Friday, February 27, 2009

Under the Bridge

Last Sunday, I drove down to Alexandria, VA in order to attend a few days of meetings earlier this week. Arriving in town a few hours before I was to meet up with some co-workers for dinner, I decided to have a photo walk in some places I had not been to in a while. I started at St. Mary's Cemetery located along I-95 and then decided to wander around/under the Interstate and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I had not been down to the bridge since they had opened it all after years of construction.

This image is from under the footpath leading to Jones Point Park. It takes you right beneath the start of the bridge has it heads out over the Potomac River to Maryland. I had my wide angle lens and was playing around with some different perspectives. I really like to expansive feel of this image and the dramatic V shape that was formed. This view is much wider than I could see with my own eyes. The top of the image was actually behind my head.

I ran my typical high dynamic range processing on this image but then decided to play around with it some more. I did not apply any presets to it but did spend time cropping to try to make sure things lined up like I wanted them, such as balancing the V shape in the frame. I also had to clean up a dust bunny on my sensor. I hate it when that happens. I was sure I had cleaned it up ahead of time. Ah well. I then played around with the contrast levels, tones, etc. I was really surprised in looking at the history how much I ended up tweaking to get what I wanted.

My only regret on this is that there was a 7 foot high chain link fence in front of me and so I could not get the whole space from ground to sky. But I guess you just have to work with what you are given and make the best of it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cone Capped Post

Ok, I think I am going to wrap up this set with this image from the marina at Onondaga Lake Park. This was actually one of the last images I took at day. The cone is bright orange and the post was a dull red, which really stood out in the winter landscape. But as I processed the image I felt that the color was just not working. It was too overpowering. I decided to try a black and white conversion and once I did that I noticed that I was really pulled by the shapes, textures and feeling of aloneness. I played around with lightening the post and the cone following the conversion to help bring out the texture that was evident here better. Then I decided to go in and crop a bit more heavily. I like the end result.

Thanks for hanging through with this series.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shadow Handle

At Onondaga Lake Park there is the Salt Museum, which is in an old building down by the lake. As we wandered around the Park, we headed over to the museum. The light was raking across the front of the building. I was drawn to the interplay of light and shadow. This shot is the result of slowing working in on a scene. I started further back with a wide angle lens and took in the whole facade and an interesting set of stone steps. Then I moved in closer just to get the front of the building. Then I moved in on the whole door. Finally, I ended up here with the handle. I liked the curve of the shadow and the contrast between the white peeling paint and the smooth dark shadow. As for processing, this is again a HDR image with some boosts to the contrast.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yellow Hydrant by the Lake

Still another image from my trip with John. When we walked past this hydrant, I was immediately drawn to the color and to the bench. I liked the pop of yellow in an otherwise blue environment (any time you can contrast warm and cool like this it is a good thing). Not much to say today.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pier 22

After Chittenango Falls, John and I drove over to Onondaga Lake Park just north of Syracuse. We had fun wandering around and finding some great things to shoot: cracks in the ice, the Salt Museum, a pile driver. The weather got colder but also sunnier with some blue finally coming through, which was great. Towards the end of our time there, I came across Pier 22 down at the marina. Obviously it was closed for the winter, but I was drawn to it.

For me, there are a number of visual elements that help make this interesting. The verticals of the all posts going back into the distance. I like the repetition but without them all being the same height. I moved around when lining up the shot in order to get the walkway edge starting in the corner and leading in. This gave the added benefit of having the dock's shadow also provide another leading line into the image. The diagonal lines of the yellow police tape and the light colored boards provide another dual repetition of direction and tone. Finally, the two small signs with numbers are both present. The 22 is clear but also between the posts is a sign with 20 on it. I have to admit this was a happy accident. I had not even noticed the other sign until I started reviewing the images. Maybe my subconsious mind saw it and led me to this spot. A little left or right and it would have been behind a post. Weird.

