Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of the Year 2010, Part 2.

Continuing with the top ten of the year 2010. And a reminder of my criteria for making the selections.

How to define my ten favorites of the year 2010? The obvious criteria is that the photo must have been taken in the year 2010. But for a lot of photographers, myself included, photography is a multi-step process, the two most important steps being taking the shot, and post-processing. What if taking the shot occurred before this year, but post-processing occurred this year? Does that count? Should it?

For my best of the year, my answer is yes. A shot taken in a previous year, but post-processed this year can count as one of my best of the year. So, here is my year 2010 top photos. I will display five today and have already displayed five yesterday. And a bit of history behind the photo.

This top ten is in no particular order.

Also, to see a larger view of the photo, just click on it and you will be taken to a larger view on Enjoy. And thanks for stopping by!

6. The View ~ photo taken April 27, 2010.

This was taken at the Marinskii Park Scenic Overlook in Kiev. A crop and some Topaz Adjust gave this photo it's look.

The View

7. Traditional Ukrainian Musician ~ photo taken May 24, 2010.

This was taken at the Pirogovo Cultural Museum outside of Kiev. The original had a tree growing right out of his head. I hate it when that happens. But a bit of Photoshop took care of that, and Topaz Adjust gave it this look.

Traditional Ukrainian Musician

8. Knight's House Gargoyles ~ photo taken June 19, 2010.

These are gargoyles on Knight's house in Kiev. Sadly, the current owner is letting the building fall into disrepair, and the city doesn't seem to have a lot of recourse than to let it happen, sadly. Again, Topaz Adjust gave it this look.

Endangered Species - Knight's House

9. Sunrise over Kiev (HDR) ~ September 11, 2010

It's well known among photographers that some of the best photography is done early in the morning or late in the evening. This is a panorama created from four photos, then a three exposure HDR, and a small tweak to desaturate the greens a bit.

Sunrise Over Kiev (HDR)

10. Wishes for the New Year ~ Peace Around the Globe (HDR) ~ September 11, 2010

This was taken just about an hour after the previous photo. A very minimalist look here, with just the globe, the column, and the sky. I've done this globe several times before, but a three exposure HDR made all the difference this time.

Wishes for the New Year ~ Peace Around the Globe (HDR)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best of the Year 2010, Part 1.

As a photographer, I get connected to my work. Certainly not like a parent develops a connection with their children, although sometimes I think it comes close! Of the hundreds of photos I have put up for display this year, either here on my website or on Flickr, I picked out 34 that I felt were my best. But that's not nearly narrowed down enough. Going through a couple more times, I have finally narrowed that down to my ten favorites of the year.

About some of my favorites. Sometimes I want an outcome that reflects reality just as I saw it. And at other times, I want to enhance or alter reality, without going to large extremes (in most cases).

So then, how to define my ten favorites of the year 2010? The obvious criteria is that the photo must have been taken in the year 2010. But for a lot of photographers, myself included, photography is a multi-step process, the two most important steps being taking the shot, and post-processing. What if taking the shot occurred before this year, but post-processing occurred this year? Does that count? Should it?

For my best of the year, my answer is yes. A shot taken in a previous year, but post-processed this year can count as one of my best of the year. So, here is my year 2010 top photos. I will display five today and five on Friday, in no particular order. And a bit of history behind the photo.

Also, to see a larger view of the photo, just click on it and you will be taken to a larger view on Enjoy.


1. Emerald Lake, Nahanni NP, Canada ~ Photo from August 1999, reprocessed this year.

There seems to be something about the process of getting a great outcome from scanned slides. Things that work well on digital files seem to fall flat when tried on scanned film. Maybe I just haven't mastered the process yet. But on this one, I hit the results I wanted.

Emerald Lake, Nahanni National Park, NWT, Canada

2. The Golden Gate of Kiev ~ Photo from June 19, 2010.

This is a panorama made from two other photos. I then tweaked it a bit using Topaz Adjust. A really pleasing outcome.

