San Antonio, Texas in HDR

Any city in HDR is always great.  Night or day!  Of course day shots need some clouds…if possible.  I posted this same shot on Dec 29th as a nite view.   This was the early AM shot from my Hilton hotel balcony.     San Antonio is a great little city thanks to the Riverwalk.  Right below the trees on the left is the Riverwalk…covered nicely!  I need to get back soon and visit more of the San Antonio Missions that are just about 5-10 minutes from downtown.  I will then be on a HDR mission trail!

I just returned from Florida and visited Tampa, St. Augustine, Disney and the Daytona 500.  Will get some pics up in a few days!  And I just received a nice package from Nikon…the 70-200 f/2.8 VR (first version).  I hope to have my first video review up for this lens soon!  I have rented and used it a few times, just an amazing lens.  More details to come!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/16
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust

Yosemite National Park (Infrared)

Here is another Infrared shot from Yosemite at a location called Tunnel View.   It seems that black & white and Yosemite go hand in hand.   Just a wonderful amount of tonal variance indeed…thanks Ansel Adams!    This is one magical place!!   I had no idea that IR snow scenes would be so perfect!   I must shoot more in this weather…but it will be tough as I live in Texas.   Not much snow in Austin.  I sure hope I can return to Yosemite in the late spring??  Just to dream….greenery and flowers along with such mountainous beauty  = one of mother nature’s top creations in the world!!  I was told that late May early June is the best time to visit Yosemite.

Since my return I have been reading up on this location.  Something I do often if I visit a spot for the first time and plan to return.  I found a cute little Photo Guide Book…. The Photographers Guide to Yosemite by Michael Frye…click on it to take you to the Amazon link.  Only $9.95.   I’ll also study more Ansel photos as well.  I try to compare what I took for the first run and see what I can do to improve my shots for the next time…or even scout other great locations.   I just love the endless possibilities photography can offer!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D70S (Converted to Infrared)
  • Infrared Conversion:  D70S modified by LifePixel
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 19.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:   1/100
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Silver Efex Pro

Springtime Flower

It has been a long winter and I see lots of snow has been everywhere in the world.  Let’s brighten things up with a nice springtime flower!   Only in the past few weeks I have learned to add textures to photos….a  nice flower with an added texture is wonderful!  Like a painting.    Hopefully spring will be here soon!  I am eager to use my macro lens again!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 105 VR F/2.8 (Macro Lens)
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 105.0mm
  • ISO: 1400
  • Exposure:  1/8000
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

San Francisco, CA – Amazing Grace (HDR)

It is photos like this that make HDR a favorite of mine.  There are certain subject like interiors of Cathedrals/Churches that make HDR’s stand out.  I know there are HDR nay-sayers, but how can you dislike what HDR does to a scene like this?

Grace Cathedral is a lovely small Cathedral that sits above Nob Hill in San Francisco.  I had about an hour here and took quiet a few shots.  This one became an instant favorite of mine!   I took a few straight on fisheye’s and liked em, then this one popped out and the angle creates a wonderful feeling!  What is great about this Cathedral is that I had my tripod all over the place and not one person asked me not to use it!   So I snapped away!   I am not sure of the history of Cathedrals, but there are quite a few I have seen that look very similar from the outside.  Notre Dame, San Fernando, Grace Cathedral and I am sure many more!   I’ll post this outside view soon!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 13.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/11
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Viveza

Rome, Italy – Colosseum Archway

A few year back maybe most of us watched the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe.   The Colosseum must have been a spectacle to see back in the days!   Here is a view while walking into the arena.  You can see some tourists in the background to give you a size reference.   They said 50,000 people could fill the arena.  An amazing feat of engineering and beauty!   These days we only see a small percent of what was back in the day.   I enjoyed the tour and the incredible views.

Info from the web: The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows as well as a variety of other events. The shows, called munera, were always given by private individuals rather than the state. They had a strong religious element but were also demonstrations of power and family prestige, and were immensely popular with the population. Another popular type of show was the animal hunt, or venatio. This utilized a great variety of wild beasts, mainly imported from Africa and the Middle East, and included creatures such as rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, giraffes, aurochs, wisents, barbary lions, panthers, leopards, bears, caspian tigers, crocodiles and ostriches. Battles and hunts were often staged amid elaborate sets with movable trees and buildings. Such events were occasionally on a huge scale; Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days.

