It’s been a few days since I have been around the blogging world and for that I apologize. Been a bit busy with the whole holiday weekend, enjoying the nice weather than finally arrived. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time on my new website, which I am still hoping to have up and live by the end of the week and I’m definitely pretty excited about it. I’ll keep everyone updated as to the status of it.
Since I missed Candid Monday yesterday, I’ll do a Candid Tuesday, which is kind of like Monday since I wasn’t around yesterday. We don’t really have a whole lot of street performers in Pittsburgh, except really in Market Square, which is where this was taken. I wouldn’t even call this guy a street performer, more along the lines of someone with a hoop. He actually had about five hoops with him with different colors, designs and so on. I held my camera up to him, and gave a “You mind if I take a few pictures?” look, he shook his head and continued his routine.
Some pretty light processing on this one. A little bit of color correction and exposure adjustment to bring back some of the blown out areas and also a Tonal Contrast and Pro Contrast filter applied in Color Efex. Straightened the shot out a bit, added the logo and shared it with you.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that everyone celebrating this weekend had a great Memorial Day.
I don’t normally get too philosophical on my posts, but today I think I might, as this will be a shorter post.
It seems like we (myself included) are always looking ahead, looking forward to something in the future, be it a vacation, a wedding, a graduation, holiday, or simply the weekend. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with that at all, especially in regards to major life events, like a wedding or the birth of a child. Life goes by so quick and when we spend time hoping and waiting for things to come, it can make it go even quicker. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and take a look around us to enjoy where we are and what we are doing right now. If we spend every day just waiting for tomorrow, have we really gotten everything we could out of today?
On to today’s shot, which inspired the sentiment of my blog today. I’ve taken a shot similar to this in downtown Pittsburgh before, and while I really like it, I took that shot in the middle of the day, so the light was pretty harsh and the background was just ok. I like this one a lot better, because the background, even though it is out of focus, gives you a wider variety of colors. I even snuck a sunflare in there, which I didn’t think that I would be able to get at f4.
This is a seven exposure HDR that I laid on the road and blocked traffic to get and then processed in Photomatix. I had to do a little masking on the upper left and right hand corners of the shot to get rid of minor haloing there. I boosted overall saturation, as well as added a curves layer of green and yellow to enhance the trees and line on the road. Finally I added a Tonal Contrast filter (Color Efex) and Turbo Boost filter (onOne PhotoTools) to complete the shot.
Thanks for stopping by guys and gals, see you tomorrow.
Happy Monday everyone, I hope that you all had a great and relaxing weekend. Even if it wasn’t relaxing, I hope that it was still great. We had two beautiful days in a row here in Pittsburgh, which hasn’t happened for months. More storms to come this week, but for now, we are enjoying the nice weather.
I was thinking about maybe starting some kind of a theme day on the blog, given that I have posted candids on consecutive Mondays. I’m not sure how many I will be able to post in a row, as I have a very limited backlog of them, but I’ll give it a shot. Today, I introduce Candid Mondays.
Back to Mt. Washington we go, to continue with shots from Mothers’ day a few weeks ago. Like I’ve said before, I had the telephoto lens on for most of the day/evening, trying to branch out from my current wide angle addiction and this is one of the results. I was heading back down Grandview Avenue, the main drag through the hill top community to get some HDRs from the very overlook that these two were standing on. Unlike the candid I posted last Monday, which was a hurry up and get the camera up as fast I could shot, this was a little bit easier to capture.
Simple processing here. Opened the RAW in Photoshop, desaturated the entire image and increased the vibrance. Brought back some of the saturation of the reds and greens, and increased both the black levels and overall contrast. Added a very slight Tonal Contrast filter to everything but the sky, a Pro Contrast filter to the entire image, and the Hollywood Effect in onOne software to polish to it.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the inaugural Candid Monday. Back to the HDRs tomorrow.
Living in Pennsylvania and only a few hours from Punxsutawney, home of the famous groundhog Phil and “back drop” for one of the top 5 most boring movies of all time (the real town used in the film was Woodstock, IL), a lot is made of Groundhog Day. This year Phil got everyone all excited that spring would be coming early this year, however it looks like he attended the same meteorological school as the rest of the weatherman in Pittsburgh, because it has been far from an early spring. We had snow last weekend and were supposed to get more today and tomorrow, however the temperature inched just above freezing so we have nothing but rain.
