Pa’i ki’i Imagery

July 31, 2008

Photo Contest

I got an email reminder of a photo contest at Outdoor Photography Magazine Top 100 Iconic Locations. I decided to put several in click to take a look at one of them.There are alot of good ones and you can vote for your favorite starting August 15th. Here’s one I didn’t include from a couple of years ago. The surf was really pounding at Sandy Beach and only the really good or extremely stupid would go for a ride. That’s the blowhole and lookout in the background.

Sandy Beach High Surf

Sandy Beach High Surf

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July 28, 2008

Lightroom 2 has been released

Adobe just released Version 2 of Lightroom. I’ve been using the Beta since April. It had plenty of new features. They added more in the final release. Such as a Graduated Filter. John Nack has some of the details Lightroom 2 is here.

There are alot of great things in LR2. Localized corrections is at the top of the list.

There are two things the engineers did that just annoy the heck outa me! First they removed the metadata browser panel on the lower left side of the Library module. This kept a running total of the camera type, lens types, file type, Aperture, shutter speed, date. Just click the lens type and all the photos taken with that lens would be shown. Now you have to create a filter preset and then run the preset to get the info. That’s not streamlining your workflow. What’s also not streamlining is the decision to move the straightening tool from underneath the photo to the upper right panel in the Develop Module. I liked using the slider. With it underneath, I just looked down to manipulate it. Now I need to look up and away. This draws my attention away from the photo more than the other way and I don’t like that.

If you’ve been considering Lightroom, I recommend it despite my annoyances.

Remember the Fifth Rule.

July 25, 2008

Too Many photos

Filed under: Photography — paikiiimagery @ 12:15 pm
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Did you read the recent column from John C. Dvorak in PC Mag? The Trouble with Terabytes Allow me to quote a couple of paragraphs

On top of this useless collection of crap are my digital photos. I’ve upgraded to the 10MP Olympus 520, which offers me the opportunity to shoot RAW and JPEG formats at the exact same time. So instead of accumulating thousands of shots just mildly compressed with JPEG, I now save that exact same JPEG along with a huge RAW file. This will worsen when I eventually move to 12-, 14-, and 16-megapixel cameras.

The worst aspect of this photography hobby is that the longer you do it the more likely you are to take numerous redundant shots. Instead of one cool pic of the street corner you take two, three, four…just in case you wiggled a little. I can easily shoot 300 to 400 shots on this camera before the battery drops dead. So I may as well shoot 300 to 400 pics. I promise myself that I’ll sort them out later. And I eventually will, but in the meantime they chew up hard disk space like nothing else.

I found this relevant because I’m going thru my own cleaning the electronic closet. I don’t have the money to pick up a Terabyte drive (as cheap as they are) right now. So I have to make do with what I’ve got. In addition to moving last years photos to an external drive. I’ve been reviewing my pics taken since the beginning of the year to delete some and free up disk space..

After I’ve taken a set of pics of my Hang Gliding friends, for instance, I quickly remove the bad exposures and uninteresting ones. The obvious keepers are take off and landing shots. Leaving a middle ground (so to speak) of pics that are good, better, best variety. Being a bit of a pack rat I’ll post the best and leave the other two. After this editing process I can still end up with a set of 300 photos. This may include landscape shots I didn’t take the time to go over.

Cleaning out the closet is a tedious process but it can yield items you didn’t know you had. Some are gems. Or like clothes, you wonder why you thought that was a good color, you happily get rid of.

An example of a gem is the landscape photo in my last post. It was part of a group of similar photos that I could get rid of and free up precious space. Going thru all those pics showed me how I missed an annoying red tint in a portion of them.

So far, I’ve freed up about 10 gigs of space. More importantly, I’ve sharpened my photographic eye and improved my editing process. I hope this will cut out the clutter sooner and the gems will stand out.

Layered Landscape

Filed under: Photography — paikiiimagery @ 11:09 am
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I don’t recall which magazine I saw the tip in (PopPhoto,Shutterbug,or Outdoor)but one of them used the phrase “layered landscape”. The idea being to how to show depth in your image. This was in relation to color but I think shadow works too.

