Wandering aimlessly in the driving cold, I found a dock. . .
Actually, I had a semi-plan that went amuck. My plan was to find some kind of waterfront scene. It was in the 20's and there was a strong wind, creating a lot of chop on the bay. I wound up on the back-back bay in Durham, NH. I found two new places to take photos (well actually three). Perhaps when it is not so cold, I will give them a shot.
Spent all of 2 mins taking a series of photos of this dock. That was all I could stand with my gloves off. I had to re-warm my fingers in the car after standing outside for that amount of time.
Minor tweaking in Lightroom, I'm not overly overjoyed with this shot.
Today I decided to play around with eyes. It was also snowing out so that nixed the outdoor shots.
I "stole" my son for a bit (my wife decided that she was not into modeling today). I sat him down beside a North facing sliding door and had him try his best at posing.
My main goal here was to capture the eyes. He has blue eyes that would look striking with a selective color treatment. I did have to enhance his eyes a tad. It is amazing how much of a time suck Photoshop can be. About 10 mins to take the photos and an hour to Post Process it!
Hey, its not a Black & White!!
I was out with my oldest on our way back from a failed trip to find "modern flute music" for a friend's birthday when I saw this garage door.
My daughter really didn't understand my fascination with "an ugly old garage door" but I sure did.
I tweaked the colors a bit in Lightroom to try to match what I saw. The yellow was desaturated from the weathering. I dropped into CS3 for a bit to darken some distracting hoses inside the garage. The windows are really missing, but in two of the open windows, there were some kind of something that could be seen.
I like the surrounding red also.
I have, however, decided to NOT follow any advice from said book this evening. It is getting late and my original photos all suck (I took them while it was still snowing out so there are flakes throughout the photos that look like dust specs).
I was able to take a few shots of the wife & kids with great hopes of trying out some of the techniques in the book. After screwing around for a 1/2 hour or so in Photoshop, I have given up and decided to tweak in Lightroom for now. I'll use the sample images from the book & follow along at a later time.
And, yes, I must work on getting properly exposed!
Oh yeah, so I am in Best Buy this evening looking at stuff and I walk over to check out the 40D (make sure the price hasn't dropped ;). There is this young (real young) couple looking at DSLR's (Nikon). The boyfriend snaps a shot of his girlfriend and she asks to look at the preview image. The next thing I hear is "Black and White! That is so stupid! Why would anyone use a camera to take Black and White shots?". I quickly made my way to the iPod section.
Woke up to snowy/slushy/cruddy type weather. It continued to snow pretty much all day. The good thing about all of this is the fact that it makes for some good photo oppurtunities.
Goal for today was to locate either a tree or some leaves (yeah, they are kind of connected) with snow on them and take some photos.
Oak leaves turn brown and remain on the trees. This would have been better had it been a red leave, but then that would be a Maple and those fall off in the fall. And, well, it's not fall anymore. . .
Still had the 70-200 in the bag today, when I left at lunch, I'd hoped to get back to the coast, just a little further down. It was actually misting out and I decided it wouldn't be worth the extra ride to where I wanted to go, so I headed to downtown Portsmouth instead. Prescott park was quite empty today (go figure). No problems with parking at all.
Took a bunch of photos off the public pier, these gulls are my favorite (and, as a rule, I cannot stand gulls).
The guy on the right was keeping an eye on me (literally).
I actually didn't blow out the background, it was very overcast and foggy, there really was no detail behind the gulls.
Today started out as a beautiful New England snowy morning. We got a few inches (enough to break out the snowblower) overnight and stopping in the early morning. I was looking forward to taking some shots of the trees. I realized that wasn't going to happen when I was clearing the driveway and it started raining out.
The temperature rose and the rain eventually stopped, leaving a warm(er) mass of air hovering over all this new snow. While at lunch, the fog moved in, armed with nothing but telephotos, I decided to make the best of it. I think that in the fog, a wider angle lens would help as you have to be closer to subjects to keep their detail.
I went off aimlessly in search of something to shoot, took a few shots that left me with a "blah" feeling, then turned a corner and realized that I had to catch the relatively straight road in the fog. Luckily it is a not very well traveled road, so I had a lot of time straddling the double yellow lines.
I'm still working on the Black and White conversions, apparently they will not come out like I envision them (but I keep on chugging along...).
Bridge, Dock, Water, and Reflections. . .
What more could you ask for?
Another tough choice, there were two others that were pretty close, but this one won out today.
I went out to Odiorne State Park
for a quick lunch break today. I was at the North end, near the boat launch, not the main entrance near the coastal defense batteries. That end hosts a gallery of photos. Odiorne State Park was 'the' place for field trips when I was growing up. All the underground caves and bunkers were a ball to run through (even though most were off limits).
So, again, I wasn't at that end. Somehow I managed to not fall on my butt while walking through the muck seeking out photos.
Here are the other two that didn't make the "PaD cut":
Did a little "South Facing Window Lighting". This flower thing is beside our bed and has been there for some ages (can't be more than 10 years though). What I'd set out to do was use some strobes and catch the dust coming off the petals while I thumped it or blew on it. When I got setup, however, I realized I'd really like to try some natural lighting instead.
