Coronado, CA – Hotel Del Coronado (HDR)

If you are ever in San Diego, just a few minutes away is Coronado.  Here you can find the amazing Hotel Del!  We stopped by for dinner outside on the patio the nite before. I had never been, so I scoped out the place for shots.  I woke up early…around 5 AM this day and drove over for a photo run!  It was very quiet and this fantastic room was open for me to HDR!   It is called the Crown Room (see the lights above…crown shaped).  This would be a great spot for a wedding reception!  I can imagine its booked often and always filled.  I was lucky after I did a few shots I went elsewhere in the hotel, came back to this room and it was locked for an upcoming preparation.

When you walk into a place like this all you can think about is the history!  Here is some info from the web:  The Del’s visionary founders – Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story – dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world.” Since then, the resort has become a living legend, visited by celebrities, dignitaries and U.S. presidents. In fact, publisher Rand McNally recognized the Hotel del Coronado for enjoying “more fame and historical significance than perhaps any hotel in North America.”

Eleven U.S. Presidents have visited The Del, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891. One of the resort’s most famous visitors was England’s Prince of Wales in 1920. He would later become King Edward VIII, only to give up his throne in 1936 to marry Coronado divorcee Wallis Spencer Simpson. Many have speculated that they may have first met at The Del. Hollywood has been making movies at The Del since 1901. In 1958, The Del was the backdrop for the comedy classic “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The resort has also seen a steady stream of celebrity visitors – from Charlie Chaplin and Humphrey Bogart to Brad Pitt and Madonna.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-14 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/11
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, HDR Efex Pro
  • Estes Park, Colorado – The Stanley Hotel (HDR) – Part 2

    The alarm went off at 4 AM and I grabbed my gear and was out the door.  I really didn’t get a chance to see the hotel the day before, so it was all new to me!  The most famous location in the hotel is Room 217.  This is where Stephen King stayed and many ghostly happenings may have occurred.  It was quite spooky at 4 AM walking around the hotel.  As it is an old building…the hallway wood creaks with every step.   At least someone cannot sneak up at you!  But if they are floating, maybe they can!!   I set up the above shot and gave it a little photoshop touch to create a eerie feel….Room 217!!

    I continued on and wanted to grab a shot of the famous stairway near the reception.  I walked down and bumped into a family walking around taking photos just like me.  The daughter mentioned that she awoke this morning with someone stroking her hair!!???  The mind can do amazing things…I guess??  I went into this visit without much knowledge of the happenings here, so if I experienced anything, it would be real.  I was at the stairway for a while, as occasionally a worker or person would walk by my long exposure HDR.  Take 2, Take 3, Take 4…finally I got it!!

    I then talked to two ladies that were walking around and they knew all the history.  They told me about the little ghost kids that run around on the fourth floor all through the nite.  I immediately went up to the 4th floor and someone was actually watching a movie in their room and the TV was blasting..I did not see or hear anything.  Oh well.  I wanted to get a hallway shot perpendicular to this area by another set of stairs.  As I set up for my shot, I heard someone walking up the stairway.  Worried about traffic with my long exposures, I looked over the rails downward a second or two later and there was no one around????  Spooky!!!!

    I kept on taking pics until around 6 AM.  The shot from yesterday was just before sunrise outside the front of the hotel.   The Ballroom and Music Room are supposed haunted areas.  I went to photograph both…no luck!  After I returned from my trip, I checked all my pics…no shadowy figures or apparitions found.  I loved my stay at the Stanley.   I would gladly stay there again!  I will finish off Part 3 tomorrow…until then!

    Las Vegas, Nevada – Bellagio Hotel (HDR)

    The Bellagio is my favorite hotel in Vegas.  A great place to stay and kinda in the middle of it all.  This shot was from an early AM visit out by the reception/drop off area.  I added a little extra selective color touch to it for fun.  Hope thats my limo to the right!  LOL    The pavers look wet, but the HDR created a nice shine.  Hard to believe that when I walked through the hotel at 6:30 AM people were gambling and drinking.  Some may be continuations from the nite before and some actually looked like they just got up to start a fun day!  Whew!  That is why most of the time what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!

    Did you know Vegas is Spanish for the Meadows?  Here is info on Las Vegas from the web:   Development of the Las Vegas valley began in 1907 with the installation of the first flowing groundwater well. Prior to that time, the aquifer system’s natural discharge and recharge was in equilibrium, with an estimated flow of 7,500 acre-feet per year. As development progressed, nature’s balance was disturbed as water flowed freely onto the desert floor from uncapped artesian wells, resulting in a drop in the groundwater table and the drying of the springs.

    In 1912, groundwater discharge from these free flowing artesian wells was almost 15,000 acre-feet per year. Due to this excessive drain on the aquifer system, the groundwater levels decreased by an average rate of one foot per year from 1912 to 1944. The groundwater table dropped more than 90 feet in some areas between 1944 and 1963. By 1955, groundwater pumped from the Las Vegas aquifer approached 40,000 acre-feet per year. The springs stopped flowing by 1962, resulting in the lush grassy meadows to fade away. The name “Las Vegas” is the only remaining evidence of the desert oasis that once existed in the now parched landscape. Groundwater pumpage continued to increase, peaking at 90,000 acre-feet per year in the 1970s. By 1990, the groundwater table had dropped more than 300 feet in some areas of the valley.

