Taking pictures outside was a challenge--to put it mildly--because of the low winter sun and the high contrasts it created; high ISO-setting was needed because of the low light intensity overall, but the difference between sun and shadow sides of faces almost called for HDR solutions, which of course is impossible with moving targets (to keep with the bow and arrow inspired metaphors). I'm waiting for HDR-sensor chips in a next generation of cameras!
Besides: do have a look in the list of blogs that follows the poll: awesome stuff to be found there!
The photo was a snapshot upwards to a higher level of walkways along the river boulevard, giving a great perspective and at the same time giving the contrast between the people's amazed expressions and the all-too-modern (for them, it seems) buildings in the background.
At least as important may be the promises of still better handling of imported pictures: for instance reduced noise. (That is one my my issues with my Sony A700 camera, so I'm going to download LR3-beta for testing!) But also the opposite: film grain effects.
Photographer's dilemma with this photo: what is the 'right' colour temperature? Lamp light is not as white as daylight. Lamplight is about 2800 K, daylight 5500 K on a sunny day. If you keep the white balance of your camera to daylight, the lamplight and all else will be awfully yellow. If you take the lamplight as 'white' as any RAW-converter will let you do, much of the nighttime atmosphere disappears. My solution: Just try some settings in between the two extremes until you get a satisfactory impression. The disadvantage of tampering with white balance is that you cannot really say that your photo has 'real' colours. Then again: your eyes and brain make adaptations to interpret different light settings, so why cannot you do the same in your post-processing of photos? That needs a well-calibrated screen on your computer, of course, but that is a different story.
Photo taken in Piran (Slovenia, Sept. '09).
Only the little Fothergilla major is making good on its promise of delivering autumn colours even in this year. Yes, there is a paradox in having a little Fothergilla major, but in Friday's Gardeners' World the presenter also remarked that hers had stayed much smaller than she had hoped, just like ours. But just like her, we can rejoice in being able to look down on all those fiery-coloured autumn leaves :-)
For the few of us then, one of the very few nagging discomforts about LR2 is that there is no way to control the watermark you add to the photo upon export: it sits in the left corner, in a fixed font and size. Of course you can go to Photoshop or use external small applications (shareware or freeware!) to add textual or graphic watermarks to jpg-files after exporting, but that is too much of a hassle: we want more elegant, user-friendly solutions. And finally I found one--as the real buffs know since a long time. One Timothy Armes developed a plug-in for LR that lets you add watermarks but also borders and frames in one go while doing the export! The watermarks can be text, self-written or taken from the photo's metadata, or graphic, and you can control the font (in a somewhat awkward way, for Mac-users at least, but it works) and where it is placed. Once installed and once you have designed your watermark, it will be used automatically for all exports, unless you turn it off again: 'fire and forget', really easy!
The multipurpose plug-in is called LR2/Mogrify and can be found in the Photographer's Toolbox; a Dutch-language, extended explanation was published in April 2009 (I'm really behind!) in DigitaleFotografieTips. The plug-in is 'donationware' and I guess that after a little more testing, I am going to make a donation to Mr Armes indeed: it seems to be worth more than whatever is a reasonable donation.
I felt, then, as if there were millions of beautiful penguins out in the sea of Plug-In and I just caught one nicely on my camera--just like the penguins in the Noorderdierenpark in Emmen (NL). And yes, if you look closely, there is a different watermark, in the right-hand corner, and somewhat less obtrusive than the standard LR2 one.
I also tried Mr Armes's LR2/Blog export plug-in; the entry on Berlin that I made earlier today, was made with it. But that one I found not useful: it may make it easy to upload a photo and add a little bit of text in a single go upon exporting from LR. However, you can only make simple unformatted text and also you cannot control the lay out of the photo in the blog entry. That was too limited to me, but if it's enough for you, have another look at the Photographer's Toolbox site.
First of all, the answer did not come from the 'Mexican suitcase', the suitcase full of negatives made by Capa that surfaced in 2008 in Mexico. The negative of the famous photo was not there; it has been missing for years. Second, the state of the art on this question will forever remain a matter of debate between experts and would-be experts. It is, so much we can take from the discussion, probably not a photo of a soldier dying in a large-scale action. Probably Capa went on a small tour with a group of soldiers for a photo shoot; it was a staged photo. Some stories have it that the man in the picture was shot by a sniper at the moment Capa pressed the shutter--to my mind too good a story to be true. It was said that Capa himself never claimed it was a picture 'at the moment of death'.
