Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas of Shipping Problems

  1. An order of funky t-shirts that was ordered on December 2nd has not shown up. The company responded very fast, but obviously they won't be here for Christmas.
  2. An order of (nice things) ordered December 4 arrived on December 23rd, forcing me to have to wrap it at the last minute. 19 days is actually much worse than postal times. Way to go UPS!
  3. An order of a technical device went missing after shipping, and Fedex had no clue where it was. I had to follow up with the company a number of times and the package was never located. I got a refund, but not for the full amount (they omitted to refund me for the shipping) and we had to scramble on the weekend to find the product locally.
  4. On December 4th I switched my Adobe Creative Cloud from a single-app subscription to their photographer's option, which included both Lightroom and Photoshop for $10/month. Today, I got notification that I had been billed $20 - it seems that the single-app subscription was never cancelled, so I would have been paying $30/month instead of $10.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Photo Processing Again

The experimentation with colour post-processing continue.

In the first one here, I created two luminance masks, and applied a green and pink layers, the green masked to the shadows, the pinks to the highlights. I then tried to tone afterward, and I don't like the result much.

In this second one (which is really about the 5th version) I toned the photo first - an overall curves adjustment, then a dodge/burn layer and a high pass filter layer. I flattened those down, then made two luminance masks as above and applied them to a green and a creamy-pink layer. The result is much better - however there is still an overall loss of contrast in the image and I need to figure out the mechanics of Exclusion.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Portrait

This is straight out of Lightroom with a filter that supposedly emulates Technical Pan.  It doesn't really - Tech Pan had this marvelous creaminess to it that I can't describe, and I don't know how to emulate in Photoshop.

But I still like this!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More Sand

We are busy getting geared up for Christmas. Chris is off, but I will be working.

In practice that isn't so bad. I'm off Mondays, so I'll work Tuesday and most employers send people home at noon or so on Christmas Eve. So I will really only work one full day, which will be the 27th.

Christmas is stressful.

I offer a monochrome view of a boy on a sand dune. Billions of tons of sand are fun.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Black and White

I think this works well in black and white. The original is largely monochrome - the boy is wearing grey pants and the shirt is shades of grey, the sky is grey overcast, and the sand is soft gold.

There was another person in the image. I have removed them (well, her) for purely compositional reasons. I think there is an artifact of that process still visible - something I missed this morning. I will have to look at this in more detail again.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Adventures in Post, III

This image isn't one of mine: Chris shot it with a pocket Lumix on her way to work earlier this week. I took the jpg and made a few adjustments.
First, out of the camera:

Then, after being imported into Lightroom as a jpg and having blacks, clarity, vibrance, saturation, and contrast adjusted. This took me about 15, 20 seconds I would guess.

And the final one is after being taken into Photoshop and having contrast adjusted further with curves and a luminance mask. This takes longer - I'd guess this took maybe 5 minutes to get right. I also applied some sharpening. Applying an S curve that is masked to only the brightest areas (or rather, is masked to areas in proportion to their brightness) flattens the brightness curve of the whole image out, and makes the colours deeper and richer. It also reduces the importance of the central bright area, giving a more dynamic feel.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adventures in Post

This is another in the series where I attempt to emulate the painterly post-processing currently fashionable in such magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

This has some toning done, then a colour profile applied from a Paulo Roversi image masked with a luminance mask. The idea was to apply the colour to the shadowed areas and leave the highlights more or less alone.

The contrast was adjusted as the last step.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Adventures in Post Processing

This isn't there yet, but it's a start. I need to work out the luminance values before altering the colour, I think.

This has a very different feel from the unaltered image. The highlights are warm with a fair amount of magenta, while the shadows are cool.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Photo Processing Part II

This is a continuation of my attempts to emulate a faded polaroid look.

This is the original.

This is the modified image. There are still a couple of issues with it (halo on the right side of the head, face a touch too dark...) but other than that, this is the effect.

I'm thinking it needs to be a bit more blue.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photographic Processing

I've been trying to come up with a recipe to emulate a look that I frequently see in Vogue and Chatelaine. It is supposed to hint of faded polaroid.

I did this one some time ago:

I quite like how it turned out. The key to the process is supposed to be cool, teal shadows and warm highlights.

