Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Well now, a couple of weeks ago we were invited by one of Alan's colleagues, Mark, to see how he and his Dad did their homebrew beer. His parents live out by Lake Travis so we drove out there to see what was going on, and found them to be lovely people and generous hosts.

They can also brew a fine ale! We sampled a previous brew, an orange-peel beer which was delightful. And here's the homebrew kit - a bit further on from our plastic barrel:

Explanations (and better pictures) can be found at Mark's website.

I promised you Christmas lights, didn't I? We went down to 37th Street last week, where the whole street is known for putting on lots of lights. The kind of street that gets lots of visitors walking and driving by just to look at them. Here's a few pictures, not brilliant but you get the idea. I'm still hoping to get to Zilker Park for the lights down there.

Last Saturday night we held a small party. We spent the entirety of Saturday daytime preparing for it, then some friends who shall remain nameless (to protect their dignity) showed up. Slightly less people than we had anticipated, and the fridge was stocked altogether too healthily with Beer. So we drank it.

It was a very good evening!

Sunday was mostly spent recovering... ;-)

Last night I had a go at High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography for the first time. There's been some buzz about it on the forums I frequent so I thought I'd check it out. The basic idea is that you take several photos (3-5 or so) of the same scene at different exposures, then use some magic software to combine them, so you retain all the shadows and highlights and have detail in all of them, so nothing is all shadowed or all blown out.

Here's one I tried yesterday of the apartment. Notice how you can see outside the windows, where normally the windows would be bright white if I'd just exposed for the darker interior.

I'm hoping to get to the opening of a photo exhibition tomorrow night downtown, a chap called Trey Ratcliff has been doing this HDR stuff for a while and has some amazing stuff. Check it out here.

(Update) Here, I just tried another one, a scene from Las Vegas.
Original photo:

HDR version:

Now, I guess it's up to the subject matter of the picture as to whether this works or not for what you're trying to do. Some might argue in this case the silhouette is a more powerful frame. Either way, this is a great tool. I think I'm going to have some fun with this.

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