Let’s start today with a simple Fried Spring Roll as found on almost every Bangkok street corner. Freshly made and cooked  they. are tasty as well as inexpensive. In this image, the Spring Rolls are shown garnished with Basil.

As for technical steps. This image is a mish-mash of plug ins. After correcting the image in RAW and in Curves, I used Topaz Adjust HDR Sketch that I darkened a bit. From there I moved to OnOne which I used to soften the hardness left by the HDR application and to use a filer very similar to a traditional cool/warm graduated Tiffen filter. Then, I burned the edges slightly.

Once upon a time, almost every stock agency editor wanted pictures of Asian eating utensils like chopsticks. So, I photographed them throughout my travels. Eventually, they got tired of seeing them. But, they always sold as little detail shots. Or, point pictures, as they are sometimes called. So, I continued to photograph them. This lead to more western utensils like silverware and then condiments.

You see where this is going.

This image was made in a very practical and serviceable outdoor noodle shop. I did a lot of experimentation with this that involved removing color, adding other color, softening the blacks and heavily burning the edges.

For the past few posts I’ve been focusing (no pun intended) on images that I made in Australia. Since this is “Exper – imental Sunday,” I thought that I might try something different. Here’s the back story. One of my editors sent me an email looking for an image of an Asian woman — any Asian woman — photographed from behind. Hmmmmm…. While you might think that would be an easy request for me to fulfill, it isn’t. I rarely shoot a model from behind. I like to look for emotion which generally is found in the face. But, I told him that I would look. I found a few pictures that might work from a few year old take in Bangkok, Thailand. I also found this image as well as a few other interesting images that haven’t seen the light of day.

What is it?

That’s a good question. It’s far simpler then you might think. These tubes are embedded in an ice box. Colored, flavored and sugared water is poured into the tubes, the sticks inserted and they are frozen. Yep, homemade Popsicles.  You pull the tube out of the freezer and out pops the frozen water and stick.

Technique? I wanted the tubes to look like what they are — metal that reflects the sunlight — so I used Topaz Adjust as well as a number of settings in OnOne. The real key was to make the image a little dark in Photoshop Curves so that the plug-ins had something to work with since the ones that I used would lighten the image.

And, that’s the story.

These images are still from Melbourne Australia. They were made at the Flinders Street Station. In many ways they are a throwback to the way I worked for a few years. In those days almost every picture that I made had movement in them. All were photographed that way intentionally. I was after speed, motion, energy. I was after anything that gave a sort of life to an urban environment. Some worked. Some didn’t. After all, how fast does your dinner move on the plate?

At any rate, I think that these work. The Flinders Street Station is a busy place. It is the first station that is located in the heart of the business district if you are coming from the beach areas.

This may sound odd, but I actually forgot to post yesterday. Normally I post in the morning. But, morning was a little crazy so I never got to it. So, I thought that today I would post a couple of images.

Australia has a substantial network of trains. Some are mostly commuter trains which bring passengers from the suburbs to the city, which in this case, is Melbourne. Others are more long haul and stretch across the continent and connect various cities. It is possible to leave one of Melbourne’s beach communities like Brighton or St. Kilda and go anywhere in the country simply by changing trains at the proper stations.

The top image was made at the Southern Cross Station which is the main station in Melbourne. From here it is possible to travel the continent.

The bottom image was made at the Flinders Street Station which is one stop from Southern Cross but is located in an entirely different area of Melbourne.

From a technical standpoint there isn’t that much post production work going on. Mostly, these images have been color corrected, slightly enhanced and darkened a bit.

I was surprised when I ordered a meal at what looked like a very nice outdoor cafe in one of Melbourne’s beach communities, to have this delivered to me ahead of the entree. No, the French Fries aren’t quite as big as they appear, but they are very large, freshly prepared and very tasty.

This is another Canon G9 image. But, this image was exposed in open shade and required very little post production work with the exception of a slight brightening and sharpening.

This is dusk on the Yarra River in Melbourne Australia. As much as we tend to think of Oz as a rough and ready place as portrayed by the Outback and maybe Alice Springs, many of the cities are urban, forward thinking and quite pretty. In fact, this city is home to some things that we don’t have in The United States. For instance, with the exception of a couple of huge population centers — New York, Boston, Washington DC — there are no two newspaper cities. Although the text is unreadable at this size, the white writing on the biggest building is that of one of three daily newspapers in the city.

A few technical notes. I made this image with a Canon G9. The G9’s sensor does not like darker scenes (even when making the exposure on a tripod) and usually tries to open the shadow detail to the point that the entire image has noise similar to the old days when we used to say the picture had “grain the size of golf balls.” Sooooooo…

I had a lot of post production work to do if I wanted this picture to work. I darkened it. I then used Topaz Adjust on the “smooth portrait” setting, which pretty much took out most of the noise, but it normally leaves the image soft, so I sharpened it in the same setting.  Then, I burned the sky using D65. But, there was still some noise in the lighter areas of the sky so I did the only thing I could do. I cheated. I used OnOne’s landscape settings which includes adding rain to the image. I’ve discovered that when you add rain, the algorithm also darkens some areas so that the rain can be seen.

This is the result.

But, it’s nothing. I was reading a piece in the New York Times about a studio that is computer driven. Apparently HBO is starting a new series that is shot on the boardwalk in Atlantic City… in the 1930s. The boardwalk doesn’t exist today, so they used the Brooklyn water front as a basic set and then did all the work  on computers. The result is a “set” that looks as rich as any high dollar film production. I see a time coming when nothing is real…

One more thing. The post production on this image was time consuming and a lot of work. Yes, I repaired an other wise unusable picture, but I’d rather have made a good exposure and maybe added the rain because I wanted to, not because I had to.

During my relatively short time in Melbourne, I learned very quickly that Melbourne is a city of contrasts and repurposing. Old, but well kept Victorian buildings live happily side-by-side with some of the most modern buildings in the Asia-Pacific region. Most importantly, green space is valued and there are many forms of mass transportation ranging from commuter trains, trolleys to energy efficient buses.

This image was made in what I’d call downtown Melbourne, Australia, although I’m sure there is another name for the area. It was made during America’s summer which means their winter, which is why the trees are dead.

Yes. I played with it a bit using various plug-ins which include Topaz, OnOne and D65. Their use give the image a certain depth.

Now that I have a venue you for this type of material I’ll be posting it a little more frequently.