Sunday, April 30, 2006

Weekends Are Hard

I think I will only post one picture on the weekends. I find that I have less time on the weekends to work on my photos and I think that there are fewer people checking out this corner of the web. If, however, you are one who surfs blogs on the weekend only, please feel free to check out the work I have posted during the week.

I'm not very fond of this photograph. I think that is partly because I am grumpy. And tired. Whatever...I think I took the photo because I liked the two different tones of green reflecting off the water. Mildly interesting I suppose. Not much Photoshopping here.

Thanks for all the feedback you guys leave. Feel free to be very honest with me if a photo is not as strong as it could be. I don't want this to turn into some sort of feel good exercise. The point is to improve my skills.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 65mm, f/8.0, 1/125 sec, ISO 50

Friday, April 28, 2006

Red Light, Green Light

The problem with taking photos while driving is that you rarely have enough time to adjust your camera settings. I took this photo while at a red light. If I was carefully planning the shot I would have had a larger lens opening and a faster shutter speed. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with a slightly blurry subject, but I like the picture too much to junk it.

Besides cropping it, I made a few adjustments to this picture in order to punch up the "message". I boosted the saturation on the sleeping man, while desaturating the opposite corner. I also increased the contrast in the top left so that the word "listen" would stand out more.

I'm not 100% satisfied with this image, but unfortunately I accidentally saved over the original file, so I can't really undo the things I would like another try at. What do you think? Is it too preachy?

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 20mm, f/8.0, 1/60 sec, ISO 50

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tulip or not Tulip? That is the question.

At the risk of becoming redundant, I am giving you another tulip photo today. I had a lot of fun attempting to take close-ups of the flowers with my camera. While there are a lot of things you can do with a simple point and shoot camera, sometimes you encounter limitations. I never hesitate to mention those limitations to my wife, in hopes that one day she will suggest that I purchase an SLR.

The macro setting on my camera leaves plenty to be desired. I find that because it is simply making use of my wide angle/zoom lens, it includes too much in the picture space. Therefore, I feel the need to either get closer to my subject or zoom in. Unfortunately, the camera won't focus if I do either of these things.

My best bet is to back up and use my zoom while on the regular setting. That's what I did on this photo. I used Photoshop to underexpose a touch in order to ensure that the background would be dark enough (so as to not be a distraction) and to bring out the beautiful pink hue in the flower. I should have used a faster shutter speed because the wind was blowing, but I got lucky and escaped blurring.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 60mm, f/3.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 50

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

That's A Lot Of Tulips

It took us a while to find the tulips (most fields were cut down on the weekend), but even one field was plenty. There were some lovely colours there and it was a joy to capture them. The sky was a very pale grey while we were in the tulip field, so I spent a few minutes today trying to 'fix' the sky on several shots that are otherwise good. Unfortunately, my Photoshop mojo has left me today, so I'll have to try again another time.

However, I did find an image that is in no way effected by a dull sky. I cropped a couple rows of purple off the bottom, but otherwise this photo was not enhanced. I think this picture works because of the parallel 'bands' of colour. I really like the way the light purple in the top left corner teases the viewer into thinking that the field goes on forever. In fact, the horizon had dirt fields and junk piles.

I've been learning how to frame the subject very carefully so that I only include that which conveys the 'feeling' I am attempting to capture. If I can't get it from where I am standing, I'll often move around my subject until only the essentials are in the frame. Of course, often I can't get it the way I want, but I'm learning to at least try.

Canon PowerShot S2IS, 27mm, f/8.0, 1/50 sec, ISO50

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No Tulip For You!

I had a fantastic day with Bethany and the famous Uncle Robert and Aunt Sylvia. We went to the Tulip Festival and had a wonderful time together. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow, but right now I'm really tired. Needless to say, we took lots of pictures of tulips. However, I'm not going to post a tulip photo tonight because I haven't had time to review them in detail. I'll find a good one for you for tomorrow.

Today's photo is another picture of that Volkswagen junker I showed you a couple of days ago. I decided to keep this one in colour because I really liked the green and rust on the small car. I think that (for the most part) the green car keeps the eye on the subject and does not allow the colourful containers to be too strong of a distraction. The tight cropping helps too. The foreground bugs me a bit, but that can't be helped. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure why I like this photo, but I do. So there.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 45mm, 1/60 sec, f/8.0, ISO 50

Monday, April 24, 2006


I'm short on time, so this will be brief. I took this photo from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. I cropped it, but otherwise it is unprocessed.

