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mtngal Dec 19, 2008 1:28 AM

We finally got home this afternoon - left at noon. Here's what sunny SoCal looked like.

First, we weren't alone:

By the way, there are 4 lanes of traffic at this point - 3 of them were filled up with 18 wheelers.

When we finally get up to the Gorman Hills we see what some of what all the fuss was about:

I installed the Huey monitor calibrator tonight and I'm wondering how accurate it is. It was fine with the old Sony flat screen monitor, but was terrible with my old PC laptop. I didn't think the color was off with the MacBook Pro's monitor, but it was different than the new big monitor I put on it, so I figured I'd try the Huey. The calibrator changed the color on both monitors quite a bit, more than I had expected. The picture above was significantly altered using what I saw on the monitor (the original was under-exposed and the white balance was off because I was shooting through the windshield). Is the color of the snow white or is it off-color?

There were still quite a few cars and trucks as we neared the top of the pass.

There were a number of television news people around, including this one setting up at the off-ramp.

Now that's a tripod!

When we got home, our Honda Fit let us know that it wasn't happy about being left alone all night:

Looking through my upstairs window:

I think I might change my December challenge picture to this one as I thought it came out pretty nicely.

Let me know if the color is off on any of these pictures and I'll remove the Huey.

ennacac Dec 19, 2008 1:39 AM

How fun, at least you got home safe and the Fit will thaw out.


Wingman Dec 19, 2008 8:56 AM

The colors and exposure look good on my monitor...then again, I/m not sure how "calibrated" mine is!

I've been giving thought to a calibration device, but have read of mixed results with the Huey and the Spyder. I finally read (what I thought was) a sensible article that recommended that you compare a picture printed from a commercial lab to what's on your monitor and adjust the settings to match it as closely. Based on that, I have reduced the saturation and brightness on my monitor and adjusted the white balance to the cool side. I now understand why my printed pics from Sam's were coming out under exposed and over saturated.

Great images BTW--nice and crisp--very fitting for snowscapes. The contrast between the sky and snow in #2 is very appealing. It looks like a polarizing filter was in use???

mtngal Dec 19, 2008 10:31 AM

No polarizer - I was shooting through the windshield and windows of a car moving around 45-50 (occasionally up to 60 mph, but not here) mph and didn't think it would work well with the tinted glass (and I'm not sure I have a ring that would get my polarizer to work with the lens that I was using).

The effect was started in Lightroom, where I brightened the highlights (picture was underexposed to begin with), then darkened the shadows (I specifically made sure I used the tones associated with the sky). I think I changed the vibrance of the blues, which also made it a bit darker (I might have changed the saturation a bit, but don't think so). I upped the saturation of the colors in the trees because they were looking a little too grey, thanks to the tint of the windshield, and changing the white balance didn't do enough to bring out the yellows and oranges.

Once I exported it to Photoshop, I selected the sky, created a layer of just that selection, darkened it even more, then added a layer mask and put a gradient on it, so that it looked more natural (darker at the top and a bit lighter toward the snow). There's supposed to be a way to add a gradient in Lightroom, but I haven't figured it out yet, especially since I only wanted it in the sky, and there's an easy way of selecting one color in Photoshop, and the edge between the mountain and the sky was very clean.

I didn't have to make a separate layer for the sky adjustments, but I prefer doing it that way, in case the edge selection doesn't work well - you can always erase something on a layer, or if the whole thing doesn't work you can just delete that layer and start over. Early versions of Photoshop didn't have a history palette where you can back up a certain number of steps, so it was important to have a way of undoing something that didn't work out. It's also nice to do it with the separate layer, because once you think you have it right, you can turn off or turn on the layer to go back and forth between the original and your changes. Also very handy.

penolta Dec 19, 2008 1:55 PM

The colors look fine on my iMac monitor (factory default calibration only), except the colors in 1 & 3 look a bit muted (that may be the tinted windshield). I like #2 best, but the sky could be a little lighter. I thought about you during the storm, wondering if you were stuck at home or at work - I guess it was at work. You realize, of course, that it isn't even officially Winter yet? :(

mtngal Dec 19, 2008 2:29 PM

I didn't spend much time on the first and third ones, especially the first one. It was a last minute addition to the set and all I did was rotate a bit to straighten the vertical lines, adjust the white balance and resize. The third one is a bit underexposed as well as being muted due to the windshield. I may re-process that one a bit, it doesn't look quite as good to me this morning as it did last night.

While I would rather have been at home, it turned out to be a pleasant evening in Westwood - walked to a restaurant for dinner, morning commute of a couple of blocks instead of 75 miles, a nice change but not one I could afford to do very often.

Monza76 Dec 19, 2008 4:10 PM

Interesting, after a couple of false starts we are finally getting winter conditions here, wickedly cold today. My youngest son just discovered the joys of winter driving, he is fine but the little Ford Ranger may be sitting for a while, the roof isn't quite shaped like the factory intended.

I could develop a healthy dislike for the white stuff.

The images look great on my monitor, colours look natural and all images are super sharp.

Black Knight Dec 19, 2008 6:56 PM

The images look fine on My ( Calibrated) monitor Also.
In the process of getting about 12" of the white Stuff here.


nhmom Dec 20, 2008 9:46 PM

I love the white snow against the blue sky. It is unusual to see snow up there, especially this early. Over the years we've traveled that route many, many times and used to be the usual detriment was getting over the "hill" without overheating.

My brother texted me the other day from Simi Valley to say it was snowing in Malibu! This is going to be a strange winter I suspect. We got 4" on Wed, followed by another 12" or so today and more coming tomorrow. My car looked like your Fit this morning, only covered totally over. Didn't get any photographs, although I wanted to. The plow guy and electric co got here before I could get my camera. Tomorrow's snow is heavy and wet stuff. We were warned to get all the current snow up we could before it freezes solid.

Anyway, nice images. Nice and crisp and clear.I like the icicle with the bubbles trapped in time. The colors look fine on my non-calibrated monitor.


vIZnquest Dec 21, 2008 3:00 PM

Looks great!

I like the sign that points to the right direction.... Sacramento...:G. I sure miss California when it's like -8 degrees outside right now and having had about a foot and half of snow to contend with in three days time. My back is killing me from all the shoveling.. snow that is. The winds are wicked out here now and drifts are quite high. The wind chill is about -30. Did I say I miss California?


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