Welcome to Places 2 Explore – Travel Photo Blog!

Peter Talke
Photography has always been a passion of mine ever since I was young.   By the time I reached my mid twenties I always had a camera/video camera in my hands.   All my friends and family knew I would document any occasion if I was around.

My normal occupation is quite interesting….I have been selling optical glass for a big company for nearly 20 years. Many people think optical glass is for eyeglasses, car windshields etc..  not really…our glass is used in high end optical systems such as; cameras, binoculars, laser systems, projection systems, etc..   I started to travel at the age of 23 and have not stopped since.

I am lucky to be able to see many places in the world.  I work extremely hard and it is very tough to be away from my family.  Many people just look at the travel destination and don’t realize the work and time involved.  Work always comes first, but with my love of photography I always try to sightsee after a days work and of course I bring my camera equipment!

Ever since I began my travel, I have always taken photos of the places I had been.  Through the years I had some nice point and shoot cameras, but never a SLR.   I can recall my first digital camera was in the year 2000.   I kept shooting away and loved that I had digital files of all my shots.  Some early pictures were at 3 megapixels?   I always moved up to the best point and shoot camera through the years.

Then in late 2005 I entered the world of DSLR’s with a Nikon D70S.   Interchangable lenses was such new world for me.  I bought a few books and began to read and learn.  My skills grew and at this time all of my photos were just for fun.   I basically used the kit lens on the camera until January 2008 when I purchased a Nikon D300.  The world of photography was now a target of my passion.   I wanted to buy more lenses and learn to become an accomplished photographer.

My wife met a friend who was a photographer and they had a website.  I took a look at it and thought…I should start one as well!   Then one month later  www.talkephotography.com was formed.   It went through a few design changes and then I decided upon using Zenfolio for my host.  I had a nice flow of visitors and sold some photos.

By mid 2008 I had accumulated a nice collection of lenses.  My photography skills increased as I began reading any books/magazines and listening to many photography podcasts.  My brain became a sponge.  I immediately wanted to try all styles and methods.  I realized that I would have to focus and pick a few methods and try to master them.

My main goal for the future is to become a portrait photographer when I retire from my current job.  So I have quite a few years to learn this part of photography.  So my current choices at hand are landscape/nature photography.  My pictures were nice, but I thought I needed to expand my abilities.   I picked up a book called “The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range” by Ferrell McCollough and I was hooked by the photos!    So artistic and incredible!  I studied hard and picked up a DVD tutorial.  I shot my first HDR in Times Square in June 2008.  Amazingly this photo is one now of my top viewed photos on my website.

I always say the best way to learn is by trial and error, so I kept at shooting standard photos and HDR’s on every trip.  I was learning what was working and what wasn’t.   HDR photos were quickly becoming my favorite!   My portfolio of photos including HDR’s were growing.   With every trip I was thinking…what can be my next HDR?

In the beginning I was taking many HDR’s hand held.  But I soon learned that the key to any shot is sharpness.  Not many people like to look at a blurry photo.   I then began to take my tripod with me on every trip (I also added a cable release).    With taking multiple exposures any camera movement will decrease the sharpness of your shot.

Next up on my list of styles was infrared photography.  Again I bought a book…this was called “Digital Infrared Pro Secrets” by David Busch.  I enjoyed seeing the photographs.   I went out and bought a Hoya R72 IR Filter.   I used it twice and decided to look for other options.  I found the website LifePixel and saw that you can send in a camera and have it converted.  Then you can use any interchangeable lens you want with the IR camera.  A great idea.  Cost was about $400.  I had my old Nikon D70S just sitting in my cabinet and thought one day I will have it converted.

Early 2009 I sent it in.  When it came back the first month was a big learning curve.  The key to an IR shot is the post processing.  I tried many methods and finally pinpointed my settings.   Now with every trip I always carry this camera with me.   It’s such a fun extra style!  If you love photography and have an extra camera (that can be converted) and some extra cash…I’d say have it done.  Its just like HDR processing….you never know what you really have until it is post processed.   Anticipation adds to the experience.