I'm going on a tulip hunt with the famous Uncle Robert and Aunt Sylvia tomorrow. I'm hoping to learn a bit about how to photograph flowers. I'll share some of the results with you later this week. Going golfing today, wish me luck...

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 6mm, f/8.0, 8 sec, ISO 50

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Age and Misuse

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I went to a junk yard area in search of some new subject material. This was one of the images that I came up with. I have some others that I may share some time in the future.

The photo was cropped and desaturated. I then added the brown hue and a small amount of noise. I feel that the added effects enhance the feeling of age and misuse. Also, the containers in the background were a distraction when the photo was in colour.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 45mm, f/8.0, 1/60 sec, ISO 50

Friday, April 21, 2006

As Promised...

A few nights ago, Bethany and I spent the evening with my brother and his wife. They live on the 'north shore' (the other side of the bay). The four of us took a brief walk by the water. My brother has a new camera as well (a slightly more basic model of my Canon), so we took some pictures together. I think his pictures turned out better than mine, but that has probably happened to many of us...

This was one of the few photos I took that I was happy with. There was rain falling in the Georgia Straight, but it was hard to capture it. This was one of the more successful attempts. I took some similar photos without the dock in the foreground, but I think I like the railing in this image. There are no alterations on this photo, this is straight from the camera.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 6mm, f/3.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 50

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Change Up

One of the things I try to do well here is variety. Unfortunately, in order to keep things different, I won't always post my best work. Today is a good example of this. I have various 'sunset over ocean' photos that I would like to share with you, but I don't want to post the same kind of thing every day.

With this in mind, I have been trying to find other subjects to explore. I haven't found anything that I'm very excited about, but I'm going to keep looking. A couple of days ago I wandered around the perimeter of a junk yard hoping to find something interesting. I wasn't very pleased with the results. Today's photo comes to us from the edge of the golf course parking lot. I snapped a couple of pictures after a lousy showing at the driving range.

Tomorrow will bring another sky/ocean shot, I promise...

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 9mm, f/8.0, 1/25 sec, ISO 50

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Raccoons Are Cute

If you haven't seen yesterdays image, please check it out and let me know what you think. Today's post is not necessarily a terrific photo, but it is a cute picture.

Bethany and I were at Stanley Park last night taking a few pictures when three raccoons came to check us out. It was really hard to get a photo because my viewfinder was completely dark. But with a strong flash and a bit of luck, I was able to get a few good shots. This was one of them.

Don't mind his eyes. I tried forever to correct his 'red eye' (they were really white), but this was as good as I could get it.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 15mm, f/3.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 50

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fickle Weather

I'm not entirely sure that I like this picture, but here goes nothing...

The other night I was at the park with the kids. The sun was beginning to go down in the west, while the rain clouds were gathering in the east. The sun started beating on the community center, so I ignored the kids for a minute and snapped this photo.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 13mm, f/8.0, 1/200 sec, ISO 50

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Sunset

I got some very helpful feedback on yesterday's photo. I learned that everyone has different tastes. Your reactions were greatly varied!

Suby has warned me against abusing my Photoshop privileges. I think that last night's sunset is great on its own, so very little post processing was done. Today's photo required a slight cropping and mild adjustment of the levels. I'm still displeased with the amount of noise in my sunset photos. I know you can't see the noise at this size, but at the full resolution, it seems pretty bad. I've posted the original below. I took this picture last night from Kits Beach in Vancouver.

Canon S2 IS, 1/15 sec, f/8.0, 44mm, ISO 50

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Running Low

I was really pleased with the feedback on yesterday's post. Your honest feedback is very helpful and your software tips have been great lately. Thanks.

The weather really has not cooperated this week, so I've not taken many photos. Normally I would go out in sucky weather, but I've been working all weekend. Because I'm new to photography, I haven't a large selection of previous work. Therefore today's photo comes from that trip to Stanley Park I took with Bethany a couple of weeks ago.

I learned a lot of lessons about exposure that night, so I will certainly be trying that area again. I tried to rescue some of the mistakes with some goofy artistic tricks. This was one such attempt. Ironically, one bit of feedback I got yesterday suggested that perhaps I rely on Photoshop too much. That may be true, and today's picture is no exception. I am learning to take a photo that is good in it's own right. Presumably, the better I get at this, the less I will need Photoshop as a crutch.

