Photos Like Mine...

I have been so bored at work lately so I have been exploring Panoramio's forums. I was pleasantly surprised to find a forum thread dedicated to games and contests. There were some pretty interesting ones like:

-Parks around the world (new poster had to post an image with the first letter of park of last poster)
-Photos Like Mine (poster finds images around the site that are similar or the same to one of theirs)

I  posted in both forums, however  the 'Photos Like Mine' was really interesting and I wanted both a more permanent place to keep that info as well as be able to share it. So enter this blog posting! Below is my post on 'Photos Like Mine' on Panoramio:

Trinidad, CA Memorial Lighthouse
Pretty much the same, just taken a few years apart...

BY: LSessions

BY: Me 

Humboldt Bay, CA- South Spit/Table Bluff
same exact picture, knothome has the tip of a tree branch and mine has the whole tree...

BY: knothome

BY: Me 


Trinity/Shasta National Wilderness Area, CA- Echo Lake
Simply gorgeous photo's of one of the most beautiful lakes in the Trinity Alps...

BY: trinityalpsphoto

BY: trinityalpsphoto

BY: Me

Trinidad State Beach & City Panoramic
It's like night and day...

BY: rsyms

 BY: Me 


My sweetie got me Orchids delivered to my office for my birthday. I LOVE Orchids and don't get very many chances to photograph them (I have a black thumb with the living plants), so I got my camera out during my lunch break and started snapping. I wanted an image that had one flower slightly out of focus and the other flower fully in focus. I was very happy with the results:

Location: Work
Date/Time: 4/23/10 at 12:30
Subject(s): Orchids, Plants, Focus, Aperature
Notes: minimal editing done, mostly lighting and cropping

What is HDR??

I recently opened an account on Panoramio in order to get some of my photos in Google Earth. When browsing Panoramio I have noticed quite a few landscape images that appear, for lack of better wording, "not real". They seem to be enhanced with computer graphics or drawings. I started looking over comments for these images and a few people mentioned that they thought the image was HDR. I had never heard of this term so I set out to find the term, examples, and how its done....

A cokin sunset by Murtasma on Flickr 

I found a great site- Smashing Magazine- that has their top 35 HDR photos. Really great range if you are interested in what HDR can look like across the board.

I came across this wonderful article "A Plea for HDR" by Alexandre Buisse ( on and was pleased to read that HDR does not always need to appear CG'd. Buisse had plenty of images that were HDR which appeared to simply be High Resolution, they didn't really appear doctored, they just looked beautiful. Buisse goes into much more detail in the article and even offers suggestions, directions, and do's and dont's of HDR processing....

"HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and refers to a post-processing method which allows to dramatically increase the dynamic range of a photograph by merging different exposures of a same scene...On a scene where the contrast is so intense that both highlights record as pure white and shadows as pure black (i.e. where the dynamic range of the sensor is too low to properly record the scene), its effect will be to darken highlights and brighten shadows so that details can be retained in each area. " (reference to link above, by A. Buisse)

"To create an HDR image, one needs a set of bracketed images (i.e. of captures of the same scene with different exposure compensations) and dedicated software...The problem with HDR is that by default, it looks artificial and ugly, and it takes some work to bring it back to something believable." (reference to link above, by A. Buisse)

**these images are not my own, they are taken from Panoramio with credits given and linked**

Berliner Dom- by  >| Micha |<  Google Earth [?] - ID: 31068333 

-This is a nice image however it looks to me like it is almost a painting or computer graphics rather than a photograph.

Going Nowhere Fast by JeffSullivan(MyPhoto…  Google Earth [?] - ID: 4809439 

-This image is obviously doctored, however the editing seems to have given the image a more artsy feel rather than just a simple photograph. HDR as an artistic tool? Looking at this image I would say so!

Le Crac Des chevaliers   by Virus90  Google Earth [?] - ID: 4191804

-This image is obviously processed. Personally, I would say it was processed too much but that really depends on personal tastes. This image really shows how HDR  photography captures both the whitest whites and the blackest blacks in the same image and how that range can appear unnatural, visually. Notice that this image also has Halo-ish/spotlight looking light streaming in from the windows in the back, a common giveaway for an HDR image.

So apparently, done correctly, HDR is a wonderful landscape tool if used correctly as well as an artistic touch if wanted, one which I would like to try sometime!

A New Look

I decided to update my blog template/format. I really liked the mossy/dirt background I had going but after looking at that for a few months I decided it was time for something more professional. More portfolio-ish...

So enter my new gorgeous yet simple blog background. I love the simple and elegant look- from the single continuous color to the header image. I am fairly new to blogging still and had one heck of a time trying to locate the header image information in the HTML code.. NEVER in my life did I think I would be scanning HTML... ew... :) If you have ever tried to tweak your blogger background you know what I mean! Plus, the new posting space on this format is much larger, meaning I had to go back and edit every single post. 

It was all worth it in the end, and I created a much more useful, pleasing, professional, look to it! 

R&R at Trinity Lake

My 23rd birthday was this past Friday so I packed up my man and pooch and headed up to Trinity Lake, about a 3 hour drive from Eureka, for some big time R&R and of course fun! We tried to 4WD it up a few forest service roads- trying to get to Boulder Lake Trailhead and Bonanza King Lookout- but had to turn around on both roads b/c of huge snow drifts too deep for the truck. Instead we went 4WD'in on the old Lake-bed and went out for a gorgeous Sunset Kayak cruise with the pooch in tow. I was surprised at how well she did on the kayak- she almost bailed a few times but ultimately stayed on the kayak and seemed to enjoy the ride! After the ride was over we packed up the kayak and had time for a few low light post-sunset pictures....

