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Showing posts from 2015

Long Time No See

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It's been a while since I've put anything up here, but I haven't been neglecting photography. If you follow me on InstagramTwitter, or my favorite mobile sharing/editing tool VSCO Cam you'll see I've been shooting and editing lately more often with my Moto X and the VSCO Cam mobile app. But there's been some interesting news lately in the photo world that had me interested enough to actually do a post.

The Path

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Continuing the black and white kick I'm on currently we have this sandy and fairly steep path down. The timing wasn't great, I'm here an hour before golden hour and with a very strong sun, so I had to frame accordingly. This is a river or creek (the maps go back and forth as to the naming) that merges with the ocean. At this point I'm about a half mile from the ocean, and with all that water with a strong sun there's a lot of glare.

Week of Black and Whites, Day 5

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Ending the week with another flower shot. I've found keeping things simple has been a good way of getting back to photography. Ignoring color and really getting down to the basics of a shot have been good for me. This is another case where seeing the flowers in black and white had me looking at them differently. The colors are striking, but in stripping those out there's a nice simplicity to them.

Shot with my G3 and processed through Lightroom and onOne.

Week of Black and Whites, Day 4

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This is a shot I've been wanting to take for awhile now. The sun filtering through the trees makes for dramatic lighting. I think I'll go back and try it again as I think the shot could be better. I like the sun burst, accomplished through using a high/small aperture (high number for a smaller aperture opening) and how the road leads the eye through the picture.

Shot with my G3 and processed through Lightroom and OnOne Perfect Black and White. I can't decide if I like it yet, but I do like the different presets which helped in making this. Definitely wanted a darker more dramatic shot with a little grunge to it, and I think it worked out.

Week of Black and Whites, Day 3

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Normally I wouldn't shoot these flowers in black and white. They have a stunning purple color to them which is what drew my eye to them in the first place. But while looking at them through my camera, with a black and white setting selected, I found they looked more delicate in black and white than in color. I'll be sure to share the color version next week.

Shot with my G3 and processed through Lightroom and Topaz Labs. I wanted to bring out the veins in the petals, while still giving a delicate look to the flowers.

Week of Black and Whites, Day 2

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One of the things to look for when shooting for black and whites are patterns and sights that don't require color to make the photo. Now on top of the pier I was under yesterday, I spotted these sand waves and worked to try and bring them out more.

Shot with my G3 and processed through... (wait for it) Lightroom and Topaz Labs Black & White Effects. Yes, all photos are now going through Lightroom now. Still figuring some things out, but all in all the transfer is now complete.

Week of Black and Whites, Day 1

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I've been neglecting my camera lately. The longer this neglect lasted the harder I found it to get back to photography. Creatively I doubted myself which made it even harder to get back. Over the weekend I literally ran into someone while running and it turns out we both enjoy photography. He's been shooting for a much longer time than I have, but it got me thinking about how I was going to get back my groove. I decided to strip my first set of shots down to basics; black and whites and of things I enjoy shooting.

What is it about piers/boardwalks that attracts photographers like moths to a flame? I remember when I started finding an interest in photography mentally putting the "under the pier" shot on my to shoot list. This is not my first (though maybe my first in black and white) and won't be my last. Shot this with the Moto X (now the 2014 edition) and processed in my go to mobile app VSCO Cam which for black and white work is probably the only app I'll …

March 12 Rules Photo

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Over at the Google+ 12 Rules of Photography community led by +Levi Moore, our monthly theme for March was patterns. In keeping with my goal to find the theme in a genre of photography I enjoy doing, I was looking for patterns in landscapes. I at first wanted the rocks to be the pattern, but in looking at the definition of pattern:
: a repeated form or design especially that is used to decorate something : the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done : something that happens in a regular and repeated way I came to the conclusion that the rocks weren't a pattern, but the waves were. As is typically the case when I'm shooting with waves I had a gazillion shots to go through to find the one that had a good number of waves and developing waves and a little drama with a wave crash. The photo was edited in Aperture (yes, still Aperture. My Lightroom migration has stalled out at the moment) and in the +Topaz Labs suite of plugins, most notably Clarity.

