I don’t want to scare anyone with the title, I’m not really sad. Well, just sad that I’m in rainy Pittsburgh right now instead of sunny Jamaica. There’s a saying “No one needs a vacation like the man who just got back from one” and I could not agree with that more. Even though I didn’t just get back from vacation I had a day off on Friday, and coming back to work can be so difficult after a long weekend.
I will probably be wrapping up the Jamaican pictures sometime this week, but today I wanted to post a few shots that focused on the actual beach. It was so incredible to just sit and lounge around in the sand all day, as it was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The sand was golden and soft and not so hot that you couldn’t walk on it, the water was crisp and clear for a vibrant shade of aqua and the sky was just a shining blue all the time (well, except for the one hour it rained). Usually you are lucky enough to get one of these beach attributes, but the fact that Jamaica had all three was perfect.
What made it even more picturesque were the banks of clouds that would continually roll through during the day. Don’t get me wrong, there is little that I like more on vacation than a clear blue sky, because at least then you know it’s not going to rain. But it was kind of just the icing on the cake that made Couples Sans Souci the most relaxing place we have ever been. I think it is the only place where we have said that we may go back one day; we usually like to vacation in different cities and countries, to make sure we experience as much as we can. But Jamaica sure had a compelling argument to lure us back.
From the warm beaches of Jamaica to the cold highways of Pittsburgh. This is one of the last few shots from my early morning photowalk back in February. What I’ve come to realize is, that I REALLY need to get out shooting soon. I mean, I have a ton of shots in my archive, but I’m not thrilled with all of them. Maybe I need to create a second flickr stream so that I can most my not-top-quality work. Because let’s face it. Not every picture you take is going to be your best, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to display it. We’ll see. Anyways, this is a view down the parkway along the Allegheny River. You can see PNC Park on the right, as well as Heinz Field in the distance, as well as the moon, which I just have a terrible time with.
For the processing, this is a seven exposure HDR processed with HDR Efex under the “Subtle” method. I ended up masking in the whole sky, but instead of using the exposure that had the trees frozen, I used the +1 exposure to give them that waving feeling. I also had to do some work on the reds, as the street lamps were really glaring through the shot on the left had side of the scene. Boosted the yellow on the railing that serves as the leading line, added a blue curves layer for the sky and water and applied a very slight Tonal Contrast filter to the entire image.
Check back tomorrow for a discussion on flickr. Pete Talke of Places2Explore recently did a post on this and I felt inspired to do the same.
Back and blogging after what seemed like too short of a weekend. Attended an ‘80s themed birthday party this weekend. Let’s just saying that it was…interesting. I did take a whole bunch of pictures, but I’m not sure I’ll be sharing them on here. People have reputations that they probably want to protect.
Today is going to be somewhat of a catch up day on HDR Exposed, as Mondays usually are. I have a variety of pictures you post, seeing that I unconsciously post more random pictures on the weekend that during the week. Actually, I’m not sure if it has something to do with having more time on the weekend to take a look through my “For Flickr” folder than I have on my hard drive and pick out an interesting one, compared to the weekday, where I’m a bit more rushed and more or less just pick a random one from there. The backlog of shots is getting a little low, so I may need to get out shooting sometime soon. I’d like to do some street candids in Pittsburgh on a Friday or Saturday night, but I think that it is still a little too cold out for that. We even got more snow yesterday. I’m about ready for spring to come around, when we can leave the doors and the windows open and you don’t feel so cramped and stuffy in your own house. Soon, very soon, spring is coming.
On to the shots. The first shot is a candid that I took while we were in New York, on Friday morning during the AM rush hour. Speaking of it being cold, it was absolutely FREEZING that morning, but I think at the time I took this shot my fingers hadn’t frozen yet. I was getting ready to cross the street in front of Radio City Music Hall when I saw this lady crossing the street. I captured her right when she was kind of making this goofy expression which just added to the shot. The only thing I didn’t capture was a perfectly crisp shot. Since it was so early and my first couple shots had been with a tripod, I hadn’t adjusted my ISO yet, so there was a little motion blur. I touched that up with Topaz InFocus then ran it through my typical cinematic processing steps, or at least my version of it. Decreased overall saturation, did a selective coloring adjustment on the red in her coat and the greens in the sign and bush. Added a Tonal Contrast Filter in Color Efex and the pillbox to finish it up.