Creative Focus- We 4WD'd it through a huge path full of these- they were taller than the truck- followed by a overflowing creek...

Pooch Action Shots- the first photo is a little more in focus than the second photo, but I think the movement more than makes up for it!

Trinity Lake Sunset Vista

Trinity Lake Panoramic- taken from the overlook just before the Trinity Dam. We saw a pretty large wolf along the side of the road on the way to the dam, thankfully my dog didn't jump out the moving truck to go after him!

Last but not least, we stopped on the side of the road to let a state trooper pass us and got a great photo op! I am in love with the Trinity River and while I think this is an okay photo it still does not do the Trinity or my feelings about the River proper justice. I guess that means I am still on the hunt to take that perfect, quintessential Trinity River picture!

LOCATION: Trinity Lake, Dam, & River outside Weaverville, CA
DATE/TIME: 4/17/10 post-sunset, and 4/18/10 around noon
SUBJECT: Nature, Landscape, Water, Mountains, Doggie, 4Runner
NOTES: Only editing done on these pictures is cropping and adding the vignette finish

Tulip Hill

Driving from Sacramento to Eureka is quite the task. I was pretty bummed that I didn't have more time, there were soo many places I wanted to stop at take pictures of. But my honey did give in to one photo stop- I prepped him by talking about for about 2 hours before we got there so he HAD to give in! :) So we stopped at Tulip Hill Wine Tasting Room outside Clearlake, CA. We had passed the place the day before on our way to Sacramento but it was crowded beyond belief. Sunday seemed to be the day to have the place to yourself, there were only two people there! So here is my best shots out of around 20, give or take, all taken in about 20 min- Can you say super-speed-photographer?!

The obligatory entrance shot... This is only the beginning of many many many yes you guessed it- TULIPS!

I really like the dark purple fading into red contrasted with the bright yellow on this tulip. It is gorgeous the way the red looks like it is painted on the yellow- see those tiny almost brush stroke looking lines where the colors meet? 

This image is my desktop at work. I had never seen a pointy tulip before, but apparently they exist! I thought it would be hard points but they were nice and soft, just like a tulip should be. I love the general composition of this image. I took a few from some different angles and positioned the flower in different places, but this was by far my favorite. I really like the softness of the colors, and the soft focus on the background which contrasts beautifully with the harsh edges of the flower. 

These shots are only a tad bit different, and I'm not sure which I like better. The left images focus is on the background tulips, while the right images focus is on the foreground flower (Snapdragons maybe?).

One of the many gorgeous vine-covered walkways among the tulips. This place would be absolutely gorgeous for a wedding if it weren't for the long drive.  

LOCATION: Tulip Hill Winery & Tasting Room- Outside Clearlake, CA 
DATE/TIME: 3/28/10 @ 5pm 

SUBJECT: Nature, Flowers, Focus, Color
NOTES: Pictures have not been edited. 

Night-time in the City...

Me and my man took a road trip to Sacramento, CA this past weekend to go to IKEA to get some stuff for our store. I haven't been in a big city in quite some time (since October I think) so I was snappin pictures left and right. The difference in the scenery and feel of the city versus the small town I live in was amazing and inspiring (Although I love not livin there any more!). We decided to go to Old Town Sacramento for the night, because we were only there for one night and I figured it would be the best place for dinner, a nice walk, and pictures (of course!) Here are the results, enjoy!

1. Comparative Color vs. Black & White (filtered- red):

         I took these pictures seconds apart, even though they look the same. I am torn between which is my favorite. The left one is in gorgeous color, and I love the oranges and blues and the twilight sky, However, the one on the right is B&W and shows more detail, contrast, and seems more dramatic than the color picture. The B&W almost makes me think I have traveled back in time until I look at the car in the right corner.

2. Train car at night:

       This photo is really dark and I wasn't even sure if it would turn out all that well b/c I left my tripod at home and have pretty shaky hands sometimes. This picture doesnt really WOW me but I like the composition of the lines of lights, and reflections on the car, as well as the more abstract almost floating lights of the skyscrapers behind it.

3. Geometric Composition:

      I snapped this image thinking that the geometric shapes set against one another might be interesting, and I think I was right. Again, I really like the orange/blue contrast between the sky and the foreground. I like that the wood looks so realistic you can see the grain and knots in it. The tree on the left makes it a little more interesting and gives the geometric angles some natural softness.

4. Comparision: Flash vs. no Flash:

      This picture is of the Bridge spanning the Sacramento River. 

The image on the left was taken without a flash. I like the drama in this picture. The dark edges and tops with the almost monochrome yellow tone of the structure (from the street lights). I really like how the lights merge together to form one long line, and how they seem to come  out of the walkway i was standing on, carrying your eye through the image.

The image on the right was taken with a flash, eliminating the yellow glow of the lamps. I got alot more detail on the cement, but that traded off with the loss of detail in the structure of the bridge itself. I like the red and stone colors but really dislike the walkway - I should have toned down the flash so it didn't reflect off the white fence so much. 

I think the left is the winner in this comparison.

5. Sacramento Bridge, Interior:

     I took this image as we were crossing the bridge. Over halfway across the bridge I looked up and thought that the interior of the bridge was very interesting so I grabbed my camera, leaned against one of the interior posts and leaned over the road (sounds pretty dangerous now) and snapped away. My favorite part of this image? The light bouncing around the interior metal structures, hiding some parts and revealing in detail other parts. I like how the top tower of the bridge fades into blackness, and even the bright lights of the car in the left corner. 

LOCATION: Old Town Sacramento, CA
DATE/TIME: 3/27/10 @ 7-11pm 

SUBJECT: Cityscapes, Buildings, Railways, Lights, Night
NOTES: Pictures have been minimally edited, most have not been edited at all.