Rome is a must visit in one’s lifetime.  With the Colosseum and the Vatican…thats a few days well spent right there!  Ciao!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 29.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/8
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Color Efex Pro (Tonal Contrast)

Pittsburgh, PA – Franco Harris (HDR)

Football season is now over and congrats to the New Orleans Saints on winning the Super Bowl!    A great game and a new champion in 2010!   They have taken the throne away from the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers.   If you ever travel into or out of Pittsburgh, PA via the airport, you will find this great replica of Franco Harris (of the Pittsburgh Steelers).  The statue is in honor of the Immaculate Reception.

Some info from the web:   The Immaculate Reception is the nickname given to one of the most famous plays in the history of American football. It occurred in the AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1972. Late in the game, after Frenchy Fuqua, a Pittsburgh half back, collided with Raiders Safety Jack Tatum as he tried to make a catch, Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris caught the deflected football just before it hit the ground, and ran in for a touchdown that won the game for the Steelers.  NFL Films has chosen it as the greatest play of all time, as well as the most controversial. The play was a turning point for the Steelers, who reversed four decades of futility with their first playoff win ever, and went on to win four Super Bowls by the end of the decade.

I will hopefully be back in the Burgh in the summer….see you then Franco!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 31.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix

Athens, Greece – Parthenon

While in Greece a bit ago…we traveled up to the Acropolis and my dream was to see the Parthenon.  I have posted about this in the past…I was saddened by the fact it was under a ten year refurbishing project.  Does 10 year really mean 10 years or will it take more time to refurbish this wonder of the world?  Hmmm.   At this time I could only find a few angles to shoot from as there was scaffolding all around the structure.    So what is a photographer to do when his subject is lacking?  Look around!  Just behind the Parthenon was this pile of columns possibly under construction?   I enjoyed seeing these red flowers surround them…a nice contrast.   A favorite photo of mine from the trip!   We will get back there again…but not until the Parthenon is ready!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 26.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:   1/320 sec
  • Aperture:  f/9
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

San Francisco, CA – Across the Bay in HDR

San Francisco….I can probably post a pic a day from here!   This is from the week past during my stay in SF.    My buddy Horace Kwan (HoraceKwanPhotography) took me to this great spot to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge Bridge…if you are on the city side of the bridge as you look across to the bridge it is on the lower right.  At this time of year, sunset shots are perfect from here.  There is a marina located right behind me on this shot and a small jetty sticks out so you can walk a bit and get a few different shots.    Right at the base of the jetty are these great rocks.  As soon as we arrived, I saw this wonderful view!

A few minutes later after taking this shot a Marine Biologist from a local institute was taking photo from above that rock formation of some porpoises swimming near our location.    We talked to him a bit afterwards.   We missed seeing the porpoises, but did happen to see a seal swimming around looking for dinner.

This location would also be a great spot for a sunrise city view shot.  Wish I had the 70-200mm lens with me!   Maybe next time!  If you have been or will be heading to SF soon, there are great spots on all sides of the bridge that will give you wonderful GGB photos.   Try em all!  I’ll post one from here soon of the GGB!   Enjoy!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 24.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Vivieza

Yosemite National Park (Infrared)

…continued from the last post.  So on the our we were in the park from about 11:30 Am until about 5 PM.  Overall we had about 6-8 stops and I must admit getting in and out of the van all day and grabbing a few shots at each stop, whew, it makes ya tired!   I knew the drive home would be a quiet one for us all.   Extranomical was a fantastic tour.   For a days trip there and back from San Francisco, tough to beat!   I took mostly HDR shots and IR shots.  I estimate about  100 or so HDR’s and about 100 IR shots.    I think with each photo a nice story can be told (call it a a pictory?  …lol) , so in time I will get to many pictories in futures posts.

