Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Perfect Reflection

I took this shot when a took a break from walking up the steep incline of Powell Street in San Francisco.
In what looked like an abandoned building site (very rare for SF) there was this dirty pool of water filled with dead plants and branches. I thought the patterns of oil or chemical in the water along with the perfect stillness of the water would make for an interesting shot.
After reviewing my photos I was amazed at how the image reflected in the pool appeared sharper and more distinct than the real thing. There is something else about this image that seems interesting and holds my attention but I can't really figure out what it is.
At the least it's an unconventional photo.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f 6.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Yellow Cab

I took this photo in New York City in February of last year.
Originally my only goal was to get a shot of a yellow taxi cab for the typical representative shot of the city. I took a section of the cab rather than the whole thing in order to be a little different.
When I was reviewing my photos I noticed that the image had a lot more than just a yellow cab. First a "God Bless America" sticker was in a good place in the frame along with a nice reflection of Times Square in the cab's rear window. In the remaining part of the frame, the laughing girls, and some standard big city signs and symbols helped tie the image together.
I think simple but different shots like this one sometimes convey a city's attitude better than images of landmarks and buildings.
By the way, I'm back on the East Coast (Spring Break) so look for an earlier posting time for this week.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hungry Bird

I took this photo of a White Egret yesterday while biking in the Guadalupe River Park in San Jose. I noticed this bird standing in the shallow water and walking along the river bank and started taking a few shots. All of sudden it jabbed its head in the water and pulled out what looked like a crayfish or some other crustacean.
This shot is of the bird flipping a piece of the animal in it's mouth before eating it. I also have a shot of the the Egret holding the crayfish in it's mouth which I may post in the future.
I was happy to freeze a moment where the bird was in motion, as most animal shots are where they are still.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f7.3
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Canyon View

I took this photo of the Grand Canyon when my family and I took a west coast trip of the U.S. The Grand Canyon is a really amazing place but surprisingly difficult to portray in photos (here's my other attempt). It's difficult to express the size and scale in a single image.
In trying to give a idea of the size I included the woman looking off into the distance in this image.
As you can see the railings get very close to the edge and are not good for those afraid of heights. The distance to the very bottom in this area is about one mile (1600 meters) but you can only see about a third of that depth in this photo.
More than any place I've been, the Grand Canyon is something you have to see in person to truly appreciate.

Canon 20D, Canon 22-55 4.5-5.6 lens, AV f4.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ocean Lighthouse

This is a simple photo of Pigeon Point lighthouse located just off the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in California. This is the same area that this other photo was taken. The lighthouse and the surrounding areas were in the process of being refurbished for visitors as part of the state park system so a lot of the paint was fresh.
I wanted to frame the photo so that the picket fence led the eye across the frame towards the lighthouse. Although the fence doesn't look too old you can see the effect the constant mist from the ocean waves has on the paint.
I was also happy to see that the clouds framed the lighthouse against the blue sky, helping to emphasize it even though it's outside the range of focus.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f4.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Barrels of Wine 2

This another shot of wine barrels Robyn and I saw on our trip to the Napa/Sonoma valley, north of San Francisco. This was taken at Sterling Vineyard, the same winery that this photo was taken.
I like this one because the lighting is so interesting. On certain barrels there is soft natural sunlight from the windows while other barrels have the strong indoor lighting on them. I think this difference in lighting and the multiple rows of barrels stretching into the shadows creates the illusion that the barrels continue on forever.
As I've mentioned before, California wine country is a beautiful place to visit even if you aren't into wine and it's relatively close to San Francisco and the rest of the Bay area.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 4.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

TV Abstract

If you don't see what the image is, step back from your monitor and take another look. What you should see is a person's face. I'll be very surprised if any guesses who it is.
This is probably the most 'experimental' shot I've posted on my blog. The image is a photograph of an image on TV which I altered significantly using the Gimp photo editor.
I converted the image to black and white and tried to break down the image so it looked more like a print in a newspaper rather than a photograph. By using an extreme angle and the macro mode of the camera, I tried to capture the detail while presenting a common subject in a different way (you can really pick up the detail if you click and expand the photo).

