Point Lobos is one of the world’s beautiful places, and every visit has photo opportunities. There is one spot where low tide reveals rock strata with tide pools, ideal for closeups. I was tired from lugging around an SLR with a lens assortment, and acquainted with the old-guy-on-slippery-rocks-while-balancing-equipment problem, I walked around with just my pocket camera. That works great for closeups because the camera focuses very close and is easy to hold with one hand. A shot of the general scene proved irresistible, and that led to some Adobe Photoshop™ retouching of original images that could have been better.
For those of you too young to know about film, let me tell you it’s nasty, and you should stay away from it. Some of us, however, have images captured on film that are worthy cleaning up for the digital age. Here we’ll deal with the three most common problems: dust, color shifts, and grain. It’s painstaking work, but those old photos can’t be replaced, and modern digital tools help a lot.
Iron Horse vineyards is a champagne maker in Sonoma County, two hours drive north of San Francisco. Except that calling California sparkling wine champagne may land you in the World Court charged with a misdemeanor; champagne is strictly French. In any case, Iron Horse is a world-class producer of whatever-it-is, and visiting their facility is a delight for photographers and tasters. My challenge was to get a good photo out of their tasting room window, without spending too much time away from tasting.
Many digital cameras come with free software for organizing and editing your photographs. That software is fine for casual users, but if you are a photo hobbyist advanced enough to, say, read a photo blog, then it’s best to invest in Adobe Photoshop Elements™. Elements was upgraded from version 6.0 to 7.0 last year, so you know it is a mature product. It comprises an organizer for filing and retrieving images and a photo editor for improving them. The basics are well-covered at this point, but I have some suggestions for improvements. These range from searching caption text to improved methods of resizing images, tagging, and making panoramas.
It was early spring in Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California. Saratoga is near San Jose, and the Japanese-style gardens cover 18 acres of foothills. I used a pocket camera to take this image (actually a two-image vertical panorama spliced in Photoshop™) of the Pond and Hill Garden. The original image had dark shadows and other technical problems that were adjusted to product this result:
I like photos in which there is a lot going on. It gives the eye something to munch on, so to speak. Shinjuku Station, in Tokyo, is the world’s busiest train station. So there is definite potential for shots in which there is a lot going on. The original of this shot of the Vegeteria (or, according to the sign, VegeteriA) had problems. It needed to be cropped, and there were three separate problems with the lighting.
For any group in motion, the trick is to catch an instant when something is happening. I took a couple of photos of a woman with a dog walking toward the bluff top. I photograph with a wide angle lens, leaving the niceties of composition to a later time, after there were images in the camera. To complete the composition a distracting auto hood had to be removed.
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