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.
Well, today is my 100th post on my blog. Of the last 99, 26 of them were from 2009 and 2010 combined with the rest coming this year, which is kind of crazy, given the fact that I just started really committing to my blog in late January. Daily traffic to my blog has tripled since then as well, so I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who is a regular visitor and also those of you who just mosey on by every once and while. I really appreciate all the support I receive from everyone. Here’s to another couple hundred. Or thousand.
Today’s shot is one that I really don’t even remember taking. I mean, I can believe I took it, but as I was looking through my pictures from Mt. Washington I saw it and thought, “Huh”. So I went ahead and processed it and really liked the way that it came out. This is a view up the Monongahela River, one of the two rivers that meet at the Point to form the Ohio River. You also get a view of some of the distinct bridges we have in the city (from bottom to top, excluding the second from the bottom which is the trolley bridge): Smithfield Street, Liberty, 10th Street and Birmingham. In the center of the shot you can see the Allegheny County Jail (which you also saw a few posts ago) and in the foreground is the top of the Grand Concourse in Station Square. Off in the distance is the top of the Cathedral of Learning, the iconic building on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. All that being said, I think my favorite thing about this shot is the shadow that is created by the city lights of the trolley bridge on the water. You would normally expect to see reflections, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the shadows.
On to the processing. This is a seven exposure HDR processed with Photomatix. It was a bit flat coming out of the tonemapping, so I applied an S curve to bring back some of the contrast. I applied a Pro Contrast filter in Color Efex, as well as a warming filter in Photoshop to cool the entire image. In onOne PhotoTools I used the Progressive Sharpening filter to being out some details and the Firenza filter to also cool down the blues. A bit of spot healing in the sky to get rid of some dust specks and that was that.
Again, thank you for all of your support on my last 100 posts. I hope that you all will continue to follow me in the future.
So I went to my second Pirates game of the year last night, actually it was my second in less than a month, which hasn’t happened in years. The first game I went to was great; there was a beer tasting before the game, they Buccos jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and they ended up winning. Last night? Not to much. Got stomped by the Dodgers 10-3, and looked very much like the sub-.500 ball club that they’ve looked like for the last 20 years, taking up permanent residence in the bottom half of the standings. I did, however, get a ton of great shots, which I will share with you in the next few days.
For now, how about another view of the city? This is more of what I was talking about yesterday in taking a different approach to shooting from Mt. Washington. In the center of this shot is actually the new Allegheny County Jail (by new I mean newer), which is right along the parkway that leads you out of the ‘Burgh to the east. I thought that it was pretty cool how you can see four different levels of streets, two above the jail and two below it, and light trails on all of them. The street that I find the most interesting is the one that is directly behind the jail, as it is one continuous streak all the way along the road. The three bridges you see here are (in order from bottom to top) the Liberty Bridge, which takes you to the South Hills (where I live), the 10th Street Bridge (which takes you from the end of the South Side to downtown) and the Birmingham Bridge, which also connects the South Side to the bottom of Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh is located. The bridge at the very bottom of the frame isn’t a bridge for cars; it connects the trolley line from Station Square to downtown Pittsburgh.
This is a seven exposure HDR processed in Photomatix and Photoshop CS5. I first tonemapped the +2 exposure to get the light trails I wanted and masked in all the roads. I did a color cast removal of the blues/purples in Color Efex as well as add a Tonal Contrast layer. In onOne PhotoTools I added a sharpening layer and another filter tha cooled the reds and warmed the blues. Finally, I did some selective coloring on the reds (decreased saturation) and the greens (increased vibrance and saturation). Added the logo and uploaded.
Halfway there guys. Friday will be here soon. Until tomorrow though, adios.
Ok, so nobody thought that I was really going to post something about me or anyone else streaking through down, did they? Probably wouldn’t be the best move to try to drive more traffic to my blog, trust me.
Anyways, more from Mt. Washington. For those of you who haven’t been to Pittsburgh or who don’t follow me regularly, it is a neighborhood above the South Side of the city that provides an excellent view of the Steel City. Originally named Coal Hill for the coal seam that ran at its base, the name was changed to Mt. Washington in 1876 and has been ever since. One area of Mt. Washington that I have yet to photograph are the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, which are the oldest continuous running inclines in the world. I actually haven’t even been on one in probably 15 years, when I was just a kid.
