Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Sunset

Saturday was beautifully clear, so I headed out to one of my favorite photo sites to catch the sunset. As often happens, the best light occurred after the sun had set, so I stayed on, enduring the cold and a steady, freezing west wind. (Poor me!) The photo above was taken about 15 minutes after sunset. The picture below, about ten minutes later from a slightly different angle.

I'll have to try these shots again in the summer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo(s) of the Day

More black and white. This time it's pictures from Kyoto. Above, a piece I call Bullet Train. Below, a view of the Kyoto Tower.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo of the Day

I've been doing some more black and white conversions. Here is Monument Valley, Arizona, from October of 2010.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photosynth Again

I have continued to to play around with the I-Phone program Photosynth, which I wrote about previously. Reading the paper one morning, I used the I-Phone to take a panorama of my study, including my cat Isabel, who was hogging the footstool. The program is not perfect. Exposure is a bit dodgy, and the merge function can make some real bungles. In the photo below, my coffee cup in the lower right merges into thin air, and the desk to the right above it is poorly joined. (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

I liked the results, so I decided to get a panorama of my home office*, just for comparison. It too came out fairly well, and the program makes the process effortless. I may have to make a panorama of every room in my house. I think the exposure and joining problems have to be treated as a feature rather than a bug, and you have to except a certain funky style to Photosynth pictures.  It's fun to use, and I'm going to keep trying it.

*Why, you ask, do I need both a study and a home office? Good question, and I'm not sure I have a good answer. The most honest answer is probably that I am a single person living in a five bedroom house, and I had to do something with all those rooms. However, apart from living a life of excess, the two rooms play different roles in my life. I read and write in the study, and work on photography and mundane home chores (checkbook, e-mail, etc.) in the office. And yes, I could get by without both if I had to.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo of the Day

I've been working with some of the infrared shots I took this summer, mostly converting them to black and white. Here is one of my favorites, so far.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo of the Day

During our brief period of snow this week I headed out just after sunset to see if I could get some pictures of the sky. This shot, taken just south of Urbana, was the best I could get. I think it conveys the quiet calm of a winter evening.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Beauty of the Moonlight--Part 2

On my outings over the past week to revisit favorite farm buildings in order to photograph them under the full moon, I also came across a number of other structures and scenes that photographed well. Here are a few of them (Click on any picture to see a larger version).

First, an elevator located between Urbana and St. Joseph Illinois looked fine in the moonlight.

I also discovered that simple open countryside looks good. This is a revelation, because even as I was photographing it, the scene in front of me just looked dark.

Here are some more farm buildings, but this time a with a little light painting on my part.

And finally, an abandoned gas station in Oakwood, Illinois, looking ghostly in the moonlight.

As predicted, the weather turned bad today, with clouds and rain, and snow predicted for tomorrow. The moon is nowhere to be seen. However, the next time it's full, I will be out there again looking for beautiful scenes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Beauty of the Moonlight--Part 1

East Central Illinois has experienced exceptionally mild weather for the last week or so, with highs in the 40s and 50s (I guess a serious cold front is coming this week, so that's the end of that). It has also been exceptionally clear. These conditions, combined with a full moon, have provided a great chance for night photography.

Specifically, I've been re-visiting some of my favorite old farm buildings that I've shot in the daytime, to see what they look like under a full moon. The first, below, is a barn I first photographed almost exactly a year ago. The top photo is daylight, the second full moon. (Click on any picture to see a larger version.)

The next one I tried was a bit of a disappointment. The subject is a great old triple corn crib that has to be 100 years old. Unfortunately, there is a yard light on it that pretty much ruins the effect at night.

Finally, I revisited my favorite photo site out in the country, to see how it looked in the moon light. Once again, daylight first and then moonlight.

On Friday, I will post some new sites I found that look especially good in the moonlight.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Planning and Results

A while back I posted a picture of an old barn, and wrote about how I was planning to get a night shot of the same barn. That post is here. My original plan was to use a technique called light painting to get the effect I wanted.

This evening I headed out to get the shot. It all went fine, except the only light painting done, and the only needed, was by the nearly-full moon. Here are the results (Click on the picture to see a larger version):

I like this picture, and I may go out and find some other old buildings to photograph in the full moon.

The light painting was fun to try, but it didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. Here is an example:

I think it needs work as an effect. Luckily, that kind of work is lots of fun.

If my technique develops and I get some better shots, I'll post them here.

Friday, January 6, 2012


My Canon G12 has a surprisingly good macro feature--something I have been largely ignoring. Until now. I began playing with it yesterday using some old coins I had lying around. The results were fascinating, and I thought I'd share some of them here. I'm still learning about lighting at such close and crowded quarters, but apart from that, I am very pleased.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Panoramas Plus

I've always enjoyed working with panoramas. They are most commonly made by taking overlapping shots in the camera, and then combining those photos in Photoshop or a dedicated panorama program (of which there are many). My newest toy is an IPhone app called "Photosynth." Photosynth makes it very easy to take a panorama with your IPhone, as it takes the pictures for you as you move your IPhone camera around, and then stitches it all together for you. The photo above, of my back yard, is an illustration of what it does.

Below is a Photosynth panorama taken in a local coffee shop:

It really is incredibly easy. If you have an IPhone, and have any interest in creating panoramas, Photosynth will have you creating great ones in no time. Here is another:

Finally, for comparison purposes, Here is a normal panorama I took just minutes before the power plant picture above, using a Canon G12 Camera and processed in Photoshop:

It's higher quality, but much harder to do. With my IPhone in my pocket, I predict I'll be doing a lot more panoramas this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 In Review: The Video

I enjoyed finding and posting my top 20 photos of 2011, but I wanted to put something together that gave more of a sense of what I'd done with photography over the course of the year. So here it is: a video slide show of my year in photography. Enjoy!

A larger, higher resolution version is available on Vimeo: