Austin, TX – UT Campus (Infrared-HDR)

I took a trip downtown to the University of Texas Campus in Austin yesterday for a few shots.  My first trip ever to the campus.  Tons to shoot!   Went up with my fellow photographer Jim Nix and we shot for a few hours.  It was a beautiful day in Austin…perfect day to take photos!   I shot lots of HDR and some Infrared.   Here is a shot from about 100 yards in front of the Texas Tower looking dow at University Avenue and in the distance you can see the State Capitol.   I wanted to take this in IR as the trees would be glowing white and add a cool effect to the view!    I added a few brackets and shot the IR along with HDR.  Quite a few great pics this day!  I’ll post em soon.

Have a Happy New Year!  Welcome 2010!!!!!!

Talke Photography settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D70S (Modified IR by LifePixel)
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR  f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length: 55.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  3 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, cable release
  • Post Process: Photomatix (Tone Mapped), Adobe CS4, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza

Paris, France – La Tour Eiffel En Rouge

From a few weeks back…the Eiffel Tower lit in Red for the 120th Anniversary light show.  If I can recall…only a few days left to see the show from 8-11 PM every nite!  During the show the front of the tower changes multiple colors and multi-colored!   The show lasts about 5-8 minutes.  I did enjoy seeing the tower in red.  I think a few years back it was lit completely in red for Chinese New Year.  I truly enjoy seeing this icon more than any other in the world.   A beautiful subject in a tremendously beautiful city!   Enjoy!

Here is my first test post with data for those inquiring minds!   I will have this now for every photo posted!

Talke Photography settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Manual Mode
  • Focal Length: 15.0mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Exposure:  1.6 seconds
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Color Efex Pro

NEWS!: 200,000 Visitors!

Wow!!!!   Thanks so much!  It was only in October that I had my 100,000th visitor!   That means in the last 3 months I have had 100K visitors (33K/month!).  Places 2 Explore is growing leaps and bounds!  I appreciate all of you taking the time to read my blog!  I hope you are enjoying it!   I have had tons of emails thanking me for the info I give on my photos.  No problem!  I am here to post photos and hopefully you can just enjoy or learn if needed!   I am hoping to have a few more changes this upcoming year…here is what I have planned

1) Camera Settings – I plan to offer more data on what settings I use in my photos on each post   …f stop/ISO, shutter time (if not HDR) , etc..

2) Processing Software – I will make a list of any software used to process the photo on each post

3) Larger Photos!  I am planning on increasing the column size of the blog and this will allow me to post a bigger picture!

4) Web Address – I will go to a simple web address ie… (or whatever is possible to use)

5)  Talke Photography Blog – late 2010 – this will be a blog for my portrait work!  I’ll tie it into P2E somehow!

6) More giveaways!   Cant beat free stuff!

7) Reviews:  will add some more reviews in 2010 – I will try adding some video reviews as well!!   Instead of behind the camera…why not be in front of it!

So lots planned for 2010!   I will continue to grow with you!  This is a wonderful dream to have so many readers….the sky is the limit!    Hope you enjoy your visit and come back everyday!  Thanks!  Pete

San Antonio, Texas (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

A few weeks back we stayed overnite in San Antonio at the Hilton (right on the Riverwalk).  I requested a city view room and this is the shot from our balcony.  Been a bit lucky with my hotel room shots recently! Don’t be afraid when you check in to ask for a free upgrade or a good view!  Luck can be with you!   We visited for the Riverwalk Xmas Lights and from this shot above you can see the trees decorated with lights and the river is just below as it meanders through the city.   San Antonio is a great stop for the holidays!   Have fun!

La Jolla, California (Infrared)

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

Its the holiday why not allow the snow falling on the blog to cover the infrared white palm trees?   La Jolla is a great little town in Southern California.   Here is some info from the web:  La Jolla occupies seven miles of curving coastline jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. Although officially a part of San Diego, it retains its own small-town atmosphere, its own civic pride, and its own La Jolla postmark. La Jolla seaside resort community has 42,808 residents. La Jolla borders Pacific Beach to the south and extends north to Torrey Pines State Reserve and Del Mar, California. La Jolla, like most of Southern California, is an area of great natural beauty with a mixture of geology – sandy beaches and rocky shorelines good for a variety of outdoor activities. The area has a number of public beaches and parks. The most compelling geographical highlights of La Jolla is its ocean front, where residents and visitors can enjoy the alternating rugged and sandy coast line and view wild seal congregations. Enjoy!