Irony = Getting in closer to the flower & then blowing on it to get something off it, only to have a puff of dust come out. Time to clean the 28mm f/1.8!
So, now that Lightroom is all set, I have moved onto my next quest - HDR. I downloaded the CS3 trial, but held off on installing it. Instead I downloaded the Photomatix Basic program, used it for all of 2 minutes, uninstalled it, then downloaded the 3.0 Beta(9). The Beta is just that, a Beta, I got it to crash in under a minute. This morning I downloaded Beta 10 and it won't even display an image when loaded (nice!). So I uninstalled it and reinstalled Beta 9 and played around with some shots I'd been staging for the past 3 months or so (basically bracketing on occasion to get to try HDR at some point).
I was able to learn that HDR isn't what I wanted, Tone Mapping was what I wanted. I am down with Tone Mapping. I was able do some Tone Mapping (via the Beta) on single Raw files. I really liked the results, but then I decided to compare the results to my PaD photos (I was playing around with a few of the PaD originals). I had problems telling the difference, actually I kind of preferred my PaD photos over the Tone Mapped ones.
So I decided to install CS3 and play with its HDR capabilities. CS3 is NOT Photoshop Elements, there are a lot more ways to shoot yourself in the foot in CS3. Anyway, I learned a valuable lesson, even though I installed 2 other products that had the updated ACR (4.3), when you install CS3, it doesn't install with the latest ACR. And, if you don't have the updated ACR AND you try to do an Automate | Merge to HDR, nothing happens! Nothing, no warning dialog, no crashing, no odd sounds, just nothing. You are left with a sort of empty feeling. You are pretty sure something is not right, but you aren't familiar with the situation, you figure something is happening, it's just happening in the background. And it is so efficient, its using 0% CPU! So, yeah, I checked and CS3 had the wrong ACR.
OK, so I got all this stuff happening on my PC, I head out and take some shots that will be perfect for test HDR images. When I got back home and tried them out, they kind of sucked. I have to spend more time on HDR (just like I need to play with the Stroboscopic mode on my 580EX2...).
So, that is why I have a BW of a door. I do like this shot, its just nothing like what I'd wanted it to be.
A new month. . .
So I lost my trial of Lightroom last night. I eBayed a copy & had the seller email me the serial number, but he transposed it wrong & it failed (of course). Based on the knowledge of my loss, I packed the A80 today. Actually, I'd been wanting to blow the dust off of it for a while anyway, this was a great reason.
I tweaked the camera on BW, spot metering, Manual mode & went to work. Literally, I took a bunch of photos on my desk at work (while some code was compiling in the background). This was the P&S that got me into DSLR's. It was the full manual control (even manual focus) that got me back into the mode.
A few simple tweaks in Lightroom, dust spec removal (my A80 has a spec somewhere in the middle of the lens). Unlike my other Black & Whites, this one is permanent. I shoot with the Monochrome Picture Style a lot, however, I always shoot RAW. When I import my photos into Lightroom, after the previews have been regenerated, the photos revert back to color.
On the A80, it's all in camera processing to spit out a jpg. There's no going back on this one.
Oh yeah, so Lightroom is all fixed...
Capping off my first full PaD month of 2008.
This was a tough one, last night I saw lights in the lot that is just above our parking lot at work. I thought it was snow removal. This morning when I came in and looked at the lot, there was a pile of rubble instead of a house. There are (or were) a few houses left up there. Where I work and the surrounding area, used to be Officer Base Housing when the Tradeport was Pease Air Force Base.
My interest piqued, I decided that I'd investigate at lunch for my PaD. I called it the "Destruction Site" since there was nothing but the fireplace & chimney left from the house (and the foundation). I started taking photos of all the carnage. Off the back corner of the foundation, there were a number of beams that had been placed or dropped during the destruction process. Between the foundation and the beam pile, I noticed a few old crumpled newspapers. At first I disregarded them, thinking they were relatively new, but then decided to check them out since their color showed some age. The date on the most legible one was 28 Mar 1968. About 2 1/2 months before I was born (interestingly enough, my mother used the base's services while pregnant with me since my father was in Viet Nam).
I figured the newspaper was used by the construction crew to shim the beams. There was a relatively clean hole through the middle of one of the crumpled newspapers, about the size of a large bolt. The newspaper had been sandwiched into the walls of the former house for almost 40 years!
I decided that the newspaper on the foundation with the carnage of the former house in the background would be my goal. I tried as hard as I could to get the date in focus. It was in the 20's, I was crouching, in mud, fingers frozen. Thank god for Live View! I was able to compose the shot, check focus, and get a number of decent shots.
Ideally, I'd have gotten more of the concrete in the foreground to add to the depth of field. As it is, I had to be generous in my cropping in order to keep the date fairly legible.
I decided to keep this a color shot, since the colors are really what drew me. The paper itself was already sepia...
Here's a few that didn't make the PaD: