POTW: Clouds are Over There

June 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

POTW: Clouds are Over Here

First off sorry for the delay as I try to get this out before Friday. Also I'm kinda cheating here. This is part of what will probably be next week's set from Faymore's Castle. I really like this photo but it doesn't have anything to do with the castle so didn't want to title as such, but also wanted to have one for both the castle and this. This week I'll show this picture and next week I'll do the rest of the castle.

I took this picture on the way back from the castle. Was walking back and thought this would look good and it came out even better than I imagined. It retained detail in the foreground but also had detail in the clouds, which is a wide range of light.

Like I said, next week will be the rest of the pictures. May be cheating a bit but at least I should have them up earlier in the week.

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POTW: Leatherman Macro

June 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

POTW: Leatherman Macro

Was cleaning my hardly-used leatherman multi-tool when I thought it might look cool close-up. Had a few good ones but liked this the most. It's the edge of the serrated blade that unfolds on the outside (it's a leatherman wave). Still have the Opteka Macro Extension Tube Set on my wish list. Would let me get a lot closer. I could also fake the close up by just do a tight crop of the area I want. I would have taken a setup shot but all I did was set the tool on the middle separator of the sink and hand held it, which is really hard at this distance. Because it was on that edge you can see where it dropped off in the corner.

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POTW: Colossalcon 9

June 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

POTW: Colossalcon 9

Not sure where to begin for this con. Actually for the most part things were all right, probably one of the better cons I've been to aside from Saturday night which I'll get to in a moment. It's smaller than Ohayocon but a little larger than Anime Punch and felt like there's a lot less drama happening around. As for Saturday night, it started out around 3:00 AM when the fire alarm went off. Everyone started to go outside when then other con-attendees (not staff) were like "There's a tornado warning, we should go back inside" which we did and then just went back outside. Was all rather confusing. After that we were told everything was closed till 7:00 AM while they look into the alarm issue (FWIW it was a fluke related to the fluctuations of the weather outside). So everyone goes back to their room. I'm on the patio and I start to hear tornado sirens. Long story short we were evacuated to the basement with the rest of the hotel to wait out a Tornado that possibly touched down in the area. There was an earlier one at around 11:00 PM about 50 miles away. Never found out if one touched down at 4:00 or if it just looked like a tornado was about to form. The whole ordeal was quite... memorable to say the least. But nothing happened and aside from working on a few hours sleep on Sunday everything was fine.

Only had one photo shoot this time of... two characters from Twilight (not the two main characters). I don't know anything about the series but I guess these were the evil ones, or something. I kept getting thrown off by the one person's red contacts. I'll look at the screen and know the flash shouldn't have created red eye and yet I see it. Also not to happy with the flash. Not sure what caused it to not do what I wanted and didn't really notice till I saw them on the computer. Main thing I regret/learned from this is to use the WhiBal white balance card I have. I had it on me but just didn't think to use it. Made color correcting the last couple shots kinda hard. Unfortunately the one I was looking forward was one at night. Brought my light stand and outside wasn't windy which is good for my umbrella but no one showed up. I almost think there was confusion between "registrations" since I just said I'd meet them at registration and there's one to get your pass, another for cosplay, another for games, etc. Now that I've been there I'm more familiar with the layout to give better instructions for a meet spot.

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POTW: Tyler Elevator

June 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm

POTW: Tyler Elevator

I work at what was once an old elevator factory. The number of companies currently in this complex outgrew the limited amount of parking space. To fix that they are tearing down a couple of the buildings to turn the area into a parking lot. Demolition has been fast. It's only a week later and it's almost completely gone. As far as what this once was, all I know is it was once an elevator factory. This has backfired on us since all the elevators are custom elevators they tried out, so there are no standard parts available. The elevator in our building seems to always be down. Usually I just take the stairs, it's safer that way. Glad we're on the third floor and not the seventh. View may be better on seventh but I don't want to do all those stairs when the elevator is down for repairs.

Like this picture from the group because of the perspective it does. I'm still trying to figure out how to show depth in an image. For example that strip of ground on the left and bottom are the roof. The dumpster is three floors below. Because of the wide-angle is did some warping so the dumpster seems to be on an angle when it's flat. An interesting side effect I noticed is it gives a slight tilt-shift look to that part of the image because it's not in focus. It's subtle, but it makes the distortion look a little better. The rest of the pictures can be found here.

I'm going to be at ColossalCon this weekend. Besides meaning next week's picture is going to be of a person for a change it also means I'm going to do a couple more photo shoots. Hopefully applying what I've learned in the past to make these even better.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Masonic Temple Scouting

May 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm

POTW: Masonic Temple Scouting

Weather wasn't all too well but went to check out a masonic temple. Didn't take many while I was there but liked this the best. The lighting looks "interesting" (to me at least) because I'm on one side of the hall facing the windows with my back against the windows on my side. So gives an interesting effect from having a lot of light on one part of the image. Will need to revisit it at some point

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Chippewa Lake Amusement Park

May 19, 2010 at 10:35 pm

POTW: Chippewa Lake Amusement Park

This week I went to Chippewa Lake. It's been a spot I've been meaning to get to for a while. Late last year the owners started to open a part of it to the public. It's pretty much the only time you can see it now since apparently it's pretty well enforced on other days. It was also interesting talking to a couple people that actually ran the rides when it was in operation. Unfortunately I didn't think to get a picture of them in front of their ride.

