Sunday, January 29, 2012

More from Mount Galbraith

Mount Galbraith Golden vista
Mount Galbraith Golden Vista. Buy a print.
Assembled from 7 handheld images Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11 mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 200

This is the same tree as I showed a few weeks ago. It's a nice vantage point overlooking Golden and Denver as you can see and I thought it would make a nice panorama. You should really see it large which you can by clicking on the image above. I stitched it together using the outstanding (and free) hugin software. The individual images were developed in Lightroom 4 beta and I did a little post in Lightroom 4 beta too.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clouds and tree

Contrast, clouds, orange
Contrast, clouds, orange. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55 mm at 32 mm, f/8.0, 1/160s, ISO 200
Flickr image. Google+ post.

This is in local open space park Mount Galbraith. Most of the trees in this area burned last year (picture in this blog post) and so all the trees look quite forlorn. I processed this in image in LR 4 beta. This gives just wonderful final quality but is still quite slow.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dutch perspective on San Francisco

Dutch perspective on San Francisco
Dutch perspective on San Francisco. Click for bigger. Click here to buy a print. Image on flickr. Google+ post.
Technical info. D300, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 at 11mm, f/8.0, 1/640s, ISO 200. Processed in LR 4 beta.

This was taken on a sail boat ride on the San Francisco bay when we were returning to harbor. The title of course is a pun.

SOPA and PIPA protest

As many may have noticed, yesterday I joined in the protest against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out this website. I realize that may have inconvenienced visitors but I felt a strong statement had to be made. These onerous proposed laws would have really put a damper on free speech and open expression. For an interesting (albeit a little too conspiracy theory for me) perspective on all this read this article.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chrome suddenly color managed

This one snuck by me. I have complained many times in the past about deficiencies in browser color management. Chrome and Firefox are seen wavering back and forth all the time. I recently lamented the fact that Chrome was not color managed. However, I happened to open it recently and noticed that the color was not off as I was used to on my wide gamut screen (Chrome version 16.0.912.75). In fact it looked 'normal'! So I quickly whipped up a comparison between browser and the gold standard in color management: Photoshop. The screenshot was converted from my monitor profile to sRGB for web display.

As you can see, contrary to my previous post using Chrome 13, it is now color managed! This is great news as we now have three browsers that are color managed, at least on Mac OS X. I understand that on Windows, the latest Chrome is not yet color managed, which if true, is a shame. Nevertheless, this is a great development and a return to what I called "web browser bliss" years ago, but what was dampened from that initial optimism since then because of regressions at Mozilla and Google. Here is to hoping that the last holdout IE, which still does not convert to the display profile as it should, will at some time join 21st century even if 2012 is a little late for finally doing what was proposed by Microsoft themselves in 1996.

Finally, by checking the icc v4 testing page in all browsers, I can now report the following for the browser versions current at the date of posting:
Browser icc v2 compliant? icc v4 compliant? converts to display profile? assumes sRGB for untagged images?
Safari yes yes yes no
Chrome yes yes yes no
Firefox yes no yes (some v4 profiles work!) no (yes with secret setting enabled)

In conclusion, if you are on a Mac and care about color rendering, I can now heartily recommend Chrome next to Firefox and Safari.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lake Helene and Notchtop

I blogged a little about this trip before here, here, and here. This early morning hike was one of the most impressive I ever did. It was windy and miserably cold, but the experience was unforgettable. I try to do many trips like this but seldom all conditions arrange for a great sunrise where geography, clouds, and sun cooperate. When everything comes together it is truly magical. The images of this trip were for me so ingrained in my mind that it has taken me a while to show them on my blog. One of the ways I check out geography and sun is by using Stephen Trainor's outstanding The Photographer's ephemeris app (for iPad/iPhone here, for Macs/PCs here). I also use Google Earth. I had decided that Lake Helene would be nice with a view of Notchtop illuminated by the rising sun.

View Larger Map

This was also my first outing with my new F-stop Tilopa BC pack which I highly recommend. On to the photos! The following two I showed before but only as a quick comparison.

This is a few minutes before sunrise. Imagine the clouds flying by at very high speed because of the high wind and a blisteringly cold wind flowing over the frozen lake. I really like the composition of this with the rocks and structures in the ice which mirror in the mountain and in the clouds.

Blueness. Buy a print.
Technical data: high resolution image assembled from 9 images from Nikon D300, 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 2.0s, ISO 200.
Here is a slightly different viewpoint done as a single image instead of a high resolution composite that you might find interesting.

