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May 26, 2005

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Boat and Boatman

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/6.3
ISO800

The Ranganathittu (say that ten times fast!) Bird Sanctuary is not too far from the city of Mysore in the State of Karnataka, India. Filled with lush greenery, plant and animal life, the sanctuary seems worlds apart from the chaos of the city.

Before I climed into one of these boats I had no idea what sorts of amazing animals I was about to see...

 

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May 24, 2005

Hotel Mayura River View III - The Raven

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/50s / f/4.5
ISO800

When we sat down for breakfast the first morning, we were hounded by a murder of ravens. I didn't know until then that they would work in groups to try and lure you away from your food. I took their appearance as a chance to turn us into the hunters instead and snap a few pictures.

The bird in the picture provided the distraction for the others. He would hop in close and flap about while the others would try and sneak around from behind and take the spoils. You could tell there was a lot going on in their little heads to try and get a go at your food. Too bad for them that they didn't suceed.

I have to say, the ravens were nothing to combat compared to the monkeys. I hate monkeys. More on that later.

I had to take four or five shots of this bird before I got the one I was happy with. The first part of the equation was getting enough light in order to take a snappy picture and the remainder was all in trying to get the catch-lights in the eyes. I still remember the instructor from a wildlife photo class I took saying over and over again, "you don't have a picture until you get those catch-lights!"

For a bird picture, I am quite pleased with this shot.

 

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Hotel Mayura River View II - The Table is Set for Breakfast

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron EX 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/80s / f/5
ISO / Metering100 / Center Weighted

While I was busy shooting pictures around the lodging, the staff was busy preparing breakfast. Idli and sambar. I ate Idli and Sambar nearly every morning and never grew tired of it. Oh how I miss the food!

The Keveri River was so beautiful. It seemed so clean and calm. A stark contrast to the rest of India I experienced. It was a wonderful spot.

Nothing special about this image, I took it as a sentimental rememberance of what it was like to be there and I thought I would share.

 

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May 23, 2005

Hotel Mayura River View I - The Playground

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron EX 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
Shutter / Aperture1/80s / f/5.6
ISO / Metering100 / Center Weighted

After working hard for a week in Hyderabad, Jim and I met up with another business contact—a man named Shiva working in Bangalore— for a little R&R in Karnataka. This was to be followed by two or three days of business with Shiva so he happily showed us around his home state. Our base of recreational operations was The Hotel Mayura River View outside of Mysore.

Getting there was one of the more harrowing experiences of my life. Driving at night on Indian roads is not for the meak. Dodging people, truck drivers all in differing mental states, choking on pollution and stopping suddenly every kilometer or two for an impromptu speedbump on the highway are all the easy parts! It was the 3 hours of the worst motion sickness I'd ever experienced sitting in the backseat of our Tata Motors SUV that nearly got the best of me.

When morning came and after I had six hours of good sleep, the spinning had stopped by I felt rather hung over. When I opened the door to my dwelling, this was the morning I was greated with. I grabbed my camera and crossed my fingers. The fresh country air never had smelled as sweetly.

 

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May 22, 2005

Walker In The Morning

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/6s / f/11
ISO / Metering Mode100 / Spot
I'm doing a numbered run of 10 8x10 prints of this image, please let me know if you would like one!

Shot the same day as Saturday's shot.

Taking this shot was easy enough: stay up all night in order to be up early enough to take this photo without having to contend with traffic or people, setup a tripod on the median, and take the photo with the spot-meter on and bracket. The hard part was in the processing.

This may very well be the photo I've put the most work into trying to get it to look how I wanted. The challenege is getting the photo out of the camera to look like the picture you took with your mind. All and all I would guess there is somewhere around 24 hours of my time invested into this photograph trying to reconcile an idealism with an actuality.

The problem centered around the fact that I knew that I wanted to take this powerful, brooding picture of the new Walker building as how it stuck me: a sort of hulking metal monstrosity that deeply groans, "come inside—I'm filled with art." The things I wanted to pull together in order to make this a power brooding groaning picture was a composition that featured the richness of the pavement, the metallic smoothness of the building, and the moodiness of the sky without having any parts of the picture be underexposed or blown out.

The real problem with this is that the frame-up that happened to look the best to my eye was my fisheye lens. Unfortunately I don't have a neutral density filter that works well with a fisheye so I resolved to try and knock down the sky digitally in post-processing. I've used this technique before to some success. I had no idea what I was getting into.

What I found when I loaded the pictures off of my camera was that when I created the levels adjustment layer masked for the sky and began adjusting, all of the subtle chromatic aboration around the building began to glow as if the building was wrapped in neon. I tried many, many techniques to try and knock down this halo but in the end I ended up cheating my way from combating the problem directly.

Around the street lamp, at left, I applied the "traditional" technique of making a narrow selection and applying a color replacement on the high-luminosity colors. I couldn't quite get this this to work for the top of the building so I ended up just cutting out the building, pasting it on a new layer, and scaling it by 1% to paste over the layer containing the halos on the background. What you can't see, won't hurt you in this case!

