Entries Tagged as 'vacation'

Back from a wonderful vacation!

Well I’ve been on a pretty cool european vacation for the past few weeks. I’ve been back in the states for a week now, but it has been difficult to make the time to update this blog due to jet lag and all the things that life requires when gone from home for 3 weeks. I had hoped that I would have better internet access while I was away but that didn’t really happen. So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do here on DevliN Details.

I guess the first order of business is to give a quick rundown of where I’ve been. We started out by flying from L.A. to Milan Italy, and then taking a train to visit old friends in Padua. Our time there was just wonderful, friends were great, food was great, wine was great, and I even did a decent job of picking up on Italian. Next was on to Venice to visit with one of my old college friends and her 3 children. I hadn’t seen here in over 10 years so that was very nice and venice was just as beautiful as you might expect. There was lots of time spent seeing the sights and travelling around on water buses. St. Mark’s Square and the palace of the Doge’s was a site to behold. Next was another train ride to Rome where we caught up with my sisters and their families for 3 days of heat, walking and lots of Roman touristy kinda places to see. We managed to hit all the big ones, but it was all kind of a rush because we had our days crammed with places to go see, shop and eat at. The most impressive thing wasn’t the colloseum, it was indeed the Cistine chapel. It is truly as great as its cracked up to be. After Italy we went on a 10 day eastern Mediterranian cruise, hitting up Dubrovnik, Katakolon, Corfu, Santorini, Valetta and Messina. After all of that we decided to wind things down by flying to Berlin to stay with my brother in-law for 3 nights.

Needless to say we were all thoroughly exhausted by the time we got home. Each day consisted of miles of walking, way too much shopping, and pretty stiff heat (until Berlin). I shot roughly 1700 images (though there was a lot of bracketing going on due to only being out in the middle of the day), I’ve only begun to look at a few of them so far. It will be a pretty big effort for me to get them slimmed down to something manageable for a person to view on the web. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to do much shooting for fine artwork due to the limitations of time from the cruise, and also unfortunately to being sick for about a week on the boat. I totally missed going ashore at Katakolon due to feeling poorly. My time in Santorini was also hampered by my sick stomach.

Photography wise it was difficult shooting only in the middle of the day. The sun was high and bright, the skies were usually cloudless and missing that lovely dark blue we get later in the day. One thing that I did feel good about was the performance of my Nikon D300. The camera really is quite awsome, I was most impressed with the layout of the controls on the body and how I was able to manipulate so many of them without even having to remove my eye from the viewfinder. Turning on and off bracketing, continuous shooting modes, AF sensor selection, ISO, exposure compensation all worked really well. And I was making changes to those settings all the time. I also was really impressed with my first extensive uses of the 17-55 and 14-24 lenses. I rarely ever shot with anything else on this trip.

However using such wide angle lenses presents a higher degree of difficulty in coming up with interesting compositions. I made some progress in this regard, but there are still lots of photos where I just wasn’t able to pull it all together into something more interesting than a snapshot. I also did some experimentation with bracketing and using my SB-800 for fill flash. After reviewing the first few days of shooting on my laptop, it was really apparent to me that I was going to have a tough time making nice pictures with all theĀ  blown highlights and blocked shadows because a camera just doesn’t have any where near the dynamic range of the human eye. Taking 3 photos with bracketing +0 EV, -1EV and +1EV makes for a lot of work later on in post processing. On top of that I wasn’t able to bring a tripod due to weight issues so I’ll have to line up many of the images in PS and try to figure out a way to get the highs lows and mids in the range that I want. I expect that I’ll spend a lot of time learning even more about masking in the next few weeks. As such I put in an order for Katrin Eismann’s Photoshop Masking and Compositing so I can really do my best to merge the 3 exposures into something I find pleasing.

On a final note, while I was gone on vacation an old photo of mine kept gaining greater interest over at Jpeg magazine. The image at the top of this post was shot in Puerto Vallarta in 2004 and has been up at jpgmag.com for at least 18 months or so. I guess it has slowly gained popularity because every once in a while I’d get an email from them about how it was favorited by one of their users. Now it is officially a “Hot Photo”. I haven’t posted any images at Jpeg ever since that first day, I guess I should do a better job of trying to get my images out there for others to see. Its funny, I’ve always liked that photo and can see the interest in it because of the colors, but it never was one that I considered to be one of my best, or all that unique. Of couse most of those remain in boxes, or on my walls, or hidden on some hard drive where no one else can see them.

There just isn’t enough time to make everything happen!