Category Archives: Photos

You Know You’re No Longer in the City When

  1. The first people to enter the restaurant after you are all wearing cowboy hats.
  2. The next couple are both wearing black leather biker chaps (non-ironically, and very non-gay).
  3. The next two guys to walk in look 16 years old and they’re in full hunting camouflage.
Three Fingered Jack's

The past two days, I drove up to the North Cascades and around and down to do the full Cascade Loop. The scenery was amazing. The above was from my stop over in Winthrop, which is trying very hard to be a quaint little “authentic” Western town. More on the full trip soon.

Lucky Heron

A few days ago, my father sent this photo out to the family. Our dog, Lucky, went running after a Great Blue Heron that was standing near our pond. My father had his camera ready and took some quick shots of the action.

Lucky Heron

At first I thought it was Photoshopped, but on closer inspection, it looked a little too good for my father’s still-developing skills. He confirmed it was a real shot. Well done! Sometimes I miss the old homestead and the endless wildlife display right in the backyard.

Digital Photos With a Broken CCD

I picked up my old pocket-sized Canon Powershot S230 the other day to take along with me, but when I turned it on I noticed it wasn’t exactly producing the photos it used to. I fiddled with the battery, memory card and various settings for a few minutes without any luck. The playback mode worked fine, but it appeard the CCD, which generates the live LCD preview as well as the photos, was on the fritz. I took a few shots and kinda liked the trippy, purple-hued results. Here’s my broken CCD photoset on Flickr.

The camera also still records the video signal generated from the sensor, so I can shoot my own purple static interference pattern footage. Here’s a sample video feed (2mb, Quicktime). I believe I was panning the skyline in the shot. Can’t you tell?

I’ve had the trusty camera for 4 years and I’ve brought it along with me on many trips, and late-night stumbles around town. It’s been dropped and banged and always continued to work great up until now. On closer inspection, I noticed the left side of the camera body was missing nearly all of it’s screws to hold it together. The metal housing is a bit loose and can shift around. This may be one of the many things that contributed to it’s demise.

At some point I’m sure I’ll get another little portable camera to replace it, but for now I’ve got an interesting new toy. You shall no longer be called Digital Elph. I name you… Purple Haze

Everyone deserves a Moustache

This summer my company was planning to hold its second annual company family picnic at the Woodland Park Zoo. Somehow, two weeks before Friday’s picnic we (myself and another coworker) decided it’d be a perfect time to have a little surprise for the rest of our coworkers. We decided to get as many guys together as possible, to grow moustaches. With the survey here, we confirmed that the “Hogan” (sometimes called a handlebar or “the biker”) was the way to go. People without facial hair began to grow, while others with existing goatees or beards just went along their merry way. Reminders to shave were sent out the day before, but it was still an unknown how many people would fully commit.

Friday morning, we had an impressive 7 representatives. A few of the hold-outs had come prepared, and when they saw the ‘staches well-represented, they made their way to the bathrooms with razors and clippers to join (after a little extra peer pressure). We got an impressive 3 converts that very morning! Arriving at the picnic, we totaled a solid 10 moustachioed faces (missing one from this group shot)…

There were some puzzled/surprised coworkers, not to mention their families and kids who must have been rather frightened (or just plain amused).

And here are the requisite close-ups of some participants, which really demonstrate the variety of scruff we achieved: Chase, Buck, Dan (awarded as Best Last Mnute Trim), Larry, Matt, Michael (awarded as Most Surprising-Don’t-Ever-Do-That-Again), Noah, and Scott (winner of the Most “Village People” Award).

I hope the tradition will continue next year.

Link Sunning in the Park

Link Sunning in the Park

For those of you who didn’t know, Link from the Legend of Zelda lives in Seattle. He is often wandering around the Capitol Hill area of the city, always wearing the same green outfit. I walked through the park this past weekend and there he was enjoying the sun. I believe that’s his handy sword (sometimes thought to be padded PVC or a solid metal bat) in a sheath next to him, leaning on the chair. As the Wiki page describes, he is often seen with “Old Man” and sure enough, sitting nearby on a bench was his friend. There’s more information about Link here.

Hey Baby, nice Lensbaby

I ordered myself a Lensbaby (2.0 version), last week, as well as the macro attachments. It arrived just the other day, and yesterday I ventured out to give it a try with some mixed results…

Ladybug 4 Flower Abstract

A few good shots out of about 80 total. I had most fun playing with the macro attachment, but even normal scenes give good results. The principle is simple: you’ve got a flexible lens mount, so as you bend it and compress it, you’re changing the focal length and therefore adjusting the plane of focus as well as the “sweet spot.” It took me a while to get the hang of focusing, especially on the shaky macro shots and moving subjects (pesky insects!). Want a different aperture (thus expanding or contracting your area of focus), just pop out a disc and put a new one in.

Even though the lens is about as manual as you can get, my Canon continued light-metering in Aperture Priority (Av) mode, and adjusted the shutter speed accordingly. This is pretty nice, since it takes one extra piece of guesswork out of the process. Of course I still found myself making plenty of adjustments.

I’ll keep playing and continue to post the successes in my lensbaby set on Flickr.

