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Victor Foulk
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Transition of Darkness
A moment of reflection on moments and reflection

The essence of a moment, as a single photograph captured in time, can be at once both a thing of beauty yet shrouded in mystery.  Looking herein at the dawning of a new day, ready to rid the land of its shroud of darkness… or is this the last flailing glow of a dying day, its light nearing extinction as the darkness of night retakes the land?  It isn't until the moment is past that we can reflect back on the experience with any sense of certainty as to what it was, linking that moment to moments prior, and from it predicting moments to come.  But reflection is itself fraught with peril as the lens of our mind’s eye can be as distorting as the lake is unto the image of the sky dancing upon it.  The reflection is as our memories - present and representative, but lacking in precision and detail, subject to the distortion created by lingering obstructions… The tree in the lake altering the presentation of the sky as our biases and ego affect our interpretation of moments past.

There are times, most times I assert, where we should seek to find beauty in the moment and live it to the fullest whether it be at the dawn of new light, or on the precipice of darkness.  We should fear not our confusion as to what is up or down and we should hold dear our memories, accepting that they may be imperfect or wholly incorrect.  Revel in this moment and cherish the light regardless of how dim, or bright.

Technical Details:
Canon 5D Mk III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM, at 28mm, f16
3 sec exposure at ISO 400
Library managed in +digiKam  on Linux, raw processed in +darktable, chromatic aberration correction in Hugin, and final processing in +GIMP with +G'MIC.  
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+Prashant Chaudhari thanks for the kind words.  My entire workflow is based on open source software as a means of proving that a photographer's money (especially an amateur just starting out) is better spent on glass than fancy proprietary software!  I see so many folks that think they "must have" photoshop in order to get great photos.  I love opening their eyes to a different reality.
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Autumn Reflection
Sprague Lake Reflections Before Dawn

This chilly morning at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park was spent in the good company of several other photographers. As it so often is, I have found, we find decent compositions and nuzzle up, tripod to tripod and make new friends. I've rarely met my fellow photographer and had a bad experience (except once in Death Valley where I was stalked, but that is another story). I think each of us uttered the same requests of the powers that be this morning, wishing for just a few more clouds. The sun had not yet crested the landscape behind us, but the increasing illumination of the morning caused the aspens to visually catch fire against the dark evergreen backdrop. The fog on the lake danced as the morning sun gave rise to the morning breeze. I'm going through some old archives and importing them into my digital asset management system, and finally posting some of the shots that have never been finished (thanks to the inspiration of a new friend who chided me out of my lazy).

This photo started in +digiKam as my asset manager. The raw was processed in +darktable to the maximum extent practical, then exported as a 16 bit TIFF working file. Final processing for corrections, cloning, and signing was done in +GIMP. This image was taken as a bracketed shot, but ultimately I got what I needed out of a single raw.

Technical Details:
Canon 5D Mk III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM, at 24mm, f18
8 sec exposure at ISO 100, Aperture Priority

#darktable   #digikam   #canon  #gimp #opensource #opensourcephotography  +Canon Users  #landscapephotography +Landscape Photography +Landscape Photography Show +Margaret Tompkins +Jim Warthman +Kevin Rowe +Johan Peijnenburg +David Heath Williams +Tom Hierl +Carolyn Lim +Howard L. Smith +Kai Kosonen +Sheila B. DuBois +Toshi Nakamura +David Pilasky +Bill Wood +10000 PHOTOGRAPHERS 
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+Howard L. Smith , +Toshi Nakamura ... thank you for the kind words!
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Victor Foulk

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Stop waiting for it to be perfect. Stop waiting for others. Stop doubting. Stop worrying. Go chase your figurative sunset, whatever it may be. Bask in the glow and know that even if nobody else is standing there to share in the moment... the moment is worth it because YOU are there.
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+1 for this wisdom, so true
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Victor Foulk

Discussion  - 
Open Source Photography and the Hacker Mindset
What sets 'OS Photographers' apart from the rest?

There are photographers that use open source software in their workflow, and then there are photographers that proudly call themselves "open source photographers"... the latter being a little more aware of the true value of the tools they are using, and a whole lot more willing to get their hands dirty advancing the spirit of open source software in photography...

I don't know if this guy's personal code is open sourced, but he sure as heck embodies that hacker spirit that drives us all to play, experiment, and create.  A lot of effort was put into this article to profile one hacker-artist.  I recommend the read.

So, in your opinion, what sets us apart?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
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What a fascinating and inspirational read! About halfway through, I found myself re-experiencing the enthusiasm and limitless-possibility that characterized my earliest years as a software developer.