The Golden Gate of Kiev

3. Gold Domes in January (HDR) ~ Photo taken January 14, 2007, processed for the first time this year.

With this photo, HDR made all the difference. I liked the original photo enough to keep it, but never displayed it anywhere until I got this result. HDR and Topaz Adjust.

Gold Domes in January (HDR)

4. Drama Theater of Chernigov (HDR) ~ Photo taken August 19, 2010.

Also a panorama made from two photos. Then created this HDR version, and finished it in Topaz Adjust.

Drama Theater of Chernigov (HDR)

5. Dormition Cathedral, Rear View (HDR) ~ Photo taken January 14, 2007, reprocessed this year.

I originally posted a different version of this exact photo early in 2010. I revisited it later in the year and felt I could improve on it. Here are the results.

Dormition Cathedral, Rear View (HDR)

Monday, December 27, 2010

National Christmas Tree

Sponsored by....

Yep, this is a corporate sponsored Christmas tree. If you're wondering where they found a tree like this, well, they cheated a bit. It's has a steel trunk, with choice bits and pieces from numerous other trees pieced together to form one tree.

It was a bit of a disappointment for me too, since I had read that they were going to bring out the old Soviet era decorations for the first time in a long time. (I have never seen them). They were nowhere to be found on the tree. However, I think I found them elsewhere...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

A big thanks to all friends and supporters of Roads Less Traveled Photography. I appreciate your visits during 2010. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year. I look forward to having you visit my photography again in 2011. And feel free to suggest Roads Less Traveled Photography to your friends and family.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Lights (HDR)

Over the last few years, we've had the good fortune to look out our window at this time of year and see something like this. This year, our view of the tree is 50% blocked by an ugly (aren't they all?) billboard.

And sadly for those who put up these monstrosities and those who pay the advertising rates, I doubt if I can remember 99% of them. So there! That's what you get when you block my view!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wish for the New Year ~ Peace Around the Globe (HDR)

Seasons greetings to all my Roads Less Traveled friends and viewers, and their friends and families. I hope you had a great year, in life and in photography, and best wishes for an even better year next year.

Best wishes for Peace Around the Globe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa Melon's Coming to Town

You better watch out You better not cry
You Better not pout I'm telling you why
Santa Melon's coming to town

He's making a list And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Melon's coming to town

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out! You better not cry
You Better not pout I'm telling you why
Santa Melon's coming to town
Santa Melon's coming to town

Taken at Simena Sun Club, Kemer Turkey.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Smoke on the Water (HDR)

Smoke on the Water. A Fire in the Sky. OK, so I'm channeling a bit of Deep Purple this morning.

And half my audience exclaims "Deep what"? Well, Deep Purple is a 1970's rock band, best known for it's song "Smoke on the Water".

Friday, December 10, 2010

Memorial, Kiev (HDR)

Memorial to a tragic event in modern Ukrainian history. I won't go into it here. But if you don't mind some tragic history, here's a link…


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lavra Scene

On the grounds of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a religious complex that dates back 1000 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Original St. Nicholas (HDR)

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος, Aghios ["holy"] Nicolaos ["victory of the people"]) (270–6 December 346) is the canonical and most popular name for Nikolaos of Myra, a saint and Greek[3] Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Greek: Νικόλαος ο Θαυματουργός, Nikolaos o Thaumaturgos). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as is common for early Christian saints.[4] In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari.His feastday is December 6.

The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honored by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia, and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Barranquilla, Bari, Beit Jala, Fribourg, Huguenots, Liverpool, Siggiewi, and Lorraine. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Santa Claus the patron saint of New Amsterdam, the historical name for New York City.[5] He was also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors, who protected his relics in Bari.

A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil's feast day on 1 January is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.


Taken during a side trip during vacation at Simena Sun Club, Kemer Turkey.

Friday, December 3, 2010

All Clouds Lead to Mt. Tahtali (HDR)

It was quite a technical challenge putting this together, even before I got to the HDR part.

