Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I've been continuing to experiment with the painting effect plug-in that I use in Photoshop. Recently I have been applying it to some of my older pictures, that were scanned from film. They tend to respond well to the treatment. The picture above, taken in Waterloo Iowa in 1978, seemed especially appropriate for Memorial Day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Here's a night shot that I like. It was taken under the Perdido Beach Avenue Bridge in Orange Beach, Mississippi, in November 2009. It's a single exposure, not HDR, and as such it's a pretty good balance of lighting. In retrospect I wish I had taken enough shots to make it HDR. I'd like to do more night photography, but I tend to go to bed early, and also I'm afraid of being beaten, robbed, carjacked, kidnapped, buggered, and sold into slavery. But maybe I exaggerate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a nice scene from Pinecliffe, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains, rendered as a painting.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Nice Spring Evening

On Saturday evening, after another cloudy day, the clouds once again cleared in time for sunset, and I headed out into the countryside to shoot. This time I headed southeast, to a part of the countryside I hadn't been to before. I found some unexpectedly hilly ground (relatively speaking) and some interesting old barns. All of the pictures in this post were taken in a small area southwest of Sydney, Illinois.

The picture above is an infrared shot, rendered in black and white, of a country road and clouds. Below is a close up if the old barn in the picture above, also infrared rendered in black and white.

Turning to color, here is a nice looking old farmstead:

Of course, no evening of photography would be complete without a good shot of the sunset, so here you are:

All in all, a great evening out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Project: Windows

My recent post on doors got me thinking about windows as a photographic subject. I didn't find as many of them in my collection, and for some reason all of the interesting ones were from the south of France. I'm sure there are interesting windows everywhere, but I found them in the charming "villages perches" in Provence. The window above is in Grimaud, while the one below is in the Citadel in St. Tropez:

Here's a selection from Gassin and Grimaud:

Finally, here's a burst of color in Villefrenche-Sur-Mer:

Windows are another detail to look out for.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Spring evening

The sun has been elusive and the days cold this spring in East-Central Illinois. Yesterday evening I felt the need to get out of the house, and so despite the fact that the skies had been steel gray all day, I headed out into the countryside with a camera. As luck would have it, just before sundown the sky began to clear from the west, allowing the strong rays of the setting sun to cast a golden glow over land that was still sitting under dark clouds. It was a very nice moment, and I had to move fast. For about half an hour I zigzagged across the countryside, following the sun and looking for photo opportunities. I was rewarded with a number of nice shots in that short period of time.

Above are some colorful sheds at a grain processing plant near Tolono, IL, while below are the elevators in the little farming community of Sadorus, IL.

Finally, even after the sun had gone down, its rays still painted the undersides of the clouds.

I'm very glad I went out, even though I had no idea what I would get.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo Of The Day

In honor of graduation this past weekend, here is a picture of the famous Alma Mater statue here at University of Illinois, rendered as a painting. That's Altgeld Hall behind it. All that's missing is a long line of graduates waiting to get their picture taken with the statue, which is a major tradition here. Unfortunately, the weather this weekend wasn't anything like it is in the picture. I hope that didn't dampen things too much for graduates.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo Project: Doors

Part of what I enjoy about photograph is the way it draws me to details I might have missed, especially in new and interesting places. In this regard, I find that doors are one detail worth keeping an eye out for. Doors can be amazingly expressive. The picture above is of an abandoned school house in Southern Wisconsin, while the picture below is the side of the venerable Grand Theater in Dubuque, Iowa.

You would think that a door is a door is a door (apologies to Gertrude Stein), but in fact it is often doors that help provide a sense of place. A door may be simply a covered hole in the wall, but it is also a key part of architecture, and of the cultural expression that architecture entails. In the examples below you probably wouldn't need to be told that the pictures are of doors in Japan:

Or that this is door is in Europe (Elsinor Castle in Helsingor, Denmark, specifically):

The south of France is especially fertile ground for interesting doors. Here's a sampling:

However, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home (Champaign, Illinois):

If you're looking for a new way to look at photography, start watching for interesting doors. They are everywhere.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fall Paintings

If it's finally spring, why am I thinking about fall? Because of the colors, I guess. The software I use to render photos as paintings (Topaz Simplify) does an especially good job with autumn colors. Above is a picture I took in the Imperial Palace grounds in Kyoto on a rainy November day. I was attracted to the wonderful colors, but serendipity of a man man dressed in blue crossing the scene made the image.

The image below is of maples leaves at a shrine in Kyoto. Again, with the painting effect the colors really pop. I love it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Photo Of The Day

This week will see the first slightly warm weather this year (i.e. low 80s) in East-Central Illinois. To mark the occasion, here's a black and white study of the countryside from July of 2007.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo Of The Day

It's sunrise at Myrtle Beach, rendered as a painting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo Of The Day

I have been enjoying playing with my infrared modified camera, but while I bought it for its effect on foliage, in fact I like what it does to the sky even more. The picture above is a panorama--five infrared exposures joined in Photoshop--that I took on Friday at a spot a few blocks from my house. This particular place overlooks a golf course, and is about the best place nearby to observe the sky.

I took the infrared panorama and rendered it in black and white using Silver Efex Pro 2, another really wonderful program. As you can see, with the infrared treatment, the final image has a deep black sky in which the clouds just pop out. Personally, I love it.

You'll really want to click on this one so you can see a larger version.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Matsushima is back!

From the Daily Yomiuri, a story about tourism in Japan entitled " Positive signs for travel sector / Figures better than expected, but demand remains uncertain ":

One quotation of note:

One boost came from the reopening Friday of the Tohoku Shinkansen line, which stretches from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori, after a 49-day hiatus. Pleasure boats at Matsushima Bay in Miyagi Prefecture also resumed operations the same day. The Matsushima islets are designated by the government as one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan. "We want as many people as possible to visit Matsushima and spread the word that it's safe," said Akira Ito, chief director of Matsushima Shimameguri Kankosen Kigyo Kumiai, a Matsushima islands tour association.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Trip East, Part 4: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

I've heard of Myrtle Beach all my life, but never been there before. I'm not sure what I expected, but I found a fairly family oriented, pretty commercial, but basically clean tourist beach town. I got a 9th floor room overlooking the ocean, and enjoyed the view and the weather. I think I was there at a good time. There were a decent number of families on the beach and in the restaurants, but it wasn't insanely crowded as I guess it can be in the high summer. The weather was again in the 70s, so it was quite nice.

In the morning, the sunrise was gorgeous. Even with only light clouds, the sky before dawn had great color.

Then came the sun in all its glory:

In the early morning a few people walked the beach, or just sat and meditated.

I could see visiting Myrtle Beach again and staying a few days. From there I headed off to see my cousin in Seneca, SC, and then came home. All in all, a great trip.