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Old Jul 23, 2010, 9:24 PM   #1
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Default Clouds Over Manhattan

Some time ago I said something like this here:

"It's probably well known that land is a prized commodity in Manhattan. I'd say so is the sky. Unless you live in 'a $70 million penthouse atop New York City's Pierre hotel' (source: Forbes.com), a slice-of-the-sky is just about all the sky you'll ever see in Manhattan."

Of late I was inspired by spy's and Streets' majestic sweeping landscapes with awesome-looking clouds overhead (jealous, maybe?) so I decided to take on the impossible -- take pictures of clouds from within what maggo85 calls "skyscraper canyons" of Manhattan.

And being that I took these shots within a period of just four days, I’d say it's doable as long as one is hell-bent.

Like they say about New York, "if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere." That's especially true when taking pictures of clouds.

#1) Grand Central Terminal and Metlife Building. (Picture taken 7/20.)

#2) Chrysler Building spire from First Avenue. (Picture taken 7/21.)

#3) Pier on East River and 59th Street Bridge. (Picture taken 7/21.)

#4) Seastreak streaking. (Picture taken 7/21.)

#5) Residential buildings on First Avenue. (Picture taken 7/21.)

#6) Saint Patrick spire and building on Rockefeller Plaza. (Picture taken 7/22.)

#7) Bryant Park Fountain. (Picture taken today, 7/23.)

#8) Bryant Park. (Picture taken today, 7/23.)

Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.

Last edited by vvcarpio; Jul 23, 2010 at 9:38 PM. Reason: All pics except #8 are single-JPEGs processed with Topaz Adjust 4. #8 is DPHDR output then processed with Topaz Adjust 4.
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Old Jul 24, 2010, 12:11 AM   #2
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some nice shots here 3,4,7,8 ...... but i would run a couple through topaz de noise
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Old Jul 24, 2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the compliments and the suggestion, simple. I ran Topaz Denoise on a couple.

#9) I think it worked well on #2.

#10) For #4, I had to use a strong setting to completely remove the grain from the clouds because a milder setting introduced blocky patches. I remember leaving #4 the way it is because of this. Some areas looked to me like they're more out of focus than "denoised". I thought then, if Topaz Adjust thinks having grain is good then so be it.

#11) But one nice thing about Topaz Adjust is it has so many presets. So I decided to take on a different tack altogether.

Comments welcome.

As an aside, picture-hosting websites (or at least those that are free) manipulate my images I suspect to save diskspace. With tinypic.com, it looks like the limit is 200K. Anything above that and my images start to degrade. They lose sharpness and become "soft".

So instead of having tinypic.com decide what's best, I've been finding ways of reducing filesize to under 200K so I can control the image quality.

One way of course is to reduce the size of the pic. (I like to keep my width at 1024 because some of my friends turn my pics into wallpapers.)

Another way is adjusting the "quality" slider when saving a JPEG file. However, I don't want to go below "7" (from a max of "12") because quality visibly suffers.

So I found out that duplicating the layer, then applying a Gaussian blur of about 1.5 on the duplicate and sliding the opacity from somewhere around 35 to 40 also reduces the filesize when saved. From a value of 35, I just keep saving the file increasing the opacity to 36, 37, and so on each time until I hit a filesize just below 200k.

Anyone with tips on keeping filesizes to a minimum without too much degradation appreciated.
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