Tokyo, Japan – Zojoji Temple (Infrared)

Tokyo is a wonderful place to visit and I was hoping to get a chance to shoot some IR shots.    I was lucky to get some Bonsai Trees by the Zojoji Temple (left hand tree with rounded segments).   Japan has some great trees…Bonsai, Japanese Maple and Cherry Blossom.  This little garden was located at the back of the temple. I walked around and here you can find housing and other little buildings.  This is a great location….just above the tree-line was the Tokyo Tower!

Info from the web:   Bonsai is the art of growing trees, or woody plants shaped as trees, in containers. Bonsai is sometimes confused with dwarfing, but dwarfing more accurately refers to researching and creating cultivars of plant material that are permanent, genetic miniatures of existing species. Bonsai does not require genetically dwarfed trees, but rather depends on growing small trees from regular stock and seeds. Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-sized trees.

The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). By contrast with other plant-related practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food, for medicine, or for creating yard-sized or park-sized landscapes. As a result, the scope of bonsai practice is narrow and focused on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees in a single container. ‘Bonsai’ is a Japanese pronunciation of the earlier Chinese term penzai (盆栽). A ‘bon’ is a tray-like pot typically used in bonsai culture. The word bonsai is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots, but this article focuses primarily on bonsai as defined in the Japanese tradition. Similar practices in other cultures include the Chinese tradition of penjing and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese hòn non bộ.

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: 18.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/25 sec
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Viveza
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Austin, TX – Motocross on Fire

One more shot from my visit to the awesome Del Valle MX Park in Austin, TX.  I was finishing up some more HDR’s from the track.  I now have about 30 HDR shots up…click here…Talke Photography.  I am really liking sports in HDR.  I was just thinking of some cool ideas on how to treat one of the HDR’s and thought…why not add a texture or two?   With the dirt track, I knew it had to have a redish feel to it.  I threw in about 7 textures into Adobe Bridge and played around.    The shot above is using three textures (Tan, Brown and redish).  I went back and selectively masked each one to get the desired effect.   I wanted color to show, but still be semi-textured.  Also I wanted to make sure the racers eyes showed up a bit.   I think that is the key to the shot.   Banking around a turn and looking to see what lies ahead.  Sweet!   I have more ideas on treatment of these action shots…I’ll work on em soon!  I aded this shot into the IPad Wallpapers section on my site…I will be adding about 25 more shots this weekend!  Look for em soon!

The things you can do with Photoshop!  I really need to learn more!   I just received my copy of CS5 (upgrade), but most of my plug-ins (NIK Software) are not upgraded yet…so I cannot fully use it.  I will make a note on it soon.  The content aware in CS5 rocks!!   I recently joined Kelby Training /NAPP and hoe to learn some more tricks.  They are the best resources around for photography lessons!   Kudos to Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski!!  Gotta love photography…a never ending learning process!

SINGLE RAW HDR:  So I have received a few questions on how I process my Single Raw HDR’s  There are a few ways…this is my way.  It is simple and easy!

1) Make 5 copies of your RAW file you plan to make into and HDR

2) Bring them into Photomatix

3) It will show all exposures at “0”.  Convert each exposure to +2, +1, 0, -1, -2

4) Tone map from there and handle via your normal processing!

Not technical at all.    Have fun!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 150.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/1000 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, 3 Textures

Roger Federer in HDR

In honor of the French Open going on right now…here is Mr. Roger Federer in HDR (from Palm Springs, CA).  Its a long holiday weekend in the US…and I will be watching lots of tennis from Paris.  If you are a fan…you gotta be routing for another Nadal vs Federer final.  Hope it happens.   Right now I consider Roger the best player ever in tennis.  Rafa Nadal has a chance to unseat him one day…but must stay healthy.   Good luck to Roger this week!  Oh yes…and to my favorite Maria Sharapova as well!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 112.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/1600 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Orlando, FL – Disney World (HDR)

Disney World is an amazing place! What adult or kid does not want to go at any time?  Maybe not in the sweltering summer…but when its spring or fall…tough to beat!  Everyone knows the Icon – Cinderella’s Castle.  Here it is in HDR.  All we need is some Disney characters to pop into the photo.   It is expensive to attend…so if you are visiting Orlando for a few days…park passes work well.   If you have real little ones…check out Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary  Resort.  Here you can have a breakfast buffet with Mickey and many of the characters from Disney.  Reservations needed!

Here is some info from the web: Cinderella Castle was completed in July 1971, after about 18 months of construction, and reaches to a height of 189 feet (57.6 meters) tall — more than twice the size of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. An optical trick known as forced perspective makes the Castle appear even larger than it actually is. As it becomes taller, its proportions get smaller. For example, using this method, the top spire of the Castle is actually close to half of the size it “appears.” Major elements of the Castle were scaled and angled to give the illusion of distance and height, a method frequently used in Disney theme parks around the world.

