In Uncategorized by elyktra / June 29, 2013 / 0 Comments

There is a great organization in Amsterdam which provides a full spectrum of information about the city for living , visiting or doing business.  I find useful tidbits there quite regularly which help our every day life here as an expat.  Having lived abroad now for over 10 years and in a number of different countries, I have to say Amsterdam is absolutely one of the best as an expat.  “I Amsterdam” is one of those reasons and their services truly help simplify your life as a foreigner.  You can find out more about them @ or on Facebook.

They recently tweeted, asking if anyone had any good pictures of the famous IAMSTERDAM letters which are located in the city.  There is one set at Schipol Airport and another in front of the Rijks Museum.  I shared this image with them and was pleasantly surprised when they featured it back on their Facebook page.  If you are a Facebook user, here’s where you can find the post.

This was actually an unplanned image which was caught just as a storm was passing.  I was returning home on the tram and decided to jump off and risk the rain to take a few shots.  The result was created by combining multiple exposures to create an HDR image.  It was exaggerated for effect as this process can make the clouds even a bit more ominous which was the desired intent.  Using multiple images also allowed for the removal of the people in area and on the letters to further enhance the atmosphere.  As many can attest, it is rare to find the letters not covered with people.  After finishing the main image it was converted to B&W and finally the color of the letters restored to become the focal point of the image.

Why Post-Processing

In Uncategorized by elyktra / June 16, 2013 / 0 Comments


I receive a lot of questions around the use of post-processing on photo images and believe that it has its place in the art of photography.  The purist view of photography is also understandable and admirable.  I am continually impressed by what some of the pro’s are able to capture straight from the camera.  There are a few of these in my own portfolio and for sure my hopes are that the number will increase as my journey in photography continues.  In any case, I personally also enjoy the possibilities of what I can do behind the keyboard as well as from behind the camera.  My goal is to try to maintain the integrity of the original image as much as possible while enhancing it in such a way as to more vividly reflect what my mind remembers from that point in time.  This effort is to try and pull the viewer into the image to create a similar experience and truly share share the moment with them.

What was changed:

  • In the image above you’ll notice the bend of the castle walls due to the wide angle lens and positioning of the shot. The walls have been straightened that it appears that you are looking straight at the castle.  This has slightly shortened the castle and stretched it horizontally as a result, but it still fits with overall impact of the image.
  • The two tourists in the entrance have been removed as even through the best efforts and patience, there was never a clear shot.
  • Finally the tent to the left was removed as to not be distracting.
  • The remainder of the adjustments where just b&w conversion adjustments with some sharpening and structure.

First Photo Contest

In Photo Contest by elyktra / June 15, 2013 / 0 Comments

I recently started to dabble in the photo contests. More in hopes of getting constructive feedback to evolve my photography than anything else.  The ViewBug community seems to be very welcoming and I’ve found quite a bit of artistry to aspire to.  There are quite a variety of different contests where I believe almost anyone can find a place of comfort or to step outside their comfort zone.  In the “Looking Up”: Photo Contest, my photo “What’s Up in the Church” was ranked in the Top 10 most voted percentile.  There appears to have been over 3000 entries.  I received the Top 10 Photo Trifecta TM Class award.

Weekend Dream in Paris

In City & Streets by elyktra / June 11, 2013 / 14 Comments

I had the lovely honor of taking my 84 yr old grandmother to Paris.  It has been one of her dreams which she didn’t think she would have fulfilled.  We were able to see all of the sites that she wanted to visit and I’m still amazed how she was able to keep up for the long trek around the city.  I can only hope to be as active as she is when I reach that age!

Zaanse Schans

In Landscape by elyktra / May 31, 2013 / 0 Comments

Visited Zaanse Schans today which is just outside of Amsterdam.  The town and surrounding area is much nicer than expected for a local tourist attraction and highly recommended.  It was a beautiful walk with some nice cafe stops and incredible scenery.  It is definitely on the list to just return for a nice stroll and lunch.


