How to Reduce Smoke or Fog in Photos

Ooky Spooky album cover
Image via Wikipedia

Voltaire is an awesome performer. I booked him before just to hear Ooky Spooky before it came out. At the time, he had very few good promotional photos.

When he came back to Pittsburgh with Hellbikini two blocks from my house, I went to take photos of Voltaire for Creative Commons, thus fixing the problem. I would have stayed for the entire show, except Derek Zanetti, Otis Wolves, Shady Ave and I would later have the cops called for being too Rockimus Prime at 1am.

Original Image

The Rex Theatre in Pittsburgh is horrible for photography. A fog machine makes it even worse. I know fog machines are goth… or punk… or raver-ific… and they’re just annoying.

Before you use a fog machine, please consider the following:

  1. You will breathe better without one.
  2. Fog machines and smoke ruin pictures.
  3. People can actually see you without one. (Might not be a good thing.)

How to Reduce Smoke or Fog in Photography

Photoshopped (1) :: Onone Phototune 3, Aperture

Decrease brightness. Increase Contrast. In Phototune, add ~ 20 to clarity and punch. Back in Photoshop or Aperture, you will lower the saturation around 5%.

Photoshopped (2) :: Silver Efex Pro, Photoshop

Dark is goth. Real goth. Essentially, you’re going to desaturated the image. I used Silver Efex Pro to make the image pop by controlling different areas independently.

Remember kids, smoking isn’t goth unless it’s with cloves.

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G20 Summit Twitter Wordmap

Wordmap of @iwasaround on Twitter during the G20 Summit

Dear G20,

The world is in financial trouble. Everyone agrees you should meet and we hope for the best out of this and the other conferences. Protesters shouldn’t discourage you, they are the disenfranchised of your recent failures. Consider them the muse of real policy change.

In the realm of myth, you are the Tower of Babylon. The world’s power structure met in the center of an unlikely city. A few hundred years ago, I would have been riding a horse towards your tower. Decades ago, a car would have closed that same distance. Today, I ride a bicycle to joust our mutual windmills of economic and climate struggles.

Embarrassingly, you wasted millions on security at peaceful protests. Any damage caused fails to compare to the Pittsburgh Steelers Riot earlier that year. You turned your own fear outward with the LRAD and officers that lined the streets. The teargas did not cause my tears, watching the batons strike innocent students did.

I saw what you did in Oakland that night, I Was Around.


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RAIN, RAIN, Go Away: Government’s New Anti-Protest Device Exposed

Radical Anti-Insurgency Network (RAIN)
Radical Anti-Insurgency Network (RAIN) Control Panel.

The Secret Service in a press release today announced its new weapon against protesters codenamed the Radical Anti-Insurgency Network (RAIN).  Its primary function according to the release is, “[…] enhancement of patterns in troposphere,” affecting what is commonly known as “weather”. RAIN was recently put online in Pittsburgh, PA in lieu of more traditional anti-protester tools for the G20 Summit hosted this week.

With weather forecast calling for rain throughout most if not all the G20, the Secret Service is pleased with their results. They claim the rainy weather will significantly reduce protester attendance and incidents. So far it seems to be working.

“Seattle was chosen for the 1999 WTO Conference based on its weather,” a spokesman for the Secret Service stated. “Rain was something the city New York couldn’t guarantee. Nevertheless, we were substantially let down.”

Government WarehouseThe “RAIN” Device, according to the press release, was discovered in late 1944 as Allied Forces advanced. It was one of the many items of interest the Nazi High-Command was forced to leave behind in retreat. Eventually, it was shipped over to the United States where it languished for 64 years in a government warehouse in Nevada.

Earlier this year The Device was taken out of storage with the announcement that Pittsburgh, PA would host the G20 Summit. Although world-renowned for its dismal weather, the experience in Seattle made veteran Secret Service officers unwilling to rely on Pittsburgh to provide the climate they felt optimal. It made its cross-country journey under the utmost secrecy. In mid-August it arrived at it’s temporary home below the Carnegie Science Center.

Key attunement of The Device began several weeks ago causing some of the clearest skies Pittsburgh has ever seen. “I‘m furious.” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced, “Pittsburgh is famous for rolling grey sky, not sunshine.”

When interviewed, local business owners were shocked, “It’s not right. It goes against Gaia’s Design.” Stated the owner of the East Carson Street Psychic Shop.  Others stopped interviews only to start boarding up store-front windows for fear that RAIN may lead to more destructive weather patterns.

When asked, government officials refused further comment on the story.


