The Great Room at Hearst

Yet another Book Contest!

Michael over at PetaPixel (he is a good Tweeter – I rewet a lot of his stuff @PetaPixel) is running a contest to give away the book. Head over there to see how to enter! :)

Continue Discovering New Photographers and Artists!

Be sure to look at the Smugmug Portfolio Contest to see some of the nice entries there. I think you will see some stuff that appeals to you… and it will be a good way to discover some new photographers!

The Great Room at Hearst

I was able to get up through a somewhat secret door into the upper area of this room. It was a little sketchy up there with a sharp dropoff, so I had to keep my wits about me!

The greatest challenge at Hearst is getting set up, composing, and executing all the shots before the next wave of tourists come through. I was usually able to get this done, and there was always a gentle pressure to shoot fast and then move on! One time, however, I just could not finish in time.

They strode in and began randomly shooting away. I think it is so interesting (and somewhat depressing) to watch how tourists take pictures. Really, they are just “documenting” and “collecting”. Why? This is an interesting question! These people are not dumb or vapid… They are not doing it because everyone else is doing it. But I do think people like to softly record their lives. They do the best they can, and I guess that is okay. I do get flummoxed that people don’t go out of their way to take “better” pictures. They seem satisfied with lackluster, predictable, “scientific-documentary” shots that are just not interesting. Not that every photo has to be a work of art, but why not try a little? Why not do a few things here and there to improve your personal photography. It’s not that hard to improve, and anyone can improve! I suppose I just get bummed out that people don’t even try to improve… they just expect and then become satisfied with mediocrity.

Also at Hearst there is a “no flash” rule. Thank goodness! Of course, they do it to protect the works of art there, but I am happy that people do not use their flash because I normally see people do it in silly conditions. As far as I know, this “no flash” in Hearst Castle (and other museums) is a good policy. I always hear that flashes can damage paintings and whatnot — is this scientifically true? Maybe it is. I know if you leave art in bright light all day that it can become discolored… but are a bunch of instantaneous flashes the same thing? I don’t know… I’d love to see a full study on it if anyone has a link. As with all things, the policy certainly sounds solid, but I am skeptical about “common wisdom”.

Personally, I would institute a “no Dumb Use of Flash” rule, which would tell people not to use their flash to take photos of things that are over 15 feet away. Like, for example, did you see the opening ceremonies of the Olympics? Thousands and thousands of clueless people using their flashes! Aren’t any of those thousands of people somewhat curious — wondering if the flash actually does anything? Or maybe this mass flash-delusion is only negatively reinforced by seeing all the other flashes going off? I don’t know…. but it is interesting to think about.

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Google Buzz is Live! Share your address, and a new photo of Hearst Castle to celebrate!

Google Buzz is great for photography and friends!

Follow me on Google Buzz here. And, if you are a Photographer, come add a sample photo to this Buzz Thread – so that people can follow you too if they like what they see!  For the first photo I released on Buzz, I decided to add a brand new unpublished work of boats at sunset at the Portofino Hotel.

Here is why Google Buzz is great for photography and conversation and friends:

  • The photos go Full Screen and can be viewed in their proper glory
  • I get to see people’s photos as soon as they go up and scroll through them in a nice lightbox
  • It’s very simple and built right into the GMail interface
  • Conversations are real-time and it has all the “fun” of a chat room without the pressure

What do you think about Google Buzz?

Book Giveaway on Abudzeedo!

The editors over at Abduzeedo (who, by the way, attended my talk at the Google HQ) launched a book contest to give away a free copy of “A World in HDR“.  Even before I mentioned it, there are already over 300 entries, so pop over there and leave a quick comment to enter.  Easy and fast!

Daily Photo – So Many Wonderful Things at Hearst, So Little Time

Hearst Castle is indeed one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s just a trafficless hour north of LA, but it seems a world apart. It worked out as a perfect stopping-point for my little road trip from Hans Zimmer to Google!

I grabbed a lot of photos of this pool. And I mean a lot. I had great trouble in choosing the “best”, and there are many winners that I will be sure to include in coming weeks, months, and years!

I wonder if WF Hearst ever had one of those crazy house parties with rap video girls dancing and grinding all around the edges of the pool? I can’t imagine college girls doing jello shots and big floatees that have beer-holders. This is all just a tad too classy for that…

So Many Wonderful Things at Hearst, So Little Time

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The Gothic Study – The Private Library of William Randolph Hearst

Stanford Walk

I’ll meet you all at The Oval on Thursday at 4 PM. There is ONE bit of bad news. There was going to be a talk afterward at 5:30 PM, but it looks like the auditorium at Stanford fell through. This was a surprise to me too – so, my apologies… however, the walk is still on and I look forward to meeting y’all.

As a bonus, I’ll be giving away a lot of Smugmug goodies! So be sure to come with room to take home something special!

Topaz Detail Review

Topaz Detail just upgraded their cool software. I have written a quick Topaz Detail Review, which I will add to more in coming weeks. It’s a really nice and fun program – I invite you to check it out!

Daily Photo – The Gothic Study

Note this is the “small” library. I’ll post the main library in a few weeks!

As always, you can zoom in to see the details by clicking through. The details are quite incredible, and I am sure you will delight in seeing the closeups of the hand-carved wooden arches and the painted Spanish ceilings… it was all amazing! If you look closely at the full res version towards the middle, you can see a portrait of WR Hearst when he was 31-years-old.

The Gothic Study - The Private Library of William Randolph Hearst

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The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle

See you all today at Google!

I’m excited to meet a lot of my Google friends in person!  The talk is today, and I’ve got everything ready for it.  For reference, here are a few links I will mention during the talk:

  • HDR Tutorial – Free tutorial here on the site – you’ll be up and running with a pretty pic in an hour!
  • Jill Bolte Taylor – about the Right and Left Brain on TED
  • HDR Spotting – a site with the Attention Distribution Engine to drive more traffic to other HDR Artists sites (still in beta – you have to get an invite code from existing member)
  • Textures Tutorial - The textures and a video showing how I got those textured-photos
  • Videos – A collection of free videos showing how I take HDR Photos in the field…
  • Twitter and Human Evolution – A longer treatise on what it suggests…

Daily Photo – The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle

I mentioned yesterday that I was able to get a private tour throughout Hearst. It was a long and great day! Thank goodness I had a mass of memory cards… I got so much footage it was crazy!

I could have picked a bunch of shots to be the “first”, but I thought this one was particularly wonderful. There are two enormous pools at Hearst Castle, and this is the indoor one. This is a nice vantage point because this spot is actually quite difficult to reach! There is no door behind me… so I had to “shimmy” along that edge you see… It was NARROW… the shimmy was like a video game, except while holding a $10,000 camera! Sketchy! But I just had to get over here because I could visualize the shot before it happened…

Here’s a cool fact about this pool. Nearby, there is a huge room that was intended for a gymnasium that Hearst never constructed. The State then made it usable for IT and Archive area, so the water cools the computers… wild, eh?

The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle

The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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