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Showing posts from 2012

Fave 5 From 2012 Part 5: The End

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It's the last Thursday of 2012, and with it comes the last of my favorite five shots. These aren't the blog's most popular photos (which you can see on the right side), but are the photos that I enjoyed taking, working on, and looking at the most. The order picked is random, so today's shot is not the least-favorite or the most favorite shot of 2012.

Along with my photo picks of 2012 I thought I'd highlight five books that I really enjoyed. I mean to write more about the books I read, but am finding it hard to do. Two types of ratings I don't generally bother with looking at are for books and for music. They're so subjective that people can and do often times have opinions that very much differ from my views. So think of these not as reviews of the books, but more of why I liked them.


About the ShotThis is a shot that had been percolating around in my head for a while now. I had seen a lot of great shots, and the under the pier shot seemed to be an HDR must s…

The Weekly Photo Project for 2013

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After a successful 2012 of following a 52 week project over on Google+ I was looking for another to do. I was half expecting The old group I was in to just carry over into 2013, but turns out I was wrong. And, as the saying goes, if you want something done you're better off doing it yourself. For 2013 I will be helping to run a 52 week project over at +Weekly Photo Project 2013 with a couple other great curators; +Andrew Willard and +Tiina Niskanen. This is a great low stress way to shoot throughout the year be it a full sized DSLR, a point and shoot, or your trusty phone. Head on over to the page to check out the details and share with your friends. 
I might be biting off more than I can chew as I will also be doing a black & white 52 week project, +Project 52 B&W. And still posting weekly photos outside of these projects. As for the blog postings I don't expect much to change. I might just make Monday my project posting day, so two photos, and Thursday my other phot…

Fave 5 from 2012 Part 4

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With only two Thursdays left in 2012 it's time part four of my five favorite photos taken by me in 2012. These aren't the blog's most popular photos (which you can see on the right side), but are the photos that I enjoyed taking, working on, and looking at the most. The order picked is random, so today's shot is not the least-favorite or the most favorite shot of 2012.

Along with my photo picks of 2012 I thought I'd highlight five books that I really enjoyed. I mean to write more about the books I read, but am finding it hard to do. Two types of ratings I don't generally bother with looking at are for books and for music. They're so subjective that people can and do often times have opinions that very much differ from my views. So think of these not as reviews of the books, but more of why I liked them.

G3 In The (Light)House

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I've been a little distracted the last several days, and the above is why. My new camera, the Panasonic G3, uses the same technology as my replaced GF2, but improves on it. Keeping it mirror-less the main differences are the upgraded sensor (16MP vs 12MP) the fold out/swivel 3 inch touch screen, the eye view finder, and a dedicated mode dial. Though the ISO level peaks out at the same 6400 as the GF2, the noise is handled better and I'm now comfortable to break the 800ISO barrier, where before I wouldn't chance it. Details and colors are far better also. In fact they were so much better I am wondering if I had a faulty GF2. But either way I'm much happier with this camera as I regain two key features of the SX10is that I had been missing: the swivel LCD monitor which makes shots below and above my head a lot easier, and the eye view finder which is helpful on bright days that wash the LCD out.

Fave 5 from 2012 Part 3

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With only three Thursdays left in 2012 it's time for part three of my five favorite photos taken by me in 2012. These aren't the blog's most popular photos (which you can see on the right side), but are the photos that I enjoyed taking, working on, and looking at the most. The order picked is random, so today's shot is not the least-favorite or the most favorite shot of 2012.

OK, so I'm late posting this, and I'm not even adding a book to the post this week. I've also not been shooting for the last couple weeks because I've been without a camera and eagerly awaiting a new one. Well the new one arrived Wednesday so I was a little pre-occupied to getting this post off. And I'm purposely leaving out a book review because I'm lazy.

Fave 5 From 2012 Part 2

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With only four Thursdays left in 2012 it's time part two of my five favorite photos taken by me in 2012. These aren't the blog's most popular photos (which you can see on the right side), but are the photos that I enjoyed taking, working on, and looking at the most. The order picked is random, so today's shot is not the least-favorite or the most favorite shot of 2012.

