Earth Hour 2012 in Victoria, BC

Hi Folks:

As you probably know, Saturday night from 8:30-9:30 local time was ‘Earth Hour‘.  Originally conceived by the World Wildlife Fund and the Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia in 2007, it has since become a world-wide event.  Marcia and I were wondering how much participation there would be in Victoria so we headed up to the top of Christmas Hill to find out.  Christmas Hill is part of the Swan Lake/Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary here in Victoria, and being a large rock outcrop in about the middle of the city, it affords a spectacular view of the city and beyond.  We were pleased by what we saw.  Although street lights and outside lights for some businesses needed to stay on for safety reasons, much of the city was otherwise dark.  I made a quick video with my cell phone camera, a 360° panorama, which you can see below.  NB: I’m a photographer not a videographer, and there places where it was so dark that the camera had to hunt for focus.  That however, is the point!

Earth Hour 2012, Victoria, BC
Click on the image to view the video

Our thanks to everyone in Victoria and around the world who participated in Earth Hour.  It’s a way of saying that you care about this little blue marble we call ‘home’.

Marcia and Mike.

Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush: Flow and Density

Hi Folks:

I haven’t done a photography post in a while, and Matt Kloskowski at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips recently posted a video on his blog called, “Everything I Know About the Adjustment Brush“.  He did an excellent job in covering the ins and outs of the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom, but he left out two sliders: Flow and Density.  To that end, I thought I’d cover them instead.  You can find them here:

Adjustment Brush Tools

Now, by default Flow is set to 50 and Density is set to 100, and many people set them both to 100 and leave them there, but you might want to learn what they’re for as they can help you with your creative processing.  We’ll start with ‘Flow’. Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – Butterflies

Hi Folks:

Well, it’s a little late in the day but it’s still the last day of the month, and time for my ‘Photo of the Month’.  Each month I pick my favourite image of the past month, although lately it’s often been more than one image.  Most of my work involves landscapes, but sometimes I also stray into macro work.  My dedicated macro equipment is in storage at the moment, but I have enough to get me through temporarily.  I found two new (to me) species of butterflies this month.  The first is an Anise Swallowtail, seen up on the top of Christmas Hill in the Swan Lake/ Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.  The second is a Lorquin’s Admiral I found at the Oak Bay Native Plant Garden.  I trust you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. Continue Reading →

He Says, She Says… Intrinsic or Extrinsic?

Hello, Dear Reader:

How do we measure the true value of something – is it intrinsic or extrinsic?  According to Wikipedia:

Intrinsic value is an ethical and philosophic property. It is the ethical or philosophic value that an object has “in itself” or “for its own sake”, as an intrinsic property. An object with intrinsic value may be regarded as an end or end-in-itself.

Extrinsic value is the idea that something has value only because of outside factors. It is an end to a means.  Work is, by many, considered to have extrinsic value. We work because we need money in order to survive.

With that in mind we thought we’d take on ‘value’ as the subject of this week’s ‘He Says, She Says…‘ post.


Follow these links to read what He Says/She Says: Marcia’s View / Mike’s View

Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

It’s been a busy month of writing and blogging and other things, but I have managed to sneak out with my camera for a time or two!  This month I thought I’d make the focus (pun intended) of my ‘photo of the month’ page an HDR image.  The image below is a combination of nine photographs made at different exposures.  Now most photographers today are at least somewhat similar with HDR, but in my experience most people associate it with the grungy, grainy look that HDR is most famous for.  It has its place, but in my experience it’s overused.  Besides, HDR stands simply for ‘High Dynamic Range’ and is quite useful as a technique for expanding the dyanic range (the number of tones, from white to black) in an image where the tonal range of the scene is beyond the camera’s ability to capture it.  There’s an excellent article on HDR by Alexandre Buisse here.

That’s certainly the case with this image.  It was made in a local park called ‘Christmas Hill‘, and it’s one of my favourite places in this area to make photographs.  Capturing the detail in the shadow areas without blowing out the highlights where the sun strikes the moss was beyond the camera’s sensor.  I uploaded the images into Lightroom, and then used Timothy Armes’ LR/Enfuse plugin to combine them into one blended image.  Post processing included the usual (white balance, black point, white point, etc.) as well as some graduated filters to highlight the sun spot.

Click on image to see a larger version

So, that’s it for now.  Go out and make some photographs!


P.S.  I came across this great tutorial yesterday by R.C. Concepcion on using Shadowbox JS to integrate a Lightroom web gallery into a WordPress blog.  Maybe next month…

P.S. II, the Sequel: You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.