Here's my second attempt:

The effect can be seen if you compare it to the original:

I'm not sure I have it down yet - I think I need some more work. The two examples I have here I have used a teal tone for the shadows and I'm thinking something a little more cyan might work better. I think I could also try a darker tone - in the second image, the highlight hue is warmer and the overlay lighter, so I reduced the opacity to keep it from going too light. but I'm thinking that isn't the way to go. I ended up adding a tone-control layer to keep highlights in check.

I think that the way to do this is:
  1. crop
  2. sharpen
  3. tone
  4. flatten all
  5. prepare luminosity masks
  6. apply colours with said masks

More in the future, probably.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Date Night

While we were on our holiday Down South, we missed Great Big Sea at the PNE.

Christine, intrepid ticket-woman that she is, found that GBS were playing in Bellingham on Oct 20. She bought tickets, and on the afternoon of the Sunday the 20th, we headed across the border.

We were plenty early, so we found a little place and had coffee (me) and a cocktail of apple and bourbon (Christine) accompanied by tapenade and bread.

It was an excellent restorative.

After that we wandered around for a while looking for a place to eat dinner. After traveling up and down about a 6 block area, we decided on the Cajun place we'd first seen.

I did not take a picture of our meals. My failure is palpable. However, the company was excellent and the table about perfectly located. We were at the railing overlooking the entrance and had the server station to our left, and so there was no lack of things to catch our attention.

Chris had catfish in pecans. I had a blackened steak which wasn't really blackened but hey, it was steak and it was good. The veggies were good and Chris had a raspberry mead while I had a local IPA.

After that we wanderered off to the Mount Baker Theatre, which is a fabulous thing built in the neo-Gothic Spanish-Moorish style during the Roaring 20's.  Over the top, and fabulous.

I love hearing modern music in these roccoco old places.

The band, if you don't know them, are a blend of traditional Newfoundland folk and modern rock - or, perhaps, Newfoundland folk updated. The musical heritage of Newfoundland is heavily Hebridean: Irish, Scots, Welsh and Cornish, coming out of the hardscrabble fishermen who left the coast of Great Britain for an even harder life on the northern coast of North America. (I lived in Labrador for 2 years when I was small, and I can assure you that when people apply the term 'a certain stark beauty' to that part of the world, the operative part is 'stark'. )

Great Big Sea are true to their roots. The music is by turns infectious and soulful. They performed one of my personal favourites: River Driver.

I'll eat when I am hungry and I'll drink when I am dry,
Get drunk whenever I'm ready, get sober by and by,
And if this river don't drown me, it's down I mean to roam,
For I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.
Performed a capella, to the the steady slow thump-thump, thump-thump of the bodhran.

Here we are at half-time, catching our breath. 

And the stage:

I don't know about the other participant (actually I do) but I enjoyed myself immensely - the drive down in the MX-5, wandering around, dinner, the concert, and the drive back through the dark country roads.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Summer on the Coast

This isn't manipulated much. This was the sunset the first evening at Cape Disappointment in August.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One of Those Things I Thought I'd Never See

My father was in the RCAF. I spent my formative years on airbases. When I was in junior high, the lemmings were all growing their hair long and reciting dimwitted slogans about peace and love. I joined Air Cadets.

For a while, the FW-190 was my favourite WWII fighter. Back then, there were none left. They had all been destroyed or lost.

I first discovered the Flying Heritage Collection when I read that an FW-190 had been pulled from the taiga near what was then Leningrad (now Petrograd) and was being restored to flying condition. I told Chris that when it was restored, I was going to go see it.

On Saturday, I got to see and hear something I had once thought impossible: an original Focke-Wulf FW-190 A-5 in flight.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stout Metal Airplane

At the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, they have a gorgeous Ford Tri-Motor. Ford purchased the Stout Metal Aircraft Company and made about 200 Ford Tri-Motors in the 1920's.

This plate is affixed to the side.

'Stout' doesn't refer to 'strong', but rather is the name of the guy who owned the Stout Metal Airplane Company before Ford bought it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ridiculous II

Many years ago I was traveling on the ferry between Tsawassen and Victoria. I don't remember where I was going, or for what purpose, but I was alone. The sun was rising in a beautiful clear summer sky and the light was that precious early morning gold, where everything is lit at a low angle with a creamy warm glow.

Active Pass was gorgeous - it was slack tide and the water was smooth.

There was an audible collective gasp as a topsail schooner, the Robertson II, rounded the head, sails full, ahead of the ferry. It was so stupidly beautiful and magical that it was over the top ridiculous.

That first evening on Grayland Beach was like that.

