Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tilting with Brian

Over on The Fies Files, Brian Fies recently re-posted an article about the technique of "tilt-shifting" a photograph to make its subject look like a table-top miniature. His re-post was triggered by a current insurance commercial that makes use of that process in video form, and his re-post triggered me to try my hand at it. I'll supply a link to his article at the bottom -- I'd far rather have you see his stuff after you see mine so you're not spoiled before you even start looking at these.

Brian's examples are really superb -- I especially like his one of an amphitheater in Athens -- in part because he takes exquisite care to custom "mask" (designate) the areas of a photo that are to be in focus or not in focus in the end product. For the most part, while fooling around with the process in Photoshop yesterday and today, I used the less-convincing but easier and quicker method that online tutorials (such as this one from "Photo Infos") instruct. Only one of the following tilt-shifted images involved custom masking; can you tell which one it is? Please click on the images to see larger views -- the effect might not even be noticeable at the sizes on this page.

Rambler Marlin, 1965

Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics, 2007

Central Park from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center), 1945, from one of my Dad's slides.

Southwestward view from the Top of the Rock, 1945, from another Lynn Harrington slide.
The brown building at lower-left is the Paramount building, which is dwarfed by a crowd of bigger buildings from this vantage point today. The blue building at center -- the original McGraw Hill building, an art deco icon built at the same time as the Empire State Building -- is not even visible from the Top of the Rock now!

So... now you're ready to appreciate Brian's professional-grade tilt-shifts! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Automatic Newspaper Delivery

Early this morning: Ft. Harrington's front walkway as a waterfall.

We've been having a little bit of rain around here.

One of the first things I do most mornings is to trudge up the walkway and steps, through the gate at the top, and retrieve the newspaper from the side of the road.

I didn't have to do that this morning.

The storm drain (mentioned in this recent installment of SherWords) up there had become clogged, turning that part of the road into a pool, which emptied under our gate into the pretty waterfall shown above. When I peeked out the kitchen window this morning -- after the shock of seeing a waterfall where there should have been a static walkway -- I noticed that the stream of water had washed the newspaper (snug and dry in its blue plastic baggie) under the gate, down the stairs, and had deposited it near our front door.

Along with a bunch of other junk.

The convenience of such a delivery was sadly negated by the necessity to dress up in my water-gear, grab a trenching tool, and wade into the road-lake to unclog the drain.

While I was mucking at the drain, one of my neighbors (who will remain nameless here) came out and started chatting with me -- standing, of course, at the edge of the pool. He mentioned that he had seen the situation earlier, and would have unclogged the drain himself, but he didn't have any rubber boots.

Mull that over for a second or two.

He doesn't have any rubber boots.

He lives in the Santa-freakin'-Cruz Mountains, where we get about five feet of rain every winter, and he DOESN'T HAVE ANY RUBBER BOOTS.

Sometimes I think there should be a qualifying test of some kind that people have to take before they live around here -- but then I come to my senses and recognize that the most sensible thing to do is not live here at all. Evidently the Native Americans never lived anywhere along the San Lorenzo Valley. That probably should have told us pale folk something a hundred and fifty years ago.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Minutes and 56 Seconds of Your Life That You Will Never Get Back

"Woody" is the cat's name. Make sure to have the sound turned up enough so you can hear the music playing in the background -- it seems to go along perfectly with his expression.

Thanks to Deborah Young-Kroeger for bringing this to my attention via Facebook.