Learning new Camera Raw tricks

Posted in Photography

The newest version of Adobe Camera Raw has a new local adjustments feature similar to the one on Nikon’s Capture NX. I find Camera Raw’s implementation to be much better since you can specify a mask to apply changes to instead of just a circular area, giving you a lot more control of which parts of the image to manipulate.

You can apply local adjustments in two different ways. One is the Adjustment Brush, which lets you paint a mask over the image to select where you want to make changes. You have full control over the shape of the brush and the Auto Mask feature makes selecting just the right areas very easy. The other way is to use graduated filters which create a gradient mask over the image, which makes it simple to select large areas.

To try these out I used a photo of a leaf floating in the water I took in Deep Cove.

Before: These is the image using the default settings, pretty flat.

Before

After: I used two graduated filters to darken the top and bottom of the image and a mask over the leaf to increase saturation and sharpnesss. I also cropped the image a bit to move the leaf toward the bottom right corner.

After

These changes make the eye wander a bit more towards the leaf, which now pops out a lot more. And the graduated filters helped get rid of some of the flatness of the original image.

A sad trip to Mexico City

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Photography

Last Saturday after talking to my mother I decided to book a trip to visit my grandfather in Mexico City. He was in the Hospital, very sick and my sister and I wanted to have a chance to see him again. We did get that chance, being able to be with him all day on Tuesday. He was conscious some of the time so he knew we were there to keep him company. Sadly, he passed away the next morning.

While I was there I took photos with my iPhone to put together a short photo diary. This trip was very difficult, stressful and full of emotions. With these photos I try to share some of that with you.

The best way of viewing this is with the Flickr slideshow, making sure descriptions are turned on: http://flickr.com/photos/ianivarieanna/sets/72157608818262497/show/.

You can also see them in the set here.

Parade of Lost Souls 2008

Posted in Around Vancouver, Events, Photography

Last night was Vancouver’s annual Parade of Lost Souls on Commercial Drive, which happens each year the Saturday before Hallowe’en.

Parade of Lost Souls 2008

The celebration marks the end of the year, with a series of colorful processions through the Commercial neighbourhoods. Thousands of Vancouverites dress up to come participate in the festival – to walk the parade, dance in the streets, view the fire dancers or listen to the ghostly bands.

Parade of Lost Souls 2008

This was our second year visiting the parade, and it was the perfect night for it!

You can view the entire photo set here.

Salt Spring Island

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Photography

On the weekend I went to Salt Spring Island with my mother-in-law, Dora, and sister-in-law, Tamara. We stayed at a little bed & breakfast within walking distance of Ganges Village.

On the way to the island, I did a phone interview with Matt Czuchry, who was an actor on Gilmore Girls. It was a little stressful given that my cell coverage kept dropping out and my recording picked up so much interference, but it was fun! You can read the first part of the interview here.

As soon as we arrived to Salt Spring we drove to Salt Spring Island Bread to see the bread lady, Heather. We bought an obscene amount of bread from her – from sweet focaccia to onion bread to chocolate walnut bread. Tasty. And what’s bread without cheese? So, we then drove to Salt Spring Island Cheese to taste and load up on a variety of goat cheeses. And then to the Salt Spring Vineyards for a wine tasting – the blackberry port is amazing!

After a late dinner and a dip in the hot tub, while drinking wine & eating bread, of course, we called it a night! The next day we primarily spent at the Saturday Market, shopping the stalls, trying the foods and enjoying the beautiful day. We had an amazing lunch at the Tree House Cafe. Later that afternoon we drove up Mount Maxwell to check out the view.

Sunday was rainy, but we made good use of our time by going on the Studio Tour. Or, at least part of it. It’s a self-directed tour to some of the artisans who live on the Island. That kept us busy all day until we wrapped up our trip and came back to Vancouver.

A very relaxing weekend! You can check out the photo set here.

BC Festival 150 Experience

Posted in Events, Music, Photography

As you know from following our live tweets & photos, we spent the weekend in Victoria for BC Festival 150, a celebration of British Columbia’s 150th Birthday which included a series of free concerts. People lined up early in the morning to get good positions for the live concerts, and over 106,000 people packed the streets of downtown Victoria for the main stage concerts on Monday. 

Duane & I arrived in Victoria Sunday morning, with Ianiv arriving later that afternoon. On Sunday night we scored media passes for the Splash Symphony presentation, and were invited onto the barge to take some photos. It wasn’t the best photography set-up, but it was fun to be behind-the-scenes of the concert.

The three of us spent most of Monday parked in front of the main stage taking photos or listening to the free concerts. The artist lineup included Burt Cummings, Dal Richards & Guests, Colin James, Sarah McLachlan & Feist, among others. We arrived early in the morning and were the only photographers there during Sarah McLachlan’s sound check, where she performed parts of various songs (some of which she did not perform later, so that was a treat).

Sarah McLachlan was the highlight of the day. The light was great for her set, so photos were great, but just listening to her was a treat. She stood alone on the stage, singing and alternately playing the piano or guitar. She has a strong, confident voice that carries so much emotion. An amazing amazing performer.

Feist was the last artist of the day, doing her full tour performance for an hour and a half. Her style was definitely alternative, and I am not as familiar with all of her music. Her concert was as much visual as it was musical, incorporating shadow panels, finger painting art projections, props and her own incorporation of looping audio snippets. She’s a very interesting artist to watch, and very talented. A strong and distinctive voice and a humble individual.

To the Junos & Back

Two of the artists, Alex Cuba and Feist, won Juno Awards this year. It was great to come full circle and to see them performing live.


We haven’t yet uploaded the video segments from our weekend trip, so stay tuned for those.

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Canada Day Fireworks

Posted in Around Vancouver, Photography

Ianiv & I set ourselves up in Dundarave for the Canada Day Fireworks. We got a fabulous spot early in the evening, and spent the night eating and reading until we lost the light. It wasn’t too long after that the fireworks began. Ianiv set up the tripod and took a lot of gorgeous shots. It was the perfect night for fireworks.

Click here to see the full image set.

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New Music West 2008

Posted in Around Vancouver, Events, Music, Photography

You probably have already read our interesting experience at the Red Room for New Music West 2008, but we haven’t talked much about our experience for the rest of the festival.

On our first night of the festival we went to The Media Club and stayed for Elias, Carmen and Camille and a little bit of Sweetheart. I was keen to be there to take photos of Carmen and Camille, who appeared on an episode of MTV’s The Hills. I ended up enjoying their music and that of Elias, though found Sweetheart too harsh for my tastes. 

On Thursday, as mentioned previously, we went to the Red Room with Duane and Rebecca to hear Armchair Cynics play, but also listened to the earlier performances of Jessie Farrel and Aaron Pritchett. Although I’m not a country music fan, I did enjoy their performances. I was not as impressed with the new music from Armchair Cynics, as it deviated quite a bit from the style we’d come to enjoy on their earlier CD.

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