Next is my post from yesterday. This is another early morning shot, except this one is from the Steel City (Pittsburgh, just in case) a few Saturdays ago. Equally as cold but with the element of wind too. Fun stuff. Took this one soon after I arrived downtown, and my initial plan was the head over the Clemente Bridge. Well, I made it about this far, took the shot, then turned around, because the wind was really whipping across the water. So I took my seven bracketed shots and moved on. This is a view from the Clemente Bridge looking down the Allegheny River towards the Rachel Carson Bridge and Convention Center, which you can just see the first light of day starting to come up behind.
For the processing, pretty standard to all the rest of the shots in this series. A seven shot HDR processed in HDR Efex under the “Natural” method. Adjusted sliders accordingly, then kicked it over the Photoshop and Color Efex. I masked in the enter sky of the -2 exposure, with some minor adjusting to the original shot. Desaturated the reds in the roads and from the lamps, as the D700 has a bit of problem sometimes with white balance. Masked out a corner of a piece of the bridge in the upper left and finally added a Low Key filter to the entire shot from Color Efex.
On to today’s shot, which I will be posting a little later today on flickr. This is a panorama that I took last Wednesday on the far end of Mt. Washington in the late afternoon. I had some time to kill before heading to friend’s for the Penguin game. I had actually seen this exact shot, as someone in my office had it hanging in their office, so I think I would give it a try. I would have liked to do the panorama with my 70-200 zoom, but all I had was the 16-35 with me, so I took it at 35mm. On the right you can see the Point and the city of Pittsburgh and how high the water is. We got a lot of rain early last week, which caused all three rivers to rise, shutting down parking lots and some areas of the North Shore and the Point. I really like this vantage point too, because you can see the Monongahela River on the right, the Allegheny on the left, and where they converge to form the Ohio. Pretty cool stuff. On the left you can see Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On to the processing. This is a panorama of three 5 exposure HDRs, stitched together in CS5. The HDRs were created under in HDR Efex under the “Subtle” HDR method, as I didn’t want to go too heavy handed on the HDR since I was making a panorama. I didn’t like the way the sky looked, so I masked in the entire sky on all three HDRs. Adjusted the yellows of the bridges and Heinz Field to make them stand out and desaturated the browns of the lifeless trees to make them not to distracting. Lastly I corrected the skyline and gave the overall shot some definition in iPhoto.
Whew. I’m exhausted. But today you got a little bit of everything, candids, regular HDRs and panorama HDRs. What more could you want?
So yesterday I had the chance to meet some of the Pittsburgh Penguins at an autograph session at one of our local malls. You donate to charity and then get to stand in line for a few hours to get some autographs. It’s the third year that I’ve done it, but it is still pretty cool! I know I’m not a little kid, but it’s hard still not to be a little star struck around these guys. I mean here there are, world class, Stanley Cup champion athletes, sitting right in front of you! You see people getting jerseys, pennants, flags, shirts, hats, pucks signed, which is all well and good, but for me, one of the most exciting parts is having them sign a picture that I took. Then I know that no one else has an autograph like mine! Just wanted to say thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins for putting the event on and of course Pascal Dupuis, Eric Godard and Tyler Kennedy for taking the time out of their day to sit down and sign autographs for their fans!
Today’s shot is a bit different than my last couple weeks worth of posts, because it is not an HDR and it is not a busy New York scene (though it kinda still is); it’s me! This is a shot that my wife too on our last day in the city when we were on the Brooklyn Bridge. She has a nice eye for taking pictures and I keep trying to get her to come out shooting with me, but she won’t! One of these days I’ll get her out! Anyways, every once and a while she will ask for my S95 and say “Let me get a picture of you.” On this occasion I thought sure, why not, struck my best action pose, and this is what she got!
Now, just because she takes good pictures doesn’t mean she edits them. I wanted to do something a bit different with this one and not just a tonemapped single exposure HDR. So, I plopped it in Photoshop and the first thing I did was recover some of the blown out sky. And this point in the day it was a bit overcast, so the sky was a little “Eh”. Then I thought, “Why don’t I just do the whole thing in B&W?” So I did! Ran it through Nik’s Silver Efex, used a veryyyyyyyyyyyyy slight sepia color filter, a bit more structure and the vignette and was feeling pretty good about it! Back to CS5, blurred the background a bit as I was taking a movie before this shot and forgot to switch back to Aperture Priority and f2 (I think she just used Auto) to give a nice depth of field. Added a bit of grain for a film effect too. So there ya go! That’s me!
Look at that, you got to meet three professional hockey players and a very amateur photographer today…we’ll work on the greet another time!