Tokyo, Japan – Zojo-Ji Temple Bell (HDR)

Near the Tokyo Tower there is a cool temple called Zojo-Ji.  It was the first temple I have ever visited.  Outside in the gardens you can find some very nice views.   In the background you can see the cherry blossoms in bloom!  Tokyo is a wonderful place…wish I had lots more time to explore it!

Info from the web:  With hundreds of statues and an elaborate golden alter, Zojoji Temple is dedicated to Jizo, the patron saint of travellers and departed children. The building is a 1974 reconstruction, the original was destroyed in the air raids of May 1945. In the garden look out for the two trees – one planted in 1879 by General Grant the 18th President of America, and the other, in 1982 by George Bush. The temple is set in attractive gardens surrounded by Shiba Koen (park). It offers some great photo opportunities with the traditional Zojoji temple in the foreground and the modern Tokyo Tower in the background.

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

St. Augustine, FL – Lightner Museum (HDR)

From the lovely town of St. Augustine, Florida across the street from Flagler College is the Lightner Museum.    While walking around downtown, I noticed this building.  I wanted to check it out.  As soon as you walk in there is a sign posted…”Photographers must make an appointment for portrait shots”.  Interesting I thought!  Possible a nice place inside?  You walk in from the arch straight ahead in the photo.  They have this lovely pond and garden in the middle of the building.  I can now see why the sign was posted.  I am certain brides and family portraits would be great here!  That cute little bridge in the middle of the pond is perfect!

As I was not shooting portraits, I snapped away a few HDR’s.  For this shot, I was on the ground getting my knees dirty.  I wanted the foreground to be the flowers leading into the water.  From above it was just ok…but ground level was nice!  I had to wait for a family taking photos on the bridge….I can imagine this spot is busy during the summer!!

Here is some info from the web:  The Lightner Museum is a museum of antiquities, mostly American Victorian, housed within a historic hotel building in downtown St. Augustine, Florida, USA. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The museum occupies three floors of the former Hotel Alcazar, commissioned by Henry M. Flagler to appeal to wealthy tourists who traveled there on his railroad, and built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style. It was designed by architects Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the Ponce de León Hotel across the street (now part of Flagler College). Both buildings are notable as being among the earliest examples of poured concrete buildings in the world. These architects later designed the New York Public Library and the U.S. Senate office building.

The building is an attraction in itself, centering on an open palm courtyard with an arched stone bridge spanning a fishpond. The Museum is housed in the former health facilities of the hotel, i.e, the spa and Turkish bath, as well as its three-story ballroom.  The museum’s first floor houses a Victorian village, with shop fronts representing emporia selling period wares; a Victorian Science and Industry Room displays shells, rocks, minerals, and Native American artifacts in beautiful turn-of-the-20th-century cases, as well as stuffed birds, a small Egyptian mummy, model steam engines, elaborate examples of Victorian glassblowing, golden elephant bearing the world on its back, and a shrunken head; and a Music Room, filled with mechanized musical instruments—including player pianos, reproducing pianos, orchestrions, and others—dating from the 1870s through the 1920s.  The second floor contains examples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s studio. The third floor, in the ballroom’s upper balcony, exhibits paintings, sculpture, and furniture, include agrande escritoire created for Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, in the period 1806-1810.

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

Laguna Beach, CA (Infrared)

Laguna Beach is a favorite of mine. If you want to experience Southern California this is the place!  Coastal living at its best.  Not sure if I could afford to live there…but visiting is no problem!   Beach side hotels, great restaurants, Montage Spa & Resort, Main Beach, Art Galleries, Pacific Coast Highway and amazing views!   Some of my favorite IR shots are from California.   Ocean and Palm Trees = perfect IR.   This is the coast of Laguna from last week….Pacific Ocean in the background.  If you are in Orange County….head down to Laguna…you will enjoy!!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D70S (Converted to Infrared)
  • Infrared Conversion:  D70S modified by LifePixel
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 22.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/25 sec
  • Aperture:  f/20
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Viveza

Austin, TX – Pedernales River (HDR)

A few weeks back before the photo excursion to Westcave Preserve we had an early AM photo group meet up.  On the way is a small bridge the travels over the Pedernales River.  It was quite funny…most of the photogs as they drove by could not pass up the views after seeing the river….parked and began shooting…there was cool mist floating over the river.   We had about 20 minutes and most of us were taking shots all over.  It was time to head to the Preserve and we had another 5 minutes until the meetup.  In the distance down the riverbed I saw this cool tree!  I looked at my watch and took sprint down to the water side and grabbed this shot and made it back just in time!

