Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

A few months ago I posted a blog that was perfectly suited for this subject called “Here’s Lookin’ at You“.  (I think I was prescient.;‑))

What follows is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the theme.

The first series of pictures is of Dodger, my brother’s dog.  The first couple of the pictures were cute, and then I think he began to get ticked off!  He refused to look directly at me, instead spying at me out of the corner of his eyes.

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Here are a couple of pictures where I was taken off-guard when I noticed somebody looking back at me.  In the first one, the person does not look too happy.  The second one shown here actually made me nervous since I was in a place where things could go wrong in a hurry.  As you can see, I was not actually focusing on the guy, but I got him in the picture anyway.

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These last two pictures were taken from a wedding.  In the second one I unexpectedly found the groom looking back at me.

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Here are other pictures in the same challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transitions

This is a wide open topic since almost everything that we experience that is noteworthy is related to transitions, whether it be those that are in nature or in the environment around us, or whether it be those that we experience in our own lives.  Transitions can be abrupt or they can be gradual.  Sometimes they are of a subtle nature and not obvious until it has happened.

But I also cannot help thinking that almost everything that most of us already tend to talk about in our blogs tends to be about changes and transitions!  So, I was not too successful in trying to find my own unique take on this subject. But I thought I would present something anyway.

The first picture is of a sunrise over the water.  You can barely make out the transition from land to water.  There are more transitions underway in this picture.

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This second picture is also of a sunrise, but is taken from inside an aircraft, over the wing of the aircraft.  Besides the transition from night into day, there is the transition between the aircraft and the sky and then the transitions between the land and the sky and the different layers of color in the sky.

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The third picture shows an abrupt transition of clouds in the sky.  This picture was taken near sunset.  There is no subtlety in the nature of this transition in the big picture.

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I made an argument in an early blog that while some changes (or transitions) seem to be abrupt (or digital), life is truly experienced in a gradual (or analog) manner.  I wonder if there are any folks who will agree with me.

See other submissions in this theme at this site.

Revolutionary Camera Technologies?

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(Source – pixabay.com, used under CCO license.)

I saw the following article on the online magazine Wired recently.

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/panasonic-cameras-get-a-shoot-now-and-focus-later-feature/

Panasonic has introduced a feature in some existing cameras via a software download that lets you take a single picture at multiple focal points almost simultaneously so that the person can pick a desired focal point for presentation to the viewer after the fact.  Some existing cameras have had this kind of a feature in the sense of taking a picture at a few (two or three) focal lengths one after another, but this Panasonic feature apparently takes this kind of capability to the next level.  Indeed, what is needed in existing cameras to implement this kind of a feature is plenty of speed and a lot of storage.

I somehow feel that this is a half-baked solution to a very interesting problem of capturing pictures in their truest form so that they are suitable for post-processing to any desired set of parameters for presentation.  In fact, this is the technology that will eventually revolutionize the field of photography and allow even devices like smartphones to take pictures that in presentation will far superior to those generated from traditional cameras.  They will allow a much greater level of creativity than with the existing optical technology.

Welcome to the field of plenoptic  or light-field technology!  There are experiments in this realm that are still not completely mature or suitable for use by consumers at this time, but I think that something along these lines will be coming some time in the future.

http://petapixel.com/2010/09/23/the-first-plenoptic-camera-on-the-market/

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/lytro-refocuses-to-create-a-groundbreaking-vr-camera/

And then there is Wavefront coding….

Perhaps I was very naive about what it was all about when I took up photography, but years of experience have taught me that this hobby is not just about capturing the image as seen by an observer.   It is about creating the visual and mental impact that you desire with the picture that you present. Towards this goal, today, you end up using all kinds of technology in the camera, and outside of it in post-processing, to create the impact that one wants.  Even the most basic picture that you see today has probably undergone some kind of “processing”, either optically, or electronically, or in software.  What we call artistry is trying to use the technology that is available to us, be it the simple paint-brushes, or the cameras, or the electronic devices, or the software, to create the impact we wish.    Of course, we will always argue about the amount of “reality” in the product that is being produced based on the amount of creativity that is used in the presentation, but I think it is becoming more and more an argument about the degree of processing, not about the presence or absence of processing.

When you look at the possibility of new technologies emerging for capturing images, and then this technology becoming a part of the mainstream, such events will actually open up the field of photography to new techniques for artistry in picture presentations.  We will have a new generation of artists using newly invented image capturing and processing devices and techniques who will call themselves photographers, who will have no concept of what photography meant to the pioneers in this field.  Photoshopping is just the beginning.  Even the term “camera” may become passe.  Analog cameras anybody?!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

I call this one Larry, Curly and Moe.

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This picture was taken soon after.  I am not sure if they are the same birds.  (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

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Moving on to a different kind of theme, here are two pictures from an airport in the US. (Guess which one!)

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And finally there is this pair for sentimental reasons.  Love you guys!Trio

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Submitted for this week’s challenge.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Autumn Treats

Something crazy happens to me every autumn season.  It usually happens when the colors of the leaves on the trees are changing, when the leaves begin to fall to the ground.  I am so taken in by the change that is going on that I start taking plenty of of pictures.  It does not matter that I have gone through a similar experience of autumn many times over many years. It does not matter that I have taken pictures of the changing scene almost every year.  It does not matter that I am actually seeing all of this change in the area around my home, so that it is more than likely not a new experience.  It does not matter that I tell myself that I have seen and done this stuff before, and that there is probably nothing new for me to record.

