Dramatic Architecture in Black and White

Packard - Stanford - 2011//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Over the holidays, I spent some time working through the post-processing techniques of Joel Tjintjelaar.

Joel’s a master of long exposure black and white images – along with dramatic architectural images. His techniques have evolved – from using lots of hard selections to now using a combination of a few hard selections along with luminosity masks to shape the light in his monochrome images.

This is an early example of my application of some of Joel’s teachings. It’s the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building at Stanford – captured with my tiny vest pocket Canon Powershot S95 almost five years ago.

So, Where’s Santa?

Where's Santa? - Dun Lagohaire -2010

My search for fun holiday photos continues…

Here’s one from a trip we made to Dublin, Ireland in November 2010. The town of Dún Laoghaire had finished installing their street decorations – and I captured this shot of Santa and his reindeer – but no Santa – with my tiny Canon PowerShot S95.

Made me smile – sort of like the reindeer and sleigh were on autopilot – without the old man along to guide!

Ireland’s high on my list of places I’d like to return to and spend more time!

More Monochrome from the Beach in Hawaii


Here’s another monochrome from the beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.

This image was shot using my tiny Canon PowerShot S100 and tweaked initially in Lightroom for straightening and then into Photoshop for conversion to monochrome using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

It was finished with some dodging and burning – along with a couple of Curves adjustment layers to augment the tonality of the image. A final pass of “hiraloam” sharpening completed the processing.

Lessons from 2012: Our Web Has a Long Memory

New Year's Day - San Francisco - 2012

I just took a look back at the most popular web pages here on my blog during the last twelve months of 2012. The most popular pages – based on page views – weren’t written this year – but they’ve stood the test of time – at least as far as Google and the other search engines are concerned.

Here’s the list of top 10 posts based on page views during 2012:

  1. The Winner Is: Oven Roasted Tri-Tip Roast for Football Sunday (Feb 1, 2009) – Best ways to cook tri-tip!
  2. My Life in a Sling! (Nov 10, 2009) – The story of my rotator cuff surgery – and an amazing community of others who’ve also been through this rough surgery.
  3. HOW TO: Setting up the Canon PowerShot S90 to Shoot HDR (Jan 31, 2010) – All about how to shoot HDR images from compact point and shoot camera.
  4. New Photoshop Learnings from Jaime Ibarra (Nov 13, 2011) – Jaime’s a master and I took a private 1:1 workshop with him.
  5. Sunday Morning Coffee: Carmel and Point Lobos (Jan 25, 2009) – So many memories of the Monterey coast. If you go, check this out.
  6. Yosemite’s Half Dome – Handheld HDR with Canon 5D Mark II (jun 5, 2010) – My early learnings about HDR.
  7. First Time Out with HDR Photography on a Canon 40D (Sep 6, 2008) – More early HDR learnings.
  8. My Mid-2011 Photography Workflow (Jul 30, 2011) – An important milestone in my workflow – which has since moved beyond.
  9. Hierarchies – of Life and Privacy (Aug 13, 2005) – A perspective that’s stood the test of time.
  10. A Floating Faucet Fountain (Jun 13, 2009) – One of those fun stories that brings back childhood memories of home shows and the like!

Look at that list – no posts from 2012 made the top 10! It’s kinda crazy how long the long tail is. In the case of my blog, the top 3 posts accounted for over 50% of this year’s page views. The remaining 40+% were spread out among hundreds of other posts. I wonder how this distribution might change in 2013?

What post from 2012 was the most viewed? This one – How We Appreciate Great Photographs.

Looking back a year ago, here’s my list of the most popular posts of 2011 – with my commentary. Interesting to see some changes this year in the rankings.

See you next year!

Sydney Opera House in Monochrome

Opera House - Sydney - 2011

In March 2011, we were in Sydney, Australia for the wedding of a close family friend. Of course, while there, we spent some time on the amazing Sydney Ferries.

This image was shot with my tiny Canon PowerShot S95 as we were heading back into Circular Quay. I loved this perspective on the Opera House – and processed it in monochrome using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Topaz Simplify 4. I love the contrast and composition in this image – and hope you do too! (Click on the image to see a larger view)

The Master’s Tools – Fort Ross – Sonoma Coast

Last weekend, I was in Bodega Bay for the Sonoma Coast Workshop led by Derrick Story. This was my third workshop with Derrick – and the second taken alongside my photo buddy Doug Kaye.

Derrick is a great teacher and his workshops are among the best I’ve ever experienced. The groups are small – which makes everyone feel open and sharing – and this particular venue was just outstanding.

The shot below is from Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. Doug pointed out this amazing room – I thought of it as the carpenter’s master suite – and I shot this image with my tiny Canon PowerShot S100. It was post-processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Lightroom 4 – a great combination for this kind of nimble, lightweight photography on the move!

The Master's Tools - Fort Ross - 2012

Oh Sydney!

Morning Glory - Sydney - 2012

Last Friday evening, my colleague Carol Coye Benson and I flew to Sydney for a few days of teaching and consulting. With the flight over from San Francisco, you lose a day enroute – leaving late Friday and arriving early Sunday morning. After arriving, I headed over to Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House with my tiny Canon PowerShot S100 in hand.

This is one of the shots from my walk – a family posing for a group shot on the upper level at the Opera House. The light was really special that morning – and the processing I’ve used on this version tries to highlight that special morning glow. I post-processed this using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Trey Ratcliff’s new Lightroom presets.

Hope you like it! It’s amazing to me that you can board an airplane, fly for over 13 hours and end up on the other side of the world.