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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Parliament Hill, Ottawa PQ - Canon A40We'll be heading up to Ottawa in a few weeks to visit Sandy's family. I think Ottawa is a beautiful little city... between April and October. Actually, it's very beautiful any time of the year, but since I am a total cold-weather wimp, and since Ottawa is the second-coldest capital city in the world, I try to stay away November through March.

So anyway, I'm already thinking about photo opportunities there. Our last visit was in mid-April 2003. I took two old film cameras with me and my then-almost-new Canon A40 2MP digicam. This time, I'll be going all-digital.

But the main difference, of course, is not the equipment, but the photographer. I now have three whole years additional experience - thousands of photos, and I've learned a lot from all that. If I have a chance, I'll try shooting some of the same scenes I did three years ago and see if there's a difference.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Big Fish Grill

Big Fish Grill - Crofton, MDA nice bit of neon, that!

The Big Fish Grill in Crofton, Maryland is a new, well-received seafood restaurant.

Besides the excellent food his establishments serve, restauranteur Harvey Blonder is justifiably admired for the architectural flair and noteworthy decoration of his several restaurants in the Annapolis area.

I took this photo as part of an assignment for Harvey's wife - Big Fish Grill had just opened late last summer, and she wanted some large photos to give him as a Christmas present. It all worked out pretty well.Big Fish Grill - Crofton, MD


Cable Spools

Cable Spools & Aspens - Steamboat Springs, CO   Canon A40When I was at a photo workshop in Steamboat Springs in 2003, I threw my little 2MP Canon A40 P&S digicam into my camera bag. It turns out that I took about twice as many photos with it as compared to film SLRs I brought along for the workshop.

This is a photo I took on our last day, following a hayride and just before our barbeque dinner.

Saturday, March 25, 2006



Stack O' Stetsons - Steamboat Springs, ColoradoI went spelunking into my digital archives and found a few photos from my workshop with Karen Gordon Schulman in 2003.

I had never played with this Stack O' Stetsons image before, and thought I'd give it the Scott Kelby B&W treatment that I described in my previous post. What do you think? I'd say it turned out pretty good.

The original image, straight out of my old Canon A40 2MP digicam, is below. I always thought theat there was a decent photo in there somewhere. Cropping very tight to get rid of background distractions and converting to B&W to emphasize the shapes brought it out.
Stack O' Stetsons - Unmanipulated Image

News flash 3/25/2006 10 PM ... well, what do you know - I posted the B&W image on Usefilm.com today, and ended up with another "Donor Image of the Day" award.


Better B&W From Digital

Loeb Boathouse - Just Removed the ColorOK, I'll let you in on a secret - much of what I've learned about Photoshop Elements is from Scott Kelby's excellent books - I think he's written one for each version so far - the latest is The Photoshop Elements 4 Book for Digital Photographers.

One of the things I know very little about is how to get a decent B&W image from a color digital photo... but yep, Scott goes into that, too.

Loeb Boathouse - Better B&W using Scott Kelby's technique
Here's the general outline to how he says to do it:
At this point, mush the layers you created into one layer with the Layers/Flatten menu. The file still has color information in it - if you want to save file space, you can turn it into a grayscale file with Image/Mode/Grayscale.

For this photo, once I got to this point, I applied local contrast sharpening as I usually do (see this post for how to do that) and then final sharpening. You can see the results in the second image - compare that one to the standard remove-the-color version at top. To paraphrase those laundry soap commercials - whiter whites, blacker blacks, and just nicer overall tonality.

Amazingly, I even got an excellent B&W print of this second image on my 3-1/2-year-old Canon i850 printer. I would have expected some tinting, at least in some areas of the photo, but this print looks like an old-fashioned paper-and-developer B&W print (I doubt that this will work out so well for every image - normally you need an inkjet printer that's designed to do B&W, such as some of the higher-end Epsons.)

If you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, check out Scott Kelby's books - he packs them with excellent practical how-to advice.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Double-T Diner I

Double-T Diner - Ellicott City, MDLooking for something completely different, I came across this photo of the Double-T Diner in Ellicott City, Maryland.