This is the first actual location where I made heavy use of my polarizing lens. Not as easy as one would think to get that dark blue sky. Also I didn't notice till I got home but there was dust somewhere (that's the dark spot in the other photos). Had to clean everything twice before it finally went away. Chose the picture because most of the pictures I see are of the ferris wheel, roller coaster, or the tumble bug. A lot of the trees have been cleared away so I'm sure the parks days are numbered. Although I think they're going to keep a couple of rides like the ferris wheel when they build the park.

Rest of the pictures can be found here

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POTW: Not Legal for Trade

May 12, 2010 at 8:51 pm

POTW: Not Legal for Trade

Not much to say here. Macro shot of a baby scale. Also took a picture with the text level but liked this one better.

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POTW: Panning

May 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

POTW: Panning

I knew I was going to have a busy weekend so Friday night I walked to the park nearby to take a picture of something. Decided to try out a panning shot. This is the best one of the group. Not happy with moving around but I was hand-holding this. A tripod would have helped eliminate the shakiness of it but I guess it isn't bad for my first attempt at it.

Making this brief because I'm busy redoing my off-site storage drive. I use JungleDisk and I encrypt the drive with a password, which is just a random string I store in KeePass. Well I noticed the password for one of them wasn't updated. The password is also encrypted in the config file on my computer. Essentially I had no way to access the drive if something happened to my computer, which is the whole point of off-site backups. Opened a support ticket hoping they would tell me how it's encrypted. Don't see the security risk in it as it's a config file on my computer. Also I know they can decrypt it because JungleDisk has to in order to access the drive. They wouldn't tell me though. In their defense I am warned to backup the password. Still annoyed they wouldn't tell me when they have the code to access the files freely available. I checked it and didn't see any mention of the config file encryption though. My only options were to send the file to them which would then breach the 100% security I have now, or delete it and re-upload everything. Again, this tells me that they indeed know how to decrypt it but just isn't telling me. When JungleDisk was first around they were far more open about things. Since they got bought by RackSpace it just seems to be going downhill as far as openess goes. I'm sure if they didn't have the source code available at launch they wouldn't have still kept it available. I'm just annoyed because they're security now is basically security by obscurity. Could I have reversed the password? probably. Not only would it took me a while, it would have probably violated the EULA (most say you can't reverse engineer the software) and the DMCA since I'm dealing with encryption. So I guess lesson learned and I'm starting the backup process of uploading 26gb of pictures which is going to take a few days (that's what happens when you take pictures in raw). Fortunately this was a RackSpace disk, and the one positive thing since they bought JungleDisk is I don't get charged bandwidth to upload and download to RackSpace like I am with Amazon S3. I still have it though and actually backup my pictures to both since it's not expensive. I just upload to Amazon once a month or so to save on bandwidth.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Rocky River Metropark

April 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm

POTW: Rocky River Metropark

In honor of Earth Week I went to a metropark on Earth Day. This is the Rocky River Metropark located right next to the Cleveland International Airport. In fact I tried to get a picture of a plane flying above the trees but I only noticed a couple planes the whole time I was there. Also found an apparent hang out spot for kids after school. Was down near the "falls" which took quite an effort to get to and there were a bunch of kids down there, jumping between rocks and balancing on logs; all the stuff parents always tell kids not to do. Worth noting that all the pictures in the gallery, including the longer exposure ones, were hand-held. My lens has a 3 stop image stabilizer and I took advantage of that.

I have found that I could have really used a telephoto lens. Saw a squirrel that was relatively close but not close enough for my Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. I had my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro with me but that still wouldn't have been close enough. Probably next purchase is going to be Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS. It's not expensive and from what I can tell on the reviews the quality for the price is amazing. After that I don't know if I want to go for a super wide angle or a better quality portrait lens. Although I could probably just use my 100mm for portraits. Beyond that it's one of the the 70-200mm lens, which are all pricey. Would probably get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens which is smaller, lighter, and costs less than the f/2.8 version.

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POTW: Lakeview Cemetery

April 23, 2010 at 2:39 am

POTW: Lakeview Cemetery

While running around doing some errands on Sunday I decided to check out Lakeview Cemetery. It was an overcast sky and has been raining off and on so I figured it would create a good backdrop for a cemetery. For those not from around the area, Lakeview Cemetery is a really big cemetery near Cleveland that is the final resting place for several famous people from around Cleveland. One of whom is former president James A Garfield, which is what this picture is from.

Ironically there is a picture of the monument on that wikipedia page that looks pretty much exactly like this one. To the point I was going to do some different post processing to it but I decided against it. Current trends with pictures in cemeteries is making it black and white or sepia and perhaps do a slight blurring to give it an antique feel to it. I completely went against that in this picture. I turned up the sharpness as much as I could before it started to look bad and did the same for saturation. Again I debated making it over saturated but decided against that. Looking at the final image and I realized both the sharpening and saturation which I thought were extreme at the time doesn't look that bad now. The original image was quite dull looking because of the overcast sky. So I essentially took what would have been an already dull looking image and brought it back to what it probably looks like on a sunny day.

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