Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Painted Ladies in Ubud

Here are five shots I took of women queueing up to go into the market shrine in central Ubud, Bali. To coin a cliche, the scene looked like a painting. So, to emphasise that concept I thought I'd try adding a paint effect to the images to see if that enhanced the image. It did but it needed a little extra tweaking as well. I used a program called Auto Paint on an iPad (thanks for getting me started on that Bev!). Unfortunately this app offers no user input other than for you to choose the style (Cezanne, Benson, Van Gogh or Aquarell) and apply a rough protect mask to areas that you don't want to totally obliterate. The mask sorta works, but not very well so I took the resulting (tiny) output file and stretched it back over the original image (thank goodness for interpolation). Because the Auto Paint version is very textured the resampling does not look nearly as rough as it would if I'd chosen to use a regular picture.
Finishing the effect off required some fiddling using the Eraser Brush to cut through the paint layer (on top) to reveal the photo details beneath. A final contrast tweak was then applied to get the 'paper' tones looking good. When I have the time I shall print these onto some textured watercolour paper I have for my inkjet printer.

This is a short video on how it works on the iPad, then I demonstrate how to fix it up better using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Beware: Security at Brisbane Airport

Don't know if it's just me but every time I fly through Brisvegas airport I run into some sort of trouble. On this particular visit, on the return leg from a trip to Denpasar, I was passing through the security screening and got bailed up for having a 'prohibited object' in my hand carry baggage: a 5mm allen key.

I expressed my surprise, then incredulity, that such a small, innocuous, and very blunt instrument could cause such a fuss. Security were being overly officious. "It's a tool, and no tools are allowed thru security. It's in the regulations...". Those are the regulations that no traveller is privy to. Anyway, I'm amazed that my large and pointy front door key passed through the check. Isn't a regular key also a tool? And the three very pointy, sharp pens. These are, arguably tools too. Not to mention the spikes on the bottom of the tripod I was hand carrying. Even though I protested, I had to go back through the scanners to buy a padded bag and stamps and post the darn thing before I was finally allowed into departure to catch the flight home.
A selection of the other 'offensive' objects carried in my bag that were deemed not to be illegal. The logic defies common sense.
I was also hand-carrying a large Velbon carbon fibre tripod that has extendable steel spiked feet. Feet that could do considerable damage to someone or something if you had a mind to...

Ironically I also had a very sharp jeweller's screwdriver in my pack which the security staff also pulled out but, while I was arguing about the Allen key,  I simply I took it back from the officer's hand and put it back into my pack.
Some security. I recently had to post a camera to the US for conversion to infra-red. I was asked if there was a battery in the parcel when it was presented at the post office. Apparently you can't post batteries. Batteries are 'dangerous' goods. The flash capacitor, the component that stores current prior to your firing the flash can store a current up to 200 volts that can be boosted to 4000 volts once the flash is triggered. That's not dangerous? But you can take batteries on a plane if they are in your hand baggage.
Or can you?
A student recently told me that the authorities in Dubai airport tried to confiscate the AA lithium batteries he had in his carry-on baggage. He argued the case and they finally backed off but still, it's a worrying trend. I had no idea that lithium batteries were so dangerous!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Some Balinese People Shots

Robin entertaining the local kids in Trunyan, in Batur crater, central Bali
Cool portrait of a local man by Tina Brauer
Great service from our trusty Balinese guide, Kadek
Great shot of this little girl carrying here incense sticks on here head, Besakih temple, Agung, Bali by Tina Brauer

Remains of someone's relative sitting in a heap of loose change in the graveyard at Trunyan, Mt Batur. Pic by Dianne Clements.
Beautiful portrait of a local Balinese woman, pic by Steve Mullarkey
Locals at Tirta Empul temple, Central Bali by Steve Mullarkey
Ikat weaver, Tengenan village by Ann Keniry
Young worshipper, Tirta Empul, pic by Carolyn Pettigrew
Family on a motorbike by Wendy Travers
Worshippers at Tirta Empul, pic by Wendy Travers
"Here I go again" Fire dancer at Batu Bulan, pic by Geoff Driscoll

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bali Photo Tour: The Dancers

Our last slide night/critique evening happened on Monday afternoon, as everyone waited for their departing planes. The images submitted were simply amazing. Professional, and completely Bali-centric, with great colour, contrast and terrific timing, especially with shots of fast-paced dancers. Everyone learned how to master their on-camera flash or speedlights to get some great results in what amounted to very tricky lighting conditions. Because there are so many great shots, I thought it best to subdivide these into categories. Here are some of the best dancer shots.

Balinese dancer at a Batu Bulan Barong dance session.
Pic by Mike Clements.
The monkey, friend of the Barong tiger creature, shot in the pouring rain at Batu Bulan, pic by Robin Nichols
Fire dance at Batu Bulan, Bali by Tina Brauer
Mythical Garuda character featuring in the Barong dance, pic by Tina Brauer
Monkey man dancing in the flames, pic by Kerrie Dixon
Balinese Barong dancer, pic by Kerrie Dixon
Beautiful Legong dancer, pic by Geoff Driscoll
Fire dancer in an explosion of sparks and smoke, Batu Bulan, pic by Geoff Driscoll
Intense pain or concentration? Fire dancer at Batu Bulan, Bali by Mike Clements
Exquisite Legong dancer in the rain, Batu Bulan, Bali by Mike Clements
Utter concentration shown by one of the performers in the Kecak dance, pic by Steve Mullarkey
Hanoman the monkey God in the kecak dance, Ulu Watu. Pic by Carolyn Pettigrew
Superb colours in the final stages of the fire dance, Batu Bulan. Pic by Anne Keniry
'Psyching up' for the fire dance, pic by Anne Keniry