Mar 202011

This was an extremely stressful weekend, but successful nevertheless. I spent most of the time programming and researching technical problems. I’m going to blog about that on my programming blog soon.

It’s Sunday night now, I am on the train to Vienna, and this is an image that I took on a short excursion this afternoon. It’s a merge of three exposures from a series of seven bracketed pictures.

There was wind, the small twigs were moving, and even though I tried my best (just as Photoshop’s align function did), there were some mis-alignments. Contemplating my options I tried Topaz Clean, and there an effect that I probably have not used a single time. It’s one of those fractal algorithms, that turn your image into a curly pattern. See on their web site, it’s what they call “Unique and Stylized Edge Manipulation”.

Well, it works. Of course it’s a canned effect (although you do have some control), but – interestingly enough – it tends to look pretty natural, at least from a distance and at the sizes that I show on the web. At 100% it looks … interesting, and I guess it would look pretty good in a print.

The Song of the Day is “Broken Bricks” from the 1999 self-titled White Stripes debut album. Hear it on YouTube.

Jul 152009

Yesterday I commented on “Inertia” by Paul Lester, and out of a whim I announced the idea of trying to follow side-projects, a kind of thematic or stylistic pursuits, that would have a more project-like feel, but that would not completely occupy my time.

Well, connecting to yesterday’s mirror image, I went out and looked especially for mirrors and reflections. That’s the starting point of the first such side-project, but I guess it need not be restricted to mirrors only.

The idea is more along the lines of “unusual or puzzling views”, but the whole thing is so new, I won’t even take that as a working title. Who knows, maybe I’ll kill the project off in two days 🙂

I got several images that I could have taken, this street scene is just one of them. Actually I selected it more because I really like what I could make of this low-contrast and noisy reflection in the dark rear window of a van.

Really, if there is one thing that those Snap Art filters are great at, then it must be their ability to make every image usable, regardless of technical quality.

The Image of the Day was taken on the sidewalk in front of the same shop where I took the image of the mannequin, that ended up near the end of this year’s SoFoBoMo book “Urban Dreams II“.

Again I have not used Snap Art in this image, but I have used the “Skin Even” filter in Topaz Clean. Basically that’s a skin beautifier, that works great on females and most of the time not so great on males. Here I’ve used it with a mask and lowered opacity. And this reminds me that the trial periods for these filters will be over in a few days, and that I will have to part with some money. So far the shopping list contains Alien Skin Snap Art, Topaz Adjust and Topaz Clean.

The Song of the Day is “The Great Song Of Indifference” by Bob Geldof. I have it on a collection called “Loudmouth: Best Of Bob Geldof & The Boomtown Rats”. YouTube has a video.

Jul 142009

This is the third blog post for today, this time the images were really made today.

You will notice that none of today’s images uses the painting effects of Alien Skin’s plugin Snap Art, but on the other hand, all were processed with the help of Topaz Adjust, and one of them, the tractor from behind, also with Topaz Clean.

It’s not that I grew tired of the painting effects, and I could probably have used them well on the forest ground, but sometimes … well, maybe I did grow tired of them 🙂

I had to fetch some things from two shops in Villach, and afterward I drove to our parcel of land at the lake. Actually that’s where those Mock Strawberries grow. After swimming I took a series of those leaves and berries images and thought that would be it, but on my way back, I drove behind a tractor.

At first it only annoyed me, because I could not overtake, but then I noticed the dog. Uhhh … I had the camera on the passenger seat and, yes, I shouldn’t have used it while driving. On the other hand, how could I have resisted?

But it’s not only that one shouldn’t do that, it’s also that the dirty windshield took away contrast, thus I overtook as soon as possible, and after some hundred meters I parked the car and waited for the tractor. I was lucky, it had not taken a side road, and so I got some more images.

Really, is that cool and is that dog cute? Obviously the driver did not mind being photographed, and neither did the dog.

For a short time I considered playing the game once more: overtaking, waiting, making more images, because that way I probably would have got an image with a less cluttered background, but I was already in a hurry and decided to go with what I’d got.

The Song of the Day is once more “Reasons For Waiting” from the 1969 Jethro Tull album “Stand Up”. Hear it on YouTube.

997 – Summer In The City

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Jul 062009

It’s really true, Vienna is on the wrong side of the Alps. On my first day back, we had two extended periods of rain, the first between 2pm and 3pm with massive downpours. After that it calmed down, only to begin again when I walked home 🙂

I made some images in the morning, but what really made my day, was this image of people waiting in the rain, with an advertising of our mayor, Michael Häupl, in a kind of stay-in-minds-between-elections poster, stating “Always a hit: summer in the city” 🙂

The old Lovin’ Spoonful hit “Summer In The City” is also the Song of the Day. I have it as a cover version on the much underrated 1997 Stranglers album “Written in Red”. Deezer does not have the album, Amazon has no samples, I didn’t find a video, thus I can only offer you the Lovin’ Spoonful version.