Monday, September 28, 2009

Homage to the National Parks

Yosemite Valley View, originally uploaded by Cocoabiscuit.

This week PBS is running the Ken Burns' film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. So far, it's a beautiful series showing the history of the national parks in an historical context. It has wonderful music and provides images of a broad cross section of America's national parks.

This photo, Yosemite Valley View, is shot in Yosemite National Park, the first national park. The view is from the entrance road to the Yosemite Valley (from the west) and features El Capitan prominently on the left and the iconic Half Dome in the middle. To see a collection of my national park photos, go here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tropical Textures

Languor, originally uploaded by Cocoabiscuit.

Infrared photography done in good light provides for sharp contrasts and all the shades of gray in between very black and very white. Palm trees are the perfect subject with IR because of the intersting textures and angles. These shots Palm Bouquet and Languor were taken at the El San Juan Hotel in Isla Verde (outside of San Juan), Puerto Rico with an Olympus 2000Z and a Hoya R72 infrared filter.

Isla Verde is one of the few places in the San Juan area with sandy beaches since the city of San Juan itself is on a rocky coast. Isla Verde, although with nice beaches and nightlife (pluses and minuses to that), doesn't have the charm of Old San Juan.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homeless Haiku

Homeless Haiku, originally uploaded by Cocoabiscuit.

Garden within the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Men line benches
Grayjing fog
Becomes a pillow

All through Beijing we found men lying on park benches sound asleep. This seemed rather odd given how tidy everything was in general and how the poor were kept from view. There was even an orderliness to it as each building had only one sleeping homeless man. This photo represents so much about Beijing-- the sleeping man in a t-shirt on the porch of a centuries old building, the gray sky full of pollution that locals referred to as "weather", and the murky green water below. There's an illusion of wealth on the avenue with modern skyscrapers yet these random homeless men who had come into town for day labor jobs. The illusion of progress yet most days having sky filled with pollution so dense that the sun shining brightly above was mostly blocked out.
This photo uses HDR technique from one RAW image to bring out details in otherwise poor lighting: f4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 250