Late Afternoon Sun

Location scouting . . .

I needed to run away get out and about for a bit. I wasn't sure where I was going, but I drove south thinking I might drop into Fry's Electronics, but they close early on Sundays. Then I thought maybe I'd do a loop around San Francisco Bay, or maybe drive up Skyline Drive on the peninsula. It didn't matter. I had my iPhone but not my 'real' camera. That didn't matter either. Eventually I decided to drive up and over Mt. Hamilton, past the James Lick Observatory and out to The Big Valley.

It's not a long trip, as the crow flies, but no crow ever flew this crooked road, so it's a long trip after all. For most of the journey the light was too 'mid-day' so I didn't stop to take any pictures. But once I'd gone over the mountain into the San Antonio Valley, I thought there might be a chance- at least some place to make a return trip later with the other camera and tripod. So when I reached the intersection of San Antonio Valley Road with Del Puerto Canyon road, I turned right. Sure enough, as I descended toward the San Joaquin Valley, I began to see interesting light hitting interesting landscapes. I stopped and took a few shots- even a couple of hand held exposures that I thought I might be able to do some HDR with. Thus, you see the shadows and the sunlit hills and sky above. Not fantastic, but for iPhone snaps hand held, it worked out pretty well. (I did have to sort of re-create the sky, though. Waaaaay too noisy.)

I'll go back with the 'real' camera and tripod before long. I think there's some good shots to be had around here.

#landscape #iPhoneography #HDR #NIKsoftware


Waiting To Cross The Street

Long day for tourist and local alike . . .

This is another re-worked photo using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. The previous version was somewhat overcooked tone mapping, and my goal here was to get something more realistic. The big problem with the original RAW file is noise, especially in the darker tones. This is a compromise that probably favors noise reduction over clarity, although a high-pass layer did help with edge sharpness.

Captured in February 2008.

#Prague #Travel #NIKsoftware #Tonemapped #Tonemapping


Miles Waits

It's hard to be part of a slow tour group!

This is a re-work of a photo that's been in this album for a while. I just got NIK Software's HDR Efex Pro 2, so I'm having another look at some of my older photos. A good plan, since there are so few new ones, eh?

Single frame tone mapped in HDR Efex Pro 2, high-pass sharpening layer, levels adjustment layer. Done.

Prague photos have been moved to this album:

#Prague #Travel #NIKsoftware #Tonemapped #Tonemapping


Red White And Blue

Yep. The colors of a July 4th sale down at the mall!

All kinds of conspicuous consumption is encouraged as our only summer holiday rolls around. Spend money you don't have and celebrate your freedom by becoming indentured servants to the banks for the foreseeable future. Yep. It's a Red White and Blue sale going on now!

Custom gradient stroke at work here. The rest really did come out of my mailbox over the last few days. D'Oh!

+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


One Does Not Just Walk Into China

Peering up at the Great Wall

April 2009 – The day was occasionally drizzly, but not unpleasant otherwise, and the clouds . . . well, these clouds weren't there. The sky appeared a uniform 80% gray. And I screwed up on the camera settings, and I left the polarizer on (thus losing a couple stops of light). You know the drill. Dark and noisy. So what else is new in my skill set?

I've tried several ways of rescuing processing this particular frame, as it has a lot of merit on levels other than exposure as such. I think this is The One. The sky is imported and colorized. The details appear (perhaps) kind of painterly because of the heavy amounts of noise reduction, re-sharpening and etc. Nevertheless, I do think I like this result.

#China #GreatWall #GreatWallOfChina #Travel #TopazAdjust


The Bird Nest

A drizzly morning in Beijing!

Here's a couple of shots of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. Our tour bus stopped next to a pedestrian overpass for half an hour or so on the way to the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall. This was the beginning of a long, long day. On the bus at 8:30 a.m., short stop here, long bus trip to the Ming Tombs, more bus riding to the Great Wall . . . then back into the outskirts of Beijing for a foot massage, dinner and an acrobatics show. I think we got back to our hotel around 10:00 p.m.

Most of my shots that morning were kind of dark and hazy with lots of chromatic and luminance noise- nearly impossible to clean up. Don't look too closely! In the time since I originally tried to rescue process these photos, I've acquired some better skills, better Photoshop and ACR, and just about the full array of Topaz plugins as well. It all helps. Oh- the sky in the second one is a replacement. It took some interesting work to get everything to match in color and contrast.

#China #Beijing #Travel #Topazadjust


In Album China