Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Little Change of Direction

When I started this blog, I intended for it to purely be a food blog. I was cooking every day, trying new things and putting out some really good stuff, and I just wanted to share it. It also coincided with my growing interest in photography, so it gave me a great way to practice that as well. I enjoyed it a lot and was putting up a post nearly every week.

Fast-foward fifteen months and a lot has changed. At the beginning of April, I moved to a new department and am now work a lot more than before, to the point where I've recently been doing nearly twice as many hours of overtime every month. I'm still stubborn about cooking pretty much every day, but you really don't put too much time and effort into it when you're throwing together dinner at 11pm. As such, you could probably count on one hand the number of meals I cook in a month that I feel are even worth sharing. Late work hours also means I don't have much time to write posts or process pictures to put up, so what few meals I think are blog-worthy rarely actually get written about.

At the same time, I have often let myself get sidetracked away from food and written about trips I've taken. In fact, I would say they are usually some of my better posts. I don't travel often enough to have a travel blog, but I think it makes for good reading and interesting pictures all the same.

I don't want to try to force this blog to be something it's not, so what I've decided is this: I'm not going to limit this blog to food related content. I'm not even going to try to define a theme for this blog. I'm just going to write about interesting things I've seen or done. Sometimes I'm not even going to write at all and just share pictures I've taken that I think are interesting. I won't be trying to chronicle my life, just share a glimpse of the things I enjoy.

So here is a post that has absolutely no food in it all. In fact, the only thing that is only even kind of food related is that one of the pictures was taken at a barbecue (which I don't intend to write about). They're just a few pictures of skylines that I like, plus a first attempt at using a new processing technique.

Beautiful blue skies for a barbecue with the Michigan kids this past weekend

NTT DOCOMO Tower, viewed at sunset from Shinjuku Gyoen

Colorful clouds at sunset, looking East from my room

Ginza at dusk

The new technique I mentioned earlier that I'm trying for the first time is HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing. The idea is that you take the same picture multiple times but at different exposures each time. Shots taken at high exposure will pick up details that would normally get lost in shadows, while low exposure shots will catch details in highlights that would get blown out in a normally picture. You then use some crazy voodoo magic software that takes the best parts from each picture and then combines them into one awesome picture. This time, I only combined two pictures (which aren't even perfectly aligned, but worked out anyways) of the sunrise taken from my room.

The first shot, overexposed sky means the clouds are pretty badly blown out

The second shot, underexposed, gets good detail in the sky, but loses most of the city below in shadows

The combined picture, which has eliminated a lot of the shortcomings from the original shots.
1st HDR Attempt

I've only just dipped my toes into the world of HDR, but I'll write about it again once I've tried my hand at it little more and have a few shots worth showing.

1 comment:

  1. The change in direction sounds good - best not to limit ourselves! One problem with my blog since I've decided to change over completely to a photo-oriented theme is that I've stopped writing about the various random occurrences that happen in my life which don't come with pictures...

    Before I forget, here's the blog I mentioned that does an awesome job with HDR:
    In response to my inquiry, he said he'd try to put an HDR tutorial up on his blog sometime in the next week, so check back once in awhile to see if he has!

    Also, here's the absolutely mind-blowing mountain climbing blog I talked about:
    I got totally hooked on reading his blog when I first found it - one of the shortest 3 hours of my life.

    Nice job with the HDR btw! Looks like photomatix is good at aligning the pics for you - I've heard people say handheld HDR's are totally doable in photomatix, guess it's true!