Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The river bend

I am going through a lot of old images that I didn't fully appreciated before. This one is of a bend in the Virgin river in the Wall Street area of the Zion National Park Narrows.

Around the bend. Buy a print. On flickr. On Facebook. On Google+.
High resolution composite stitched from 9 images. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 1.3s, ISO 200. I made several versions of this image, several of which are in the Zion gallery on my smugmug site.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Baker Beach Sunset

These images are from a California trip I did with my family last winter. We went to Baker Beach at sunset and played in the water a bit. This is a really nice place to see the sun sink into the ocean and see the famous bridge illuminated by nice golden light. Even though it was December 22nd, it was wonderfully warm and we had a blast. I posted one image from this little outing a long time ago already over here so I won't repeat that image and instead give you a few others.

Sunset at Baker Beach. Buy a print. At flickr.
Stitched from 10 images. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm, ISO 200, 1/320s, f/11.
As you can see my daughter was having a lot of fun in the water.

Golden Gate Sunset swoop. Buy a print. On flickr.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/80s, f/11.
The breaking waves gave lots of opportunity for interesting shapes.

Golden Gate Sunset swoop. Buy a print. On flickr.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm, ISO 200, 1/80s, f/11.
And gorgeous color contrasts.

Red and Blue. Buy a print. On flickr.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 52mm, ISO 200, 1/125s, f/8.
That got more intense later. I just love the contrast between the blue water reflection and the red bridge.

Sun worship. Buy a print. Not on flickr ;-).
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 55mm, ISO 200, 1/800s, f/5.6.
I did not put this image on any social media. Baker beach is well-known for a "certain kind of sunbathing". Even though this image is in no way risqué in my view, American sensibilities are rather strange to me so I only put it here.

Evening over Denver

Impressions of the great smog cloud ;-)
These are some images I took testing out a rented Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Truly an amazing lens. Incredibly sharp, even hand held. Heavy though. Be sure to click through for much bigger versions.

Denver dusk panorama. Buy a print. On flickr. On Facebook.
Stitched from 17 handheld images, Nikon D600, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm, ISO 800, 1/80s, f/5.6

Color layers. Buy a print. On flickr. On Facebook. On Google+.
Nikon D600, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 handheld at 200mm, ISO 1800, 1/200s, f/5.6
On the original you can see the individual cars on Colfax avenue. You can also see that air quality sometimes leaves something to be desired in the Denver metropolitan area. The blocky structure up front is NREL's new solar covered parking garage.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Narrows reflection

I recently found this image from the Narrows in Zion National Park while going through my Lightroom library. The image is a composite of 9 images to create a very high resolution image and I hadn't noticed while shooting it that I had blown out (i.e. it was overexposed outside of the range of the camera's sensor) the cliff in the back. At the time, Lightroom wasn't able to bring these back to anything resembling nice color so I never bothered stitching the images. However the latest Lightroom versions are far better at this and surprisingly by just dialing back the exposure slider a little on the individual raw files, suddenly a blue sky showed up and detail in the rock appeared. So after some stitching and editing (mostly some dodging and burning) the image below was created that I am very happy with.

Narrow reflection. Buy a print. Image on flickr. Image on facebook. On Google+
High resolution composite from 9 images from Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 0.6s, ISO 200.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The importance of white balance revisited

A little post for all you photographers out there. This is a revisit of an older post that gets a fair amount of hits every month. In the previous post I showed how the white balance setting in your raw converter, whether it is your camera or in software, has an enormous influence on the look and feel of an image. Also, there are many situations that simply confuse your camera's automatic white balance algorithms and so you often cannot trust it. This is especially true in landscape photography done at the edges of the day or in situations where there are deeply saturated colors present. A few days ago, I was photographing the sunset at a lake near my house and my D600, although far better at interpreting white balance correctly than any other camera I have shot with clearly got it wrong as should be evident from the image below.