Monday, September 16, 2013


So we're at Grayland Beach in Washington - it's beautiful, the sun is going down on a clear evening, and then three horses wander across the scene.

In the setting sun.

On the beach.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On The Beach

Black and white. We found this huge half-log on the beach in Oregon between Reedsport and Coos Bay.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A multiportrait

This is all of us on the beach south of Reedsport, Oregon. The day was actually pretty good for photography, although a touch bright - the light was flat and soft, and there was a really good amount of bounce from the sand.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


This is from the first evening at Cape Disappointment. It was a warm, soft evening, which is a bit unusual there - usually the wind blows steadily and firmly. The wind, while present, was actually light enough that our stunt kite wouldn't fly well, and footprints in the sand weren't erased.
We did fly the Pentacow in the afternoon. After the kids got bored with her, I flew her up to her full 300 feet of line, where it was hard to tell that she was a crazed cow (with shocking pink udder) any more.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On the evening of the day we arrived in Cape Disappoinment, we got this sunset:
So, yeah, it was all worth it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vacation Complete

Somehow it feels right to be returning to work the day after Labour Day.

The vacation itself had some high points and some low ones. We started out at Grayland Beach, which was great, then went down to Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. Oregon is beautiful, and the yurt was nice, but Oregon campgrounds like to pack people in.
We loved the dunes.
From Umpqua, we went up to Devil's Lake, which was even tighter and more exposed than Umpqua - I guess that for some people the experience of camping is best shared with many neighbors, but I don't feel that way.
After Devil's Lake, we went up to Cape Disappointment. We had an absolutely lovely first evening there, and the next morning, but then the weather turned.
That doesn't really show how dramatic the sky and waves were. Refreshing and exciting! But next morning the rain had settled in and it looked like it was going to be a day spent in the yurt, so we opted to bail out on the last day and head home.
At home, we bought PNE tickets and hoped for the best, because Thursday was our only possible day - but it rained like hell, and half of us were suffering from colds.
So the last bunch of days have been spent at home, recovering, and thinking about next year. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

I think...

This is cropped, and the dark areas in front have been posterized to black. I removed lights from them so it is a lovely dark mass.
The sky is boosted to crazy levels.

Two Versions

Two versions of the same image, with different degrees of manipulation.

I actually think this would be better tighter cropped, I think I will give that a try.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fisgard Lighthouse. I shot this last Sunday. We had gone to visit Sorcha half-way through her six-week course and she got tagged for a garden party at the Rear-Admiral's house, so we picked her up at 9:00 and then had to return her at 11:30. We went back to Fort Rodd Hill until she was done, and I think I shot this about 3:30 PM.
The Rear-Admiral's house is directly across the harbour from this lighthouse, and we could hear the music from the party.
I am thinking of entering this one into a competition under 'Maritime Theme'. I think lighthouses qualify as maritime.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Final Approach

A female bald eagle on final approach.

Shot on Mayne Island sometime last summer - probably July 2012.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Last Evening

On the way back to the mainland from Victoria, this was the sunset:

Friday, July 26, 2013


The Pinks

Without taking it over the top.

These are cherry blossoms, backlit on a late spring afternoon. In case you didn't know, you can click on the image to see it bigger. Click on this one.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I started working on a different method of processing colour images. This is based on the editorial photography that you see in Vogue and Vanity Fair, in particular the work of Annie Leibovitz. Now, Annie is a much better photographer than I am, and Annie uses artificial light (masterfully indeed) but it was her colour treatment that I was looking to for inspiration - warm subject with gently cool background, the whole ever-so-softly desaturated. The best Leibovitz colour portraits (I enjoy her B+W work too, but that's not what we're discussing here) invoke a certain breathy etherealness - when I look at them I see the fragile human beauty of the subject.

This is my first attempt at something like this. This one uses 5 layers in Photoshop. It isn't perfect yet - I still need to clean up some of the edges around her hair, which will probably require some fiddly work, but as a proof of concept I like this a great deal.
Well, to be honest, I like this photograph a great deal - and I like this version of it just fine.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Child Life

I spent some time on this before trying this high-saturation version.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I shot this one cold January or February evening. I had taken The Numpties downtown to see a Canucks game and I wandered around while they were there.

Yeah, So...

I let the domain registry expire on the old blog. It was costing money for something that 1. we can do for free and 2. nobody reads anyway.
This will be the new space that nobody but us reads now.