Hmmm...still slacking off, aren't I? Too many other things going on.
I really like the techniques I've been learning from Dan Margulis' book Photoshop LAB Color - The Canyon Conundrum and I'm sorry that I came to this party so late. I've struggled for a while to process desert and canyon photos to get realistic color that represents how I saw the scene. There is a wealth of color in those rocks, but it's subtle and hard to capture. I usually had to rely on multiple layer masks and combinations of Nik filters to try to get close, but I was never 100% happy with the results and sometimes spent days playing around with just one image. That's probably one of the biggest reasons that I haven't been processing all of my photos from my treks - there's just not enough time.
Well let me tell you, just the tricks learned in the first chapter of this book were eye opening and amazing. I'm about halfway through the book now, and I can't wait to finish. It has changed my whole thought process as to how I want to process my desert and canyon images. I went back and reprocessed some images from a hike Bill and I made in the Coyote Mountains Wilderness area to see the six million year old wind caves last March, and I did a side-by-side comparision with the images I had processed in RGB. I had left the images I did in LAB color a bit more subtle than I had the ones in RGB, but they look much more realistic and there is a tremendous difference in the amount of subtle detail retained, especially when viewed at full size.
I was so happy with the results that I processed all of the photos from the trip and uploaded them with a trail report to my web page. You can view the trail report here. I'd eventually like to have an entire section of my website dedicated to trail reports, both hiking and 4WD.
BTW, we continue to have earthquakes in that same area, several over 3.0. There was one last week, then we had a 3.9 Tuesday afternoon that gave a really good jolt, followed by a few just under 2.0 later that evening which were probably aftershocks. Wonder if it's just a coincidence that September is National Preparedness Month?
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Hmmm...still slacking off, aren't I? Too many other things going on.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Another two shakes yesterday from that same spur on the Elsinore fault line - a 3.2 and a 3.7. More shaking is expected. Geophysicists are keeping a close eye on it and there is concern that it could jump on to the main fault line and cause a major event. The fault line is about 110 miles long and runs from Chino Hills down to El Centro. The Elsinore fault line is capable of producing a quake of a magnitude up to 7.5, which could cause tremendous damage.
It's scary stuff that really forces one to review the emergency plan. We have a pretty complete bugout kit since it is really the same gear and food we use for hiking/camping/offroading with a few additions such as the Eton FR-300 radio and extra flashlights with batteries. I have three different stoves using three different types of fuel (coleman fuel, sterno and alcohol) so we should be able to eat hot meals no matter what. I just bought some new Wedco gas and water cans for the jeep, and they need to be filled.
But the one thing that I've never been good with despite repeated attempts is a comprehensive household inventory. I have been trying to get everything entered into Quicken's Household Inventory program, but it's so tedious to track down the details and enter it into the program that I've just never caught up. And to be quite honest, I supposed it would be fair to say that we've done more than our share of acquiring "stuff" the past few years, between purchases for yet another new house, my constant desire for more photography gear, assorted electronics, outdoor gear, you name it. I've been telling myself that I need to photograph everything and make it a part of the records, but it just hasn't happened yet...no excuses. At least I did finally get our important papers put in an ammo can; water- and fire-proof, and unlike a safe, it's portable. (That was Bill's idea.)
While I was photographing the sunset at Dana Point last weekend I to add another bird to my life list - a Black Oystercatcher (haematopus bachmani). Although not endangered, they are listed as a "Species of High Concern" on the US Shorebird Conservation Plan and they are on the Audubon Society Watchlist.
Sightings in this part of California are not very common since this is not their breeding range, but it's not out of the ordinary.
This is an eye-catching bird:
I do believe it only had one leg.
