Corrugated Prison Roof

Visitors to Alcatraz Island walk about on the broad path up to the main prison building.

Some of the buildings on the island are in a bad state of repair, lacking everything but the brick walls that stand like a whitewashed skeletons. This building is about halfway up the hill and in much better condition.

Alcatraz Tower and Prison

The prison tower and buildings of Alcatraz provide a stark welcome for visitors to the former penitentiary.

Despite my close investigation, the tower in this picture was off limits. Pity, because I bet there’d be a great view from up there!

Cobh at sunset

The tide is out in Cobh, Co. Cork while the sun sets in the west casting an orange glow over the water and boats in the harbour.

Method
This required some work to expose properly. The sky is bright while the harbour, houses and landscape are in shadow. Out with the layers, top layer for the sky was darkened and the opposite was done for the ground.
Then it’s the simple task of adding a layer mask to the top layer and rubbing out the dark bits to expose the brightened landscape.
When using a layer mask, never paint with an opacity of 100%, try 30% or even 5%. Don’t be afraid to do a rough job of exposing the bottom layer because with a layer mask you can always reverse the procedure by swapping the colour of your brush with an opposite colour!

Thank you all for the comments on yesterday’s post, The Lonely Swan, it’s great to get feedback and I’m glad when people get something out of my methods when I describe them. See what you’ve done? I did it again!

Bay Bridge Reflections

Light from the Bay Bridge in San Francsico shimmers in the waters of the harbour. To the left one of the fire fighting boats of the SF Fire Department can be seen.

Posting this landmark of San Francisco today as most of the rest of Automattic make their way to Mexico. Here’s another shot from another night near the bridge.

SF Weekly

San Francisco Weekly is only one of a number of free publications available in that city. Not sure what day it’s out though. Doh!

My photos went down reasonably well at Photography Ireland yesterday. There’s a good street photography forum there. It’s worth a visit if you’re looking for inspiration or critiques or simply want to talk to like-minded people!

4 Easy Photoshop Techniques to Make Your Pictures Pop! has a few techniques I’ve used myself in the past. I meant to blog about those techniques, but hey, they’ve done the hard work now, including screenshots and everything. Good post!

Looking out from Homely House

Last September we stayed in Dingle for a weekend and had lunch in Homely House, a restaurant in the town. Check out the previous link for a picture of Brian Lapen and EagleSpirit who ran the cafe.

Unfortunately for Dingle they’re now in Hawaii, and the building was destined for demolition last I heard so it’s quite likely this view is gone now!

The little red door

A small house is stuck between two larger buildings in Dingle, Co. Kerry. I’m not sure what caught my eye in the first place but I think it was the red door.

Shot on a wet morning that brightened up after an hour of intense rain.

Golden Gate Bridge in Fog

Tourists on a ferry pass by the fog shrouded Golden Gate Bridge
in San Francisco Bay.

The day was beautiful out near Alcatraz but fog covered the upper reaches of the bridge and I thought would make a pleasing shot.

PS. I’m not finished with photos from 2006 by a long shot!

The River, The Brewery and the Cathedral

The River Lee rushes by the Beamish and Crawford Brewery on one side, and O’Sullivan Electrical on the other with St. Finbarre’s Cathedral in the background.

I have discovered there’s a dead pixel on my camera’s sensor. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to show itself much but when I take long exposure shots like the one above a little red dot appears in the top-right of the image. It’s easy to get rid of with the clone tool but also annoying.

The Wacom graphics tablet is great fun to play with but I haven’t got it working fully in Linux yet. Ubuntu thinks it’s simply another mouse device and GIMP doesn’t see it as an “extended device”. I spent quite some time on the Ubuntu forums trying to fix it yesterday before giving up and trying it out on a few images.
It’s a little fiddly to begin with, but I think that’s par-for-the-course when using a new tool. I do find that when dodging and burning large sections of images the brush can get stuck and won’t follow the cursor but I’ve read that once it’s properly configured performance is improved so I hope that is fixed then.

Hope you had a nice Christmas Day!