For this shot, we drove to a spot overlooking Yosemite Falls in the distance.  Right before the parking area was this bridge.  On each side of the bridge was a wonderful view!   I took this in HDR and IR.   In regards, to IR, I had never shot and IR photo in snow.  I was very curious as to how it would turn out?  Would the snow look bad…turn blue or red?    Most IR photos look great in black & white.  And who is the most famous photographer Yosemite photographer – Ansel Adams.   His black and white photos from Yosemite are tops in the world.  He is famous for setting up the Zone System  for tonal variance in a photo.   Its nice to see a comparison with an IR photo.   Kinda cool!  The pines look solid in IR and the tones are not too bad even with snow.    Thanks to NIK Software Silver Efex Pro…Ansel would be jealous!

It actually was a nice day in Yosemite.  A bit overcast, but the winds were calm and the temperature was about 35 degrees.  Just a bit above freezing.   Snow was melting a bit, but with no sun, it was a slower process.   Just occasionally you had to dodge a falling bunch of snow from a tree above!  I guess there was about 10-15 inches of fresh snow.   I had sneakers on….so I had to try an avoid the ole wet sock effect when walking in snow.  I luckily survived with no problem.  I’ll get up another post in next week.    Enjoy!

  • Camera:  Nikon D70S (Converted to Infrared)
  • Infrared Conversion:  D70S modified by LifePixel
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 14.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:   1/50
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Silver Efex Pro

Yosemite National Park (HDR)

Last week I had my first visit ever to Yosemite National park in Northern California.   I have traveled to many  places in my day and without a doubt, this has got to be the most breathtaking place I have ever seen!!!!  It seemed like I was in heaven.   Stunning views and sights with every turn of your head.   If I could list all the adjectives that describe this amazing place…it would gone on forever.   This is a day I will never forget!

I’ll have many a photo from here, so there will be more posts to come.  I had just arrived into San Francisco and had a free Sunday before work started.   I have always seen the tour brochures at the hotels in SF and I studied them and asked during my last visit in late 2009 what would be the best tour…a few people suggested Extranomical Tours.   I checked out their website before I arrived and if I had time I wanted to go for it.  They pick you up at your hotel at around 6 AM and as it was offseason, we only had 8 people on the tour.   We had the last pick up around 7:15 and we were on our way in a nice van.  During the summer the amount of people and bus size surely increase!   We had a wonderful tour guide..if I can recall his name was Kirk?   He was very informative and had a mic and talked a bit during the ride.  Thanks Kirk!!  Great job!  We also had a great bunch of folks on the ride.  They were from all over the world…Singapore, India, Japan, Taiwan, Swtzerland, a local from SF and me from Texas!

The ride out takes about 4 hours.  You stop for a bit to get a snack and continue on.  We arrived about 11:30ish AM.  As soon as you arrive at the gate, a magnificent river is to your right with big boulders spread throughout which causes cascading water in multiple spots as it continues up through the mountains as far as the eye can see.   Wow!  We were lucky, two days before the park was closed due to falling tress.  They had just had a big snowfall and it reopened this Sunday.   Add to our luck I had heard that snowfall at ground level only occurs 1-2 times a year.  Nice!    I had never taken HDR’s in snow…so an experience was to come!

Our first stop of the tour was Tunnel View and we hopped out of the van and walked a few feet and the view just blows you away!!!   I’ll post that pic soon. As soon as I saw the mountains and snow….UNREAL!!  Just awe inspiring!  I knew a fabulous day was ahead.  I’ll continue with more on Monday….I’ll post an IR shot from Yosemite.  Its the kinda place when you are there, you just can’t believe it and do not feel worthy your eyes are seeing such stunning creations of nature.

As for this picture, we were in the van heading to Yosemite Lodge and had 1 hour and 45 mins to have lunch and walk around.  As we pulled up, out the window I see this view from a distance!!!!  Immediately I say to myself…HOLY Cr&P!!!  As soon as we stopped I quick grabbed a burger and was on my way to this location.  About a 5-7 minute walk.   You turn a corner and whammo!!  This is right in front of you!!  In the middle is Yosemite Falls!!!!     I waited for a few people to pass and you can see they are in the distance.  Its great as it gives you a size reference to these tree-mendous trees!!!  I still cannot believe I was there.  So if you or anyone is in the SF area….please, please visit Yosemite.  You will never forget it!  To be continued…

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 18.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Vivieza