Monthly Archives: June 2008

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Sheila blooms in the shade of my garden. I snipped this crown of flowers, and brought it inside to play with.

The image combines two captures, both exposed for transparency, and a flatbed scan.

Hydrangea

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[Composite image derived from Epson flatbed scanner and two Nikon D300 captures, one at 3 seconds and one at 1 second. Both captures: 105mm f2.8 macro lens (157.5mm in 35mm terms), f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photograms

Swim Ladder

Swim Ladder

Swim Ladder, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

The reflections in the swimming pool ladder intrigued me because they looked like an abstract work in stained glass. I focused on three different points, using two different exposures for each focus point. The resulting image combines the six captures.

[Nikon D300, 105mm f2.8 macro lens (157.5mm in 35mm terms), six captures with shutter speeds ranging from 4/5 of a second to 2 seconds, all captures at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Holding Katie

Yesterday I got to hold Katie in the NICU. Katie Rose is looking more like a newborn baby. Katie is looking like herself. Katie is going strong and closing in on three pounds fast.

Katie Buddha

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In the NICU, they’ve turned off the environmental settings in Katie’s isolette (they are keeping it warm, but they’ve turned the humidity off). This means that she is wearing clothes now, and very happy when all swaddled up, as you can see in this photo that Phyllis took of Katie on my chest:

Holding Katie

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Wrapped up like this, Katie is the sweetest bundle.

While I was holding Katie, a nurse who had helped resuscitate Katie on the day she was born, and who hadn’t seen her since then, came over to talk with us. She told us how happy she was to see Katie alive and well, and what a miracle it was. All babies are miracles, of course, but Katie seems more of one than most!

Katie is Kuddly

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Posted in Katie Rose, Kids

Event Horizon

If you’re like me when it comes to wild and wacky Photoshop creations that start as digital photos, sometimes you don’t remember how you got to your end point. A related issue: sometimes in the process of experimenting one of the intermediate “experiments” seems better than the final version, so was it saved? How do you get back to it? Some of the good photocompositions get away, and this is all a matter of that apparently dull topic: workflow.

I’m not addressing the issue of Photoshop workflow in this story in detail, although I do have it pretty well down by now. Put simply: I archive all interesting variants of everything. This is a large topic, and means tracking a great many files and variants. I do plan to write more about this subject, which might generally be called post-processing, perhaps in that Photoshop book that I plan to get to some day.

A related issue is structuring and organizing storage for one’s digital images, and I do have a detailed blog story planned on the topic, so stay tuned.

The aesthetics, purpose, and (if you will) composition of photocomposition comprise another subject that I’m passing on for now. Sometimes it is best to approach imagery in a simple frame of mind: Does it do something for you, or not? This is related to the Supreme Court’s famous test for obscenity: Justice Stewart couldn’t define obscenity, but he knew it when he saw it.

No, this story merely shows the photographic pieces that I used to assemble the photocomposite I’ve called Event Horizon (immediately below).

Event Horizon

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To head into a black hole of a tangent, Event Horizon is the title of rather silly 1997 science fiction film. According to the Wikipedia, in general relativity an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime, an area surrounding a black hole, beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. Light emitted from inside the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer’s side is never seen again.

Moving away from image titles, the genesis of Event Horizon is the relatively straight architectural photo of the Life Sciences Annex on the Universoty of California at Berkeley campus shown below.

Life Sciences Annex

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I photographed this building stopped down for full depth of field using a circular polarizer to bump the reflections at 22mm (33mm in 35mm terms), 1 second and f/25 at ISO 100.

After a series of straight exposures, I started fooling around zooming during the exposure (see In a What-If State of Mind for more on this technique).

Waterfall Method (below) is the result of zooming from 70mm to 24mm (105mm to 36mm in 35mm terms) with the camera still on the tripod while doing a 2 second exposure at f/25 and ISO 100.

Waterfall Method

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So here’s my recipe: Take the original architectural shot, add a zoom time lapse slightly overexposed photo, and sprinkle in a pinch of Photoshop layering and channel operations, and Voila!

Posted in Bemusements, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Normandy Village Stair

Normandy Village Stair

Normandy Village Stair, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Wandering around Berkeley, California just north of the UC Berkeley campus, I thought I’d fallen through a rabbit hole into an alternative universe. (Maybe the giant cyclatron on campus had malfunctioned, and I had?)

There was a maze of cobblestone alleys, courtyards, gargoyles, and twisting stairs (see view below to get the general feeling). I stopped to photograph, and learned that the area is called Normandy Village. It was designed by William Yelland to replicate a French village, shortly after Yelland’s stint in France during the first World War.

Normandy Village

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Posted in Bemusements, Photography, San Francisco Area

Katie and Her Grandpa

Katie and Her Grandpa

Katie and Her Grandpa, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

Katie’s grandparents are back from travels in Poland and Russia, and we were able to bring them to visit Katie Rose for the first time. The logistics of visiting in the NICU are a bit complicated because only two adult visitors are allowed at a time per baby, one of whom is supposed to be a parent. So we traded off visiting by Katie’s isolette. As you can see in this photo, Grandpa Martin was smitten with little Katie at first sight.

Katie is gaining weight and continuing to do well. She’s been moved out of the receiving room at the NICU. This is a good thing, because her new home is quieter. It’s a good place in the NICU to settle in for a long stay, away from the ebb and flow of the receiving NICU room.

