Shots and a Haircut

I went for a three-month trim Friday, and the stylist cut off about half an inch to bring the growth of the top layer of hair more in line with the bottom. This took care of some of those shaggy, straggly ends that had been making me crazy lately. He styled it fabulously as he always does; then I immediately wandered about for about 40 minutes taking pictures in the heat and the humidity ruined it. But I did take a snap of it as soon as I got it done, so I can at least share that here real quick:

Photo Jun 27, 9 41 04 AM
The only time it looked good all day

The hair salon is in a large, fairly new shopping center near my house that backs up against a large medical complex which also boasts a hotel and some pretty swank condominiums. It’s a huge center that has a big lake and walking trails behind it, but if you never venture down towards the end of the center where the more expensive restaurants are you would never know it’s there. The first time I came across it I was early for a hair appointment and wandering around; I’d been getting my hair done there for a few years but had never ventured any further than the Whole Foods so I never realized there was this whole community behind the center where people go hiking, jogging, and boating. I’d decided to bring my SL1 along with me and go take photos of the area after my haircut, because the first time I stumbled across all of this I found it really pretty and I thought it would make for nice pics, but I was actually wrong about that. For the most part, the pictures were boring, not to mention that the overcast day gave everything a dull gray pallor that was less than appealing. The fact that it was 10 AM on a Friday probably also had something to do with it; the last time I wandered around on the walking trails it was the middle of the day on a pretty autumn Saturday, which made things a lot more picturesque. This time out it looked deserted, and emphasized the fact that almost every single  building had it’s backside facing the lake, which really isn’t picturesque at all.

However, they did have ducks:

duck3_Snapseed

That was the best shot I took all day, hands-down. There were also a few flowers still in bloom, and I managed to get this shot too:

duck5_Snapseed

But honestly, the rest of the 300 or so pictures I took were just a bust. I used the in expensive 55-250mm zoom lens for these, and while it was nice and light, I wasn’t too impressed with the shots it took in general, but I think most of the blame goes to the environment for not being all that thrilling. The pics were just boring. And I have to put some blame on myself for not checking the settings entirely. I made sure I got the white balance right this time, but I forgot to switch to RAW (the last time I used my SL1 was to take some pics for something I wanted to sell on eBay, so I shot them in JPEG) and so every photo I took was in JPEG form, which ticked me off because I couldn’t process them as extensively as I would have liked. Boo.

However, rather than abandon them all entirely, i decided to pull some of the less-dudley of the duds into Photoshop and use another day of my free trial on the RadLab software to see if I couldn’t at least liven them up. So here are some of those experiments – plain old photo first, then the improvement:

duck4

This was one of the rare shots of a building on the lake that looked like something other than a back wall. The condos out here are expensive; half a million at least. Anyway, here’s the shot after using Rad Lab on it – none of these shots were edited in my usual manner since Photo Ninja doesn’t work as well on  JPEGS and I only wanted to open and edit them one time anyway (every time you open, edit, and re-save a JPEG file you lose loads of quality, so I had to edit these in one shot):

duck4edit

Not bad, right? All I had to was open Photoshop, then open the Rad Lab plugin and get to work. Every filter I used I was able to adjust to the levels I wanted, and I was able to layer filters on top of each other and work with whichever one I wanted to adjust. It’s really easy to use and has some great effects (being me, I love anything that sharpens a photo, and the “highlight separator” filter was particularly awesome). There were basic adjustment filters as well as color ones and different lens effects, and a big selection of black and whites to choose from. Here’s another before and after:

duck2

Even though my camera settings weren’t right to stop motion, I liked this blurry duck photo anyway. As you can see though, the color was really blah. Here’s the RadLab version:

duck2edit

Definitely better, although also definitely a more “filtered” shot than I would have liked. OK, no more before and afters, but a few more shots, all heavily edited using RadLab:

duck6
Bridge over the lake heading to the hotel

duck7a
Condos and a shot of the medical center 

duck8
Another lake view with the Marriott in the background

duck9
The Hyatt hotel and the bridge connecting the shopping center to the other side, where the jogging trails are

I realize this isn’t a particularly interesting post, but I have started binge-watching the Sopranos (I always choose some TV show I never watched when it was popular to view obsessively over vacations) so I was honestly only half paying attention as I am trying to get through episode three before I go to bed, and it’s playing in the background as I type this. Terrible, I know; so I’ll cut this short and go finish watching Tony Soprano castrate someone. Pleasant dreams everyone!

8 thoughts on “Shots and a Haircut

  1. I love all the duck shots – especially the burred one. They are building things like this in the LA area too, but luckily, they have tried to make things a bit more old fashioned. We have a man-made lake community that abuts ours and there they have a Cape Cod theme which relieves the monotony. All the houses are supposed to look like cottages and they do — extremely upscale ones and the clapboard is actually some kind of composite, not wood.

    I have not taken my telephoto out of the camera bag yet. I fear not knowing what to do with it but it should be good for animal shots, like your ducks, right? I can never remember whether I am supposed to use the telephoto for long distance or closeups and the reverse for the macro (which we will get only for the Nikon, after the 10-24 mm, when Geoffrey recovers from the sticker shock on that one).

    You hair cut is great. I tried to wear my hair down the other day but it has been sweltering here and the minute is is damp on my neck, my fine, flyaway hair, I grab it and put it in a knot. I think your hair must be straighter and thicker than mine. It looks comfortable down.

    • Technically I guess the rule is telephoto for zoom, macro for close-up, but you get plenty of nice close-ups out of a telephoto as well, like the flower and duck shots I took here. i wasn’t nearly that close to the ducks, but I was right up on the flower. Of course with the macro lens i could’ve gotten much tighter focus because the zoom just cannot see anything if I try to get too close (but still, you could try manual focus to get tighter, which I think is what I did with this one) but I still got pretty close in there. A macro though would not be a good walkabout lens, IMHO. It’s too specific to very tight focus not to mention it’s heavy as hell. A zoom gives you more options on a walkabout too. Honestly I took my macro out once and it was so difficult due to the weight I won’t be doing that again without a monopod!

      My hair can go a little wavy or pretty straight now that most of the layers are out of it. But to get it straight I have to blow dry it which takes time I don’t like to spend, however as I said I’m trying to get used to doing it. i don’t want to have long hair that I just pull back every day, although I like having the option.

  2. Since I have tried to make comments unsuccessfully on your blog posts for the last few days, I’m trying once again.
    Love the picture of you behind the wheel and the single duck. Not necessarily in that order.
    Okay, I’m ready to hit the post button, so we’ll see if it once again disappears.

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