Selective use of color in an otherwise black and white shot is cliche -- but it is still useful because color provides a powerful spotlight on what the photographer wants to highlight.
Here are a couple of examples, one taken at Lassen National Park (Nikon D200, 18-200 vr at 18mm, f/8) and another in downtown Santa Cruz in front of a favorite burrito shop (Nikon D300, 30/1.4, f/5.6). I like their tubular tacos. Both shots were processed with Capture NX and Silver Efex using the latter's control points to selectively reveal the color of the original.
As I travel from Buenos Aires to Santiago in the coming weeks I'll be on my feet much of the time, and so I am working to minimize the size and weight of my luggage. Today I packed the bare essentials, which took two bags. Yet while neither is full, I am re-examining the essentials to see if maybe they aren't essential after all.
I can see me, at the end of a long hot day, walking from the bus station in search of the hotel, in a country where I don't speak the language. When I doing this I'll value feel every pound I left behind.
The left one in the picture, an old Jansport backpack, has been to Peru and a few times to Europe. It contains clothes and books. The right is new REI carry on with toiletries and electronics. Most of the weight is from the two guidebooks (Argentina and Chile), novel, D800E, 24-120, 10.5, 35, and 50. I think I might get a tablet before my next trip so I can ditch the books.
If I ditched the camera (or switched to a mirror-less) I could get it all in one carry on bag. But I'm not ready to give up the dslr; I've yet to read a review of a mirrorless body that left me tempted.
Back to packing. The hardest decision, harder than choosing a lens, is choosing the one novel that gets to accompany me. (I'm madly readfing the last 150 pages of Anna Karenina which is too, too big to carry.) The novel must be a small old paperback, of course. I've narrowed the choice down to Sense and Sensibility, Great Expectations, or In Patagonia.
I processed just enough photos from South America to partially populate my blog entries and galleries, which in turn allowed me to refine this site's design. I am almost happy with it. Almost. The thumb presentation needs a bit of refinement - they are all a bit of a jumble as the number of entries per gallery is variable. Once I'm done I'm going to use the gallery design on the Land Trust's site.
My next task, well, aside from the task of painting the inside of the house, is to complete the review of photos from South America. My review strategy was discarded shortly after I started. I thought it would be a good idea to load one day's shots, review them, then load another day's shots. Instead I've been jumping around, Valparaiso before Santiago for example. On the upside, I've found more useful shots then I expected. I didn't see this as a photo trip but as a trip with some photos. I also figured that since I was using a new camera body there was a good chance I'd overlook some setting, and I did screw some up, but the D800e is very forgiving. Another plus of the Nikon is that all those pixels allow for the occasional cropping.
My photo processing workflow:
Shooting in raw doesn't have a big impact on workflow, it adds one step.
Music for today: Briday Trilogy part 1, Danish String Quartet
Today I'm making tomato sauce using five pounds of cherry, plum, and sandwich-size tomatoes, all harvested from my greenhouse.
I shot this handheld with the 50/1.2 at f/2, 1/160 sec, iso 2800. Using a manual focus lens makes me slow down and think about things like posture, hand position, and breathing, especially when I shoot at big apertures. Here is my shooting checklist, built on one discussed on stackexchange:
I keep telling myself slow down, hold steady, and wait to exhale. And sometimes I remember to do it.
Autumn is spider time on the island. The spider webs re-appear each morning and ensnare me as I walk. Actually, after a couple times I saw the pattern. The ones attached to the house block my path so I brush them away, but I leave the others be.
I envy a spider's opportunity to re-spin its web almost daily. Does a spider tweak its web design based on what it has learned over the course of twenty-four hours? I would like to be able to whip out a clean-sheet-of-paper re-write of my code at will.
I've made progress adapting the land trust web site to iOS. With one change, replacing max-width and min-width with max-device-width and min-device-width, jdflandtrust.ca looks ok on iOS 8's safari and chrome. The downside is as expected, the site is no longer responsive on the pc which isn't good so I've more to do. While the site was opened up on the table I took the opportunity to simplify the mobile ui a bit. Now it looks good on iOS 8 though it somehow looks less good on Android.
