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Tag: McDowell Mountain Park (page 32 of 34)

Hiking the Dixie Mine Trail with Marilyn and Joe

Joe, Marilyn, and I went out late Sunday afternoon and hiked out a ways on the Dixie Mine Trail.

There were several contrails that hung around for the duration of our hike.  Here’s a photo where they seem to form a “V” emanating from behind one of the McDowells.

Weaver’s Needle is off in the distance in the photo below.  You can also see a part of Dixie Mine Trail in the foreground.  It’s a nice trail in that section.  There’s not a lot of elevation gain or loss, but numerous small hills and washes give texture to the terrain.

The half-moon and a nearby saguaro:

A particularly scenic section of the Dixie Mine Trail:

Mother and son hiking together just after sunset.

Another view of the contrails as the sun was setting:

A short while later, we turned to see that the setting sun had turned the contrails a brilliant reddish orange:

Another edit of the above photo using the Mantiuk ’06 contrast mapping algorithm.  All of the above photos use the Mantiuk ’06 contrast equalization algorithm.  In the tests that I’ve done, contrast mapping seems to produce more realistic looking results, but I often like the look obtained using contrast equalization.  The sky in the photo below is fairly close to the image obtained out-of-camera, but the out-of-camera foreground detail is very dark; so dark in fact that it appears to be mostly black.


Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike started at the Trailhead Staging Area.  In addition to regulars, Bob, Linda, and Janet, two other hikers joined us today: Elma and Connie.  Elma and Connie told us that they do a lot of hiking at South Mountain; this was their first visit to McDowell Mountain Park.

We hiked out about a mile on the Pemberton and came back on the Scenic Trail.  Total distance for that segment was a little over 4.3 miles.

As we started up the Scenic, I took this photo of the sun coming up over the hill.  Tone mapping it gave it an interesting look – the photo was kind of boring otherwise.

A short ways further, I turned around and took a photo of the clouds with Little Granite Mountain (I think) off in the distance.

Janet, Linda, Elma, and Connie:

A view of Four Peaks from midway along the Scenic Trail:

When we got to the wash, Bob pointed out this Red-tailed Hawk:

When we got back to the staging area, Bob found this spider in the bathroom!

Bob, Linda, Janet, and I then started on the second part of our hike.  We hiked out the Pemberton in the other direction.  Janet turned back just after we crossed Stoneman Wash.  (She had other errands to do…)

Bob, Linda, and I continued on and took a look at this wash:

We also hiked a bit of the Tonto Tank Trail.   Here is Linda taking a photo of some cacti and an ocotillo at the top of the steep section near the beginning of the trail.

Here’s my own photo of that scene:

Bob, Linda, and I hiked a total of 9.35 miles today.


A View of the McDowells from the Scenic Trail

I took this photo on Saturday afternoon while riding the Scenic Trail.

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.

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.

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