Tag Archives: man

The Place To Be

The Place To Be

Brian Auer | 02/09/2008 | La Jolla, CA | 19mm * f/4.5 * 1/400s * ISO100
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This shot was taken during the La Jolla photowalk in early February. At the time, I found the scene to be very interesting — the hut, the birds, the people, and the ocean in the background really seemed to work together in this candid shot. I kept things fairly well centered because of the strong symmetry already present in the hut. The Birds and the people served to break up that symmetry in isolated areas, so I didn’t feel I needed to break it up even more. Lucky for me, I also left some extra room at the top of the frame, which served as a nice backdrop for some heavy vignette.

The Place To Be Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. It could probably work as a color image too, but I wanted to go colorless.
  2. Black & White Conversion
    Before doing anything, I switched to grayscale. I pushed the red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua to negative compensation while the blues, purples and magentas were pushed in the positive direction.
  3. Basic Adjustments
    I left the white balance set at a temperature of 5800 and a tint of +3. I left the exposure, recovery, and clarity set to zero, while I boosted the fill light to 46, bumped the blacks up to 36, dropped the brightness to 16, and pushed up the contrast to 52.
  4. Tone Curve Adjustment
    Using the parametric tone curve, I set the highlights to +41, lights to +39, darks to -44, and shadows to -76. This gave me the strong contrast I was after, and I actually pushed a bunch of the highlights and shadows off the histogram.
  5. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the lens correction menu, I set the vignette to an amount of -76 with a midpoint of 19 — and this gave me the strong frame around the hut while filling in some of that sky. As a last step, I set the sharpening under the detail menu to an amount of 50 with a radius of 1.5 pixels.


December Challenge: Day 26 – Daniel Devenport

Daniel Devenport

Daniel is a street performer (card magician) I encountered on Hollywood Blvd at the recent photowalk. I stopped to take a few shots of him, and he started giving me a hard time about it (as shown in this photo). I believe his words were "Sir, you’re not being sneaky. I can see you taking pictures.” So I walked over to him to show him the shots and I told him I’d make him a star.

After that, we ended up having quite a conversation for about 15 or 20 minutes on various topics. I got the impression that he’d been to many places across the country including New York and Hawaii.

The most interesting topic of our conversation was his observations on how the weather effects the people on the streets. He said you can actually see a change in the way people act and react to things when the temperature changes or the wind picks up. I suppose that with a job such as his, you’d have plenty of time to analyze society as it passes you by on the sidewalk.

All in all, Daniel was a really nice guy and a great conversationalist. He seemed to be happy with his job, and his character suits it quite well. I think he’s on MySpace, but I’m not certain that it’s him. Here are a few other photos of him in action.

Pick a Card, Any CardCome and Get ItWorking the CharmIs This Your Card?Fun For all AgesPleasing the Crowds

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 25 – William Auer

William Auer

This is my Grandpa Bill. Truthfully, I don’t even know how old he is (my Mom just informed me that he’s 75). You wouldn’t know it by watching him get around and take care of everything himself. He’s had both knees completely replaced, he’s got really bad arthritis in his wrists, and I think his back is starting to give him problems. And yet… he plays with my kids, builds camp fires, shoots guns, and travels frequently to other countries. Just this last year, him and my Dad went to Taiwan and Borneo and hiked all around the mountains for days on end (my Dad said he had a hard time keeping up sometimes).

Aside from his brutal stubbornness to do everything for himself, he’s got to be one of the nicest and sweetest men I know. He lives just a few miles up the road from us, and he’s always more than accommodating to have us over for dinner and whatnot. The kids love him to pieces and they get so excited to go to his house.

He was also a Marine, he likes guns, he like swords, and he likes all things of the Asian culture. In this photo, he was looking back through one of his yearbooks (I think from his days at the academy). The late afternoon sun was shining through the windows across the room and he lit up like a Christmas tree. Here are some other photos from our little family get-together on Christmas day.

The Guys I Grew Up WithSanta's GiftThe Big KidHoliday BeerThe Vest GirlsBe Afraid... Be Very Afraid

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 24 – Captain Barbossa

Captain Barbosa

Yes, it’s true. Tonight I photographed the infamous Captain Barbossa of the Black Pearl… actually, that’s just what his name tag said. His real name is Ian, and he works over at the Blockbuster in Del Mar Heights. I swear, every time I go in there he ends up helping me check-out, but we’ve never said more than two words to each other. Well, I guess even after talking to him a little about the December Challenge project, I still didn’t talk to him much on a personal level. He’s a really quiet guy (meaning that he doesn’t say much), but when he does talk he’s got this booming deep voice that kind of catches you off guard.

