I have started to go through some of my shots from China, which seemed like it was years ago when I went, because it was. Still one of the coolest places I have ever visited. These two panoramas were taken near the highest overlook of Longshen in the Ping’an area. Both were taken in the evening as a storm was passing by. Of course both are quite underwhelming unless you click on them to see the larger size in flicker..
I cannot believe it has been over 14 months since we were in China, seems like it was the other day. I still have thousands of shots to go through; it is kind of overwhelming, and then I have my wife’s thousands of shots as well! I think I processed these almost a year ago. Another couple from my archive.
This was taken near the beginning of Mt. Huashan. I was expecting the bus to drop us off up on the mountain, but it dropped us off at the very base of the mountain in a little town. The locals would point way off to the top of the mountain and laugh when trying to ask if we were anywhere near Mt. Huashan. It was pretty hot out and it was kind of daunting at first, but it sure was a pretty trail beginning at this point.
The Temple of Heaven at Beijing. I definitely struggled to clean up the sky and have it not look overly garish. The Beijing smog was in full force on this day!
Probably my last picture I will be posting for a few days. About to have my last grand hurrah in Tokyo with a friend and our camera gear. I really want to eventually move to Germany in the future, but I will be missing all of the sites to be seen in Tokyo and how easy it is to get around anywhere in the city. It is a photographers dream.
I sure loved out our visit to China, even Beijing was a lot better than I thought it would be, but man… I do not have fun processing the sky in my Beijing shots. Even at night it is kind of a dull grey and very noisy result. The sky in my posted image is still rather bland, but I had to use a lot of blur tool on the sky to clean it up. I would definitely look into getting a polarizing filter for any lenses you take with you to Beijing.
Been very busy with school packing to go back to Japan in about a week, and trying to get my Internet back up and running. Will stay in Japan until May then we sadly have to move back to the States for a little while. Hopefully not too long though! The first place we are heading when we get back…
Jigokudani Yaenkoen to see my buddies of course!
These Torii can be really difficult to photograph in the middle of the day with the bright sun overhead reflecting off of every odd curve down the entire row. I was trying every angle I could think of and it suddenly became obvious how extremely small changes in your position would completely change the way they lined up. This one was my favorite due to the tight grouping without large gaps that would expose super bright sunlight reflections. I still needed the help of HDR to reign in the dynamic range, but I am finally happy with one of the many shots I had taken this day. I still want to go back and try again with a tripod… Looks like I will be doing that at the end of February.. Another 2 months in Japan and back with my wife for me!
I had to go back into my extremely neglected archives so that I can vary my recently posted photos a bit instead of nothing but Turkey, I need to get away from work and go on a trip! That will be Thailand to meet my wife leaving in exactly in one week. This will be a second attempt at getting good pictures in that country as my first one was what prompted me to get a DSLR after my P&S became full of dust particles that ruined almost every picture I took the first time I was there. Anyways, here is another one of my favorite buildings–if not my favorite–in Tokyo, the Tokyo International Forum. The first batch I had processed I went really heavy on the orange hues for some reason. I have quite a few that I shot with a fluorescent white balance under these incandescent lights which gave a very blueish result.
I have been working on the same shot to post to this blog for the past 3 nights in a row and sometimes spending as much as 2 hours on each attempt. Sometimes just staring at it wondering where to go from there. This is my 4th attempt.. I have never deleted more than 1 attempt before, but this time I just couldn’t figure out where to go with it.
The unique thing about this photo is the blue hue which is not HDR, DRI, or any color replace shenanigans. The problem is that I couldn’t decide if it had more potential than I was able to squeeze out of it. I tried HDR, DRI, converting those to B&W, straight B&W, B&W with selective coloring; then I finally decided on just some Lightroom adjustments off of the -1 exposure and a quick trip to Photoshop for some sharpening and cloning out of junk in the water. I am still largely unimpressed, but after all those hours, sometimes you just have to move on with your life!
This is the famous Itsukushima Shrine near Hiroshima on the island of Miyajima during high tide.
I just arrived back from a week long trip to Southern Germany for training where I gorged myself on schnitzel, schnitzel, and more schnitzel. I cleaned up every single pommes that was to be found on my plate. I think if you do the calculations I should probably be running about 300 miles to offset the surplus calories I took in during that trip.
I didn’t get a lot of time to take pictures with my new trusty steed due to lack of time and an ultra bland sky, so instead I’ll post this shot taken nearby the area I was in during my July visit. I might have a few keepers from this last trip, but I still have to load those.
Last Friday I found myself with a day off and thought it would be nice to go revisit scenic Anavarsa castle which is situated atop what must be a 1,000+ foot cliff. The first time we saw it we were on an awesome rock climbing trip at the base of the cliff, saw the amazing castle, and headed back the following weekend to explore the ruins. In the photo below, the little dots in the field below the cliff are actually sheep and cows if that helps give you a sense of scale.
It was humid as hell out and I felt like I was dying of aids for some reason, so you’ll have to bare with me since I wasn’t exactly in my happy photo place. Anyways, Anavarsa dates back longer than our recorded history from the area and from what I have been told, the ruins have yet to be excavated by the Turkish government. The history can be read on the Anazarbus Wiki, but the jest of it is that the castle and settlement below pre-date the Roman Empire and if you lived there prior to our times, you would most likely die in a battle or in an earthquake while being confused with multiple name changes to the settlement; all seemed to happen constantly to this site and it is absolutely remarkable to me that anything remains at all.
I will go back and take better photos to prove to you that a lot more remains than what my pictures present, but there is quite a bit of ruined structures from aqueducts, to arch-type gates, walls, and of course the remains of a very spread-out castle. I did play a bit with my new 70-200 bokeh cannon, but I am figuring out that zoomed in above 130’ish and above and wide open pretty much obliterates the background so much that I need to actually stop up to bring in some soft details to create a more interesting background.
This is a -1.33, 0, +1.33 exposure HDR that I then created 2 layers from. I converted the top layer to black and white and selectively colored the bottom layer. I then painted through the sky. The original picture has the hazy sky overlapping the horizon where the dirt is and that made for an incredibly blurry horizon. I set the clone stamp to about 58% opacity and lowered the flow slightly and created a nice crisp horizon by cloning the dirt in certain areas and the sky on top of the really blurry areas.
I think it fits because this entire valley looks like an alien landscape. They even filmed part of the original Star Wars here. One interesting fact about these particular formations in the shot is that they are used on I believe the 20 or 50 Turkish Lira bill.
I was talking to one of the guys that was on the Cappadocia trip and he had mentioned that for some reason, the sky in his photos looked bluer than blue is allowed to look. I have the same results, this photo below is an HDR of the sandstone merged in with the actual 0 exposure sky straight from RAW to JPEG, no adjustments. It looks like we were using polarizers or cheating it in post, but for some reason, the sky just seem uncharacteristically blue here in Turkey lately. Today I looked up to see what was going on and sure enough, it looks like you can almost see the curvature of the upper layers where that ends and space begins.
Dokuz in Turkish mean 9. Doku without the z means “texture”… Çok kolay! This Turkish lesson is for my wife.. You need to study!