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Lousley Wash before Sunset

Below is a photo from Sunday’s hike with Marilyn.  I took this photo about half an hour before sunset.

Even though it’s only a photo, I still find it difficult to look at the spot in the photo depicting the sun.  For some reason, I don’t have this problem with either of out-of-camera versions. (I used the Sony in-camera HDR mode for this photo.  I took the HDR result, tone mapped it, and applied further edits using GIMP.)

Marilyn at the Lousley Hill Overlook

Marilyn and I hiked Lousley Hill late in the day on Sunday.  At the top, we saw a fellow flying remote control gliders.  We didn’t stick around too long because there seemed to be biting gnats around.

On the way down, I took this photo of Marilyn at the overlook.

Red Mountain through Ocotillo Branches

I took this photo back on July 14 just after a big storm swept had swept through the area.  I had tried editing it several times, but wasn’t happy with the results.  Today, I tone mapped the image and then applied some other small edits resulting in the image below.  I’m also including a crop which is interesting too.

Sunrise Photos: New Edits

I’ve been trying the Mantiuk ’06 tone mapping operation on some of the photos that I’ve edited in the past to see what additional detail might be revealed.  In both of the photos below, the foreground was very dark and, in my original edits, I wasn’t able to do a satisfactory job of showing the foreground detail.

I first posted this one on August 31st.  Here’s a link to the original edit for comparison purposes.  The original was cropped somewhat, whereas this one is not.  The differences in the foreground detail between this version and the original are not that profound.  I think the color of the bare ground looks better in this one as does the detail in some of the foliage.

This one, below, was first posted on July 20.  Again, here’s a link to the original edit.  Again, the crop is different on the new edit – it’s uncropped.  The original showed the trees and the foreground as a silhouette.  This one shows considerably more detail.  Using the editor, GIMP, I zoomed in an looked at the area near the orange cones.  I could almost read the sign sitting along the fence just right of the cones.

While talking to my Mom about these photos, she thought it’d be interesting to see what the out-of-camera versions looked like with no edits (aside from being scaled for upload to this site).  Here they are:

August 31st original:

July 20th original:

Friday Fitness Hike

Today, Bob, Amy, and I hiked the North Trail.  Bob and I continued on up the Chuparosa Trail when we got half way around the loop.  Once we got to the Pemberton, we hiked up to the 150th street trail before turning back.

Here is a view of Tom’s Thumb through a tangle of Palo Verde trees.  We weren’t that close to the McDowells, but I used the limited zoom capability on my camera and then cropped the result to make it look closer than it really is.

A saguaro:

The McDowells.  Tom’s Thumb, Morrell’s Wall, The Granite Ballroom, Sven Tower I, II, and  III, and Rock Knob are all visible in this photo.

Bob taking a photo of a Saguaro near the Chuparosa Trail:

Another view of the Chuparosa Trail.

I found two other crops of the above scene that I found interesting…

Even closer:

I used a tone mapped layer (using the Mantuik ’06 algorithm) in most of the above edits.  I’m happy with the detail that it provides, particularly in the mountains in the background.  In past edits, I often end up with very dark looking mountains without much detail.

 

Rock Knob

I got this photo during last Sunday’s bike ride.  Rock Knob is the smaller mountain (hill?) in the foreground.  (It looks more like a huge jumble of boulders in this photo than any kind of defined “knob”.)  Part of it resides in McDowell Mountain Park; the rest of it is in the preserve.  The McDowell mountain range is behind Rock Knob in this picture.

I was looking for a way to explicate the detail in the rocks.  Tone mapping with Fattal does the job really well, but I often find the results jarring to my eyes, even while I admire the degree of detail that the algorithm produces.  Fattal also produces some significant halos.

I ended up tone mapping the image with Mantuik ’06.  I hadn’t spent much time playing around with this algorithm because the defaults in Luminance HDR don’t produce appealing results.  After playing with some of the parameters, however, I started seeing more results that I liked better.  These are the parameter values I used:

  • Contrast Factor: 0.50
  • Saturation Factor: 2.00
  • Detail Factor: 1.00
  • Contrast Equalization: Enabled

Although I had three exposures to work with, I only used one as the histogram was fairly well contained.

One problem that I had with the result of the tone mapping is that the lower right corner was extremely dark.  It was unacceptably dark after level adjustment in Luminance HDR.  I ended up adjusting the levels with GIMP instead using a gradient mask in the lower corner to avoid darkening that portion even more.

I found out that the dark lower corner is a known (and unfixed) bug in the implementation of Mantuik ’02 in Luminance HDR.  There is another implementation in pfstools.  For the image below, I used the following command to do the processing:

pfsin DSC04492.JPG | pfstmo_mantiuk06 -s 1 -e 0.4 | pfsview

I loaded that result into GIMP, loaded the original image, DSC04492.JPG, as the top layer and then set its layer mode to color.  Aside from scaling it, I did no other edits in GIMP.  Without the color transfer the color was kind of blah.  Luminance HDR allows saturation values between 0 and 2; pfstmo_mantuik06 only allows saturation values between 0 and 1, inclusive.  I used 1, but there still wasn’t much saturation.

Here is the above image again, with the saturation bumped up even more.

For comparison purposes, here’s the original file, DSC04492.JPG, scaled to be 1080 pixels high.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Well Wishes from the AZ Buettners!

A View from the Pemberton as Dusk Approaches

This is another shot from last Sunday’s bike ride.  It was taken from the Pemberton Trail, perhaps a quarter mile from the site of the old homestead.

Sleeping Kittens

Minstrel and her kittens came by last night somewhat before it started to rain.  They played vigorously for a while and then three of them climbed one of the pillars on the patio to get up out of the wet and away from predators too.

It’s amazing that three of them fit on that pillar.  Tiger and Callisto take up pretty much the entire space by themselves.

This shot was taken from inside, through the glass of the patio door, manually focused, using only the patio lights.  I ended up setting my NEX-7 at ISO 6400 and had the lens all the way out at 200mm.  The aperture was f/6.3 and the shutter speed was 1/20s.  It took me several tries at processing the RAW file to get an acceptable result.  The out-of-camera JPEG file was actually pretty good.  For a while, I was considering using it, but persevered until I found some RAW file processing settings that looked somewhat better.

Palo Verde Tree and Four Peaks

I’ve taken several photos of this tree on recent fitness hikes where we’ve hiked the Bluff Trail.  It’s right at the top of Bluff sitting atop a small hill by itself.  I hadn’t gotten a shot that I liked until yesterday when I took a photo of it during my bike ride.

I had my camera set up for exposure bracketing; I processed two raw files three times – one of them twice and the other one only once – to provide three layers that I blended together to form this picture.

If you look closely, you can see part of the bench that’s also atop that small hill.

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