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro Mode, AV f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Red Plant

I took this photo near the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this fence overlooked a part of the bay where some seals were resting on the beach.
The first and most obvious reason why I like this photo is the rich and intense color of the plants. I'm also always drawn to examples of nature overcoming man-made things. It's amazing how the chain link fence is worn and rusted from the salt water in the air while the plant is vibrant and full of life.
I have no idea what type of plant this is but the 'leaves' look like thick cut french fries or potato wedges dipped in ketchup.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 4.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mural Reflection

I took this shot in San Francisco while wandering around the city with Robyn earlier this year. The mural was very colorful and bright on it's own but I wanted to capture it in a different way. By facing across the street and framing the mural within the simple and muted shades of the restaurant, I was able to create a more complete shot.
The bright lighting on the mural side of the street helped the painting 'pop' out of the frame.By the way Robyn took a shot of me in front of the mural and the photo ended up being selected for a University of Pennsylvania photo exhibition. Maybe she’ll post it on her blog sometime.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One Step

I took this shot in New York at the MoMA near the entrance to the museum. I wanted to shoot through the replica helicopter/art installation so I waited a few minutes as people walked through. Finally this woman walked alone and entered the frame created by the helicopter.
I was happy with the lighting as there seemed to be a spotlight on her and even lighting throughout the frame. Adding to the interest in the photo is the fact that the woman's foot is frozen in the air above its shadow before it touches the ground.
While a central composition of the subject is generally a bad idea, in this case I felt it accentuated the balance and geometry of the photo.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Green Pepper

This shot is somewhat of a tribute to the great photographer, Edward Weston. Some of Weston's more famous shots are simple black and white photos of bell peppers which look almost like human forms.
I first shot this bell pepper in black and white with a shallow depth of field and a high level of contrast. Then I bumped up the saturation and contrast even more in order to get an even more dramatic look using the gimp image editor. Finally I used a dark green tint similar to the color of a real pepper and applied it to the whole image.
I'm pretty happy with the end result as it one of the first 'post processed' images I've done.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f3.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, February 17, 2006

Resting Elephant

I took this photo of a magestic asian elephant as we were driving through the rainforests of Munnar, India last year. Apparently this big guy was used to move large timber around and occasionally give tourists a ride on his back. It was very humbling to see such a large and impressive creature resting without a fence or wall between us.
While I don't think he was being abused or mistreated the expression on his face and the line of tears running down from his eye strike me as sad (although the tears could have been caused by something else).

Canon 20D, 50mm 1.4, AV f 2.0
[click photo to enlarge]

And if you're interested in seeing other photoblogs, I've just updated my links section below...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Walking uphill

I found this interesting scene walking up one of San Francisco's notoriously steep hills (Hyde st. I think). As I walked up I wanted to take a photo showing the steepness without taking a typical 'look up the street' shot.
I noticed this short older woman walking up the street and decided to go to the other side of the street and wait for her to enter the frame. I set up the shot so that the angle of the street is clear and so the woman is placed in a good spot. With the cars evenly split and the large building as a backdrop, I think there is a nice sense of balance and scale.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f5.4
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wild Jellyfish

Although I've posted a couple of other jellyfish photos (one and two), this is the only shot I have of a wild one. I saw this one floating around on a beautiful beach near the south eastern tip of India (at the same place this was taken).
While it's definetely not as colorful as the jellyfish I've shot at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I thought the natural lighting and the overall peace of the image made it worth sharing. I also like how the water is so clear that the jelly seems to be floating in mid air.
I wanted to help the blandly colored jellyfish stand out more so I used a shallow depth of field to blur the foreground enough.

Canon 20D, 50mm 1.4, AV f 2.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I thought this photo of my girlfriend Robyn would be appropriate since today is Valentine's Day. I took this photo when we visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The pink glow on the wall and on Robyn's face is from an art installation that was basically a pink fluorescent light fixture.
I was happy with how the softness of the lighting, the focus and Robyn's smile created a warm and gentle look to the image.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blue window

I'm very happy with how this shot turned out. Frequent visitors may recognize the person in the photo, Selvum from my previous posts (picking coconuts and blue door).
I was looking through my photos from my trip to India last year when I noticed this one. Originally the photo had a lot more distracting elements and a boring composition. With some extensive cropping I cut out those elements and created a more dynamic composition.
My favorite parts of this photo include the pure natural lighting, the bright blue color and the partionining of the scene from the bars of the window. Also the other window in the background balances Selvum's off-center position.

Canon 20D, 50mm 1.4, AV f 2.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chinatown Parade

I got a chance to head down to the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco yesterday. While the actual New Year's day was last week I think they had it this weekend to avoid competing with the Superbowl.
The whole parade actually starts at night so I was lucky to walk by the pre-parade area where the floats wer lined up in advance. I took advantage of the perfect natural sunlight reflecting off the brightly painted statue and decorations to get a colorful yet peaceful shot.
I tried to make it look like the Wealth God was peeking from behind the red board. I was happy with how the buildings in the background gave the image a sense of place (rather than blank sky).