Along with my photo picks of 2012 I thought I'd highlight five books that I really enjoyed. I mean to write more about the books I read, but am finding it hard to do. Two types of ratings I don't generally bother with looking at are for books and for music. They're so subjective that people can and do often times have opinions that very much differ from my views. So think of these not as reviews of the books, but more of why I liked them.

Fave 5 From 2012 Part 1

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With only five Thursdays left in 2012 it's time to count down my five favorite photos taken by me in 2012. These aren't the blog's most popular photos (which you can see on the right side), but are the photos that I enjoyed taking, working on, and looking at the most. The order picked is random, so today's shot is not the least-favorite or the most favorite shot of 2012.

Along with my photo picks of 2012 I thought I'd highlight five books that I really enjoyed. I mean to write more about the books I read, but am finding it hard to do. Two types of ratings I don't generally bother with looking at are for books and for music. They're so subjective that people can and do often times have opinions that very much differ from my views. So think of these not as reviews of the books, but more of why I liked them.

Week 47 GPlus Project 52 Time

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This week's theme was time, and I was going to to try as hard as I could to not take a photo of a watch or clock. I did take one of a clock to use as backup, but then when I thought I'd have to use it there appeared Zoltar! I hadn't seen an actual Zoltar machine before, except in the movie Big, so this was kind of neat. There's a website all about the machines, which start at $5,500 and can go to as high as $11,000! They're all hand made, which I suppose accounts for some of that price. A pretty cool thing to run into.

You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Pier Sunset

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This was taken on the first attempt for my post from Monday. I had been under the pier for a good half hour, and was getting a little frustrated with my flimsy tripod and keeping a wary eye on the approaching tide when I came out and saw this. So although 90% of my shots from that day were throw aways, I was able to grab some nice shots out from under the pier.

Week 46 GPlus Project 52 The Vanishing Point

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The theme for this week was vanishing point and I was really excited to do this for a couple reasons. In Evernote I keep a notebook of types of shots that I want to do eventually and this week I was able to cross one of those things off my list. I've always wanted to do an under the pier shot around sunset as I've seen a lot of photographers I follow online do, and with the theme and after the weather I had my chance. It took me two days to get a number of useable shots, but it was well worth it.

Graffiti Reflection

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Still water, morning clouds and fog burning off, and morning make for some great reflection shots. The same bridge as featured for week 44 is shown here a little bit later from a different position. I had planned on this being an HDR image so took my usual five exposures. Post processing wise I used a relatively new program Topaz Labs PhotoFX Lab, which allows me to work with layers, and to use their different plugins in one easy to run session. I wanted to make sure I brought out detail in the bridge and sky, but didn't have that same detail come out in the water reflection. So in PhotoFX Lab I ran the whole photo through Adjust and Detail, then masked out the water from that version with the original version. I think it worked out pretty nicely.

The Time Keeper Review

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The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I can't remember how I came across the book, to be honest. I might have seen it profiled on some book site earlier in the year and picked it up as an If I Have Nothing Else To Read book. I picked it to read because I was looking for something quick and to wipe my palate of The Hobbit that I had just finished. Again. And at roughly 200 pages, according to my Nook, it seemed to fit the bill. And boy did it.

Week 45 GPlus Project 52 Halloween

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The theme, unsurprisingly, was Halloween for this past week. I knew what I wanted to shoot, but was disappointed that the night shot I was originally planning wasn't going to pan out. Plan B was a day shot, but the day was a very dull flat grey day. So I had to go to some extremes with the post processing. I brought the color back for the rotating jack-o-lantern, something I don't normally like doing as I feel it's very gimmicky, and a crutch for bad composition. As if you needed a neon sign to point your eye to the thing you want it to look at. Yes, it still does that here, but if I'm going be the rule of thirds, it's composed decently. I then went overboard on the contrast and detail settings in Silver Efex Pro so I could get something from the flat grey clouds. Finished it off with a vignette and it didn't turn out all that bad. As an added scare, check out the gas prices!