This set of photos, seven in all, were taken in a kayak off the Antalya coast of Turkey, on the Mediterranean Sea. Back on land, these seven photos were aligned and stitched into a panorama using Hugin. (It was only then that I noticed the cloud formation seen in the final photo). The uneven edges were trimmed in Lightroom. Created virtual copies at 0EV, -1EV, +1EV. Created the HDR in Photomatix, then added final touches in Topaz Adjust. Whew!

Taken during a family vacation at Simena Sun Club,  Kemer Turkey.

Have a Great Weekend, all!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Bike and the Bells (HDR)

Or more accurately, "The Bike(s) and the Bells," since there are two bikes in the picture, something even I didn't notice for quite a while. But I liked the sound of the singular bike much better.

The HDR process really helped to bring the bikes out of the shadows and really helped brighten up the trees in the background. It even gave me brighter whites! In addition, I upped the orange saturation a bit, plus cleaned up some green mold starting to grow up the wall in the foreground. You can still see some of it on the bricks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Traditional Musical Instruments

Seen at a restaurant in Kozyn, Ukraine. You know the type. The type with old road signs, license plates, gas station signs, memorabilia, etc. That type.

I've seen Kozyn called "The Beverly Hills of Ukraine." Since someone else was paying for the meal here, I wouldn't know.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Soviet Era Hydrofoil (HDR)

Chernigov, Ukraine

When my wife first saw this parked in Chernigov, she recognized what it was right away. I experienced a what the ???? moment. This is a Polesye class hydrofoil, made to operate in shallower waters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Assateague Lighthouse

Assateague LIghthouse on Assateague Island, at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Did a minor HDR adjustment on this one. Just enough to brighten up the foreground.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Children's Theater, Kiev

Also known as the "The Kiev Academic Puppet Theatre" (Ukrainian: Київський державний академічний театр ляльок) is a theatre in Kiev in Ukraine. It was founded on October 27, 1927.

Children's Theater, Kiev

Monday, November 15, 2010

Modern Sculpture (HDR)

Seen outside the Belvedere building, near Park Slavy. The sculpted buildings on the globe of the structure are buildings in the nearby Lavra complex.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Malvina and Artemon (B&W HDR)

Ah, an accidental black and white photo. When I was out doing some photos late last month, I accidentally hit some button and set the camera to take black and white only. Oh well.

This was seen at the Children's Theater in Kiev, which is more properly known as the Kiev Academic Puppet Theater.

The characters represented are Malvina (L) and Artemon (R), who appear in the book Buratino, a Soviet era adaptation of the story of Pinocchio.

Buratino (Russian: Буратино) is the main character of the book The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino (1936) by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy. Based on the 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, Buratino originated as a character in the commedia dell'arte. The name Buratino is derived from the Italian burattino, which means wooden puppet or doll.[1] The book was published in 1936, and Buratino quickly became hugely popular among children in the Soviet Union, and remains so to this day (though present-day children are equally familiar with Buratino's Western counterpart). The story has been made into several films, including in 1959 and in 1975.

Buratino on Wikipedia

Monday, November 1, 2010

Drama Theater of Chernigov (HDR)

Two image panorama using Hugin. Then a three image HDR of the two image panorama using Photomatix.

This is the Drama Theater on Red Square (yes, it's still called that), in Chernigov.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Take Me to Your Leader!

Hey, why have a pumpkin? Everybody has one of those! To truly stick out in the crowd, you need a Halloween watermelon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dawn's Early Light

From a Vermont trip in 2003.

As with a number of my Vermont photos, I remember approximately where we were, but when I try to geo-encode it on Google Earth, I have trouble locating where I think it was. I do know this is in the Killington, VT region.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunrise over Kiev (HDR)

Four image panorama using Hugin. Then a five image HDR of the four image panorama using Photomatix.

