Monday, May 31, 2010

Santana Row

Santana Row in San Jose, California a modern outdoor shopping center with a European theme. I took several pictures with a Leica M-9 with a Leica Summarit 35mm lens. The photos run the gamut from flowers to people enjoying the warm sunny day.
I thought that I would work a little on my street photography and found with this first picture that I was some what out of focus as I didn't gauge the distance as well as I might have. I'm sure I'm not the first person to have done it so in post processing I decided to tweak the photo in Topaz Labs filter Simplify 3. The result is a image that looks like a colorful painting and rescued this shot. 
Artistic view of outdoor cafe seating.
Father and son playing chess in a courtyard
Entering a wine shop
Sunday Brunch
Hotel Entrance

All of the above photographs were processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.7, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Topaz Filters.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Landscape to Macro

A potpourri of images today as the Memorial Day weekend and summer approaches. You can still see some of spring time in the green grasses and the emergence of bright colored flowers.
Wildlife is more abundant and the days are longer. El Nino has had its impact on the weather with more rain and less fog than we would see in a normal spring. 
In this landscape you can see the effects of El Nino the road is damp and the grasses and foliage are bright green bursting with new growth. This private road leads to open space and some amazing creek side trails.
(Leica D-Lux 4 - Topaz Filter Detail 2)
Today the featured animal life ranges from domestic horses to wild deer and the backgrounds range from a dusty corral to open grasses that are turning from vibrant green to a golden straw color. The horses at this location look forward to our visits and the carrots we bring them.
(Leica D lux 4 - Adobe Photoshop CS5)
The deer was caught mid-morning grazing on the grass and just looked up for a moment so I could take her picture. I used Topaz filter Detail 2 to bring out the contrast of colors and textures in this picture.
(Leica D-Lux 4)
Back to the rain and the use of Macro Focus mode on the Leica D-Lux 4. Note the detail on this California Poppy. The water droplets seem to just jump out at you and the focal plane is narrow giving some nice depth to this image.
(Topaz Filter Adjust 4)
Another macro focus image that caught this bee on these bright yellow flowers contrasted by the lavender and green foliage surrounding it.
(Leica D-Lux 4 and Adobe Lightroom 2.7)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Over the weekend I attended a friends daughters gymnastics meet where I used both my Leica M-9 with a 35 f.2.5 and Nikon D300 with a 70 to 300 zoom. Today I'm sharing two pictures taken with the Leica, both in low light conditions. I set the ISO at 400 for picture number one and ISO 1250 for picture number two as the lighting conditions varied greatly in this arena.
In this first picture little girls scurry to find the scrunchy that best matches their outfits under the watchful eyes of the vendors. Lighting conditions were good in this area of the gym and it shows in the results.
In this picture the lighting is problematic the area behind the girls is well lit and the girls are standing in a darkened area. I metered for the well lit area behind them to eliminate any blown out areas and in Adobe Photoshop CS5 I brought the girls out from the shadows. I used Topaz DeNoise 4.1 to reduce the noise that shooting in ISO 1250 in combo with the subjects of the picture having to be brought out of the shadows had caused.
The rest of the event was shot with the Nikon D300 and I will share some of those pictures with you later on as I have not processed them as of yet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Signs of Spring

There are still plenty of signs of spring having arrived here in the valley. Flowers are blooming,  new babies of all sorts are appearing and spring showers just wont go away. Just the other day I got a one of those surprise moments as I was preparing to cross a cement bridge. I saw what appeared to be a very young fawn on the trail he looked our way and they laid down, a defensive measure. The fawn allowed us to get very close as I tried to get around him without disturbing him. Then he just sprung up and ran into the woods I did get a couple photos and here is one of them.

 Leica D-Lux 4 processed through Adobe Lightroom.
The next shot I took on the shady trail leading back to the house the color in the leaves and the contradiction it presented with the rest of the background caught my eye.

Leica D-Lux 4 processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5 to add a little sharpness and to bring out the colors in the leaves.
Back to the young wildlife with this photo as I was walking down a trail I caught a glimpse of this small baby lizard sunning its self on this weathered liken encrusted fence post.

Leica D-Lux 4 processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5 to remove some small shadows around the lizard.

