Shooting in RAW and color-correcting for the first time

I’m busy getting ready to head to the airport, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to go ahead and slap up these shots I took at the Canal the other day. Below you’ll find the original, unedited image, and then how I tweaked the image in Photoshop. I mostly used Saturation and Levels. I may have overdone it a little…but it was my first time. I’m allowed.

Savannah River Headgates Savannah River Headgates: color-corrected

Augusta Canal trail Augusta Canal trail: color-corrected

Augusta Canal Augusta Canal: color-corrected

Ant on Leaf Ant on Leaf: color-corrected

The last two pictures came out the best, I think.

There are tons more photos from the Canal, but I won’t have time to go through and edit them until I get back from England. I don’t have time to upload them unedited, either, so you’ll just have to wait ;)

Holy crap, it IS possible!

Okay, I admit it: I thought David was full of…something when he said it was possible to fit a bicycle into a Yaris. But he was not wrong!

Yesterday I decided I would try to go biking at the Canal. Adam from work called, though, to ask me a quick question about getting pictures off a camera, and during the conversation he reminded me that it had rained like crazy the day before. I didn’t want to get mud all over my tires and thus all over my Yaris, so I was considering going to the Greeneway, but that didn’t sound fun at all…so ultimately I stayed home and did laundry instead.

Today I made up for it.

Getting the bike into the Yaris was interesting. First I had to figure out how to fold the seats down. I ended up using the owner’s manual, which is good, because there are certain things you have to do with the seatbelts before you fold the seats.

However, one of the instructions in the manual was totally confusing. It said to flip the running board over. Did it mean these two padded areas on top of the spare tire cover? I wondered. No, couldn’t be…they didn’t have handles or anything to move them off the cover, and they seemed to be stuck there pretty good. Did it mean the cover itself? I flipped the cover over, but nothing really changed. Was I supposed to use the strange curved piece that had been sitting in the very back of the car for no apparent reason? No, it didn’t fit anywhere.

Finally I figured out that 1) the weird curved piece was a cover for the hatch area when you have the seats upright, to hide whatever you might have in the back of the car; 2) I wasn’t supposed to flip the spare tire cover over; 3) those two padded things on top of the spare tire cover were the running board. I just had to pop them out of place, and then they flipped over and covered the remaining space.

That accomplished, I spread out my childhood blanket and grabbed the Maou out of the apartment.

I decided to try putting him in there without taking off a wheel, thinking that if I needed to remove a wheel, I could just do that when the time came. So I heaved and shoved the bike into the car. It took a little doing, but I was able to squeeze it in and turn the handlebars so that it fit, without taking anything apart.

Here’s a view from the driver’s side door:

So then, finally, I was off.

I headed down Wheeler towards Washington Road, then turned left. I’m not particularly sure why; I’m pretty positive that’s a longer way to go. But you know, everything north of Washington Road is a mess. There’s no easy way to get to the Savannah Rapids Pavilion from where I live now or where I used to live. Where I am now is actually more inconvenient–it’s probably faster to go to the Greeneway from here ;P I may need to look into going to a different Canal entrance.

At any rate, I turned right on Old Evans Road (again…why? I don’t understand my directional choices) and then had to turn around when I realized I was heading back towards Washington Road. I then took a right on Blue Ridge and another right onto Evans to Lock. And that of course took me straight to the river and canal.

I pulled into my usual parking area–the last row, overlooking the headgates–and said aloud, “Well, I made it! Now I guess I can go home.”

But I pushed through my tiredness and got the bike out of the car and put air in the tires and headed down the hill and across the bridge.

My purpose was to enjoy an afternoon of biking and photography. I’m not in anywhere near the shape I was when I used to bike the Canal regularly, so I decided that if I made it to I-20, that would be good enough. That was where I’d seen the pretty red trees on my drive, anyway–I at least wanted to get a picture of them.

So I did just that. I biked until I saw something pretty, then stopped and took photos, then biked some more, all the way up to the interstate. There’s a hill there, and by that time I was pretty dang tired, so I stopped at the hill, took some pictures of the I-20 overpass, and turned around.

Here are a couple pictures of the trip out:

On the way back, I finally figured out how to take detail shots in low light. It’s been nearly six years since I started using the Olympus C3030 Zoom, and only this year have I really started to take advantage of its capabilities. The breakthrough is partially thanks to Dariush, who pointed out the arrows controls at the top right corner of the back of the camera. Who knew? I had never touched them. This is amusing, because I always wonder about people who never try new features in software. I’m always messing around to see what the new stuff can do…but there are some people who are either afraid to touch it or who just ignore it completely because it’s not within their realm of knowledge. I didn’t realize until today that I’d been doing the same thing with my camera.

In any case, here’s the first picture after I realized what those arrows could do for me:

(After making this realization, I sang to myself, “I know the se-cret! Na na na na na!”)

Here are a few more pictures from the ride back. I apparently took a lot more pictures on the way back than I did on the way out.

I also went across the new bridge for the first time. The railings are as high as my nose! It leads to a circular area made of stone that has what appears to be recessed lighting built into its low walls. There wasn’t anything else there, though. I’m thinking that eventually there will be benches or something, but who knows?

The bridge’s location was a good choice. It’s right next to the waterfall that Sean and I showed David the first time he visited Augusta. As I crested the hill leading away from the bridge, I immediately smelled it. I’m not sure what that smell is–it’s not just fishy, it’s almost like a chemical–but it’s not entirely pleasant. But as I approached the waterfall, it faded into the background, and I took some pictures.

[Edit: Mystery Photo Guy (aka Randy) tells me that the waterfall is Reed Creek, and the smell comes from the Reed Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is upstream. Yum!]

I was going to head back along the path on that side of the Canal, but it was muddy and filled with puddles, so I went back over the bridge and returned the normal way.

On my way back over the bridge, I decided to take one last picture of the big white crane sitting next to it. After all, I thought, if I didn’t take this picture, my crane-lover’s cred would be nil!

It’s a good thing I did, too, because I really like this picture.

When I stopped to take some final pictures of the headgate waterfall–yes, I’m obsessed. We can just say I’m documenting the area for posterity. March 4, 2007: Muddy–I saw a fishing pole bob out from the wall I was leaning against. Craning my neck over, I spotted a man somehow standing on the other side of the wall, fishing.

He’s not supposed to be there:

It’s kind of cool, regardless. I mean, how the hell does he get there? And how does he get back? But it’s also funny, because there is a bona fide fishing dock just down the trail (at the river side of the bridge). Maybe he doesn’t know it’s there, because it’s also new.

More low-light macro “prowess”:

It was rapidly darkening and cooling off, so while I lingered slightly for a few pictures near the museum, ultimately I hurried to get packed into the car and on the road.

And that was it for my afternoon at the Canal.

It was great to get back there. I’m sore in the good way. This needs to become a weekly habit.

I’m also thinking of just leaving the bike in the car when I go to work, and biking around on my lunch break. Biking is far more interesting to me than walking, so that means I might actually do it. We’ll see :)