Monday, June 29, 2009

Winning an award with an iphone

Photographer Steve Turner won a photography award using a collage made from iPhone pictures. You can see the collage of 9 + one bigger image on his website. As always, it is the photographer and not the camera. Anybody can take horrible pictures with a D3X or even a Phase One digital medium format system of 30k$+, but only some can take great art with a $200 iPhone.

Interesting new Lightroom plugin

Allows you to open RAW files directly in other RAW editors such as Nikon's Capture or Canon DPP. Check it out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hike to Arapahoe Lakes

This Saturday I went on a little afternoon hike up to Arapahoe Lakes in the James Peak Wilderness. I knew the light would not be very good, but I was a little stir crazy. (Scroll all the way down this post for a neat video of the adventure)

View Larger Map

This is a classic Colorado hike. You start from the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel where the train goes under the continental divide. You hike up crossing several streams until you get to an open area where you turn right on forest lakes trail. You go up, cross a usually raging stream until you get to the next intersection where you go left to Arapahoe Lakes. Then you go up following Arapahoe creek. The first part of this is usually self route finding as the trail is very unclear. Then when you hit treeline about, you turn left following the stream and you'll end up at the lake. This is the theory at least. I was hoping to make some flowershots, but everything is late this year. There were lots of Marsh Marigolds and the trail was extraordinarily wet. This is what the trail looked like in many places:

Some of the Marigolds:

Wetter than I have ever seen it and it usually is quite wet and muddy in places. The area is clearly set to explode with flowers soon so I should come back in a few weeks. I saw one or two Columbines in bloom, but clearly there were thousands of just starting ones that were yet to bud. After the intersection to Arapahoe Lakes, I made my usual mistake of forgetting you need to cross two streams right after each other. I only crossed the first and ended up at a lower lake that is unnamed (you can see it on the map above). This was a long hard slog because there was an incredible amount of snow still here. I think you might even be able to ski down all the way if you're very good. So I cut right and found the right stream again and followed it up.

I found the lake and took some simple shots. There were millions of mosquitoes here all lining up to get every last drop of blood I have. Here is an image I took overlooking Arapahoe lake.

As you can see very few flowers still. This will change soon I'm sure. I hiked up to the ridge between Arapahoe Lakes and Crater Lakes as I wanted to escape the mosquitoes. Here is an overview with some tiny alpine flowers on it.

On the way down, I sank up to my thighs into a snowfield and had to dig myself out if I did not want to lose my one-day-old Keenes. Luckily I was able to work myself free. Here is a field of little flowers just below the lake.

I was now able to follow the right stream down. This is what it looked like most of the time. Lots of snow still.

Further down I ran into the confluence of the two creeks and had to back up a ways before I could cross the lighter running one. This is a nice slowed down shot of the slow one, making the water silky.

Stitched at 35 MP, this image has amazing detail and should print very large indeed.

Some more Marigolds in the trail further down:

I liked this lone flower on a hill next to the trail.

A Columbine I saw:

A very big waterfall. This one is very close to the trailhead but it is hidden. You mostly just hear it and you have to bushwhack a little to get to it:

A detail from this fall:

I am experimenting a little with video too and I made a little movie from this hike that you can view below. The roar of the waterfalls was inescapable everywhere and I filmed my easiest creek crossing (didn't want to risk dropping the little videocamera in the water). Enjoy!

You can check this video out in even higher def here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Apple's new OS defaults to gamma 2.2

The good news just keeps coming in. Apple's new version of Mac OS X - Snow Leopard - will default to the more standard gamma 2.2 instead of 1.8. Read it here from the horse's mouth.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yes, webbrowser bliss is here

Google has just released a Developer release of Chrome for Mac OS X and lo-and-behold, it still color manages. I was afraid that there was a chance that google would disable it in the final releases, so I am very happy to see this happening. Chrome manages exactly like Safari in that it doesn't manage untagged images nor CSS colors. Firefox has a mode that will color manage everything and the upcoming Firefox 3.5 will have Safari-like management turned on by default. This will cause the situation to soon be that 3 major browsers will be color managed and the dinky exception will be IE. Excellent! Now if somebody could check out if the latest developer builds for windows also color manage (use this simple page) that would be excellent. The current release on windows doesn't but it would be superb if they are changing that too.

Here is the proof: Three color managing browsers on my Mac with a wide gamut screen (screenshot converted back from my display profile to sRGB so you will see the right colors too). The colors in these images are rendered exactly the same as I found out by substracting them in Photoshop.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More images from the forest

This is a followup on my last post. First is another image I took but only stitched today. It is a different angle at the same location as the yellow flower shot in the previous post.

I think I prefer the one from yesterday but this is pretty good too.

I also went back to the same place yesterday thinking that the wetness of the constant rain might be interesting. I mostly just got wet but took some interesting shots anyway. Here is a misty forest:

A jumble of leaves:

And some wet, yellow flowers which caused them to hang their heads.

The location with the crossed logs that I photographed the previous day was quite uninteresting due to the hanged heads unfortunately so I let that rest for another time. I am guessing that in a few days time all the yellow flowers will be blooming making it more of a sea of yellow than of green.

Lastly, Apex creek in the rain drizzle:

Amazing images of Sulfur mining in Indonesia

See where your sulfur comes from. As a chemist, I see the beauty in the sulfur and its red and yellow form, but those working conditions, hiking up and down into a volcano crater to the edge of a lake that is basically sulphuric acid mixed with hydrochloric acid, carrying big heavy chunks of sulfur with very little protection from the H2S undoubtedly in the air are terrible. Beautiful images though.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Flowers in Enchanted Forest

I went on a quick afterwork photohike along the Apex trail that is one of my mountain biking favorites. When I rode it last Friday, I noticed many blankets of flowers along a trail in the Apex open space called "Enchanted Forest". This place is an uncommonly wet and dark forested area for the Denver foothills. I took my wooden panorama setup to make some high res imagery. I take 9 images at regular angles and stitch them together with hugin. This also allows for dialing in a shift, mimicking the effect you get with a tilt-shift lens on large format. Here is one of some sunflower like flowers (larger versions in the link):

These appear to be white violets. Many blankets of these were to be found along the enchanted forest trail.

At this point, I had to scurry to avoid getting completely soaked by an approaching thunderstorm however and hoped these would come out good. As they indeed did! These images will print great even at the very largest sizes my service offers.

Last but not least. Here is the flickr set.

Update: Some more images of this same place.