I put the roman numeral "I" in the title of this post to goad me into taking some more photos of diners. There are several in this area, including seven Double-T Diners owned and operated by the three brothers Korologos.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Donor Image of the Day

Usefilm.com Donor Image of the DayI was pleasantly surprised that a photo that I just posted to Usefilm.com was selected as "Donor Image of the Day." I took this one last weekend from the Eastport side of the Spa Creek Drawbridge in Annapolis, using my carry-everywhere Canon A620.

Spa Creek Bridgewalker - Annapolis, MD  Canon A620Besides acting as an online portfolio, Usefilm.com also allows for member-to-member feedback on photos. In this case, I got some very good advice from Hugo de Wolf, a talented photographer from Haarlem in The Netherlands.

Hugo suggested that the lamp on the left side of the photo was detracting from the main subject. He also made some good suggestions for slight recropping of the image.

I took his advice, and the result is the second photo here, which I think benefits greatly from Hugo's kind comments.

Dank u heel veel, Hugo!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Please Allow Me to Repeat Myself...

Pulpits - Annapolis, Maryland  Canon A620As I've mentioned before, I really like repeating patterns. Here are two that I found on a walk around Annapolis' Spa Creek this weekend.

420 Racers - Annapolis, MD  Canon A620By the way, these were both taken with my Canon A620, and I've printed excellent full-frame images (about 12-1/2" x 17") from them.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Yet Another Kid on Fountain Photo ...

Ben at Bethesda Fountain - Central Park, NYCOK, so he's a big kid. After posting that older photo yesterday, I realized I had photos of Ben in the same exact location - Bethesda Fountain in Central Park - the epicenter of New York City as far as Ben and I are concerned. Every visit we make to the city requires the obligatory pilgrimage to Bethesda Terrace. We may arrive at it from one of several directions, but we always end up here.

This photo is from our recent Drexel/NYC trip last month. Ben had climbed onto the fountain and asked me to take some "emo" photos of him - so he put on a serious face for the first few frames. Then I made some wise-guy remark that prompted this expression. Sorry, Ben - I like this better.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Bethesda Fountain Towhead

Bethesda Fountain Towhead - Central Park, NYCAnother photo from the Archives. This one was also taken in my pre-digital days, Summer 2002 to be exact, on a day trip to New York City.

The camera was a Soviet-made Zorki 3M, built circa 1956, with a Jupiter-8 50 mm f/2.0 lens. Metering was with a hand-held Lenigrad-2 meter (I love those old Commie brand names!) Media was Fuji 100 color print film with rotgut drugstore processing; the file was created from a 4x6 print scanned on a flatbed scanner.

I stumbled across this old file today, and although I liked the image, it didn't have much snap - not something that I would want to post. Then I realized I had not given it my 80-20 Photoshop Treatment - so I did that and it responded quite nicely.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Lawn Chair Flyer

Lawn Chair Flyer - Steamboat Springs, CO 2003Nothing much new to post in the last few days, so I'm falling back on that old standby, dusty old photos.

This one is from the Annual Hot-Air Balloon Rodeo in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in July 2003. There were lots of spectacular balloons that day, but this fellow was my favorite balloonist.

Taken with an All-Commie East German rig: a Praktica MTL 5 mounting a CZJ Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 (the slide film was Kodak, at least.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006



Juxtaposition - Southwest 737

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Colliding Circles

Colliding Circles
Unfinished words
flying like birds
Colliding circles in the sky

     from Unfinished Words
     The Rutles

Being a big Rutles fan, when I saw the sunlit ends of this stack of storm drainage pipe, it immediately made me think "Colliding Circles."

The phrase presents a compelling image in the Rutles song, Unfinished Words, which was released on the Archeology album in 1996.

What? You don't know about The Rutles? I'm shocked... yes shocked and stunned ... very stunned.

I didn't stumble across this until recently, but there's a great story behind "Colliding Circles", and if you're a Beatles fan, you've got to read it. Here's a link that explains it all, including the Rutles connection.

Oh yeah, the photo? I took it this morning on the way to work as I was passing by a stormwater drainage construction site. My Canon A620 was on the seat next to me (natch!) and I got to fire off a few shots before the sun went behind the clouds and the luminous rust was no more.

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