    The stress on the aquifer system forced a change on the sole reliance on groundwater. To meet consumption demands, Las Vegas began importing water from the Colorado River. Currently, Las Vegas imports 90 percent of its water from the Colorado River via Lake Mead. Groundwater pumped from the local aquifer provides the valley with only 10 percent of the demand.

    Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Silver Efex Pro
  • Houston, TX – Hilton (HDR)

    When we were in Houston back in April we stayed downtown at the Hilton.  A very nice hotel.   Only a few minutes from the Astros ballpark and right in the middle of it all.  We had 2 nights here and enjoyed our stay very much.  The indoor pool on level 23 has big glass windows that overlook the city.  Swimming here at nite was amazing!    It is a full service hotel with a executive lounge, gym, restaurants, and a Starbucks.  When we checked in I loved this view above and new I had to come back and grab the shot.  It was the weekend…so it was packed.  My only chance was to wake up early and walk down when it was quiet.  I was up this AM at 4:30 and prepared for the shot.   you figure it will be empty, but it was not..the cleanup crew works at this time.  So I was timing my shots around them.   Whenever we want to stay in Houston…this will be the hotel.  We took a day trip down to Kemah Amusement Park (about 40 mins away). Not so great, but our little one enjoyed it very much!  So  it was worth it.  Lots to do in Houston.  Next time we will hit the Space Center and the Aquarium.  Enjoy your stay wherever you may travel!  =)

    Talke Photography Settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 13.0mm
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
    • Aperture:  f/7.1
    • Gear:  Tripod, Cable  Release
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

    Las Vegas, NV – New York NY Hotel (HDR)

    Las Vegas.  I love this place and look forward to visiting whenever possible.   I wish I had conventions there for my work, but unfortunately, we do not.  We try to fly out for a day or so every summer.  I really enjoy just walking around to see the sights and the night lights. Typically during my visits I only have a little time to take photographs….and here is one from this past year.  Something I rarely do…it is a single raw file processed into HDR.  I was playing around today with some old pics and decided to give this one a try.  I liked the HDR…but it needed a little pop.  As I am a fan of selective color…I decided to give it a try! Hope you enjoy this shot!

    Talke Photography Settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 200.0mm
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:   3 seconds (Single RAW HDR)
    • Aperture:  f/16
    • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Silver Efex Pro

    Grapevine, Texas – Gaylord Texan Hotel (HDR)

    NIKON D300, Nikon 105. Fisheye, HDR in Photomatix

    Here is my weekly holiday shot from the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas!   It was quiet on this side of the hotel and I found it a perfect time to shoot!  The fisheye lens just about got it all in!  The atrium is called the San Antonio Riverwalk.  Not a bad replica!  In San Antonio, along with the Alamo, you can find a wonderful riverwalk with nice restaurants lining the waterway!   This made me feel like I was there!  In a few weeks we will go down and visit san Antonio.  During the holidays the Riverwalk is famous for holiday lights and the area is supposed to be beautiful!  Will post pics as it get near Christmas!   Hope your holiday shopping is going well!!

    Grapevine, TX – Gaylord Texan Hotel (HDR)

    NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

    Happy Holiday season!  I’ll post an XMas photo from the Gaylord each week until Christmas.  Here is another view of the Lone Star Atrium.  The tree in the center rotates non stop…a long exposure give the fluid motion look!   I really enjoy all the lights hanging from the ceiling.  Imagine all the work to hang those lights!!  Kudos to the workers at the hotel!    I plan to visit again next year for the holidays.  It must be a special year…it might snow here in Austin, Texas tomorrow!!  Now that would be a sight to see!!  My camera will be charged and ready to go!

    Austin, Texas – Driskill Hotel (HDR)

    Austin, TX - Driskill Hotel Lounge HDR

    NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

    After a few days of IR shots…now back to a colorful photo!    This shot is from the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin.  If you ever get to Austin, stop by…it sure is a classic place!  This is one of the lounge areas…a nice Texas effect with the longhorn hanging up on the wall.

    Now this hotel is supposedly haunted…here is what I got from the web:   Some people say that the Driskill is among the most haunted hotels in the United States.  The spirit of a young girl bouncing a ball is believed to haunt the lobby of the first floor lobby. The second floor ladies’ restroom and the staircase to the mezzanine. The girl is believed to be the spirit of the daughter of a Senator who fell to her death down the hotel’s grand staircase while chasing a ball. Today guests report hearing the sound of laughter and a ball bouncing down the staircase.  There is a few more ghost stories to be told…so make sure to ask the concierge for the whole background.

    No ghosts showed up in my pictures, maybe next time I will listen for any playful sounds!  Have a boo-tiful day!