Watching from Alcatraz

A small hut on the island of Alcatraz looks out on San Francisco. It looks well preserved and anyone in the hut would have a god view of the city and probably the surrounding coastline up to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Dog on the beach

Oscar ambling along on the beach at Garretstown in Co. Cork. He never liked the beach, there’s just too much dirt and gravel and sand and just plain yuck, but he had a great time that evening. I don’t think Shih-Tzus are the most adventurous of dogs! Compare this picture with an earlier shot before he was groomed. Quite a difference eh?

Under Irish law, dogs should be kept on a lead in public places at all times, and really should not be allowed on a beach but I made sure he did his business before we went anywhere near the sand! He’s so timid he rarely left our side the whole time, and I had the lead in my pocket, just in case.

I spotted a horse in the distance and the hoof marks were visible in the sand, but I was too late to get a shot of the horse and rider this time unfortunately.

This page on Shih Tzus describes Oscar perfectly:

The Shih-Tzu is an alert and spunky little dog. Happy and hardy, endowed with loads of character. They are royally dignified, courageous and sometimes arrogant. This breed does well with polite, careful children. The gentle loyal Shih-Tzu makes friends easily and although obstinate can respond well to consistent patient training. A very alert watch dog, the Shih-Tzu likes to bark, but is usually quiet inside the house. They are stubborn and clever. Shihs can get snappish if they are surprised or peeved. Playful and lively, this affectionate little dog needs to be with people and are generally good with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak.

Go faster! Go faster!

A young girl in a buggy leans forward as her mother pushes her along St. Patrick’s Street, Cork. Looks like her mother was busy shopping in Penney’s and elsewhere so I’m sure she’ll look forward to getting home!

I like this: This Flight Tonight, and make sure you download the linked video tutorial. The statement that an “adjustment layer is a normal layer with a layer map on top” struck a chord with me. The GIMP doesn’t support adjustment layers and the technique he used, by rubbing out some of the map of an upper layer is one I’ve used in the GIMP previously.

Playing with the sea lions on Pier 39

A girl clambers over the statue of two sea lions on Pier 39, San Francisco. This pier is where people embark on the journey to Alcatraz Island and it was packed with tourists. Luckily Toni booked our tickets a few days previously and we were able to walk straight onto the boat!

Rusted and abandoned

An old oil drum stands on the quay at Ballycotton rusting away as the exposed metal is beaten down by the elements.

Technique: I increased the saturation of the reds to bring out the rust of the drum. I desaturated other colours so the drum would stand out.
I then duplicated the layer and darkened the top one to bring out the clouds and sky before using a layer mask to expose the ground on the bottom layer. After that a simple gradient at the top of the image provided a nice dark effect and finally, I dodge and burned the rust until I was happy. Was that useful?

I used CocoViewX to view my work directory from my Linux box on my Macbook. I was surprised that Finder didn’t display thumbnails and I didn’t want the iPhoto heavyweight when all I wanted was to know which image was which.

A visit to Pineapple Studios

I visited Pineapple Studios last night with Mallow Camera Club. Jessica Jones and Tina showed us around and it was an eye opener for me. Jessica is rightly proud of the lighting in her studio and went over each system answering questions as she went. A shooting session followed and I was roped in to model for a couple of shoots but unsurprisingly the guys seemed more interested in shots of Jessica and Tina!

Tina then showed us their lab and went through the process of working a photo in Photoshop. They have two large printers and plenty of facilities for printing all sorts of size images. Tina printed off an 8×10 and 8×12 explaining that they calibrate their printers several times a day to cope with changes in temperature as the day gets warmer from morning to evening.

The visit was great fun and very interesting. If, like me, you’re not very familiar with portrait photography, you’ll be shocked at how complicated it is and all the skills the photographer has to call on. As Jessica said, “if you don’t like people then don’t photograph them.” A huge part of the job is getting people relaxed and forgetting that it’s a photoshoot. She spends an hour making a portrait so the customer relaxes and the shot looks natural. She took a group portrait of us and hopefully she’ll send the image on to me soon. I asked everyone if they minded having their photo on the web and thankfully nobody dissented. I’ll update this post with the photo when I get it!

Thanks Jessica and Tina for showing us around!

Jessica has already sent me on the photo. Thanks, nice job!

Mallow Camera Club

The Golden Bay Bridge in San Francisco

The Bay Bridge in San Francisco all lit up at night. The lighting on the bridge casts a golden glow over the water that is beautiful to watch and photograph. More on Wikipedia.

Niall Kennedy walked with myself and Bryan Veloso around the Ferry Building on the night before WordCamp and we got some great shots.
You can see the pier to the right of this image here in more detail with a super reflection.

Moo Magnets

What will you do with those hundreds of Moo mini cards? You can’t possibly give them all out. Why not make cute little magnets out of them? Meg Pickard explains how using magnetic tape. It’s so simple but I can imagine that this would be a nice birthday card filler especially with a personal photo (along with the obligatory gift of lottery tickets or money of course!)

I’m going to make a few and stick them on the fridge!

What else can we do with the moo mini cards? (Thanks Damien)