The impression of authenticity of the photo may have been a trick: Capa may have made a slightly unfocused photo on purpose (no autofocus in those days, of course!), and moved his hands a bit to give the impression he himself was diving for safety while pressing the shutter.
And then there is the role of the press. Capa's picture was first published September 1936 in two French magazines, Vu and Regards. In Vu they published a whole series of the young photographer (he was 22 at the time and not yet famous) with poetic, symbolic captions going with the photos. When the same picture was republished later in world-famous magazine Life in the USA, July 1937, there was a much more dramatic caption, talking about the photo being made at the moment the soldier was killed. Being published in Life, and with such a dramatic caption, were the occasion for Capa to become world-famous--and he did not say that the caption going with his photo was not truthful. He did not even lie, he just did not tell 'the whole truth'. What would I have done--what would you have done--if fame suddenly beckons?
Footnote: the picture can be found on many websites so have a look at Google or better the Wikipedia if you do not know it, but is copyrighted.
Looking around for more coloured leaves, form caught my eye instead of colour. Hence the second photo, of the walnut in its bolster. Natural symmetry.
Are those lenses more affordable in Japan, where he lives, or is he just fanatic about maximum light and miminum depth-of-field? Anyway, it makes me jealous--not because of the price or the weight (both must be tremendous), but because of the photographic possibilities it gives.
What also makes me jealous is how this Stéphane Barbery has a very different sense of photographic beauty. Friedl discusses a 'throw-away test shot' that Barbery made and that he finds beautiful. So did I. Have a look here; it also gives links to Barbery's web site--worht a look too!
The photo, made in Holland a few autumns ago, may be of a mushroom called Oudemansiella mucida (synonym: Collybia mucida, teaches the Dutch part of the Wikipedia). I made a close-up with selective sharpness (f/4.0) to emphasise the fragility and the subtle colour; not for nothing the Dutch name would translate as 'china/porcelain mushroom'.
One thing had to be retouched, I admit: there was a bit of cobweb hanging from the hood which I clone-stamped away in Lightroom (who needs Photoshop?). Forgotten to 'look around' my subject when I took the picture! But if I hadn't told you, you would not have known, would you? If you find the spot where this photo was retouched, you earn a bottle of wine. Come and get it! ;-)
Flipping through my photos for a fitting illustration of this link, I discovered that I have no nature pictures expressing autumn. Do I suffer from unconscious pictorial autumn depressions? (Wonder what my physician would say about that description of symptoms.) Well, no more now: I must make that ultimate autumn colour picture this year!
(Statistics from NRC Handelsblad of 2009-09-16.)
I'll keep going though, hoping that you'll find this place for non-random reasons!
So just for your pleasure, a random photo on my blog's theme. Here are two Greek beauties from the national history museum in Athens--showing that beauty is timeless, even though different across time ;-)
The "composition" of the still life is just as they happened to be lying on the table. It is almost a matter of principle to me that I take reality as given and do not interfere to make compositions "better" than what fate gives me. Exception: blades of grass or dead leaves and similar small things that I can easily take away.
Looking at the photo, I don't like the horizontals of the courgettes in the middle: they break the dominant verticals in the composition, and therefore take attention away from the area of sharpness, more in the foreground. Though that is a little better in the original large-size photo: there you see that the courgettes are really out of focus and the sunflowers stand out very clearly (or rather: sharply) from the dark-green background. (That effect is one of the reasons why you should never judge photos in the small screen on the back of your camera: sharpness and bokeh are very different in the original size.)
Did I mention Jeffrey Friedl before? No, I did not, I believe. He is an American who lives in Japan, and who is an avid amateur photographer--if he is an amateur, that is. For like a professional he seems to be taking photos full-time, and of everything, though he is especially good at landscapes—Japanese landscapes are good anyway and he makes them even better! He uses f/2.8 to make a subject stand out clearly from the background, and his professional lenses help to make the bokeh especially good: the number of blades in the diaphragm and their curvature seem to play a role in making the gradient from sharp to un-sharp as well as the rendering of un-sharp objects without irritating double contour lines and the like.
