Thursday, June 10, 2010

Returning to Tumacácori AZ with the Leica M9

Sandy & I had some business in Tubac the other day and while there I wanted to revisit Tumacácori and the Mission San Cayetano de Tumacácori. We had last visited the mission September 2009 while using the Canon 1DsII IR converted camera; I wanted to see if I saw the mission any differently now that I had the Leica M9.

The images were shot using the Leica M9 and a Leica Summicron 35mm lens.

Here's an informal poll:  Which of the following image do you perfer?

Abe's is located right across the street from the mission and is included here simply because I like the building!

Tumacácori is 3 miles south of Tubac and within minutes of Tucson and should be included in any plans to visit the area.

Thanks visiting and don't forget to let me know which of the two images you like best.  I'll describe the post processing later on if I get enough response to my poll.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Photoshop CS5 (64bit) and Nik Viveza 2 (Part II)


On May 26th I wrote a brief review of sorts on CS5 and Viveza 2; I'd like to expand a little today.

There are a couple of things I need to make clear first primarily the fact that I do my processing on a PC. My main studio computer is a Dell Precision 690 dual quad core with 24GB RAM currently operating VISTA 64 Ultimate (I've got plans to upgrade to Win 7 within the month). My main studio laptop is also a PC, a Dell Precision M6400 that has been upgraded to Win 7 (64). Both of these computers have CS5 and Nik Viveza software installed.

I've been wanting to use Nik software for sometime now with the only thing holding me back was a lack of 64bit support. Yes I understand there's a work around that would force me to open Photoshop in 32but mode, use Nik, save, close Photoshop and reopen in 64 bit and continue with the processing. One of the major drawbacks is the amount of RAM I'd have available to me in 32bit mode added to the fact that this type of workflow is very burdensome, time-consuming, and just plain sucks. I was very excited by the news that Viveza 2 was the first of the filters to actually be compatible with 64bit. I downloaded the 15-day trail loaded on the computer and watched as it embedded itself to my copies of CS4 and 5 both 32 and 64bit. Very easy very user friendly. I now have plans of loading more filters as they become available in 64bit mode.

I've been very pleased with how Viveza 2 and CS5 get along. I'm equally pleased with the recent improvements to CS5 chiefly the content awareness function which I believe is worth the price of upgrading by itself.

I'd like to offer an image I just processed earlier today. This was taken on a jeep trail near Dead Horse State Park and overlooks the Colorado River and Meander Canyon; I believe Anticline Overlook is in the distance. Sunset was around 8:30 P.M. local time with the images taken at 8:10. The image is a result of 2 handheld shots with the Leica M9 and Summarit 90mm set at f/9.5 1/90 and an ISO of 400.

I opened these images into CS5 using the Photomerge function under the Tool section of CS5 Bridge. Once opened in CS5 and merged I then flattened the image and using a combination of the Lasso Tool and Fill I filled in a few errant areas before cropping to taste. Content-aware was selected in Fill and did a great job. Once I had the image filled in and cropped to an area I liked I then processed the image using HDR Toning found under Image Tab underneath "Adjustments". After duplicating the image I then opened Viveza 2 from the filter tab and completed the processing.

The image at the top of the page is the before while the after is directly below.

While this might not answer a lot of questions on the two programs,; however it more than answers mine. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Thanks for visiting.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Potash Road, Moab UT (Part Two)

La Sal Mountains, Canon 1DsIII 4-shot panorama

Sandy near the top of Shafer Trail Road, Leica M9

Don sitting down somewhere along the trail, Canon 1DsIII

If you keep on Potash Road past the petroglyphs and arches you'll soon find the Potash boat ramp and the end of the pavement. We'd strongly advise you to turn around here if you aren't in either a high clearance or 4x4 vehicle. If you plan on visiting Moab do yourself a big favor and consider renting one of the many jeeps that are available as this will allow you to get into places other than a few feet off the highway in the parks. This is also a great way to explore the area where many westerns were filmed and outlaws such as Butch Cassidy made their hideout.

Along Potash Road near Cane Creek potash mine. The bright blue almost turquoise color water is part of 400 acres of shallow ponds used by the mine to harvest the potash and salt. Canon 1DsIII

Close to where the image above was captured. Canon 1DsIII

Near the ponds on Potash Road. Leica M9

More of the same area near the mine.  Leica M9

We had heard about Disney filming in the area as well as the possibility of at least 2 commercials, 1 for Microsoft and the other having something to do about Thelma & Louise. The ending of the movie was filmed near Dead Horse State Park as a stand-in for the Grand Canyon. We saw the first signs of Thelma & Louise as we passed the Potash boat ramp and spotted a T-Bird on a flatbed truck, then about an hour later we came across the actual set. Not certain what they plan on doing however one person told us they where shooting a commercial.

Canon 1DsIII

We couldn't stay long here so Sandy jumped out of the jeep to take these quick snap shots; look for a video from our "Jeep-Cam" that also shows this area at the end of this edition.

Once the pavement ends the road continues winding through beautifully scenery going underneath Dead Horse Point Overlook, Gooseneck Overlook then into the Island In The Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. Once in the Park you can either continue on the trail which winds out to Musselman Arch, Little Bridge Canyon and eventually the end of White Rim Road to Moses and Zeus sandstone spires which will take a very long time or take Shafer Tail which leads you up into the Park proper and out by the Island in the Sky Visitor Center and pavement. We were on Potash Road at around 7 am going out as far as Musselman Arch before turning around and taking Shafer Trail and finally getting back on pavement 7-hours later.

Entering Canyonlands National Park the hard way.  Canon 1DsIII

Canon 1DsIII

Canon 1DsIII

We wanted to return to Musselman Arch, an arch we hadn't seen since 1996.

Leica M9

Canon 1DsIII

Canon 1DsIII

Top of Musselman Arch. Leica M9

And here are few more images from the area.

Shortly after the pavement ends. Canon 1DsIII

Very close to the Goose Neck. Leica M9

Shafer Trail Road leading out.  Leica M9

Canon 1DsIII

On the edge.  Leica M9

Don read a post the other day on a camera forum about how the Leica M9 wasn't suitable (in the poster's opinion) for serious landscape work.

4-shot panorama.  Leica M9 and 90mm lens.

This just about ends our tour along Potash Road the only thing left to see is the video as we drove past the commercial shoot. We're still sorting and processing images from our trip and hope to have something else for everyone soon. Till then take care and thank-you for stopping by.

Please remember, your comments mean a lot so please let us know what you think.

Sandy & Don