In Landscape by elyktra / May 31, 2013 / 60 Comments

 3 exposure 0

While reviewing the photos from the Muiderslot photography meetup, I came across something very interesting.  Actually myself and everyone who has seen the images so far are dumbfounded.  I’ve been shooting for quite a long time and have never encountered anything like this.  Let me explain the images before you take a look and decide for yourself.  I was shooting with a very wide angle lens Nikon 14-24 which can capture quite a large scene.  It was shot with a Nikon D800 with is a 36mp camera so also very detailed when blown up.  I was also shooting HDR which means I was taking multiple exposures at once.  In this case it was 5 exposures.  All five shots were taken within 1 second and the shutter speed on the images in question is 1/250 of a second.  This means something would have to be moving very fast to be blurred in the scene.  There were no aircraft present, no vapor trails as you can see in the subsequent images.  It is definitely not a bird and I’ve mostly ruled out any insect based on the apparent distance from my position in the image.  Here’s where it gets more interesting.  In the +1 shot, you can see it again…coming from the opposite direction!!  It appears to have turned around.  It seems to be traveling in the direction where the two fins are as you can see some sore of trail coming off from left to right.  I’ve duplicated the two images where it appears and changed to greyscale and adjusted the basic settings and detail only using camera raw to get a better look.  Anxious to hear your opinions about what this might be!  You can click on the image to get to the gallery of photos.  Please post comments on the actual Blog and not FB if you are finding this there so we can keep one conversation going (click on the comment link at top of post to enter comment if you don’t see a box to do so).  I’ve kept the original untouched imaged in raw format on the card and copies in case this gets interesting.  Enjoy!!

EDIT:  Please note that no in camera HDR processing was used.  All my HDR work is manual which means I only take a selective number of bracketed shots and later process them using software to merge them together.  This means that each frame is an individual shot from the camera with no manipulation.  I have all the original RAW images untouched.


Adding interesting links:

  • Investigation images made by me and a few others which were presented to me as similar
  • Original post as well as US national TV and cool video
    • Original Huffington Post article
    • ABC News
    • Cool video
  • Other interesting articles with different points of view:
    • Examiner
  • Other articles which contacted me directly:
    • LiveScience
    • MSN
    • Yahoo Germany (DE)
    • NRC (NL)


In Landscape by elyktra / May 25, 2013 / 0 Comments

We visited the absolutely wonderful Muiderslot Castle today. The most beautiful and best kept medieval castle in the Netherlands which was built in 1285.  It was a wonderful Photography meetup event which we traveled to by ferry.  The weather played nice and we had a very enjoyable day.  More photos to come and the collection will be available on Flickr as it is developed.

Why HDR?

In Useful Tidbits by elyktra / May 22, 2013 / 0 Comments

What is HDR and why do I use it? Simply put, it allows me to create images which are closer to what the eye and mind perceived at the given moment the photograph was taken. This is sometimes necessary when the dynamic range of the scene is greater than that which the camera is capable of capturing in a single image. HDR processing is usually accomplished by taking multiple exposures of the same scene and then using software to combine them. Hopefully the before and after images above demonstrate this concept.  The after image is slightly exaggerated in its processing to show what is possible. The before image above is only the base exposure.  Notice you are not even able to see the brick wall on the right.  The overexposed images in the bracketed set would provide this detail.  There are many people who don’t have a taste for HDR images and this seems fueled by the number of potentially poor ones that flood the scene.  I’m still a fan if they are done well, although I’m still in the learning stages myself. It is actually now a recognized art form and holds a place in the Smithsonian.  Please feel free to post additional questions as I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Here is the techy definition:  High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of methods used in imaging and photography, to allow a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight, and is often captured by way of a plurality of differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter.

Creature Within

In Macro by elyktra / May 20, 2013 / 0 Comments

I’m still experimenting with my new Nikon 200mm macro lens.  Its quite amazing as you don’t have to get as close to objects as other macros.  The benefit of this is not disturbing the area in which you are trying to shoot.  I’m very impressed with the colors and still working on the level of detail which I know the lens is capable of.  Would love to hear comments or thoughts on macro shooting.

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