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Fotostat

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One part of my twice weekly workflow that I don't enjoy is the time it takes to upload my photos to the various sites that I show my work on. In the beginning I would upload to Google (Google+ and this blog), Facebook, 500px, and Flickr, and even though that is only four sites it was a hassle. Within Aperture I could share directly to Facebook and Flickr, but I would have to do the admittedly easy task of hitting the share button and choosing the album twice. What can I say, I'm lazy. Also, at least as far as Facebook is concerned, it does a not so good job of synching my Aperture content to Facebook and vice versa. Then, based on the interaction I was getting, I ignored Flickr. 500px, a relatively new photo sharing site, required a plugin to set up, and a complete different setup to get a photo on there. Again not entirely difficult, but as I said, I'm lazy.

River Walk

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A peaceful evening on the river. The only noise was that of the fish that were jumping out of the water quite often, which I found odd. I really like the colors of this so I only gently boosted them in processing it. Other than that it was cropped as I felt the clouds coming in from the top became distracting.


Week 44 GPlus Project 52: Reflection

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I knew what I wanted to shoot for this week's theme of reflection, it was just a matter of weather and timing to work out. Luckily it did. Originally featured as one of my favorites of 2011, I went back to the same place hoping for the same magic. It wasn't quite the same magic, as the fog got in the way. I was able to get some shots without the fog, but I ended up choosing this one because I liked how the reflection of the bridge stood out more so than the reflections of the clouds, which can be a little distracting. As far as photo processing went I did very little. I boosted the saturation a little and cropped.

You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Fire in the sky

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Winter is making it's presence known with grey skies, and rain. I don't mind it when it rains and storms, but daily grey weather is kind of depressing. So with that mindset I came across this photo that I shot back in May(!) that, to be honest, doesn't come close to capturing what I saw. It wasn't a rainbow it was a streak. It took a lot of work to really bring out the streak, and in some ways I'm still not 100% happy with this. I don't know if it's an equipment issue, user issue (most likely) or not having the proper training/tools in post processing, but after far too long I've gotten it here. It's close to what I saw, but still lacking. Either way it'll be a good reminder that blue skies do still exist, just have to wait until May!


Week 43 GPlus Project 52 Openings

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This week's shot was a quick one, and a staged one. I don't normally like taking staged shots, but as I took the shot last night, and shots are due this evening, I didn't have much of a choice. I had wanted to get more flare from the light of the door, but it didn't quite work that way, and I was too lazy to try and get it through processing.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

My Dad

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A week ago my dad died, succumbing to a fast and aggressive cancer located in his neck diagnosed in May. He was 78 and passed peacefully at home. Dad wasn't a talker, a trait jokingly (honestly?) said to be passed on to other Harley men, which made growing up with him trying. He wasn't the hands on teacher type, I think he just expected me to know how to do things or how to behave. But, when you misbehaved you could be assured of him letting you know about it.

Week 42 GPlus Project 52 Black & White

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Our theme for week 42 was an easy one for me, black & white. The difficulty was finding a good subject for it. Immediately a couple came to mind; one I have shot before, the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, just not with the intention of converting to black & white, and one I've seen from a distance but never up close. Luckily they were both in the same town so I thought I could do both and choose which I liked better. It turns out that there are only so many ways to shoot the lighthouse, and I wasn't seeing anything which interested me, so I went in search of subject number two, a small church in town. This town is very small and for the life of me I couldn't find it, but thanks to Google I was able to locate and get some shots done before the sunset entirely. I lucked out with the clouds thinning in areas to give a little more contrast in the background.

Winter Falls

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This was from my second outing with the infrared filter, and I was really pleased with this shot. The only thing I did with this shot was play around with the white balance and the toning. I've still not come up with a good way to take out the red without going to a full black and white shot, and since I said I wouldn't do a black and white shot this week that wasn't an option. Due to the nature of the lighting I have some pretty bad blown out areas due to the 1 minute exposure setting. Also due to the 60 second exposure the background isn't very sharp, and this was a relatively windless day.


Week 41 GPlus Project 52 Body Part

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I had only one idea for this week, but it turned out to be too personal and difficult to shoot. So, with time running down we have my hands hard at work, possibly even typing up this post. As far as how the shot was taken? A tripod off to the right of me, a 10 second timer on the camera and that's it. In post processing I dealt with a little noise, and white balance. This isn't one of my favorite shots from the project. You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Bridge of Mystery

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I hate coming up with photo titles. I wanted to just say, "black and white bridge" but I was told that is  boring. This was taken on the opposite side from my Monday shot. The fog was coming in and the black and white conversion really helped emphasize that. I also tried to not post a black and white shot today, since this would make three in a row, but I really liked it. Next week I promise to try to not post a B&W.


