Saturday, 30 October 2010

Gondola In 60 Seconds, Venice

You say "bokeh", I say "water damage". This was shot in rain using our hotel bathmat as a tripod and makeshift camera cover. Bathmats make better tripods than you'd imagine, as it turns out.

Although shot with a weatherproof lens (always worried about the fact Canon commit to nothing numerical by way of definition in this regard), my six year old 300D definitely isn't. Half-covered in the bathmat, half-sheltered by my leaning hooded form, it survived. I'm delighted by it's longevity - probably 100,000+ shutter actuations and lots of knocks along the way.

What it doesn't do so well is noise control, however. This shot was a wretched thing to clean, and this posted version remains a bit ropey even after an hour or so in LR3 and PS7.0 tidying it up. The white balance was a nightmare too, with no result I was ever entirely happy with. I settled on this one, married with a not insignificant desaturation. Otherwise, I used PS to lessen the distortion of the buildings (exacerbated by the lean-inducing bathmat) and LR to bring that church tower back (somewhat) from the shadows of the sky.

Just for pedants - you're right - it's not a gondola. Sadly I couldn't think of a punning film title with "vaporetto" in the title. It is 60 seconds though.

See Gondola in 60 Seconds on Flickr.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Man Or Mouse (Carnival Masks), Venice

This is taken in the wonderful Ca' del Sol mask makers in Venice. It's an incredible shop, with wonderful photographer friendly owners. I'd recommend a visit to anyone and everyone, especially if you want to take pictures.

I particularly like the mouse/rat masks. Though this wasn't my favourite of those (to follow), the spread of masks on the wall behind was the most impressive when bokehed.

I think this one only really comes to life viewed in lightbox/large on black. I've gone for a slightly brighter feel than my usual, and the black sets it off much more effectively than the white, imho.

I've had a few notes about the airfare I mentioned a few posts ago - Venice direct is usually an expensive option even on Ryanair (or your chosen equivalent, other low-cost airlines are available!). I suggest flying to somewhere along the main rail route to Milan; Bergamo or Brescia are good options. From these you can take the train across very cheaply and easily; and it's rather fun traveling by train in itself.

See Man or Mouse (Carnival Masks), Venice on Flickr.

Love At First Light (Light Painting), Kent

First attempt at light painting having invested £19 in a remote shutter release. I took five or six attempts to get the man worked out, using a basic flashlight/torch, dressed in navy and thoroughly hooded. This was my first attempt at the couple and the hearts. I'm delighted with it! Lots more long exposure work to come.

It was taken around 2:00am last night in Loose valley just above the village. The scene is lit across the grass with light from a bright moon, with fluorescent light from Maidstone on the horizon, which is tweaked only with the camera's WB. I cropped slightly in from the left as a third heart had strayed half off frame, and gave a minor boost to vibrancy and blacks. Lightroom 3 did a great job with noise reduction - a fair number of random (single) bright green/red/blue pixels from the long exposure were pruned without hassle.

Details: 229 seconds ¦ f/8.0 ¦ ISO 100.

Update: Explored #14 and front page! Many thanks to everyone who has commented, fav'ed and viewed. I massively appreciate the attention and insights offered, and will be working through everyone individually as soon as I have a chance. Thanks to all!

See Love At First Light (Light Painting), Kent on Flickr.

Quayside Spray & Gondolas, Venice

First picture to be processed on my return from Venice. Lots of these shots - mostly at a much higher tide with waves sweeping in at my feet. I'd imagine more will make it online in due course. This one got the nod for first posting as I liked the lighting and reflection best.

It's the view out from just along from St Marks towards Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, on which sits a church of the same name which is often mistaken for the main Campanile tower on St Mark's square itself.

This image is actually a composite of two - one lefthand, one righthand, manually blended in Photoshop 7.0 along the dividing line/pole noted above. The mix of spray and boat positions, combined with the lack of viewfinder, made it a little hard to ensure the gondolas' fantastic prows did not overlap with the poles. The "bulge" shown in the note above is unfortunate as it implies lax PS work - in fact it is forcola used to hold the oar, so the gap is quite natural!

Hope everyone is fantastically well and enjoying the week.

See Quayside Spray & Gondolas, Venice on Flickr.