Thanks for sharing this, +Victor Foulk; I really needed a shot-in-the-arm from that more pleasant past :)
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Victor Foulk

>> The Vistas (No Posting)  - 
A lesson hard learned... one I shared a while back, but never shared with the Landscape Photography Community.   This shot was the only one from the morning I could save (the last one... after I realized the error!)  I hope the reminder to take your time and verify your settings is worth the read!  
Desolate Daybreak
The dawn of a new day breaks over a desolate canyon in the Four Peaks Wilderness of Arizona.

A lesson hard learned (again): Never shoot on a tripod with your lens in image stabilization mode!  Especially if you are shooting multiple bracketed exposures and especially in low light...  The image stabilization will actually cause your images to be blurry, out of focus, and misaligned.  This is guaranteed to ruin your day, just as it did mine.

Now don't get me wrong, I know this, but I had been shooting hand-held with this lens the day prior and neglected to return my gear to my landscape defaults.  After hiking for hours out into the Four Peaks wilderness in the dark on December 24th, the blue hour had arrived and in my uncontrollable joy, I rushed through my equipment pre-check (which includes, ISO settings, image stabilization, etc.).  A significant number of shots I took that morning had great compositions, excellent lighting, great histograms, but were complete garbage due to the shake induced by the lens' image stabilizer hunting for movement wasn't there.  When I finally noticed the effect on the LCD, I almost cried.  _This shot here was the only one I could salvage from the morning._  

In the Field:
This photo was taken with a Canon 5D Mk III and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens at a focal length of 24mm.  I used a 2 stop graduated neutral density filter to help reduce the dynamic range in the sky, coupled with a 2 stop tobacco tinted graduated filter to further reduce the dynamic range and to turn the blue haze into a warmer desert tone.  Shutter speed was 1/3 sec at f/20 (for the base image +0EV), and a total of five exposures were taken between +/- 2EV to ensure I captured the full dynamic range for later post processing.  

Post Processing:  I used +darktable  to process three of the RAW files (-2EV, +0EV, and +1EV).  I processed the +0EV image to get the midtones throughout the image.  This resulted in the highlights and the sky being fairly blown out.  Also, the deeper shadows were left way too dark.  Next, I processed the -2EV RAW to target the highlights and sky, doing my best to get them representative of the scene as it was.  Finally, I processed the +1EV to target the shadows, bringing out the detail I remember from the scene.  These processed RAWs were converted to 16bit TIFF for exposure blending to complete the image.

In +GIMP I opened the base image (+0EV TIFF) and then opened the -2EV and +1EV TIFFs as layers.  Using layer masks, I blended the layers to achieve a more balanced overall image that better represents the scene.

#gimp #darktable #landscapephotography #canon #arizona  
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Have them in circles
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Victor Foulk

Editing  - 
I love open source software, and all the great folks that share their knowledge of the amazing tools we have at our disposal.  Today is Easter but it feels like Christmas, and here is picture of the 5 pixel wide gift I received today.  My source image is about 5800x3900 pixels, and the tree trunks here (blown up) are about 5 pixels wide, 1/1000th scale of the image.  Chromatic Aberration is a fact of life in photography, better glass and minimizing the harshness of the contrasts in the image help mitigate it, but it will still crop up and annoy you.  After finally coming across this link, I am enlightened... the tca_correct and fulla tools in the Hugin suite are awesome.  Image on the left shows the maligned RBG and resulting cyan and magenta fringing, the right shows the corrected version using fulla with the correction parameters dumped out of tca_correct:
-r 0.0026961:-0.0081680:0.0065977:1.0008530 -b 0.0032995:-0.0083824:0.0054188:0.9999762

I imagine that many of you already knew this, and many more likely know of other great ways to tackle these corrections.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!  For those for whom this is new, hopefully it helps!  Happy shooting.

The full image (scaled for web) resulting from the editing in +darktable , Hugin, +GIMP with +G'MIC and managed in +digiKam is posted here.
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Autumn Road
Colorado Aspen Glow in the Waning Afternoon Light

I still have large archives of photos from expeditions-past that precede my disciplined use of digital asset management (key-wording, rating, etc.).  As I import these folders into +digiKam for proper long-term keeping, I am going through and finish-processing some of the shots I've never posted.

This is one of the many roads in Rocky Mountain National Park.  This shot was captured near the peak of the season's color change and it required much patience to obtain a shot without cars in the scene.  It had rained the night and morning before, which always has a nice enriching effect on the foliage.