I came across Mr. Friedl when I looked for a smart way to upload photos to Flickr from Lightroom, and the official Adobe Lightroom website linked to his plug-in. Jeffrey Friedl proved to be a real Lightroom buff, who published all kinds of upload plug-ins, for all (well, almost all) kinds of photo sites. Once you know the trick, it's probably not so difficult anymore. Besides, his real profession is in programming. The Flickr upload plug-in was worth all its money (which was not much)--and more! It works really handy, once you have followed the (very clear) download and installation instructions from Mr. Friedl’s site.
As I said, he uses f/2.8 all of the time: check his blog full of photos, under each of which he neatly gives the essential statistics of time, aperture and if you drill down a bit also location(!). If nothing else, you can find a few nice wallpapers among his collection (watch out, that page takes some time to download!). But I wanted to make a little bit of fun of this Mr. 2.8. Once he wanted to take a group picture of a bunch of children and he was frustrated at not getting them all in focus at the same time. The examples he showed a few days before, again gave the statistics: f/2.8 most of the time. In the final one he used f/5. If he had simply gone down a few stops to, say, f/8 (the aperture at which many lenses have their optimum resolution and sharpness), the whole group would have been in focus from the beginning even though kids tend to move a lot more than landscapes—no problem at all! Even good photographers may forget their basics for a moment, sometimes… As long as you remember in the end!
What Johnson did not say was that at smaller formats, you get the same depth-of-field at lower aperture numbers. That is why it is so easy (relatively!) to make macro photos with compact cameras: with their tiny sensors, they get that flower detail all sharp at full opening, where a DSLR (especially a full-frame one) must stop down to f/22 to get the same. So for a landscape to be sharp from foreground to horizon, you can make do with f/22 rather than f/64 on a DSLR—if you want it all sharp.
It gives a classical look to—especially—landscape photos to have them sharp all over. Give it a sepia toning and you’d almost believe it was a 19th century picture! But most of the time, you don’t need sharpness all over to get the effect you want: selective sharpness is much more creative. You don’t need that grass and branch in the foreground to be sharp for them to have the effect of suggesting more depth to the photo with the manor house in the background.
Selective sharpness also works in close-up photos: this minuscule blueberry flower was all you need to see sharply—it conveys the spring feeling much better with the strong bokeh (‘unsharpness’) than a picture bewilderingly full of sharp details would have done.
Both these photos were taken at f/2.8—I only have one lens that opens so widely. The wide aperture has the advantage that you get more light into the viewfinder, so you see more clearly and you (or the camera) can focus more precisely. Moreover, f/2.8 often signals professional lenses, which also have other advantages, like minimum distortion of straight lines, minimum flare, minimum chromatic aberration and other flaws. Their only disadvantages are weight (that kept me from choosing one as my standard lens)—and price…
Element number one is: focus, or rather out-of-focus. Out-of-focus photos suggest things, stimulate the viewer's phantasy. And they say a couple of other things about unsharp pictures, all true and interesting. But then the paragraph ends on: 'This is perceived as artistic.' Is this serious? Is it Flemish-Dutch (the columnist might be Flemish--I don't know)? Or is it ironic: who would want to be accused of being perceived as artistic? I don't know what to make of this column, but I will follow it for the next 36 issues--I subscribe to the magazine anyway.
And it inspired me to show you this photo: taking the idea of 'unsharp' in a slightly different manner, this portrait of a belly dancer at the Sonsbeek Theater Avenue, last month, is no out of focus, but as it was made without using a flash, there is some unsharpness due to the dancer's movement. Besides, there is unsharpness because I used a high ISO setting (6400, to be precise) which gives visible specles. Does this make her more 'symbolic', 'not THAT woman but THE woman'? Beauty?
There are some drawbacks. Not the 40" maximum size; that's more than most home tv screens. But that is the maximum, probably only reached under ideal circumstances (no disturbing environmental light, a good flat and white background, I guess). Besides, your tv nowadays has up to HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels, about 2 megapixel--still less than modern phone cameras, let alone good compacts or DSLRs), while this camera-projector is said to have VGA resolution; that means 640x480 or 0.3 megapixel. That won't look good at 40" size, not even if you take the larger viewing distance into account. (The relevance of viewing distance: People look at a small-size picture from a small viewing distance, so it needs a higher resolution to seem sharp than a large-size picture, which they need to step back from to take it all in at a single viewing.)