These assembled images I create will easily print 8 feet high with impeccable detail. If you're interested in such prints contact me as they take some special care to do right. The standard sizes that my site offers will print gorgeous as is straight from my website.

Just a few minutes later the sun had come up revealing this:

The moment
The moment. Buy a print.
Technical data: high resolution image assembled from 9 images from Nikon D300, 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 1/8s, ISO 200.

As you can see from the much 4 stops faster shutter, the intensity of this light is quite a difference bathing the entire scene in warm light.

I stayed around for a little longer finding different viewpoints such as this:
Head in the clouds
Head in the clouds. Buy a print.
Technical data: high resolution image assembled from 9 images from Nikon D300, 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 1/13s, ISO 200.

and this:
I wonder
I wonder. Buy a print.
Technical data: high resolution image assembled from 9 images from Nikon D300, 18-55mm at 24 mm, f/16, 1/13s, ISO 200.

At this point, I could hardly move my fingers anymore and I really had to get out of the wind. I haven't found a really good solution yet for gloves that allow me to control the camera but still keep my fingers warm.

This was truly an extraordinary morning. Hope you enjoy the images.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Panoramas of the San Francisco city front

Taken from the sailboat that we spent a delightful day on cruising around the bay. These are all hand held and assembled in hugin. Remember to click on them for a much bigger view. The vertical format of this blog does not allow me to embed a very wide image here. See also the Google+ post.

San Francisco, bay bridge to Alcatraz
San Francisco, bay bridge to Alcatraz. Buy a print (logo will not show up on the print!)

The bay bridge
The bay bridge. Buy a print.

City front and two bridges
City front (mostly fisherman's wharf) and two bridges. Buy a print.

Alcatraz island
Alcatraz island. Buy a print.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Film simulation with the new R,G,B curves in Lightroom 4 beta

There is lots of really nice additions to LR 4. The new processing is superb (more later). One nice addition that was done is that we can now individually manipulate the red, green, and blue channel curves. So I played with them a little last night and generated a few presets that sort of simulate cross processing, as well as a set of film stock. I glanced most of the ideas on this from the web where I found lots of advice on how to do this with the same curves tools in Photoshop. Below is an example of their effect using a silly outdoor picture of my son at the train museum, a sunset over the Golden Gate, and a sunset at Yosemite (click for bigger)

These are a little over the top (they were made late last night) but illustrate the concept well. If you want to try for yourself, download a zip file I made of them here. You should be able to double click them to install them into LR 4 or you might have to import them in the Lightroom develop module.

Have fun.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Adobe Lightroom 4 beta

Hot of the presses. Downloading now. Apparently includes softproofing, photobooks, GPS, an even better demosaic. Can't wait.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ice fall in black and white

I suddenly remembered that I had visualized the icy waterfall image (Vernal falls in Yosemite) from a few days ago in black and white. Shades of Ansel I guess. I only looked at the images many days later when I got home as I intentionally did not bring a laptop on our Cali vacation so I forgot about that completely. I was taken away by the fact that the late afternoon light came through much better than I had anticipated in the raw images and so the color version was still great. Anyway, here is the image as I imagined it would turn out. I like this quite a bit myself.

Ice Fall
Ice Fall Black and White. Buy a print. Same image on flickr. Google+ post.
High resolution composite of 9 images from a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 18-55 mm DX lens at 32 mm, f/11, and 1/4 second shutter. Field of view equivalent to using a 11.5 mm lens on DX or 17 mm on a full frame camera.

El Capitan sunset

During the few days over Christmas I spent with my family in Yosemite, we had just gorgeous weather every day. Unfortunately for photography that is not ideal. There also was not a flake of snow in sight. Nevertheless I got some nice images out of the trip. The below is a sunset image looking at El Capitan and Bridal Veil falls. I believe this view is called "Gates of the Valley". When I got here in the evening before sunset it looked like nothing was going to happen as some high clouds were turning everything dull and gray. However, for two minutes or so right at sunset, the sun peeked below those clouds. I shot of a few guide images using my Tokina 11-16mm and then created a composite using my nodal ninja rotator and a 35 mm lens. The light had already faded before I was able to change my setup to get a high res image, so the red is more soft than it was in the guide images and the contrast lower. Also in this image, the red is like a little band of light instead of the entire top of the rock. I like it this way.
Sunset on El Capitan
El Capitan sunset. Buy a print. Google+ post. Flickr image.
High resolution composite stitched from 9 images from a Nikon D300. Nikkor 35 mm f1.8 DX at f/11, 0.5s, ISO 200. 1 stop grad ND applied in software.