Click for bigger!
This was shot with a 3-stop graduated ND darkening up the sky. The left image shows what the camera thought of the color balance. It rendered the water weirdly green. The white balance it chose is actually pretty close to a tungsten white balance but with a large green value. It is pretty close to the out-of-camera jpeg as I chose landscape picture style and chose the same profile in Lightroom. second from left is the result of clicking on auto in Lightroom. This gives an interesting result with very blue water. I did not use a Blue/Yellow polarizing filter for this image so this does not correspond to what I saw, but is still an interesting image. Again, the automatic system thinks the white balance is close to that of a tungsten bulb. The right three images are daylight, cloudy, and shade in that order. Those all correspond to the mood of the scene much better and choosing between them comes down to taste I think. In fact I would choose close to "Cloudy" if I were pressed.
I haven't posted this and other images from this sunset yet except for the panorama I posted a few days ago where I actually went for the bluish look that the camera itself selected but will do so soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lightroom 4.3 RC supports retina displays

The just released LR 4.3 RC now supports retina displays (i.e HiDPI) in Develop as well as the minor support that was already there in Library. It's just gorgeous. Aperture already had this support but I prefer Lightroom myself. Check it out in the link above! Lightroom now also fully supports the D600 with camera profiles. Much appreciated!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Standley Lake sunset panorama

Standley Lake sunset. Buy a print. On flickr. On facebook.
Assembled from 6 images Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 VR at 24 mm, f/16, 1/4s, ISO 100.

Much more to come from this place!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lost dollar aspen

Lost dollar Aspen. Buy a print. On flickr. On facebook. Google +.
High resolution composite assembled from 9 images. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 35mm, f/16, 1/30s, ISO 200.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another Eldo sunset

Monolith. Buy a print.
Stitched from 5 handheld images. Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, f/11, 1/40s, ISO 100
On flickr. On facebook.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Eldorado canyon sunset

Eldo sunset. Buy a print.
Extreme resolution composite from 9 images from D600, Nikkor 24-85mm at 50mm, f/11, 1/15s, ISO 100

Eldorado Canyon is a hidden gem just south of Boulder. I went out this evening to play with my new D600 and shot a few images of which this is one that I stitched from 9 images taken using my normal method for high resolution composites resulting in a about 180MP image that I finished off in Lightroom 4. On a large print you will be able to count 10's of climbers scattered all over the rocks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Drama in Glacier Gorge

Gorge color
Glacier Gorge Fall Drama. Buy a print. Image on flickr. Facebook.
Nikon D300. Nikkor 18-200 mm at 18mm, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mills Lake sunset

I went to catch the sunset at Mills Lake with my daughter a few weeks ago. Haven't had time since then to post the pictures here.

Sunset at Mills Lake. Buy a print. Also see this image on flickr. Facebook.
High resolution composite from 9 images. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm at 32mm, f/16, 1/6s, ISO 200

Mills Lake horizontal. Buy a print.
High resolution composite from 9 images. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm at 32mm, f/16, 1/6s, ISO 200

More later.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Sunset seen through a tree in White Ranch open space park Radiance iPhone shot using the proHDR app.

Monday, September 3, 2012

hiding images

Some images I found hiding in my library from Summit Lake on Mount Evans.

King's crown. Buy a print.
High resolution composite from 9 shots. Individual shots: Nikon D300. Nikkor 18-55mm at 34 mm, f/16, 5.0s, ISO 200.

Shroud. Buy a print.
High resolution composite from 12 shots. Individual shots: Nikon D300. Nikkor 18-55mm at 35 mm, f/16, 10.0s, ISO 200.

Detecting retina displays

Was just reading up on how to detect retina (HiDPI) displays and I am trying this out on this post.

