Monday, September 12, 2011

Milestones passed

I'm officially a senior citizen. Yes, folks, I am now in my 66th year on the planet and while trips around the sun should not be of any significance, I do feel different after this one. Imagine! The Canadian Government is going to pay me every month, as long as I keep breathing!

Other People's Stuff.
In a bit of a departure for me, I'm going to show you some other people's stuff. Now I won't post anyone else's pictures, especially without permission, but I am going to point you at a couple of websites that I know you'll enjoy.

The first one is a website gallery called "". Go there. Look at the photos.  There are literally THOUSANDS of outstanding images. When I first looked through it, my immediate reaction was to sell my camera, because I'll never be that good. Any category, I dare you (BTW there is a "fine arts nudes" category which requires you to read a disclaimer to see the images. You can turn that off in 'settings' after you join).

You don't have to join 1X to see the images. But you have to if you want to submit images for their consideration. They specifically say that 95% of submitted images are rejected. A free membership entitles you to upload one image/week for consideration: I sent them my wasp picture last week and haven't heard back.

There's a bit of a story behind the second site. I was surfing around in anticipation of the Gales of November workshop in a couple of months, and I went to Google Images and searched for "Michipicoten River Light". We were staying at the Rock Island Lodge which is located at the mouth of the Michipicoten where it empties into Lake Superior at Wawa. Anyway, my image came up first but as I looked further, the 14th image looked familiar: it was a shot of the boathouse at the lodge, so i clicked on it. It took me to a web forum called, which is for BMW F800GS motorcyclists. Coincidence! I almost bought one of those but ended up with a Kawasaki KLR650 (much less expensive!).

Anyway, that picture is part of a Twitter trip journal from 2009 by a motorcyclist/photographer whose nickname is f800gecko. I've tried to contact him, without success so far. I invite you to read his journal by clicking this link. "Why?", you may ask. Not only are his photographs outstanding, but the man is a talented writer. Each post is one or two sentences long — necessitated by the Twitter format — and each one is poignant and well phrased.

Scroll down to a little below the halfway point. You'll find a post, "Once I crested a rise and felt my mouth fall open at the scene before me. It is a place that draws an ancient human feeling from within one's depths and puts the taste of it on your tongue..."
and below it a picture taken in Montana that I find incredible. One day, when I grow up, I want to be able to take pictures like that. If anyone knows who this person is, please send me his email address.

Anyway, here's a mixed bag of some images I took last week and weekend. Enjoy!

15-shot panoramic at Grass Lake, Highway 118 on the way to Haliburton. The sky really did look like that so I stopped for some pictures. I took 5 bracketed photos, then moved the camera to the next position and did it again. And again. Then I created 3 overlapping HDR images and merged them in Photoshop. They didn't want to merge correctly, so that portion took some effort!

While I was there, I took this single burst of 5 images and merged them in Nik HDR Efex. After importing into Photoshop, I opened Nik Color Efex Pro and looked through the presets. This one is called "Indian Summer" and it did an amazing job of converting green vegetation to fall colours. This is what it's going to look like in a few weeks!

Last weekend was the "Open Canoe" whitewater race at the Minden Wildwater Preserve, one of my favourite venues. I used my 12mm super wide angle lens and got up close and personal with the competitors. I was about 4 feet away when I shot this image. I used Topaz Adjust to bring out the details.

This was taken standing on the rock to the left of the previous image, looking down on the canoe. Same lens. However I told Lightroom that i had a Sigma 8mm fisheye lens on the camera so I added some distortion to give the shot an interesting perspective.

My real estate agent emailed me about a house that had come up for sale. It sounded interesting, so I wandered by after leaving the whitewater on Sunday. The bank is about to foreclose on this one, so it's likely going to go for a deal! It's a custom built log house, 2 stories, 3BR/2B with a full basement, covered deck in front, fireplace on 3 acres of nicely wooded land. Outbuildings include a storage shed, a gazebo and a sauna. There's a pond and a stream... water is very low right now so the pond is a bit stagnant and the stream is barely a trickle. If this house were on a lakefront or a riverfront, I'd be making an offer. Beautiful property, well-maintained. This is an HDR processed in Photomatix Pro.

Here's the sauna, about 50' from the house and right on the pond (to the right). Very, very nice. Again I ran the HDR image in Photomatix Pro, then took it into Photoshop and used Nik Silver Efex Pro to do the black-and-white conversion. Then I painted the colour back in on a layer mask.

Anyway, that was my week in pictures. Catch you soon!

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