It seems like last summer was so long ago in a whole other world after the past six months of weather. We’ve had huge snow storms, torrential down pours, one nice day followed by a week of clouds. I’ve found myself looking back on the pictures that I took in July and August last year, spending time on a friend’s boat, having a few beers and trying my hand (somewhat) successfully at wakeboarding. There is something about being out in the middle of the Ohio River, with the city out of sight around the bends and corners that is just so relaxing. The above shot is from one of those days, when I was waiting for some friends to show up and I was just sitting on the dock, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves, not even thinking about winter. I can’t wait for those days to be back!
I will be posting both of the shots you see here on flickr today, but since it is still pouring down rain this morning I figured I would start with this one. This is one that I took a few weeks ago at a bar in downtown Pittsburgh before the Elton John concert on a night that we were seeing golf ball size hail. I actually saw a woman come into the bar with a bruised knuckle because she was hit with a falling missile, crazy. Pretty simple processing on this shot from my S95; increased both the contrast and saturation, as well as added a Contrast Only filter in Color Efex. In iPhoto I also increased the definition, just to give it some extra pop.
Last Pens home game tonight. Let’s make it two in a row against the Devils at home.
There’s something about Monday morning that just feels so wrong, especially on days when there is a torrential rain/thunderstorm going on outside. Especially after a weekend where it was starting to warm up, got a chance to relax, the sun was out. Ugh. That’s all I can say about that.
Today I’m going to fall into the category of typical photoblog as I have some catching up to do in regards to pictures that I’ve posted on my flickr photostream. Since I like to walk through how I do my processing, and with three pictures that I spent a decent about of time on, I want to make sure that I cover everything. In conjunction with that thought, I will be putting together a Photoshop Effects Tutorial Page where I go through some of the most common processes that I do, like High Pass Sharpening, the Orton Effect, to name a few. Yes, some of them are pretty simple, but when I was first figuring out what the heck I was doing when it came to Photoshop, I always had a ton of browser windows open because no one website seemed to have them. I’m not saying that mine will either, however, it will give you a place to go to if I say I used a certain effect in my processing, you can jump to that page and see how it was done. I’m hoping to have it up by next week.
So on to some shots. No not that kind. Although Monday morning probably would be a good time to start taking some. Might make the day go by a bit quicker. The first one is something that I don’t normally do, one that I’ve posted only seven of them as the subject in the 1,040+ of the pictures I have on flickr. Flowers. Yep. I don’t mean multiple Marc Andre Fleurys (he’s called the Flower because of Fleury, fleur-de-lis, ok, ok, you got it). I got Dana a bouquet of flowers for her birthday a few weeks ago (lucky for me she doesn’t like red roses) so I thought I would see if I could have some fun with them.
Through on the 50 mm 1.4 and shot away. No HDRs, just a single exposure. First I cropped the image, as there was a chair in the bottom right hand corner. Put it in Color Effex and added a Glamour Glow Filter and then ran it through again and added a Pro Contrast filter. Even though the focus was on the center flower (nope, don’t ask, have NO idea what it is), and I did get some nice bokeh (we’ve talked about that already, out of focus part of the picture), I still added a vignette to bring out the center. At first I was a bit upset that I got the window (blue part) in the back of the frame, but that I unded up doing a curves level on the window to help bring out the blue even more. Increased the vibrance and the purples in the image, and I liked the way it turned out.
Image number two of the day is from the early Saturday morning photowalk I took last week. I haven’t really been too successful getting pictures of the moon in HDR, they always end up very blown out. Well, on this particular morning, the moon was huge in the sky, so I thought I would give it the old college try. First attempt (which I will post in the a few days because I still like the shot) was no good. Second attempt (which I won’t post), was worse. Finally, I decided to head over the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, as I wanted to get the sunrise from the North Shore. The moon was hanging in the valley between the two hills of Mt. Washington, with Heinz Field on the right, and I thought that I would go for one more. Seven exposures later and I got what I wanted.
Merged the images using HDR Efex, using the Clean HDR Method. I ended up masking in the entire sky from the -2 exposure, as I didn’t really like the colors that I was getting from the HDR, they weren’t what I remember seeing, and this was. I also took the -3 exposure and masked in just the mood, just to the point where you can see the darker parts that you can see with the naked eye. Added an overall saturation layer to the entire image, and then I had to go to work on the grass. Grass and winter really don’t mix, and the section below the stadium was pretty brown. I did a Color Select on the shades of grass, then did a Curves adjustment on the greens to bring them out to add some pop to the image. I also did a Color Select on the yellow seats of the stadium to bring them out a bit more. Added a Tonal Contrast in Color Efex and finally a High Pass Sharpening Filter and I was good to go.
