Adobe periodically updates the processing algorithms that are used by Lightroom and Photoshop. Each update provides some improvements in how raw files are processed and it can be good to go back to older shots and to see how the newer process versions handle the images. I find this particularly useful for images shot in low light and with high ISO.
I have some standard process settings I use but have also experimented with modified settings for use with high ISOs and the higher noise levels that come with them. I got to some night launch shots from an old Red Flag exercise and had a play with the images. The E-3 launch was actually as the light was going down but it still had some illumination so it didn’t need much work.
The KC-135 and B-1B shots were a different story and were at high ISOs and with very little light. I was able to update the process version and apply some new settings I had worked out since the original processing and it resulted in some pretty reasonable outputs considering how little light there was to work with.
With the ferries coming and going to the terminal at Orcas, I was able to have plenty of chances to take photos. I did get standard shots of the boats in low light conditions. They are not easy to shoot since they are constantly moving. No long exposures at low ISOs are possible so it is high ISO and the associated noise. However, I did decide to experiment with some long exposures and blending of shots. The boats make a curving approach to the terminal. I thought this might make a nice long exposure. It worked okay but the curve is a bit disguised by being too low down to really appreciate it. However, it was fun to try.
With the limited options to go anywhere, you would think that any photo opportunity would immediately pique my interest. The arrival of a comet in the night sky would seem to be just the sort of thing I would have a go at. However, it took me a little while to get tuned in to the idea of seeing this comet. I had been out of the house one evening and, when I got back, I saw a video about the comet on YouTube. With it getting dark, I figured I would try and check it out. We had a run of very clear skies so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.
The problem was where to see it. The comet was relatively low in the sky and I needed to get a bit higher up. Plenty of hills around here so I headed out in the car. However, we also have a lot of trees and I failed to find a good spot. I also think I hadn’t let it get dark enough in hindsight. It did get me thinking about it a bit more though and I decided I should go to the shore since the view would not be obstructed. Mukilteo seemed like a good option. Apparently, I was not the only one to think so!
I got to Mukilteo at about 10pm to give my self time to get sorted out. The parking lot was surprisingly full. It certainly wasn’t crowded but there were a lot of people there. I got set up once the comet started to be visible. There is a path along the shore with some grass behind it and I set up on the grass. What I didn’t know about was the night sprinkler system. I found out when it switched on! I only had to move a short distance to stay dry, though. Then I was free to shoot the comet. I did try a shot with the ferry crossing underneath but the ferry moves a surprisingly long way in a short exposure time.
Lockdown continues to be an opportunity to go back to previous photos and these come from our trip to San Francisco in January. What a long time ago that now seems and how strange it is to think of a time when we freely traveled across the country. On our first evening, we met up with friends for a drink and some food. We met them down around Embarcadero. At the end of the evening, before heading back to our hotel, I took some photos of the area. The Ferry Building was nicely light as was the Bay Bridge. It was a lovely evening to be out which I guess is indicative of the benefits of Northern California in the winter!
Continuing the theme of casting back into the past for shots of things that compensate for not going anywhere anymore, this one isn’t too long ago. Our visit to Victoria in the run up to Christmas involved staying in a hotel alongside the harbor. We had a view from our hotel room across to the legislative building which is nicely illuminated at night – not just for Christmas but all the time. Here is the shot from the hotel window!
The waterfront at the Embarcadero is a very attractive place to wander around. What I have rarely had a good view of, though, is the view from above. Fortunately, a friend of ours works down there and, when we visited, he took us up to have a look at the view. We stopped in at the end of the work day so it was still daylight. The view of the Ferry Building and across the Bay Bridge was very nice.
We did stop in again after dinner since the night view is a great one too. San Francisco on a sunny evening is a fun place to be with old friends. It does have its quirks though!
This shot looks just like a million other people’s shot of Seattle. I have been to Kerry Park plenty of times but I had never been there at night. This time I was having dinner with some colleagues and, when we were done, I figured I would pop up and grab some pictures. Here you go.
Helicopters are constantly moving around McCarran. There are tourist rides operating seemingly around the clock so hearing a couple of helps is not a surprise. However, these two were close to each other and seemed to have a more powerful sound. It turned out that they were two USMC AH-1Z Vipers coming in to an FBO. Paul was able to try and get some shots as they landed but I had to move the car. I settled for watching them for a bit and then got the camera as they were shutting down. It was unbelievably dark given how much ambient light there is in Vegas so I was pushing the camera’s capabilities a bit. The closer one shut down first which was unfortunate but let’s not get picky. They were still there the following morning when we were shooting departures as I could see them in the background of some shots.
If you take a garbage truck and attach it to a power pole that you aren’t supposed to attach it to, you are likely to cause some trouble. We had a blackout as a result of such an event. The pole ended up punching a hole in the roof of a nearby house (thankfully it wasn’t raining) and power to our area was cut off. I got home as the light was fading and got a few shots of the damage. The power lines are strong and they had succeeded in taking down two lamp posts as well.
I popped back out to see how things were progressing and to watch the teams at work fixing the situation. Making the initial pole safe took a lot of time as bits of it were removed. A new pole was put in place and the old pole lifted back up and attached to the new one. I assume this was a temporary fix. Focus then shifted to the next pole which was leaning at an angle that suggested it had taken a bit of the load too. This one just got straightened up and didn’t need to be replaced. I gave up watching after a while since I preferred to be indoors in the warm. Power came back on at 9pm so we were able to sort out the things that had been cut off before turning in for the night.
A new Johnson Street bridge has recently opened across part of Victoria Harbour. It has replaced an old bridge that was apparently in bad condition. The new structure is a bascule bridge to allow larger boat traffic to access the inner areas of the harbor and it has a really cool design. While the bridge carries the road across the water, it has excellent access on either side for other users. The two sides carry both bike and foot traffic and they are wide enough to provide plenty of space for all users. There was plenty of foot traffic when I was there which might have had something to do with the Christmas Parade that evening.
In the evening, the bridge is well illuminated. The curvy nature of the structure provides lots of interesting details. The mechanism for raising the bridge is not concealed either so you can see the gear wheels involved in lifting it if you look below. On my walk back one evening I ended up spending a fair bit of time on the bridge because it provided so many possible angles to shoot it either to get the full bridge or to focus in on individual parts of it.