Alan

Dec 012012
 

I spent some time walking around Salisbury and Ocean City today. This first shot comes from the Ocean City Boardwalk. The gate to the rides area is at the end of this passageway down the middle of a concession building so it’s very dark. You could see the rides all gleaming and colorful in the early afternoon sun through the fence. This was originally going to be an HDR shot, but it was just so dark in that passageway that I couldn’t see detail in the fence no matter what I did. Instead, I pulled out my flash unit to light up my side of the fence. In retrospect, I wish I’d have shot at a slightly smaller f-stop to get just a little more detail in the Ferris wheel. I wanted it somewhat out of focus to draw attention to the lock, but I think I might have gotten it just a little too soft.

The bulk of the post processing was handled by Topaz Detail 2. While I liked what I got with it overall, it created some halos and bleached out skies in the smaller spaces of the fence links. I put the original in Photoshop as a second layer, masked it out, then brushed it back in where ever there was sky. It was a little tedious, but I think it was worth the effort.

 Posted by at 7:03 pm
Nov 202012
 

On Saturday, Mary asked me to take her to an old church she’d spotted a couple of weeks back when she went to Annapolis with Lisa and Katy. It seemed interesting so we planned to get there just before sunset. Unfortunately, since I was still recovering from a cold, I can’t really say my creative mojo was in full swing. Still, I grabbed a few shots of the brick work to add to my texture library and then decided to shoot a couple of HDR panoramas. Below is the what I think is the better of the two vantage points I shot from.

I’m still really hit and miss with HDR. I had to do a lot of touch ups and when I look at the full size image at 100% there are still a few details here and there that bug me, but overall I think this shot is….okay.

 Posted by at 12:57 am
Oct 272012
 

Here’s a couple more shots from our overnight stay in Ocean City. We stayed on the 12th floor of The Grand hotel. This first shot is looking directly down from our balcony at a seagull on the roof of the retail shops below. I liked how the sun, still very low on the horizon, was casting really long shadows from the railing at the edge of the roof all the way through the frame as well as how big the bird’s shadow is.

This next image is a panorama of our view of Ocean City from the 12th floor. Now, the appeal of The Grand is the ocean view rooms but since the building is curved I actually had view of the southern portion of the city as well. I would have loved to have had a more interesting sky, but that’s how it goes. Anyway, here’s a link to a large version of the photo below so you can zoom in and see some of the detail. If you do look at the large version, towards the back of the scene, just below the horizon line, you can make out the northern end of Assateague Island across the inlet from Ocean City. I hope Hurricane Sandy doesn’t tear up too much on Assateague because I want to try to get down there again before it gets too cold and shoot the ponies.

 Posted by at 11:16 pm
Oct 262012
 

Lisa and I spent last night at a hotel on the boardwalk in Ocean City. She had today off and we felt like getting away and taking advantage of the off-season rates. I had hoped to get some sunrise shots, but there were no clouds (that situation won’t last much longer) so the sky wasn’t really interesting. Instead, I decided to take some pictures of the seagulls.

When I first started shooting, there were just a few birds hanging out on the roof of the retail shops directly below my balcony. I’ll post a shot or two from that set tomorrow (weather, power, and internet connectivity permitting). Someone a couple of floors directly below me started throwing out bread crumbs and the birds went WILD! Then more of them came. There was a frenzy of bird activity. I exercised my shutter in high speed mode for quite some time alternating between wider angle group shots (none of which I liked) and zooming in on individual birds. Most of those were misses for various reasons as well, but I do like the shot below and there are one or two others I might work up as well. Granted, it’s not the ideal background, but that’s where the bird was.

Nothing too dramatic with the post processing, but I have absolutely had it with my monitors. I just calibrated them TODAY and they don’t match. On one monitor, this image looks great (to me, of course), but on the other monitor it’s slightly washed out and dull. I have no idea which one is right. Once this storm passes and assuming I don’t have bigger problems to deal with, I’m getting new monitors.

EDIT: I just checked this out on my work laptop and it appears the washed out version was closer to correct. I may re-release this photo after some more processing.

 Posted by at 9:11 pm
Oct 212012
 

I had planned on getting out with my camera again this weekend, but other things came up and I didn’t get around to it. I decided to dig through my shots from last weekend again and see if there was anything I wanted to play around with in Lightroom/Photoshop. Below is shot of some undisturbed tracks in the sand. Since I shot them from a really low angle, you can’t see the ocean. For some reason, it kind of reminded me of something you might see from one of the Mars rovers so I played around with the color balance, both on the entire image and on the sky and sand separately, until I came up with something that looked about right.

 Posted by at 9:31 pm