The open source workflow started in +digiKam as my asset manager. (on my Linux desktop).  The raw was processed in +darktable to the maximum extent practical, then exported as a 16 bit TIFF working file.  Final processing for corrections, cloning, and signing was done in +GIMP  with some de-noise applied with the +G'MIC plugin for GIMP.  This image was taken as a bracketed shot, but ultimately I got what I needed out of a single raw.

Technical Details:
Canon 5D Mk III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM, at 40mm, f18
1/10 sec exposure at ISO 100, Aperture Priority

#canon   #darktable   #gimp #opensource #opensourcephotography  
+Canon Users  #landscapephotography +Landscape Photography +Landscape Photography Show +Margaret Tompkins +Jim Warthman +Kevin Rowe +Johan Peijnenburg +David Heath Williams +Tom Hierl +Carolyn Lim +Howard L. Smith +Kai Kosonen +Sheila B. DuBois +Toshi Nakamura +David Pilasky +Bill Wood  #10000Photographersaroundtheworld  +10000 PHOTOGRAPHERS 
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Aspin is beautiful in winter but it's fantastic in spring!
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Making the Tools that Make Your Workflow
I get excited at new opportunities to hack at, and to really learn about, the tools in my photography workflow.

Admittedly, a lot of you out there are not going to be interested in the behind the scenes development activity for these open source projects, but the projects themselves are amazing.  So, here's an opportunity for me to recommend that you try them out.  It's open source and free, so why not?

I have found +G'MIC to be an indispensable addition to +GIMP, helping me to tackle some pretty challenging edits in my photography workflow.  If you are using  +GIMP without it as an add on, give it a try:

I use an entirely open source software based workflow for my photography.  It is not because I can't afford the "other stuff".  Rather, it is my goal with my photography to prove that a photographer's money is better spent on better glass and better trips than it is spent on pricey software!
The G'MIC project has now its mailing list, to allow technical discussions between developers, contributors and people who want to use G'MIC to create specific image processing pipelines. Someone interested to join ?
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Victor Foulk

Shared publicly  - 
+Richard Harlos  turned me on to this today, a good read indeed.  If you are looking for your voice here are some worthwhile thoughts.
I brought my values to this piece and found it a satisfying read. I can see people with a different hierarchy of values also finding it valuable so, without further ado, here's yer sign! :-)
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hahah robots can do everythig
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Victor Foulk

>> The Vistas (No Posting)  - 
Another rainy, icy, snowy day on the East Coast has me longing for home...
Superstition Sunset

The Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction, Arizona at sunset in the wake of a passing autumn storm.

All I wanted that afternoon was for the sun to break free of the clouds for a moment, to bathe the landscape in that brilliant Phoenix amber glow... but alas, all the sunlight did was gently kiss the mountaintop and slip below the horizon, veiled in shadow.  This part of the country is amazing and one can never spend enough time there! Thanks to +James Clifford for prodding me to finally post this :)

Technical Details:
Canon 5D Mk III, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS
ISO 100, f/10, 1/25"
Bracketed exposures, -2, -1, 0, +1 EV

Post Processing:
Four exposures blended and tonemapped in +Luminance HDR with the Fattal operator and scaled-back settings to try and preserve realism, exported as 16bit TIFF.  Fine tuning of highlights, shadows and tone completed in +darktable.  Selective sharpening, minor cloning (a couple of small white buildings in the distance) and preparation for web in +GIMP.  I usually manually blend exposures for scenes like this, but I wanted to give the latest version of Luminance a try on my newly upgraded Linux photography workstation.  Luminance has improved greatly in recent versions!

#landscapephotography   #arizona   #arizonaphotography   #GIMP   #darktable   #luminancehdr   #opensource  
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+Dominique Dubied Thanks!!! I appreciate the kind words.
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Solutions Engineer, Strategist, Aspiring Transformation Executive, and Landscape Photography Aficionado
I am a systems engineer specializing in solutions to complex organizational problems.  My experience ranges from developing rocket propulsion systems to operating and maintaining the US Navy's nuclear propulsion systems.  

I revel in technology of all sorts, and I am a fan of and contributor to open source software.  Additionally, I am becoming increasingly addicted to photography, especially landscape photography.  The blending of these interests represents both unique challenges and great opportunities.

Many days, my photography hobby has me trekking though the fields and woodlands of Southern Maryland, often along the Potomac River (convenience of location).  I am always looking for new inspiration in the region, and others who share the addiction.  When I can, I go hunting abroad for epic vistas... my current favorites being in southern Utah and in Wyoming... although, I am becoming increasingly enamored with the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks Wilderness in Arizona for its breathtaking beauty and marked lack of "tripod fences"!