You can get so caught up in the view of the skyline and the bright lights of the city and the various stadiums that sometimes you tend to look at interesting areas that you can’t see that with a wide angle lens. Like I said yesterday, I put on the 70-200 2.8 on this particular trip and tried to capture some of the more intricate workings of the city from a unique vantage point. Above is one of them. This area is known as the Point and immediately to the left of the busy roadways is where Fort Pitt, named for William Pitt who also gave his name to the city, used to stand. You can still see its outline at Point State Park. This is an HDR that I’ve taken twice before, but never with the D700 and never with this kind of glass, and I really like how the light trails turned out. It was Sunday night so that traffic was kind of intermittent, but I plan to go back during rush hour to see if I can get any more extreme light trails.
This is a 7 exposure HDR processed with Photomatix and then kicked over the CS5. I did some shadow adjusts and then tonemapped the +2 exposure in Photomatix so that I could mask in the better set of light trails from the brackets. Did a curves adjustment on the greens and reds and then put it through Color Efex to apply a Tonal Contrast filter. Finally, did some sharpening in onOne PhotoTools and called it a day.
Thanks for stopping by. See y’all tomorrow.
It doesn’t get much better than Friday. Pens hockey on tonight and Sunday, casual day at work, finally getting at least a one day break in the weather to spend some time shooting tomorrow, it’s going to be a good weekend. Going to be a bit of a post and run catch up day, as I am finishing up all the month end activities that I started on Monday at work today.
First off my shot from a few days ago which I took two weeks ago whilst roaming the South Side. Like I said before, that day just seemed to bring all the interesting people out of the woodwork, and I was more than happy to oblige by taking pictures of them. As I’m walking down East Carson Street, the road that runs right through the middle of the South Side, I came up to the Birmingham Bridge, which crosses the Monongahela River over to Fifth Avenue. Now this is a pretty busy intersection, as it is one of the main ways from getting from downtown Pittsburgh to the South Side, and this day was no different. Then, out of the blue (well, more like gray, it was pretty dreary out), I just see a head bobbing over the cars. I take another look and there is this guy on a scooter with pink handle bars and pink wheels. Now, this would have be strange to see if he was, say 12, but he was at least 25. He was singing to himself, looking around, completely oblivious that he was crossing the street in the middle of rush hour traffic with cars coming, who had to subsequently stop and wait for him.
The processing on this one was pretty light. Desaturated the entire image, then enhanced just the greens and reds with layers of curves. Added an over adjustment curve to boost the contrast as well as a Tonal Contrast layer. Finally added a warming filter to give a bit of a cinematic tone, put it in a pill box and then on display for you.
Today’s shot, which I will be posting a little later, is from a photowalk I went on with Brad Truxell before the holidays. It was such a frigid cold night, and this was one of the last shots I took before the blood in my fingers froze solid. This is a view down the parkway from just off the Clemente Bridge. On the right, you can see PNC Park and Heinz Field in the distance. What I didn’t realize I’d captured until I got home was the smoke coming out of the top of the building on the left, which I thought looked pretty cool.
I was going for a little bit different processing here, a bit more extreme than normal. Since the sky was such a deep blue, I was trying to get the tones on the road and the city to contrast it and I liked the way it turned out with almost a diagonal line of color separating the two. And of course you can’t go wrong with reflections. This is a 7 exposure HDR processed with HDR Efex under the “Clean” method. I had to do some heavy selective coloring adjustments to get the look I was going for. I also added a Pro Contrast filter in Color Efex.
Wishing you all a great weekend, see you on Monday.
One of the great things about living in western Pennsylvania is that we have four very distinct seasons. Unlike a lot of the northern or southern states where it either states cold or warm for most of the year, we see a gradual transition from winter to spring to summer to fall. We get to experience a white Christmas, flowers blooming, barbeques and fireworks and beautiful fall foliage that is painted throughout the region. However, one of the worst things about living in western Pennsylvania is that we have four very distinct seasons. Summer and fall I’m more or less okay with, it’s just the end of winter/beginning of spring that really get me. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow as much as the next guy, but when it dumps eight inches during rush hour on a Monday night in late February, that I can do without. It’s not so much all the snow we got, but the fact that yesterday morning it started out as a torrential downpour of rain. Then, eleven hours later, we have a little blizzard that locks up most of the city.