Week 40 GPlus Project 52 Colors

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Colors was the theme for this week. On a grey day with a grey backdrop this colorful graffiti caught my eye. Is it art? Is it graffiti? The shot is a 5 shot HDR capture with some editing to bring out the grittier details in the walkway.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

New Look

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I've been playing around with a new look for this blog for a while now. In fact I'd say for the better part of the year I've been wanting to change the look here. I thought I'd try Blogger's Dynamic views, but I really wasn't happy with the look, though I didn't think I really liked the look of it prior to that change. Blogger is a great platform to build on because you can theme it how you like. But I really didn't have the drive to come up with my own theme. Basically I'm lazy about this blog. I want it to function, look good, and be easy to work on. So then I went template searching.

A Northern California Beach

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What? Were you expecting bikini clad women? The beach and fog go hand in hand up here. With the occasional sunbathing uprooted tree, and various other debris littered over this beach, this is a typical northern California beach.


Week 39 GPlus Project 52 - Patriotic Negative Space

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A fairly simple assignment for week 39 with the theme being Negative Space. Not much done to the shot except to up the saturation so the flag jumped out a bit more.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Rock Face

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Out and about and came across this rock jutting out of the trail I was on. Snapped 5 brackets for a possible HDR shot and promptly forgot about them. When I did find them last week I wasn't expecting much. The color version was ok but didn't really do it for me. Could also be because I'm on an B&W kick currently. Taking the color HDR version into Silver Efex Pro got me this. It looks very moody.


Week 38 Fall GPlus Project 52

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Our assignment this past week was fall/spring (depending on your chosen hemisphere) and I really thought the timing was pretty bad. It's just too early to start seeing the usual signs of fall; leaves changing color, leaves falling, or bare tree so I really didn't know what to do. But then the fog appeared, making everything else disappear.

Photo was originally going to be color but, as fog will do, the color were very subdued and not all that pleasant to look at. Thought I'd give it a go with Silver Efex Pro 2 and liked the results better.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

HDR Tennis

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There's a group/page on Facebook called HDR Tennis. Basically it's a group of established, maybe even professional (I don't know for sure) HDR shooters that are given a set of bracketed shots and come up with their own HDR interpretation. It's really interesting to see how differently everyone "sees" a shot. The admins are nice enough to let us lay people have a go at the brackets, and so I did. Keep in mind the shots aren't mine, but the admittedly over the top processing is.

This was an interesting exercise because normally when when I shoot brackets for HDR work I have an idea of what I want to do with them as I'm shooting them. Working with someone else's brackets, where I didn't have that base to start from, was kind of refreshing and allowed me to do some things that maybe I wouldn't have done had the shots been mine to begin with.

If you like it, and you're on Facebook, please head on over here to "like" it, thanks.


Coastal Infrared

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This turned out, unintentionally, to be infrared week here. I took this, and a bunch of other shots recently on what I'll call my second outing with the IR lens. The purpose of these shots were to experiment with the in camera white balance and ISO settings. With my lens "wide open" at 3.5 my exposure times were anywhere from 2.5 seconds (ISO 100) to .6 seconds (ISO 400) which was as high as I was willing to bump the ISO up. But I didn't think I'd be using these shots for anything more than a learning session. But when I got to working on this I was really liking the look of it. This also took a lot more work to put together. I was really happy with how the foreground and the water turned out, but I wasn't crazy about the sky. Where the clouds and the ocean meet visually was a very vague area light wise and I wanted there to be more separation between the two.

