Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shooting Through The Fog

This past weekend I went down to Pier 39 here in San Francisco to shoot some pics of the sea lions. There weren't as many animals there as I had hoped, but I got some good shots. You can see the pics at my web gallery

There is more than one story here, as you can see. The first group of pics is obviously of the sea lions; not much excitement there; at least most of them were in focus. There was also some kind of sail boat races happening on the bay last weekend and I happened to capture most of an almost collision between one of the Alcatraz tour boats and a sail boat. I missed the most dramatic shot, unfortunately, but you can see the story pretty clearly. 

The most interesting shots I think were the ones I took of Alcatraz using my 300mm zoom. Because there was some thin fog sitting right on the water I thought the shots were just ruined and was about to throw them all away as crap when I started goofing around with some of the enhancement tools of Aperture. The results I got were interesting. Now, these are not all the same shot, but from a series of shots I took in burst mode to try to get the light on the light house flashing in my direction. 

The first photo in the group is unaltered, just to show what they looked like right from the camera. Pretty crappy, eh? Yeah, that's what I thought as well. The second photo is the interesting result of just letting Aperture automatically adjust the color levels and luminance. The colors obviously aren't real-life accurate (they're close), but they did come out interesting and the fog pretty much went away. The second couple of photos simply have a sepia-tone and a monochrome filter applied, respectively. I thought the effects were nice. I didn't have to adjust the exposure at all, so I got that part right. 

The last group of photos is just a handful of guys practicing their thrasher moves. 

What I liked about this experience is if I had been shooting in JPG (which is what most point and shoot digital cameras do) I would not have been able to make any of the modifications to these images. Only by shooting RAW did I get the flexibility to take a crappy photo and make it something interesting. 

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