Lastly, today’s shot. So after I took the previous shot, finished walking across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, got a few shots right off the bridge, I made my way up past PNC Park, where I wanted to get the sunrise. They are currently doing construction on the Riverwalk, so I had to divert and actually walk past the stadium. The glow of the sun was just coming up in the corner by the home of Pirates, and the wide angle gave it almost a fish eye look. I set up shop right in front of JP “Honus” Wagner and snapped away.
Combined the seven exposures in HDR Efex with the Natural setting and then kicked it over to Photoshop. Once again, I wasn’t overly pleased with the sky, so I masked in the entire -2 exposure. I also had to mask in a little bit of the top of the stadium, mostly the steel beams on top, to bring back some of the detail. Again, I increased overall saturation, and also added an extra blue Curves layer for the rest of the sky. Applied a Tonal Contrast Filter in Color Efex and another High Pass Sharpening Filter and called it a day.
Well, I know that was more than I usually go through, especially on a Monday morning, but I wanted to make sure that I had everything covered. I also know that I made no reference to the title. I really did mean to. I was trying to play on the Steelers and Pirates stadiums, Pirates worst in the league for 18 seasons, Steelers made it to the Super Bowl again, etc., etc.. Also for the fact that I posted something other than a wide angle cityscape.
One more thing. Alexei Kovalev of the Pittsburgh Penguins? A goal in regulation and then the shootout winner on Saturday night. Welcome home Kovy.
See you all tomorrow.
For those of you who live in Pittsburgh, the title to today’s post is one of many times we’ve heard (insert hockey term/any other noun here) with a chance of Fleury. And for that I apologize. However, I have never used it anywhere on my blog, or I don’t think ever in my life, so I feel we are all entitled to one use. I also understand that there may be some non hockey folks who read this blog, so I should at least tell you that Mar Andre Fleury is the goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and a guy with a last name as cold as Fleury couldn’t have ended up on a better team than the Penguins. One more thing to explain to any non photography readers out there. Bokeh describes the appearance of the out of focus areas of a photograph. All those little circles you see in the back of pictures, in the out of focus areas? Yep, bokeh. It’s a result of using a shallow depth of field that comes from the maximum aperture (or smallest f stop) on a camera. Ok. Enough of that. On to the post.
Like I’ve said in prior posts, I usually like to post pictures from the Pens game that I was at the night before. Well, there was a Penguin game last night, but it was not in Pittsburgh. In fact, it was Denver, and while I’m sure that I could have been there, taken this picture, flown home and started writing this in the time since the game ended, I’m not sure I’d be so much writing now as I would be sleeping on my desk. Since I am awake at my deks, we must assume that I didn’t go the game, and I took this shot at last Thursday’s game in the ‘Burgh. I did feel compelled to post a picture of our great goaltender Marc Andre Fleury as he was spectacular last night in net for the Pens. As you may or may not know, the Pens have been decimated by injuries this year, with the list of players currently out: Sidney Crosby (concussin), Evgeni Malkin (knee), Mark Letestu (knee), Eric Godard (suspended), Matt Cooke (suspended), Chris Kunitz (lower body), Eric Tangradi (concussion), Dustin Jeffrey (lower body), Arron Asham (lower body) and Mike Comrie (hip). This includes a league MVP (Sid), Rookie of the year (Sid), scoring champ (Malkin), playoff MVP (Malkin), top goal scorer (Sid) and Stanley Cup champion (all but Jeffrey, Tangradi and Letestu). It’s been a tough road the past few games, as we had lost four of our last five. But last night Fleury showed up big time, making big save after big save to keep us in the game, killing off power plays and giving us the chance to take the game into overtime. With time winding down both in the overtime period and on the power play for the Pens, Tyler Kennedy ripped a rebound past Peter Budaj (pronounced Boo-die…a bit weird, but a cool name none the less) for the game winner. 3-2 Pens win.
While there is bokeh in the Fleury shot, that’s not the bokeh I was referring to in the title I mentioned yesterday that I was trying to step out of my element a bit more in terms of photography and not just post wide angle cityscapes and sunflares. Today is another attempt to do that. Staying strong today with the 50mm 1.4 (there’s that large aperture that allows for that big bokeh), I was out and about before a Pens game a few weeks back and happened upon this railing with some people walking towards me and some cars in the background. Dialed it down to the 1.4 aperture, crouched down low, waited for the people to get a bit closer and snapped away. I was going for a bit more of an abstract feel here, and I thought it was an added bonus that you can see the reflection of the path and where it meets the grass in the reflection.
