HDR Bandwagon

Now that HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is everywhere, I decided to give it a go. These are my first attempts, and I tried to not make them look too cartoonish as that is not my style. I tend to lose the detail of the sky in my pics, and finally with HDR can bring it back.

With Photomatix Pro, it is quite easy if you supply at least 3 differently exposed bracketed frames and then use the tone mapping feature to adjust the resulting HDR composite to your liking. Adobe Photoshop CS2 also has built-in tools to do the same thing.

You can really produce some stunning pics that would be impossible without HDR, and I’ll keep experimenting with the lush green settings here in Woodinville.


Hans Knows!

To end a busy week,

“The noble art of losing face.. will one day save the human race.”

– Hans Blix (United Nations former chief weapons inspector)

Mmmm… Meat

Do you want to know more about where your meat comes from and how it’s slaughtered? A new series called Kill It, Cook It, Eat It explores this on BBC3 and allows volunteer participants to see live how their soon to be meals are prepared. Is it me or does BBC3 have all these cool shows?

I never gave much thought about the slaughtering process until watching Fast Food Nation and this program. There is a certain level of disconnect from what you see in the freezer and the animal it once represented. This show brings it all together, step by step and documented well.

So first the animal is knocked brain dead, then bled out, and the dressing process begins. Quite nasty and bloody I say! But all necessary to put that juicy steak or tender chicken on your plate.

Watching the faces of the participants cringe echoed the ignorance most people have and provided them an experience that will make them undoubtedly appreciate their meal next time.

The Big Brown Machine

Yesterday, I shipped a package by UPS from Woodinville, WA to Huntington Beach, CA by Next Day Air. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, then WTF is UPS doing?

It flew to Portland, OR, then to Des Moines IA, swinging by Louisville, KY and finally now going in the right direction back to SoCal.

I assume that it needs to travel to their nearest major hub, but it does concern me that it may get lost with all the excess checking in and out of their facilities. Maybe someone with insider knowledge can explain as I have seen it happen before.

Just so long as it makes it to the final destination, then everything is A-OK!

Itch to Stitch

I found a nice little Canon utility that came with my digital camera called PhotoStitch. It was just sitting there being unused for years and I decided to give it a try with very good results. It allows you to “stitch” or merge several pictures together to form a panorama or wide-screen image. I tested it with some old pictures that I thought would be suitable and the results are below.

You can still see the vertical seam where the individual images are sewn together, if you look closely. However, the overall effect is impressive.

It looks like you can use PhotoStitch with images created by other model cameras too. In the future, I will take more pics with this utility in mind!

59 MPG in a beater

Now that spring and summer are on the way, at least in most parts of the country.. we can expect gas prices to jump! I thought about getting a hybrid car before purchasing my trusty Subie, but didn’t want to sacrifice performance.

Wayne finally makes the turn. It’s not the death turn of the previous night; it’s a mini-death turn. “Because you guys are in the cab, and I’ve got milk in the back,” Wayne explains, “I can’t take the corner very fast.”

Looks like you can have best of both worlds using the tricks this extremist does to maximize your fuel efficiency. Warning! Some of it sounds kind of dangerous.. and probably illegal. I don’t think taking “death turns” at 50 mph with the engine off is too wise.