Kinda reminds me of Mordor from Lord of the Rings.   I didn’t see any hobbits, so I snapped a few versions and ran back to my car.  A fun morning at Westcave…I’ll head back again in the summer!  Enjoy!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length:  180.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR: 5 exposures  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Houston, TX – SuperCross – Ryan Dungey

From a few weeks back in Houston, Texas at Reliant Stadium…my favorite racer Ryan Dungey in selective color!  The race over the weekend in Seattle is over and Ryan did not win, but locked up the title!  So congrats to Ryan Dungey the 2010 SuperCross Champ!! A few races to go for the year, but Ryan had enough points to secure the Championship.   A great sport!  …and sweet to photograph!!!   Can’t wait to hit another race next year!   Hoping in Anaheim!  You can check out the SuperCross.com site for schedules and info.   Ryan was the first rookie since Jeremy McGrath to win the title…nice!   Kudos rook!  Go check out a few Motocross mags at your local bookstore…if you like shooting sports…you will enjoy!!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8
  • Setting: Manual  Mode
  • Focal Length: 160.0mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Exposure:  1/1000 sec
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • Gear:  Hand held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Viveza, Silver Efex Pro

Orlando, FL – Epcot – Spaceship Earth (HDR)

When I visited Epcot a few weeks back…this was my target shot…sunset /blue hour of Spaceship Earth.  The beautiful sphere at the entrance at Epcot.  It is a challenge as there are many people walking by…so timing and the crowds being nice enough to see you have a tripod set up and walk around.  Patience does pay off.  I was here for about an hour taking many shots until the sky went beyond the blue hour.  The sphere slowly colorizes. So the better shots all depend on when this occurs….and you hope it is a perfect time in the sky!  For me it was a bit after sunset and the sky was a nice blue.   Thanks Mother Nature!   I’ll have a few more shots of the cool sphere in posts to come…another cool shot I had was directly under the sphere using a fisheye lens!   I very different perspective!

Info from the web:  Spaceship Earth is the iconic and symbolic structure of Epcot, a theme park that is part of the Walt Disney World Resort. One of the most recognizable structures at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not only the centerpiece and main focal point of Epcot, but also the name of the attraction housed within the 18-story geodesic sphere that takes guests on a time machine themed experience using the Omnimover system. The 13-minute dark ride shows guests how advancements in human communication have helped to create the future one step at a time. The attraction involves a timeline from the origins of prehistoric man to the dawn of the 21st century, where guests can then create a future for themselves.

The structure is similar in texture to the United States pavilion from Expo 67 in Montreal, but unlike that structure, Spaceship Earth is a complete sphere, supported on legs. The structure is often humorously referred to as a giant golf ball.

Geometrically, Spaceship Earth is a derivative of a pentakis dodecahedron, with each of the 60 isosceles triangle faces divided into 16 smaller equilateral triangles (with a bit of fudging to make it rounder)[citation needed]. Each of those 960 flat panels is sub-divided into four triangles, each of which is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point. In theory, there are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3840 points. In reality, some of those triangles are partially or fully nonexistent due to supports and doors; there are actually only 11,324 of them, with 954 partial or full flat panels.

The appearance of being a monolithic sphere is an architectural goal that was achieved through a structural trick. Spaceship Earth’s is in fact two structural domes. Six legs are supported on pile groups that are driven up to 160 feet into Central Florida’s soft earth. Those legs support a steel box-shaped ring at the sphere’s perimeter, at about 30 degrees south latitude in earth-terms. The upper structural dome sits on this ring. A grid of trusses inside the ring supports the two helical structures of the ride and show system. Below the ring, a second dome is hung from the bottom, completing the spherical shape. The ring and trusses form a table-like structure which separates the upper dome from the lower. Supported by and about three feet off of the structural domes is a cladding sphere to which the shiny Alucobond panels and drainage system are mounted.

The cladding was designed so that when it rains, no water pours off the sides onto the ground. (All water is “absorbed” through one inch gaps in the facets and is collected in a gutter system – and finally channeled into the World Showcase Lagoon.)

Oh yes, one camera note…my cable release pin connection is worn out and no longer working…too many HDR’s??….so my HDR’s for a bit to come will be completed by pressing the button!  As long as you are steady and careful…your pics will be ok!  I hope to get the camera sent back for repair in May.  A few weeks without a camera?  Yikes!   What will I do?  Read??  LOL

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
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Tower (HDR)

Here is the Tokyo Tower in HDR via Fisheye.  As my hotel was a 5 minute walk from here…I woke up early in the AM for sunrise and wanted to catch some shots of the tower.  It is an interesting place.  Not perfect for close up photography…at the base of the tower is this building.  Kinda odd!  I shot it for about an hour…walked around on all sides and tried to catch some cool angles.  Very tough!    It was cloudy this morning and early AM they still have the tower lit up partially…so a semi bonus there!   You can buy tickets to the viewing deck…if I can recall $21.00!  Ouch!    …its not that high!     I think Godzilla may be taller!  =)

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 10.5 Fisheye f/2.8
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 10.5 mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza