Showing posts from June, 2013

Running... Again?

  If you know me you know there was a time about 10 years ago or so where I was running. A lot. At least 5 days a week and at least 5 miles a run. I wasn’t training, I wasn’t preparing for a race or a marathon. I just found myself enjoying the time spent running. I wasn’t obsessed with numbers, but I kept track of them all and liked seeing improvements in time and distances. It was good physical health and mental health. Then I tweaked my knee. Not bad enough that I couldn’t walk on it, just a tweak that told me I needed to back off of running for a little bit. So I decided on 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks I aborted a run very early as the pain was still there. 2 weeks became 3, became a month, became 5 years. 

Battery Point

Battery Point The last time I had the chance to really shoot this my old Canon SX10 was on it's last leg so I was looking forward to getting some better shots this time around. The G3 performed great, sadly the weather let me down. I was beginning to think that most of my shots were going to be just too dull for posting. I was going to attempt changing out the sky with a different photo, but my masking/blending skills need some work before I go making that public. Thankfully the grounds leading up to the lighthouse were in bloom and with a little tweaking with Topaz Labs Clarity I was able to make things pop a little bit.

Sutro Baths

Sutro Ruins Who knew there were ruins of a public bath in San Francisco? Not me, until recently. Opened in 1896 as the largest public indoor swimming pool in the world. At one time there were as many as seven pools and an ice skating rink! Due to it's large size and maintenance costs the baths were always struggling financially and closed in 1966 to be demolished. A fire finished the job and left only the foundation here. In the background can be seen the Cliff House restaurants. Both the Cliff House and the Sutro Baths were owned and operated by one time San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro. This shot is a six shot panorama taken from the northern end of the site. Underneath me is a cave that was used to store generators used to keep the pools full during low tide. In high tide the ocean just overflowed into the pools. In terms of processing not too much was done to it. I used Topaz Lens Effects to apply a polarizer simulation filter, and then Clarity to work on contrast.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 24

The Bay Bridge Week 24. Nearly at the halfway point. For  +Weekly Photo Project 2013  our theme was architecture. I reworked an earlier shot to tame some colors that were getting out of hand and work on it more subtly. Topaz Labs Clarity plug-in is quickly becoming a favorite of mine for it's remarkably light touch, yet great results. I really like this version of this photo a lot more than the original.

Contrasting Hills

Contrasting Hills This is a shot on my photo bucket list; rolling hills of grass leading into a more forested area. The shot screamed to be converted to black and white, so I obliged. I think the shot worked out pretty well in the end. In terms of processing I first used Topaz Labs InFocus to sharpen up the photo before going into DeNoise to get rid of the large amounts of noise in the blue sky. I wish I knew what the cause of that was. Then converted the image in Black & White Effects, doing only some basic contrast adjustments there knowing I'd go to the new Clarity for more directed contrast adjustments. The finished it off with a light Detail pass.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 23

Pigeon Point Lighthouse For  +Project 52 B&W  our theme was broken. There were so many things to choose from, but I went with the broken Pigeon Point Lighthouse, with a broken window on the side building. I really liked how this photo came out, but really had to fight that searing white lighthouse to tone it down a little bit.

Vaillancourt Fountain

HDR Fountains In Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco there's a fountain that has always caught my eye. As a kid all I could think about was climbing it. Now, older and more mature, all I can think about is climbing it. Apparently Bono of U2 did just that in 1987. The shot itself was taken in the late afternoon light. It is a seven shot HDR and I even made use of my tripod for this. Looking at the composition now I wish I hadn't cut off tree tops. In fact a number of shots taken that day suffer from cutoff trees or buildings. I need to be more aware of the whole frame and not just the main subject in it. Processed in Photomatix then finished in Topaz Labs plug-ins.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 22

Some #Autoawesome For all the photos I had taken recently I felt sure I'd have something I could use for both projects this week. I was wrong, and Thursday evening ( +Project 52 B&W  is due on Fridays) I was scrambling for something for the theme of Technology. And by scrambling I mean looking through my library looking for something that wasn't what I used for  +Weekly Photo Project 2013  that I just convert to black & white and call it a day. Then I remembered Auto-Awesome, one of the new features in Google+ Photos that recognizes certain types of photos and automatically does things to them. In theory it is able to recognize shots that can be stitched together to make a panorama, bracketed shots to make an HDR, and shots that could be made into an animated GIF, which is obviously what I did. So I took a picture of technology then let technology automatically make the final picture. I was impressed with it, even if it is kind of a weak photo in general. It took me

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