Friday, November 19, 2010
Hello, hello. Looks like I managed to squeeze in one more post this week afterall. Congrats! This is Lower Yosemite Falls, in Yosemite National Park. I had mentioned in the last picture I posted from Yosemite that some bad weather rolled in while we were there, and this was the result. This was the day that we were going to spend driving across the park to the eastern entrance, and also do some hiking here and there. But, it was raining pretty steadily, and they ended up closing the road through the park anyway. So, blah. Gave us an excuse to take the rental car back to the airport early and avoid an extra-day charge. But, it at least made the waterfalls look nice.
Today’s picture is actually interesting for another reason though. Or I suppose I should say, “today’s picture is actually interesting though.” Why’s that, you ask? (Hahaha, who am I kidding, you asking that would imply that you’re reading this, but I know better.) Well, it’s because, a few days ago, I downloaded a trial copy of Adobe Lightroom, and I’m putting it through its paces. Normally, I do all of my image management and touching up using Picasa, the free tool from Google. It’s… not great. But it’s fast, and it gets the job done. It only has a few tools to choose from, but if you know how to use them, it’s actually surprisingly powerful. But, there are definitely limits to what it can do, and often it’s clear that I’m using it in ways that it wasn’t really intended, so it can feel like a giant hackjob at times. Thus, the Lightroom trial.
After a few days, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. On the surface, it seems extremely powerful and slick. But, after using it for a little while, I’ve realized that even with all of the crazy fancy tools, I haven’t really found myself able to do much that I couldn’t do before. I mean, sure, there are tools that Picasa flat-out doesn’t have, light noise-reduction. And the tools definitely allow finer-grained control of exposure and color. But it’s an incremental improvement at best, not a night-and-day difference like I would hope for (and expect, based on the price.) Also, it’s SO EFFING SLOW! It’s amazingly unresponsive. Using it feels like I’m riding a tricycle on the freeway. Granted, a large part of the problem is that I’m using fairly dated hardware. But, even on my crusty old desktop PC, Picasa runs like a champ. Performance and the responsiveness of the UI is one thing I may not be able to get over.
Oh, right, I think I forgot to mention this part: today’s picture is the first picture that I edited purely in Lightroom. Actually, not quite true. It’s the second. But it’s the first one I’m posting here.
I’m going to keep using Lightroom, as it’s entirely possible that I’m not giving it a fair shake, because the controls are clearly not what I’m used to. (I’ve been using Picasa for YEARS – literally! – so I’ve gotten embarrassingly proficient with it.) I mean, I’ve got 30 days of free trial, I may as well use them. But I’ve got a feeling I’m going to run back to Picasa with open arms and tears streaming down my cheeks at the end of this crazy experiment. We’ll see.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/4.5, ISO 400. Focal length: 11mm.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The images that I’m using for Mediocre Image Thursday are so mediocre that I can’t even manage to keep a schedule! Alternatively, you all behaved so well over the last 6 days that I decided to give you your mediocre image a whole day early! Wow!! Next week, I promise it’ll be on Thursday again, which really doesn’t matter.
This image goes waaaaaaaay back into the archives. This is a super old picture that I took with my old 35mm SLR and scanned in. Most of the 35mm shots I’ve used so far were at least near the end of my 35mm experience, but noooo, not this one. This one was from right in the heart of it.
You’re of course looking at Niagara Falls, which is somewhere up near Buffalo, NY. I thought this was taken on the Canadian side of the falls, but looking at the map I’m not sure if that’s possible. Although this was taken long enough ago that they may well have rearranged the border since then, how the heck would I know?? I’d like to head back up there some day, but I don’t have any plans to do so yet. Maybe it’ll never happen, we’ll see.
Notes: Pentax ME 35mm SLR, unknown 40-80mm lens. All other details unknown.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This isn’t the first picture I’ve posted of Snoqualmie Falls, but it is the most recent. Not the most recent picture of the falls, but the one I’ve posted most recently. Unless you’re reading this sometime after Thursday, October 15, 2009, after I’ve posted another picture of Snoqualmie Falls, because then it won’t be any more.
The last photo I posted from the falls (here: http://picture-of-the-day.com/?p=133 ) was taken during the late summer. Summers are dry here in normal years, and this year was exceptionally so. So at that time, the flow was understandably fairly low. This, however, is what the falls look like in the spring, ripe with snowmelt. I didn’t have time on the day I took this picture, but I would have loved to head down to the bottom to see what they looked like from that vantage point. Maybe next spring I will.
