Andrew and I had originally planned to hike to North Dome our first day at Yosemite, figuring the ~8 miles wouldn’t be that bad. I mean, we could run a mile in less than 10 minutes, so walking it shouldn’t take more then a few hours, right? Wrong-o. We started hiking around 1pm because we planned to get to get there with plenty of time for sunset…but…3 hours later we were only halfway there and already flagging to say the least. Which is why we eventually decided to stop and give The Pedestal its name. Halfway there was at Yosemite point, which had a nice overlook down Yosemite falls and of course the excellent pool which Andrew and I paused at for a good few. We only really dropped by the overlook, but while there I held my camera over the edge to snap a few handheld brackets. I’ve been struggling with this picture for a while, since there was a lot about it I didn’t like, but since it is down the falls and catches some of the cool sprayinbows, I’ll put it up.
It was actually difficult for me to take this picture, because I'm pretty afraid of heights. Fortunately there was a really solid steel railing for me to cling onto for my dear life or else I wouldn't have even gotten close to the edge...
Unfortunately, we’ve all been busy, because we still have a lot of great material to post. Back at Yosemite, while Andrew and I waited for sunset to happen at the Pedestal, I wandered off for a bit and looked at the surrounding area. In this foreste
d area behind and above the Pedestal there was a lot of awesomeness to be seen. However, I realize now it was harder to photograph than it looked. I’m still working on some of the other shots….I haven’t gotten them many of them in a state I like yet…but here’s one I have:
Yosemite was far too full of hidden beauty to be covered in the scant 2 days Andrew and I were there...
Although I took all kinds of pictures of and around the Piazza del Campo, the one I always wanted to take would have been impossible to get to: a shot down on the nightlife of the city from on top of the building directly across from the tower, and with a wide enough lens to capture the people and the tower in the shot. Oh I know, I should have just brought Tucker along and had him shoot it with his camera and lens–now I have an excuse to go back and bring him along. While I was there, I couldn’t resist taking the picture that 100s of other tourists did. The large west entrance has a great view of the whole piazza and the Torre del Mangia, and as you walk down, you can’t help but stop and stare, as I did, even the 100th time I walked through. To take this picture I had to wait a while for exactly that reason; to try to minimize the number of people in the foreground taking pictures and staring at the impressive view of the tower looming over the piazza. Turns out I got pretty lucky.
The iconic view from the west of the Torre del Mangia on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy
Although I may still not have a completely functional computer again, that won’t stop me from posting HDRs. I was looking back through my photos and I realized I had posted far too few from the day Tucker and I shot at Krog street. One of my favorite things about that area was the many unique objects decorating the alcoves and openings around the long, open hallways that spanned the complex. Most of them had me wondering what their original purpose could have ever been, but I suppose I’ll never know. However, I didn’t complain, since they were fun subjects. That day produced many awesome pictures, and so while I wait to be able to process more from my time with Andrew and any left over from Italy, here’s a one that I’m glad I didn’t forget about.
I feel like the reflective surface lets me take two pictures at once: one of the ball, and one of the scene (and even me!)
I know it’s been a while for me, but my laptop has been in and out of the apple store in the last couple weeks. Anyways, I’ve been looking over some of the shots Andrew and I shot at Yosemite, and I would post all of them…but I’m going to hold back for now. Here’s a taste of some more of what we got on the Mist Trail on the way to Vernal Falls.
The mist blew all around the valley, keeping us cool and throwing the light in fun ways.
So I went to LA this weekend to visit Andrew, and so of course he took me to Disneyland since I had never been. We got to the park pretty early at around 9:00 (most of the rides open at 10), but since we knew we wanted to shoot that day we brought all our camera stuff and a hefty Manfrotto tripod so we could get our HDR on that night at World of Color. Andrew spent the whole day building up the World of Color event (a light and water show in the California adventure park), which is so popular it happens 3 times a night with ~5000 attending each showing, and it was ABSOLUTELY justified. We got almost the whole thing on video in HD on his 7D, which made lugging the tripod around for the whole day completely worth it. We also got some HDR from the event as you can see below in Andrew’s post, but in the between time we stopped off a couple times to shoot some of the sunset, since we were there…
Mickey's Fun Wheel at Paradise Pier in the California Adventure park
When California Adventure opened in 2001, its big claim to fame was the incredible Soarin’ Over California attraction, a state-of-the-art movie/motion simulator/smell-o-vision ride all rolled into one that features arial views of California’s most i
conic locations. It has since been replicated at Epcot in Disney World, but we had it first! Giacomo and I nabbed a shot of the entrance before moving on to check out the attractions in the Paradise Pier area of the park…
Obviously, Disney is always a crowded place... Our visit on Friday turned into an exercise in ghost-busting when it came time to process the images later: Anaheim CA
As Giacomo and I spent the better part of the day goofing off and hitting the main attractions (the sack of Fastpasses certainly didn’t hurt) of both parks, there was a constant concern that stuck at the back of the mind throughout the day: where were we going to get put for the World of Color Seating? I had seen the show once before (well, twice but the first time shouldn’t count since it was from behind) with my family and realized all too late that I was too close to the water to get enough of it in frame. We knew we would have about 60 seconds to find a spot and stay there once the gate opened as the mob for the 11:15 showing poured into the reserved area. We settled on a spot and took a shot in the few minutes before the show started…
The show takes place on the surface of Paradise Pier and is unlike any other type of show I've ever seen before... Stunning. Anaheim CA
While in Siena, I frequently went running on the ramparts of the fortezza Medicea, an old for near the middle of the city. Since I usually went running in the evening, the light was usually good and I always thought to myself, “I should really come and take some pictures here.” I almost never did. One evening, while running, there was a storm rolling in, and the clouds were fantastic, and the light was great, and as I ran I thought, “This is that time! I need to do it or I never will.” So I ran back to the hotel, grabbed my stuff, and still wearing my running clothes and shoes went to the fort and shot what I could. Here’s one
The fort overlooked the surrounding countryside and the historic center of the city. Not a bad place to get some exercise...