Besides, I wonder about the colour rendering of the small built-in projector. In our camera club, we worked for close to two hours with a normal-size projector to get its colours more or less right by tweaking all kinds of menu settings against a number of test pictures, from colour cards to 'real life' photos including landscapes, portraits, etc. (No, we don't have a calibration apparatus for LCD projectors--but that's another sad story.) And that was with a fairly new projector already in use, which had been installed by a professional seller and which the non-camera club users found quite alright and convincing as for its colour rendering.
I don't want to forget to mention that the battery time for projecting would be no more than one hour. Probably that's even quite a feat, technically--and more than enough for the slide shows you want to submit your family and friends to. Maybe they should have limited slide show duration to twenty minutes, for the sake of the family and friends ;-)
All in all, Nikon had a good idea, but I'm sceptical as to its practical use. I'll wait for the third generation of such cameras-cum-projector. At least the third generation.
"Every so often, you turn a corner and there it is--a great photograph." That is how Guardian photographer Eamonn McCabe summarised his fascination with (black & white) photography. He felt inspired by a book of the same title, Every so often, by another photographer, Raymond Moore. It's a matter of (quoting McCabe's column in August's Black+White Photography again): "just enjoying the process of looking". I agree, and whished I had a camera built into my eyes: you just click your fingers (that is an allusion to a recent song by Daniel Lohues, of course) and then it's stored in your memory. So even when I don't have a good camera with me, sometimes I just have to take that photograph--as this one, in the streets of Athens, in 2007. What did that junk do in the street? Why is the passer-by looking at it, or beyond it through the window? Never mind the technically bad quality of the photo, use that little old compact (as in this case) or even your phone's camera. Point and shoot--to keep wondering whenever you see the picture again about a moment you otherwise would have forgotten.
The book itself is still on sale in the main online bookstores (no advertisements by me; you can find your own).
It contains two spreads with a little bit of text and one to circa four photos from 38 photographers, ordered alphabetically. The photos are quite nice--'inspiring' in the not too far from true enthusiastic parlance of the Introduction--and the texts give a good impression of what it takes to be a good landscape photographer. Knowing your special corner of the world and a lot of persistence are among the key ingredients, so much is clear to me already after leafing through just a few of the photographers' little chapters.
It is only too noticeable that the book originally was published in 2003, before the digital revolution in photography. All photos are made on film (almost invariably Fuji, just a few on Kodak--I used to prefer the fuller Fuji colours, too). Of course, there still are many landscpae photographers who work on film, especially in the large cameras (4x5 inch, etc.). But many now also work digitally, and that is not found in this book. Besides, I would have liked more detailed technical information with the photos: what is the use of knowing the brand of camera or film, but not the aperture and shutter speed (plus ISO setting)? For instance, the trick of getting the 'glazed' smoothness of the sea in some photos depends on the shutter speed and then I'd like to learn if it takes 2, 20 or 200 seconds for getting that effect.
Annoying about the Dutch translation is that it was not done by a photographer, otherwise the translation of 'tripod' would not have been the literal 'driepoot' but the correct 'statief', for instance. So I found the book a gem with little flaws, but it will be useful on many rainy days for getting more inspiration!
The photo here is just a little illustration of landscape and nature photography 'learned young'. As my daughter had my DSLR, I took her picture with the small compact camera--good enough for the purpose. I tried to take care of some composition rules (object at 1/3), and felt aided by the S-curve in the park's path to suggest depth. What's the flaw in this little gem?
Info for other photographers: although this photo was made in subdued daylight (it was a cloudy day), I used a (normal set-up) flash to get the highlights. More importantly: the flash enabled using a short enough shutter speed to avoid blur due to the wind.
The magazine Vlinders of this month (3/09, the journal of the Dutch butterfly foundation—they also include working groups on dragonflies and the like) has an article on photographing dragonflies by Kim Huskens, from which I’d like to copy some of the many[!] sensible suggestions.
Apart from the usual arguments about technical pros and cons of DSLR’s versus compact cameras, they include some things specific to photographing insects and especially the fast-flying types, such as dragonflies.
Starting with flying fast: you need a camera that reacts very quickly, both when it comes to focussing and to the delay between pushing the button and the actual picture. Most of the time, DSLRs win out on these points from compacts. However, some of the newer ‘megazoom’ or ‘bridge’ cameras score very well on these points, too—Huskens does not mention those, and I admit I’m not aware of the state of the art either, but with 30+ pictures per second, or HD video options, you’d stand a good chance of capturing that dragonfly that the DSLR-amateur misses with ‘only’ 3-6 frames per second.
