Travel Photo Trick!

Today, a repeat of a 2015 post that is particularly useful for travel photographers.

With the camera on a tripod and exposure set to manual, I can take pictures like these, one by one:

…and on on. As said, I am using a tripod, so the only thing that varies is me (I used a self timer).

And then I can use Photoshop or the GIMP (the latter is a free equivalent) to do things like this very easily:

Or even this:

OK.. so a cool trick. You do this with layers and masks. Hellishly complicated user interface, but once you know the silly UI, the process itself is very simple. It’s the only thing I have the GIMP for.

So. Why would I think this is useful, other than for fun?

Well…. think. You can also use it the other way. Instead of replacing the wall by me, replace me by the wall. And now you can perhaps see a benefit looming.

No? Think on. You are at the Eiffel Tower. Or the Grand Canyon lookout point. Or whatever tourist attraction you can think of. What do you see? Tourists. Right. It attracts them: that’s why it is a tourist attraction.

But not in the same spot all the time. So all you need to do is the same I did here: take a bunch of pictures. Say 10-20 of them. So that you have each spot of attraction at least once without a covering tourist. Then you put them into layers—one each—in PS. And then you manually remove tourists. One by one, poof.. they disappear.

Or you go one further: depending on your version, you can use function File > Scripts > Statistics.  Now choose “median” and select the photos. And you end up automatically with an Eiffel tower without tourists, a Grand Canyone without other onlookers, and so on.

Cool? Yes, very.

So there.

Kai Tak

A few photos I took at Kai Tak airport, Hong Kong, around 1985. These were slides, and they are well preserved. Still, of course after scanning I had to so some touchups and restoration.

The famous checker board:

Pretty steep tun at very low altitude. An adventure, landing at Kai Tak.

And the large aircraft were amazing. I was at the Hong Kong aviation club, at the foot of Rwy 13. I was learning to fly Cessnas at the time. And afterward we’d drink in the bar and see htis:

Anyone who has been there will recognize this – and feel the humidity, small the smells, and feel like they’re there again. That is the power of photography.

Click to see larger. Ektachrome; touched up with Lightroom and de-noised with Avast De-noise AI.

Back in Ontario…

…from the Caribbean.

And the first thing I did is set all my cameras to the correct time. Which was easy, because they were already set to the correct time, since I came from the Caribbean. But for those of you who did not:  set all your cameras to the correct time now!

And here’s a few pics from last week. More, and some advice, to follow in the next days. Stay tuned!

 

TRAVEL THOUGHTS — I am just sitting down after an uneventful 11 hour drive back from the Dordogne to the Netherlands. Wake up in Bergerac; go to sleep just outside Gouda. And this trip reminded me of a few things; primarily why, as a “third culture kid”, I like travel so much.

Also this. I loved lunch in a small French village, where it is *assumed* that on a weekday you will have an apéritif before lunch (and wine with lunch). And where the Onion Soup pan is left on the table so you can help yourself. God give that France never becomes like the rest of the world, please.

Also, I was able to drive all day at 130 km/h. In all these countries the maximum speed is 120 or 130 km/h. (Ask me why I get speeding tickets in Ontario, which has the lowest top speeds in the developed world. Absurd, and no surprise no-one sticks to that maximum of 100 m/h, 62 mph, in a province larger than Europe. And they act so holy, like 120 is “so dangerous it is not allowed anywhere in Canada”. Fuck off!).

Also, I see how France *is* changing. Nothing like the highways to see what is happening in a country. France is being dragged (willy-nilly, I presume) into the globalized economy: one “logistics” truck and advert after another. And wow, trucks from Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, you name it. All very international. Join, or be left behind.

And I muse over how I will never go back to the UK. Example: all European cars have a small blue “Europe” part of their license plate, where they show the European flag and their country designator (“F” for France, “B” for Belgium, etc). Only the British cars overwhelmingly do *not* do this. If there is ONE thing I hate in life, it is people who think they are superior due to their stupid nationality, and the Brits are foremost in that list. Have been since the “empire”. Screw that, and end up in isolation, Brexit idiots: I will *never* go back to the country where I spent my formative years – unless they pay me.

 

Ebb and flow

….is how photography goes for me. Now, I am sitting in an airport, looking at 25 hours to complete an 8 hours flight… and reflecting on how few photos I made in Holland this time. It was not a holiday, so I may perhaps be forgiven. But I did shoot pics of my friends, some long-lost.

(I met Bob, above, once in Libya, in Ghaddafi’s birth town. He drove in from Tripoli, I drove in from Marsa El Brega. We met half way. Small world.

Photos bring it all home.

 

Old friends/same friends.

What an great evening I just had in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Met up with an old friend, super-talented NOS journalist Jeroen Wielaert. Even though we hadn’t seen one another for almost 40 years, we had not changed one bit where it matters. Personality, stories, language, all the truly important things. A wrinkle or two more, or in my case a hair or two less, makes no difference.

And you owe it to yourselves to, if the same happens, take a proper photo, not just an iPhone shot.

And yours sincerely:

Great evening, all I can say.

 

All sorts of everything.

I am shooting a three day event, a conference, at Niagara Falls, while my son house-sits back home. So I shoot lots of speakers and so on,
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And I love this kind of shooting because if done well, it leads to so many “oh wow” reactions.

But only if done well, and it is complicated:

  • I am using a long lens (70-200) without flash, and on another camera, a wide angle lens (16-35mm on a full frame camera) with a flash, so all settings are totally different from shot to shot.
  • Many, many different environments. A large ballroom. Hallways. Smaller rooms. Restaurants (several). Easy bounce, Then, no bounce. Then, difficult bounce. Coloured walls. Every shot is an engineering challenge!
  • Speakers who will not stop talking, or stand still, or even turn the same way, for a millisecond.
  • Dead batteries all the time.
  • Heavy cameras, two of them. And the arthritis in my hands doesn’t make this any easier.
  • The need to minimize post-production work. Hundreds of times “just a moment or two” means many moments, and that means “hours and hours”..
  • Tough environments including “dark inside with bright outside also visible in the shot”, like this:

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But it does not end there…

  • TTL does not always work well when there’s reflections, so I have to use Manual flash setting for a lot of the work. And that is sensitive to changing the distance to the flashed object (“inverse square law”).
  • Impossible white balance.
  • Bouncing means direction, and you need to think about that direction: “Where is the light coming from?”

So I really have to work for my pay. Fortunately, I love my work. And there are ways to make it easier: start with good starting points, like the Willems 400-40-4 rule (look it up) as your basis, and adjust from that basis. When you take my courses or buy my e-books, you will learn these starting points.

And then you can shoot quickly and get great colour, and with a modern camera this applies even at high ISO. Here, for example, is beauty:

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No, I did not mean the girls. Well, yes, they are very beautiful, too, but I really meant the venue and the colours. This is why I love flash.

In the next few days, some more about this shoot. It is 1:15 AM and now, finally after a 16-hour non-stop day, I get a rest. But only until 7AM.

And then back to Black Betty, who is waiting patiently in the garage for me:

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And then tomorrow evening, I run a photo booth, 80km away. No rest for the wicked!

 

Pic of the day: Travellers. ravellers

travellers

I always carry a camera. Doesn’t this pic shout “Travellers”? No comfortable seating; he is on his smartphone; she is looking at her fingernails; aircraft operations go on slowly in the background. A big but not too busy airport (Las Vegas? No. So where? I cannot remember). Where are they going? Where is their carry-on luggage? Questions.