During my recent trip to the USA I was in Washington DC with a bunch of my friends. The daytime was spent catching up with the old buddies and going to a few museums around, and in any case I wanted to wait till the night fall to get a snap of few landmarks around. Which led to my friends’ jokes that when all the photographers want more light this guys wants less of it. But jokes aside, I was confident that night scenes like this with the advantage of long exposure at my disposal, could turn into far more exciting photos than day time ones. So we waited till the nightfall and it was nice of my friend Danushka to drive me around DC till then. Finally we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and I was in for a surprise: the place was absolutely deserted! Only then did I realized that in that cold weather nobody was crazy as I was to wandering around freezing to the bone, but on the plus side, how many opportunities do you get to have one of the most famous landmarks in the whole world completely to yourself like this?
The year end vacation was a pretty great one whichever way you look at it. Finally I got to cross of the bucket list my long overdue trip to the United States, got to meet up with Looney after such a long time, not to mention a bunch of university batch mates who live in and around Washington DC. While in DC I got to go and see a few museums and the like, and after sending the ladies home I headed out with Danushka again, this time around with all the camera gear in hand. It was unusually cold and the chilling wind made things worse, so much so that pretty soon we were frozen to the bone.
Still it was all worth it; we walked around the huge ground in front of The White House where we came upon this magnificent Christmas tree set up by them. It was around nightfall so the lights were pretty lovely and lots of people were gathering around to see this lovely sight despite the cold. Indeed it was a great opportunity for an HDR so I didn’t miss out.
In the technical front, this is 3 bracketed shots (EV0 +/- 2) merged together in Photomatix, then a bit heavy lifting inside Lightroom and Nix before as customary cleaning up noise in Noiseware. The contrast of the sparkling tree and the background was not easy to pull off, so I made three versions from Photomatix, one focusing on the tree, the second on the foreground the third on sky. Merging them in Photoshop gave good results although there is indeed room for improvement.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 990 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.
Ever since I was a kid I was always fascinated how amazingly and beautiful our planet is. And the more I learned about these places – both human made and natural – the more I wanted to see them. But like many other children’s fantasies, I never really thought I’d actually get to see them with my own eyes; that seemed beyond my reach at the time.
However, I think I have been immensely lucky in that since those early days I have come a long way and actually could travel and see some of my dream destinations including Rome and Venice, I’ve walked on the Great Wall of China and climbed Mount Fuji in Japan. And this time around, when I traveled to the USA, naturally the Grand Canyon was at the top of my bucket list. This was a place I’ve come to love just by the pictures I’ve seen.
I was staying in Las Vegas and booked an overnight stay trip to the South Rim, and when we got there luckily the weather was fantastic. We got out of the bus, and heading to the view point I knew what to expect, hell I have seen all sorts of photos, I knew it was going to be pretty damn awesome. But… none of that could have prepared me for the sight that actually greeted me; however many photos you’ve seen or articles read, you’ve got to see it with your own eyes, and you’ve got to take it all in. I was truly speechless for a couple of minutes. The Grand Canyon was, simply… grand!
The end of the year vacation in the United States was pretty great. The best part of it was… catching Looney having a conversation with herself. Scratch that, with two other her-selves. If that make any sense.