After we toured the vineyard, we rushed through the barrel rooms of the Castello Ricasoli, but even as everyone left, I hung back to get this shot because the room was so epic. I would have posted this earlier, but I had to wait to get back to Atlan
ta to post this one: I needed Tucker’s advice on how to crop… I’ve never been as good as he is at composition, and I think his recommendations push this picture into my favorites list.
Some Classic Chianti ages in the dungeons of Castello Ricasoli
A couple more from the other night…I think I’m going back tonight. Cloudy day today, could be perfect HDR conditions!
In the background the centerpiece of the fountain is visible...a faun riding a deer, I believe
The Clocktower of Asiago peeks in on the scene
I’m still in Italy. But now in Asiago, relaxing and doing almost nothing in my last weeks in Italy. I know I shouldn’t complain, but I actually want to get back to Atlanta. While I’m here, though, I figured I may as well take some pictures, so got right on it last night in downtown Asiago (although this town is hardly large enough to even have something that qualifies as a downtown). In the main piazza, there is this wonderful fountain which has several bronze casts of various animals native to the altopiano (plateau) and in the center features a faun riding a deer. I also spotted some spiders making there webs on the bronze animals, which I had to try to capture.
Fountain at the Piazza Giovanni Carli in the centro of Asiago
A spiderweb in the fountain
Siena has an ancient and awesome tradition of bareback horse races between the various contrade (city districts) called the Palio (also the name of the banner awarded to the winning district) which happen twice a year, and was featured in the most recent 007 movie. Anyways, I was too worried to bring my camera to the actual Palio (the scene right after the intro sequence is of the Palio to give you a sense of the insanity) but fortunately there are trial races held every morning and night in the days before the race. I went to several of these trials and took a bunch of pictures, in RAW, and am trying out some single-shot HDR processing. Things I have discovered: 1. My camera is still really noisey (not really a surprise) especially when I pump up the ISO to get fast shutter speeds on these horses 2. Single-shot HDR processing makes them a lot noisier (ugh). I can’t do my usual de-noising stuff in Photoshop with my laptop (I have the plug-in for windows since my PC is substantially more powerful than my laptop), so I guess I’ll have to do what I can….take a look…
A jockey riding the Leocorno (Unicorn) district's horse decked out in their colors at the Palio horse trials
My window looks out over a valley in the middle of Siena which gives me a good view of the Duomo over those roofs.The other night I looked out my window at the Duomo and saw the moon rising silently beside it. The moon was so beautiful right next to the belltower, and the sky was so clear, I got excited and forgot all my HDR scene guidelines and just shot. I shot so many different brackets I told myself I would be able to make something work from them, and the results pleased me. Although I was sure my pictures were fast, I was amazed at how quickly the moon rises even between 30 seconds of picture taking. I understand now why Tucker (grumbling) waits for moonset before even thinking about shooting stars in the night sky.
Di raggio in raggio, io vorrei salire, e con te venire, a rischiarare il ciel...
And to round things out, here’s a (slightly smaller) church ;). The clouds were too good, I couldn’t resist…
This church is the religious center of the Selva contrada (Forest district)
While at the Castello Ricasoli, we stopped off on the fields and I had just enough time to snap off some handheld shots of the countryside, which was lovely. It was cloudy and rained later that day, but as we stood looking at the fields I noticed off in the distance islands of moving sunlight, gaps in the clouds on the faraway hills. I took so many pictures hoping to be able to capture these, but try as I might none of the pictures I took could capture what I could see. Next time.
When we toured the castle, we also saw the Baron’s private chapel which had many pretty but poorly lit things in it. Sadly, I couldn’t take many pictures there since we sort of rushed through it, but I did manage to snag one that I really like.
The whole Ricasoli vineyard had a very medieval look with the castle overlooking the grounds
Under the chapel many generations of the Ricasoli Family were buried. If you look carefully you can see their ghosts in the bokeh of this picture...