Tag Archives: canon powershot s30
February 9, 2007

Plaza Mayor, Trinidad

Plaza Mayor, Trinidad

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Twice now, I’ve visited Cuba, and twice I’ve spent some time in Trinidad.  It’s a beautiful colonial town in central Cuba, just a couple miles from the coast.  There’s a church on the hill, cobblestones on the streets, and picturesque landscapes and architecture around every corner.

On my first visit, I spent a lot of time moving around the central plaza with my 35mm camera.  There’s a wonderful bell and clock tower at one corner and I was continually trying to find the best angle on it.  I eventually found one; it’s now framed and hanging on the wall in my home office.

Four years later, my camera had changed, but the view in Trinidad was mostly the same.  I amused myself by trying to find the exact spot where I’d taken the first picture, then set out to frame something new.

There’s a museum in the base of the bell tower — something I’m not sure I was aware of on the first trip.  My companions and I paid a few dollars to go inside, hoping we’d get a chance to climb the tower.  Despite the rickety stairs and often a lack of handrails, tourists are, indeed allowed up.  Not all the way, though; the top room with the clock was barred with a trapdoor and a hefty padlock.

We stepped out onto the museum roof and paced around the edges.  From there we had a wonderful view of the terra cotta tile rooftops and the lush green countryside.  (Not to mention an ancient, rusty air raid siren.)  Walking back down the stairs, I stopped at the oval window we’d skipped on the way up.  I had to climb half into the cement ring to take an unobstructed picture of the courtyard below.  When I climbed back out, I took another picture to remember what the window was like.

I like the cement window frame better than the original.  It gives the viewer an interesting perspective, and in combination with the other photo I took years before, tells an interesting story.  Looking back and forth between them, I can identify the exact location where I took each picture!

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 27 December 2003
Focal Length: 8.6mm
Shutter: 1/1000 second
Aperture: F/3.2
Photoshop: Adjusted levels slightly to deepen the black edging

January 5, 2007

Thomas Basin

Thomas Basin, Ketchikan, Alaska

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Just after I managed to sell a framed print of one of my panoramas, I seriously thought about upgrading my digital camera.  By that point, I’d left hand-stitching in Photoshop behind because Autostich made assembling panoramas so much easier.  If I could iron out the work-flow, I deluded myself, I might be able to crank out salable photography on a regular basis!   I’d been shooting for years on a Canon PowerShot s30, and it was great for what it was: a tiny point-and-shoot with a tiny lens.  I longed for the days of SLR focusyness, but definitely didn’t want to go back to the 35mm work-flow.

Those were the thoughts in the back my head when we took a trip to Ketchikan.  Oksana and I made a point of getting out on a sunny day and hitting some photogenic spots.  We did Creek Street and Totem Bight, of course, but later I realized something.  My first panorama of the Mendenhall Glacier was an anomaly; it’s actually pretty damn hard to find a good panorama subject!  Creek street bowed out toward the camera (artifacts of perspective; I was too close to my subject) and the only position where I could fit the whole of Totem Bight’s park into frame ended up with the lodge dominating the shot.

At least cruise season hadn’t yet begun.  The docks downtown were completely empty.  We walked out to the end of one and I snapped off a row of pictures facing toward iconic Deer Mountain and Thomas Basin.  It was a great day for photographs.  The sun was at my back and even the normally gray Ketchikan sky decided to cooperate by sending up some puffy white clouds to fill in that expansive blue void.

When I first saw the completed picture, I worried about that radio tower in front of the mountain.  I thought about cloning it out, but anyone from Ketchikan would be quick to notice.  I see a few other imperfections (snow’s a bit overexposed, I’m not sold on the building in the left foreground, and I wish there were at least one more cloud to fill the upper right), but overall I really like this photo.

You know, tourists are rewarded with this exact view when they step off the cruise ships.  I’ll bet one or two might consider buying a print.  Some gallery owner in Ketchikan should hook me up.

