Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Soothing Cup of Tea

Nothing is better for a cold than a steaming cup of tea. Any ideas for capturing steam in a photograph? For the lighting setup I shot through a folded piece of paper and added bounced fill light with a paper towel roll and napkin holder on the counter.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Status Lights All Say Let Go

I have to admit I haven't quite let go completely. Throwing your camera is a big commitment, but the creative results may just be worth it.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunset after the Rain

Tried to stay inside during the wet part of the day, but still made it out to take this photo and grill some halibut for dinner. I have to remind myself not to wait for perfect weather to get out and make photographs. Colors are actually more vibrant in the rain.

Sunset after the rain

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harvest Season

Apple picking represents the beginning of fall and other harvest activities. I can't wait to go find a corn maze or hay bale maze to explore. Maybe we can even go look for an overpriced pumpkin before settling on one from Safeway.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Light Painting

Yes, I tried to write some words initially but liked the squiggly lines better. Writing backwards in under 15 seconds turns out to be a challenge.


Friday, September 25, 2009

DIY Meets Paperclip Art

I've always enjoyed bending paperclips into interesting shapes, and now I have a useful reason. For all the times a tripod has been too much but a flat surface is not quite right, I can see using something like this paperclip stand. My modification was to add gaffers tape to protect my LCD screen.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Class Postage

Self-portrait wandering after work. Reminds me of Peter Thompsen's self-portrait. My post fix was done zoomed in all the way on the mirror, and the rest of the image followed. Again focusing on a small area in the photo can bring the best overall result when post processing.


Camera settings: 210mm 1/250, f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Highlight Recovery: 62
Black Clipping: 31
Fill Light: 18
Brightness: -7 (43)
Red Chromatic Aberration: -12 and Defringe: All Edges
Crop: Square
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 51
Sharpening: 62 at 1.6 radius, with 35 sharpen detail and 26 edge masking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Bridge - Introducing Before & After

Both jobs I have worked at since moving to Oregon have a nice view of the North Bend bridge, but my last workplace didn't allow cameras for security reasons. Tonight on the way out of the parking lot at my current workplace Marci stopped the car and rolled down the back window so I could take this shot. She has a good eye for lighting and composition, but she typically leaves the photographing to me. It looks better large, and I also posted a black & white version.

You may notice I have gone back over the last few posts and filled in the details with the before shots as a reference when there is a noticeable difference.


Camera settings: 210mm 1/160, f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: +.76
Highlight Recovery: 12
Black Clipping: 18
Vibrance: 45
Temperature: +688 (7.2K)
Highlight Tones/Shadow Tones: +19/-14
Clarity: +44
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 68
Sharpening: 75 at 1.5 radius, with 25 sharpen detail and 19 edge masking.
Crop: 4x6
Brightness: -39 (11)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tsunami Evacuation Zone

I love living by the bay and all, but it still strikes me at times we are completely surrounded with water.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feeling Blue

There's nothing wrong with taking your inspiration from outside yourself when you need some new ideas. Resources like Photojojo's DIY newsletter exist to spark creativity. One of their more recent newsletters includes tips for making "refractographs". I think I could use a few more lights and some practice, but here is an early attempt.


Camera settings: 35mm 1/2 sec,  f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: +.57
Black Clipping: 18
Clarity: +48
Temperature: +355 (3.9K)
Fill Light: +25
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 57.
Sharpening: 82 at 1.7 radius, with 37 sharpen detail and 33 edge masking.
Vingette: -100 with 31 midpoint.
Highlight Hue/Saturation: 111/65
Shadow Hue/Saturation: 48/17

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Recently we stood under a cloudless night sky with some friends and picked out the few constellations we knew. The summer constellations are still prominent and remind me of the many camping trips and night hikes I've been on. Some things like the starry sky hold meanings beyond a photograph's ability to capture, and their timeless images endure longer in our memories than any snapshot.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

All Different Directions

Today was one of those where I couldn't focus long enough to come up with a creative idea. But we did go biking after a long time of ignoring the call of the road. Road biking is always amazing once you are out on the ride. Here is a shot to remind myself to get out and actually do what we love.



Camera settings: 80mm 1 sec, f/3.5 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure:  +.95
Black Clipping: 11
Clarity: 100
Vibrance: +10
Convert to Grayscale
Brightness:  +46
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 100.
Sharpening: 109 at 2.1 radius, with 48 sharpen detail and 30 edge masking.
Highlight Tones/Shadow Tones: +36/-33

Friday, September 18, 2009

Preserving Photo Imperfection

No amount of sharpening an image will make up for it being completely out of focus, and that's a good thing. At some point you have to realize most of your decisions were made before you pressed the shutter button. Processing an image is about being true to your intentions at the moment you captured the photograph.


