China #Beijing #ForbiddenCity #Turtle


The Beach at Pacifica

Oh! The negative ions!

On one of my brief visits to the beach and municipal pier at Pacifica, I captured this scene of clouds, a little low fog hanging around the shoreline and the sun peeking through to illuminate it all. I could wish that my visits would be more frequent and longer, but I don't know. Maybe if the atmosphere became mundane I would long for the miles and miles of brown fields in the Central Valley instead. (No. Not gonna happen.)

As with most photos lately, this was taken with my iPhone 6s, which has a worthy camera. When I gather the resources I may make the hundred-buck investment in a set of Olloclip lenses. I'm especially missing having telephoto capacity.

Processing was done entirely in #Lightroom without a b/w conversion, but with a duotone applied. The original showed almost no color anyway.

#SanFrancisco #Pacifica #Beach #Ocean


A Setting Near Xian, China

The Terracotta Warriors Live Here!

After spending a couple of hours touring the excavations and viewing the Terracotta Army in their natural, if somewhat ruined habitat, I emerged back into the sunlight to observe this area on the grounds.

I have to tell you, the sky didn't look like this. And the mountains were barely visible through the haze. If you're a pixel peeper type, I urge you not to look too closely- unless you enjoy that kind of up-close visual torture. This photo has been processed into a kind of submission. There are many serious flaws to be seen. Just take in the scene and move along. Please!

OK. First came several layers of de-hazing in LightroomCC, followed by replacement of the dull blue-brown cloudless sky with this one from California. There was also some cloning out of people in the foreground. All in all, there are maybe two hours of labor invested in getting to this state.

#Travel #China #Xian #TerracottaWarriors #Landscape


Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

A note to our current political leaders.

During an October 2014 visit to Washington, D.C. we took a night trip to several of the famous monuments. I didn't get a lot of good photos, as my camera wasn't really up to the night-time task. Maybe one day I'll upgrade. After I win the lottery. Anyway, this is Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address as engraved into the stone wall of the memorial edifice.

It is notably both short and eloquent, in a way that I doubt many modern politicians could dream- or dare. The primary subject was not Lincoln's agenda for his second term, nor complaints about Congress doing/not doing its job. Lincoln's address centered on the Civil War and its causes- and the underlying humanity on both sides of the conflict. (Read it for yourself.)

One might say that the current crop of would-be rulers in our Capitol should be forced to memorize not only the words of this address, but to comprehend the import of them, since so many of them claim to both know and fear God. But I suspect that that the majority of them would fail any test of understanding.

#Travel #WashingtonDC #LincolnMemorial #AbrahamLincoln


Gridlock In Washington D.C

During a visit to Washington, D.C. in October 2014 we ate lunch in the cafeteria/restaurant inside the US Capitol. It was very much what one would expect: long lines, mediocre food and uncomfortable table seating.

During our meal it began dumping rain by the bucket-full onto the glass ceiling above. That was when I became fascinated by the lighting grid- all those intersecting lines, the light fixtures, and the wind-tossed trees outside, only barely visible through the torrent descending from the sky.

I'm not sure how much I like this picture, but I thought I'd take a run at making something of it. Maybe with more time and the ability to set up a proper shot this lighting grid cold be made more interesting. But here it is anyway.

#Travel #WashingtonDC #Capitol #Grid


Street Light in Paris

A modern one.

during a trip to London in May 2004, we went to Paris for lunch. Well, not exactly, but a day trip on the Eurostar did feature a pretty nice lunch there. Our group was given the drive-by tour of many sites that we wouldn't have time to visit, including some monuments, the Paris Opera, and so on. I got a fabulous twenty minutes at the Eiffel Tower before busing off to the Louvre Museum.

We were signed up for the later half of the Louvre tour, so we went across the river seeking lunch, and then walked about a bit, eventually making our way to the Notre Dame cathedral. On our way, we got smitten by the same !@#% hail storm that had soaked us to the skin at Stonehenge two days previous, getting only moderately dampened this time. Hail stings, you know.

We ended up having to catch a cab back to the Louvre to meet up with our group. Then after a too-quick-to-take-it-in tour, we boarded our bus back to the Gare du Nord station to catch the train back to London. On that leg of the trip I took several shots from our moving bus- although sometimes we were not moving, since it was rush hour.

This photo has always been a favorite of mine, in spite of the glaring flaws in the original capture. My camera at the time was little more than a toy with a plastic lens that couldn't resolve to the 5 MP of the sensor. Something else was that the focus plane was not quite parallel to the lens, making one side (or the top when framing vertically) always just out of focus.

The sky also was a dull grey mass. So here, I have swapped in a sky and made massive adjustments in Photoshop to bring about this version of this photo. Given all of the flaws, even at full resolution, I wouldn't print it larger than 8×10.

I'm also usually not a fan of frames and borders on photos displayed on the Internet, but this is an exception where I think the white border actually enhances the overall look and feel.

#Travel #Paris #France #Eurostar



Ancient Hill Fort

Since prehistoric times, until relatively recently (Henry VIII era), there has been a fort of some sort on the site that the Romans called Sarum, about a mile outside of Salisbury, England. All that remains are some walls and foundations.

Just behind what is seen here, one can look down upon the outline of a cathedral that sat inside the settlement until around the year 1200 AD, when a dispute over who was in charge arose between military commanders and the local bishop, who ultimately dismantled the cathedral and moved down to Salisbury. Sarum's importance dwindled while Salisbury's fortunes rose.

I wanted to give the impression of a very old photograph here. The original May 2004 frames comprising the panorama were pretty drab, except for the green grass. It was bitterly cold and raining. Later this same day my travel buddy and I got soaked to the skin and stung by hail at Stonehenge.

There are some texture layers in various blend modes used here, along with some other adjustment layers to get the right contrast and sepia look.

#Travel #Sarum #Salisbury #England


London 2005

How You Rescue A Photo.

I took some photos in July 2005 with my crummy little digital camera looking west from Tower Bridge. I fiddled around a bunch of times in Photoshop, but the quality of the pictures just wasn't very good.

I had an inspiration after seeing +Karen Hutton 's photo of a German castle that she had enhanced with textures and colors, so I went looking for something- anything- that I thought might work from my archives. I already had combined two shots into a panorama, but I re-did it from scratch before overlaying a couple of color-with-texture layers, and this is the result.

I kinda like it! Doubtless, I will go scrounging through my archives of awful pictures from that crummy little camera to see what else might be rescued.

#Travel #England #London #Photoshop