Monthly Archives: October 2007

El Capitan Reflections

Julian, Nicky, and I left Berkeley after their visit to the dentist and lunch on a Thursday in early October. Despite road work, it was a fast trip, and we came into Yosemite Valley just before sunset. We stopped at a pull-out on the valley floor and made our way over to the Merced. The kids played on the banks and I set my tripod up and tried to capture reflections of El Capitan in a backwater.

I made quite a few exposures, but the ones with good reflections cut the top of El Capitan. For the heck of it, I tried some fisheyes. The horizontal compositions ended up looking pretty weird, a world-in-a-bubble effect, but I like the way this vertical fisheye shot came out.

We’d been planning to spend a few nights in the valley, and then head over Tioga Pass for the Eastern Sierra and Bodie. But mountain snows closed the route, so we came home early instead. Perhaps just as well. The kids had fun trekking around Yosemite, but they were ready for home.

[10.5mm Digital Fisheye, 1/4 of a second at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Roughly, Millenium

This photo shows the Marin Headlands landscape just after dark from the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Mark and I were lucky enough to be able to photograph from the lighthouse after sunset last week on a docent-led photo tour. The shadow on the massive cliff is of the walkway over to the lighthouse, and the lights in the distance are Muir Beach.

I’m using this photo to mark roughly my 1000th post on Photoblog 2.0. Literally, this is post number 1004, but I have deleted a few posts now and then. So, roughly, a millenium of stories and photos. And, by the way, my photostream on Flickr just passed the quarter of million views mark (yes, that is 250,000!). So, welcome the new millenium.

In the beginning: Who put these ducks adrift in a bathtub so wide? Read more.
Post 101: I’m continuing to play with my marbles… Read more.
Post 201: Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon? Read more.
Post 300: Julian and I went over to Indian Rock for sunset… Read more.
Post 400: I’m pleased to present this triptych of poppy photos… Read more.
Post 500: Some people have bird baths, plastic gnomes, wishing wells, or pink flamingos in their garden… Read more.
Post 598: I’ve been reading Dan Margulis’s masterful Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace… Read more.
Post 700: The patterns in this image of the forest in snow don’t make for a grand statement… Read more.
Post 800: This is a photo of early morning in Yosemite Valley from Leidig Meadow… Read more.
Post 900: A great bank of fog has covered the Bay area, so it’s a little hard to remember that this past week was summer… Read more.
Post 1001: I’ve never blogged this photogram of a Peruvian Lily… Read more.
Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area


This is an extremely close up of a translucent alstromeria petal. It reminds me of soft stained glass.

Different alstromeria interpretations: Sunshine of the Flower Mind, Alstromeria.

[2oomm f/4 macro, 300mm in 35mm equivalent terms, extension tube plus stacked close-up filters, 2.2 seconds at f/40 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Sunshine of the Flower Mind

Here’s a very different take on Alstromeria.

Posted in Flowers, Photography


I’ve never blogged this photogram of a Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria), and looking at it again I think it’s worthy.

Posted in Flowers, Photograms, Photography

Bridge and Pier

Last night was balmy and almost tropical on the Berkeley Pier, as Mike and I took pictures of the Golden Gate. This was my last exposure of the evening, at a bit over three minutes.

[142.5mm in 35mm equiavlent terms, 195 seconds at f6.3 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Orange Poppy and Shadow

This orange Papaver nudicaule is a companion piece to yellow Papaver and Shadow.

Posted in Flowers, Photography


Pears by Harold Davis

Pear, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a photo of pears from our garden. I took the image with my new Canon Powershot G9. For a “toy” camera (and I mean no disrespect), the G9 makes beautiful captures at an impressive 12.1 Megapixel capture size.

I’ve been experimenting with the idea that noise can be beautiful. Just as film grain could be used for aesthetic purposes in the days of analog, noise can be used visually in the digital era. I shot this photo at a high ISO, expecting plenty of noise. Actually, the noise wasn’t as extensive as I had expected, and it was qualitatively attractive noise at that. I post-processed, using the Noise Ninja Photoshop plug-in, for the noise selectively, allowing the central pear to stay relatively noisy, and smoothing the edges of the image.

Obviously, at f/8 there’s more depth of field because of the sensor size than I’d expect from my dSLR (see Sensor Size and Depth of Field).

[Canon G9 fixed lens, appx. 70mm in 35mm equivalent terms, macro mode, f/8 at 1/100 of a second and ISO 1600, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Photography


It’s remarkable what you can do in post-processing. Compare my original conversion from the RAW of my Yosemite Dreams (far below) with a more recent version (immediately below) I created in Photoshop for a special project. (There’s actually no comparison to either version with the far duller look of the original RAW file that appeared when I first looked at it with default settings in Adobe Bridge.)

Yosemite Dreams 2

These file versions go a long way to confirm my contention that digital photography is an entirely new medium, one part photography and one part digital manipulation. Photographers who ignore the “digital painting” aspect of this new medium do so at their own peril, as do digital technicians who ignore the need to take great photos in the first place. Those who critique the new medium based on the aesthetic of the inviolate unmanipulated negative are truly lost in this brave new world.

Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

For a long time I resisted the metaphor from silver halide photography that “the RAW file is the negative” and the final version is the print. A reason for my resistance is that the metaphor doesn’t completely work: a post-processed photo is not a print, it is a file that (theoretically) many literal, physical prints can be made from.

But there’s a significant kernel of truth in the metaphor: using the power of the “digital painting” it’s possible to make many different end-result images starting from a single RAW capture.

Posted in Photography, Photoshop Techniques