Sunday, January 31, 2010

Home with Family in Nebraska

We had a death in the family this past week. My aunt (my father's sister) passed away last week, after a brief hospitalization.

The services will be Tuesday morning. The various gatherings of family will be Monday and Tuesday.

I will be working from my mother's house rather than traveling to my client's location. My brother has set up a wireless network at my mother's house, so I can have full connectivity with the project. I drove out this afternoon (Sunday) and will return back to Kansas City later in the week.

The map below shows where we are. Mom's house is at Enders, and the services will be in Imperial.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Sports Shooting - McPherson College vs. Kansas Wesleyan

We spent Saturday night at the new Mabee Gym on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University. The McPherson Bulldogs were in town to play the Coyotes.

The first half of the men's game was a tight-fought battle. But in the second half the Coyote's used great shooting and a tight zone defense to soundly defeat the Bulldogs.

Being a new gym, the lighting is better than most of the venues where we follow the Bulldogs. These men's photos were shot at ISO 2500, F/2.8, 1/400s and NEF format. At that ISO the raw images are very noisy. The images were about 1/3 of a stop underexposed. The lights also have a yellowish cast. These photos have been processed through DxO for exposure, white balance/tint, and noise reduction. Cropping and sharpening were done in Capture NX2.

I received a 18% grey card for Christmas, and this was the first opportunity that I've had to experiment with it. I took images of the card lying on the floor at various locations around the basketball court. I used each image to determine a white balance and tint adjustment. I then used these results to load and save a location setting for bulk processing the images. I was really happy how well (and how easily) the adjustments worked.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sports Shooting - McPherson Basketball vs. Univ. of St. Marys

Saturday evening we attended the McPherson College vs. University of St. Mary basketball games at the USM  gym in Leavenworth, KS.  The Bulldog Men carried the evening to move to a 13-2 overall record and a 6-0 record in the KCAC. The Bulldogs have been receiving votes, but have not yet made the NAIA Division II Top 25.

The Bulldogs quickly jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half.  Sophomore G Aaron Frazier bucketed 13 points to lead the Mac men to a 45-38 half time lead.

The Spires continued to battle the Bulldogs in the second half.  A 22-6 run by USM pulled them to within four with under a minute left in the game.   McPherson went on to force several turnovers and hit 6 of 6 free throws to keep the lead and the win 100-94.  Senior guard Mike Reese scored 27 to lead the Bulldogs over the Spires.

Shooting in this gym is very difficult.  There is a 2.5 stop difference in the lighting between mid-court and the baseline area under the baskets.  The lighting is a mix of traditional incandesent, high intensity vapor, and fluoresent.  Takes a lot of adjustment!

The images were shot in NEF. They were first processed through DxO for exposure (0.5 to 1.25 stops), tint (taking out the green effect of the fluoresents) and noise, saved as JPG. Cropping and final color adjustments were done in Capture NX2.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter on the River

The severe weather has finally broken. The gray skies went away on Saturday. We won't see temps above freezing until later in the coming week, but nothing like getting out into a little sunshine to take care of the cabin fever!

Debbie and I spent Saturday afternoon and evening in Leavenworth, KS. We attended McPherson College basketball games in the evening at St. Marys. There is a quilt shop that Debbie likes to visit, so we went over early.

I had my camera along for the ball games, so while she was in the store I went down to the riverfront. Leavenworth sets on the Missouri River, and they have a nice park at the riverbank. This image is from the there. Please enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brrrrrrr !

We are in our 10th day of below freezing temperatures here in Kansas City. The header photo shows you what KC, MO looks like right now. While not unheard of, this many days of deep cold is the most extreme winter weather we have experienced in recent years. We bottomed out last night at 5 degrees according to the local reporting station. We didn't quite reach the record of -8 which is what some of the TV weatherpersons were calling for.

Homes and vehicles around here aren't ready for this sort of extended cold. Our furnace has run nearly full time since we got home on Dec 28. We have one waterline in the house that was frozen. We've rigged a hair dryer to warm up a space in the outside wall and that cleared things up.

My poor old truck is having problems holding a charge on the battery. The battery was dead when I got home from Minnesota on Thursday night. Fortunately the airport parking has a service truck that can come and give you a jump. I've had the battery on the trickle charger for 24 hours, so tonight I'm parking it outside to see what happens. I think there is some sort of electric fault that drains the battery than only happens when it is extremely cold. I've been to the auto parts store, and the five year old battery was giving up the ghost. Nothing like cold weather to uncover things like that. We'll see how the new battery works!

We are venturing out tonight to see the McPherson women's and men's basketball teams play. St. Mary's is a member of the KCAC, so Mac plays in Leavanworth, KS once a year. Fortunately, it's on the weekend so we can get to the games. I will be shooting the games so there should be some sports photos tomorrow.

Stay Warm !

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year !

First, I want to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year !

We've been at home in Missouri after Christmas in Nebraska. We've had a great time with the kids and family. The weather across the midwest for the entire holiday season hasn't allowed for great photography. The natural colors on the plains at this season are buffs and grays, and with the cloudy skies it makes for a very monochrome color palate.

What do you do with a capture with little color? Work with the contrasts of the image and try to generate an interesting image in black and white. This image almost begins as sepia in it's original color. I've played with a number of settings to get to this "antique postcard" look.

The conversion is done in Photoshop CS4 using adjustment layers:
- B&W Conversion at default settings
- Exposure, with offset set at -0.065 (to generate mid-range contrast)
- Photo Filter, choosing Sepia filter, then increasing the density to 40%

The vignette is a large brush (1000 px) with a speckle pattern and 10% opacity. Used two overlapping passes to provide the graduated pattern. No sharpening to help with the antique look.