In early 2009 my website was growing, but slowly.  Blogs were growing and becoming a nice forum to showcase your work.   I studied all blogs and by March 2009 I started my travel photo blog “Places 2 Explore” through WordPress.  As a salesperson for years I know that product diversity and marketability are two important factors in business.    The more places your product can be out there, the more chance for business.    So with the website and blog in place…I set up Twitter and Facebook immediately.    I think for any photographer…all of these are a must if you plan to grow!

When Places 2 Explore began at first I was thinking of posting a photo once per week.  Then I thought that how many people will want to visit your site if you are just occasionally posting?  Not many.  So I then decided on posting 6 out of 7 days a week!  It keeps it fresh and you get more loyal readers that way.  Now after 18+ months of blogging I now have over 600,000 visitors!  Thanks everyone!!  The curve is rising every month and it keeps me wanting to post the best possible shots as much as possible!  I truly enjoy all the viewership and interacting with my readers comments!

Along with the growth on my blog, my site has exploded as well.  Sales have increased tremendously and so have opportunities to have my photos published.  In the past few months I have been in a few magazines, had my photos used in advertisements and books.  I am also now supplying my photos and working with Getty Images.   It is nice to work with the largest stock photo company in the world!  I am not sure what the future holds, but I am enjoying every minute of it.

I have recently given a speech on IR Photography in Austin and had a wonderful time!  I have also published an eBook on Infrared Photography. Teaching photography is always enjoyable!  I am here to help…so feel free to contact me at any time with any questions!

A day does not pass where I am not learning/reading and or taking photos.  I am eager to grow my equipment level as well.  Unfortunately, sometimes to get pro style photos, you need to have pro style equipment…and that comes at a price.  My wife has embraced my growth as long as I don’t spend too much on gear.

Peter Talke Photography has a bright future. In 2010 I began my expansion into portrait photography. I now have a small home photo studio and have begun to enter the field of portrait/event photography. Also with my young daughter entering the sports scene….I have the Nikon 70-200 VR lens…this adds sports photography to my list of styles.

2011 was the start of my portrait/event session explosion! With word of mouth and some advertising, 2011 became an extremely busy time for portraits! Nearly every weekend was booked and I had a blast shooting families, HS Seniors and sporting events! I also shot my first HS basketball team for their media guide! (Varsity, JV and Freshmen). What great fun that was! I was also the official photographer for the Lake Travis HS baseball team and shot their home games. I also loved the holiday season as many of the Xmas cards we received were shot by me! I have since added “Compositing” to my abilities and my clients love them! This is where you take a studio shot and add the person into an HDR background somewhere else. Such a cool style!

I had a few of my photos on the local “Lakeway Voice” covers and also have a photo in the 2012 Hill Country Calendar. The big news in 2011 was a book deal with Focal Press to produce 200 page book on Infrared Photography. I worked hard on this in my spare time for a few months, but then declined the offer. Unfortunately, the amount of time put in and the payback were not suitable to me. Yes, any photographer wants to be published and it was an honor and great opportunity….but my portrait/event work has become my focus and my customers are more important to me. I will be updating my IR ebook and will have it available to purchase again in early 2012. 2012 looks to be a stellar year to Talke Photography!

That is the great thing about photography…so many styles and methods…you can pick and choose whatever is best for you!   Always remember…just don’t take a photograph….make a photograph.

Pete Talke

Pete & Lexi

A picture from my favorite place…Paris!  ….having fun with my daughter.  Photographer – my lovely wife!

Here is what equipment I use….