Off the Rocky Coast

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The North Pacific is known for it's rocky and treacherous shoreline. Some of these "rocks" are more like small islands, that on bright sunny days like the day this shot from my archive was taken, make it seem like a great place to build a small island house. But then you have to remember just how bad the storms and waves can get. Photographically, obviously, these shores make for a more interesting photography session than stereotypical sandy beaches.

About the shot itself there's nothing really special about it. It's not an HDR (which I'm realizing I'm utilizing less and less these days) and was processed with Aperture and +Topaz Labs.

Just Another Sunset

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The nice thing about tackling a website move/overhaul/redesign and a photo library software migration is I get to go through old shots and find some that I might have missed. In my case I'm finding a lot of shots I've missed. It happens to me because I get so focused on maybe 2 or 3 shots good shots of the primary subject I want to shoot that these filler shots just get thrown by the wayside after I finish processing what I think are the jewels of a particular shot.

This is just your run of the mill, every day, ho hum sunset. This is not an HDR shot, and is really a failure for what I really wanted. With a 4 second shutter speed and f18(!) I wanted to get more streakiness in the water to play out, but it just wouldn't work for me. So I cropped that part out and had the focus be on the sky.

The Look

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Another street photography shot. I've already mentioned that I'm not very comfortable with shooting random people on the street, so this was an exercise to get over that. It didn't work. With this shot I was zoomed in all the way so I could be as far away as possible from my subject. The timing worked out great that I caught her looking back over her shoulder, making this a far more interesting shot, but I immediately felt uncomfortable having taken the photo.

In terms of photo processing I elected to go with a mostly black and white look. The light was strong golden hour light, but it was hitting the background cars and building so I wanted to minimize that distraction. I then brought some of the red back into the shot.

Beach Rocks

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Beaches in the middle of the day aren't my favorite places to photograph. Unless I'm in a black and white kind of mood that is. Most beaches under the harsh noon day sun have their colors overpowered, or are too subtle to really notice. Not this one. After getting over some hills this line of rocks drew my eye. I took a number of shots of them, mainly from the opposite end looking out towards the sea, but I found this view to be more interesting. The shot itself is an HDR shot to try and better pull out the details of the rocks in shadow and the cave like feature in the cliffside.

Blog move update. The honeymoon effect, as they say is over. The excitement of a new platform, themes, plugins, and it being, more or less mine (Wordpress still owns the basic platform, and GoDaddy owns my hosting) has given way to the cold hard reality of what moving my blog will take. There are over 450(!) posts here that first have to be imported into Wordpress. Thankfully there's a plugin fo…

Landscape Textures

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For the 12 Rules Photo Project I'm taking part in over on Google+, our rule or theme for February was Texture. Now one of my goals for this project was to try and shoot photos that interest me and meet the monthly theme, as opposed to shooting something that matches the theme but I have little interest in. For Texture most people think macro or close up shots to get detail in things like fur, skin, or textured walls. Those are all excellent texture shot ideas, but I was looking for a landscape style shot.
For my shot we have the texture of the hills, if you think on a larger scale, the different textures of the grass and trail, and even the calm and smooth water. It may not be an obvious texture shot, but it works for me.
As I mentioned yesterday my blog is now in transition to another blogging platform home. One feature I'm evaluating on this post is mobile app ease of use. Blogger offers an app that allows me to write and edit posts, but little else. I'm disappointed wi…

Beginning of the End

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So after posting about how unhappy I was with Blogger, and realizing it's been a long time growing, I've decided to do something about it. I decided to take advantage of some GoDaddy hosting that gave me a year of their Economy hosting for $12. Ideally I would have had a production ready site ready to go at the time of hosting purchase, but I don't. So now I feel a little pressure to get going on the production of the site. So, I spent my Saturday downloading and installing MAMP, the set of tools needed to run a web server environment on my MacBook Pro, then install and setup Wordpress and Drupal. Also, I feel a little weird talking about how I'm going to be leaving Blogger on Blogger. I feel like I'm cheating on it, or something.
What am I wanting from my site? A more customizable and responsive theme is top of the list. This theme should show off my photos in the best way possible no matter what size screen they're viewed on. The theme should be modern looki…