As for processing, there was not too much. This is a three shot HRD image with a bit of tweaking in LR: a touch of cropping, bumping up the contrast, a boost to the yellows and oranges, and a tone down on the blues a bit. Pretty quick actually.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chittenango Falls Valley

Another shot from my sojourn with John Brainard this past weekend around CNY. As I mentioned yesterday, we could not get down into the valley at Chittenango Falls so we wandered around the rim of the falls. This is the view looking down into the valley, and the falls are on the left.

I liked how this HDR image came out. One of the things I noticed while taking a number of shots from this vantage point was the small stump in the bottom right hand corner. I knew it was the thing that would really help anchor the foreground and give the image greater depth. I made sure I got some extras with this in view and sure enough when I reviewed the images later, the only ones to make the grade were those with this little stump in full view.

One other element I used in this image was a preset from Michael Gray's Life in Digital Film. Michael is creating a group of presets for Lightroom that emulate different film types. On this image I used his Fuji Velvia 50 preset, which really gave it a funky and vibrant feel that I was looking for. Velvia was known for oversaturating colors and really giving them a punch, which has really come out here. Many of Michael's presets are freely available on his site but this preset is part of his exclusive Cold Storage Collection for those who contribute to his web site. For $9.99 and the knowledge you are helping a guy give some great presets to the community, you cannot really go wrong. Heartily endorsed.

Image of the Day: Back to the Future Chair

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frozen in the Rapids

This weekend I managed to get out of the house and go shooting with a local photographer John Brainard. It was great to get out of the house and see some areas I had not been to before. This image is from just above the Chittenango Falls near Cazenovia, NY. Due to the snow and ice, the path down to the valley floor was closed so we could not get any good views of the falls themselves, but I was able to get a few images I was happy with in other areas of the park.

The new monopod and ballhead worked great on this trip. It took some getting used to but once I got in the groove I found it to be very helpful. I was able to shoot a bit slower which meant the water got more pillowy. I was also able to use it as a boom to get some different angles. Nothing great but they were good experiments.

Lastly, I apologize for the lack of posts in February. One of my big projects this month has been to go through my library and geoencode my images. So far I am about 40% of the way through and while I will not be able to encode at least 10-15%, I do hope to be able to get most of them done. I am doing this for a few reasons. 1) I just like maps and data. I know silly but it is true. 2) With my images encoded I can see where I am getting shots on a map and look for patterns, hot spots, interesting trends, etc. and 3) more and more on-line services read the geo data and allow me to plug into a larger community of photographers who are shooting in some of the same locations I am.

Image of the day: No Fishing in the Marina (yes that is me in the background)

Thanks for stopping by.

(check out the Exif Viewer to see where this was taken)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lichtenstein-esque Rainy Sunday

Yesterday, I read a great article on DPS called "Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child’s Photograph." I decided to give it a try as I thought the effect was pretty interesting. This above it the result. This is based on my image from September 2008 called Rainy Sunday. I like the effect and learned a good bit about Photoshop and how layers interact while putting this together. I would like to add the line art effect to this but have not yet mastered the pen tool.

Let me know what you think.

Image of the Day: Fire on Ice

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow-Covered Town - Redux

I have been reading David Nightingale's (Chromasia) latest tutorial on working with textures. This has been something that I have been interested in for a while but did not really do much with until I went through his stuff. I decided to go back to the image from last week and see if I could make it feel older. I think it had a lot of qualities of an older image, but in this version I decided I wanted to make it look like I had found this picture in the basement ice cupboard (yes, we have one). A picture that was maybe taken back when the house was built in 1914.

To achieve this I added two textures. The first was one that looked like folded paper. This gave the image the sepia tone I was looking for and also added some subtle paper textures and folds. The second texture was of a scratched up piece of glass. This gave the look of something that was damaged and rediscovered.

I like the look that I was able to achieve. It is close to my vision, but I would be interested in what you think about it.

Thanks for stopping by.