Another advantage of compact cameras lies in what often is a disadvantage: their small sensor. For that means they also have a large depth of field: you can make great pictures of insects in their environment and get a great view of the environment. Their disadvantage is of course that you cannot get that insect free from the optically disturbing background.
For the rest of this blog, I am thinking of a DSLR, because now we get to changing lenses). Often, you’ll have to get close to get the beast filling a good deal of the screen/viewfinder. With special tele-macro lenses, you don’t need to get that close; with a normal 50 or 90 mm you’d have to get within a couple of centimetres of the target and they do not often wait for that… Bumble bees may sometimes be slower, early in the day or when they are cold, so the secon picture was made with a 50mm macro lens (thanks to the crop factor, that was 75 mm equivalent on a full-frame (D)SLR). The pictures in Huskens’s article were made with, I suppose, the famous Sigma 2.8/150 lens (she does not say if it is the current 2.8 version). For me with my Minolta/Sony stuff, there is the Tamron 3.5/180, with the advantage of a bit longer focal range. High on my wish list, because getting a dragonfly filling the viewfinder in real is better than using my 100-300mm at around 1.5 meter and cropping afterwards (as I did in the first picture here).
Making the picture
With insect photography, there are a few special things to think about. When you get close, you must take care not to cast your own shadow in the photo. Apart from losing a few stops of light, you’d scare off the dragonfly before you can press the button. So keep the sun behind you (for getting the detail of the animal) but not straight behind. Don’t try backlight.
Walk slowly and keep your distance while circling to a good angle. Huskens advises to get low, so that you don’t seem so big and threatening.
For determining the dragonfly (if you can…): keep in parallel to the long body (not as in the third picture) so that it I sharp from front to tail. Often you need to see both the side and the top of the dragonfly’s body; sometimes you need two photos, then.
It helps to know the behaviour of the dragonfly: some families of dragonflies sit still quite a bit, others keep coming back to the same spot after short hunting flights, but there are also families that keep flying—obviously, those are the hardest.
Shoot first, ask later
‘Shoot first, ask later’ is one of my favourite one-liners when it comes to taking photos: when you see something promising, release the button as soon as you can, so that you have at least one memento of what you wanted to put in the picture. Only then begin to follow all the rules and tips to go for a good picture. Especially with dragonflies and the like, if you begin slowly, you may miss your one and only chance to get the beast at all.
It rained this morning, but after the rain the diffuse light filtering through the clouds showed all details of the plants in the garden to their utmost advantage. Subtle colours on the Phytolacca esculenta (pokeberry) are my sample picture of that. These weeks I find the pokeberries fascinating with their berries changing from green to blackish-red.
The raindrops on the leaves make the sights in the garden even better. Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle) is famous for the way it keeps drops of rainwater—or dew, for that matter—on its leaves for a long time. How come some kinds of plants do, and others don’t? No idea! But I do know another advantage of Lady’s mantle: it has short, stiff stems, so that the leaves do not move with every whiff of wind; I tried to take a picture of raindrops on fern leaves (to have something different than the eternal Lady’s mantle macros), but they would not hold still for long enough, even though there was just a tiny little bit of wind around the house.
But even in the DSLR I still could DO it. In my so-called smartphone, I quickly returned to the European time settings, because when I changed the time zone, the MS-Outlook app decided that all appointments would have to be adjusted as well, completely spoiling the carefully-planned dinner meeting to midday, interviews to the middle of the night... Why would it assume that I made appointments in my home time zone if they were for an intercontinental trip?
Well, to compensate for that bit of frustration about not so smart design, I'll add another picture of the hotel atrium--still with the wrong time zone in its data, if you care to look them up :-)
It all reminds me of a genteel version of Zion in the movie trilogy The Matrix. Even worse: aren't those closed doors and uninhabited galleries just like a prison? And another advantage of Zion over the hotel: it did not have such tacky colours in the carpets on the floors ;-)
Bumble bees may be among the slowest-flying insects, but it is not easy to catch them quite right! This weekend in the garden I tried, but the only reasonable photo is the one you see here. It takes a lot of practice, hi-speed photo bursts and still you need luck. Moreover, when concentrating on shooting the bumble bee, of course I forgot to "look around" my subject, so that now we have this distracting light-green blob of the day-lily's leaf in the background, precisely where it bothers most. And the so-called slow-moving bumble bee still was too fast a moving target for a sharp picture at 1/750th of a second. So much frustration hidden behind a photo that still is decent enough to dare and show it on the Web!
