Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Some other stuff....

As the change in my blog title reads, I am going to be expanding my blog from astronomy-only to pretty much everything in general. Astronomy will still be the main topic here, but I'd like to share some of my other interests like food, (non-astro) photography, and more food.
A few weeks ago we drove over to the parks around Lake Lanier, the reservoir that supplies drinking water to us and most of north metro Atlanta. The lake is just a mile from my house and many parks are close by. Due to the drought we have been experiencing since 2006, Lake Lanier has now reached the lowest level since it was originally filled with the water of the Chattahoochee River back in the 1950's. As of today it was around 1051-1/2 feet in elevation, a long way from the 1070 foot full pool level. Many interesting things are being exposed by the receding water, from old tires & fishing equipment to old house foundations and even a small racetrack. Unfortunately the racetrack is a long drive away (it's a big, big lake) but I'll get up there pretty soon. Back to our visit a few weeks ago - I took a lot of photos but I just wasn't happy with most of them. I am still learning a lot about photography and figuring out the right exposure, focal length, and composition. Here is one of the few (two actually) that I felt were interesting enough to spend some time processing in Photoshop:

I liked this one because a small tree is growing from the base of an old tree stump that should usually be several feet underwater. This was shot with my ultra-cheap Sigma 18-50mm lens that actually does a pretty good job. The raw image didn't look great, but after some processing I am pretty happy with the result. Keep in mind this is the first time I have ever tried to process a non-astro image in Photoshop.
The other image I felt was worthy of a little more processing was yet another tree stump. For some reason I find old tree stumps really interesting:

I think I might have over processed this image. But that's the good thing about saving things in Photoshop format - all my adjustment layers are intact and I can go back any time and tweak it. So far I am only doing a few simple adjustments like curves and levels on selected areas of each image. I try to work on each area separately and use masks to isolate whatever part is to be affected. Thankfully there is so much information out there and great photographers to learn from. Being out with the camera was a lot of fun and I can't wait to get out again. Hmmmm...I think I just got hooked on another expensive hobby!

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