Using my latest tool in my arsenal, Topaz Labs photoFXlabs, I used layers. I converted one image int…

Week 37 GPlus Project 52

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The theme for this week was From the Garden. I took a bunch of different photos of various things and plants in the garden but none of them really popped out at me. So then I screwed my infrared lens on and began shooting again. As I've mentioned in a previous post shooting in IR has it's drawbacks since I'm using a non-converted camera, but on a calm bright day it can work pretty well. Here is a hydrangea plant, normally green with blue flowers, rendered in IR. I'm still trying to find a way to cut down on the redness of the photo that isn't effected so much by the IR.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

The Victorian Inn

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Have I mentioned I really like black and white? This is the Victorian Inn at Ferndale. It's a 5 shot HDR that looked quite good in color, but as I'm considering posting a weekly black and white shot thought I'd see how it looked in monochrome. The clouds, which were ok in color, just really jumped and the intricacies of the hotel architecture were more apparent. And since the building is from a time when color photographs were a rarity the black and white treatment seemed to fit.

The process: HDRing in Photomatix Pro, then taking the color version to Topaz Labs Adjust. Did some levels and other work in Aperture then finished off in Silver Efex Pro II.


Week 36 GPlus Project 52

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For week 36 our theme was metal, so I happened across this hunk of metal. This was a perfect candidate for some HDR as the lighting inside the warehouse was horrible. I really wish I had brought a tripod because with the lighting as bad as it was I was having a hard time keeping the camera still enough for the brighter exposures. After HDRing I put it through Topaz Labs Adjust which did a great job of bringing a feel to the photo, but I wanted something more. With so many plug-ins it's sometimes hard to remember them all, but I remembered Topaz Labs Detail which really brought out texture in the locomotive. It really finished the photo off for me, and is a tool I need to remember more often.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

Unexpected Surprise

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I've been shooting a lot lately so I have a lot of photos to sort through and get to processing. With HDR shots I often times break with my usual workflow to just see if it's worth putting in the 30-60 minutes to do it correctly. So I'll just take the RAW camera files and without cleaning them up for noise just send them to Photomatix to get a rough idea as to how the finished product will look. I remember doing this first with this shot expecting to not get anything worth keeping, but was pleasantly surprised. So off to Topaz Labs DeNoise for the 5 RAW files cleaning out the noise in the water, shadows, and clouds. Then back to Photomatix for HDRing. Then I tweaked the color a little in Aperture to bring out some of the warm colors in a Golden Hour shot. I think the finished shot has an other worldly feel to it.


Week 35 GPlus Project 52

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Talk about bad timing. The other week I was shooting some sunset shots from a new spot I found and this week our theme for the Project 52 is sunsets. After having taken a large number of sunset shots the previous week I was kind of all sunsetted out so I wanted to go for something a little different. Don't get me wrong, I still have the sunset, but my new spot was getting crowded as a handful of people were making their way to get some front row seats. The shot itself is a single shot (non-HDR) with some detail enhancement done to it, warming it up, and de-noise.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

The Dawn of the Smart Camera?

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Photography circles have been all abuzz with Wednesday night's product announcement from Nikon. The Nikon Coolpix S800c (a very forgettable name) looks for all intents and purposes like a number of other point and shoot cameras with one very big difference. No, there's no big surprise in the sensor or in the lens, it's the addition of Android (specifically Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread) to the camera. This wasn't unexpected as there have been rumors of manufacturers trying to see just how to best use currently the only open sourced mobile operating system. I've been waiting for this to happen for awhile now, I just didn't know if I was going to be happy about it or not.

My vision of how an Android run camera would work is probably not the best idea. It'd be a very customized version of Android, much like Amazon's Fire or Barnes & Noble's Nook software, that would have access to a camera manufacturers app catalog. The catalog would be split into thr…

A Shot From Curiosity on Mars?

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I'm finding shooting in infrared to be fun, but it requires some new skills (and programs) to get the results I'm looking for. Some of these hurdles to work through are things that with my current setup I can't fix. Infrared photography on a standard color camera requires an IR filter and longer exposures times which will usually end up with softer photos, at best, or blurry shots. Working on the final "faux" color look required using a program that had more involved editing tools than Aperture or Lightroom have available to them. Even Photoshop Elements 10 didn't have a color mixer which allows me to switch colors. So after some suggestions I settled on the very wonderful Pixelmator, and have added Topaz Labs' PhotoFXLab. So what I have here is an outline of how I worked this IR shot.