This last picture is taken after one of those spring showers that deposited some interesting rain droplets on this spring flower.

Leica D-Lux 4 processed in Adobe Lightroom and Topaz Filter Adjust 4 to bring out the water drops.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Into the Valley

Thought I would share a few shots taken with the Leica M-9 on a recent walk into the valley. Spring is waning here Northern California and even thou we have gotten the occasional day of light to moderate rain fall the colors are changing. In this post you see one of my favorite areas to shoot landscape photos. There are interesting backgrounds and unusual objects available all within easy walking distance from the house.

Photo was processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.7 and Topaz filter detail 2. There are two old sheds in this grassy field that make for interesting subjects along with the high grasses and changing colors.
Not far from the above photo sits a house with several old tractors that have seen better days. As they age and the paint drops away a rust appears everywhere that makes for a great photographic subject.

Photo was processed in Adobe CS5 and Topaz filter Detail 2 to enhance the natural patination that has occurred through many years of weathering .
In this last photo I wanted to show the color and texture of this spring time flower with a soft bokeh background.

Photo was processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.7. Simple subjects like this flower abound in the valley and there always seems to be something new to photograph.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Caught by Light

Thought I would share two recent pictures that highlight the use of natural lighting conditions to make a interesting picture. I like looking for naturally occurring lighting effects to highlight my pictures. Some seem to be just right as they occur naturally and give a great shot just by moving into a good position to use it as in the first photo.  Other times you see the picture and have to adjust the light a little to get the dramatic effect you envision as in the second photo.

Photo one was taken with the Leica D-Lux 4 and the natural light following over his shoulder highlighted the picture. I saw how the light was accenting the subject of the photo and just had to move my position to best take advantage of it. There is no post processing on this picture other than resizing it and converting from raw to jpg.

In this photo I was working mid morning on a sunny day with filtered  and shadowy light falling on this flower. To further focus in on the subject of the picture I set the camera the Leica D-Lux 4 to F4 ISO 80 1/800 and -2 exposure compensation. This did the trick it highlighted the natural light and framed the photo just as I had envisioned it. No post processing was needed just conversion from raw to jpg.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Mothers Day

A hug says it all on this sentimental day of appreciation honoring mom.
Leica M-9 at ISO 1250 shot wide open with Summarit 35 f2.5.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

On Tuesday we took a little ride down the coast and stopped to visit the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. I had my Leica M-9 with a 35mm lens and my Nikon D300 with a 70 to 300 zoom lens with me. Spring is a beautiful time of the year on the Northern California coast with wild flowers blooming and some spectacular scenery. Here are a few pictures from this afternoon of exploring.
(The first image on right  is the lighthouse and its out buildings. Taken with the Leica M-9)

The lighthouse taken across from Whalers Cove with the Nikon D300.
The lighthouse and this out building are surrounded by chain link fencing. You can still make out the interesting architecture and the ravages of weather and time. Leica M-9
Another view of the small house and the base of the lighthouse. Leica M-9
Two visitors enjoying the view from the rear observation walkway. Even thou the day looks spectacular the wind was blowing strongly making standing out there a bit chilly. Leica M-9
A view below the lighthouse at Whalers Cove. Leica M-9.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I just installed the upgrade Adobe Photoshop CS5. The new feature that is great for photographers is the content aware brush and fill in the edit menu. All I can say is that so far it works great and I will be using it a lot. As usual I think that pictures tells the story so here are some examples.
In this first photo you see a nice red building with a ugly open area with takes away from the look I was hoping for.

In this photo you see by using the lasso tool in CS5 to outline the open area I wanted to get rid of. I then selecting fill content aware in the edit drop down menu and it magically filled in the dark area.

Here is a picture of my female German Shepherd and the leash sort of messes up a good picture.

I opened up the photo is CS5 and used the healing brush tool set to content aware and just brushed away the leash. I also adjusted tone and brightness and there it is a much better picture.
Now besides installing CS5 I received my new I-Pad with WI-FI and 3G on Friday so yes I have been doing a lot of playing around with my new toy. So far so good I love it and there are some great apps available for photographers. I will comment on some of those in future postings. I will end with a picture of my new set up.