Can you believe it, today is day 300 and I haven’t missed a day.  I’m amazed I got this far and can’t stop now with only 66 days left.  Anyway I’m pleased I’ve made it this far, definitely on the home stretch.

So tonight I thought I post another picture from my early morning trip to West Seattle.  If you remember I went there for a sunrise picture and I got there just after 6:30 in the morning.  It was still dark the sun was nowhere near ready to go above the horizon yet, but I still wanted to grab some pictures.

I got the tripod out and set up the camera and started shooting.  The problem I had was that the camera’s meter was trying to make the image look like daylight with a really long exposure.  The result looked ok but it wasn’t what I was seeing.  So I set the camera to manual mode and started to play with different shutter speeds.  Very quickly I go the image I’m posting tonight.  This is pretty much what I saw.

As the exposure was still quite long, the water came out as pretty flat and still, but I still got the city lights across it so I thought it looked pretty cool.  I’m not sure I like the horizon in this picture being in the center of the image, but I liked the buildings and the lights on Elliott Bay, so I left it there.  The Great Wheel looks a little strange as from this angle is it just looks like a white pole, but there’s not much I can do about that.

If you’ve visited my site before you know I love Photoshop, but I can honestly say this is pretty much out of the camera.  I adjusted the contrast a little and sharpened it but that’s all.

Tonight the boys were comparing their Halloween Balls.

Tonight I had the opportunity to join my new team for dinner in Bellevue.  We had a reservation in Daniels Broiler (which by the way is a lovely restaurant) at 6:30, but I thought it might be nice to get into the city a little early and grab some pictures.

The center of Bellevue has some fantastic restaurants and a really great shopping mall.  Most of the shops and restaurants are positioned around the same part of town, an intersection between Bellevue Way and NE 8th St.  On one corner of the intersection is the Hyatt hotel and Daniels Broiler, on another corner (across the road) is a large shopping and office area called Lincoln Square and joining the two together is this funky walking bridge across the road.

My plan was to walk onto the bridge and shoot some of the cars driving past on the roads below but as I approached the bridge I thought it might make a good image in it’s own right.  Luckily my timing was really good and got a couple of shots of the bridge with nobody on it.  As the bridge has a lot of chrome, glass and lights it looked really cool.

Of course once I took this the world decided to come across the bridge, so I was lucky to get this shot.  Then I moved to the center of the bridge and started shooting traffic.  I got some nice shots but really liked the bridge image best so that’s what I’m posting tonight.

The boys were going out this evening for a night on the town.  I caught them getting ready before heading out.

Last week (if you remember) I got up at the crack of dawn and drove over to Alki in West Seattle to shoot a sunrise.  I got some amazing images as the sun was coming up and the city looked really great – lots of lights with blue skies etc.

Anyway after the sun was up I was looking for other things to shoot, and I walked further along the peninsular until I got this view of the Bainbridge Ferry going across Elliott Bay.  While the ferry is nice, that wasn’t what caught my eye.  The sun had risen high enough to hit the Olympic Mountain Range and the light in the clouds and the mountains looked amazing.

The color of the sky above the clouds was also a cool green blue, I guess the sun was affecting the sky’s color but the end result was pretty cool.  The resultant image has these great layers, there’s the sky above the clouds, the clouds, the mountains, the tree line and the water.  Each with different textures and colors.

Today Master Chief and Carter were showing each other their new kindle paperwhites.

I had a really good day today.  I’ve just changed roles in my division and my new boss (David) recently bid on and won a tour of King 5 Studios in Seattle at a school auction event.  He was allowed to take a group of people with him and I jumped at the chance to go along.  King 5 is Seattle’s TV station that is affiliated to NBC so we watch the channel all the time.

The studios are in the heart of Seattle and we got there at 3pm for our 2 hour tour.  Our tour guide BJ met us at the door and gave us a little history about the channel explaining how it first started back in 1948.  Then we went upstairs and met one of the producers of the news program and he explained how he worked.  Basically this guy defined the whole news broadcast, he picks the story’s writes what the anchors say and picks the videos that need to be shown, even preparing/editing the videos for the broadcast.

Then we went to the CAPCON room where they observe the feeds from all the networks, send out trucks to collect footage with news reporters and then bring in the footage for the producers to use.

After that it was off for a tour of the studios.  We met with King 5’s Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner – he was very impressive and told us loads about what he does.  I have to say my opinion of the weather men grew a lot after meeting Jeff.  He was preparing his report when we got there and definitely knew his stuff.  He showed us the green screen and explained how everything worked.  They have this funny little garden outside so he can present the weather on the roof of the building – it was all very cool.

Then it was off to meet the people who control the Audio for all transmissions.  I can’t remember the lady’s name but she was great and explained how it used to take 6 people to control a live show, and due to the computers and technology they use today it’s now 3 people.  Her role was to take queues from the technical director to turn on microphones at the right time and monitor audio levels.  She then took us to meet the technical director.  His role was to turn producers show into a real show.  He understood what camera angles he wanted and would basically run the whole thing.  The producer would sit with him providing guidance if any issues arose.  The last of the three people who control the show was the lady who controlled all the cameras.  Get this all the cameras are robotic.  THere were I think 5 cameras in the studio and she controls their position with a small joy-stick from her desk.  It was really cool.

Next we went to check out the news studio and while we were in there the cameras were moving all over the place following us around.  I think the joy-stick lady was having some fun with us.  It was in the studio that I took the picture below.  Some of the guys on the tour took turns to sit in the chairs and I took some pictures but I liked this one of the empty studio for my posting.  The last person we met was the Sports Anchor, Paul Silvi.  He was great too and answered all our questions.

Then I guess it was getting close to the news broadcast so it was time to go.  I have to say it was a great visit, I was really impressed with the people there, the were very welcoming and down to earth.  They clearly had a great sense of humor as they were giving each other (and us) a hard time for most of the visit – all in good fun of course.

So if you get the chase I definitely recommend you go along, really worth going – thanks David.

The guys were playing hide and seek in boxes today and I caught this shot.

The other day at work some of the guys in my team asked me about image processing, so I promised to bring in my computer and show them what I do.  So after three days of forgetting I finally remembered to take in my computer and today we looked at the apps I use.

At one point one of them asked about HDR images and asked how you create them and why bother.  So I went looking for an example to show them what you can do.  After searching for a couple of minutes I found this anker picture that I took on Saturday morning on Alki just after the sun had come up.  I bracket pictures quite a lot and had three images of the anker with different exposures.  So I dropped them into Photomatix and tonemapped the result.

Then I post processed the image in Photoshop, removing some dust spots and blurry seagulls. Next I tidied up grass a little, got rid of some purple fringing and selected a bush that wasn’t moving about from one of the master images to replace the blurry one I had in the tonemapped image.  The picture had an unsightly public sign in it so I covered that up with some long grass, and finally I lightened the sky, HDR tends to give you black clouds and while the sky did look dramatic, there were no black clouds.

Once I’d done all that I applied a couple of Nik Software filters, one to apply a sunrise effect, the other to add a vignette.  Having completed the work we compared the original normal exposure image and the one I’d post processed.  The funny thing was I really liked the finished image and this wasn’t one I was planning on posting.  So this is kind of a free-be.

So that’s the image I’m posting tonight.

Now of course the guy I showed all this to is planning on buying a load of software – his wife is going to kill me!

Abi had a great gymnastics meet yesterday and got 5 medals – 3 of them were 1st place (one was best overall) – so the guys tried them on.