I found an old unprocessed photo from New York!!
If you’re interested in finding this “secret” viewpoint, I provide a few clues as to its location in Niagara Skyline. It’s a pretty cool spot to find, even if you’re not looking to photograph the area. It’s definitely a different view compared to what most visitors to the falls get to see. Once up there I decided I had to try to capture the whole scene. So, I framed up four different shots and bracketed each for HDR. I wasn’t positive at the time how I’d go about stitching them together.
It turned out it was pretty involved. I had a total of 28 photographs to work with. These 28 images could have produced 4 HDR photographs to then stitch together. This approach caused me all sorts of problems with ghosting. Another significant problem was setting the sliders in Photomatix so that they’d be optimized for all four images. I kept ending up with dark areas in the final result. So, I changed my tactic.
In order to get this to work, I wound up grouping the exposures for each image together – meaning that i had seven sets of four images ranging from -3 stops to +3 stops. I stitched each of these together to create 7 huge images that I could then run through Photomatix. Unfortunately, this pushed the limits of my computer’s capabilities and I kept encountering error messages due to insufficient memory. I had been trying to use Photomatix’s deghosting tool to clean up people and vehicles that had moved through the frame. Eventually, I decided I’d have to do this in Photoshop after producing the tone mapped image. This reduced workload appeased my computer, and I had an HDR image to work with!
I went into Photoshop and layered the seven original exposures under the tone mapped image and masked away any ghosting I could find. It was pretty time-consuming and I’ve spent ages trying to figure out how to do it, but I’m happy with the results. I’ll be producing more stitched panoramic images going forward. I’ve got an idea for another shot at the top of Horseshoe Bay using this technique. I’ll give it a try once the weather decides to behave itself again.
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Operation Horseshoe Bay Sunrise: Day 2
It was far less confusing when my alarm clock woke me up this morning. It was still a little startling, but I remembered why I’d set it. It was lighter this morning, making me think that maybe it wasn’t as cloudy. Upon setting off for horseshoe bay, I realized that it was still completely overcast. When I got to the top of the rock I realized that there was a clear band at the horizon for the sun to slip through briefly.Unfortunately, as it approached sunrise a band of rain blocked this gap. I spent a while trying out different vantage points and then noticed a break in the clouds moving across the sky. I waited for it to move into frame and caught the sun bursting through it. It may be quite interesting, but it’s not what I’m after.
I realized I didn’t mention what I was trying to capture yesterday. I’d like to manage two shots. For one, I want a spectacular sunrise forming a backdrop to the beach. For the other I want a blue sky with a few interesting clouds and the beach bathed in golden morning light. I think Thursday will probably be the best day for it.
This is another view of the city from the shoreline near Ontario Place on the way out of Toronto. I wound up in this location after researching Toronto viewpoints on blogTO. It’s not quite where they recommended, which was actually a pedestrian overpass nearby. I got up there and couldn’t frame a shot I was happy with. I think it would be better at night, with light trails leading into the city. I’ve actually had a couple of my Toronto shots picked as blogTO’s photo of the day, which is pretty cool. If you poke around their site a bit you’ll find them.
Before going to Toronto I wondered how my experience at Niagara Falls would compare to visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia. It’s definitely different. The falls are equally impressive, but there’s much more concrete around them… and safety rails. There were a few that I desperately wanted to climb over but decided I didn’t feel like getting arrested. The whole place is very cheesy with its tourist attractions, replica CN tower and casino. But I kind of liked it. It was so over the top it was interesting, and I probably would have liked to spend more time there.
There was a lot of luck involved in this shot. The limitations on access to the falls (that safety stuff) was frustrating me as I was searching out an angle on the falls that would allow for a shot a bit out of the ordinary. As part of this attempt I was taking a photo of a section of the falls through a vine-covered doorway. I’m not sure that photo will ever see the light of day as the concept may have been a bit better than the reality. But, as I fiddled with my tripod trying to find the right angle a man I later found out was named Jay started chatting with me. Then, he told me about a somewhat secret viewpoint on the balcony of the hotel restaurant behind me. At this point I realized Jay was wearing chef whites and asked if he worked there. Sure enough he did. 5 minutes later I was stood on a tiny balcony outside the restaurant with this view in front of me. Then, I saw these five puffy white clouds drifting across the sky into a perfect position.
I’ve just gotten home after a week in Ontario where I stayed in Toronto and Niagara as well as Bruce/Grey County. So, it seemed fitting that tonight I upload Toronto’s recognizable skyline with the CN Tower prominent. I took this photo as I left the city for Niagara. It was taken from the rocks near Ontario Place. I set my tripod good and low to get some interesting patterns in the water. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn’t frame a shot without that sign in it. Then i decided that I liked the way the sign’s shape mirrored the CN tower.
This is one of my early attempts at HDR. I spotted this little structure and decided to see if I’d be able to capture the detail inside as well as the skyline in the distance. I have no idea who this guy is but he made quite a good subject to anchor the photo on. He seemed completely oblivious to my presence as well, must have been a good book.
This is the trip where I really got to test out my new Canon 5d Mk II and L-series lenses. I walked across Brooklyn Bridge and actually got my timing completely wrong. The sun had set by the time I got there. I set up for a night shot of the skyline, and then the sunset provided an encore, spreading pink light across the sky.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was initially annoyed to have cranes ruining my skyline shot. This was taken a week before the marking of the tenth year after 9/11. I processed this while watching a documentary on the progress of the World Trade Center’s new tower. Suddenly, I realized that is the building with the cranes in my photo. I understand that when this photo was taken it was at about half of the height it will reach.
I took this on my last night in Prague. I went out for what I thought was a couple of hours, it turned out I was out for 5 hours just wandering and taking photos. I discovered this viewpoint in a park by the river up from Charles Bridge. This photo is most interesting viewed at full size where you can scroll around the details of the skyline. On the right you see St. Vitus Cathedral jutting above the Prague Castle. Moving to the left the dome of the Church of St. Nicholas is visible with the gateway to Charles Bridge leading into the bridge itself to the left. Up on the hill opposite the castle can see an Eiffel Tower like structure. You could probably take photos all night long in Prague on an overcast night as the lights from the city give the clouds a yellow glow.