Friday, July 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Vernazza, Italy

Happy Friday!!

I have been absent from Skywatch Friday for a few weeks...good to be back!

This is from Vernazza, Italy which is one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre in Italy. A fabulous place!!

Be sure to check out other skies from around the world HERE...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tables Set For A Big Party

I really liked was much more quaint and less crowded than Rome. I wish I could have been invited to this party. We went back later to check it out, but it was walled off...I am sure they didn't want a bald American guy sitting there taking photos anyway...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Street Artist

I caught this Italian street painter in action talking about his painting to some other guy on the street. I wish I spoke Italian. I love the way many use their hands with so much expression when Italian is spoken...I guess the hand gestures come naturally once you learn the language...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HDR From A Single RAW Photo

In today's digital age of photography, post processing has become more and more important to create an image. It is still important to "see" what makes a good image, and to capture it in camera correctly with the proper exposure, focus and composition. Ansel Adams said that he would see the "print" in his mind before capturing an image, and then manipulate the image in his dark room to best create what he had envisioned. The same is true today.

I really like HDR photography. Part of the trick in creating a good HDR photo is being able to "see" what will make a good HDR image to start with. Most photographers walk right past really great subjects because they are not really "seeing" or they really don't know what to look for when snapping away with their camera. When I walk around with my camera, I am always looking for textures, colors, shapes and light...a combination of these things makes for good HDR subjects.

The photo below was processed as an HDR from a single RAW photo. I saw this scene while walking around Venice last week and immediately was able to "see" what my final print would look like...I noticed the different colored bricks in the wall, the wooden shudders, the orange curtains, the clothes hanging on the line, and the contrast between the two buildings. It was a good candidate for an HDR from a single RAW photo as the dynamic range between the shadow areas and highlights was not wide, and there was plenty of ambient light available. Below is what I had envisioned when I took the photo. I had to create my vision in my "digital darkroom"...the photo at the bottom is the "out of camera" shot I took...

If you were walking in Venice, would you have walked right by this wall without barely a glance?

This is the photo I envisioned before I took the shot...

This is the original photo straight from my camera before post processing...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back From Italy...Thanks For Waiting !!

A GREAT trip, indeed...

Tika and I spent two weeks touring Rome, Florence, Siena, Cirque Terre and Venice. Rome and Venice were super crowded and hotter than Indonesia, but other than that, we had a fantastic trip, and I of course took tons of photos that I just started to edit today. I also started a diet...eating Italian ice cream and pasta every day doesn't really enhance the mid section...ha!!

Of course, this is the Colloseum...during the day, it was so crowded and so hot, I could not position myself anywhere to get a shot without three million other tourists in the photo...the solution? Wait till late at night. The sun did not set until after 9:00 pm, so after a long day of walking in the heat all over Rome, I ventured back after dinner to get this shot...Tika was not happy....her feet were hurting, and she was tired, but I just HAD to get this is rough traveling with a fanatic photographer, and she was a great trooper only complaining a few times while I set up my tripod and moved around at every conceivable angle to get my needed shots...

We missed our daughters, so two weeks was enough time away for our second honeymoon...great to be back home!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Banana Market

This will be my last post for awhile as I am on vacation in Italy...

See you in about 10 days...don't leave me, OK?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Window and Crates

I got some strange looks from the kids that lived in this house as I snuck around to the side of their house to take a photo of their window. They asked me, "why do you want a photo of the side of our house?" I told them that they had the coolest side of a house I have ever seen. They shook their heads and thought I was just a crazy, bald, white guy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wedding In Java

I am in Italy now...I have scheduled a couple more posts, and then will take a break from blogging...

Last week, I went to my wife's village near Solo for a wedding...I like this shot...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids IX

I will make this the last of my Aceh series...It has been inspirational for me to go through these old photos I took six years ago, and I do think of these kids often and wonder how they are doing today...I really should take a trip back to Aceh to find out.

This is one of my favorite photos that I took while there, and it really portrays the attitudes I witnesses while in Aceh..."Life Goes On"....destruction in the bay, but a boy smiles as he fishes with beautiful blue skies...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids VIII

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids VII

We found these two kids wandering the ruins. They said they were staying with their cousin. Their parents had left for coffee and never came back.

I am off to Italy for two weeks. I have two more photos from Aceh that I would like to post. After that, I will take a break from blogging for a week or so until I get back from Italy. I don't have a laptop computer (need to get one), so don't have any way to download and edit photos when I am, instead of posting two weeks in advance of photos you have already seen, I will just wait till I get back....please don't leave me, though....I will be back!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids VI

You can only imagine the horror kids must have felt when they went back to school to find most of the students in their class had been killed in the Tsunami. Only five boys survived from one class we visited (pictured below). I took their photo in front of their destroyed school...I am sure these five boys will be bonded for life after what they lived through.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids V

The little girl on the right is probably the most amazing little girl I have ever met. She is reading letters written by students at Jakarta International School who wrote her back after reading her letter she wrote. Jakarta International School published a book called Letters from Aceh that included this little girl's story. She lost her entire family. On the day of the book launch, we invited her to Jakarta to come speak. There was not a dry eye in the entire room when she told her story so eloquently...

Let me know if you want me to continue this series of photos...I have a few more I would love to share...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids IV

So, here is a continuation of my Aceh Tsunami Kid's series. I didn't get this little girl's story. She was in a small camp that was set up near the water. Her face seems to tell some story, but I don't know what it is. I do wonder where and what she is doing today...


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids III

This little girl was one of the lucky ones. Her entire family survived the tsunami, but they lost their home. Her father was building them a new house when we walked by...and she happily posed for a photo like an experienced model...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Aceh Tsunami Kids II

We found this little girl wandering around some rubble in what used to be her house. She said she had 6 brothers and sisters...all were killed except one brother and her Mom. Her brother saved her when they both climbed a tree...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Rough Life

I was going through my old photos I took in Aceh, 5 months after the devastating tsunami that hit Aceh in 2004. It is hard to believe that was over 6 years ago. I was assigned to take photos of the children in Aceh. It was a very emotional trip. I met kids that lost their entire families, homes, everything. I was so impressed with the way they handled their losses. Not once was I greeted without a smile and a warm welcome. They continued with their lives despite their terrible circumstances. I wonder what these kids are doing today...??

I am off to Central Java tomorrow, so I thought I would feature some photos I took of the kids in Aceh the next couple of days. I am making scheduled posts now since I won't be able to post while in Central Java.

So, this is the first in a series of photos. I don't know this boy's name. We stopped to talk to him, but he was busy collecting bottles and other things he could find to sell. He said both his parents were washed away in the tsunami, and only he and his little brother were left. They had no home and slept under a bridge, and ate whatever they could find...and during the day, they would collect bottles...where is he today?