Category Archives: Photography

Computational Photography Experience

Do a post about Eric Kim’s view of computational photography.

My Experience With Computational Photography

I myself only recently found out what the term “computational photography” meant. I’ve been using it in my Google Pixel phone, but I didn’t know the term existed for how the camera worked. It uses computer algorithms to take photos rather than an improved lens or sensor. Software does the work.

A flower photo taken using computational photography software.

Eric Kim has a great in-depth article about computational photography.  He summarizes it all well by describing how photography is changing due to this new software and how it will be an equalizer.

I disagree with some points of the article. For one, I think he puts far to much stock into what this is. Nothing will replace human creativity in processing photos. Whether you like my processing or not, it still has a unique look. It is good enough for many situations, but nothing replaces the human decision making process, it’s only a tool that is good enough for many instances.

Photo processes with Photoshop
Flower Shot With a Canon G15 and processed with Photoshop.

I can tell the difference even if nobody else can. There are small elements that I manipulated to get the look that I want. A computer cannot do that.

The problem is that HDR is just an aesthetic. Done right, it’s more than a “look”, but it’s not composition or good subject matter. Software will not get make these happen.

On the plus side, Eric Kim is right that often, the camera software is great and does amazing HDR. What takes a long time to do and requires a significant level of skill, can now be done by anyone. For me, it’s a timesaver when it’s good enough. For others, it allows them to do HDR when they don’t even know or understand what it is.

Mr. Kim points out the interesting aspects that are coming for the future of software in photography. We will be more likely to upgrade the software rather than the entire camera. The economics of this are going to open up higher end and more creative photography to many more people.

 

Product Photography – Trying Something New

Starting Product Photography

I try to stay active in the Winter, but there are days where staying inside turns out to be the decision. This year, I’m turning to product photos, maybe macro if time permits. It’s been an interesting experiment.

The Light Table

I built a light tent to diffuse the light and it helped the light situation as intended. Adding a light table to light from below proved to be interesting. It’s a look I just didn’t expect to get playing around.

Coke can shaped glasses on a light table.
Coke can shaped tumblers on a light table.

Taking the mundane and making it look interesting using only a few items is as difficult as it sounds. For this Coke can shaped tumblers, I found that an old light table works well. I plan on trying some different lighting and backgrounds.

A Ride In The Country, Then A Walk Around Town

Town And Country In Licking County, Ohio.

We’re coming up on February 2017. In my opinion, February is the toughest month of winter. By this point, I’m tired of it. Getting outside helps resolve some of the angst though.

Here’s some a ride in the country and a walk in the city from this Sunday afternoon.

Licking County farm fenceline.
Fenceline on the backroads in the northern part of Licking County, Ohio.
The Draft House Alley entrance in Newark, Ohio.
Entrance in the rear of The Draft House in downtown Newark, Ohio.
Alleyway barber shop sign.
Barber shop sign in an alley.

Long Exposure Welding Glass Photography Experiment

Digital photography’s limits entertain me  to  no end. The ability to capture a slice of light and time is interesting, but stretching that out to a larger slice of light and time is more interesting.

I read that I could use cheap welding glass instead of expensive neutral density filters to get a start in long exposure photography. The only problem is that you have to rig it on with rubber bands and welding glass has a strong green tint that must either be converted to black and white or color corrected in Photoshop.

It’s nearly impossible to find anyone who can print a black and white photo properly, so I didn’t want to work in black and white. I was happy to see that my conversion to color worked. It’s amazing that this green tinted photo could be tweaked to look normal. I have to laugh more now at the, “I don’t like it, it’s been Photoshopped.”, crowd. Photoshop does incredible things. Saving me huge amounts of money on filters and producing a viable result like this is another.

Now, I have a few more tweaks to make this a workable solution.

Before…

RAW file after long exposure shot with welding glass.
The RAW file looked like this when shot with welding glass at a 30 second exposure.

After…

A 30 second shot through welding glass after color correction in Photoshop.
A 30 second shot through welding glass after color correction in Photoshop.

After 30 seconds with this setup, strange things started happening due to light leaks. I ordered a lens hood to rig up a better mount. The way I had it mounted even messed up the focus, blurring the photo too.  Also, a remote trigger is on the way so that I can use the bulb feature better for exposures longer than 30 seconds. Once I get that and I get to a spot that’s more interesting than my backyard, I’ll be ready to learn to create cool long exposure photo.

Exploring The Abandoned HPM Building

I’m old enough and smart enough to know that entering an abandoned factory could be a really bad idea. There is no telling what is in there or if the law will charge you with breaking and entering. There are many things that can happen, so even though it’s trendy on YouTube channels, I wouldn’t do it.

Just looking at the outside from a safe distance though, I’ll do that. It’s interesting what you can find. In this case, it was the old HPM factory near Mount Gilead, Ohio. This place may still be functioning as a warehouse or at some low level, but for the most part, it’s dead.

HPM stood for “Hydraulic Press Manufacturing” and the company started in 1877. I remember going there as a boy in the 70’s when my Dad worked there for a short period.

Watching how nature takes over anything man builds is interesting. That’s what caught my eye when I passed this place while out riding my motorcycle. I noticed the missing windows right off. The roof’s probably leaking too. That will speed up the rot and decay in any structure.

The abandoned HPM factory in Mount Gilead, Ohio.
The abandoned HPM factory in Mount Gilead, Ohio.

This stop sign for incoming trucks at the guard shack is still good enough warning for me. I’m not going further in. I’ll take my photos from outside of the gate.

An old stop sign.
Old stop sign at the guard shack.

My motorcycle was parked out by the road, but it’s nice to know they gave the option back in the day. Least they could do for the low pay this place was reputed to have.

Abandoned motorcycle parking spots.
Abandoned motorcycle parking.

This arrangement of the no trespassing sign with a zip tied cosmetic mirror and scrub brush still puzzles me. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s just random and means nothing or it’s some sort of homeless code to others.

Mirror, scrub, brush, and a cord next to a no trespassing sign.
Odd collection of stuff zip tied to the fence.

The flower below is called fleabane. It was once rumored to ward of fleas and pests. Today, I’ve heard that it’s a sign of contaminants in the soil and that it helps start the process of cleansing the soil. It’s one tough flower as it grows right through the asphalt.

Fleabane flowers.
Fleabane flower breaking through asphalt at an abandoned parking lot.

When I stepped in front of this security camera, it was about a minute later the police showed up. I wouldn’t guess it to still be in operation, but there’s a possibility.

Front of abandoned HPM Factory in Mount Gilead, Ohio
Front door of the abandoned HPM factory.

The police and a large sedan that I would assume to be a caretaker or owner showed up right when I lowered the camera to take a photo of this old tire tread that I found interesting.

An old tire.
An old tire that saved me from further questioning by the police.

The police officer was nice enough. I explained that I was just an amateur photographer and showed him the photos. I explained that I wasn’t out to touch a thing and that it would be a little tough to steal anything because I was on my motorcycle. I also pointed out that I hadn’t went past any no trespassing signs.

The civilian though – that was funny. He was screaming to the point he didn’t make any sense. I pointed to the rotten old tires and asked if he’d had any trouble with complaints about mosquitoes or anything. I told him he might want to be careful because a complaint like that could open up a can of worms around this mess. He shut up.

The officer told me to have a nice day and good luck with the photos I took. I rode away laughing at my first “abandoned building” shoot and how it went wrong right away. I still might try another one sometime. If I’m calling you for bail, this is most likely what went wrong.

Don’t get me wrong here on building exploration. This is not a primary interest of mine. I hesitated to put this out because I know I’ll get many messages telling me where every abandoned building in Ohio is. This is NOT what I do. If you tell me where abandoned buildings are in hopes of reading my adventure of it, you’re wasting our time. Video cameras are cheap though, don’t let me steal the limelight. Take a video of your adventure in these places instead and send me the link to enjoy!

Crazy Boots

Red boots with pajamas.
The boots drew me into this crazy scene.

A few of the crazy things I noticed in this scene are –

  • The red boots. That’s what drew my eye to the scene before I shot it.
  • The pajama bottoms in with the dress coat and baseball hat.
  • The sports gloved hand holding a flower stem.
  • The Illuminati all-seeing eye over the 10 commandments. Explainable, but weird.

It just leaves me to wonder what this guy was thinking.

Normally, I won’t post photos of the people that obviously have problems that pass by my office. I work in between a homeless shelter, law offices, probation program centers, the Courthouse, drug treatment centers, and churches offering programs. I see a lot of crazy things from people that are struggling with life.

I get criticized for photographing much of the craziness I see. I don’t care. I photograph everything I find interesting, but I I use great care in what I show the world. I won’t exploit a person that may not be able to control how they appear to the world. If I think that they cannot control how they appear to the world due to circumstances out of their full control, I don’t post it.

In some cases like this one though, it all comes together and a little slice of craziness that can be used without harming anyone happens. It’s incredible isn’t it? All of these things that make no sense just coming together like this.

Balloon Chasing From A Year Ago

Facebook has it’s good and bad. Far, far more bad than good, but occasionally it’s useful. It reminded me that a year ago I was chasing balloons and took some cool photos of what happened.It also reminded me that I had intended to put it in my blog, but never did. I only posted it to Facebook. That made my story their story. I don’t like that.

So what happened that day? Tami and I were on our way home from The Shelby Mall. We were close to Mansfield when I noted this beautiful hot air balloon. I wanted photos of it, so we started following it.

Rainbow colored hot air balloon flying.
A hot air balloon spotted over Richland County in Ohio.

I didn’t want just any photos, I wanted a photo of a hot air balloon with a farm or any other part of the landscape. I got the shot!

Hot air balloon flying over a farm.
Hot air balloon over a Richland County, Ohio farm.

After I got the shot and we were thinking about heading home, it looked like the balloon was out of control. It would start going down for a landing, then taking off again. It did this quite a few times until it looked like an attempt had ended in disaster.

Another car had been following it too and thought they had witnessed a crash into the woodline too. Myself and a faster, younger passenger of that vehicle ran through the woods. I was afraid of what I might find. A few times, I had to stop to catch my breath.

Once I reached the “crash” site, we realized that it was a baby soft landing in a field just beyond the woodline I had ran through. I was so relieved. It was actually a celebration with champagne and all. Their chase vehicle was there too. The farmer who owned the land gave them permission and drank champagne with the young couple and pilot.

Hot air balloons.
Happy landing of a hot air balloon.

I learned a few things that day.

  1. I smoked to much and I was to fat to run like that. Since then, I’ve quit smoking. The fat problem is next.
  2. Canon SX50 cameras(and other superzoom cameras) are great. I was able to get the zoom shot, the farm shot, then make the run through the woods and get the final celebratory landing with 1 camera.
  3. Hot air balloons are at the mercy of the wind and landowners. If the farmer had decided that he didn’t want the balloon to land, they would have been forced to take off again and try a landing elsewhere.

What I’ve learned today is that I shouldn’t be lazy and post things I intend to write about on my Facebook page. I own this site. This will be around. Who knows what Facebook will do with it?

Pokemon Hunting Vs. Photography

This was the photo I was shooting for at the time of the invasion of the Pokemon Hunters.

Buckeye Lake, Ohio on a summer evening
Buckeye Lake, Ohio on a summer evening.

This photo really isn’t much, but I’ve been working on how and when to use wide angle lenses in landscape photography. I was trying to give the rock pier a different look than the numerous other times I took a photo of the Buckeye Lake boat launch area.

Most important though was that it was a quiet evening by the water and it was relaxing. Then into this corner of the park where I was at came a group with screaming children. The adults in the group came and they were even louder. They were looking at me as if I was interrupting them!

They were playing Pokemon. I guess this new game comes with special rights to be a screaming asshole no matter what anyone else might be doing in the vicinity.

Then, the man-child in charge decided to ignore the posted sign and trespass. The excitement of finding some rare Pokemon in his game overruled any common sense or decency.

Pokemon Hunter in construction zone.
Pokemon hunter goes into a construction site for what he said was rare find.

He did keep the children out of the dangerous area, but explained to them that it was ok to ignore the sign due to the importance of the rare Pokemon being in there.

I have to wonder what controls the thought process in situations like this. What overrules general common sense and puts a game with no tangible reward to such a high level of importance? What makes the risk worth it here?

I’m thankful that I understand the basic human need to create. If a person is depraved of this, they’ll follow anything to fill that void. They’ll dress up like creepy clowns to scare children, they’ll follow a video game into a dangerous and illegal area, and they’ll follow any trend that their TV or other major media outlet(there are only 6 now), tells them to follow.

Even if you are not good at it, create something. Don’t be another mindless drone.

Light Underground

Light in an underground parking garage.
Light in an underground parking garage.

The patterns of light coming through the opening in an underground parking garage stunned me with the pattern. It’s like finding an unexpected treasure when you find interesting light in unexpected and mundane places.

I’ve learned that black and white is a great way to represent these types of photos where patterns and textures are an important part of the composition. It brings them out. The problem is that I cannot get black and white printed.  At least, I cannot get black and white printed easily and affordably. If I can’t do that, it doesn’t fit in well with my enjoyment of photography.

I am using this one to try out some other techniques that include color, but to a lesser degree.

A New Lens. Canon 10-18mm.

I haven’t bought any new gear in a while. With Winter being a drag, I figured what the hell, I’ll get a wide lens. I’ve never even tried one. Like most, I have had a strong draw to telephoto and I ignored the wider end of the spectrum.

Wheels and gears at Foundation Park
Wheel and gears at Foundation Park in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

This photo is one of the first that I was pleased with from the Canon 10-18mm. It’s more interesting with more depth than what a telephoto or more normal lens would provide.

I did catch on that just using it to fit more in your photo is rarely a good way to use the lens. Small adjustments in position make big changes in the image too. This is going to take some thinking when I consider how to use it.

I also bought a battery grip. It holds an extra battery to double the power, but that’s not the reason I bought it. I could easily just carry the battery. The main purpose is that it turns gives more gripping surface to the camera. The Canon T5i is just to small for my medium sized hands and this corrects that problem 100%.