Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sheba 01b Jun 03 2012

Sheba 01b Jun 03 2012 by VancouverDoug
Sheba 01b Jun 03 2012, a photo by VancouverDoug on Flickr.
I showed a partially processed version of this photo of Sheba to a video artist friend of mine and the first thing he said was "Wow. Reminds me of the National Geographic's Afghan Girl shot." This blew me away in that the first thing I thought, as I was tweaking the basic details of the image in Photomatrix a month ago was "Wow. This reminds me of the National Geographic's Afghan Girl shot." Needless to say when two visually attuned humans independently reach the same conclusion you know that a photo has transcended you the photographer.

After that moment of J.S. Bach-like clarity (i.e. "I don't write music. Music from God flows through me and I transcribe it.") I decided a bit more post processing was in order in particular the removal of the bits of dust, fluff and such that, she being a very electrostatic-ally charged creature, stick to Sheba's fur.

Also - about her eyes. Their color is as shot during the 3 image HDR sequence (250 msec or so total). Sheba's right eye, the one on the left side in the image is catching the blue of the sky while her left eye (right side of the image) is catching the orange of the light of the setting sun reflected off the wall in my apartment. Sunset light seems to be the perfect light for her. Thanks to High Dynamic Range the colors made it through to the final image.

A few cool observations jump out from this. First - she's looking in two directions at the same time - left and right. As someone who's art is visual I wish I could do that. Second, the back of her eyes are near perfect reflectors. With humans we see it as 'red-eye' and in cats at night we see these white-orange eyes floating in the blackness. As a huntress her eyes have evolved to not be blinded by too much light which makes complete sense given her ancient ancestors roamed the deserts of Africa.

Cats rock.

Oh, and here's a link to the classic "Afgan Girl" photograph shot by photographer Steve McCurry in December of 1984. Two beautiful females with the same expression. Pretty cool when you think about it.

Sunset Beach Macro 12a June 19 2012

Sunset Beach Aqua Marine

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunset Beach Macro 35a June 19 2012

Beach Avenue Vancouver on the hill overlooking Sunset Beach. June 19 2012 around 3 in the afternoon.

Sunset Beach Macro 34b June 19 2012

Natural Diplomacy.

Here's s good shot of the point where the Vancouver Seawall meets the Pacific Ocean. At the top are the greens of the air based mosses here in the West End of Vancouver. At the bottom are the gooey sci-fi-esque greens of the tidal mosses that live in English Bay. Notice that the sea-borne mosses love the grouting and it acts as a growth corridor between the air and sea mosses. Very cool. Grouting not only brings rocks and tiles together it does the same for mosses. Who knew? :)

Sunset Beach Macro 30a June 19 2012

Pacific Weathered Heavy Metal - Macro Detail

One of my favorites of the Vancouver Biennale pieces remains the "217.5 Arc x 13'" sculpture by France's Bernar Vernet. Perfectly position on one of the sand berms on Sunset Beach (this photo is geo-tag to 1m accurate). And, as temporal luck would have it, this superb piece of modern art became a legacy work in 2007. In other words it's here for the duration.

This is a detail shot of the iron in the sculpture as it very gracefully ages in the primordial moistness that is the wet , ... errr, west coast 270 days or so per year.

Sunset Beach Macro 28a June 19 2012

Time to give the HDR artistic muse her far share of creative moments.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunset Beach Macro 25a June 19 2012

Bumble Bee Forest Detail.

Flowers within flowers within flowers.

Close up I'd wager nature is even more pretty than further away. Just sayin.

Sunset Beach Macro 24a June 19 2012

Bumble Bee Forest In Shadow

Sunset Beach Macro 24a June 19 2012

Bumble Bee Forest In Shadow

Sunset Beach Macro 23b June 19 2012.

I really like this shot.

Exhibit A - the petals. Pink and fuzzy. Just like you'd expect petals on a flower to be.

Exhibit B - the center of the flower - razor sharp.

Conclusion - The soft petals remain soft despite a Nikon D300, 64 bit Photomatix and Capture NX/2 pointed directly at them. However, the center of the flower, the flower's tech so to put it, loves the human tech. and comes out razor sharp. Nature 1, Tech 1.

Sunset Beach Macro 20b June 19 2012

Greetings Earthlings.

We come in Peace. :) xoxo

And please ignore our sharp and pointy bits. We're just having a bad hair day.

Sunset Beach Macro 19b June 19 2012

Not sure yet what to title this one. 'Loch'd and Loaded" or "A World Waiting to be Born".

The first title stolen from Vancouver's best punk celtic rock band who's music pays full respect to the bagpipes.

The second borrowed from the title of a great book by M. Scott Peck - author of "The Road Less Traveled." Also a great book.

Sunset Beach Macro 18a June 19 2012

Beauty close up.

Sunset Beach Macro 16s June 19 2012

I love the "Aliens" movie series with the second being my personal favorite. However no movie before and after has defined space scary quite as well as the first in the series of four (now five .. sort of) movies. In fact the first created a phrase that's become wonderfully stuck in our culture - "In space no one can hear you scream.".

So is it just me or is this not pretty close to the alien creature pods in the series just before they pop open and scare the crap out of us?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunset Beach Macro 14a June 19 2012

Flower and Foliage Party

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sunset Beach Macro 11a June 19 2012

Fuzzy in Green.

Sunset Beach Macro 10a June 19 2012

Pretty in Pink.

