Photorealistic

Recently I’ve been playing a bit more with image modification that takes a photo from its straight out of the camera look and modifies it to emphasize more interesting parts of the image: typically light and color.

Much of this process involves simplifying the image using tools that remove details (which I often find add distraction to the essence of an image. I’ve been encouraged by some of what Eric Kim has been doing.

On my Mac I used to experiment using Topaz Simplify for this kind of work. But today I’m almost always editing quickly on my iPhone and sharing the results to Instagram. It’s amazing how quickly this yields fun results.

Here are a few recent examples made using the Priism app.

A Lazy Sunday at Cantor

We are having a lovely early June weekend here in the San Francisco Bay Area and it was one of those perfect lazy Sundays to visit the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford.

I recently broke the femur in one of my legs and am just now getting to the point of being able to get around using just a cane and without the seemingly ever present walker that I’ve been using. Cantor is a perfect spot for taking it slow while getting in some good exercise walking both indoors and out. It’s a perfect place for some iPhone photography along the way!

The inner courtyard has a new piece that’s very striking in its isolation:

A lunch of shiitake mushroom soup at the Cool Cafe hit the spot with just enough sustenance to keep me going. Next to me on the patio we’re a couple reading – they looked like regulars who enjoyed the ambiance of reading under an umbrella while overlooking the lovely lawn view adjacent! Put me in the mood to do the same! (I’m currently reading Bitcoin Billionaires!)

In one of the indoor galleries are paintings from two favorite artists: Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe. Here’s the O’Keefe work:

And the Hopper piece:

Out in the Rodin Sculpture Garden it was lovely parking myself in the shade, reading a bit and watching the visitors explore. Along the way I noticed the sunlight on one of my favorite small sculptures in the big Gates of Hell:

Here are a few more images from my walk at Cantor today – and a few more over by the main Quad and Memorial Church:

Playing with Day to Night

I’ve recently come across a couple of techniques (in both Lightroom and Photoshop) that help turn a photo taken during daytime hours into a moodier, darker image. These techniques involves both overall image adjustments to darken and change color balance along with selective edits to add lights, increase highlights, etc.

I recently tried a quick version of this technique on an image taken down San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on a moody morning. It’s been adjusted overall to add the moodiness along with tweaking a few of the highlights to enhance points of interest in the image. This took about 5 minutes in Lightroom CC to adjust.

Pieces of April

It’s funny how inspiration happens! Recently I was listening to an oldies playlist when Three Dog Night’s song Pieces of April began playing. It’s one of my old favorites but I hadn’t heard it in a long time.

The song got me inspired to take a look back through my images doing a search for all that had been taken during the month of April. I came across this image from south of Market in San Francisco that was shot during one of my regular photo walks with my friend Doug Kaye. It’s on a walkway between Mission and Stevenson Streets by Golden Gate University. On this particular morning the sun was bright and relatively low making for a very high contrast and shadows. Somehow the title of the song stuck and this this image inherited the title!

Image taken April 24, 2015 with Fujifilm X100T.

Early Spring along Sand Hill Road

It’s early spring here in Menlo Park and the drive west into Woodside and Portola Valley along Sand Hill Road is one of my favorites. Along the way there are several wonderful old trees – including this one, perhaps my favorite! Shot with my iPhone Xs Max.

Early Spring

Magic at Stanford

I took advantage of yesterday’s Presidents’ Day parking enforcement holiday to take a walk around the campus. As I was coming into the Quad, I happened across what appeared to be a model shoot underway – with a lady in a red dress standing in the sunlight under columns.

I captured the image with my iPhone Xs Max and edited it on my iPhone using Adobe’s Photoshop Express – which includes a wonderful variety of tools to get creative with images – including adding reflections. Fun!

Monday afternoon in early December

Monday Afternoon – Portola Valley Town Center, California

One of my favorite local destinations is the Portola Valley Library. Near the parking area is a beautiful field of trees leading up to the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

As I arrived yesterday afternoon, this tree was glowing in the afternoon sun – at a low angle in the sky on this day in early December. Image shot with iPhone Xs Max and tweaked in Snapseed.