View of Waimanalo Beach

View of Waimanalo Beach

July 19, 2008

Be there

Filed under: Photography — paikiiimagery @ 10:15 pm
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“F8 and be there” is the kind of photographer I am. That’s particularly true when we had a family friend visiting recently. Along a portion of Koko Head is a section of ledges. With light swells it makes a nice place to walk, sunbathe and swim.
After walking a short distance from a place called China Walls, a section of ledges were occupied by a group of sunbathers and fisherman. Occasionally, a swell rolled past us until it hit the ledges sending up a white fan of spray behind the group (as we faced them). After trying to capture it with my wide angle lens, I changed to my zoom.
Naturally, after changing lens, I had to wait, and wait, and wait some more!! Finally I got a swell that hit the ledge at the right angle to cause the splash.

Surf spraying behind bathers at Koko Kai Ledges

Surf spraying behind bathers at Koko Kai Ledges

July 11, 2008

Wild Life

Filed under: Photography — paikiiimagery @ 9:14 am
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Back in the spring after Leo Laporte’s TWIT LIVE show. Leo continued the video feed with Scott Bourne. Scott Bourne of This Week In Photography showed him many of the wild life photos from Scott’s royalty free photo site Avian Stock.com. As a matter of fact Scott recently posted on TWIP about a trip he’s taking to Alaska to photograph rare, native Coastal Brown Bears.

For those of us who can’t travel to exotic locations we have to make do with wildlife close to home

For instance this photo outside the Zippy’s Restaurant at the Koko Marina.

Birds eating at Koko Marina

Birds eating at Koko Marina

July 6, 2008

Cropping is your Friend

Among the advantages of digital photography is the control you have over the final product.  I refer to the digital darkroom. The computer, software and printer you use to process your photos. The best place to get it “right” is the moment you click the shutter release.  When that doesn’t happen digital technology comes in handy.
As an amateur photographer Film was a delayed satisfaction technology. I couldn’t be sure of what I had until the pictures came back from the lab. Plus the picture was out of my control once I turned the film into the lab. Not too mention I had to get them all printed to know what I had.
A digital darkroom eliminates that. You can quickly see what you got “right”. What you didn’t and what you can improve. One of those improvements you can make is cropping. I’ve been a Lightroom fan since 1.0 Beta. A feature of Lightroom is the ability to create virtual copies of a photo that exist only in Lightroom. This allows you to manipulate a photo in multiple ways without affecting the original photo. COOL!

Here’s how I used cropping  to explore an image and see it in different ways.

The first photo is from the 4th of July Fireworks show over Maunalua Bay this year. This is the original crop out of the camera.  I like it because it gives you a sense of depth with the red color reflecting off the water. Plus there is the house lights along the base of Koko Head.

Fourth of July Fireworks at Maunalua Bay,Oahu

Fourth of July Fireworks at Maunalua Bay,Oahu

In Lightroom I created additional versions and cropped tighter each time. The second one pulls you into the photo while still maintaining a sense of depth.

Second Crop

Second Crop

The Third and Fourth versions completely divorces it from any visual references.

Third Crop

Third Crop

During each of these crops I maintained the original aspect ratio.

Fourth Crop

Fourth Crop

In this final photo I unlocked the crop and adjusted it to taste.

Fifth Crop

Fifth Crop

Which is “best”? If you care to, vote for your favorite by leaving a comment.

July 4, 2008

Balancing Act

Taking a picture is a matter of finding the right balance of elements. The right balance of light/dark, highlight/shadow, balancing complimentary colors. The composition of the picture is a matter of balance. Finding the most important part and placing it in the most effective place within the picture. It’s an AHA! moment when you get them all right.

When I took up photography, beyond point and shoot, in the days of film. The photography books I read provided advice for balancing. Using the right film speed, using neutral density and/or color filters, and bracketing. While I never developed my own film. I’m sure that required a balance of chemicals, paper and time.

Digital cameras make balancing “easier”. With HDR “High Dynamic Range”, bracketing an image with multiple exposures and then blending them together on a computer creates a better balanced image.
My Sony a700 comes with a feature called DRO (D-Range Optimizer) which tries to do the same thing within the camera. It won’t be long before camera sensors will be capturing in image without the need for bracketing. They will reproduce how our eyes “see”. “WYSIWYG” will come to photography.

At that point we’ll start using all those filter to create images we don’t normally see!

Hang Glider flying above Makapuu Beach

Hang Glider flying above Makapuu Beach

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