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Posts tagged as “Portola Valley”

Windy Hill and Burritos, 06/15/2009

Clearing out more of my backlog, here’s a small set from the last time I was in California. I think these were all taken with my beloved 85mm. I just love the texture it imparts, the beautiful edge blurring, the extremely shallow depth of field, and the way it distorts things when used wide open on subjects that have lots of depth, a field of thistles, for example.

Here’s the whole set. I couldn’t be bothered setting up a page for only 14 photos.

[flickrset id=”72157622551668604″ thumbnail=”square” overlay=”true” size=”large”]

Yum. Burritos.

Portola Valley – 02/26/2009

While at home this past February, Juli and I spent a couple afternoons wandering through the woods surrounding my folks’s house, since, sans auto, we were a little stranded in the cultural island that is Portola Valley. But, shit, what do you need to have a good time but a camera and a sunny day? Not much, I think.

I’ve made a gallery of the first and second sets. I will add a third set to it as soon as I get around to tidying it up.

Portola Valley Gallery – February, 2009

Here are some of my favorites.

I’ve been playing around with extracting as much texture and color from these sorts of photos without making them look like you would expect. I tend to err on the dark side, if indeed I am erring at all. I am interested in coaxing unearthly colors and feelings from totally earthly subject matter. I don’t know if I am being successful or not. Maybe I’m not taking these things far enough. I don’t know. Regardless, I’ve never been opposed to just making pretty pictures. That’s really all I do with my photography. I’m not exploring the human condition or documenting news or shooting edgy fashion spreads. I just want to capture the world in front of me and present it to people the way I see it, the way it makes me feel. I definitely feel like I’m getting better at doing just that, but that I have a long way to go.

My development experiments continue. I feel good about this slightly-off, slightly-too-dark thing I’ve been doing for the last few sets. I feel good about my progress with the local adjustment tools. Next up is making convincing black and whites. I always feel like making black and whites from my color photos is kind of cheating, in a way. Maybe I’m just so afflicted with demo love for the colors I see in the original RAW files (which are actually black and white) that I can’t bring myself to throw them out and work only in gray. I played with the black and white thing a little on the Richmond photos, but that was a cop out since the photos I made black and white were of the underside of a concrete overpass—essentially black and white already. Lame. I need to learn to see in black and white, what to bring from a color negative into a black and white world, and how to compose for a monochromatic universe. I think it will help my photography overall, color or black and white. Look for that, probably in the set after the next Metric System party.

Portola Valley – 2/16/2009

Here’s some photos I shot while hanging out at my mom’s when I was in California. Nothing serious. There were more from this day, but they sucked BALLS, so I’m not going to share them. I shot a few more days wandering around town, but I haven’t had time to clean those up yet, so look out for one or two more posts of PV shots. I will make a gallery of all three sets when I am done. Fun times!

As much as I love my superduper 5D Mk II, it really has a hard time with skies. I think it is really ugly when the blue channel clips and you get this band of cyan around the horizon just before it goes full white. It’s really hard to fix if you’re even half a stop over and ruined a number of my photos completely. They had some detail left in the high highlights, but because the blue channel was clipped so far beyond the red or green channels, they photos were basically worthless. Ruined.

Maybe I’m being too picky, but I don’t think so. I have no problem with the idiosyncrasies of optics or noise in high ISO shots, but when I know highlight exposure can be and has been done better, I get a little frustrated. I envision one thing when I take the shot, and then another, worse thing is revealed when I try to make it look nice. It’s a characteristic of digital capture, true of audio and images alike, that once you hit the peak value the level clips HARD, resulting in noise and crud that no one likes.

It makes me long for the soft, organic clipping of highlights in a film exposure. One day we’ll have digital exposures where the high end rolls off smoothly like it has for the last hundred years on film, but we’re not there yet. I will post some examples of the bad clipping when I get home, but it almost makes me too mad to think. RAGE!

At least I got a handful of photos I liked from this day. The next two days of shooting were much more successful, so expect a better selection there.