The remainder of this image was processed more or less "normally" for how I finish my workflow. I applied a couple of HSL layers to convert to grayscale and used a single darkening layer to burn and blend some spots that needed blending. The end result is an image I am happy with...even if it did take a little cheating. I also have a color version of this shot I am happy with that I may post some time in the future.

Does anybody have another other techniques they would like to suggest? I would love to hear them!

 

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May 21, 2005

How I Would Have Had It.

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP f/2.8 90mm
Shutter / Aperture1/8s / f/9
ISO / Metering Mode100 / Spot

Last weekend was one of those get down, get crazy creative weekends. I stayed up all night on Saturday authoring a program I've been writing until the sun came up. I tried to get to bed but couldn't. I thought to myself, "how often I am I awake by sunrise?" And so I decided to pack up my gear and head downtown.

I set out a rough shooting schedule of three locations: the new Walker Arts Center, Loring Park, and the farmer's market. I needed flowers for the garden anyway and besides there isn't any other place in the Twin Cities that I know of where you can get a grilled loaded bratwurst at 6:00am!

It was cold (single digits C), windy, and damp. A vendor at the farmer's market later remarked, "lovely March we're having, isn't it?" It seems you just never can tell with the weather now-a-days. Is it just me, or did the seasons seem more consistant when we were children?

I climbed up on the Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge and pointed the camera at the Walker. The lighting wasn't quite right yet, the sun still had not quite risen over the horizon. I looked around, sipped some tea and noticed a lovely bit of poetry running the length of the bridge. For all the times I've crossed, I had never looked up and noticed it before.

I decided that I wanted to try and frame the shot tight yet balanced, subdued but interesting. I had sort of a rough plan as to how I was going to process this image; I thought it would be really neat to try and bring out some of the cloud detail that I was sure was going to be lost by the inferior to my eye dyanmic range of the camera.

Hours and hours of processing, trying and trying again I think I've got something marginally interesting. I'm not one to shy away from the digital process and not call it art. This photo has more than it's share of layer masks and adjustment layers. I hope that you don't find the selective colorization too cheesy.

I would be honored to know your thoughts.

I also bought more ink today for the Stylus Photo 2000P for some orders I have pending. If anybody wants prints make sure to contact me. Thank you everybody for all of your support!

 

Posted by jordanh at 2:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack |

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May 19, 2005

Golconda Fortress V - Nepali Groupie

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma APO f/4-5.6 100-300mm @ 300mm
Shutter / Aperture1/500s / f/5.6
ISO100

There was an entire pack of 14-16 year old Nepali girls shadowing Jim's and my every movement. We would look over and wave, they would run and hide. This went on for hours.

I thought this was very funny and decided to take a picture of the girl that I had determined to be their "alpha-female."

Indeed, immediately after I took her picture she walked right up to Jim and decided to make contact. She asked us something historically funny, "are you two from Hollywood?"

We laughed and told her we sadly were not but all the same her and about ten of her friend wanted our autographs signed on the palms of their hands. It was a funny and memoriable experience. I think the most memorable feature of this picture is her smile.

 

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Golconda Fortress IV - From the Courtyard

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron EX 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/8
ISO100

A pretty "Plain Jane" but clean shot of one of the four quandrants of the fort. With all of the switchbacks and passageways sometimes it is is difficult to figure out how the fort is constructed together until you just stop and look up.

One can clearly see two masjid in the picture, one low at center and the other up top just right of center, as well as the royal living quarters at far top left.

No special processing adjustments we really made to this image except for a slight contrast and white-balance adjustment.

 

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May 18, 2005

Golconda Fortress III - The Backyard

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/10
ISO100

When I showed this picture to native Hyderabadians many of them told me that they had never seen this side of the fort before. I called it the "backyard."

I could see how somebody could miss it on a trip there: you've got to go off of the stoned covered walkway and up a dirt path to to the apex of the hill. It's not that far of a climb and well worth it. The view at the top is spectacular! It is amazing the amount of land that the settlement of Golconda fenced in.

From the top, there are also a number of other little pathways that lead downwards from there as our friend in the picture with the bright red cap is so nicely illustrating for us. Next time I go, I would love to do some more exploring among these seamingly lesser travelled ruins.

I took a few shots while I was back here. I recall playing around with the exposure compensation dial but ultimately I saved this shot. I really like the guy in the corner. Not only does he add a little visual interest and action to the shot, but I think he serves to deliver a decent sense of scale: at least as far as the foreground is concerned. What do you think?

 

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May 17, 2005

Golconda Fortress II

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron EX 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/8
ISO (Adj.)100 (-0.30 EV)

A continuation from yesterday and more or less 180 degress from where that shot was taken.

Here we have our first taste into the intricacy of the fortress complex. Layers upon layers of history can be gleaned from the four distinct fortress sections that reside within.

 

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