Happy Halloween!!!

Pumkin Patch HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

Happy Halloween!!  It is October 31st…time for Trick or Treating!!!  Here is a shot from a pumpkin patch called Sweet Berry Farm located in Marble Falls, TX.  Great place for kids!  We spent an AM there just recently – hey rides, horse rides, face painting, corn mazes, scarecrow stuffing and of course pumpkins!!!  I set up my tripod and cable release…then this cute farm kitty jumped up on top of the car…posing for me.  I was worried he would move during my 5 exposures…got lucky!   Post processed in Photomatix.  Have a Happy Halloween and a Boo-tiful day!!!

Sunapee, New Hampshire (Infrared vs. HDR)

Sunapee NH IR

Sunapee NH HDR

NIKON D300 & NIKON D70S (Modified by LifePixel), Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix, Color Efex Pro

Here is a double dip for you!  I was in NH last driving up north about 60 miles from the MA border into the middle of NH.  It was peak season for fall colors…and the drive was breathtaking!!  Unfortunately, I had to work and visit a customer – so little time to take any fall photos.  But as I was driving back, I noticed this lake along the roadside in Sunapee.  I quickly pulled the car over and set up my tripod.   I took HDR’s first and switched lenses to the D70S and took the same shot in Infrared!   A nice way for comparison.   HDR vs. IR!

I post processed the IR in CS4 and used Color Efex Pro to give it the blueish glow effect.  The HDR was 5 exposures, cable release and post processed in Photomatix.  I like both versions, so I decided for the double post!  Kinda cool to see both next to each other….not sure which one I like more??  This is why I always carry both cameras with me…options!

Getting back to the drive through NH…one word..WOW!!  I probably wasn’t driving very safely that day…I kept looking left and right at the foliage….so stunning!  It was sunny this day and the reds, yellows and oranges were so bright!    I loved when looking through the forest you can see the colors shine bright even far back in the distance.  Hope you are enjoying fall wherever you are!

Web Site:  LifePixel (Infrared Camera Conversion)

News! – Thanks The Pens Blog!

Mellon HDRThanks to the guys at www.thepensblog.com yesterday!  As you all know…I am an avid Pittsburgh sports fan (living in Texas) and read this blog everyday.  I always get a great laugh and enjoy the funny and normal photos.  It is for Pittsburgh Penguins hockey fans…but if you are not a fan of the Pens, you still may enjoy the light-hearted humor.  As long as you do not take life seriously – check it out!

As I enjoy the photos…I sent them a copy of the photo to the left and they posted it immediately…with kudos and links!  So I always enjoy returning the favor!  Thanks guys!   Kudos to The Pens Blog!  Hope we can repeat this year!    Let’s Go Pens!!!!!

Rome, Italy – St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Basillica

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!  Any place you would like to visit here seems about a 10 min cab ride away!  With 2 of the most famous places on Earth – The Vatican and The Colosseum – who wouldn’t want to visit!   I was truly mesmerized during my visit to the Vatican.  Such history and beauty everywhere you looked.  One word – surreal! My jaw dropped as soon as I walked into St. Peter’s Basilica.  Looking upward is true breathtaking art!   I have read about the amazing Dome, but was curious about the dark canopy that stands in the middle lower section of this photo.

Here is some info from the web:   At the crossing of the transepts is the central focus of the interior, the baldacchino. This monumental canopy shelters the papal altar and the holy relics of St. Peter. Artistically, it also serves to fill the vertical space under Michelangelo’s great dome. Made of 927 tons of dark bronze (removed from the Pantheon’s roof in 1633) accented with gold vine leaves, the baldacchino stands 90 feet (30 meters) tall. The baldacchino was created by Lorenzo Bernini from 1624 to 1633 under the direction of Barberini pope Urban VIII, who added Baroque embellishment to much of Rome.

The spiral columns derive their shapes from the columns of the baldacchino in the original St. Peter’s Basilica built by Constantine, which legend has it came from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Cherubs are repeated throughout the monument, giving an overall effect of the Ark of the Covenant. Symbols of the Barberini family can be seen throughout, including a golden sun and bees. Thus, in addition to being a beautiful work of art, the baldacchinio symbolizes the union of the Old Testament wisdom of Solomon, the Christian tradition of Constantine, and the rebirth of a triumphal church under the guidance of the Barberini family.

If I have the chance to visit again…I would enjoy reading a book about all the wonders of The Vatican before I visit.  This visit I went in with little knowledge…next time I will be an expert!  Hopefully!  Hope your day is enlightened!

New York City, NY – St. Patrick’s Cathedral (HDR)

St. Patricks HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

I had a little time in NYC recently and wanted to photograph this statue of Atlas across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  There are probably tons of angles to take this shot…I went for the full frame view.  I hope to be back later this year and try it as a fisheye!   St. Patrick’s is special in my heart as my Grandmother and Grandfather were married there many years ago!    I had sent an email to St. Patrick’s to ask if I could photograph inside, they said yes, but no tripods.  I’d like to try one day!

Here is some info form the web on the statue:   In Rockefeller Center (New York City), directly across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is this two ton statue of Atlas; a companion piece to Prometheus, and the largest sculptural work at Rockefeller Center. Atlas carries the heavens upon his shoulders as punishment for defying Zeus. Designed and cast in 1936 by Lee Lawrie and Rene Chambellan, the statue’s exaggerated musculature and stylized body are characteristic of the Art Deco style.

