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Can't think of a meaningful title... If you follow photofriday.org you are probably tired of depth-of-field shots. I am in the mood for something abstract though...

The picture is one of the very last for the day, exiting the Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan (home of Japan's largest Buddha). I have many shots from inside the temple but they tend to be quite busy and none really captured the experience. Once outside, I just couldn't walk away from this...


B&W view from waterfront

The last picture I considered posting from Flickr meetup earlier this month. I was not so sure about this one but material from the last few days is a little too predictable...




Not many pictures I shot at Christmas Eve (or Christmas day). I did fill the flash card but honestly I think I was busy having good time. And I filled the card a little too soon. Right after it was over and before I realized that I didn't bring a spare there was a shot that would make a day. That is if I managed to have it in focus and at the right moment, which could very well not happen ;) Note to self: for kids and parties, RAW is not your friend.

Speaking of RAW... 5D writes some new RAW format (with CR2 extension). Picasa couldn't handle it until I upgraded from build 27.54 to 27.66 ("Check for upgrades online" was not useful here - it said I am up to date but upgrade actually helped).

RAW pictures from 5D offer some new fun (but you pay for it - 13 meg files are not faster). The camera's picture modes (Standard, Landscape, Portrait, etc.) can be applied at conversion time. I find the settings sensible - quite similar to different brands of slide film. Like having a time machine to choose film for pictures already made...

The picture: I think I had the lens on manual focus for a few shots. But the result was interesting here (I think)... So far EXIF data is lost in conversion from RAW so:
ISO 3200
Lens: EF 50mm/1.8
F 2.0


kids make mess...

... and 5D rocks! This is one of the first test shots (in fact #18 for the camera) and I don't have a good superwideangle picture yet which would show off the biggest advantage. This is cropped from the middle of a 28-mm frame (full frame!) - about as much as a 1.6 sensor would take and even less for square crop. But it is still 2x2 thousand pixels. And it is ISO 1600!

Off to take more pictures over the holidays. Will post something wide-angle soon.


Italian bicycle

I don't know if the bicycle is actually Italian but the picture is from Cinque terre, Italy, autumn of 1998. Yes, I am having hard time finding what I want to post from recent pictures so why not get something from archives?

I remember little technical details about this shot, other than obvious (shot on film with Canon EOS A2, lens was either Canon 28-105 EF or Sigma 18-35). Cropped and added saturation and contrast with Picasa.


saturday afternoon in a wooden boat

Some pictures are great pictures. They have perfect light, colors, composition, everything. Some pictures just tell a story. Somehow the story pictures never get perfect. Perhaps they even shouldn't. I wish I had more shots to choose from... but would I choose the perfect shot over great time on a lake?


monorail study

The shot is made with the least appropriate 12 mm lens - but no time to change... The picture is heavily cropped as the result. Then to spice it I've added contrast, warmer light and glow.

Picture from Seattle Flickr meetup this Saturday.


tree reflection

It is not a tree of course, it just reminds me the conic shape of a "holiday" tree :)

I am not as much into reflection shots as it might look like (this is the 3rd one this year). I didn't expect much to come out of this one but when I got the big picture I discovered funkiest patterns that I haven't noticed originally (I should have, then I'd tried harder to get away from the rope).

Not much editing done here, just cropping and pushing the contrast towards wild side.

Picture from Seattle Flickr meetup this Saturday.



Mark’s picture of Space Needle reminded me of a picture of a different tower (the 5-story pagoda in Kyoto) which I took with an intention of doing something of similar nature. The original is not that interesting - the day was overcast and the shot is pretty much gray. I guess the fact that I like the result better than the original doesn't mean I have actually improved it. Perhaps I just became attached to the image while tweaking;)

How it's done:
  • All tuning done in Picasa (yes, I am not beyond cheap tricks; but also I find that adjusting overall tone of the image is much, much easier in Picasa than in Photoshop. In fact I tried to reproduce the same effect in Photoshop and eventually gave up...)

  • The original is very gray (all within second quarter of the histogram, with white sky being a spike at the far right)

  • I added a fill light, highlights and shadow. I like playing with fill+shadow more than highlights - it brings out mid-tone colors

  • I then added some graduated tint to get upper half not too light

  • Plus more saturation

  • And finally even more shadow...


through the glass

inside one of Gaudi's famous houses in Barcelona, this is a view into inside space through the wavy glass (is "wavy" a real word for this kind of glass?)


at of flowers

The model will be familiar to you if you've seen older pictures here. It is going back in time a bit - the picture is from 2002. We had just found this cute hat at Fremont Sunday market and stopped at Starbucks for coffee. We had time, light was good, why not take some pictures?


house in kyoto

I'll continue posting pictures from Japan for a while. After all there are about 3000 to choose from. Much of the big number are random street shots with outcome of one reasonably interesting shot from 200 or so - but hey, that's the luxury of digital!