First, I stitched together the four images in Hugin to create one panoramic photo. Cropped the panorama the way I wanted. I then created five different versions of this panorama, at values -2EV, -1EV, 0EV, +1EV, +2EV. Then created the HDR using these five versions. Pretty much stuck to the settings Photomatix selected. Did a few final adjustments, like toning down the greens a bit.

This photo was taken September 11, 2010, in Park Slavy (Glory) in Kiev. This view is from the right bank of the river Dnieper, looking toward the left bank.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

April 26, 1986. Chernobyl.

The date April 26, 1986 may remind some people of a specific event, to others, the date might sound familiar, and to others, this date is meaningless.

April 26, 1986 is the date of the Chernobyl disaster, and this sculpture commemorates this event. This event has more meaning to residents of Chernigov, since it was (and still is) the closest major population center (100,000+ residents) to Chernobyl. Chernigov lies 52 miles or 84 kilometers from Chernobyl.

Kiev, a much larger population center (2 million+) lies only 67 miles or 107 kilometers from Chernobyl.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Simena Sunset

Sunset at Simena Sun Club, Kemer, Turkey. This was taken on a pier located on the resort property.

This photo is HDR.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Watch Your Step

Part of Photo Series ~ Reminisces of Summers Past.

Hydropark, a Sunday in July

Just another abandoned ride at Hydropark, Kiev. However, parts of Hydropark are still used somewhat extensively. There are a few rides nearby that are still operating. The beaches on the Dneiper are still well used during the summer. Some beaches are free, and some are operated for profit. There is an fitness area with Soviet era weight training equipment (note to self: must get a picture of this). And there is an area with the biggest number of outdoor ping pong tables that I've ever seen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On the Road from Antalya to Kemer

A decorative pool in front of a hotel on the road between Antalya and Kemer, Turkey.

Taken on a family vacation to Simena Sun Club, Kemer Turkey.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Soviet Era Dacha

Soviet Era Dacha (Summer Cottage)

This is quite typical of a Soviet era dacha. One floor with an attic and cellar, likely two rooms on the main floor. (Anything more signaled that you just might be a closet capitalist, necessitating a visit from the KGB). Although it's clearly been maintained sometime since the fall of the USSR, I have not seen anyone live here in the five years I've spent summers here. It clearly could be worth something to the owner, since the property is a five minute walk from a river and in an area close enough to Kiev that it could command a nice price. But this dacha, along with at least ten others within a five minute walk, remains unmaintained and unused.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Boulevard of Broken Dreams (HDR)

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

~~ Lyrics by Green Day ~~

Hydropark, Kiev

With infrastructure like this, it's not surprising that there are not a lot of people here anymore, and that the few businesses that are still trying to make a go of it are struggling. The place still maintains some of what used to make it appealing, but as the sidewalks crumble and the trees fall, it's appeal falls by the wayside. The stray dogs don't help either.

This is an HDR photo, although this isn't the usual candidate for such treatment. Sadly, I didn't expose the sky quite right either.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Lavra on a January Day (HDR)

Lavra on a January Day.

Kiev, Ukraine.

This photo was taken in January of 2007. I did not do anything with it at that time, though I thought it had potential. Three and a half years later, with a number of new post-processing tricks under my belt, I returned to this photo. The result you see here. I guess it was worth the wait.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chernigov Fountains (HDR)

Fountains on the Alley of Heroes.

A beautiful late summer day. The church in the distance is St. Catherine's.

Monday, September 27, 2010

St. Panteleimon (HDR)

The Cathedral of St. Panteleimon is a large Orthodox cathedral in the Kievan neighborhood of Feofania.

This is a 3 exposure HDR.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dormition Cathedral, Rear View

The Dormition Cathedral is on the grounds of Kiev Pechersk Lavra, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Ukrainian: Києво-Печерська лавра, Kyievo-Pechers’ka lavra), also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery in Kiev, Ukraine. Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1015 the Lavra has been a preeminent center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint-Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on August 21, 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.

Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kiev-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Volodymyr.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra

This is an HDR processed photo.