February Running Update

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I thought I'd post how my running is going. Though technically the end of the month is tomorrow, I won't be running as I like to get in a day of rest between runs. Today was an 8 miler as I start getting ready to move from 7 to 8 mile runs over the next couple weeks. As you can see below, for a month with 3 less days than the one before it, I did pretty good in February.

The only bad news that isn't immediately apparent in these stats is that I've gotten slower on my average mile times. I'm not that concerned with it as I know I've had some days where the calves are hurting more than usual and January was just 7 mile runs whereas February saw me adding some 8 and 9 mile runs here and there.

Sunset Surfer

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Back to something more familiar for me, and from my archive. This was shot over a year ago, and to the best of my knowledge hasn't been on the blog. Speaking about my blog specifically, I'm unhappy with Blogger. Not because of their recent announcement that blogs posting adult (porn) content would either be taken down or put into a private setting, but because that any attempt at using the organizational tools is a fruitless endeavor. The page for all my posts is unbelievably slow, if it loads at all. It's a good thing I use an IFTTT recipe to send a copy of all my blog posts to Evernote so I can quickly look and search through blog posts. This photo was processed before I had come up with a workflow that kept track of when and how photos were shared, hence my desire to look through my blog posts to see if this had been shared before.

I feel a little stuck with Blogger. I use Google+ Photos as my main hub for photo sharing/storing and integrates easily with Blogger. I am …

The Birds

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I don't do street photography much, and when I do it's never of people. I watch videos of street photographers getting in front of people and taking their photos and I get anxious. And I'm not even there! So my street photography stuff is primarily buildings or other scenes where I'm not feeling like I'm invading anyone's personal space.

In terms of this shot, I'm shooting for the birds. They make a nice compositional line leading from the back of the photo to the front and provide good contrast to the pre-sunset sky. I intentionally kept the bottom left corner dark as the structure is kind of distracting. I went black and white with this from the very beginning, meaning I had my camera set to record a color RAW and a black and white JPEG. I really liked the look of the JPEG black and white and went to emulate that look through the RAW conversion to black and white. Basic exposure fixes were taken care of in Aperture (yes, still in Aperture) and the conver…

101 and the Redwood Coast

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I've had this shot sitting around Aperture (yes, still Aperture) for almost a year now. I took this on my way up to Crater Lake. I like the shot, 101 (and yes, only 2 lanes, a far cry from the 4 or more in the Bay Area) literally hugging the coast and going in and out of Redwood forests with the ever present fog found in the area. I sat on this for awhile because I didn't like it as much as a quick, almost accidental snap I took with my Moto X which I ended up liking the composition more.

101 is more prominent in this shot, which is untouched by any kind of editing, except the auto editing Google+ photos does. The lines are stronger here, but the colors are muted. More muted than I remember them being, but also not out of the question for this area of the coast. I like the more prominent coast line in the top shot, which would have cut down on the road in the bottom shot. So between the two maybe there is no "better" shot, just different perspectives.

The Moto X sho…

A photo journal

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I came across an article from Digital Photography School that I first rushed by, but then came back to. The post was about keeping a photo journal. At first I thought it was something along the lines of what I have going on in Evernote now, articles of tips, lists of places to shoot, etc. But this was a journal of how the photographer felt about individual shoots or outings. You can see the article here. This got me thinking. In Aperture I often times keep photos that I remember having high hopes for but for one reason or another fell flat. The idea is that I'll somehow magically come back to them and learn from whatever mistake I had done. If you can't sense the sarcasm in that last sentence, I'm sorry, but basically I rarely if ever go into Aperture looking for shots that I wished had turned out better.

