Sunday, January 30, 2011


Integument - view 2, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Redwood burl, 5.75 X 4.5 inches; turned, carved and sandblasted. This is heading to AAW for the POP exhibit, "Roots," which will be on display at AAW headquarters through the 25th anniversary symposium this summere.

The inspiration for this piece comes from scanning electron micrographs of the seed of Castilleja, a hemiparasitic plant in Orobanchaceae. The outer wall of the seed coat collapses in the mature seed, leaving deep cells that surround the inner seed coat.

I spent a few years as a graduate student learning how to be a SEM jockey. I always enjoyed the surprises that emerged on the screen when looking at seeds and pollen grains at high magnification.

Here are some additional views:

Integument - view 1

Integument - view 3

Integument - view 4

Integument - view 5

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cape Town Sunset

Cape Town Sunset, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Another photo from Green Point in Cape Town. The sky was so vibrant during this particular sunset. As I recall, I had to lie on my stomach to take this photo from under the rail of the sea wall. Ruined my favorite pair of jeans this evening, but I did get some nice images from the site.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Green point lighthouse at sunset

An alternative title would be: Learning to use Photoshop CS5. This is the second photo I've processed entirely using the CS5 package. I usually process RAW files in Aperture and with the Nik Software plug-ins. This combination usually works very well and is super fasts for processing "easy" images.

This photo was pretty difficult in terms of contrasts between the foreground and background. I've found that Adobe Camera Raw does a much better job of processing the RAW file to bring out the best of the pixels. However, saving the processed "negative" as a TIFF and bringing that into Aperture is a huge storage hog, tripling the size of the file compared to the RAW one.

So, instead of bringing this image into Aperture, I did the processing in Photoshop. It takes longer, but I'm pretty happy with the results. The key is to make the masks accurately. I've learned a lot about obtaining and refining selections for building masks over the past week as I've been struggling to learn how Photoshop works. It's much more complicated than how I usually process images, but the control of where an adjustment is placed is so much better -IF the mask is made well. I bumped the magnification up to 1200X to make sure I masked the edges accurately. Time consuming, for sure, but the effort was worth it, I think.

I don't expect that I will ever sell this image, but, as a learning exercise, it was time well spent.

Image added 19 Jan 2011:

Green Point Lighthouse at Sunset; seaward side

This is a photo of the lighthouse from the seaward side. That's where the light shines. The street side is blocked off, probably to keep the condominium owners happy.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Hanging around

Hanging around, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

This is a street photo I took while in South Africa October 2, 2010. I was on an excursion to Cape Point with Dennis and Gigi Laidler. Trent Bosch and his family were in Cape Town after the AWSA symposium and the Laidlers were taking them to see the sights around the Cape Peninsula on this lovely Saturday morning.

I was in the back seat of a Land Rover when we rolled up to a stop light. This young man was hanging out, watching the traffic roll by whilst casually eating an apple.

The photo was a bit underexposed and so I did a faux HDR treatment, bringing the exposure up by a stop or more and then stacking the two photos together to process in a Nik Software plug-in: HDR Efex Pro. I had not used this software before, but really enjoyed exploring all of the settings. This is my rendition of that captured moment in time.

I like the square crop on this image. The subject is positioned well for looking into the street, and seems totally at ease with the world. The taxi cab stopped in the frame of the glass door, stating where the photo was taken - Fish Hoek. The red phone box draws the eye into the center of the frame and the pedestrian crossing sign completes that line.

The processing gives the image a feel of being a watercolor. Digital photography has so much leeway for digital darkroom processing, which appeals to me. I don't think every photographic image needs to "look" like a photograph.