Cameras: Nikon D300 / Nikon D70s – IR Modified By LifePixel

Lenses:  Nikon 18-200 VR F/3.5, Nikon 12-24 F/4, Nikon 105 VR f/2.8, Nikon 50 F/1.4, Nikon 18-70 f/3.5, , Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, Nikon 10.5 Fisheye

Tripod: Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber,  w/ Really Right Stuff BH-40 (with L-Bracket), Gorillapod Focus

Monopod: Manfrotto 68 1B

Teleconverter: TC14eE II

Nikon Shutter Release MC-36

Flash: Nikon SB-600

I have a nice big list of addtional equipment I want….Nikon 12-24 f/2.8, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 16mm Fisheye and the Nikon 85 f/1.4…they are next on my list!

I hope you bookmark my page and check back often….thanks so much for visiting!!   ….and remember…there is a world out there and many PLACES 2 EXPLORE!!!

33 comments on “About

  1. Greg says:

    Hello Sir.My name is Greg and im 23years old guy from Poland.I hope u understand me becouse my english is not very well.I just want to ask u about ur Photos.Iam exciting when i See ur Pictures.I would like to know how did u do this picture in HDR.I still trying but i can!!:(( I am using ADOBE PS CS3 full version but my Pictures are not good:(( Can u help me please and explain step by step HOW TO DO GOOD HDR PICTURE??If u want to contact with me this is my skype login GREEGWHITE.Many thanks and waiting for u!!!GREEG

    • Jr says:

      Hello sir is I loved the picture of your nephew. Is there any way you can post some sort of walk through or tutorial of some sort. Or maybe direct me to some website or book. Thank you.

      • Hello! I offer no training yet…but you can se my equipment list only recent post. Study everything Joel Grimes and you can get these shots! =) Good luck! Pete

  2. Barry says:

    I would email you directly if I had your email address.

    I am starting a poster business and would love to use your work.

    To be frank my budget is not enormous as I am a college student and I pay my own way.

    I will pay you for select originals of your photos. I can pay per image, perhaps $20/image. Note I just need them put online, not sent to me.

    Out of love for your work I would also give you all profits generated by the posters made from your work until you are paid a specified amount. $40/image, something like that.

    You can see the style of work at the website where some posters are uploaded. http://www.omposters.com

    Thank you so much.


  3. Jaime says:

    Do you like working with Zenfolio for your site? Is the ability to order really worth the expense? Im thinking of going that way as well but still doing research.

    • Jaime, Hello! I do like Zenfolio! The ease of download/design and of all the processing/shipping with MPix works out wonderfully! I have had it for over a year and have no complaints. I know once I grow larger in a year…my plan is to go with a new designed site…but for now…it is perfect! =) Pete

  4. Laci Patti says:

    Great post mate! Wheres the subscribe button? Haha

  5. Morehead says:

    Hey your site is neat!

  6. […] This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Pete Talke on Talke Photography and Places 2 Explore. […]

  7. […] This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Pete Talke on Talke Photography and Places 2 Explore. […]

  8. how you make hdr with d3000?

    • Sorry Antonio, but the D3000 is not set for bracketing. The only way to produce and HDR is using one single raw file. And with hat be carful with noise. So watch your light levels. Hope this helps! Pete

      • Al Williams says:

        Not entirely true, all bracketing does is change the shutter speed and keep the selected aperture constant therefore creating different exposures.

        Alternatively you could first set the camera to aperture priority mode, select the required aperture then meter the scene and make a note of the shutter speed that the camera selects, then go into manual mode and use the noted shutter speed for one exposure, and then play with the shutter speed to get your under and over exposed images.

        Hope that helps.

  9. Hi Peter! I talked to you a little about the IR conversion on the photo walk. I just looked at the link on your blog and I think I want to do it but I’m not sure which filter to go with. What do you recommend? I’m thinking one of the color filters because you can always convert to B&W later but have the option to keep some color in the image… I’m not sure which color filter would be the best option. Which did you end up going with on your camera?

    BTW, your website is convincing me to do more photography for MYSELF and less for others… Great work!

  10. Wayne Bennett says:

    Hello Peter, Love your photographs and website. Just wondering what kind of bag do you use to camera your camera gear when traveling abroad or even domestically?