The original out of camera shot. The shot specifics are an aperture reading of 3.5 ("wide open" for my lens) and an ISO of 400 to help minimize the exposure time.…

Week 34 GPlus Project 52

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The theme for this week was portrait, and was one I wasn't looking forward to. I generally don't do photos of people, so I had prepared to take a shot in portrait orientation. Turns out I was able to get both a portrait and in portrait orientation. This is a Yurok (Native American) princess and contestant in the 50th Annual Yurok Salmon Festival's Noo-rey-o-won-ee (beautiful girl inside and out) contest. She was unsure oh who to look at as there were more than a couple cameras pointed her way.

My GeekTools Sunset Desktop

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Over at one of my favorite sites, Lifehacker, they often times highlight custom desktops made by users. These desktops are primarily Windows desktops as there are more customization tools available to them, but occasionally they show a Mac desktop. So I thought I'd give it a shot using Geektool (free from the App Store), yesterday's photo, and some time and patience figuring out Geektool. Geektool is not the easiest to use application for the Mac, and their documentation is virtually non-existant. But to their credit that say as much in the description of the app. The idea is simple. You drag windows around on your desktop to where you want a piece of code, an image, or a file to reside. So first I had to decide what pieces of information I wanted to display. Date and time were a given. Weather was also a given. And since I'm rarely using my computer without iTunes playing a script to show what was playing on iTunes.

The date and time were easily accomplished using Unix co…

Candidate For Best Shot of 2012

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Taken from the end of last week's shot, this shot is an unexpected favorite. I took a lot of sunset shots, primarily with the goal to make an HDR shot. So when I got the photos back into Aperture I immediately went to work on finding what set of shots worked out. I was disappointed that I got a couple keepers, but not as many as I originally thought I'd like. But I was really disappointed in one set that looked promising but just wasn't turning out how I wanted. So then I went to work on it without HDRing it. Turns out that was the way to go. I got rid of the noise in the shadows, bumped the saturation and definition up a bit, and voilĂ . Easily one of my favorite shots of 2012.


Week 33 GPlus Project 52

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This week the theme was texture. This might be a little texture overboard between the rough washed up log, the smooth piece of driftwood, and the grainy feel of the sand. It's been awhile since I've said this, but I LOVE NIK's SilverEfex Pro 2.


You can view this, and the rest of my Project 52 photos here.

No Beach Access

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Golden hour. The hour before sunset where everything is cast in a very pleasing golden tone. Trails that seem to lead off a cliff into the ocean. A good combination for a photo. I love how you can just see the trail sneaking through the picture leading to what looks like the edge of a cliff and into the Pacific. There's actually a nice little observation area at the end of the trail where I got some great sunset shots. This shot is a 5 shot HDR that I ended up cropping out the right hand side. The sun was too bright. And true to the sign, there is no beach access, though there is another trail for that.


Week 32 GPlus Project 52

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I've been a little lax lately on posting my Google Plus 52 project here on the blog. The photos haven't been all that inspiring, but I suppose that's not the point of this project. So, I'll try to catch up in this post.

The Path

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With the addition of the infrared filter I now try to see potential photos in infrared, black and white, and how they'd work out as an HDR shot. It can get hard to do. This shot started off as an HDR but there really wasn't much in the way of color to make it really pop. I didn't bring a tripod and couldn't find a good way to stabilize the camera long enough for a good IR shot. So I took the 5 shot exposure HDR file and thought I'd see how it looked in black and white. I really like how the grass turned out.


Infrared

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A couple weeks ago I mentioned I was waiting for a new filter an infrared filter. Well it came in, and for the most part it doesn't disappoint. Without getting too technical infrared is a type of radiation that is just off the visible spectrum of light that the human eye can see. For the purpose of my photography it is not the type of imaging that gives thermal images, which requires a very different setup. What has always drawn my eye to IR photography is the different look and feel that can be shown. This has been a type of photography I've always wanted to try but wasn't sure how to get into it. Essentially there are two ways to get into it.

The easiest and cheapest way is to get an IR filter that fits on the front of your lens. The drawback to this are long exposure times. Since most modern cameras have an anti-IR filter over the sensor inside of the camera you have to leave the shutter open longer to allow more IR light to hit the sensor. And longer exposures mean mor…