For those that are new to my blog…welcome!  LifePixel converted my old Nikon D70S to Infrared.  LifePixel has a new and improved website and a new filter Super Color in Infrared!   Looks cool!  Check it out if you have time!  I might have to buy a used camera and convert it again one day!  Enjoy!

Prague, Czech Republic – Sunset in Old Town (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

Here is a nice sunset shot from Prague a few weeks back.  As per my first post from was my first visit ever to the amazing city! I had a list of spots of shots I wanted to take in my limited time in the city…Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, etc…  My plan was to get the Charles Bridge in HDR at sunset.  But as it was offseason, the bridge was under heavy construction.  Just about every shot was filled with construction covers.   As I walked over the bridge back into the city from Prague Castle…I was a bit bummed.   I took a few shots, but nothing worthy of posting.  I kept on walking and arrived into Old Town about 20 minutes later and just missed the Old Town Astronomical Clock Display…a sight for anyone visiting to see.   Ouch…was I missing everything??  One of those days.

I looked up and saw some pink in the sky…the sun was setting!   I was walking amongst the buildings and peeked through an opening to see how the view was….not good.   I remembered at the clock tower people were buying tickets…quickly without having any idea…I ran up to the ticket guy and asked if there was a viewing site at the top of the tower?  He said yes!  …Perfect!  Not sure how much it cost…$8??  I didn’t care at this time!  All I could think was how many stairs I had to run up!  Was this day fun or what?

I turned the corner and there was an elevator!!!!   Sweet!  I arrived and had to only walk 1 flight of stairs.  All around the top of the clock tower was a wonderful view of the city.  Doubly sweet!  The sun was just dipping and I sadly bumped some tourists out of the way and set up my tripod in this 4 foot small walk way.  Add my tripod fully open and me…this equals about 3 1/2 feet of aisle blocking material.  OK…maybe 4 feet!   I felt bad for all that tried to pass…they were stuck for a few minutes.  I apologize to them now…sorry!   The Prague Castle was to the right…but the light was not right for a sunset shot there…I panned and overlooked old town and the mountains.  The sky was  orange & pink and amazing!  Quite interesting colors in this shot!   A picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes a fun story!  I do not think I will ever forget this shot.  A fun one to get!  Enjoy!

New York, New York – Merry Christmas!

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR

Merry Christmas to all my readers!  Happy Holidays as well!!  Hope you are having a great time!  What better way to celebrate on Places 2 Explore than the most famous Christmas Tree in the world…Rockefeller Center in New York City!   Best wishes to you and your family!

Calendar Giveaway Winner!!!

My 5 year old daughter just picked the winner out of a hat!  Thanks for all that have entered!   The winner is Laura Magwood!!!   Congrats Laura…I will contact you for your address and ship the calendar out on Monday  Dec 26th!   For those that missed this opportunity…don’t worry!  This one came out so beautiful…that I will now offer one for sale every year!!  I plan to have a 2011 Calendar ready by August 2010 for all to purchase online!  Enjoy the holidays and congrats again to Laura…thanks for reading Places 2 Explore!!

Austin, TX – Driskill Hotel (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 10.5 Fisheye, HDR in Photomatix

Tis the season to be jolly!  For those that celebrate Christmas…Santa Claus is coming to town tonite!  Here is a picture of the most photographed spot in Austin during the holidays…the Diskill Hotel Christmas Tree.   A wonderful sight to see.    Hope your tree is decorated and ready for some presents to be placed underneath by Santa!  And if you are not celebrating Christmas….hope you are enjoying your holiday as well!  I added a little snow to Places 2 Explore for the holidays…hope you enjoy!

Porto, Portugal – Sunrise in Porto (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

While staying in Porto a few weeks back…I had a great time walking around this area in the late afternoon taking photos.  One shot I wanted was the Dom Luis Bridge at sunset.  When sunset arrived the sun was not in a great photo location, so I skipped the bridge opportunity and shot the city that night.  I had a 12 PM flight the next day, so i knew I could wake up early and take a few sunrise shots.   I was staying at the Pestana Porto Hotel and luckily it was off season and they gave me a corner room  on the third floor with a balcony on both sides!  It was nice to wake up and set up on my balcony and shoot away!   This was the view from my room!    The sun was rising a bit to the right so I quickly snapped some shots.   With such an old historic city…such a view is very sureal.    After taking some balcony shots, I headed down to the street for a few more!  Porto is a lovely little city!  Next visit…maybe the winer cellars???  Enjoy!