The craziness manifests itself in ways that are unique to the season.  I end up placing my camera in the car where ever I happen to be going during the daytime, regardless of the purpose of my trip.  I end up taking trips into the countryside and driving the lightly traveled country roads around me for hours looking for the fall colors.  I end up stopping the car in potentially dangerous spots beside the roads and stepping out to take pictures, perhaps even stepping into the center of the road if the probabilities seems to be in my favor.  I end up making U-turns in my car to return to the spot on the roadway where I saw something that caught my attention.  I end up walking around trying to find just the right angle so that the sun lights up the trees in a manner that accentuates the colors of the leaves that are dying.  I end up waiting patiently for the clouds that are drifting past the sun to get out of the way so that the trees are lit up just right.  And all of this happened to me once again this year!

And it turns out that I still continue to enjoy looking at the new pictures I am taking. But even among these pictures there are some that present a special treat to me.  There is something about the way these pictures effect my state of mind.  Take a look at some examples.

I was driving out of my neighborhood when I came upon a scene that caused me to stop the car right there on the road.  I had to step out of the car and wait for just the right moment for the swiftly moving clouds behind me to get out of the way before I was able to take this picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI usually run my loops from home beside Seneca lake with the minimum load I can carry.  But knowing that the time was right, I had carried my camera in my backpack while running on this particular day even though the added weight increased the level of effort needed.  I was rewarded by this sight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen this was what I saw while I was driving to different points on the C&O canal to experience the fall colors.  I wonder if she was using water colors!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, this one was closer to home on the road leading out of the neighborhood.  The splash of color caught my immediate attention.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful!

Maybe  it is a curse that I tend to take the subject matter of the WPCs very literally.  I am not good at getting into a poetic frame of mind and coming up with something that may be a little more thoughtful and abstract.  So here I go again..

Hiking, as opposed to walking on a flat trail, can require a lot of care depending on the terrain you are on.  In spite of the care I take, I have had my share of minor incidents.  Just yesterday, while hiking the trails and enjoying the Fall colors at the Catoctin Mountain Park in the northern section of Maryland, my shoe got stuck on a pointy vertical protrusion from a root in the middle of the trail. The front of the top of my trail running shoe literally got stuck and the shoe began to tear before I was able to stop my forward motion.  Fortunately I was not going too fast. This happened soon after I had stepped on a rock that was deceptively slippery because of a light cover of moss. I managed to get a grip to stop a downward slid, while the camera which was hanging from my neck took a hit on to the rock.  Fortunately nothing happened to the camera.  I am still feeling the aftereffects of a fall that happened a few weeks ago while running on the trail in the park nearby.  But that is life….

After some thought, this week’s challenge took me back to our Spring vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  The trails were quite challenging when compared to the ones closer to home.  We also had some unexpected encounters with snow and ice on the trail during this trip. And then there were some folks who chose to take the path less traveled. One had to be careful!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary Planet Earth

Very often something that you experience for the first time can seem extraordinary to you, but repeated exposure with time can make it feel more “ordinary”.  The novelty can wear off.

In this context, the series of pictures that I am going to present may tend to be less noteworthy to a certain subset of population that is used to flying on commercial aircraft across the United States on a regular basis. But I also suspect that not all of this subsection of the population  actually even sees what I see.  They probably would not handle the flying experience the way I used to.  Most folks are who on these trips regularly are doing it for business purposes, and the flying part of the experience is used for pursuits other than taking pictures out of the window of the aircraft.  The more energetic folks are usually catching up on work, most often on their electronic devices, while most others are trying to simply relax, either reading, or watching a movie or taking a nap.  An alcoholic beverage or two can also sometimes help the time pass by.

But I took a different approach.   I would attempt to get on flights that were at the right time of the day for taking pictures from the air, and if possible even try to find a window seat on the side of the aircraft that provided the best views at that time of day.  My face would be stuck to the window pane. (The Airbus 320 family of aircraft have much more comfortable windows than the Boeing 737s in this regard.) I would take pictures of whatever I could see that seemed remarkable (extraordinary?) to me both in the sky and on the ground.  I flew quite a lot for many years, but none of this stuff ever became ordinary to me.

Looking back in time, I was quite fortunate to have found something to do that was exciting and extraordinary to me, something that made the routine and the drudgery of unending business trips for the purposes of making a living and putting bread on the table more tolerable.

Most of the flights I used to take happened to pass over the southwest of the United States, a particularly remote and rugged area of the country with a low population density.  Here are few shots that from those days.

IMG_2329The black spot in the picture is from water on the ground.  I wonder if people live in this area. And here is a picture taken with the sun low in the sky.

IMG_4099It seemed to me that I was flying over a different planet.  And then there was this shot that reminded me of fractals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe structure seen in the following picture reminds you of the complexity of the processes that have shaped the earth.  My guess is that the material of the structure is able to withstand erosion much better than the material around it.

IMG_2557Sometimes you see the impact of the combination of nature and man on the ground in a different way, as on this wintry day when I was flying cross-country.

IMG_2526Finally, here is a very simple phenomena that I saw from the window of my aircraft.

IMG_2341I have never seen a circular rainbow anywhere else.  Here is an explanation for this phenomenon.  Apparently this is not an uncommon thing for people who fly frequently to see.  It goes to show that something that is extraordinary to one person may be ordinary for somebody else.

Here are some other pictures I have taken while flying.

Here is a link to this week’s photo challenge.