Austin, TX – The West (HDR)

OK..I do enjoy a good laugh…so here is your chance!  So I ask..how do you like these balls? (Go ahead post your comments below…let the fun fly!)

If you visit the UT campus in Austin, there are many sights to see!  Here is an odd one….rusty spheres with pennies glued on them!   Art, yes.  Strange…indeed!  I have read they are on loan from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and were once exhibited at the White house.

Here is some info from the web:   These 28 mid- to late-twentieth-century sculptures are on long-term loan fromThe Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The first group was installed in September 2008 and the second in January 2009 as part of the university’s public art program called Landmarks.  Landmarks, which was launched in 2008, is the first program in the university’s history to develop a collection of public art from a curatorial perspective. Its projects beautify the campus and engage visitors and the university community with art of the highest quality.  “This important loan of sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art will enrich our campus,” said William Powers Jr., current president of The University of Texas at Austin, in 2008, when the plan was announced. “It will demonstrate the value we place on art and creativity as manifestations of the human spirit. We are extremely pleased to bring this superb collection to our university and our community.”

About the art:  The West, 1987 by Donald Lipski

Because Lipski uses found objects not merely for their visual attributes but more importantly for the associations that viewers might make in response to them, his sculptures invite speculation. The West consists of two spherical buoys, each measuring five feet in diameter. Such buoys can mark deepwater shipping channels and are often used to indicate where large commercial and military ships may anchor offshore. Their normal place is floating on open bodies of water. Now situated indoors on dry land, the buoys are no longer functional, like fish out of water. Instead of providing secure anchorage to ships, the two buoys are shackled uselessly to each other.

To the blank surfaces of the metal buoys Lipski glued brand-new pennies. But the artist deliberately corroded them, perhaps an allusion to how quickly things become outdated. By incorporating actual money into this sculpture, Lipski invites us to speculate on possible meanings. Pennies are the smallest denomination of American currency and therefore may be considered the foundation of our affluence, even though we tend to ignore pennies as being of no importance.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 10.5 Fisheye f/2.8
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 10.5.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/11
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Tokyo, Japan – Cherry Blossoms

I was in Japan last week and had a free morning on Saturday before my flight left to take some photos.  I was staying in Tokyo and was happy to get a chance to see the Cherry Blossoms just starting to bloom!   It is a magical time in Japan.  The next 2 weeks in Tokyo will be amazing!  If you ever get a chance to visit this time of year…it is indeed special!    This tree was going strong!  A few others were not as far along as this one.   There was a nice crowd around this particular tree as you can see how beautiful it was!  I added a little diffuse glow to the photo to soften the look a bit.   I have an HDR from here as well…will post it soon!   Spring has arrived!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 19.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/80 second
  • Aperture:  f/16.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Viveza

Mooned!

Sorry, Places 2 Explore has mooned you!!!    I had always wanted to try and take this shot.  Now that I have my 70-200 VR and teleconverter combo…I wanted to give it a try!  It is not easy.  I really think a 200-400 would be better, but still not bad for a semi-standard lens.   I read up on how to take a moon shot…so many notes of advice.  The best solution is to take a bunch at different settings. One key is to lock up your mirror…check your manual for those scoops!    It all depends on time of day, weather, lens, camera, etc…  I added the “Flood” plug-in and it becomes a nice fun shot!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8 + Nikon TC-14EII (1.4x Teleconverter)
  • Setting: Manual Mode
  • Focal Length: 280.0mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Exposure:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/8.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable Release, Mirror Lock Up
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Viveza, Flood Plug-In

Yosemite National Park, CA (HDR)

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words…then any from Yosemite are worth Millions!  An amazing amazing place!  No need to describe this scene from Yosemite.  Very surreal being there!  Heaven on Earth!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

San Antonio, TX – Mission San Jose (HDR)

About 1 hour south of Austin is San Antonio.  It offers some nice photo opportunities….the Riverwalk, Alamo, Zoo, and the Mission Trail.   The Missions consist of San Jose, Alamo, Concepcion, San Juan and Espada.  The jewel of the bunch is Mission San Jose.  I have only visited San Jose and the Alamo.  So a few more to explore!  I am hoping to get to the others this spring!   The shot above is from Mission San Jose – the interior of the church.   Simple but beautiful!   If you have time, a nice place to visit!   …at least in the spring!  The summer will be blazing!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/7.1
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Wiesbaden, Germany – Marktkirche (HDR)

When I arrived recently into Germany, I flew into Frankfurt and landed on a Sunday.  I had the late afternoon free and met with my friend Kay Gaensler a fellow photographer and HDR specialist!   Kay and I are both Editors on HDR Spotting.  Check out Kay’s fantastic work….Click Kay Gaensler.   He is also on Flickr.    I caught a train to his hometown of Wiesbaden.  My first visit there!   It was about a 45 minute ride.  We met up and as it was a bit chilly and sunny…so we targeted some local churches and shot mostly indoors.

Thanks to Kay, I enjoyed Wiesbaden very much!  We visited this church above called Marktkirche (Market Church). It was beautiful!  Most big churches are!    This one was different…it was a soft wood interior with a blue ceiling.  Kay and I shot for about 30 minutes and I took many wide angle and fisheye shots.   There was this overhang  above,  I thought perfect for a fisheye.  It would grab a little extra in the scene.

We walked a few miles and shot from 3:30 until 6 PM.  A lovely city!  I told Kay I would enjoy coming back in the summer.  I could see a few spots that would suit IR very well!   Thanks Kay for the tour!!!!  Hope to see you again soon!

Here is some info from the web:  Wiesbaden is a city in southwestern Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the American military). Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people. Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name literally means “meadow baths”. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 27 hot springs. Fifteen of the springs are still flowing today.

Talke Photography Setings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 10.5 Fisheye f/2.8
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 10.5.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/8
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Blue Spring State Park, FL

Above is a Momma Manatee and its baby swimming at Blue Spring State Park.  Some more info from the web: Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2,600 acres including the largest spring on the St. Johns River. Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. The spring and spring run are closed during Manatee season, mid-November through March, swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted, this rule is strictly enforced.

For centuries, the spring area was home for Native Americans. In 1766 it was visited by Colonial American botanist John Bartram, but it was not until 1856 that it was settled by Louis Thursby and his family. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing. The spring´s crystal clear, 73 degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers, and certified scuba divers with a partner.

It was a cold day in Florida when I visited.  Even with the warm waters…keeping warm is key.  Here you can see them huddled up trying to stay warm.   For this day I was using my 70-200 VR f/2.8.  I wont post settings due to the numerous photos.  There is a park entrance fee and they have viewing platforms and nice walkways to get around.  The manatee is also known as a sea cow.  Not the smartest animal in the world.  Sometimes they get hit by boat propellers…looks like one guy above took in some injuries.  These animals still amaze me, now matter how many times I see them.   Enjoy!