The second one, a dragonfly, is the sitting duck of this entry's title. A few minutes before, this dragonfly (or one that looked very much like it) laid eggs in the pond and I was too late to get the camera from the house. But tired of laying eggs, or just waiting for prey to fly by, it sat quietly on a reed and I could get close enough for a 'portrait'. Admittedly, I still had to crop the photo to avoid the 'Japanese flag' effect, because the tele-zoom has 1.5 meter as its minimum distance.
It was quite nice to do, but the real fun started when I was busy quickly converting the photographed portraits to black-and-white and printing them (I love working with Lightroom!). For then my daughter got hold of my camera and started making modern portraits of her friends! They had gotten the message about differences between then and now, and they had fun taking pictures and modelling. Perhaps that fun with photos shoots was an even more important result than my portraits rolling out of the printer.
This time's picture is a slide from the presentation I made. You won't get to see portraits of children whose parents did not get a chance to agree to their pictures being published.
That's a point about so-called rules of composition: you have to adhere to most of them to avoid mistakes in your photo, but you must know when to break one of them to make a truly good shot.
By the way, I wonder if the title of the photo was really true: maybe the leopard was just looking for food, or was frightened through hearing a pride of lions roaring, rather than being on the lookout for a mate, but it is a nice title that adds to the picture's meaning--it makes the animal more symphatetic to human viewers, and if that's what gives you a prize, why not?
At a third level of meaning--if you want to go that far--the colour photo is a symbol of the transience of life, precisely because it refers more clearly than the black-and-white version to the seedhead itself. For the seedhead is destined to let go of the seeds at the first wisp of wind, of course.
The second photo here was not quite as good as the first one (in my eyes) for technical reasons: it lacks depth-of-field in the centre. But it help illustrate the point: this one, although also a close-up and also playing with the star-form patterns, is obviously a dandelion even in black-and-white and does not lose its layers of meaning by the reduction of colour to black-and-white.
By the way, you can see I am influenced by having begun to read a book I just bought: Jeffrey, Ian. 2008. How to Read a Photograph: Understanding, Interpreting and Enjoying the Great Photographers. London: Thames & Hudson. He finds so much more meaning in "simple" pictures, that you almost start to think your own photos have meaning(s), too ;-)
Cooliris is only a browser, so it cannot replace your Irfanview, which has conversion and archiving options (to name just a few), let alone Lightroom. But it is so fast & cool-looking!
It took a lot of hassle to get it going--whether that be my incompetence or the complexity of the chain of software...
First, you must find out that you need Lightroom's "Plug-in Manager" (lower-left corner of the LR export menu screen, see the image right here) to install the thing.
Then, you have to find out that the plug-in does not automatically show in the export menu, but has a separate "header" (see the upper-right part of the picture).
Third hurdle: it takes some figuring out when exactly to log onto your Flickr account: before you start the export, in order to get the authentication process right.
It took me quite a number of tries, I admit, but when all is right, things go quite smoothly and it runs as smooth as a well-oiled bicycle. No more hurdles: the photos are online! It really is a shortcut now, from LR to my photo stream on Flickr in one go.
And at the same time my 6-week trial period is over... OK, I feel ready to register now (though that is not quite for free; the plug-in is "donation ware" or restricted to 10 photos at a time. Take your pick!).
Still, I'm not dissatisfied with this snapshot, the more so as it was taken with the 'second camera', the Panasonix Lumix TZ5, and without a tripod. Not bad at all, this little compact camera! But that's something I said before, too ;-)
Yet even without such strange thoughts, they remain irresistible objects for photos, every spring again! The backlight made them even better. Enjoy your weekend, whether it be in spring as in our neck of the woods, or whatever is your season (this might be read in the southern hemisphere, after all).
This time, the trip had its nice, touristy moments: we had some time to enjoy the panoramas of the city. Can you spot the post-processing, apart from the obvious cropping? I guess you can: in both cases I made the sky more 'dramatic' by reducing the exposure locally by about one stop. Of course I tried to make the effect as much as possible look as if I had used a graded neutral density filter.
By the way, these pictures were taken with a normal compact camera (it is not worthwhile carrying the DSLR for those few photo occasions). I am quite satisfied with the results of the Lumix TZ-5: good colour rendition, good resolution. Too bad it's all in Jpeg, though.