Irvine, CA – Fox Head, Inc. (HDR)

Fox Head_Talke
As a big motocross fan…I saw picture on Instagram of the Fox Headquarters building in Irvine and had to take a short drive to see it. Pretty cool design! I’d like to grab this shot at nite as well. Fox Head, Inc. or simply known as Fox is privately owned action sports and clothing brand founded in 1974. Fox designs, develops and distributes clothing and accessories to over fifty countries primarily focusing on motocross. Inside you can find a store with clothing and MX gear. One more shot from inside the store…

Fox Helmets HDR_Talke

Wortham, Texas – Ryan Dungey


From the AMA Motocross race back in 2010 in Wortham, Texas…my favorite rider…Ryan Dungey. The 2012 AMA Motocross season starts this Saturday! I’m super pumped! I will miss the race in Wortham in a few weeks..but will try to get to 1 or 2 this year! Dungey looks to be a favorite to win it this year with a few main guys out due to injury. Good luck Ryan! Hangotown on this Saturday…FUELTV at 4 PM EST!

New York 1930’s – Motorcycling

Hopefully we all have some great old photos in our family. While visiting my Grandma this past year we looked thru her old pics. My Grandpa was a avid motorcycle racer. Road races, hill climbs and anything moto! My photoshop skills are solid but to rework an old photo…a professional is needed. I sent in 2 pics today to a shop in TN called Antique Photo Repair. This is my scanned in image of my Grandpa from 1929 (with a small attempt to clean it up). Whomever took this shot must have been a great photographer! Super exposure!

When it arrives back…I’ll post the results. In the photos from this period I came across this shot…my Grandpa is in the middle….not sure who the other men are…all that is known is that it is from the 1930’s in upstate New York. Look at the condition of this shot! Also as a photographer the exposure is wonderful!! I can only imagine what camera was used to grab this shot! I’d love to one day study the history of photography. Unfortunately, many of us new photogs have no clue about early day cameras. I am picturing in my mind the box type camera with an accordion type body with a flash stand that goes “poof”! Any one know of any good books to read about camera history??

ADVMX – Finish Line Ahead


Just one more shot from the MX action on Sunday. I was contacted by one of the racers #512 Tye W yesterday. As it is difficult to go thru 2600 pictures so quickly, if you are anyone you know was at the race…contact me and I will gladly search my pics and make a personal gallery like I did today for Tye! As you all know I like to have fun with my pics…HDR, selective color and of course textures…and MX action is true photographic art. The colors of the gear and the action can’t be beat! So why not make it even more artistic! This shot was done with three textures and some masking. Very cool! Hope you enjoyed the race Tye!

Austin, Texas – Del Valle Motocross Park

Saturday night was the next race night at Austin’s Del Valle MX Park.  I had been traveling most of the summer and now was home for a bit and had a chance to attend Saturday’s race and photograph it.   I met up with my good friend…Evan Gearing (Evan’s Expo Blog) and we were up for a tough challenge!  The odds were stacked against us photographically – Practice at 6 PM Races start at 7 PM (night shooting?)  and overcast (low light conditions)…whew!   I took about 800 photos and about 200 were good.   I started out on Aperture mode & f/4.  As the light early was not bad, my settings were no problem.  Later on, as it became darker,  it became tougher!  I was trying Manual, different f/stops….but my original  settings seemed to be the best.  As the sun was fading…my shots were falling off like a bug on a zapper!   I took out my Nikon SB 600 flash and hoped I would blind the poor racers!

I played around with it for a while on different settings until finally I was getting the right amount of light.  Any racer that came close to me was a bit bright, but thats ok…it was a learning experience!!   As soon as I got it down….Evan had a great idea to move over to the corner bank that had the sunset in the background.  I had no idea how the shots would look.  After a few snaps…I was hooked!!   Super great call Evan!!  We stayed at this location until it became dark.   Our shots were losing out as darkness fell…the the backgrounds were non existent….a bit too black.  So we packed it up around 8:15 PM.

You can find my gallery of the session here….Talke Photography.  The shot is a bit noisy and a tad off, but still cool!   I’d like to try it again.  I think next time in such conditions…I’ll use the flash 100% of the time.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8 + SB600 Flash
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 110 mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Exposure:   1/60
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • Gear:  Hand held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

One more bonus shot….

Motocross – Ryan Dungey (Free IPad Screeensaver!)

This past weekend my favorite Motocross rider…Ryan Dungey clinched the AMA Motocross 2010 Championship!   Congrats Dungey!  He has become the first rookie ever to win the Supercross and Motocross Championship in the same year!!   Unreal!  This dude can ride a bike!  This past weekend in Southwick was Dungey’s 9th straight victory.  Talk about domination!   In honor of his amazing achievement I would like to offer this photo (IPad screensaver size) to anyone that wants it!!   In the comments below just type “MX” and I will email it to you!

