Monthly Archives: September 2006

Digital Photograms

Here are two more digital photograms of the gaillardia ‘fanfare’: one in red and one in blue. Enjoy!

Blue Gaillardia

View this digital photogram larger.

Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Photograms for the Digital Era

I photographed this gaillardia on a white background and, as with the bougainvillea bract, used LAB color modality in Photoshop to tinker with the hues and saturation. I think the effect is a digital-era version of a Man Ray rayograph, which are also called photograms.

Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography, Photoshop Techniques


Like my Gladiolus photo, this was a pretty straight studio shot of a bougainvillea bract. In Photoshop, I converted to LAB color. I kept a copy of the original, and inverted each channel, which I applied back in various blends to the original via layers and layer masks.

Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography, Photoshop Techniques


This is a fairly straight studio shot taken with my Sigma 50mm Macro lens of gladiolas in a vase. I converted it to LAB Color in Photoshop, and then inverted the Luminosity (L) channel (by making sure only the L channel was selected in the Channels palette, and choosing Image > Adjustments > Invert). This essentially had the impact of turning the seamless white background to black without changing the other color values in the image.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Drop on a Dahlia

A water drop on the red dahlia in my garden in the morning…

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Water Drops

When the World Was Whole

This is one of my archived photos, scanned from film, of the New York City skyline before 9/11 showing the World Trade Towers. I took this image from the Rockefeller Center deck sometime in the mid 1980s.

More photos that show the World Trade Towers here, here, and here.

Posted in Photography

New York, New York

As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 arrives, I’m reviewing my archives of World Trade Tower images. I remember the world before this tragedy as a somewhat gentler and more wonderous place, and these images scanned from film help me remember that feeling.

I took this photo from the Statue of Liberty island sometime in the late 1970s. It was an in-camera double exposure, which in its own way is quite a technical feat, although easy enough to accomplish the same effect today in Photoshop. Technically, in-camera double exposures pose both an exposure challenge and are not so easy to physically align. This negative was the only good one out of a couple of hundred that I took at the scene.

I used a star filter on the lens, which had the side effect of softening the image. Today, in the world of digital, I would probably never use a physical star filter, although I might add a “virtual” star effect in post-processing.

This image was published as a poster in the early 1980s by Bruce McGaw Graphics to commemorate an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

Posted in Photography

In Memory of 9/11: World Trade Towers Photos

On 9/11 our world changed for the worse. Every year around the anniversary I am saddened.

As a photographer living in New York I photographed the World Trade Towers for many years. I’ve scanned many of these archived images from film. Here’s an earlier story about these photos, and a link to the my set of these World Trade Tower photos on Flickr.

Posted in Photography

Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point

A photograph from springtime in Yosemite Valley, when the trees are green and the waterfalls are full. I triple processed the RAW file for this image to bring out the light on the scene: once for the brighter areas around Bridalveil Falls, once for the shadows on the left, and once for the sky. As part of my workflow, I used Curves to color correct in LAB Color space, and Levels in RGB.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Macro Photography and Mental Health

I’m slowly recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis. Feeling sick makes it hard for me to enjoy photography. So fooling around with macro photography of flowers in my garden shows that I’m feeling better physically, and mentally as well.

I tried to capture the cone flower (above) from an unusual angle. The red dahlia (below) is a great macro subject because of the pattern of the petals. I liked the light shining through the petunia (far below), and the striking green of the stamen in the center of the flower (you may need to view the flower at a larger size to really see this).

These three macro photos were tripod mounted with my Nikon 200mm f/4 macro lens at f/36 with moderately long exposures (between 1/8 and 1/2 of a second each).

Now, when you see me doing water drops in the morning, you’ll know I’m really feeling fine!

Red Dahlia

View this photograph larger.

Petunia Neon Rose

View this photograph larger.

Posted in Flowers, Photography


Three generations went hiking together over Labor Day weekend. Shown on the Estoro Trail on Point Reyes from left to right: Harold (me!), Julian (my son), Virginia (my mom), and Peter (my nephew).

Posted in Hiking, Kids

Morning in the Foothills

Early in the morning of a chill day in February, Julian and I found ourselves along Route 49 just south of Jamestown, California in the western foothills of the Sierra. Later in the day, we would encounter a blizzard in the mountains, but that was still in the future. For now, all I knew was that the clearing morning fog looked like it should make for great atmospheric photos.

I was disappointed to find that the photos of the lifting morning clouds didn’t live up to my hopes because they lacked contrast and color. This one was salvaged using multiple layers, each of which consisted of a different RAW exposure. There are three layers involved, one for the foreground, one for the middle areas (the trees and some hills), and one for the fog and clouds (and hills in the distance).

Posted in Landscape, Photography

Golden Gate from Wildcat Peak

I took this photograph from the top of Wildcat Peak in Tilden Park looking towards the Golden Gate at sunset, and hiked back down to the Inspiration Point parking lot in the dark. It was kind of chilly, but I had a jacket and my headlamp.

Here’s another photo from the same set that I processed a while ago. The trick with post-processing this image was to maintain the brilliance of the colors without letting them blow out.

I think you’ll agree that this correction is more successful than my earlier one. Here, I converted to the LAB color space and worked in both the A and B channels. Once I converted the image back to RGB, I used Levels to adjust the colors, particularly the red channel. So this image represents a two-step correction model.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Mirror Lake Reflections

In the summer, Mirror Lake in Yosemite Valley is a dried-up lake bed of sand and scrub brush. However, in the early years of tourism in Yosemite Valley Mirror Lake lived up to its name, and reflected the backside of Half Dome. An elegant Victorian hotel stood on the banks. In the summertime, debutantes danced to live orchestras, and in the winter there was ice skating.

It is part of the Park Service’s management of Yosemite Valley to return Mirror Lake to the way it would have been without human intervention.

Today, if you want to see reflections in Mirror Lake, you should visit in the winter or spring. As spring moves into early summer, the scene becomes really beautiful. By June, the lake is dry again.

This photograph was taken in early March. I used a polarizer to help accentuate the reflections.

The RAW “negative” was twice processed, once for the reflected mountains and once for the water areas that show the (lighter) sky. I converted each “exposure” to LAB color. The reflected sky areas were mainly corrected using the A channel (Green-Magenta), and the reflected mountains were modified using the B channel (Yellow-Blue). I put the layers together using a layer mask and the Photoshop PaintBrush tool.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Summer Haze

I went over to Indian Rock the other day to photograph sunset over the Golden Gate. Unfortunately, as I was setting up my tripod, the clamp fell apart. I was able to salvage the pieces, and saved them in a plastic baggie, but I couldn’t put the ball clamp back together while rushing to photograph sunset.

As I photographer (and backpacker, and parent, and…) I’ve learned to do the best I can with what I’ve got on hand. So this photo was captured handheld using the image stabilization feature of my 18-200mm Nikon lens.

A photo like this one works, or doesn’t work, depending on the gradation of light that it shows. The difference between a mundane image and one that resonates is subtle. So I say, three cheers for LAB color, which I used as part of my workflow in post-processing this capture.

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area