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f6.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Full plate

Here is a much more technically sound and visually appealing photo than yesterday.
I set up this macro of a plate of sushi so that the detail of one piece was clear while the background was an endless repetition. In actuality I think there were 5-6 pieces in the shot.
It's interesting to see the detail and color of all of the elements of the sushi (the rice, the salmon, the cucumber, and the seaweed wrap).
What I thought was especially interesting was how the individual rice pieces on the edge were sliced cleanly by the Sushi maker's sharp blade.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro Mode AV f2.8
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, February 10, 2006

Nature's defenses

I took this shot near where my Parents live (Malvern, Pennsylvania) late last year. The sun was setting and so I used a large aperature to use what little light there was to pick up the interesting details in this old, weathered fence.
While I'm not sure about the amount of blur in the photo, I think the shallow depth of field focuses the attention on the details of the image.
The subject matter for the shot is interesting as a few old and rusted barbed wires are intertwined with a young and vibrant plant with thorns. Amazing how so many innovations are inspired by nature.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 2.8
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, February 09, 2006

NYC Street Vendor

A shot from my trip to the Greatest City on Earth in December. I think it was 9:30 or so on a Friday and a lot of the corners were selling hot pretzels and roasted chestnuts.
What I love about New York is that you can pretty much get anything in the world you want at any time.
To me this shot conveys the vibrance and variety that makes New York what it is. I cropped out some of the darker areas so that the vendor and the food are framed well without being overwhelmed. By the way if you are looking for a free photo editor check this site out. It has most of the functions of photoshop without the pricetag.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rusty beach wires

I took this shot on a slightly overcast day in Monterey, California. This was a wire fence overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay with the beach and some boulders in the foreground.
I included the wires because they seemed to seperate the image into sections and because you can see the effect of the salt water as it rusts each of the wires differently.
From this point, you can see otters rolling around in the surf and usually there are seals on the nearby rocks. This photo reminds me of that natural beauty of the bay every time I see it.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 4.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Soft curves

I know I recently posted another fork shot but I posted this one because I thought it was unique and different from the first. I'm always happy when an image of simple, everyday things seems to be more than the sum of its parts.
In this photo a simply designed fork and spoon (Ikea of course) looks more like human figures or the flowing lines of a sports car. I used black and white to focus the eye on the form and shapes rather than the color of the items.
To me photography is all about the details.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro Mode AV 2.8
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, February 06, 2006

City Lights

I took this shot in San Francisco near Union Square. As it got dark I realized that the only subjects I had were the numerous lights and signs along the street.
I tried to frame the shot so that both the actual sign and it's reflection showed up. When I reviewed the photos I thought it was interesting how the light from the actual sign looks solid while in the reflection you can make out the neon tubing. Must be something with which light rays are reflected.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Barrels of wine

This shot was taken at a winery in the Napa Valley north of San Francisco. I forget the name of the winery but it was interesting to see the size and scale of the operation. Each of these big hand-made oak barrels was made from specific types of oak from around the world so that it imparted different flavors into the wine.
This room was lined with numerous rows of wine in a climate controlled environment and I thought the way the natural sunlight lit up the edges of the barrels had a peaceful look to it. I used this angle to impart the size and repetition of the barrels without getting too much light in the photo.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 4.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Hawk on a tree

I thought I'd try a little bit of extreme cropping on this image. I took this shot on the bike/running path that leads up to Fort Mason which overlooks San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
This hawk looked like he/she was taking advantage of the high perch to get a good view of any small animals or fish that were in the area. I liked the fierce and strong gaze it has looking over the branches and how it seems to be calmy seated on a shaky perch.
The reason I chose the cropping for this photo was because I originally included a lot more sky and tree in the photo which seemed to overwhelm the bird's body. With this cropping the bird has more of place in the scene.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 10.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, February 03, 2006

How to stop a cable car

Recently I've found myself more drawn to black and white images. I think it's the combination of a more simple format and a more polished end result.
The subject in this photo is the hand brake for a cable car on the Powell-Hyde line in San Francisco. The brake is turned to initiate the friction need to slow the car on steep downhills in the city (which explains why the end is so shiny from repeated use).
I felt the brightness of the handle along with the texture of the cobblestones in the background created an interesting image. Also the strong line of shadows seemed to split the frame very well in order to create a sense of balance.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 10.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ghostly image

A much more subtle image than the last few I've posted. This was taken at the Museum of Modern Art in New York last December.
I liked how the photo is dominated by all of the different lines (both real and refelcted) in the different levels of the museum. In addition, the dulled reflection of the man peering out from another balcony adds a mysterious almost ghostly look.
Despite being at the museum for a while I can't completely figure out what the different lines are from or which ones are real and which are reflections. But then again it's good to confuse your eyes sometimes.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fork on table

I took this odd macro of a fork on brightly colored side table. I set up the fork at an odd angle so that it cast a long shadow and so the detail in the side of the prongs is visible (which is rarely seen). In addition to turning parts of the red table orange and yellow, the strong light also makes a strange shadow which looks more like a wine glass than a fork.
While most macro shots make you look at objects closer, I wanted to present the fork so that it's seen as shape rather than a utensil.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro Mode AV f3.1
[click photo to enlarge]