I really have been slacking off lately because I've been so focused on the jeep! I want everything on Phase I completed in time to hit the desert in October. I have my heart set on doing Mojave Road in October. Last week my Shrockworks Stubby front bumper came in, so we picked up the Warn winch and Bill installed all of that for me. It looks so good and I started getting compliments on it immediately. Saturday we went to a big Meet-and-Greet with 40+ other jeep JK owners at OffRoad Evolution in Fullerton. We had a lot of fun checking out the mods on all of the other rigs, although most were still in various stages of their build. We talked to the owner, Mel, and put the plan together for the lift; we're going to do a 3" Full Traction Ultimate and we're also going to regear. Not sure yet if we're going to do 4.88 or 5.13; I'll let Mel tell me which will be better.
I also finally decided on tires and wheels, so they are on order and can go on as soon as the lift is done. And then Phase I will be complete. There is no real Phase II, just a long list of things that it would be cool to add or modify some time in the future.
I will get out with the camera this weekend! I have a great idea for last Friday's dgrin assignment that I'm really excited about, I just need the weekend time for execution.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Well the good news is that the heatwave finally broke and it is a very comfortable 79 degrees here today with a good breeze. The scary news is that we had another earthquake in essentially the same location on the Elsinore fault as Sunday's quake. It was only a 3.4, and the ScienceDude says it was an aftershock from Sunday's quake. There is speculation that it's the beginning of an emerging "swarm", but they say that it is impossible to predict if it is a precursor to a large shaker. The Elsinore fault is capable of generating a 7.5 quake, which would cause considerable damage here in the O.C. There was a line in a novel I read one time - I forget the name of the novel but this line stuck with me - that between the earthquakes, landslides and wildfires, living in L.A. is like riding shotgun with the devil on the way to the apocalypse. Certainly seems fitting at times.
I finally finished processing all of my photos from the Doheny Blues Festival from May 2006. Doheny Blues is a two-day outdoor concert featuring top national and local blues and soul artists. There are several stages throughout the venue so there is always something going on. It is held on the weekend that corresponds with Bill's birthday in May every year, so we do it right; Gold Level tickets that get us front row seats, backstage access, a substantial meal and drink tickets to last through the day and night. Oh yeah, the most important part - private clean restrooms in trailers instead of the portajohns they have in general admission. It's worth the price just for the bathrooms!!! B.B. King was the headliner in 2006, celebrating his 80th birthday and capping off a fine day of fantastic blues, jazz and soul artists. I guess I got lucky that they allowed me to bring my camera inside in 2005 and 2006 - this year they took one look at the shiny bright white Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS USM in my backpack and said that no pros were allowed to photograph the concert. When I tried to explain that I wasn't a pro, they said no professional lenses were allowed inside. Kinda makes me mad that everyone had cameras except me - white lens discrimination, I say!
Anyway, B.B. King was so much fun to photograph because his face is so animated! He scowls, he leers, he laughs, he winks, he doesn't stop all night.
I also took photos of Blue Mama, James Hunter and the big local favorite Tower of Power. I don't remember why I didn't take photos of any of the other bands that played that day, guess they didn't excite me.
You can see the rest of this gallery here.
Now if I could just find the time to finish processing the photos from 2005 - The Neville Brothers and The Blind Boys of Alabama...
Monday, September 3, 2007
We had a little earthquake yesterday morning, only 4.7, but the epicenter was only about 20 miles away so it was a good little jolt. There were 13 aftershocks following, but we didn't feel any of them. I was sitting here at my computer in my home office when it hit and could see things moving, like the plant in a plant stand in my foyer. I supposed I've been here long enough now to be used to them, but still every time at that first jolt I always freeze for a minute and wonder if it's going to be a big one. I just sit there and wait to see what's going to happen. There is a fault line in the Santa Ana mountains that they say has been relatively quiet, and some people wonder if it's building up to a big one...
We're in Day 6 of a heatwave with most of the county reaching 100+ degrees. I'm glad I live on the coast and enjoy temperatures that are 15-20 degrees cooler than the rest of the county, but that still has us in the 90's. We've been spending the long holiday weekend in the pool, and went down to Dana Point to photograph the tidepools in the sunset last night. Beautiful light, low tide and a cool ocean breeze; what more could I ask for? I haven't processed the photos yet...maybe tomorrow. I'm having a lazy day. Read more!