As a comparison, here is a guide image that I shot right before the high resolution composite above.

Red white and blue
Red, White, and Blue. Buy a print.
Nikon D300. Tokina 11-16 mm f2.8 at 14 mm, f/11, 0.6s, ISO 200. 2 stop graduated ND.

The red was much brighter here than in the high resolution image taken a minute later or so. A nice example of how much timing matters in landscape photography.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The tree

Evening light at Mount Galbraith. The city you can see down there is Golden (you can clearly see the Coors brewery) and in the distance is Denver. From a few weeks ago on a quick afternoon hike. As always click the image for a bigger view.

The tree
The tree. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 f2.8 at 11mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 200

Image link on flickr. Google+ post.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


This is an image of a group of giant sequioa that can be seen in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. This group is very well known and is called the "Bachelor and the Three Graces." As the google link before shows, one can find thousands of images of this across the web. This photo breaks all the rules you are supposed to follow for the photography of these trees. They should be in fog (no fog for any of the days we were in Yosemite so no go there), snow (no snow in Yosemite this year!), and definitely not full sunlight. I largely just focused on the composition of the image with the foreground tree dark and brooding and the background trees (the graces in the name) in radiant sunlight and to juxtaapose these. I basically took it to hone my skills. To my surprise it actually is quite an interesting image. I made a 16x20 print of it that is just luminescent with beautiful deep but detailed shadows and radiant highlights. The detail on the bark in this high resolution image is stunning (at least I think so ;-) ). The image is pretty close to how it came from camera and stitching.

Bachelor and three (?)graces
Bachelor and three (?) graces. Buy a print.
Composite of 12 images. D300, ISO 200, nikkor 18-55mm at 48 mm, f/11, 1/10s. Circular polarizer.

I also generated a tighter image that I took to black and white. It is meant to convey the size and solidity of the trees by excluding most of them.

trunks. Buy a print.
Composite of 9 images. D300, ISO 200, nikkor 18-55mm at 48 mm, f/11, 1/10s. Circular polarizer.

For those socially inclined:
Flickr image. Google+ post.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sailing the Bay

From 2012-01-03

That is me on our friends Jim and Deb's beautiful sailboat steering around the San Francisco bay. Here we're close to going under the Bay bridge heading towards the SF cityfront. Photo by Mariska. I'll post some more pictures I took around the bay at a later time.

Google+ post on this.

Ice Fall

This image was taken on Christmas day at Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park. I hiked up to this falls and the next one with my daughter. This year, there was basically no snow whatsoever in Yosemite making the waterfalls run very low. People working in the park were all worried and surprised by this long drought. Normally this falls is as wide as the lighter area you can see in the image. It was cold enough however for the water mist to freeze up. Quite spectacular. I tried to capture the extreme contrast in light and feeling between warm mountain and cold waterfall here.

Ice Fall
Ice fall. Buy a print.
50 MP Composite of 9 images from a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 18-55 mm DX lens at 32 mm, f/11, and 1/4 second shutter. Field of view equivalent to using a 11.5 mm lens on DX or 17 mm on FX.
Same image on flickr. Google+ post on the image.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Last year around this time, I resolved to lose some weight as many people do every year. I wasn't that much overweight and nobody had told me that I needed to, but my spouse was going to lose weight and I thought it would be good to help her by showing solidarity. My goal was to go for my college weight which was between 145 and 150 lbs (65 kg or so in real SI units instead of silly imperial units (how many ounce in a pound again?)). Amazingly I reached that goal around May exactly on schedule (see figure on the right) and have been maintaining it since. What's the secret? Very simple. I just restricted caloric intake and exercised regularly. In my case, I was always very active but simply ate too much and drank too much beer. The body is a pretty straightforward calculator in this respect. If you take in more calories than you burn, you'll gain. Take in less and you'll lose. Take in as much as you burn and you will be stable. Of course people differ in how many calories they burn just living so the equilibrium point is different for different people. You just need the discipline to actually do it and have ways of exercising that are effective for you. My two major ways of exercising are mountain biking and hiking with heavy backpacks (photo gear) in the mountains. Both extremely caloric. So if you are considering resolving to lose weight, realize that it can be done if you stick to it, be honest with yourself, and don't get tempted by silly diets. Just follow Pollan's excellent advice to eat food, and not too much. Food meaning something that our great grandparents would have recognized as food.

The screenshot on the right is from the excellent iPhone app Loseit. It is very effective and free. There are many tools like this to help you if you need it, but simply being aware of what you eat and not eating as much as you might normally works just fine too.

Now I just need new New Year's resolutions for next year.