For interest sake, below is the original photo. It's fine, I guess...

f2.7 / 8.0 sec. Thanks for telling me how to find EXIF data! Anything else I need to include? I wouldn't use these settings again, I would use a smaller lens opening.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Try, try, try again...

I've gone out into my backyard to photograph this hyacinth four times. Each time I go, I take about six shots. A few times, I have come close to capturing this flower the way I had originally envisioned it. However, I've never been satisfied with the final result.

Although I did try a few different ideas, my original design was to include only a portion of the flower. After trying a couple of wider angle shots, I decided that my original vision was best. My last trip to the backyard brought this image. I cropped it as a square (never done that before) in order to exclude all things that were unimportant to the composition. It's a good thing I did finally get a photo that I was satisfied with, because I noticed this afternoon that today's heavy rain beat the crap out of the plant.

By the way, is there any way to check the camera settings for a picture after it has been imported onto the hard drive? I would like to be able to post the shutter speeds, etc., but I always forget to check them on the camera before I delete the picture from my memory card.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away

The weather has been cold and wet, so I'm not inclined to go out. Instead, I took a picture looking through my window at the tree in the front yard.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Does this count?

I took this picture in Fort Langley a couple of days ago. I was disappointed with the fact that the sky was washed out, so I was trying to find a way to improve it. I had tried several different approaches, including isolating the sky, but found that I am not skilled enough with Photoshop to obtain the results I was hoping for. In a moment of frustration, I boosted the saturation on the entire image by a factor of 100%. The above picture was the result. I thought it was kind of neat, so I figured I would share it with you.

Below, I have included the original photo. As I said, I am satisfied with the composition, but the sky seemed mildly overexposed. This photography thing is hard, but I'm determined to figure it out. Thanks to the famous Uncle Robert (you should taste his Port) for all his help!

If you haven't seen yesterdays picture, please take a moment to check it out. Several people have commented that they cannot detect the noise. This is due to the limited resolution. When seen at a higher resolution, the picture is quite grainy. Someone told me that I should reduce the noise one channel at a time. I tried that, but I don't have the technique figured out very well. Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Noise Reduction?

My good friend Allon joined me on a rather rushed excursion to the University of British Columbia last night. It was my first time taking photographs there, so unfortunately we did not find the best vantage point. This was my second time photographing the sunset, and I was careful not to overexpose my shots. Having said that, I'm wondering if I underexposed them...

I was pleased with the colours in this photo, but when I viewed it at a higher resolution I was disappointed to see so much noise. I was careful to only use ISO 50, so I'm wondering why the noise? Did I underexpose the picture, leading to a great deal of noise? My other question is about getting rid of the noise. I've been thoroughly discouraged with the noise reduction filter that comes with Photoshop CS2. Is there a really good filter out there? I've heard of Noise Ninja, but it costs about $50. Is it worth the money, or is there a better solution out there? Give me your thoughts. Oh, other than the noise, what do you think of last night's sunset?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Sorry I missed yesterday. Somewhat busy. Today's picture is self explanatory. I took this a couple of weeks ago before I had a tripod, so I sat the camera on the ground. This is at Stanley Park. I boosted the saturation to cause the picture to stand out a bit more.

I'm going out to take some photographs today. We'll see what I come up with...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vancouver at Night

Hey, I'm still new at this. One thing I'm discovering is that sometimes I take a picture that looks good when I view the thumbnail, but when I view it full screen, I find it rather underwhelming. This was one of those. I'm learning, however, to manipulate the photo to see if I can improve the effectiveness of the photo. This image was boring when in colour, but when I changed it to black and white, I found it had a greater impact. What do you think?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My Wife's Picture

Bethany posted a lovely photo that she took while we were in Northern British Columbia. It's really nice. I don't know any fancy HTML language, so click below.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Double Exposure

Hey all. The famous Uncle Robert has lent me a couple of books on photography by Freeman Patterson. In The Joy of Photography I read a passage about double exposures (the book is 30 years old, so it of course refers to film). This is my attempt at a 21st century double exposure, using Photoshop. I think it's kind of fun.