While in the app store I ran across Transmit iOS, an ftp client. I installed it to push photos from phone to blog. I know that if I used an off-the-shelf solution like Wordpress this would be easy but what would be the fun in that. Of course there is a price to be paid when you do it yourself and in this case I've yet to find the magic words to make the iPhone talk to the server.
105 mm, f/8.
Today I transplanted a few tomato plants and then cleaned the strawberry patch. Unfortunately the pillbugs have discovered my strawberries so I'm fighting them with weed block and keeping the plants clean of rotting material.
I've three shots today, a native geranium and two succulents. All taken with a 105 mm macro on a tripod.
I see three spots on picture 3 so I'm going to have to set aside some time to clean my sensor. Not fun, a little stressful even. One wrong move and well there you go. This will be my first time for the D800e but I've cleaned the D300 many times. I follow the Copper Hill tutorial and use their supplies. Copper Hill's website is pretty ugly but the information is reliable.
I'm at chapter five in King Lear. Gloucester has just had his eyes gouged out, which I found very gruesome. According to my reading this part hasn't always been included in the play as for a time audiences found it too distressing. Indeed, the whole story is very very dark.
The June 18th episode of RadioLab, Eye in the Sky, examines an aerial camera that can take a picture of a whole town every second. Well, a reasonably-sized town like Juarez or Dayton. The camera takes a shot every second which is then sent to a ground station where the results are sifted for patterns of interest. This may not sound so interesting as we've all seen shots from hight up in space, but it's the camera's proximity to the ground and the ground station's ability to identify patterns that is a big step forward. It gives one the ability to go back in time - photographically - second-by-second, with a resolution that is sufficient to identify the patterns of individual movements.
The technology was developed at MIT and first flown over Fallujah where it was used to track the movement of IEDs. It has since been used to solve crimes in a couple of North American cities. While its privacy implications have yet to be worked out, it's a technology application that seems obvious in retrospect. Listening to the podcast made me think I was listening to science fiction with it's hint of time-travel.
Below is a shot of Paul in a Victoria coffee shop. No, he hasn't started drinking coffee. Processed with Simplify.
Two friends commented to me in as many days that they'd taken to avoiding the news, it's too sad, too depressing. We've a 24x7 view into a world awash in weapons and grievances. And clearly we are not alone in observing this, as even the Times suggests cutting back.
So to clear my head of news I'm immersing myself in a story, and currently it's Audible's annotated (appreciated, they call it) Julius Caesar. Shakespeare's story, full of plots and betrayals, is dramatic, fast paced, and full of familiar phrases. In other words, it's wonderful, but it soon brings to my mind the morning news, which today is the Turkish coup, a story that nudged aside the horrors of Nice, which displaced the short-fingered vulgarian, ...
So let's get away from the news.
I alternate between hating and loving photo post processing, or the creation of what Mike Johnston calls photoart. Even though I'm a programmer I pause when it's obvious that a photographer's computer skills have overtaken catching the moment. Not that there is anything wrong with it, just that it's a different kind of art.
Which brings me to this example of algorithmic photo processing. I wish I didn't like it, but damn, I also wish I could take credit for what it can do. I chose the subject and pushed the shutter but the credit has to go to the brilliant iOs app Prisma. It simplifies an image, kindof like the Topaz Clarity plugin for Lightroom. But it does so much more, and the choices are based on a selection of what look like famous-artist-inspired themes. One of my favorites is actually named after an artist, Mondrian. I'm stunned by the beautiful images this app generates.
I'm listening to Easter Sunday, by the Danish String Quartet.
A slightly better shot of the Milky Way, helped by using a wider lens and higher ISO. Unfortunately, since taking this shot the skies over Vancouver Island have turned grey from smoke and haze.