This wall belongs to a house in Kyoto, in Gion - the old city center and entertainment district. Tell me if I am wrong, but I think this house must be quite expensive. It looks this way because it wants to...



Same date and place as the previous shot... Although I've never published this one, I think they kind of belong together. There is a reason I haven't published it - I think it was a bit too straightforward in its original form. It may still be ;)
For more antique look, I've desaturated the colors to the point of almost black and white, then added a little contrast.
I tried playing with cropping too. It is way into the center, which I normally try to avoid. But when I cropped either side I liked it less. I think because the tractor is in fact not the main subject here... Is it?
  • Camera: Canon EOS A2
  • Lens: Canon USM 28-105, polarizer
  • Exposure: unrecorded, handheld
  • Film: Fujichrome 100
  • Digital editing: saturation, contrast


daffodil field at mt.vernon, wa

This is a very old picture, from an early morning walk on my very first visit to Mt. Vernon (around 1994). One of the first I ever made digital too. It needed that - the light wasn't great and the original is pretty dark.

On that day I did get to the fields very, very early - just about sunrise. It did pay off - when I arrived there were just a few photographers walking around. An hour later it was full with people, no way to take a clear shot like this...

Shot data (amazingly, I did write it down!):
  • Camera: Canon EOS A2
  • Lens: Canon USM 28-105
  • Exposure: 6 seconds, F/16
  • Film: Fujichrome 100
  • Digital editing: curves


musical shadows


I spied Seattle Chamber Players while they had their picture taken after a concert. The side view looked unusual - but it was dark and of three shots I had time to take only one was sharp, and it needed cropping too. In short it is really a stretch for the original (SD500 is a cool camera but it has top ISO of 400 and doesn't shoot RAW which limits possibilities in shots like this...).


ditch in nara, japan

yes, it is a ditch. what else can I say here? Of course no way I could get my head there to take aim so digital preview is a big help.

a few more Japan pictures coming...


merry-go-round in red and white

This is my selection from the walk in Seattle center on my first meeting with Seattle photobloggers. Four of us walked around in a cold cloudy afternoon... Clouds on Space Needle looked promising at first but changed to simply depressing when we arrived;)

In this picture I liked the composition (well, sort of) but the colors were not bright enough to make it fun and not subtle enough to not interfere with the shapes. So I stared with Photoshop: made color-range selection on dark-red color picked from one of the lamps, gave it a generous fuzziness of 100 to select most reds in the picture, bumped saturation for the reds, then inverted the selection and toned down saturation of the rest to almost nothing. Then in Picasa, tuned highlights to make the sky white (instead of realistic gray) and added the glow effect (which didn't make that much a difference, but smoothed the grain a little bit)

Original taken with Cannon SD500, ISO 400, 1/400s, f/13.

Mark has posted some cool pictures of us taking pictures - here


traffic at Tokyo fish market


This cart is the main transportation inside the market. They manage to quickly navigate narrowest passages, turn around and not hit each other or pedestrians or tourists (like me). Looking at the size of the passage it is hard to believe. But it works!


stone garden (detail)


for over 500 years these little stones are raked by somebody... perhaps every day...


as seen from shinkansen




"Twin Towers" of Tokyo - an administrative building (an equivalent of city hall I believe), with observation decks at the top.


ryoanji stone garden (kyoto)


this stone garden is considered the most famous Zen garden anywhere. it has 15 stones, but there is no point from where all could be seen at once. there are many impretations... none is final... come and see for yourself ;)

when they say come early they mean it. 20 minutes after opening you'll see a school field trip.

stone garden maintenance


Fushimi Inari in Kyoto = "the path of 10000 gates"


tokyo crosswalk


update: I am submitting this as photofriday "Experimental" entry. It is in fact an experiment and it is ongoing. The broad idea is to convey movement in a static slow-exposure shot. Approach here is to shoot randomly at street scenes with semi-steady camera. I know I am not original in either but it was fun;)


flamenco 4

part of the "flamenco" series... I like this one better than the first three. I think am learning to use Picasa for a more subtle effect ;)



From a walk in Seattle Japanese garden. It is cropped from a bigger shot. No editing other than crop.

My photofriday entry for "depth of field"


zoom (venezia)

santa maria salute, zommed-in through a long exposure. horizontal blue streaks are lights from passing boats. the image is of course negaive.


green in blue

This really looked as it is pictured. Tuning is pretty much just cropping and adjusting levels to be a little darker. I wonder if the composition gets a bit too much but it was cool to see plants, reflections and underwater in one shot...

shot on film in 2001, little is recorded about this shot. Most likely film was slide.


bumper magic

It is a reflection in a shiny bumper at a classic car show. The original was a much larger image but with all the advantages of a small camera there is one problem - it is pretty much impossible to frame while shooting... So this is heavily cropped (7 megapixels are not a waste of space;) and tuned for dramatic blue.