Saturday, April 21, 2018

In the Neighborhood

I was standing on the corner photographing something utterly boring just for practice, when I quickly turned to capture this cyclist riding through an empty intersection. Quick without looking, too quick, as I swung the camera around I got a lot of motion blur, ruining the photo. Or did I?

bad photo + Photoshop = Art

I started out by trying to disguise the motion blur cranking up the clarity slider, dehaze, and contrast, crushing the blacks and selectively desaturating the reds just for kicks. Still not enough, I opened it in photoshop and applied a gaussian blur layer to smooth out the shake.

For reference here is the original:

And zooming in you can see the eye-straining shake in the buildings and trees.

Art. Sure.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Looking Up

Art School in Oakland, California

View from Inside the San Francisco Skyline

Airplane Flying over the Philips Building in Foster City

Friday, April 13, 2018

Sunset Study #2: Walk on the Ocean

Mt Tamalpais State Park, Panorama Highway, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, sunset, crowds gathered, spectacular. 

It started on a whim, a free afternoon, a drive out to the coast, a golden hour shoot with a wide angle lens. 17mm takes in a lot of scenery.

Although I found at 35mm I could frame it better.

I walked down to this tree that struck me.

Then, just before sunset, I made my way back to the road, 1.5 miles, and drove up to a point where people had gathered to watch the sun set.

Photographers gathered too.

And then it got dark, the park closed, and we went home.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sunset Study #1: The Local Park

After work I saw the sky full of high, wispy clouds and I could tell it was going to be a good sunset. I had about two hours so I went to a nearby park featuring a big hill overlooking the bay, the city, the golden gate. Claremont Canyon. Canon 6D with a 17-40mm ultra-wide zoom.

New hiking shoes, trying them for the first time and they work great. After many many tries I may have finally found the perfect shoes for me. The hill was steep, and then the next hill even steeper. Between was this view.

And flowers were in bloom. I don't know flowers, but I know pretty.

And the bees were busy. Bee happy, bee better, bee yourself. To get this shot at 17mm - ultra wide angle, I had to get in close, in the middle of a little swarm. A little nervous but the bees were busy with flowers and didn't bother me. Much.

Then the sun set behind the city. Switch to a 70-300mm telephoto.

Not quite behind the city, nor behind the bridge and farther to the right, behind the hills. But the light, that refracted sunlight spread around the horizon in golden red hues.

The sky faded to dark and the city lights came on.

It got darker, and I went home.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I Am Not a Pro

Delusions of grandeur are as good as a prerequisite for achievement, shoot for the moon live among the stars and all that. But there is such a thing as the limits of my ability, and digital manual focus shooting friends at a music festival, or more accurately during SXSW, walking back up South Congress after a dinner of Torchy's Tacos, stopping by a cowboy hat shop trying on cowboy hats while a rockabilly band rocked out like nobody's business.

Look closely, the subject is out of focus and the guitarist is in focus. Exactly opposite how it should be. Because I had manual focus set to three meters instead of one. Using manual focus at night is a pro trick street shooting technique and hella difficult to keep up with, where the focus is all the time, are you shooting close or shooting far? Do you even know? So what should have been a focus distance of half a meter was more like, she's blurry and the rockabilly guitar is clear as day.

I may as well have used a cell phone. Except for the extra color depth and contrast I was able to use to turn a slightly out of focus picture into a more artistic soft focus.

From now on I'll use autofocus like a normal person, with the full-press snap option, itself a neat semi-pro trick.

Ricoh GR Zone Focusing Tips for Street Photography

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Camera Straps

If your camera has a wrist strap, always put it around your wrist before taking a picture. Yes, you may drop the camera, but you might also do this.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Found My Pot o' Gold

There's a treasure in every book.

The one time I don't bring a real camera, this beautiful full rainbow appears, and at the end of the rainbow, a bookstore. Each book a treasure, and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Sure, a smartphone can record it, but a smartphone just doesn't have the dynamic range or color depth needed for challenging lighting conditions, or the subtlety of a rainbow's colors. There simply aren't enough photons hitting that tiny camera sensor.

Not as vibrant as it could have been. But it'll have to do.