Oh well, maybe I’ll talk to him more next time… I know where he works.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 23 – Dino


I encountered Dino at a local gas station in Del Mar Heights late this evening. I was topping off the truck and I still needed a photo for the December Challenge, so I figured who would be safer to approach at a dark gas station at almost midnight than the security guy? I let him know about the project and he happily agreed to a photo.

Dino is originally from Romania, and he currently works as a security officer. He’s been in the business for the last 27 years and he says he loves his job. It also turns out that Dino is a bit of a photographer himself. He’s got a Canon dSLR that he typically shoots with, but he also has a few really neat cameras that his parents left him. One is an older Hasseblad, and the other is a Leica rangefinder that his Mother picked up in 1936 (I’m guessing it’s a Leica II). He said that the Leica is still in near perfect condition and he uses it from time to time.

We talked about so many things in front of that gas station for about 45 minutes — I’ll bet he’s got a ton of other stories and life-lessons to share. He had all kinds of stuff to talk about… lived in New York, retired from the army, four kids (I’m pretty sure on that number anyway). But the biggest thing I got from him was that he really enjoyed his job and he loved to talk about his experiences with it.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 22 – Matt


I was trying to think of an interesting place to get a portrait for the day, and I ended up at the grocery store in the produce section. I figured the colorful fruits and vegetables would make for a nice background. Well, when I got there the place was pretty much dead — not many shoppers, especially in the produce area. There was, however, an employee stocking the bananas.

Matt is an X-Ray Technician student at San Diego Mesa College, and he works over at the local grocery store when he’s not in class. He also spends his free time surfing the local beaches. Interestingly enough, Matt is a native San Diegan — born and raised down here. And after being here for nearly half a year myself, I’m not surprised he’s decided to stick around.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 21 – Drew Verkade

Drew Verkade

Drew is another member of the Quartus team (in case you couldn’t tell by photo), but more specifically he’s my direct manager — the boss-man. Drew is a cool guy and he’s really easy to get along with at work and outside of work. He has a great ability to be friendly as a peer, yet provide guidance as a knowledgeable superior. And, as with all of the Quartus management team, Drew is a skilled engineer who not only manages projects but works on them side-by-side with his engineers.

In his free-time, Drew likes doing things such as hiking, camping, fishing, shooting guns, etc — you know, the outdoorsy type of stuff. I recently learned that he was a bit of a photography enthusiast back in the day. Apparently he’s got a small collection of Nikon 35mm film equipment along with some medium format stuff. He’s been ignoring his cameras for a few years, so I now have the personal goal of getting him back into it.

This photo was taken from inside of our main conference room. The background is a frosted glass wall with the Quartus logo as clear glass. The logo actually faces outward, so in this photo it was backwards. I flipped the image so it would read normally. The mouse on the table also gives it away (it’s now a left-handed mouse).

Oh yeah, Drew also wanted me to note that he doesn’t usually look this grizzly — it was the Friday before the winter holidays so you’ll have to give him a break.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 20 – Carlos


Carlos works over at one of the gas stations near my house. I didn’t know him before tonight, but I’ve encountered him on occasion. I waited until it was pretty late so I could get a little bit of time in there without interrupting the flow of customers at the counter. He was a seemed a little confused by me walking in with my camera and asking “Can I take your picture?”, but he was cool with it.

Carlos seems real down to earth, and he’s very soft spoken — seems like a nice guy all around. When he’s not working at the gas station, he’s working a second job. And when he’s not working (or sleeping between the jobs), he likes to play the guitar. Well Carlos, if you find the time to check out my website, thanks for being a good sport about having your photo taken while you were at work!

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 19 – Robert Lawson

Robert Lawson

Robert is one of the Engineering Managers at Quartus Engineering, where I work as a mechanical engineer. He’s not my manager though — he works on the analysis side of the business (the dark side), whereas I work on the design side. That’s OK, I still like him. He was also involved with the Formula SAE program in college (as was I), and he still has a bit of an infatuation with fast cars and auto racing. Here are some FSAE event photos from 2004 (which is the last one I actually participated in).

I took this photo pretty much from the vantage point of my desk just outside of Robert’s office. I noticed that his window acted as a decent mirror after it got dark outside, so I asked him if I could take his photo. He said “Sure, what do I do?” I says “Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t mind me.” So this is what Robert does for about 50% of is day, and the other 50% is spent talking on the phone with customers and whatnot.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.