I took a picture of these (magnolia?) buds while focused on the bushes in the distance. I then (thank you tripod) took the same picture, focusing on the buds. I layered them in Photoshop and this was the result.

Thank you all for your visits to this site. I enjoy seeing your work on your respective web pages and appreciate your feedback here. I learn a lot about what makes an interesting picture when I see your photos.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


And now for something completely different. I took a few shots of my backgammon board. This was my wife's favorite photo of the lot. Perhaps I'll post my favorite at a later date. Tried a few different things with the DoF, but felt this was best. I love backgammon. This was actually my parents' board from when they were my age (mid twenties). Bethany and I play often.

By the way, I'm loving having a tripod. I find that I think a lot more about composition when I use one. Why is that?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sunset in Vancouver

My wife and I went out to Stanley Park last night to have fun with the new tri-pod. We had a lot of fun, but the results left a lot to be desired. I should say that I really had a great time with my wife. She helped me carry some of the gear and she recommended some great shots. We really enjoyed each other's company. So if you've got a significant other, try bringing them along some time, it's a lot of fun.

I took several photos of the sunset as veiwed from the west side of Stanley Park. I'll probably post a few over the next couple of days. This was my first time ever photographing a sunset. I was amazed at how often the colours change! I've never noticed that before. I think I tended to overexpose a lot of my shots, so I'll try correcting that next time. I learned a lot and can't wait to try it again...

Happy Birthday Paso

It's Paso's birthday today, so I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of him. I took my tri-pod to Stanley Park last night to try a few sunset shots. Perhaps I'll post one of those later today. Not much response on yesterday's photo, so I'm feeling the pressure to get it right today. We'll see what I come up with...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stucco & Blossoms

This isn't a post tri-pod picture. Those will be coming soon, but I thought I'd post a picture that I took a couple of days ago. I've been wanting to take this photo for about a week, so I had thought a lot about the composition. I liked the colour of the blossoms as a contrast to the old stucco. I also liked the window. I was careful not to get the corner of the house in the frame, as it was a distraction. I also took a picture without any grass in the foreground, but I think the grass gives some perspective and frames the subject nicely. What do you think?


Going out to get a tri-pod today. Just gonna get a cheap one for now. I'll take some photos with it this afternoon.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Leaf & Light

This picture makes me feel happy. It's just one leaf of a very large plant in our living room. In the evenings, the sun shines through a window and this is what it looks like. I guess the picture makes me feel comfortable because it reminds me of sitting on my couch. It's possible that without the cozy connotations, this is a rather boring picture. But I like it. So there.
Oh, and I framed it pretty tight because I wanted zero clutter in this picture. Better to have only a portion of the leaf than to have the whole leaf along with distractions.

More of the same...

Ali wanted to see the original picture from which I gleened yesterday's image. I think this is it. I have to very similar shots that I took of this pond. I'll post something else later today.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

My wife liked it...

I'm embarrassed to say that I'm actually running out of decent photos to post. I've had a busy weekend, so I haven't had much time for photography. Having said that, I hope to have several opportunities to take some photos this week. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

There weren't many comments on that last picture of the beat up flower. I'm not sure what to make of that. Perhaps people haven't visited in the last 24 hours, or it could be that people didn't like it. I should mention that if you don't like a picture, I'd love to hear about it (provided your criticism is somewhat constructive). That's the only way to learn.

I'm posting this picture because my wife liked it. It is only a small cropping of a much larger picture that may get further consideration in the future. Obviously the original was in color. I was just having fun exploring different aspects of the picture when I found this group of rocks and their reflection. I tried it in black & white because the colours were pretty bland anyway. I then added just a hint of purple, but I don't really know why I did it. Like I said, I'm running out of material that I like. I'm pretty sure there is a term for this kind of picture that is black and white, with a slight hint of one colour. I don't know what the term is, so if somebody could fill me in...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Subject vs. Composition

I'm of two minds when it comes to this picture. I think I like composition. The lighting is fine, the depth of field is good, the colours are decent. I also like the way the leaves in the foreground frame the flowers. I don't like the subject itself. The flowers are of the plain variety, and they are not in very good condition. I've posted this picture because I would like feedback on the composition. If I'm on the right track, I'd like to keep my eye out for opportunities to take similar photos of flowers that are having a better day.

Thanks for all of the feedback I have been getting of late. I'm learning!