Just because it’s not an HDR doesn’t mean that I didn’t process it. I don’t think that I’ve posted an unprocessed picture to flickr in years. Literally years. More than two for sure. Seeing as this just over my second year on flickr, that tells you how much I love to process pictures. Opened in Camera RAW, moved the clarity way up, decreased the saturation and increased the vibrance and contrast. Kicked it over the Color Efex where it got a Low Key Filter and a Pro Contrast Filter to get rid of the color cast that I didn’t like. Enhanced the red lights in the background and added a bit of a vignette. That’s all she wrote.
And that’s all I’m going to write today. I’ll be back tomorrow though, for those of your who were worrying.
P.S. – Yesterday’s beer? Guiness.
I’ve been trying to switch it up a bit more lately and not give just wide angles of cityscapes for your viewing pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, there is very little I like to photograph more than a city skyline at night, or along the rivers in Pittsburgh, or the bright lights of New York. I’ve thrown in some sports action shots, some legendary rock band tributes and even some candid couples. My problem (one of the many) is that I never really have a great idea for different photography ideas like that until they pop up in front of me. Once that happens, then I’m all in, it’s just getting the ball rolling is the hard part.
On that same note, that’s something that I really like about photography, that they are so many different kinds, i.e. portrait, candid, macro, still life. I’m content (for now) doing what I feel I’m good at, and that is capturing HDR of pretty much anything. There is certainly something to be said for being the photographic equivalent of the jack of all trades, but the worst thing you can do is be the master of none. When I go through my flickr contacts every day, I get to see such a variety of shots that I would never even think to take, and it’s not because I am not a good photographer. It’s just that I am focused on making the style that I am best at and that I am most interested in even better. Remember, chances are I am never going to make my living as a photographer, which means that I take pictures for fun, so I should choose a photography style that suits me and that I enjoy. In line with that, I always like to reference photography back to the arts, because I feel that photography is one. If Dali and da Vinci and Picasso and Van Gogh and Monet all painted the same style of pictures, yes they would all be masterpieces, but we would get no variety, no real sense of the limits of art. That’s the beauty of photography. We have our own van Goghs and Picassos who can help open our eyes to new ways to shoot the world around us. I propose a cheers to them (ahhhh, there’s that reference to the title).
I guess I got off on one of my rants again, as I was starting to say that I’ve been trying to do stuff just a bit different now and again to keep you interested. Today’s shot is still an HDR, but it’s got alcohol and bokeh in it too, and it was taken with my 50mm. I took this one before a Penguins’ game a few weeks ago while sitting at the bar waiting for my company to arrive. I’m always in a tough spot, because I get out of work much earlier than most of my friends, so I am always the first one at the bar before games, and at least two drinks ahead of anyone I am going to the game with. Notice I said tough spot, not bad spot. My only complaint about the 50mm is no vibration reduction, so handheld shots can be a bit tough. I set the camera on the bar, put it on five bracket exposures, set the timer, and off we go. Oh, and first round is on me to anyone who can tell me what I was drinking. Just to be clear, I do know what it was, seeing as it was only my first one. Later in the night could be a bit sketchier.
As for the processing, like I said it is a five exposures merged in HDR Efex under the Granny’s Attic preset. I changed the HDR Method to Natural and bumped up the structure to get it s bit more clarity as well as toned down the saturation. In CS5, I ran it through Color Efex and gave it a Pro Contrast filter. Adjusted the S Curve for even a bit more contrast, then added a warming filter to give it the glow it has. That’s about it. No need for any sharpening on this one.
That’s it for today’s ramble. Check back tomorrow to see if I can stay on topic for more than a few sentences.
So my goal of this blog was not to become a Penguins centric blog, as there are already multiple Pens’ blogs out there. The original goal was to post some pictures and talk a little more in depth about the shot than I do on flickr. However, as I am trying to blog everyday (well, every weekday), it can get a bit boring and repetitive if I am just saying “Here’s this shot, this is how I took it” and so on, and that it is. That being said, I’ve tried to add a bit more commentary to my posts to hopefully keep those of your who make the daily (or weekly or monthly) trek to my blog a bit more enjoyable, because if it was just the same pictures I posted on flickr, then you wouldn’t have any reason to come here. I will say this. I have a ton of respect now for newspaper columnists, who have to write every day, though it is a bit easier for them, as the majority of the time they are reporting on news. They are still writing everyday for their job. I do it just for fun. Which I think makes it a bit easier.
Anyways, moving on to more exciting topics: Geno (Evgeni Malkin) is back tonight for the Pens. Oh wait. I realized I never finished my though on the Pens’ blog thing. See that’s what happens to me when I write these. I get off on one tangent and forgot where I parked the firs tangent to get back in and keep going. I think that if you are going to write every day about something, it should be something you are passionate about, because otherwise it won’t be interesting. I am passionate about the Penguins and my photography, so it is very easy for me to write semi creatively about these two things. So while you won’t see Pens’ stuff up every day on here, you will see it. Like yesterday and today.