For you nerds, I added a javascript function to my blog's CSS that looks like: <script type='text/javascript'> var retina = window.devicePixelRatio > 1 ? true : false; </script> Then in the post's body I use a statement like <p id="wavesimage"></p> <SCRIPT type="text/javascript"> if (retina) { var sandhtml = '<a href="!i=1545566790&k=r6gmsz3&lb=1&s=A" title="Waves"><img src="" width=399 height=600 title="Waves" alt="Waves"></a>'; } else { var sandhtml = '<a href="!i=1545566790&k=r6gmsz3&lb=1&s=A" title="Waves"><img src="" title="Waves" alt="Waves"></a>'; } document.getElementById("wavesimage").innerHTML=sandhtml; </SCRIPT> This post was inspired by what I read here. It seems to work. This is becoming more and more relevant with all the high res displays on mobile platforms as well as the retina displays that Apple is pushing.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New homepage slideshow

I updated the slideshow on my main portfolio page. This page is hosted by smugmug and I heavily customized the slideshow module for this using CSS. Please check it out and let me know how it works for you. I only checked using Safari and Firefox since I do not have a windows machine. Amazingly, this looks really nice on retina screens as it uses high resolution images that are downscaled by the window manager instead of by flash or something else.

Update: I am now using Fastline Media's fullpage slideshow code. It misses a few features from Smugmug's code (no direct clickthrough - no support for retina (it scales to normal resolution before displaying for some strange reason)) but has several that make it work really well such as that it scales to the browser screen in both dimensions and can display behind the other elements on the page.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Snowy dawn

Snowy dawn
Snowy dawn. Get a print.
Handheld panorama from 5 images, Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55 mm at 18mm, f/8.0, 1/800s, ISO 200.
Image on flickr. Image on facebook. Image on Google+.

One of the joys of shooting raw is that you get the chance to redo images shot a long time ago but with new technology. Amazingly the above image for example has many times more resolution than when I originally assembled the panorama in 2008. It also has much better color gradation and noise characteristics. Regardless of that, I have always loved the image but I like this interpretation best. This image was taken while we were leaving from the Goodwin/Greene hut in the mountains south of Aspen. The sun had just come up and was peeking through the clouds after a fresh snowfall. One of the best views ever in my life.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storm over Dunes

Rainstorm looming over the Great Sand Dunes in Southern Colorado. Click for bigger. Flickr. Google+. Facebook.

Storm over Dunes
Storm over Dunes. Buy a print.
Tech data: Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 at 36mm, f/8.0, 1/800s, ISO 200

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mount Falcon sunset

Mount Falcon sunset

Today was a bad day. This morning I heard that one of my nephews died. I am really sad for his family and especially my uncle Ger. Then later today my friend and colleague Manuel was found dead in Mount Falcon open space park after going missing yesterday. My thoughts are with his family. He was a great friend and coworker and I published several really nice papers with him. For him I dug up this panorama I made several years ago (2008) but never posted anywhere. It was taken near the ruins of the summer presidential house that is up near the top of Mount Falcon. Manuel loved this park for biking and hiking probably even more than I do. Click the image for a bigger version. Facebook post.

Mount Falcon sunset

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lightroom does support retina displays! (but only partially)

I broke down and bought myself a new retina Mac Book Pro a while ago. This is an amazing machine and that display is absolutely stunning. One thing that I thought is that Lightroom needed an update to support the retina display (Aperture and iPhoto already support it and they look fantastic) so I wasn't expecting that much from Lightroom. However after browsing for a while through my library I started noticing that the Library previews were really sharp. Taking a screenshot and blowing it up confirms that Library actually is using the full retina resolution, regardless of what setting you use for the display scaling. That is superb. Unfortunately Develop doesn't yet know about the retina display so there you still get the low resolution which makes for a big difference in feel for the image. I did notice that it is probably a good idea to turn up the size of your standard previews to get the full benefit. Here is the proof using 1:1 screenshots.
Left: Library fit view. Right: Develop fit view.

Ironically you will see the difference between these two better on a non-retina display as the browser doesn't automatically scale 1:1 but you get the gist.

Update: for retina owners, here the same screenshots at what should be 1:1 if you use "best for retina"