I uploaded a photo very similar to this one here. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I’m a lot happier with this version.
In the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where we took a detour on our way to the Westfjords, is a beautiful old fishing village called Stykkishólmur. We stopped off for lunch where I had the biggest mussels I’ve ever seen. They were delicious. Then, I wandered down to the harbor for a few photos before continuing on our way.
Today’s Photo: Lake Como
A visit to Lake Como was recommended to me by my uncle. I really knew nothing about the place but had faith that the two hour drive would be worth it. The plan was to hop on the ferry for a low cost “cruise” up the lake followed by lunch and a trip back. I thought it could provide a good opportunity to ratchet up a few photos.
As it turns out, Lake Como is beautiful. Mountains plunged from the blue sky into the deep water. Boats of all shapes and size plied the waters around us as the ferry chugged its way up the lake, from village port to village port. I definitely took a lot of pictures. I’m not sure how usable a lot of them are as a moving ferry doesn’t make for an ideal base. It was really a sort of spray and pray situation. I just kept taking photos in the hope I’d get a few I could keep. I think I’m happy with today’s photo. But, I do have to question whether it would make the cut if I’d gotten to go down to Portofino and the Cinque Terre where I had two days of shooting pretty well planned out!
The Technical Bits
Elia Locardi, over at Blame the Monkey, does this for each of his photos so I’ve decided to give it a try.
Camera: Canon 5d Mk II
Lens: EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
Exposure: 1/320, 1/1250, and 1/80 at f/7.1
Taking the Photo: This is one of the few photos I took on Lake Como that I remember putting a bit of thought into. I wanted to use as big a zoom as possible to compress the image and make the mountains loom over the village and the boats in the foreground. I made a quick switch from the 24-70mm lens I was using to the 70-300mm. I couldn’t zoom my focal length up as much as I wanted to, but the effect is still pretty satisfying. If you’ve read my HDR tutorial you’ll know that I usually keep my ISO down at 100 to minimize noise as the HDR processing emphasizes noise dramatically. But, as I was shooting handheld (no point in using a tripod on a moving ferry) and had a moving subject I wanted to freeze so I bumped the ISO up a touch.
Processing: It was a hazy day, and the camera emphasized this fact, so I wound up with a very dull, flat set of images. I processed them in Photomatix as usual and then did a lot of work adjusting the contrast in Photoshop to try to breathe a bit of life back into it. I used layers to selectively adjust the contrast, and saturation of different parts of the image. Then I realised that the mountains had come out very blue. I probably should have used a polarizer on such a hazy day. So, I made myself a digital, graduated warming filter with Photoshop to warm up the mountains a bit. Then, I used Topaz Adjust to boost the detail a bit. The higher than usual ISO and processing work resulted in quite a lot of noise in the sky, ocean and side of the sailboat. I created a duplicate layer of the image and selectively de-noised the problem areas before sharpening the foreground.
Software: Photomatix, Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, Noiseware Pro
After a long night taking photos my travel buddy decided she was hungry. So, rather than heading back to our hostel for some much needed rest we made our way to Husavik to sleep in a car park for a couple of hours while we waited for somewhere serving breakfast to open. I didn’t get much sleep, but after trying to nod off I decided to go for a walk. We’d left from this marina to go whale watching and I liked the old fashioned boats inhabiting it. So, I made my way back there and took a few more photos for the night.
A beautiful, sunset in a quaint Canadian town, provided the perfect backdrop for this calm scene on the shores of Lake Ontario. This was taken just as winter was turning to Spring. It was an early Spring, hence the boats are on the dock rather than in the water chomping at the bit. The serene surface of the lake provided a perfect mirror to help show off the sky.
Only a chain-linked fence threatened to ruin the shot. In a panic, as the light looked ready to fade, I figure out how to use the fence in concert with my tripod to get the shot. You can read more about how I did that here.
Sorry I didn’t get a photo up yesterday. Went out for lunch with my co-workers and it turned into a long lunch… a very long lunch. We actually wound up having dinner together and I didn’t get home until about 11:00. Knowing that I had to get up early today to head out on Paradise 1 for a full day of fishing I was completely focused on getting into bed.
As a bonus, getting up at sunrise allowed for a couple photo opportunities as we made our way off shore. It wasn’t the best day of fishing ever, but we didn’t come back empty-handed. Some people got bigger fish than others, though. Paradise 1 is a great fishing boat though. It’s massive, and really comfortable. It’s also really stable, though that didn’t prevent one of the group getting seasick.
This is the photo that I had planned on uploading for my first entry. I decided this would be a good start as I consider it my first successful HDR photo.
I had woken up late and had to rush out of the house as I’d seen a purple glow developing. Had planned on getting to one of the Tucker’s Town beaches when i came across this scene.
I used 7 exposures from -3 to +3. The boats had swung on their moorings while taking the photos so when combining in Photomatix I used the selective de-ghosting tool. This took a few attempts but I eventually settled on one big circle encompassing most of the water. Still some motion blur on some of the boats but not sure I could have avoided this. After HDR processing I worked with layers to bring up details in the foreground and particularly focused on getting some green into the trees in the background. Finally, run through Topaz Adjust to bump up the level of detail before using Noiseware to smooth it out.