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PIXelations 8

maybe i’m amazed…

by fotofinish , 09-28-2005 at 06:49 PM (264 Views)

…that Jayne and I are actually going to see Paul McCartney in concert at Madison Square Garden this Friday night! We are going again with my neighbor Paul (Mr. Beatles!) and his wife Sandy. And we are once again renting a limo for the ride from Hartford area to the City. The last time we did this was in April, 2002. We will bring lots of food and drink for the four of us. Should be AWESOME! I will also bring my camera for a few snapshots, especially in front of the Garden, but I will leave the camera in the limo. I’ll have my report for my next entry.

Let it be…

oh, i believe in yesterday

by fotofinish , 10-02-2005 at 08:17 PM (350 Views)

What an AWESOME evening! It started with a three hour limo ride to Madison Square Garden. Jayne and I and our neighbors, Paul and Sandy, brought sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, and munchies, as well as frozen margaritas and beer. The limo dropped us off right in front of the Garden.

We then were treated to the best concert with the best music from one of the best musicians, Paul McCartney, of all time. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have written “Yesterday”, the most popular song of all time. We saw McCartney back in April, 2002 at the Garden. But this one was even better. That was because of the song set list. He still has the energy and because he loves the Garden so much, he was very relaxed and actually very chatty between songs, unusual for him as of late. I am so proud to be a member of the generation with the greatest music of all time as well.

Will we still need him, will we still feed him when he’s 64? Yep, and into his 70’s and beyond…

Here’s a couple of snapshots:

Above, from left to right: me, my wife, Jayne, and my friends and neighbors Sandy and Paul,

hartford afterdark

by fotofinish , 10-05-2005 at 08:23 PM (356 Views)

The Shoot
I went out before work one morning last week in downtown Hartford. I wanted to capture some shots of the new construction, specifically of the new apartment tower and the convention center and Marriott hotel. I brought my tripod, cable release, and set my camera in manual mode and mirror lockup. I set the ISO at 200 and the aperture at f8 for most of the shots. The shutter speed varied from photo to photo. This was most noticeable in the apartment tower scenes. There was also a fast moving cloud cover with enough breaks to reveal a quarter moon which I wanted to capture. Unfortunately, the cloud cover became streaky blurred in the photos, but I kept one.

The dark quickly transitioned to twilight as I started the convention center shoot. The center looked great with all its interior and exterior lighting due to the upcoming convention that morning. Because of the abundance of decorative street lighting, at times I opted for a faster exposure. The broken clouds began to take on a pinkish tint as I approached sunrise.

Post Processing
Since the convention center had all of its exterior lights on, there was a yellow cast present in most of the photos. Since I shot in raw, I was able to cool down the temperature of 5750K (the shade white balance setting) to a point where I felt I would not compromise the pinkish tint on some of the clouds.

What Didn’t Work
Unfortunately, I concentrated too much on filling the viewfinder with exactly the composition I wanted that I neglected to take into account that I would want to crop for 8×10 prints. This caused me to dump many of my shots since I felt the cropping would lose the essence of the composition.

Also, since I used my 18-55mm, the architectural lines became distorted and exaggerated, so much so that in some of the shots, I thought that some of the building would cave in or topple over.

What Worked
Due to the lens distortion in some of the shots, I was forced to use Filter, Distort, Lens Correction in CS2. This handy process can truly be a magic wand in the correction of line reorientation. The drawback is that when you accept the correction, the program backfills the canvas gaps, leaving more compensation work to be done through cloning or cropping. I chose to crop.

In all the photos from the shoot, I applied some levels or curves, a channel mixer layer to adjust the colors, resizing for the web with 640 pixels on the longest side, noise reduction filtering, and finally output sharpening.

Here is what I think was my best from the entire shoot:

More pictures from my new gallery, Hartford Afterdark, are here.

road trips

by fotofinish , 10-12-2005 at 05:14 PM (1353 Views)

Jayne and I will be taking two road tips over the next two weeks. Friday, we are going out to see Jayne’s sister, Judy, in Salida, Colorado. We will return Monday night. Judy wrote a one-act play that the local community theater will show. We will spend Friday night in Colorado Springs, where we arrive and depart. Then we will rent a car and drive the two hours to Salida and return to Colorado Springs Sunday night.

However, while in Colorado Springs, I plan on taking some time to visit the Garden of the Gods. From the research I did, there will also be a full moon which will set during the morning. I plan on doing the trails Friday afternoon after we land, and maybe catch some late afternoon light. Then, if the weather cooperates, I hope to get up early and drive back there to catch the sunrise colors on the stone croppings, and maybe some wildlife, too. The weather is supposed to be nice and in the upper 60’s.

I have a small backpack I will use to carry my 100-400mm L for wildlife, my 50mm for some panoramas, and my 20D with 18-55mm for general landscapes. I also packed my tripod, cable release, and circular polarizer for my kit lens.

Later Saturday morning, we will drive to Salida. Judy says that there are big horn sheep along the way. In Salida, I also hope to shoot some local landscapes and wildlife. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to this trip!

The following weekend, Jayne and I will fly down to South Carolina. My nephew is getting married in Myrtle Beach. We will start in Charlestown next Thursday and drive up to Myrtle Beach Friday night for the Saturday wedding. We will return that Sunday. While down in Charlestown, I hope to shoot some ‘scapes and wildlife at the Magnolia Plantation. I’ll have my work cut out for me with processing time when we get back from these two trips.

Great How-To Landscape Link
A great link for clever landscape photography can be found here. The author discusses many compositional concepts, all found in one article.

the return

by fotofinish , 10-24-2005 at 08:01 AM (1122 Views)

I’m back! Some great trips and great photo shoots. I took close to 500 pictures and am having trouble deciding which pictures to process.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is aptly named. I had three separate shoots there, including sunrise!

Salida is about two hours south and west of Colorado Springs and is a very artsy community. I am very proud of my sister-in-law, Judy. Her one-act play was produced there and Jayne and I saw it. The next day Judy and her friend took us up into the Rockies for some fabulous photo ops. The peaks had their first snow of the season and it was beautiful.

Then we went to Charleston, SC and visited the Magnolia Plantation with its Audubon Swamp Garden and I took some interesting pictures there in between swatting the mosquitoes!

Finally, we ended in Myrtle Beach for my nephew’s wedding.

At this point I’m thinking I have enough material to add four new galleries to my web site. As I process them, I’ll post a few advance shots here with some discussion.

I do envy your photo ops at Colorado Springs, the snowy mountain peaks of Salida, the Magnolia Plantation and Audubon Swamp in Charleston not to speak of Myrtle Beach What an Opportunity! And I wish I could take time off from my busy schedule as a wedding photographer in Brisbane, to indulge in such rare opportunities.

I could say the same things about Brisbane, Paula! I’d love to shoot in your area as well. Finding time in a busy schedule as yours must be very difficult.

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