Starfish Point

On March 30, 2014, in Grand Cayman Island, by admin
Grand Cayman Starfish

Four starfish at Starfish Point, Grand Cayman Island (click to enlarge)

A few weeks ago my wife got tired of yet another day of snow so we dipped into our vacation fund and crashed my brother’s in-progress vacation on Grand Cayman Island.  One day the group pitched in and chartered a boat to visit Stingray City and Starfish Point among other places.  At Starfish Point we found these four guys sitting in the surf.  I have a sneaking suspicion that these starfish are placed specifically for tourists to “find”.  Regardless, it was a nice isolated beach with only a few other people on it.  Be sure to go around the corner and eat lunch at Kaibo.  Good mudslides, french fries, and conch fritters.  Kaibo is the perfect place for that post-starfish hunt meal!

Our time was short on the island so I did not get any dedicated photography time.  I think I need a whole week next year to get around the island, especially for some sunrise and sunset work, and to check out some of the less touristy places (if there are such places).

Starfish Point: N19 21 02.79 W081 16 59.87

Pump Wheels Before and After

On March 22, 2014, in California, Photography Tips, by admin
Desert Queen Mine Pump Wheels

Desert Queen Mine Pump Wheels (Click to enlarge)

Desert Queen Mine Pump Wheels (Click to enlarge)

Desert Queen Mine Pump Wheels (modified) (Click to enlarge)

The top image is of some wheels connected to a pump at the Desert Queen Mine in Joshua National Park.    The bottom image is almost the same, with some obvious differences.

In the original image (top) note the dead space in the upper left corner.  I was not happy about the overall composition when I noticed  the emptiness through the viewfinder.  I  took a few images anyway, why not?  As I was pondering how to fix the composition, I noticed some extra pieces laying off to the side.  I picked up a folding piece of metal and added it to the upper left corner (bottom image).  This extra piece added some additional circles which appear elsewhere, and also some strong straight lines, also appearing elsewhere in the image.

The second obvious change between the original image and the modified image is the use of a sepia tone.  Since the pump wheels appear very old, it made sense to make a monotone image.

I guess the moral of the story is, don’t accept dead space in your images if you don’t have to!

Desert Queen Mine location:  N34 02 13.79   W116 08 01.15

Shredded Wheel

On March 17, 2014, in California, Photography Tips, by admin
Shredded Wheel

Shredded Wheel

I went to Southern California in January for business.  Having a half day off I went to Joshua Tree National Park.  While hiking to the Desert Queen Mine I came upon an abandoned car.  While the car as a whole did not present much inspiration, the right front wheel held some promise.  I really liked all of the color and texture in the wheel.  The other part I liked was the repeated curves of the rim.

Unfortunately, I took this image during the mid-day sun.  This resulted in harsh shadows and a large dark spot in the lower left hand corner.  To solve this lighting problem I pulled out my Cowboy Studios triangular reflector and used it to create instant shade.  I carry the small one wherever I go.  It folds up nicely into my pack and has allowed me to take many images that I would have otherwise bypassed.  The triangular reflector is probably one of the best $15 buys in photography.

The other thing I did to the original image was to turn the shreds on the left black and white.  The interesting part of that area of the image is the texture.  I created a layer in Photoshop, converted it to black and white, then used a layer mask to limit the black and white conversion to only the frayed tire area.  This allowed me to keep the rusted colors of the rim while stressing the texture of the shredded tire.

Desert Queen Mine location:  N34 02 13.79   W116 08 01.15 (you can see the car on Google Earth)