I took a day off from work today to join my good friend Doug Kaye for a delightful photo walk in San Francisco’s Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods.
We met at the Portsmouth Square Park/Garage – with handy underground parking that launches you right into the heart of Chinatown. It’s pretty amazing how your senses are soon overwhelmed when you emerge from the underground parking elevator into the park’s plaza. This park teems with energy – lots of folks, kids, etc just having a great time – even on a workday Thursday morning!
After exploring the park a bit, we headed out – up to Grant Avenue, over to Stockton St. and then across Broadway to Washington Square Park and North Beach. We stopped for a great lunch at Cafe Divine before heading back – up to Grant Avenue, back across Columbus and down Kearney to Portsmouth Square. That’s Doug out in the middle of Columbus Avenue shooting the Transamerica Pyramid!
Total mileage for our loop was 1.4 miles. We spent about 3-1/2 hours exploring, absorbing the many neighborhood smells, and having a great time shooting some fun images. Below is the map of our loop.
Last year, I wrote a bit about my mid-2011 photography processing workflow. I talked about how, for single-image HDR processing using RAW images, I would open them in Photomatix Pro rather than using Lightroom’s export image capability. I also wrote how, for HDR bracketed images, I did use Lightroom’s export image capability to convert them to JPEGs for processing in PhotoMatix pro.
My friend Doug Kaye has shared his new insights about a better workflow for HDR processing – one that maximizes the dynamic range available for post-processing rather than limits it as the Lightroom export flow automatically does. Be sure to read his insights – along with those of Klaus Herrmann who introduced the notion creating extended EV value images as TIFF files from the original bracketed RAW images in his article “Creating HDR Images the Right Way.” If you have comments for Doug, please share them on his Google+ post.
In what’s become sort of a tradition for me, on New Year’s Day I head for the Golden Gate and see what I can find to start the new year off right.
Today, my favorite venue was blocked by construction fencing – so I headed to my next favorite venue – Baker Beach. I happened to arrive just as the California Hornblower sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.
This image was shot in RAW with my Canon 5D Mark II and then processed tonight in Photoshop using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2 before importing into Lightroom 3 for final cropping (16:9), toning, sharpening and noise reduction.
There were a lot of people enjoying Baker Beach when I shot the original image – but they were removed using the content-aware healing brush in Photoshop CS5 – yielding this final image. I’m sure they don’t mind! 😉
2011 turned out to be a big year for me in my pursuit of photography skills. As I reflect back on my learnings, I thought I’d try to write down the highlights of the year for me in this New Year’s Eve post.
Beginning with my purchase of my first digital SLR about five years ago (a Canon 30D which I purchased immediately after reading Doc Searls post about his evaluation of this camera!), I’ve been making steady progress learning more about both the most important shooting skills for capturing images as well as the post-processing techniques that can really help enhance an image.
For me, it’s all about trying to get it right at capture time in the camera – but then also maximizing the image’s beauty in post-processing. Among other things, I’ve learned that even if the capture isn’t perfect, the end result can still be stunning with the right post-processing. But, it all begins with trying to get the right image at capture.
My good friend Doug Kaye and I headed out today to the Marin Headlands – in particular, Battery Mendell up high on the cliffs and, down low, Rodeo Beach itself. I’ve yet to process most of the photos from this walk with Doug – but I did especially like the image above – a couple walking along the cliffs near Battery Mendell. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Doug is helping plan a photo walk at Rodeo Beach after Christmas – details here.
Back in August, I wrote about this earlier shot I took along the banks of the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon. That image was a very tight crop of a much larger shot I took with my Canon PowerShot S95.
The original photo can be seen below – with the lone rower far away! But I loved how he looked in this shot – looking over his right shoulder with his oars at the ready. It thought he was a great shot – but he was so far away!
For this version, I first cropped the image and then used OnOne Software’s Perfect Resize 7 to resize the image back up to about 3000 pixels wide. I then used Nik’s Viveza 2 to adjust the saturation and structure of the rower and his boat along with Color Efex Pro 4 to tweak detail definition and contrast. Topaz Simplify helped me deal with the water in the foreground – smoothing it out just enough to still be realistic but not too noisy.
Click on that image above to see the larger version – hope you enjoy it!
This afternoon I played around a bit more with this image – basing my new treatment on that earlier post-processed black and white. I wanted to try some selective color enhancements to add some glow and depth to the image. Above is the result. Not sure why this image came to mind – but there’s something about it that I particularly enjoy and it drew me back to post-processing it again using some new techniques and new tools that I’ve been learning this fall.
This afternoon’s image certainly isn’t perfect – for example, I don’t like the subtle glow around the jugs or the bright lines on the bottle edges – but you get the idea of what’s possible from this version. In particular, the filters I used to enhance the image included Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 – especially detail enhancer to pull up the details of the condensation on the jugs – along with two Solid Color adjustment layers to add the tonality to the image and a final Selective Color adjustment layer to tweak the final colors.
For easy reference, below is the earlier black and white version. Click on either image to see the large version. Which do you prefer?