Doorway to the secret beach

Photo from January 28, 2003

There were so many great photos taken this weekend even though it was a 2.5 megapixel camera purchased in the previous century! Little did I know these would be among the last exposures ever taken with this camera.

I’ll definitely have to stitch and post some more photos fro this trip.

Sighting the doorway to the secret beach
Sculptured Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Olympus C-2500L
(8 exposures, 1/1000-1/10000 sec @ f/2.8), iso 100, 9.2mm (36mm)

It was the morning of the second day of a hike along the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. From our campsite we took a short hike down to the Sculptured Beach and walked along to the south end where we sighted the arch doorway to the Secret Beach.

It was not yet negative low tide so we were going to have to prep a bit to get down to the beach before sprinting through the doorway. That was a lot of fun. Getting almost stranded (again!)… not so much.

On the next day, a wave would smash me against the rocks and destroy the camera that took this photo.

Because I knew it’s nearly impossible then to stitch a panorama with moving waves, this was actually intended to be two separate panoramic stitches. Unfortunately, my overlap wasn’t as good as when I started using dSLRs and there’s no optical distortion formula for such an old camera so PTGui couldn’t fix the horizon correctly. It’s especially bad around my friend Sean (I kept the exposure of him looking at the arch doorway).

I tried fixing the mask as much as I could in Photoshop and then added a crop, color saturation, sharpness, and noise reduction in Lightroom CC, in addition to some last minute cloning out of some ghosts. The noise reduction is pretty strong and smooths out some of the rock detail that’s actually there in the photo because Olympus CCD cameras of the era were notoriously bad with blue channel noise.

Here’s a crazy thought. The stitch ends up being 8.7 megapixel. Today I could get the whole scene in a single wide angle photo on my camera and still have better resolution. I should revisit these beaches, even though some are now inaccessible.

My South Bay Uniform

Photo from August 27, 2007

In the fall of 2007, my friend Megan McCarthy wrote an amusing article on valleywag on the wardrobe of Silcon Valley: a blue oxford button down dress shirt and khaki pants. It’s basically a safe bet at tech meet ups that you’ll see more white guys in blue button downs than anything else.

Later that month, I hadn’t ironed my clothing in a while so all that was usable in my closet were those aforementioned blue button downs. So this particular day, as I was wearing “the uniform,” I took a self-portrait to show I’m as original as all the west. Granted, it’s a little bit different, but that’s because San Francisco is a bit colder than valley 40 miles to the south.

My South Bay Uniform
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Panasonic DMC-LX1
1/4 sec at f/4.9, iso 200, 23.2mm (103mm)

I actually took and processed this image a long time ago for a blog post I never did.
Continue reading about how this photo was taken and processed after the jump


Photo from October 7, 2011

I think I had just gotten a close-up filter to replace the on-loan Canon 400D. We went to some Thai restaurant in nearby whose name I’ve since forgotten. When Marie’s sake order game, after staging it onto my side of the table, I used it as an opportunity to test out the new filter on my camera.

The Richmond, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G, Hoya Pro1 Digital MC Close-up +3
1/50sec @ ƒ2.8, iso 800, 29mm

Continue reading about how this photo was processed after the jump

Sapphire Martini

Photo from November 11, 2006

I had recently broken up and moved away from my girlfriend so I was spending time in a still-unpacked new temporary apartment, so I decided to take up some hobbies besides running or cycling. This meant cooking and drinking.

I decided to start mixing drinks again. It was best to start with the basics, and nothing is more basic than a classic dry martini. While my parents gin of choice was Beefeater, I’ve always been a fan of Bombay Sapphire—mostly just because of its distinctive blue bottle. If I start there and understand that presentation is the most important part of a drink, getting just the right martini glass to go along with it immediately follows.

I was toasting the close of an old life and the start of a new one. Odd that I had to down this drink alone at this watershed moment in my life, something I never do.

