Monday, August 31, 2009


My newest HDR test images. I need practice.. and more experience with Photoshop. In good time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shanghai with a good friend

I can't fully describe the feeling when I learned that Aimee would be in China this year. It included nostalgia, excitement, joy, luck..

There's something about meeting a friend across the world that really sinks in deep for me. The memory remains with me in a different way than other memories and for me, and the friendship strengthens.
Previous to this encounter was about 2 years ago when the lovely JL was in Rome and we climbed the millions of steps of the Duomo for a birds eye view of the city. Thanks JLee for including me in your trip plans :D

Jen and I in front of the Trevi Fountain

My trip to Shanghai to see Aimee ended up being a bittersweet experience. We spent two days together sightseeing, visiting art galleries, eating, drinking and enjoying life. One of the girls in her brigade suggested having a 5 star meal at the top of one of the fine restaurants near the Pearl Tower. What a delicious meal! For 186RMB I should hope so!

My deliciously deadly brunch

Everything was delicious and even though I'm not a huge fan of salmon, I ate the whole thing. Even after my neighbor asked if I was going to finish that... I said, yes... I'm just taking my time, enjoying it, you know. In the end I'm unsure what it was that put off my stomach but I'm guessing it was the salmon.

I spent a sleepless night sweating and making bathroom breaks about twice an hour. Finally the next afternoon, after deciding that the over the counter medicine wasn't working, I went to the hospital. They said I should have come earlier because the infection was serious. They hooked me up to an IV and sent someone for the medicine.

I re-booked my flight home for 2 days later in case they took my temperature in the airport and I still had a bit of a fever. But, the trip was already over. I bounced back so quickly but it was time to go home.

Thanks Aimee for a great time!! Being a wonderul nurse and including me in your travel plans even though I was more of a burdon than a pleasure ;)

I did however get to see the Peking Opera, Farewell to my Concubine, and tour the French Concession while I was there. I'm pretty sure that Shanghai is included in our future plans early in 2010 so I WILL BE BACK!

The Peking Opera

Aimee peeking through after my last meal before I got sick

Thailand adventures coming soon. I will try to update from the road since blogger shouldn't be blocked there.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

HDR and digital imaging

Hello hello hello

Everyone knows I like to take photographs .. really..? I do.

I've recently discovered HDR while browsing through stock photography websites. I sat here wondering, how the heck do they make those photos look so vividly amazing and full of detail, contrast and color!?
The answer: High Dynamic Range.

Looking back I wish I had followed through with photography because I'd at least be equipped with the basic tools of digital imaging... aaand since I didn't I've been teaching myself how to make my pics look nicer than straight off the camera. And honestly, a lot of the time there is tons of grey matter and dullness and they don't look pretty at all.

Since I'm not smart as a whip it seems that learning Photoshop has proven to be difficult for me. I still DO NOT understand layers and all the fancy ways to edit out little marks or smudges on the lens. I also don't have youtube. Thanks China for blocking the tools I need to SELF EDUCATE. But I managed to find some video tutorials and step by step guides on how to create an HDR image.

Basically, I took 5 photos all at different levels of exposure and to make a long story short I blended them to take advantage of the full colour scale.

See below my first image.
I don't think HDR is intended for night shots but rather high contrast with dramatic clouds etc etc. But, I will admit that I smiled when I finally finished this project. It's not a fast procedure but now that I've done one, I can build on it.

Click to enlarge