I’m going to start including some of the specs from these pictures down at the bottom, when they are available. I don’t actually keep track of this stuff, but fortunately most of it is in the EXIF data in the image files themselves. How thoughtful. I’ll probably start going back and updating older entries too.
Details: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens, 1/200s, f11.0, ISO 100, focal length: 28mm.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This is Shannon Falls, which is just outside of Squamish, British Columbia, which is a nice waypoint on the drive up to Whistler. One of these days, I’m totally intending to make Squamish itself my destination for a bunch of hiking and exploring, but the timing just hasn’t worked out yet, and thus the only times I’ve ever stopped in Squamish (or at the falls) is on the way to or from Whistler. Shannon Falls is pretty incredible, and it’s very easy to get to. (There’s a parking lot right off the main highway, and about a quarter mile hike up to the bottom of the falls.) I have lots of nearly identical pictures of the falls from each time I go there, but this time in particular (this was on the way up for Dan’s bachelor party) I tried to mix it up a bit. The falls are apparently the third highest falls in BC, which got me wondering what the first and second highest are. Hmmm, maybe I’ll look into that later.
Here’s a guy who hiked up to the top of the falls (which is apparently not obvious how to get to – the trail from the parking lot just takes you to the bottom of the falls. One day, one day…
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/400s, f/7.1, ISO 200. Focal length: 129mm.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009.
Alright, here it is then, that picture of Snoqualmie Falls that I’ve been promising for a week now. See? Not a bad picture, but not really worth the hype. Well, the imagined hype, because I was actually the only one talking about it. Whatever.
You probably also noticed that I didn’t post a picture yesterday. I was pretty busy, so I just didn’t get to it until later, and by then I figured I’d just as well wait until today.
So, Snoqualmie Falls. The falls are about 30-45 minutes out of Seattle, right near the town of… umm… Snoqualmie. There’s a super-nice resort hotel, the Salish Lodge, at the top of the falls. I’m sure it’s a great place to stay (one of the movie award ceremonies a year or two back (not the Oscars.. the Golden Globes or something) gave out a stay as part of the goodie bags they gave to everyone), but it adds an interesting challenge for pictures of the falls. Because, the hotel is RIGHT next to the river. From down here at the bottom, obviously it’s not a problem, but for pictures from up top, you either have to suck it up and accept the fact that you’ll have a hotel in your picture, or you’ve got to get pretty creative with the composure. Also a factor is the fact that there is a hydroelectric power plant there, so a couple hundred feet or so off the top of the falls is some related stuff for that. It can also be composed around, but it’s definitely not ideal. (Well, not ideal for picture taking. I do, however, enjoy electricity, so I’m not going to complain.)
There’s a nice overlook at the top of the falls (you’ll probably eventually see a picture or two from up there – maybe not from the overlook exactly, but somewhere nearby), and there’s a half-mile or so trail that leads down to the bottom of the falls. You have to jump a fence (next to a huge sign talking about how you shouldn’t jump the fence) and scramble down a rocky slope to get down to the rocks next to the river, which is where this was taken. I’m not as much of a rebel as I sound though, there were literally hundreds of people down there. Enough so that it was a serious challenge finding a vantage point without any of them in it.
As long as I’m on the subject of photographic challenges around the falls, here’s another one: waterfalls kick up a lot of mist. And mist gets all over your stuff. Including your camera lens. So I would only be able to take one or two pictures before my lens was basically completely covered with little water droplets. I’d then clear the lens, and have to set up all over again, hopefully getting a picture or two snapped before a breeze came up and drenched me. But, those are the lengths I’m willing to go to for the benefit of you, dear reader.
I went back and forth over which picture to post here today. In this one, you can kind of barely see a faint rainbow in front of the falls. That was actually the 2nd rainbow, and there was a much brighter rainbow below it and to the left. (You can see the very beginning of it just above the rock on the left). So I had a couple other pictures that really emphasized the rainbow. But, it wasn’t really in a location that played well with the falls. So it basically turned into two pictures in one: a picture of a waterfall, and a picture of a rainbow. Still interesting, and striking in many ways, but technically, this one is definitely the better picture. Or that’s how my thinking went anyway.
Map: http://bit.ly/39exMG (I used terrain mode instead of satellite for this one, because the satellite image was worthless.)
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/320s, f/16.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 28mm.