The north-south axis of the armillary sphere on his shoulders points to the North Star as viewed from New York City. Laid across Atlas’s shoulders is a wide, curved beam that displays a frieze of the traditional symbols for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Adjacent to Earth (over Atlas’s right forearm) is a small crescent symbolizing the Moon. Affixed to one of the sphere’s rings are symbols for twelve constellations through which the Sun passes during the year.

Quite an amazing view in NYC!  Stop on by and see it if you have the time!  Enjoy!

Austin, TX – 1955 Chevy (HDR)

1955 Chevy HDR

Nikon D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

Last year I missed the local “Rolling Sculpture Car Show” here in the Hill Country.  The 2009 one was yesterday and I made sure to attend.  After watching the Steelers football game, I made my way out to the show (only had about an hour to shoot).  It is outdoors at our local mall…the Hill Country Galleria.   Another first for me…shooting a car show! I figured I would have to dodge people and other cars all day.  So I didn’t expect to get too many great shots.  My goal was close ups of grill’s, logos, with an occasional full body shot, etc…  I decided to only shoot HDR this day.

This Chevy was one of the first cars I shot…I assume it is a 1955…if anyone knows different and I will gladly change my header!  Thanks!  With cars and HDR…I figured color + chrome = a potential great shot!  I took many shots and this turquoise Chevy had the perfect color and lots of chrome!  The only problem with a car show is that the surroundings are not perfect.  My solution for this photo…highlight the car and give the background a sepia tone.  This way the HDR’d car stands out nicely and it takes any focus off the background or at least minimizes it.   So this HDR is 5 exposures, cable release, tripod and post processed in Photomatix with touch up in Photoshop and Sepia added through Silver Efex Pro.

Not bad.  What is great is that I met many of the car owners and plan to shoot their cars for them.  Exciting for me!  I will gladly take shots of their classic cars for them  in trade for usage of the photos on my blog or website!   One gentleman wants to make a calendar with my shots….great idea!!!   Add car shows to the list of fun places to photograph! Hope you have a classic day!

New York City, NY – Times Square M&M World


NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photmatix

Who doesn’t love chocolate?  Or the chance to pass up on a delicious M&M!  If you are even in NYC near Time Square, stop by the M&M World store and enjoy!   When you walk in you get an immediate aroma of M&M’s!  Its a very cute store with lots of M&M products to see.  I went upstairs and saw this interesting fellow in the corner of the store.   It was quiet when I arrived. I thought hey…why not take an HDR!  I took out my tripod and set up…5 exposures, cable release and took a quick shot in between the people coming to pose with him!

Here is a little info from the web: The New York City store is within a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2), three-level glass box, in Times Square. It includes a 50-foot-wide, two-story-high, “wall of chocolate”, made up of 72 continuous candy-filled tubes. M&M bills it as “the world’s largest.”  M&M World in Times Square is New York City’s largest candy store, and offers merchandise such as themed clothing, dishware, watches, and piggy banks. The most famous location is in the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada; stores also opened in Orlando, Florida (2005) and New York City (2006).   Hope your day is candy filled!

Portland, Maine – Portland Head Light (Infrared-HDR)

Portland Head Light IR-HDR

NIKON D70S (Modified by LifePixel), Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

I was traveling in the North East this past week and had a evening to stay near Boston.  I had never been to Maine, so why not spend the nite in Portland!  What is in Portland you may ask?  One of the most photographed lighthouses in North America…the Portland Head Light.  I wanted to see it for my own eyes.

It is quite beautiful!  I arrived early this morning at sunrise to get this photo.  It was a little chilly with the ocean breezes about.   While it was still dark out, I was setting up my tripod and just about 500 yards away I could see 2 lobster boats heading out for a mornings work.  The waves were a little choppy and the boats were lit up beautifully.   With nobody around and the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks…it was one of those moments that you don’t forget…special and very sureal.

The sunrise started and I primarily took HDR photos for an hour+  The morning was cloudy and it was raining a bit when I arrived, but had stopped luckily for my photo session.  I took shots from every angle.  So I will post standard HDR shots later this week!  But after I had completed my HDR’ing with my Nikon D300.  I decided to try a few Infrared-HDR’s with my Nikon D70S.

I have been growing in my knowledge of IR shots in the past few months.  But one area I was eager to try was and IR-HDR!   The week before I tried one in Austin…it was sunny and it just did not come out correctly.  The Nikon D70S only can take 3 brackets…  -1, 0,+1    What I saw was that during bright sunny days, the +1 was just too bright and blown out!  So an IR-HDR failure.   This morning, it was cloudy…so I wanted to see how an IR-HDR goes with this weather condition.  And here you have it!   Success!!!   Post processed in Photomatix and used Silver Efex Pro for the B&W conversion.  A very different HDR!

I’ll post a color HDR later this week and give you details on the lighthouse.  Then another post another time, details on Portland.  I very nice place to visit and a fun Place 2 Explore!

Orlando, FL – Disney World

Disney World - Donald Duck

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

It Friday!!!  I thought this photo is apropos for today!   Travel is great, but not so much when delays occur….I was in 5 states yesterday (ME, NH, MA, NJ..and home sweet home TX!)…my plane landed at midnight…fun!   So I wondererd what to post this morning…and Donald’s pose says it all!  LOL

Whenever I post a shot form Disney…I was I was there!  Even as an adult, I enjoy all the parade’s, characters and sights to see there!  Not sure which character is my favorite?  I’d say possibly Goofy!  Donald is up there as well!   I have only been to Disney in Orlando….other locations are California, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong!   Note sure if I will get to em all…I would think there are a lucky few that have!

I should have some new NYC and Maine HDR’s posted soon from my trip!  Hi Ho, Hi Ho its off to post process photographs I go!