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 17 April 2005
Focal Length: 10mm
Shutter: 1/318 second
Aperture: F/6.3
Photoshop:  Stitching of 9 images, Minor color correction

This is one of the last panoramas I shot on my s30 before I convinced Oksana that we should upgrade to a Canon XT.


December 29, 2006

Independence Day

Independence Day

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Six months ago, I took my fancy-schmacy 8 MegaPixel digital SLR out to take pictures of the Independence Day fireworks show.  Except for leaving my cable release at home, I was completely prepared.  The weather was clear, I had a tripod, and thanks to a friend, we established ourselves in the perfect vantage point: The top floor balcony of the Juneau Public Library.  We had an unhindered view of the channel and I had more than enough time before the show to test out different exposure settings. The above picture is not from that night.  The half-assed snapshots I took in 2004 came out far better. After looking at them, I think it’s because I was exposing for what I saw that night rather than exposing for an aesthetically pleasing fireworks photograph.  It never gets truly dark during the summer in Alaska, so the sky was still bright when the fireworks started at midnight.  I thought the cold blue of the sky was great and exposed my pictures to keep it intact.  Unfortunately, the fireworks were brighter and when the blue of the background sky was kept, the fireworks themselves couldn’t avoid being overexposed. The photo above was taken with a 3-MegaPixel point-and-shoot.  Of course, I didn’t just point and shoot with it; I know how to use the PowerShot s30’s manual controls.  But the shooting conditions were less than ideal, that night.  It was a drizzly and my “tripod” was a staircase railing up on the hillside.  My pivot head was a quarter.  And yet… so many of the pictures turned out that it was difficult to choose a favorite from a directory full of 4th of July photos. Because of the rain, it was dark enough that night that I didn’t even notice the tree on the left until after the first picture was displayed on the LCD screen.  Even choosing my focus point was difficult — I had to wait for the light from the next explosion before my camera could auto-focus again.   Despite all that I got good pictures!  The sky is nice and dark (but still with a tinge of blue), which accentuates the colors of the fireworks.  The silhouette of the tree definitely adds to the composition.  Even the smoke trails seem to align within the rule of thirds.  Lucky, I guess. Canon Powershot s30 Date: 4 July 2002 Focal Length: 12.3mm Shutter: 6 seconds Aperture: F/3.5 Photoshop: Cropped from 4:3 to 3:2, Minor color correction

December 22, 2006

Caribbean Blue

Caribbean Blue

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Ever since catching up on naming all my digital images, I’ve been meaning to go back through them and set aside the photos I especially like.  The first choice was an easy one because Oksana made it a part of a montage of honeymoon pictures that hang on our bedroom wall.  Every night I’m reminded that I should quit procrastinating…

One day on our honeymoon in St. Thomas, Oksana and I went on a day-long sailing excursion.  It was a beautiful day (as most days in the Caribbean are) and we passed the time lounging on the deck, sipping frozen rum drinks, and snorkeling at various spots along the coast of St. Martin.  We were under sail at one point, moving fairly fast, when we passed this skiff anchored in the deep, clear water.  I didn’t have time to frame my shot, but I managed to take two quick pictures as we sailed by.  Looking at them later, I decided that neither was well composed.  The first framed the boat and its shadow, but it was the second that caught the shoreline and a piece of the sky.

After looking at both pictures, I decided to see what Autostitch would do with them.  Turns out, nothing at all.  Understandably, It didn’t see them as photos in a panorama.  I decided to trick the software by cropping out just the upper portions of the photos, rotating them both 90 degrees, and trying again.  That gave me a tiny “panorama” of just the shore and sky.  I took that into Photoshop and laid it over the first photo.  A little bit of soft-edged eraser here, some cloning of the sky there, and voila; a new composite photo with only the best parts remaining!

(I think the horizon still looks off, sloping down a bit to the left as it does.  I tried rotating it back to the horizontal, but for some reason that looked even less correct.  Maybe it’s a curved-peninsula-perspective thing.)

Canon Powershot s30
Date: 4 September 2002
Focal Length: 7.1mm
Shutter: 1/1000 second
Aperture: F/2.8
Photoshop: Merging of two photos, Cloning sky (upper left), Minor color correction