    • Wayne, hiya! I always use 2 bags…one for airline carry on and one for around town shots (this one I pack in my bags). Both are Think Tank. The best bags ever!! I think I did a review on the around town Think Tank bag here a few months ago. Check back on “reviews” and you can read up on it. I have yet to do a review on the Think Tank Airport Security 2.0. That is one super sweet carry on bag!!! 10 out of 10!!! This talk has made me want to do a review!! Look for it later this week. Have fun! Pete

  11. Rey Coronado says:


    Can you share with me what travel case you use when traveling across the world. I plan to fly across a few states and I’m concerned with protecting my photo equipment. I plan to take two nikon cameras, three lenses, tripod, flash, batteries, etc. Your recommendation on a carrying/rolling case is appreciated. I want to carry this equipment with me on the plane. I truly appreciate your HDR artistic ability.

    Your reply is greatly appreciated,


  12. sartenada says:

    Great collection of photos. I guess that to explore Your photos thoroughly would last at least one week.

    Happy shooting and exploring the world.

  13. Hi Peter,

    I enjoyed browsing your portfolio and reading your about page. Your images are beautiful, and I feel your passion for photography.
    Good luck in the future!

  14. Stephen, thanks so much!! Best wishes to you as well!! Pete

  15. Jacob says:

    I didn’t see a contact form on your website. I just wanted to let you know about photoblogs.com, a fast growing community for photo bloggers. Feel free to delete this comment when you see it 🙂

  16. Diane says:


    I just love your photograph of the lion at Trafalgar Square in London. I wish I had seen it before I went there because I would have loved to see the angle with Big Ben in the background in person. I hope to purchase some of your photographs in the future.

  17. tifloyd says:

    I nominated you for the “Liebster Blog” award! Please refer to my latest post on the subject 🙂

  18. Jim Kramer says:

    You got mad skills! I love your work in the sports arena. Wishing you continued success!

    If you ever have a few spare minutes, please stop by and take a look at my work with high speed drop collisions. You might find it interesting. Thanks! -Jim

    Planetary Collision #5413b | ©2012 - LiquidsinMotion.us.com
  19. […] This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Pete Talke on Talke Photography and Places 2 Explore. […]

  20. Patrice says:

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you
    develop this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my very own site and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!

  21. Michael Averett says:

    Peter, I have been following your site for some time. I am finally to the point where I am looking to invest in a new DSLR to really dive into HDR. So, I figured what best than to use the same equipment as you!. I’ve been looking at used Nikon D300’s, and I am just curious what the shutter count is on yours (Since you are clearly an avid user I am trying to balance cost vs shutter count on used models). Thanks a million and keep shooting!

    • Michael, hello! Thanks so much!! I love my D300. Had it since 2008?? Still an awesome camera! One day I will move up to full frame. I can take 9 HDR brackets. All of my HDR’s are typically 5-7 brackets. I have used it so much…in the past year I had to replace all the rubber on it from wear, my 10 pin for the cable release is worn down and had the mirror release fixed as it was sticking. I just checked…I have 147,000 photos taken on the D300!! WOW!! One kick a** camera!!

  22. Jim Redford says:

    Wow – love your Paris photos! And I may like your wife’s best – nothing compares to the joy you and your daughter share in that shot!

    Also wanted to ask in reference to “Where the Streets Have No Name,” what nameless street is it? 🙂

    Thanks, Jim

  23. Eric says:

    Dear Mr. Talke,

    Just want you to know you have really inspired me to take on HDR photography once again. I have been experimenting a while ago, but didn’t work out that well. I have bought a new camera (Fuji x-100) (love that camera) and tried other HDR software. It’s getting better… but still far removed from your quality of work! Your shots are amazing! Blew me away first time I saw them! The real estate shots are just perfect, the Paris shots as well.

    Thanks, Eric from The Netherlands.

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