Back in the fall of 1995 I spent an afternoon wandering around San Francisco. Today, I’d call that photo walking. Back then, I was wandering with a camera. One of the images I took was of this building, the St. Elizabeth. I was taken with the symmetry of it, took one frame and moved on. Now, trying to place the image, I Googled various combinations and came up with nothing. So, I went back to my film strip, started with a photo that had a street sign in it and located that intersection on Google Maps Street View. I then virtually navigated the city, matching views to my images and there it was, 901 Powell, the St. Elizabeth. Still there, not much different. The only indication that it sits on a hill is the differing heights of the street lamps on either side of the door.

The St. Elizabeth at 901 Powell, San Francisco from a slide taken in 1995.

The St. Elizabeth at 901 Powell, San Francisco from a slide taken in 1995.

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How Teakettle Junction got it’s name has been lost to history but, by virtue of the name, it’s almost obligatory to bring your own kettle, write your name on it and hang it on the sign. Sooner or later the ‘locals’ will come by and remove them and the cycle starts over again. Teakettle Junction itself is about 21 miles south of Ubehebe Crater on the way to the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. When I was there we suffered a flat tyre in our GMC Yukon XL (a Chevvy Suburban for people that don’t like Chevvy’s). While others set about replacing it with a spare, two cross country motorcyclists came by along with a companion in a pickup. They stopped briefly to check we were OK and another group in an old short wheelbase Toyota Land Cruiser stopped by as well. I was struck by the mirrored visor of the motorcyclist and took and image of the scene reflected in his visor.

Teakettle Junction, Death Valley, CA, reflected in the visor of a motorcyclist.

Teakettle Junction, Death Valley, CA, reflected in the visor of a motorcyclist.

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This photo of a Tunisian Desert Sunset was taken in Tunisia – quel surprise! I only spent a couple of months in the Tunisian desert but I remember it was in the winter. It was cold at night and we were billeted in single-walled canvas tents rather than the heated trailers we used in Libya. I recall we had three-bar electric heaters to try and take the edge off the cold but you could only run two bars at most or you’d kill the circuit to your tent and that did not represent an emergency to the mechanics who managed our electricity supply.

Silhouetted against the sky is one of our Mayhew 1000 drilling packages on a M.O.L. 6 x 6 chassis. I can’t find this location on Google Earth, it’s been too long. I recall it being about an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive roughly south of Ben Gardane and not too far from the Libyan border but west of the C203.

A Mayhew 1000 on a MOL 6x6 is silhouetted against the colors of a  Tunisian Desert Sunset.

A Mayhew 1000 on a MOL 6 x 6 is silhouetted against the colors of a Tunisian Desert Sunset.

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It you like blending texture layers with your images but don’t like the time spent doing that or if you’d like to try, there’s a new app from TopazLabs that makes the process a cinch – Topaz Texture Effects. Here’s a quick one-minute video that tells you all you need to know:

TopasLabs have a promotion on through the remainder of January where you can save $20.00 by entering the coupon code EASYTEXTURE at checkout. So, instead of paying $69.99 you only pay $49.99.

To get your copy, click here and enter coupon code EASYTEXTURE at checkout

I’ve not played with the product a whole lot at this point but I wanted to put this out so you could check it out and save some money if you want to simplify your own creative texture process.

Here’s a screenshot of the user interface – very familiar if you use other Topaz products:

Topaz Texture Effects Main Interface

Topaz Texture Effects Main Interface

Here’s a grid view of an effect browser:

Topaz Texture Effects Effect Grid View Browser

Topaz Texture Effects Effect Grid View Browser

And a texture manager panel:

Topaz Texture Effects Texture Manager Panel

Topaz Texture Effects Texture Manager Panel

As in other Topaz products, you can stack effects:

Adjustment Stack View

Topaz Texture Effects Adjustment Stack View

and make all sorts of other adjustments. And, you can save your effects to use on other photos rather than have to recreate them for each individual photo which is great if you’re producing an album on a theme. There’s also a community where you can upload your texture effects for others to use and download effects created by others for you to use.

Below are a section of sample before and after images, courtesy of TopazLabs:

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Beautiful moring in beech forest

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

Topaz Texture Effects Sample Image

An example of an early pioneer homestead circa 1700 in rural Prince Edward Island, Canada. An early Acadian home originally known as the Doucette house

To get your copy, click here and enter coupon code EASYTEXTURE at checkout

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Today’s photo, Phuket Sunset moves away from the recent desert theme to an ocean one but stays with the lack of green in the image. Taken in the early 90s, Phuket was transitioning away from the back-packer’s paradise of the 70s and early 80’s to the resort style place it is today. This photo was taken from Patong Beach. The main roads were in place by then but there were no mega resorts, the concrete for the earliest of those was being poured at the time. A sweep of Google Earth reveals that none of the places I used to stay still exist, swept away by progress or the tsunami of 2004 which sent a wall of water some 5m or 15 feet through where I was standing on the beach to take this photo.

A sail boat sits at anchor in the orange glow of s Phuket Sunset, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.

A sail boat sits at anchor in the orange glow of s Phuket Sunset, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.

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