They put an IV line in her foot last night to give her indomethican. The thought is that the drug may help close her open ductus, the blood vessel that connects a baby’s aorta and pulmonary artery while the baby is in the womb. In most full-term babies, the ductus closes on its own.

The condition of having an open ductus is called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, or PDA for short. While PDA if unresolved can lead to serious consequences such as lung damage, in a preemie of Katie’s gestational age it is fairly routine to deal with it.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Pacifier

Pacifier

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

Why did I do this binkie on black? I don’t know…

Posted in Bemusements, Katie Rose, Photograms, Photography

Katie Likes Her Binkie


Katie Likes Her Binkie


Katie Likes Her Binkie, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

Katie likes her binkie (pacifier), but she can’t quite manage to keep it in, so in the photo above Phyllis is helping her hold this comfort object in her mouth.

They gave Katie a bolus of caffeine, and that seems to have solved her breathing irregularities. It’s common to give caffeine as a gentle stimulant to preemies. As I’ve said before, she’ll fit right in our family. Phyllis and I need our caffeine, too!

Since she now seems so comfortable, they’ve postponed the echocardiogram, essentially I think on the grounds of, “Why look for trouble?”

Katie’s continues to eat and grow like a champ. She’s up to 1,080 grams (about 2 pounds and 6 ounces).

By accident, Katie’s binkie hit the floor, so I took it home, and photographed it for transparency on a light box (below).

Katie's Binkie
Katie’s Binket, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Rexy

Rexy

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

This photo shows the bones of a T. rex found in Montana. This Tyrannosaurus skeleton now lives in the Life Sciences building on the U.C. Berkeley campus. I thought that framing the monster from below with the spiral stair above would make an interesting composition.

Some related stories: Marin Dome; Stair Aye; Stairs.

[Nikon D300, 10.5mm digital fisheye, 1.3 seconds at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Hospital Corners

Hospital Corners

Hospital Corners, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Phyllis and I were on our way back from a lunch break while visiting Katie Rose in the NICU. I noticed this security mirror in the corner of the hospital corridor, and couldn’t resist a grab shot.

Of course, we’re grateful for the progress Katie has made, and the good care being taken of her, but the hospital experience is always wearing on loved ones. Sometimes it feels like walking through endless, badly lit shabby halls with turn after turn. The experience is what this photo is about for me.

Related image: Crossing the Richmond Bridge.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens at 65mm (97.5mm in 35mm terms) with image stabilization engaged, 1/125 of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 2,500, hand held.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Our Little Katie

Our Little Katie

Our Little Katie, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

I took this photo of Katie yesterday, and we like the expression on her face. What does she see? Her face looks almost like a little baby face and less like a preemie’s face. Katie keeps on gaining weight, which is great!

Katie is have a little problem breathing today, and maybe with her heart. These issues are not surprising; she is still very, very small. So they’ve upped her oxygen supply and are doing an echocardiogram. Our fingers are crossed and we’re knocking on wood even a little more than usual.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Mathew Visits Katie

Mathew Visits Katie

Mathew Visits Katie, photo by Harold Davis. View this photo larger.

We took Mathew, our almost four-year-old, to visit his new sister Katie Rose in the NICU for the first time. As you can see in the photo, Mathew enjoyed his visit–and he may be a little less puzzled by what is going on after having seen his tiny sister in the flesh.

Katie Rose continues to do well, and is now a hair over one kilo (2.2 pounds). She’s had a habit of desaturating (not breathing) after she eats, so they are trying to debug this by attaching a pump that delivers the food via her stomach tube very slowly.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Sunflower and Bottle

Sunflower and Bottle

Sunflower and Bottle, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

I’ve been growing sunflowers for photography in a raised bed along the warm, southwestern side of our house. I took some time out from visiting Katie in the hospital, childcare, and mundane work to chill out and refresh my spirits with some recreational photography of these sunflowers.

I photographed this glorious bud in an old, glass Japanese soda bottle. I put it on a black velvet stage, and controlled the natural light (using shades) so that only the bottle and sunflower were illuminated. I like the color contrast between the bottle and the flower. It’s easier to see this when the image is viewed a little larger.

You’ll find more about the multiple exposure technique I used to capture the extensive dynamic range within the flower and bottle in Yellow Roses.

[85mm perspective correcting (PC) macro lens (127.5mm in 35mm terms), four exposures at shutter speeds ranging from 2 to 25 seconds at f/45 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Tree Skeletons

Tree Skeletons

Tree Skeletons, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

In 1995 the Vision Fire burned more than 12,000 acres of Point Reyes National Seashore. Fierce Santa Ana winds blew the resulting smoke plume a thousand miles out sea (here’s a satellte photo of the plume).

Today, thirteen years later, the burnt trees stand like sentinels against the sky while new growth has sprung up all around. This year, alas, the poison oak is particularly thick in the clearings.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR lens at 22mm (33mm in 35mm terms) with image stabilization turned off, three exposures between 2/5 of a second and 4 seconds at f/25 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Point Reyes

Hayward Marsh in Black and White

Hayward Marsh

Hayward Marsh, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a black and white version of my photo of the Hayward Marsh. I prepared the black and white version for an environmental magazine doing a story on marshes created using reclaimed waste water (as is the case with the Hayward).

Some other monochrome images: Monchrome Shore, Nautilus in Black and White, Bristlecone Pine.

Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography