A fair, complete with Ferris wheel, alongside the river in Portland Oregon is just the thing to post on the first day of the Spring Semester back at St. Lawrence University. As I trudged through snow to get down to business, the memories of warm sabbatical nights last year were inescapable.
Even in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, there has to be a place to store the equipment that makes everything run. In the foreground of this view from Berkeley Lab’s Building 62 are the shipping containers and assorted equipment used by the physical plant to keep the lab running. I’ve always found the contradiction—using very expensive land to store mundane objects—to be an engaging one. Of course, if all of the land were employed for its “valuable” use and the practical aspects were neglected, the result would be that the land would cease to be valuable.
Traveling back to California for the first time since I left in 2013, I realized I had forgotten the little but important differences: the streets are crowded with cars instead of trucks and the air is saturated with a different set of volatile organic compounds.
From another perspective and at another time, this photograph captures the same Omni hotel and Petco Park from one of my earliest Decaseconds posts, almost four years ago. How odd to be back again.
I’ve continued experimenting with Aurora HDR software, and I’ve confirmed my earlier opinion that it is an excellent tool for surreal, enticing night shots and cases where the noise would be too high for any other HDR technique. For realistic HDR with natural lighting, however, Photomatix remains the king.
This is more than a vibrant, glowing, living moment of late-night city life from the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon; this picture is the first I’ve ever processed with a new piece of software, Aurora HDR. It was processed only with Aurora, with no other fiddling in other programs. (As you may know, I’m typically a die-hard Photomatix+Photoshop workflow guy.) I’m not sure what place Aurora will have in my workflow long-term, but I have to at least say this: its noise reduction algorithms are by far the best I’ve ever seen. (Noise is the main enemy of good HDR shots.) I’ll bring you a longer report when I’ve had more seat time with it.