Camera settings: 70mm 1/2 sec, f/3.2 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: +.48
Black Clipping: 21
Vibrance: 50
Tint: +11 (7 on the red side)
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 100.
Dust Spot Correction
Vingette: -50 with midpoint of 100
Highlight Tones/Shadow Tones: +5/-5

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Golden Shoot Through

Sometimes it helps to focus on one aspect of a photo when post-processing to come up with the best overall result.


Camera settings: 35mm 1/5, f/2.8 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: -.95 (It was a bit overexposed for the gold)
Temperature: +338 (Warmed it up when it was already golden)
Black Clipping: 63 (for the black gold)
Highlight Recovery: 52 (More gold detail in the highlights)
Brightness: -25 (still kinda bright except for the gold)
Clarity: 52 (Clear up those golden details)
Highlight Tones/Shadow Tones: +10/-10 (More golden contrast)
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 61
Sharpening: 82 at 1.6 radius, with 25 sharpen detail and 0 edge masking. (Zoomed in on the gold flakes)
Defringe: All Edges
Crop: 8x10 (The golden rule of thirds)
Vingnette: -79 with a midpoint of 67 (bring the focus in on the...)
Dust Spot Correction: There was a big piece of non-gold dust.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morning Magic Hour

I usually sleep through the good lighting part of the morning (or we are fogged in), but this morning I rolled out of bed in time to see the tail end of a beautiful sunrise. When I peaked out the backdoor I could see two rainbows, and the second one was just visible as I made it outside with my camera. Maybe I should get up early more often and see what I am missing... nah.

Camera settings: 175mm 1/60, f/4.5 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: -.19
Highlight Recovery: 45
Black Clipping: 6
Vibrance: 31
Saturation: +24
Crop Angle (Straighten): -1.26
Crop: Square
Clarity: 27
White-Balance: Custom off of the gray wall.
Highlight Tones/Shadow Tones: +5/-5
Hue Shift: Red -38
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 100.
Sharpening: 100 at 2 radius, with 45 sharpen detail and 30 edge masking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blenheim Shrine

Well it's time to get creative with the daily nightly photo. I was inspired by a Kodak lighting book I saw on the clearance rack at the local library to light a glass from below. The closest thing I had on hand were two glass bottles. One a vintage coke bottle I dug up when I was a kid and another rare giner ale brand called Blenheim. You can visit the ginger ale shrine below.

Camera settings: 70mm 1/125, f/3.2 at ISO 200. Strobist: Off camera desk lamp snooted by hand.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Highlight Recovery: 44
Black Clipping: 19
Clarity: 65
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 49.
Sharpening: 93 at 1.7 radius, with 25 sharpen detail and 0 edge masking.
Crop Angle: +1.26

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grilling on the Patio

Here we are enjoying the fall sunshine in Oregon. It won't be long before it starts raining non-stop.

Camera settings: 35mm 1/100, f/6.3 at ISO 200. On-camera flash.

Lightroom Post-Processing

White-Balance: Custom off of the gray sleeve.
Exposure: +.38
Highlight Recovery: 39
Black Clipping: 36
Clarity: 81 (Actually brought more detail in the blown out highlights than recovery)
Vibrance: 24
Hue Shift: Red +27 (towards orange), Orange +39 (towards yellow) to correct skin tones.
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 100.
Sharpening: 70 at 1.5 radius, with 25 sharpen detail and 18edge masking.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Fisherman's Daughter

Marci's dad took us fishing on the Coquille river for salmon this afternoon. She drove the boat while we fished. We didn't catch anything or else I might have a different photo of the day.

Camera settings: 35mm 1/100, f/5.6 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Highlight Recovery: 19
Black Clipping: 25
Vibrance: 29
Exposure: -.76
Custom White Balance: Off of the gray GPS.
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 58.
Sharpening: 70 at 1.5 radius, with 36 sharpen detail and 21 edge masking.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Camera Processing Vs. Raw Post-Processing

Initially I was content to compose this image with the sepia mode on my camera while still capturing the image with a Raw file format. When I imported my images into Lightroom I realized the camera's custom color settings don't get imported with the metadata. Instead I was able to insert the memory card back into my Canon G9 and use the image I had originally composed as a guide for my conversion from full color to black & white and then use split toning to accomplish the sepia look. In the end I had the best of both worlds being able to compose in sepia and still have the full information of a Raw file for post-processing.

Camera settings: 90mm 1/2 second, f/3.5 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Black Clipping: 20
Vibrance: 38
Point Curve: Medium Contrast, +5 Highlights, -5 Shadows.
Treatment: Grayscale
Split Toning: Highlight Hue of 30 with Saturation of 83.
Brightness: +21 (Total of 71)
Split Toning: Shadow Hue of 13 with Saturation of 30.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in Santa Cruz

Never thought I would see this in Coos Bay, Oregon. Marci reminded me tonight to stop looking for the grand while missing the opportunity to make the ordinary grand. I am beginning to see why the commitment to taking/posting a photo every day is so hard after a while. But I am excited to learn from the challenge to make the most of the amazing things I take for granted.