There is something eerily calm about the snow. I spent the better part of two hours last night unburying both my driveway and a few of my neighbors and when the wind died down it was a very serene mood. The street lamps were glowing warm light that was being diffused by the falling snow, there wasn’t anyone on the road and it was just quiet. You could not tell where one person’s yard ended and another began. You couldn’t even tell where the yard ended and the street began. A plow truck hadn’t been through in over an hour, so the road was completely covered again. I found myself just standing there, with ice forwards on my hair and gloves, taking it all in. And for as much as I do not really like to spent until midnight shoveling and being freezing cold, it was oddly peaceful.
Some shots from the storm, all taken with the S95.
Now to completely switch gears. Yesterday’s post was all about the Winter Classic and the matchup between the Penguins and the Capitals. Well, the Pens lost (title reference #2), in a hard fought, 1-0 game. I can’t be too upset, as the goalie for the Capitals, Michal Neuvirth, played an outstanding game. Since I talked hockey, I didn’t get a chance to post my picture from flickr. I’ll make up for that today, since they are the same subject. Heading back to New York. On the Friday we were we spent a lot of time doing some of the touristy things, like Grand Central, Central Park, FAO Schwartz and the New York Public Library. I hadn’t planned on stopping at the library, but since we were so close and we hadn’t been there before, I thought that it would be worth a quick peak. We made one lap around and then headed on our way.
The first shot is the front of the library. It was a bit of a pain to process because of all the people walking around in front. I just wish for one second I could get everyone to stand still so I could take the picture. I think for all the HDR photographers out there, we should be given a remote to stop people as we please. Just a thought. Anyways, it is a five shot handheld HDR, and HDR Efex did a decent job of cutting down the ghosting. I had to tonemap the +1 image to mask in all the people, and I also did a 100% mask of the -2 exposure for the sky. Desaturated the reds a bit, added a blue curves layer to the sky and applied a Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex. Lastly did some high pass sharpening.
For today’s flickr post, we have one of the hall ways inside the library. Same issue with the ghosts here. Five exposure handheld, tonemapped the the +2 image for the people and masked them in. Then I tonemapped the -2 and masked in the window at the back of the scene, as I was metered on the shadows and the window was very blown out. Added a slight blur around the edge of the frame to put the focus on the center and finally added a Tonal Contrast filter.
That’s all for today my friends. See you tomorrow.
I know not everyone who reads this blog this is a hockey fan, but I just have to take a second to talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins game last night. First off, we won, which is always positive, a 3-0 shutout of the lowly New York Islanders (sorry NY fans). It was a bit of a scrappy game from the start, and it just so happened that our scrappy guys got our goals. Tyler Kennedy opened the scoring in the first on a great power play goal from a sharp angle, Chris Kunitz banked one in off Rick DiPietro on a 2-1 with Pascal Dupuis. DiPietro got caught cheating back to Dupuis’ side and Kunitz made him pay.
No scoring in the second, but things got a bit scrappy. Mike Rupp won a fight, there were hard hits all around, with Matt Cooke and Max Talbot really flying around the ice. Max, who was on a 25 game scoring drought, hit two goalposts, got robbed on a seemingly open net, and just couldn’t seem to buy a goal. That was until 40 seconds left when Max, with the Islanders having vacated their net for a sixth attacker, took a backhand pass from Craig Adams and buried a 70 footer. 3-0, Pens up, game in the bag.
But, this piece is called “Theatre like no other” for a reason. Well, two actually. The first reason is what happened next. With 20 seconds left, Cooke raced down to try to beat an icing call. Skating past the net, DiPietro, who had taken some hard shots from Cooke in the last meeting between these two teams, stepped out of his crease and through a blocker to Cooke’s face. A scrum ensued in the corner, when all of a sudden, the coolest, most awesome, rarest, exciting things that can happen in a hockey game, happened. Out of the corner of the screen you see DiPietro start skating away from the pile towards center ice. Then you see a referee skate at full tilt after him. Brent Johnson (pictured above), the backup for goalie Mar Andre Fleury, was at the Islanders blue line, gloves off, helmet off, ready to take on DiPietro. The referee did everything he could to stop Johnson, but he was on a mission to repay the Islanders netminder for the cheap shot he had just delivered. Both goalies grabbed the other one’s jersey, and Johnson, who is right handed, landed a left hook to DiPietro’s jaw, sending him to the ice in a heap. Brent then knelt over to pof him, one had holding him down, the other raised in a fist, not ready to punch, just showing his vanquished foe that these Penguins are not who you want to mess with.