What amazes me about the shots in this series is that I shot the HDR sequences (3 frames, hand held, +/- 1 stop) in the usual gentle but 'in-your-face' wind that roles in off English Bay here in Vancouver nearly constantly and, regardless, the result are still razor sharp. I love you Photomatix.

What I thought originally (5 years ago) was a weakness in the medium - requiring multiple shots - turns out to be it's strength. Having a series of slight angles on the scene (inside the focus point of the depth of field) taken as it moves provides just that much more clarity and color info. It's like you picking something up and moving it around to get a good look at it.

So don't fear HDR photography. All it takes is a camera that you can set to up to shoot multiple shots over and under exposed and computer software. Once you go HDR you won't go back. Trust me.

Sunset Beach Macro 09a Jun 19 2012

I love bumble bees. For many reasons. The biggest reason to like them for me comes from something I read in the 1980's that, according to the laws of aerodynamics at the time, bumble bees should not be able to fly. But they do anyway. Beyond perfectly in fact.

Go figure. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunset Beach Macro 07a June 19 2012

Nature never ceases to amaze me in both its variety and its elegant perfection.

Why it designs life the way it does only it knows and while we build ever more powerful and amazing machines, each designed to expand our understanding of something as simple as a flower or thunderstorm we've barely scratched the surface. Ignorance of the why in a way helps us appreciate the simplicity that is a pretty flower.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sheba Gaming Mode 01a Jun 13 2012

Here's Sheba laying claim to that hanging ball-thingie in the CAT scanner. Mine.

Possessive or what? :)

Sunset Beach Hoya R72 01a Jun 09 2012.jpg

Here's Sirrus figuring that one eye open is enough to ascertain the reason behind the sounds my camera is making while it takes shots of her. Sort of a 'you talkin' ta me?' Dinero - Taxi Driver sort of moment. Made even cooler in that the light source is reflected. Reflected light is filtered light (only certain wave lengths make it past the reflector's ability to reflect) so it gives a more 'real' feel to things. Less is more in other words.

Sirrus in Reflected Light 01a Jun 09 2012

Here's Sirrus figuring that one eye open is enough to ascertain the reason behind the sounds my camera is making while it takes shots of her. Sort of a 'you talkin' ta me?' Dinero - Taxi Driver sort of moment. Made even cooler in that the light source is reflected. Reflected light is filtered light (only certain wave lengths make it past the reflector's ability to reflect) so it gives a more 'real' feel to things. Less is more in other words.

Sheba Sun Dappled 01a Jun 09 2012.jpg

Here's Sheba warming in the late afternoon sun. I think I've finally found a way to photograph her. Finally. She's 12. :)

HDR is the key tightly coupled with getting her comfortable with the click-click-click sound of my Nikon D300 taking the HDR sequence. She's not a black cat so much as a chestnut brown one and it takes the sun's light spectrum to really bring out the color in her. A gorgeous cat. It's like having a mink coat that purs.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Sunset Beach B+W 01a Jun 09 2012 DSC_4820And8more_tonemapped

I'm trying something new. I configure my camera to shoot a 9 frame HDR sequence (0.7 f/stops between each image) and equip it with my traditional black and white filter set up - red and circular polarizer. I process the image to black and white inside the HDR software I use (Photomatix) and do the HDR treatment at the same time.

So far so good. I left in the motion on this shot as well. All over the image are multiple-images of things moving. People, cars, waves, etc.

Sirrus CAT Scan 01a Jun 08 2012

Here's Sirrus testing out her new CAT scanner. I never get tired of that pun given it works on so many levels. :)

And yes - it is true - the best camera is the one that you have with you when the photo moment arrives.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Cypress Mt Sunset 01a Jun 07 2012

So far it's been a pretty moist June 2012 for us here in Vancouver and when you mix a rain soaked mountain (the North Shore's Cypress Mt. in this case) with a sudden blast of warm sunset light and then toss in a high altitude for good measure the result is a cool combination of clouds. Some air-born some mountain born.

Kits Fire 01a June 05 2012

A day before the June 06 2012 anniversary of the D-Day landing on the north coast of WWII-torn France a pretty aggressive fire broke out in the Kitsilano 'burb of Vancouver. The city fire department was quick to respond (second alarm responders on the bridge in the foreground) and after 10 minutes nothing showed but a few puffs of white smoke. Old and new heros with a silent salute of thanks to both.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sunset 04a Jun 03 2012

Sunset 04a Jun 03 2012 by VancouverDoug
Sunset 04a Jun 03 2012, a photo by VancouverDoug on Flickr.

Today's sunset set to medium-stun level. I love my digital dark room.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sunset 01a Jun 03 2012

Sunset 01a Jun 03 2012 by VancouverDoug
Sunset 01a Jun 03 2012, a photo by VancouverDoug on Flickr.

Alberta Jade 01a Jun 03 2012

Here comes the sun and it's all right.

Sunset's Kiss June 3 2012 English Bay Vancouver

I so love this shot. Pure contrast. Darkness and light totally cool with each other.

Jericho Beach 01a Jun 03 2012

High Dynamic Range - It's where it's at.

Curiosity - Sheba 01a Jun 03 2012

Sheba is my first long-haired cat. High maintenance (daily brushings and dealing with the occasional ... errr .... cling-on ... so to put it) but well worth it. She is without a doubt the prettiest cat I have had the chance to get to know. Here she is right at the focal limit of my 18-200mm lens. A combination of scruffy and pretty equaling curious.