Sapphire martini
Mountain View, California

Panasonic DMC-LX1
1/20 sec at f/2.8, iso 200, 6.3mm (28mm)

Continue reading about this photo after the jump

Granny G’s Burger at the Boxing Room

Photo from July 27, 2013

Granny G’s burger with egg
Boxing Room, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Apple iPhone 5
1/20sec @ f/2.4, iso1600 4.13mm (33 mm)

This was after going to the symphony. I guess I was hungry because I asked for a fried egg to be put on top of it.

Since this project came up and only had iPhone images, I thought I’d use a non-Camera+ iPhone image as as an opportunity to investigate Lightroom CC’s de-noise and sharpening routines (in the Detail tab of the Develop module). While it is very convenient, I dislike the artifacts it generates when working on underexposed JPEG images.

Surprisingly, a simple application of basic processing, seems to oversaturate the reds in image, which I had to pull down using the HSL controls. I guess Adobe engineers are Canon photographers.

In Lightroom’s defense, the lighting was terrible, so I should be happy anything was usable, as there’s only so much you can recover from a high ISO photo camera shot. Should learn to bring a real camera out when I eat.

I kissed a girl

Photos from December 15, 2007

The end of my much-beloved Aperture and the start of a new year means a migration to Adobe Lightroom CC is in order. The Python developer who coded the Aperture import plugin for Adobe was clearly underpaid as it is underperforming and crash-prone when you have an Aperture Library as corrupted as mine.

So after a week of failure upon hard disk failure, upon Aperture Vault recovery, upon backups and more backups (lesson learned). I’ve resigned myself to moving one project at a time into Lightroom. But which project?

For that, I wrote a simple Applescript that selects a random project. And then I move it, verify the map, redo the face detection, and fix the keywords. As a reward, I process and post an image from it and hopefully write a little something. You’ve noticed a few over the last week, and this will continue for…

(If I manage a project a day, it’ll be a couple years before I’ve fully migrated. Such is what happens when you’ve been shooting digitally for over 16 years.)

Jonathan Abrams kindly invited me to the christmas party of his startup at a bar he is the co-owner of. For some reason both my main camera (Nikon D200) and event photography lens were broke at the time. I think I was attending so many events and doing so much traveling, I was extremely hard on my equipment.

That day I dug up my old Nikon D70, and my landscape photography lens, try to put the biggest flash diffuser I could find, and started shooting anyway. I really tried to push the camera and lens for all it was worth. Slide is a really great venue, but pre-D3 ISO range and a small aperture lens can’t really do it justice. Oh well, just focus on the subjects lit by the flash and ignore the rest, because who can see anything else?

I kissed a girl
Slide, Union Square, San Francisco, California

Nikon D70, Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G
1/20 sec @ f/4, iso 1250, 12mm (18mm)

Continue reading about this photo after the jump

Fresh Fruit Cup

Photos from October 17, 2010.

Fresh Fruit Cup (organic)
Fresh Fruit Cup (organic)
Beach Street Grill, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
Lightroom (crop, mask, basic, detail, effects)
1/80sec, iso 160, 35mm (46mm)

Marie and I don’t often get to Fisherman’s Wharf since I moved away from there, but since her sister was visiting, we decided to make the drive for breakfast. The nice thing about the Wharf is that the better food places aren’t busy because they aren’t frequented by tourists who are looking for anything labeled as “world famous.”

Because I was one of the first people to post pictures on Yelp, the owners recognize us and sometimes give us a fruit cup while we are waiting for our order. That’s another opportunity to photograph.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the interesting things about shooting with a Leica camera is its limitations. A close rangefinder focusing of 70cm means puts more in than the food in frame showing a bit of the environment the food lives in… even if it only appears as bokeh.

Here is the same fruit cup shot on an iPhone using Camera+

As for processing, mostly I spent the time familiarizing myself with Lightroom’s built-ins. I still think in Aperture (and external plugins), but I’m trying to discover how much I can do things in my preferred style in Lightroom. I masked away some of the background saturation, brightness, and detail, though since I’m not yet familiar with shortcuts, my masking leaves a little to be desired. It’s odd because the more you process an image, the less you can tell it was photographed with a Leica. Lightroom’s film grain effect, while not as good as DxO or nik, is a great convenience when viewed close up or printed.