June 28, 2015
June 7, 2015
I didn’t realize it had been so long since my last post. The aging PC I use to process my shots had been giving me fits. It hadn’t kept me from image making but processing them became an adventure. After various efforts to keep it going, I finally decided to replace it by building my own. The new one is up and running smoothly. Here’s a shot from today. A friend of mine was giving a Tandem ride on his paraglider. His passenger is just appearing beneath the wing as they complete an aerial maneuver. In case you’re wondering, they are horizontal.
March 7, 2015
September 5, 2014
I’ve been using the Sony a77 M2 for over a month. With many new features compared to the a700, I’m still in the learning mode. Occasionally, I’ve tried the in camera HDR feature. Strictly speaking it isn’t a new feature. My Konica Minolta 7D had a similar option. Yesterday, I was taking pics of my paragliding friends launching from a spot above Makapuu Beach. It was late in the day and the launch was in shadow. I decided to try HDR to see how it balances the shadow side with the brighter side of the scene compared to a RAW image. The shot below is the result.
Here, as in other HDR images I’ve made, the colors are stronger. The greens are more intense than the RAW version. The blues are deeper. Plus, the image is sharper without being over sharpened. Below, is a pic taken in RAW and exported as a JPEG from a moment before. While it did a good job handling the shadows, the colors are muted.(Or more realistic.)
The only adjustments I’ve made to the pics was standard sharpening upon import to Lightroom. I also used a graduated filter in the sky to bring out the clouds.
June 23, 2012
An essential aspect of paragliding is handling your wing during your launch. A good pilot never misses the opportunity to spend a few minutes ground handling the wing.
August 11, 2011
I was treated to an impromptu fire dance with Poi Balls. It was near dark and with no tripod at hand I hand held with a long shutter speed to catch the movement of the flame. In Lightroom I desaturated everything but the flame. Then I reduced the clarity for a softer look. To add a little more interest to the photo I also split toned the image.
July 7, 2011
Outdoor photography can be challenging more so when subjects aren’t static. You’ll find plenty of advice for landscape photography. It assumes you’re deciding where and when you point your lens at a subject. You also have the luxury of manually setting your aperture and shutter. Even some outdoor activities operate in a “controlled” environment. Activities like baseball and soccer take place within a defined area where the light doesn’t change to a significant degree over the course of a game. Then there are activities like hang gliding and paragliding where the conditions can change as the wings move across a sky that is rarely static. Ideally a blue sky with some puffy white clouds is the best condition. That’s when the automatic focus works to perfection and noise is nonexistent. The less than ideal is when you really have to work at it. This image is an example of that. The paraglider has landed with me looking into the sun. That is a problem under these conditions because the ridge is in deep shadow Since I’m on shutter priority my aperture sets itself in kind. But the aperture on my zoom lens opens only so wide. Fortunately, the sun over the wing gives a nice sunburst effect along with the lens flare which leads the eye down to the paraglider pilot. I could have cropped out hang glider wing at the bottom but I like the added dimension and context it gives the scene. The image out of the camera had a much darker foreground because my aperture could only open so much. However with the help of Lightroom and the Graduated Filter Tool I could lighten the foreground as you see it without noise becoming an issue.
December 6, 2010
December 30, 2009
Over the past four years I’ve taken tens of thousands of pictures. The vast majority are action photos, such as, baseball, surfing, volleyball, hang gliding and paragliding. While I’ve got a decent camera and lenses, they certainly are not top of the line. This means I’m pushing my equipment, specifically the lenses, to the max. For instance, capturing movement of a paraglider or hang glider while hand holding your camera on a windy ledge can be a challenge. Hitting that sweet spot between the camera, lens, subject and light makes for a gratifying moment. The picture for this post is an example of that moment. What caught my attention is a combination of things. First the exposure was spot on. Shooting a flying subject whose background can change from a blue sky, to a white or gray cloud, to a dark green or light brown island means the exposure can be all over the place. Since I’m shooting in shutter priority I need to set my exposure compensation accordingly. Usually I need to adjust exposure in post processing in Lightroom. Not in this case. Here, I kicked up the blacks to increase the contrast and bring out the blue in the water and the greens and browns of Rabbit Island. Plus, I increased the highlights in the Tone Curve to bring out the brightness of the island. Next is the sharpness of all the elements. The paraglider is the main subject and needs to be in focus. I like having other elements in focus. Assuming they add a sense of depth and space and don’t distract. Here Rabbit Island and the surrounding water is as sharp as the paraglider and adds to the sense of clarity I remember.
April 20, 2009
A combination of lingering winter weather here in Hawaii and the requirements of my job. Conspired to keep me from posting new pictures in almost month. Here’s a pic from Saturday when the paragliders were out in force. Alex didn’t want to take the time to launch from their usual location. Instead he spread his wing in the parking lot, brought it up and started walking. Don’t try this at home!