Cape Mendocino Lighthouse

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A little south of the Black Sand Beach I photographed earlier is Cape Mendocino Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located in a small community called Shelter Cove, on Point Delgada at Mel Coombs Park. For you lighthouse aficionados out there, here is a write up on it's history. The area itself is an interesting mix of what I would assume are large vacation homes with great views of the ocean, a golf course, and a runway. The runway is in the middle of the community and looks to be about one of the craziest places I could think of to land and take off. The golf course is right next to the airport. Or it's part of the airport. I didn't really see much to divide the two.

The timing for the shot wasn't the best, strong mid-afternoon sun. And I sadly forgot to switch from JPEG only to RAWs, which annoys me. I almost think of all these shots (over 200) as second class shots based on the fact they were shot in JPEG form only. As a way to get around the processing limitations, ma…

Apple Photos

Apple has pushed a developer preview of their new desktop photos app, simply named Photos, out to testers today. Realistically I had been preparing myself for being underwhelmed by the initial release, but I find I'm even more underwhelmed than I thought I would be. First, let me say, it looks great. It doesn't seem to choke on large libraries of photos, the basic editing tools look to be quite good, and the fit into the whole iOS/iDevice/iCloud ecosystem looks to be great. That last part is an issue for me seeing as how I'm an Android user with a Mac computer, but more on that in a minute. I'm not going to get into previewing what Photos is, The Verge and Wired (and every other tech blog) have some good write ups of it if you want that. Instead I'm going to point out the red flags that these articles have shown.

Leading Lines

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Ah, the first photo post of 2015. I'm taking 2015 easy, as far as photo projects go. After 3 years of participating in, and/or running a weekly photo project, and all the associated deadlines of that, I'm relaxing with a monthly photo project. The project is called the 12 Rules of Photography Project, and deals with primarily 12 compositional rules. For January the rule was leading lines. My goal for the project was to have a number of photographs to choose from when selecting my final shot. I wanted quality shots. Possible gallery shots. Well, I started off on the wrong foot.

The Black Sand Beach shown above is located on the Lost Coast of California. It's not exactly easy to get to, but I was excited to check it out. Unfortunately my camera was set to shoot just JPEGs for the previous postings on here. The JPEGs came out ok, but didn't give me the flexibility in post processing that RAWs give. After having played around with three or four possible shots I kept comin…

Plantronics BackBeat GO

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So these just came in. Platronics BackBeat GOs. Initial thoughts are they are far more comfortable than the Jarv earphones, and feel more stable in the ear. Surprisingly these buds aren't that much smaller than the Jarv. Maybe the fact that they're more sculpted than the Jarv makes them seem smaller.

Where things are more noticeable is in the wire of these wireless earbuds and the controller.

As you can see the cord of the Jarv looks to be twice as thick (though a little shorter) than the Platronics BackBeat GO. The controller is also quite a bit smaller. Nice thing with the BackBeats are the buttons are raised +, ▪︎ and - signs making them more distinct when using the fingers to figure out which button is which. The Jarv has three of the same sized and shaped buttons.

These are Bluetooth 2.1 models, so not the leading edge in Bluetooth tech. Sound while sitting in front of the Mac while writing this is decent to good. Bass seems to be an issue in general with Bluetooth earph…

My Last Shot of 2014

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This is literally my last photo taken in 2014. Now I'm sure there could be some symbolism applied to the photo. How the bridge is taking us into the new year where we don't know what to expect, or some other metaphysical mumbo jumbo, but I just liked the leading line of the bridge and the reflections of it and the clouds in the water.

Couple of things my photography friends should make sure to do with the new year: If you use a watermark update that, and if you use IPTC data (metadata that gets stamped on import, for me, in my workflow) make sure you update that to reflect 2015. Photographically for me 2015 will be a step back in terms of projects. After having participated in one 52 week project, then running and off and on participating in two others I'm feeling the need to take a breather. I have signed up to do a photo a month project that focuses on composition. Composition is something I need to work on, and a shot a month is far less time consuming than the shot a …