You don’t seen goalie fights hardly ever anymore, especially now since Patrick Roy is out of the league, who was famous for fights with both Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek. But to see the soft spoken Brent Johnson, drop the gloves against some like DiPietro, who deserved everything he got from Johnnie, it was just a sight to see. I may have to get a Brent Johnson jersey.
Sorry for the recap, but it was just too awesome not to talk about! Today we go back to New York and take a look at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street, right outside of Times Square. This theatre was right next to our hotel, the Marriott Marquis, and I knew I had to get a picture of it at night. The first night I took my five handheld brackets, but the last two were a bit blurry, something I discovered back in the room. I didn’t want to lug my drop out for a night on the town, so I bumped up the ISO the next night and gave it another shot. This time I got five crisp exposures. Perfect! We actually debated about maybe going to see the Addams Family, which you can see was playing there. Maybe next time.
On to the processing. Like I said, this is a five handheld bracketed shot that I processed with HDR Efex. The lights on the front of the building were kind of throwing me off, as they make the front of the building different colors with different light sources. I ended up just decreasing the saturation the oranges, and that did the trick! I had to mask back in the people on the street and a bit of the blown out highlights from the Times Square signs as well. Added a Tonal Contrast filter to everything but the sky and recovered some of the dark shadows, added a bit more color to the blue sky, saved, uploaded!
See you tomorrow!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a picture from Jamaica on my blog. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever posted a picture of Jamaica on here or even talked about it. Well, either way, one is making an appearance today! I thought that this was a great time since it was 14F this morning, and freezing rain is in the forecast for the next few days. Awesomeness. Can’t wait. Anyhoo, how about a little warmth? Just talking about it makes the cold a little less tolerable!
We made the trip to Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for our honeymoon. There were a few places on our list, like St. Thomas, the Bahamas, Aruba, but we settled on Jamaica just because we wanted a nice, relaxing time, and didn’t want to have to feel pressured to join in resort activities or do excursions. Well let me tell you, it was an excellent choice! It was eight days of sitting on the beach, drinking glass after glass of whisky and tequila, and the wife have pina coladas, mudslides, margaritas and every other fruity/nauseating drink you could think of. Don’t be fooled by the nauseating part…I mean, I like a margarita just as much as the next guy, but after three or four of them in the hot sun, all that sugar sitting in your stomach, you’re just asking for a bad day! I stuck with the good stuff and felt great! I don’t want to go through our entire trip (could be the longest blog post ever if I did, but I will go in more detail in future posts), so on to today’s shot!
This is one I took on our last night there after we ate at the nice restaurant on the resort. There was one helluva storm brewing out over the water, and I was able to capture decent lightning for the first time (see below). The above shot was taken about twenty minutes after that. It was really cool to see the glow of the beach bar and the different shades of green being reflected in the water. Since there was a storm moving in (or at least around), there was a fair amount of wind, which caused all the motion blur on the branches. I kind of liked the look, gives you a sense of being there!
Technically, this shot was a bit more of a pain than my last couple. Since I didn’t take my D700 on vacation I just had my D40X, where the noise control is not nearly as good. This is a 7 shot HDR, processed with HDR Efex and then kicked over the Color Efex. I added a Tonal Contrat filter on the whole scene except the sky, then added an additional Tonal Contrast Filter on the water. Did some Selective Coloring to brighten up the green at the back of the shot, and toned down the highlights since the beach bar was too bright. Finally, did some noise reduction in Topaz Denoise, and there ya go!
Exciting news, I will be unveiling a new tutorial later today on HDR Efex! Stay tuned to check it out!
Thanks for dropping by and have a great week everyone!
Originally uploaded by Dave DiCello
Ok, ok, so everyone who lives in Pittsburgh has heard of Primanti’s, and probably some of you who haven’t been to the ‘Burgh have heard of it. But it is still work posting a shot of one! This is the one in the South Side of Pittsburgh, and it has a pretty nice bar attached to it as well. I have seen lines around the building on this place before! And for a steak, cole slaw and french fries sandwich! So well work it, hahah
Originally uploaded by Dave DiCello
Ok, I guess I got a bit lazy with the blog these last few days. Been a bit busy with work, trying to get some new shots processed, watching the Cowboys destroy the Eagles! I’ll try to be more regular on it, and make it a bit different that my flickr page!
Anyways, this is a shot from Mt. Washington. I am usually standing on the outlook show hre to take pictures, however there was a couple who seemed to be having a romantic moment and I didn’t want to interrupt. I got the shots I wanted, and then a few extra, like this one!
Enjoy your weeks!