Very interesting day yesterday. Abi had a Gym Meet in Bellevue so we all went to that (I say all, I obviously mean Abi, Lisa and I – James stayed at home on his computer). Anyway Abi walked on at 4:30 in the afternoon and the competition finished at 8:30pm.

She did amazingly well and came first in Beam, Bar and Vault and second in Floor, and first overall with a total score of 37.1 a whole point above her nearest competitor. I suspect she was slightly disadvantaged on floor as she was the first person to compete, so the judges base other scores off her! Bottom line it’s always really better to go somewhere in the middle of the pack – that said she was amazing. (Very proud Dad)

What made the day especially interesting was the weather. I should call out that when I left home to go to the meet (around 4pm) it was dry outside. The day had been cold but clear, even with some lovely blue skies. Anyway while at the meet it started to snow.

When we left the gym the snow was sticking and the roads were just terrible. People where sliding all over the place, hitting curbs and cars and it was pretty dangerous.

Lisa and I were in different cars and I got out of their first and headed home. I got on the 520 freeway and the traffic came to a halt around 2 miles from the end of the road. We just weren’t moving at all so in frustration I followed some other cars who exited the freeway by traveling the wrong way off the 520 by driving up the on ramp.

I then cut through back streets (witnessing multiple accidents) and got to the bottom of Novelty hill (we live up a big hill separating Redmond from Duvall.)

Needless to say I was keeping Lisa up to date on my progress over the phone, telling her the state of the roads, so she got to the bottom of Novelty around the same time as me. We tried to get up the hill but it just wasn’t happening, cars that were further up the hill from us had given up, turned round and came down. People told us the road was un-passable and there were too many abandoned cars from failed attempts.

Eventually (after not going anywhere for a while) we gave up too and turned round and tried another hill to get home. This also proved to be impossible and once again we had to turn around and head back to Redmond.

By now it was 10pm and we were hungry and tired. Lisa called the Redmond Marriott and got us a room and we headed there for the night. When she called they were at 40% capacity, when we got there they were nearly full. I called James and told him what was going on and he was fine, said he’d see us in the morning.

At 9am I got Lisa and Abi up, we grabbed some breakfast and headed home (again). We made it up Novelty Hill this time but had to pass around 60 abandoned cars that had been left on the hill. In some places the road was down to a single lane there were just so many cars!

Eventually I made it home and pulled up outside our house that was covered in snow and looked great, so I grabbed a picture of that!

I walked in the house and found James still on his computer in the same clothes.  Apparently with neither Lisa or I there he decided to stay up all night and play games – oh to be 16 again :-(

So today I’m posting two pictures. Abi on the 1st position podium and our house in the snow.

Like I said, an interesting day. :-)

Those that check out my pictures know that I like HDR images.  I know that this isn’t to everyone’s taste but I just love the way they look.  Anyway much to my frustration Lisa doesn’t like HDR photography at all and tells me the images look fake.

I definitely agree that HDR doesn’t work in all situations and you can easily overdo the processing (something I’m guilty of too sometimes).  When I got home I shot the house and bracketed 6 exposures – all one stop apart.

I then threw them all into Photomatix to see what it would produce.  The result was just horrible.  Sure the image had better dynamic range but just looked terrible.

When processing HDR the tone mapping tool (I like Photomatix) is just the beginning, you then need to stack the original images with the tone mapped version in layers in photoshop.  Then the work begins.  You manually blend layers together to produce the desired end result.

Then you denoise the image, add any filter effects (Topaz, NIK or OnOne provide great tools for this) and finally sharpen.

The image above took a while as snow and HDR don’t like each other :-)  This image was a combination of the six original pictures, the Photomatix tone mapped image, an HDR Topaz Adjust image and several NIK color effects filters.

I tried to keep the end result as subtle as possible – hopefully Lisa will like this one.

This picture however, I know she will like :-)  Abi once again in fist place – like I said above, very proud Dad.

1 Comment

  1. Gerald Seeley says:

    Well done Abi.

    love Grandad

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