If you've been following my recent posts, you know the drill by now. The image above (best viewed at a larger size) was post-processed using Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter X. The actual image is from a trip to Washington D.C. in April of this year. On the flight back from D.C. to San Diego, as we flew into the sunset, a friend of mine told me to take a picture of the clouds out of the window. I usually disregard shots taken out of airplane windows as mere snapshots, but this particular shot caught my eye. I've had the original shot in my Flickr photostream for awhile now, but I decided to re-process it with an abstract vision in mind. The "painted" version obviously has more vibrant color than the plain copy, but in reality, the actual colors out the window were closer to this new version than my old edit. It's also worth noting that I took this photo with an old Pentax lens I got on eBay for ~$30. At the time, I couldn't afford the Pentax-FA f1.4 50mm I have now, so I took the poor man's route. I've since sold it back online, but there's just something special about shooting with an old lens. I'm seriously considering buying an old m42 mount 50mm Industar lens to somewhat make up for the FED-2 I sold awhile back.
Sorry for the lack of updates earlier this week, I've been working on a personal project I hope to launch in a few days. Anyway, the image above is another attempt at creating a faux painting using simple photos. The main image used is one I actually took in May 2006 using an incredibly cheap 2mp Nikon point and shoot camera. It was taken in a small airplane flying over San Diego, California, and was one of the few images from that flight that actually turned out decently clear. Unfortunately, the noise in the image made it virtually unusable. The second photograph in the composite was used for the night sky, and was taken in Anza Borrego State Park. Both images were run through Corel Painter X separately, and were later combined in Photoshop. In addition, a second copy of the main image was processed in a pseudo-HDR plugin, which brought out the low lighting of the situation. Considering that the source file is just over 500kb, it's amazing how post-processing can save an image.
Continuing on my quest to discover new editing techniques, I give you the above photo. This photograph was taken this past July in Denver, Colorado, near Larimer Square. My first step was to run the image through a plugin that simulates an HDR look, which allowed me to have slightly surreal lighting in the photo. From there, I warmed the image slightly (though I edited the image on my laptop, which has a much cooler display than what I'm used to on my iMac), then ran it through the auto-paint feature in Corel Painter X. Though much of my previous experimentation with Painter X focused on using the "painted" image as an accent, I really made it the main focus of this photograph. After the auto-painting was complete, I layered it on top of the faux-HDR image in Photoshop. From there, I adjusted the opacity of the "painted" layer, and made it slightly more transparent in the center to give the scene some depth. And there you have it! Now, if only the cafe in the image was authentic and not a Starbucks...
The image above is from my personal photography collection. The original photograph was taken in downtown San Diego whilst trying to find a way to drive around a stuck freight train while listening to a Swedish radio station. Yeah, it's complicated. Anyway, I rediscovered this photograph the other day, and decided to try a few editing techniques involving Corel Painter X that I had been meaning to experiment with. What you see above is the result. In order to bring more depth into the photograph, I added more bokeh into the background of the image, increased the vignette, and selectively muted and enhanced the colors. I recommend going to the photo's Flickr page and viewing it at a larger size.
I came across this photograph by Flickr user Bernard Schul the other day, and felt the need to write about it. From what I can tell, this photo was taken during a reenactment of the attack on Bastogne, Belgium during World War II. The Siege of Bastogne lasted from mid-December 1944 to January 1945, and was a result of the German desire to control the crossroads where several main roads in the Ardennes met. Though this photograph was taken of a mere reenactment, it still captures the emotion of the moment in a fantastic manner. The depth of field and tonal range of this composition are also superb, and really reflect upon the dramatic undertones of the image. I'll be writing about more of my favorite photographs found on Flickr in upcoming posts.
Alright, so the truth might not be quite this simple. Nevertheless, Laugh-Out-Loud Cats has managed to bring humor to a situation that's becoming increasingly worse. On Monday, the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States, Lehman Brothers, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The BBC has a great article concerning how it affects the average individual. Think of Lehman Brothers as a wholesale investment bank. While you don't deal with them directly, many of your banks do. As the BBC states, "This in turn is likely to intensify the credit crunch, with potentially dire consequences for businesses and consumers." Seriously, folks. Why not just live within your means?
Today's post on The Big Picture features photographs of the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in the southern United States. I'm a sucker for great photojournalism shots, and the image above stood out as one of my favorites. The Big Picture is a great resource for anyone interested in photojournalism, as it showcases the best journalistic photography with image sizes much larger than most news agencies offer. It also makes the stories more personal, as the reader can actually get a better sense of the situation by viewing such stirring photographs.
Hurricane Ike, the fifth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, formed on the first of September, and hit landfall in the United States on the night of 12 September near Galveston Bay, Texas. The storm then moved north into inland Texas towards Houston before finally losing strength as it swerved north-east and became a tropical depression on 14 September (source). Ike is estimated to be the third costliest hurricane in history with reported damages of $27 billion USD (source).
In 1979, Olympus introduced a camera into the market that was years ahead of its time. The aperture-priority camera featured a 6 element F.Zuiko 35mm f/2.8-f/22 lens with true rangefinder focusing that was somehow squeezed into a body small enough to fit into one's pocket. This camera, a marvel of Japanese engineering, also featured a leaf shutter, meaning the slightest pressure on the shutter button triggered the camera. These factors are what made the Olympus XA such a revolutionary device, and are what causes it to still have a cult following in the modern digital world.
Most modern consumers don't appreciate the beauty of a good quality camera. These individuals only care about megapixels and pocketability. I would honestly say that no modern pocket camera could come close to what the Olympus XA is capable of. The image above was taken at night, hand held, at an LA intersection. Because the lens can open up to f2.8, the camera is great in low-light situations. The leaf-shutter is also a great feature, as camera shake isn't introduced by the press of a button. Though a photograph like this is easy to take with an SLR or DSLR, it would be impossible on the majority of pocket cameras on the market.
Because the unit is so small and quiet, it's naturally a fantastic street photography camera. Though the slightly blurry photograph above is of a bad example due to the fact that I was walking when I took it and couldn't stop without being noticed, the camera could easily go unnoticed in most situations. When you carry around a DSLR with a portrait grip and a backpack full of lenses, people notice you. When you innocently snap a photo with an outdated and seemingly simple film camera, no one cares. Having such a small yet advanced camera opens up a whole new world of opportunities.
Unfortunately, my Olympus XA was one of the first cameras to go when I started selling off my film equipment for the much needed cash. I also couldn't keep up with the work that went into developing my own film and scanning the photos in with my deathly slow film scanner. If Olympus decided to introduce a digital version of this camera, I would be one of the first buyers. I have an unnatural love for rangefinders, and due to its unusual form factor and former popularity, the Olympus XA is a great cheap starter-rangefinder.