According to confidential sources that commented on condition of anonymity, citing the highly-classified nature of the program, despite concerted efforts to ensure The Device created severely inclement conditions, making it all but impossible for anyone to remain outdoors for longer than a few moments, power fluctuations due to blown transformers in the poorly-maintained local power grid caused the device to apparently fail to function at full capacity, creating only a mild drizzle. Nevertheless, the discomfort created by The Device appears to have accomplished the government’s aims, keeping the formerly adamant demonstrators indoors, bringing all major protest to a grinding halt.

*This is satire for those who didn’t get it.

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August Wilson Center Prepares for Opening

VP Jeff Anderson Showing ExhibitsPittsburgh, PA received major renovation this year following the victories of it’s Steelers, Penguins and announcement of its selection for the G20 Summit. The town is bustling with renewal and preparations.

Outside the Postal Service is removing mailboxes from city streets. Another contractor is welding sewer covers closed. Yet inside is a more frantic story. Last minute items are being serviced for the grand opening of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

Last Minute Construction at the August Wilson Center

The $39.5 million living museum will officially open tomorrow and African American architect Allison Williams’ design will be actualized. Though filled with contractors now, the 65,000 square-foot complex will house a 486-seat theatre, classrooms, café, gift shop and rental space.

The center was named in honor of playwright August Wilson who passed away in 2005. Wilson, a Pittsburgh native, received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for The Pittsburgh Cycle.

Tomorrow’s tribute and ceremony will run 5pm to midnight.

Live Coverage can be followed via @iwasaround on Twitter.

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Taking Things in a New Direction

I’ve been neglecting this blog.

It isn’t because the content isn’t there. I have tons of notes and private posts. Photos documenting where I’ve been since April. Artists have come through the house. Skatopia is in full swing coordinating with over 100 bands. I have met wonderful and amazing people.

The format isn’t working. I haven’t liked it. It’s time to kill it.

I will be trying to blog more about random things and stuff now. I will be trying to toss anything and everything out there. Might as well backlog some content first.

Why is it Foo Presents?

bowl-bash-xiv-print-smallI received an message from an avid Camp Sleezy Skater today. While full of opinions, grammatically wrong and slang filled, he did bring up a good question. Here is my public reply to him:

Why is it Foo Presents?

  1. This is how professionals do it, dumbass.

    A Flyer Includes: Promoter, Venue, Sound, and Stage Management. I do 3 out of 4 of those things. I also get the praise or blame for the musical taste.

  2. When I tell someone to get on or off stage and they ask, “Who the hell are you?” I will point at the poster and say, “It’s my show shut up and do what I tell you.”

  3. Brewce is okay with it. And if you want to tell Brewce what to do, please wait until I get down there because I want to watch this.

Further, Foo presents” takes up 2.7% of the pixel area of the poster. That cannot begin to compensate me or anyone for the love and devotion put into this show. Brewce deserves more, the bands deserve more, everyone does. If you don’t think we deserve it, then don’t attend.

How I Know I’m Sick: Captcha Fail Rate

Something witty
Grasshopper: Before you master the Captcha, you must first Recognize the "Angles".

My throat is silently yelling today. If I could hear it, it would say, “Jogging in Pittsburgh after two months in the Mountains was stupid.” I feel the punishment.

The smoke from last night’s Elise’s Playground show didn’t help at all. Belvedere’s share’s the smoker’s fog with the late Upstage. My morning sit up’s translated to hunger pangs. Now, I’m here having Irish Tea listening to the Last Internationale.

As I try to relax, I start captching up on my Social Media accounts. Captcha’s are a rough fate for social networking. I breeze through them quickly, except for today. I’ve fail 1 in 10 captcha’s. How Lame. To think, it’s just a bunch of distorted letters and on average 7-8 key strokes. Yet being sick, I am unable to efficiently do them. I should just get a cellphone and do the “No More Captcha” plan. Possibly pay a third world national to enter them. Wait! There is a hypothesis in this.

Hypothesis: Captcha fail/success rates are correlated to illness.
Instead of labeling someone as a spammer, Myspace should start saying, “We’ve notice you’ve been failing captcha’s pretty regularly. Please seek medical attention.”

I am seeing a doctor tomorrow.

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I Love Mein Job!

Jesus is alive, and punk isn't dead.
If Jesus were alive, he'd be a zombie. Whose Brain Would Jesus Eat - WBWJE.

I’ve been too easy at bands coming to Skatopia’s Bowl Bash this year. It’s time to raise the stakes.


You’ve chosen wisely. Our dark lord Skatin welcomes you. Talking to Jesus may be a dollar, but Skatin will never turn you away.

He does require tribute:
1. We require a case of PBR. (For your Safety)
2. A Van full of strippers. (For our Safety)
3. Punk Rock. (For the harm of society)

If you think you’re up to it, let’s details.


I love mein Job.

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