Camera settings: 60mm 1/30, f/3.2 at ISO 400.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Temperature: +1.5K
Black Clipping: 13
Clarity: 60
Vibrance: 21
Point Curve: Medium Contrast
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 52
Sharpening: 80 with 1.7 radius, detail 36, masking 24

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long Exposure on the Corner

Always wanted to take a long exposure shot next to some scenic highway like Robert Dawson's shot of Highway 280 at night near San Francisco. I don't have a Franciscan Monk pointing the way to go, but I do have Little Red Riding Hood on the corner by the crosswalk.


Camera settings: 144mm 20 seconds, f/11 at ISO 400. 

Lightroom Post-Processing

Custom White Balance: Off the corner wall.
Exposure: +0.19
Black Clipping: 20
Clarity: 40
Vibrance: 14
Saturation: -12
Point Curve: Medium Contrast
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 58
Sharpening: 73 with 1.4 radius, detail 35, masking 37
Vignette Amount: -45
Vignette Midpoint: -55

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Best Camera is the One You Carry

I need a pocket-sized 5D (or 7D for that matter). On the other hand I appreciate the clarity and sharpness of the Palm Pre.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shooting After Dark and Other Hobbies

After finishing up dinner and a few other household chores I realized the daylight was gone. But our most creative hours are not always during the day. When I was in high school I would play guitar each night before falling asleep. Music is a big theme in my creativity, and it reminds me how different artistic expressions can compliment each other.


Camera settings: 45mm 1/250, f/3.5 at ISO 200. Strobist: 580ex II at 1/2 power, zoomed at 105mm, bounced.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: +0.48
Highlight Recovery: 4
Black Clipping: 11
Clarity: 20
Vibrance: 14
Point Curve: Strong Contrast
Vignette Amount: -43
Vignette Midpoint: -50

My Favorite Subject

Read an article by Chris Marquardt about what's allowed in post-processing
and took this image on the ride home from Portland. Processed the RAW image in Lightroom, cropped and exported.




Post-Processing details to come...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hecho en Mexico

Mexican Coca-Cola at Montage

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Free Coffee

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Testing the Mobile Option

Won't be able to post-process for the next few days because we are heading to Portland, so I am switching to moblogging. Let's see how the 3mp camera holds up on the Pre.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, September 4, 2009

Civil War Game: Sports Photography without a Zoom Lens

We attended the Coos Bay/North Bend civil war game tonight which ended at 20-13 in overtime. It was a first for me, and I experienced something that was important for Marci's family when her brother was in high school. Unfortunately we were sitting on the wrong side of the field to get the full home team experience, but the incoming storm clouds made for a dramatic sky and brooding finish for the game.

Camera settings: 60mm 1/40, f/4 at ISO 800.

Lightroom Post-Processing (in workflow order)

Black Clipping: 17 to increase contrast.
Highlight Recovery: 71 to reduce light flares.
Exposure: -.57 because slightly overexposed shot to reduce noise.
Temperature: -129 to shift towards blue (5.6K).
Vibrance: 38 for midtone saturation.
Green Hue Shift: 17 to make grass greener.
Highlight Recovery: 100 to increase cloud detail.
Clarity: 36 for detail around sidelines.
Noise Reduction: Luminance smoothing of 52.
Sharpening: Lowered Edge Masking -44 to 26, and left others at default levels.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Photographing What You Love

Following the advice we hear everywhere I photographed what I love today. The Dodge Viper GTS is my favorite car of all time. Where the challenge came was following through and going back to take the picture. So many times my creativity is sparked by an opportunity, and I drive on by. I also approached the owner to ask if I could take the shot which I would typically avoid.

Camera settings: 1/40, f/8 at ISO 200.

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: -.29.
Highlight Recovery: 60.
Black Clipping: 23.
Brightness: +25.
Clarity: 44.
Vibrance: +36.
Point Curve: Strong Contrast.
Noise Reduction: Luminance Smoothing 69, Color 58.
Sharpening: 62, 1.4 radius, 33 detail, 20 masking.
Cropped: 4x6.
Chromatic Abboration: -33 (Red).
Vignetting:  -19 with 82 midpoint.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joining the Challenge

In response to and Scott Bourne's invitation to become a better photographer I will attempt to take and post a daily photo. Additionally I am adding my own spin by sharing my post-processing steps in Lightroom.


Photo taken at 60mm, f/5.6, 15sec at ISO 100

Lightroom Post-Processing

Exposure: +.76
Black Clipping: 13
Clarity: 40
Vibrance: 14
Luminance Smoothing (noise reduction): 71
Sharpening: 89, 1.7 radius, 42 detail, 51 masking.
Tint: +11 (the Hotel is a light green color in daylight)
Highlight Recovery: 70 (bring back the moon)