Another trek up Mt. Si

Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather this weekend, some friends, Darren and Nora, and I decided to tackle the hike up Mt. Si. I’d been up once before, almost exactly 3 years ago. Has it really been that long!? Time really does fly. This time up, it took about 2 1/2 hours to make the 4 mile hike from parking lot to the top. Rilo, the super-pup made it more than halfway up the moutain before he really started “dogging” it, and then headed back down with Nora. Darren and I rested briefly at the top and then scrambled up the steep Haystack, to the true summit with 360 degree view. It was a much hazier view this time, compared to the last panorama I had, but at least this time the view of Mt. Rainier was there.

Mt Si Panorama

The 4 mile hike up that took us 2 1/2 strenuous hours, only took us 1 hour on the way down. Momentum is hard to resist. No wonder so many people were jogging down. Then there are also the folk who consider Mt. Si a training hike. We saw plenty of people up and down with large, full backpacks (there’s no overnighting off the trail), and lots of trail runners. Considering how much my legs still hurt today, I’m not sure I’ll be considering that a regular training hike any time soon. I sure need to get my legs back in shape.

Sigur Ros in Concert

Last Wednesday was the Sigur Ros concert at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Being that they’re one of my favorite bands, I’d tried getting tickets weeks ago, but it had been sold out since the first day tickets went on sale. Thanks to the good folk at Ticketmaster, there were no other options for finding tickets other than eBay, and I wasn’t about to bid upwards of $100 -$150 per ticket. So on Wednesday night I opted for another fun event and was out having a happy-hour drink listening to Plan B play a DJ set at a Parskid art opening. It was a good alternative, and at about 8:30PM, on our way out a friend of a friend happened to produce two unused tickets for the Sigur Ros concert that was going on at that very moment, just 3 blocks away. What incredible luck!

Arriving at Benaroya Hall 10 minutes later, it happened to be the start of intermission. The seats were orchestra level, toward the back, but a perfect view. And then the show continued. Let me just say that I’d heard time and time again that Sigur Ros puts on an amazing live show, and everything people have said is completely true. The performance and the visuals were just breathtaking.

Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle

It’s hard to imagine the instrumentation that goes into each songs when listening to their albums. There are the typical drums, keyboard, bass and guitar, but at times the lead singer was also backed by 4-5 violinists, violas, cellos, glockenspiels and flutes. All the while, the lead singer/guitarist was creating the band’s signature droning sound by using a cello bow on his guitar. The combination of seeing all the various instruments together, and hearing the organic swells of their songs, on top of dancing lights, and video projections was goosebump-inducing.

Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle

This was by far one of the best live (albeit half) shows I’ve ever seen. There are some videos from their concerts on their site and also clips on YouTube, but they just don’t do as much justice. If you ever get a chance to see them perform, I highly recommend it. Until then, check out some of their music for download here, and their music videos for Glosoli (mov) and their big hit, Hoppipolla (YouTube) which is also being used to promote the BBC’s Planet Earth series. What else has Iceland been hiding from us?

D-List Celebrity Sighting

Santino at the Game

At the Mariners game on Sunday, sitting down the aisle in the same section was Santino Rice from Project Runway. He was pretty easy to spot. For those of you who don’t even know who that is, or even care, just check out this video (YouTube) from VH1’s Best Week Ever, which sums up Santino’s character pretty well. I snapped a couple other photos, but decided not to be too paparazzi-ish.

How to join the HDR Photography fad

It’s hard to browse Flickr much now without running into a lot of these eerily-lit, surreal, colorful photos. These photos tagged with “HDR” are quite common in Flickr’s daily “interestingness“, and the HDR group pool is seeing a lot of activity. Here are a couple shots I took trying out this new technique:

Seattle Downtown Skyline Sunset HDR Space Needle Sunset HDR

So what the heck is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range, and the Wikipedia entry on HDR imaging does a good job of explaining it. Now, the above images are not actually HDR images (as Andy corrected me early-on), they’re tone-mapped images generated from an HDR image. Seems like semantics, but it’s sort of an important distinction that’s been completely lost during this trend.

Using software such as Photoshop CS2 or Photomatix you load multiple exposures of a scene, including full exposure data (you’ll need to shoot in RAW), and the software combines them into a single HDR image. The image contains the varying exposure possibilities for highlights and shadows, using the starting images you gave it. You can think of it as giving you control over the actual light in different areas of the scene. The tone-mapping process is essentially a way of taking all that HDR information and generating an image that shows all the best-exposed parts. It brings out details in shadows, under-exposes bright highlights, etc.

So what’s the point of all of this? Well, the HDR techniques and algorithms have a lot of applications in computer graphics, effects and video games, where natural light is one of the toughest things to simulate. In photography though, this tone-mapping is just a processing step, not unlike a Photoshop filter, which makes for a pretty image. Like shooting in infrared, or macro, or lomo, it’s another tool (some would argue a gimmick) which creates a unique photographic look.

If you’re looking to play around with it, the Flickr HDR group has a lot of tips and links to resources. Looking for interesting things to shoot? Scenes with high light/dark contrast work well since you’ll be under/over exposing your shot to pick up the details in both extremes. Skies and clouds end up looking pretty neat, and so do reflections.

Have fun, and I’ll see you in the next photo fad. Digital pinhole photography? I already missed the boat on fake tilt-shift photography.

Sunset from the Roof

Seattle Sunset Panorama from the Roof

Moved into my new place and internet is finally set up, so I give you a panorama taken from the roof of my building last night. I can’t wait to spend some summer evenings up there. Here are the large and larger sizes on Flickr. (the true original is 9600×2200)