Cinderella Castle was inspired by a variety of several real and fictional French palaces; Fontainebleau, Versailles, and the chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord and Chaumont. It was also inspired by the Alcazar in Segovia, Spain. The chief designer of the Castle, Disney Legend Herbert Ryman, also referenced the original design for the castle in the film Cinderella and his own well-known creation—Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 22.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable  Release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

REVIEW: IPad (a Photographers Tool)

I purchased the IPad 64GB 3G version and now have had it for about a month.  I must say it is one great powerful tool to have!   I can just imagine future generations will be even better.  I know it does not support flash and does have its drawbacks.  And in my opinion is is not a laptop.  I still bring my laptop for above and beyond work that they IPad cannot handle.  What the IPad is to me is a super fast instant on for (no particular order)…

1) Email  2) Internet  3) Movies 4) TV Shows 5) Podcasts 6) Games 7) Files 8)Music-Music Videos 9) Apps  10) Photographs!!!

I am an Apple fan and really enjoy my IPhone…now the apps never get played on my phone…IPad is the choice!   I think if you can afford it..get the largest available IPad.  Storage space goes fast!  I have a ton of stuff on it and still have 16 GB remaining.  So thinking as a photographer…the photos look amazing on the IPad!  Like HD!!  I have many shots on there.  For an example of usage..I brought my IPad the other day to a Real Estate shoot…I whipped out the IPad and gave a slideshow of my previous Real Estate HDR’s to the sales person…he was impressed!  A picture is worth 1000 words indeed!   A great platform to show your photos!  The IPad is small enough to fit in my photo backpack…nice!

Another big benefit is the available “Camera Connection Kit” from Apple.  For $29.00 you get 2 connectors to your IPad (USB and SD).  As I shoot with Nikon…no problem at all downloading Jpegs or NEF files!  So now you can download your shots on location and then view them in a beautiful format in minutes!   I find myself  downloading my shots on my MAC and then putting them also on my IPad.  I grab the IPad and sit on the coach (or anywhere in the house) and view my shots. A nice mobile photo viewer.

On a glad I didn’t moment..I was thinking of buying an EPSON photo viewers for the same reason a few months ago ($600)….now it is not even necessary!   I can assume that in time as the storage gets larger for the IPad…these photo viewers will be obsolete.   I also enjoy video Podcasts like DTown TV, Photoshop TV, Geek Brief TV…and now they are large and wonderful to view!  I even now have a subscription to “Digital Photographer UK” magazine on my IPad and can read the current or back issues any time!  I’d say if you are a photographer and have some extra cash…the IPad is a must!!  An unreal tool that has already changed life as I know it.  Technology is amazing!

As for some negative comments, yes, the IPad is not equal to a laptop yet (as I stated above), but will be in my opinion in about 2 years.  I am not a big fan of the very reflective screen.  It also is a fingerprint magnet!  So I tried a film cover and that helped. I was  still not happy about the reflective screen with the std film cover.  I then found another film that reduces glare…Screen Guardz.  Works awesome, but of course reduces brightness/quality just a tad.  But I will accept that in order to have less glare.

The IPad is revolutionary.  If you own one, I am certain you are extremely happy!!!  Kudos Apple!  Keep making our lives easier!!

A Splash of Spring

Spring is here…hopefully in your area!  As I am not a flower expert…I am not sure what type this wonderful yellow guy is?  I need to get back into macros flower shots…been a while since I last took a few!   I have been traveling tons recently…I basically missed Texas Wildflower season here.  Time to hit our local gardens!!  Have a sunny day!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 105 VR f/2.8 Macro
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 105.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/320 second
  • Aperture:  f/9.0
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

Austin, TX – Del Valle Motocross Park (HDR)

As a photographer…it is tough not to take on the challenge of shooting sports.  Especially as I enjoy most all sports.   With the recent purchase of the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens….I shoot my daughter’s soccer games just about every weekend.  So skills have been growing.  I have shot high school football, high school baseball and a Supercross event.  I wanted to try outdoor motocross.  I just happened to google local MX (Motocross) parks in the area…maybe I could go shoot a practice?  I found the Del Valle MX Park.   It is only minutes from the Austin airport.

I checked and this Sunday (23rd) was a PONCA qualifier.  So race day at the track!   Practice started at 8 AM and racing was at 9 AM.  I arrived at 8:15ish and practice was underway.   What a great track!  The big bikes were out practicing and I started taking a bunch of pics.   I was shooting raw (most sports should be in Jpeg)..as I wanted to convert my shots into HDR.

Now as I mentioned before, HDR sports shots most of the time should be a single RAW image converted.   Any movement will create a blur.  MX would be a mess!  I stayed until 11:30 AM and grabbed about 700 photos.   I am in midst of processing my shots…I want most to be in HDR….you can see my gallery here…Talke Photography.  I have 20+ photos up now…by weeks end…hoping to have about 30+ MX HDR’s from Del Valle.    I will not come close to HDR’ing all shots, but if you were at the race and were a racer, Mom or Dad that talked to me during the race…email me and I can check if I have your son or daughter’s shot in my files.  I would be glad to make them into a MX HDR!!

I enjoy shooting Motocross!  I am becoming a big fan.  I will be at the Wortham, TX AMA MX race on June 5th.   Hope to grab some cool shots there as well!!   HDR & MX = sweet!!!!  Also, another race at Del Valle Motocross Park on June 12th!!  See you there!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 200.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/641 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza