Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another somewhat interesting sunset in San Jose today. I took this one from the floor on which I work (10th) through the window. One of these days I'll get around to actually setting up my gear at the appropriate place to capture the light in a way that truly does it justice, until then this will have to do :)

Technical Specs: Fuji F30, f/5.9, ISO 200, 1/272s.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunset from the Parking Garage

I left work a little early today (if you count leaving at 5:30 early) and as I walked out to my car I noticed the nice sunset we were having. Many of the nice sunsets in the south bay area are in the winter since there does tend to be more clouds in the winter than int he summer. The building to the right is the HP Pavilion (home of the Sharks) and this was taken from the 5th floor of the parking garage at work.

Technical Specs: Fuji F30, stitched from 2 images.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Chicken Korma in a package

So about 8 or so months ago I was out shopping (don't really remember where) and I came across this little... umm don't even know what to call it. Anyway for some reason I found it immensely interesting and took a picture. But how cool is that a cute little package with just the right spices to make Chicken Korma for 4. I think the little thread of saffron is a nice touch too.

I just looked up the company that makes these (Kitchen Guru) and it turns out they make all kinds of other Indian dishes in similar packages. They sell them over the Internet but are sadly based in the UK (not that sad if you live in the UK I suppose). Anyway, not something I have tried, but I do think its a great idea and at the very least, it is attractive (and creative) packaging.

Technical Specs: Fuji F30, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 1600

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Day 1 Rome

I managed to process pictures from Day 1 of our trip (which was in Rome) sometime last week. One of my favourite pictures from the day is a rather striking black & white conversion of the Coliseum. The final picture was stitched together as a panorama of 3 photographs. The black & white conversion technique used was actually rather simple and was a combination of the settings available in the new 'Black & White' adjustment in Photoshop CS3.

Since I had all those pixels I thought this image would be a good candidate for a large print. We have one of the new Canon iPF5000 printers on the floor so I made a print at the largest size possible (17" wide and since it is on a roll feed this particular photo was printed at 27" long). With the fairly decent dpi (for the large I still managed to get around 250 dpi) on such a large its amazing the amount of detail that gets printed out. I have a couple of other nice shots from that day that I am looking forward to printing big (though they aren't panoramas so the dpi will be lower).

The of the pictures are in my PBase gallery.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Comet McNaught

I managed to catch a glimpse of the Comet McNaught yesterday evening as the sun was setting. There was a spot on the 18th floor of the building where I work that had a good view, hence I returned there today hoping to snap a quick picture. I remembered to bring my camera and 300mm lens but sadly forgot the 1.4x tele-converter so I had to do a bit of cropping.

Since the comet is so close to the sun and getting closer I wasn't able to get as interesting a picture as Mike did. Also the lack of foreground objects or clouds makes it challenging to shoot something photographically interesting. At one point a plane did fly into my frame, so I guess I caught one lucky break.

Lots of people have been taking pictures of the comet and they are all over the web.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 300mm f/4L, f/5.6 @ 1/125s, ISO 400.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Backyard Astrophotography

Since moving into our new place I've been looking forward to setting up my telescope for a little astrophotography. I was initially concerned about the light pollution, but I figured since Hogue Park was only a block away and since the SJAA has star parties there all the time, it might not be that bad. Last night was a pretty good night for sky transparency and since the moon was rising late it seemed like a good candidate.

I first tried out a couple of quick star trails with just my camera on a tripod; unsatisfied I proceeded to setup my telescope. With the house and the back fence a lot of the sky is occluded. Fortunately there is a clear view of Polaris so setting up the EQ wedge was no problem. The GPS receiver also managed get a signal very quickly (something I was worried about due to issues I have had with the receiver in Canada). The scope wanted to use Sirius and Aldebaran for alignment, since Sirius was occluded I didn't do the alignment (I figured since I was interested mainly in some photography of larger objects I could manually find them).

I did one quick shot of the night sky with the fisheye lens piggy-backed. I was after two things last night, the Pleides star cluster and the Orion Nebula. Since Orion was still occluded behind the house, I did Pleides first (with the 100mm lens). Once Orion had risen, I did a series of exposures with the 100mm lens which is the image posted here. I then un-mounted the camera and attached it to the scope for some prime focus astrophotography. The biggest pain was naturally getting focus. I used an angle finder to approximate the focus, then just kept taking test shots as I turned the focussing knob. Surprisingly it only took about 5-6 test shots to get proper focus.

I did a series of 14 shots at 15s for each one. I assembled, aligned and processed them in both Photoshop and RegiStax (the image in PBase is the Photoshop one, the Registax version does a little better at alignment but otherwise the results are very close).

For such a crude setup I think the results are promising, so I'm looking forward to doing some more astrophotography from the backyard. The 'Pleides' shots didn't turn out as well, so I'll probably try that next time.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 100mm Macro piggy-backed on a Meade LX90, 9 shots stacked @ f/4 and 30s, ISO 800.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Touring Italy

still recovering from the jet lag... As I mentioned in my previous post, Kim and I spent the holidays this year touring Italy. I don't usually go for these organized tours but since we did have the time or energy to do any planning a tour seemed the most logical choice. We chose Trafalgar's 'Jewels of Italy' which is a ~12 day tour of just Italy.

One of the interesting things about this tour is that after you spend nearly 2 weeks with a group of people, you tend to make friends. You also get to meet people from all over the world and learn interesting things about their homeland. We had people from the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the Phillipines.

I have a lot of pictures from the trip to process. I'm going to try to do one day's worth of shooting in a week, so I'll post them as I go along.