Tuesday, January 25, 2011
So umm, yeah, this is Venice. Not really a surprise there. And no, I wasn’t recently there or anything, this is just yet another one from the archives from that big trip I took there, which at this point was “awhile ago”. One of those places that I’ve got to make it back to someday I suppose. So, until then..
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300mm lens. 1/400s, f/8.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 39mm.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Hello everyone, welcome back. It’s getting harder and harder to come up with little quips to put at the beginning of my Picture of the Day entries. I’ll probably just start recycling them. People like my wife who remember every story I’ve ever even thought about telling will probably notice, except that people like my wife don’t actually read this crap anyway, they just look at the pictures. So everybody wins!
This is the Grand Canal in Venice. I’ll be honest, it’s not really one of my favorite pictures. But, it’s apparently one of the most viewed images on http://davefry.net/rate . I’ve started putting in little links that say “Read more about this picture” on the pictures that I’ve posted on Picture of the Day, so this is really just a lame attempt at getting some of those folks to head over this way. Don’t you all just feel used?
This picture is good for something though. It’s great for illustrating one of my huge pet peeves, that I’ve already mentioned at least a couple times in the past. When you have things like buildings in your picture (or trees, but buildings are worse), it’s painfully obvious (to my eye, anyway) when it’s not perfectly straight. And, I’m notorious for being a bit lazy and taking pictures that are cockeyed by a couple degrees. So taking pictures of things like buildings (or views where you can see the horizon) is a very frustrating activity for me. On top of that, most lenses introduce a little bit of barrel distortion, meaning they bend things around a little bit, especially near the edges. (Try getting a picture to look level when stuff in the middle is straight up and down, but stuff on the left side is leaning to the right, and stuff on the right side is leaning to the left. Arrrghhh!!) Then, just to put the icing on the cake, in some cases the buildings themselves aren’t even consistently straight! (And, depending on your perspective, having the lines be perfectly vertical or horizontal isn’t always “right”). I swear that was the case here, but that could just be me making excuses.
Regardless, these pictures of Venice drove me bonkers. Taking a picture straight is of course the most preferable option, but even when using software to straighten it out later (which sucks because it degrades the image – although I’m not going to go into why here) is really frustrating. Take a look at this image. The stuff near the middle looks pretty true. But that building on the far right is most definitely leaning toward the edge of the frame. And, as expected, the stuff on the far left is also off-kilter, although this time leaning toward the left. That’s actually kind of weird, it’s the opposite from what I’d usually expect (barrel distortion usually bends things as if it’s trying to turn them into a giant donut), but it’s still annoying. Sigh.
Whatever, enjoy your picture, and hopefully I can convince a few of those folks looking at the picture on davefry.net to check out this entry. Have a great rest of your day.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length: 28mm.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009.
Ahhh Venice. This of course goes back to that same Italy/Switzerland trip that I’ve already posted a few pics from. Venice was where our trip came to an end. (Well, kind of. The next day we still had to travel back across Italy to Milan, where we stayed one more night out in the suburbs before catching an early flight the next day. But.. whatever.)
To recap: we flew in to Milan, stayed a night, then took the train down to Vernazza (in Cinque Terre) for Trevor and Heather’s wedding. Stayed there a few nights, then headed along the coast with T. and H. (again by train) to Monte Carlo (which was actually quite a let-down.) Stayed there two nights/one day, then up to Torino. From there, Trevor and Heather went their own way, and Julie and I rented a car, and played around in the mountains for a week. We had no set itinerary, but we ended up hanging out in the national park (Gran Paradiso) for a couple nights, and crossed over into Switzerland, where we stayed in Zermatt. From there, we drove all the way across Italy (although, driving “all the way across” west-to-east is a lot less significant than north-to-south) to Venice, where we met up again with Treather for one more night (and dropped off the car.) Right, got all that?
We got in to Venice around 1pm, so we had most of the day to fart around. We basically saw the same stuff you’d see on a bus tour, as in, we didn’t get away from that central touristy part at all. (Do they even HAVE a non-touristy part there?) But, Julie had never been there, so she made me promise we’d go at least for a day. Now, about the picture…
Pictures like this can be hard to take. Anytime you’re trying to include both stuff that is illuminated by sunshine AND stuff that’s in shadow, it can be tricky to get right. Usually, either the bright part is overexposed (and all the color is washed out if you can see anything at all), or the shadow part is underexposed (and is completely dark.) I know I’ve covered this before, but it’s such a common issue that it’s worth going over again. Basically, our eyes have a much higher sensitivity range than a camera does. We can see a scene with both bright parts and dark parts, and make out the detail in both. The camera can only handle a much narrower range. So usually you have to make a choice about which part you want to be subject of the picture, and thus which part gets exposed properly. (Or, you can try to average it out, which sometimes works. Or, you can play games like with HDR photography where you basically combine multiple images after the fact, but I haven’t yet gotten into stuff like that…) There’s of course also the option of a split neutral density filter (which is a filter with one half clear, the other half darkened), which can make the difference a lot smaller, but I never think to carry one of those around with me. (Well, the bigger problem is that I don’t actually own one.)
And then, of course, you can just cheat, which is kind of what I did here. Nowadays, there’s lots of software tools that you can use to touch up photos. (Maybe you’ve heard of them? Nah, probably not..) So, assuming your picture doesn’t have too many areas that are either so bright or so dark that you end up losing data (once something is bright enough such that the values for the data point are maxed out, if something right next to it is slightly brighter, you won’t be able to tell the difference, and thus the data is lost), you can use software to lighten or darken certain areas of the picture. I didn’t do that a LOT in this picture (because I’m too cheap to buy Photoshop), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t play around with it a little bit.
Map (Right, like I remember where in Venice this was…): http://bit.ly/D9Gy4
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 200. Focal length: 30mm.