So Geno’s back, but our stellar rookie center, Mark Letestu, is out four to six weeks for a damaged meniscus from catching an edge on the ice at Madison Square Garden in New York before the Ranger’s game on Tuesday. With Sid the Kid still out recovering from a concussion, it’s great to see Malkin back out there policing the ice (reference to title #1). It means that the opponent has to plan for a superstar and match their lines up accordingly, and just makes it more difficult to get the matchups they want. I’m not saying this demean anything else any of the Pens have done, quite the contrary actually. The depth that we have is some of, if not THE best in the NHL, which has allowed us to gain points in the standing even without the “two headed monster” (Sid and Geno) in the line up. One quick note on the aforementioned phrase. HDR Exposed (aka me) does not condone the use of this saying…actually it is quite discouraged. Just wanted to use it once, get it out of the way, and never use it again. ‘Nough said.
Even though I foster incredible disdain for the Steelers, I would remiss in my blogging duties if I did not at least MENTION the Super Bowl in a few days. Packers vs. Steelers, NFC vs. AFC, the game of all games, the big game, Super Sunday, and all that jazz. I will be attending a party with a whole lot of Steeler faithful. I will also be wearing a Dallas Cowboy jersey. Probably Tony Romo…maybe Miles Austin. Not sure yet. But I will say this. Steeler fans are in for a rude awakening. Their beloved defense (which is incredible) is going to fall hard. Prediction: Packers 31, Steelers 10, Aaron Rodgers throws for 320 yards and is MVP. Ben Roethlisberger throws two picks and fumbles, and the Packers defense lives up to its billing. Let’s go Pack. Now, where is my cheesehead?
Almost forgot about today’s shot with all my other rambling. More from NYC. Another one taken on our last day there, which I think I got my most shots from. I had been trying to get a shot of Bryant Park that I liked; I was trying to use the reflections in the buildings and had tried three other times and got nothing. This was my final attempt, and as we were walking across the street, I stopped to grab this five exposure HDR. Of course, the light turned green right when I stopped and this cop car was right in the middle of the road (reference to title #2). I just said ok, forget, I got a ton of other shots. But…
…then I got home and processed it. Did my usual settings in HDR Efex, and thought to myself, “This isn’t too bad”. Took it back into CS5, masked in the moving people and the police car, applied a Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex, burned the sky right about the horizon to give it that orange glow, boosted the blues to make the police car stand out, and while it isn’t one of my best, in the end, I like it!
That’s all for this week guys! I hope you all have a great weekend!
Did I mention Go Packers yet? I did? Ok, well, GO PACKERS!!!!!!! Yes, I’m done now.
This morning I came to a very stark realization. This blogging, um, stuff, is not easy. I’ve been sitting here, trying to figure out what it is I’d like to write about today, and maybe I’m tired, the creative part of my brain isn’t awake yet, or something, but I, for the life of me had nothing. Zippo. Nada. I thought to myself, do I really stoop to the level of writing about nothing? I figured if it worked for Seinfeld then it would work for me. Not saying I’m on the same level as Seinfeld but for all intents and purposes, this morning, I’m going to give it a shot! I guess that writing about nothing really is writing about something right? But then again truly writing about nothing would not be writing at all. And I am writing. I’m sorry, I think I just confused myself. What’s ironic is that I title this “Sit and stay a while” as if I was amusing you in some way. I have to coax you to say. What have I become?
How about we just get to today’s shot to lessen the pain a bit (yes, pun intended, and yes, it was a bad one). I figured that I would follow with the theme of yesterday with a bit of bokeh. For those of you who aren’t into photography (and I realize now that I should have explained this yesterday, my deepest apologies), bokeh refers to the out of focus area in a picture. This is a result of the aperture of the lens being wide open (which means a smaller f stop, typically f4 or lower), giving a very shallow depth of field. You can try this yourself. Pick up any object and hold it about eight inches from your eyes; everything else will be out of focus. That’s more or less the concept of this shot. This particular shot was taken in Station Square with the city “bokehed”, if you will. I used at aperture of f4 for this, as that is as low as my wide angle 16-35mm will go.
Not a whole lot to say on the processing side. This is a five exposure, handheld HDR processed with HDR Efex. I did not apply a Tonal Contrast Filter, just added an S Curve to give the shot a bit more contrast and did some selective coloring to enhance the pink in the sky. Added some clarity in light room to give the clouds a bit more “oompf” (that is the first time I have ever used that word in type), and there you have it!
Tomorrow’s post will be better. I promise.