Swimmers

Lovely day with the berg wind blowing today, so we walked the beagle early and then I used the opportunity to get a few jobs done (including bathing a reluctant canine) and watched a bit of the cricket.

A far cry from a few months ago up the mountain, where it was grey, cold and wet. Especially for these guys:

Such were the conditions up there that it was only the next morning we saw the sign saying that perhaps swimming “wasn’t allowed”.

So obviously, if you see any of these individuals in the street, please remind them that they were inadvertently very naughty up in the clouds and they really shouldn’t do it again.

Southern Rock Agama

Busy day today and a party this evening (at a place with a massive log fire, thank goodness: it’s been one of the coldest weeks since I moved to SA), so I’m chucking in a quick Quota Photo for today’s post.

It’s a Southern Rock Agama (Agama atra).

…or at least, the head of a Southern Rock Agama (Agama atra).

Spotted at the top of Chapman’s Peak a couple of months ago (when daytime temperatures were still perfectly reasonable), and bigger and better on black here.

Editing

I’ve been playing some catch up with editing photos. Not that they weren’t edited previously, but it’s always, always worth revisiting them with fresh eyes. I made so many changes to images that I already thought were just right. You can get so involved in fixing bits of the image that you lose (no pun intended here) the bigger picture. I found and corrected several examples of this.

One particular favourite image from the set was this one:

Five bracketed shots merged in Lightroom to ensure some semblance of decent exposure throughout. Bigger on black here. Picturesque.

There are at least one or two others which I really like from my recent expeditions, but they are part of a project I’m doing, and I’m not sure that it would be right to share them on here just yet (or maybe, in fact, ever).

The one above doesn’t have any such restrictions, as far as I’m concerned. Those mountains are fair game to anyone with a camera (or, in this case, a drone) and it’s really not my fault if they choose to be so very striking when I’m trying to take specific photos of specific stuff.

I mean, honestly, who could resist?

Can we just agree…

…that today was rather hard work, but also very rewarding?

Got some amazing shots (IMHO), and met some really interesting people.
What’s not to like?

Bigger version here…. (113.3MP!)

Pano play

Photography homework this week for the boy was to use a freeware manual panorama maker (Hugin) to manually make a panorama.

I like the approach of the photography teacher: they have lessons on hardware and software, then they get to go away and try what they have learned. But not everyone wants to (or can afford to) go down the route of paid-for editing software, and so they are learning how to use freeware like GIMP and… well… Hugin.
They also have critique sessions, where they can – as a group – praise others’ work and suggest ways to improve. It’s a great way to work and they’re a very positive, enthusiastic group.

Hugin is free, and it does what it says it will, but it is cumbersome and time-consuming. Simply as a comparison, we took the same photos, fed them into Lightroom and pressed the magic Panorama button.

Here’s the result:

You can have a look at the full 63MP version here.

This isn’t perfect, but given that it was a last minute dot com effort from a bridge near his school, with the light fading and after he had been hiking all day in a Scouting competition, I think it’s pretty good.

The Hugin version was not as good and took longer to make, but as I mentioned, it was free.

And while we’re on about photography, I found myself waiting outside a coffee shop this morning, waiting for it to open. Wandering into the park opposite, I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera along: the mist was subduing all of the colours aside from the bright yellows and oranges of the American Sweetgums. Fortunately, I had my phone, but this quite nice image could have been really nice.

Always have your camera with you.
That’s something else they should be teaching the kids.