I had a little photoshop fun with the shot above…it was a standard action photo…1/1000 exposure.  I brought the photo into Photoshop.  Used Silver Efex Pro and made it selective color via masking and the next step was “Motion Blur” in the Photoshop drop down menu…masking was needed here as well.  Simple and easy!   Motion via Post Process!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 80.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/1000
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4,  Silver Efex Pro

Austin, TX – Del Valle Motocross (HDR)

From a few weeks back at the great Austin Del Valle Motocross Park…here is the start from one of the races that day.  I was shooting for a while around the track and almost forgot to catch the starting lineup.  I ran up and caught this one just in time….right when the gate fell.  This was one of my favorite shots from the day.  Tough to beat the one dude popping a wheelie right out of the gates!  This shot is another reason why MX in HDR is a great match!  Cool indeed!

My MX fandom has been growing.  Hoping to get to another race this season.  My boy Dungey has won 5 races in a row…hoping to gain the AMA MX Championship.

I see Del Valle has a few races coming up soon….August 14th..and more!   I will miss the August 14th race.  I have received a few emails from riders recently…I will gladly shoot MX anytime (as long as I am not traveling)…so if you have a practice up at Del Valle, just shoot me an email.  If I can make it…I am there!  I need the practice as well!   Also, thanks to ADVMX for putting a link to my website on their front page!  Wonderful!    Check their website for an upcoming schedule!   If you attend…you will be super pumped!

Tale Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 70.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/806 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Wortham, Texas – Holeshot in HDR – Freestone Raceway

Here is a photo from the AMA National from Wortham, Texas – Freestone Raceway.  I went on Saturday.  My first ever MX (motocross) race.  I was pumped as it was going to be a nice hot sunny day!  Unfortunately, it was hot…about 97 degrees!  Whew!  Lots of liquids this day!  So I arrived at 9 AM.  (3 hour drive form Austin).  It is about 1 hour east of Waco…deep in the Texas country.  Beautiful though!  Many farms and small towns.   I parked (free parking!) and walked to the track.  What an awesome track!  Great jumps and trees scattered around…the dirt looked wonderful!

I had nio idea what to expect photographically…will it be tough to move around?  Will I get great shots?  Will the crowds be too deep to get in close?  As I arrived practice was going on.  A great time to start shooting.  I was excited as I studied hard beforehand to make sure I had the correct settings for action sports.  I re-read sections of my David Busch’s Nikon D300 guide.  My last excursion to Del Valle was just ok.  So this was the key… (I am a Nikon shooter…so if you have another camera…settings like this may be similar?).  The standard settings are below…but these are helpful in/on camera settings:

1. Continuous:  “C”  (Continuous mode) – located by the lens barrel .  That way moving subjects can be tracked

2. Autofocus: “Dynamic AF Area” – here you have a choice of 9, 21 or 51 points.  Set it on 21 points.  9 points is ok, but 21 points will take less time focusing than 51 points so your focus will be faster!

3. Autofocus: “Focus Tracking with lock on” – set to LONG.  When shooting sports the tracking stays on longer and when something gets in the way (person, etc..), it causes no interruptions.

Now every lens has its sweet spot f/stop.  The 70-200 VR is at f/8.  But I really didn’t want to shoot it at f/8…I wanted a semi-blurred background, so I went with f/5.6.   Somewhat in between f/2.8 and f/8.  F/4 was an option, but decided on f/5.6 for the day.  Another key was just shooting in Jpeg only for sports.    I did a few RAW shots in the beginning and they just are not as sharp as the Jpeg’s (as jpegs write faster).  So for any sports…I’d say Jpeg rules!  I decided that I could make an HDR out of a Jpeg if necessary.    I also shoot on Aperture Mode – this lets my camera decide on the shutter speed that is need for the shot.  Nice!  My shots were wonderful!  I’d say 85% were great…of course cropping was needed as the action was moving…but sharpness was sweet!   I put up a bunch here…Talke Photography Mototcross …just look for the Freestone shots.  I would surely use these setting for sports again!   Sports photography is tough, but I feel as though I am a step closer!

I had a great time!  Shooting was a piece of cake.  I would shoot a curve or straightaway and move onto the next area.  I basically took me 90 minutes to move all around the track.  I wanted shots from all over.  Of course available light and the sun’s directions affected my shots, but overall…sweet!   I have put up about 175 shots from Freestone.  I took 2000 on Saturday (14.5 GB)!!  Whew!  I will get more up later in the week.  I’ll cap it around 300 pics.

I sure was a tough day with the heat.  I only shot with the 70-200 around my neck all day with lugged my backpack along as well.  What a work out!  After the practice runs you can hit the pits and see the bikes getting worked on and cleaned.  You may also go grab a few autographs as well!  I saw a line for my favorite rider…Ryan Dungey.   This kid has skills!  He is a rookie and just won the Supercross Championship.   I got his autograph and then was off to buy a Dungey T-Shirt for my daughter.  Success.

The first 450 race was set to go at 1 PM.   I grabbed a spot near the start so I can get a holeshot photo barrage!   A “Holeshot”  for those that do not know…is the first turn of the race.  It is key…if you get it, your chances of winning are increased greatly.    Here #24 Metcaffe grabbed the holeshot on this race.   Now the one thing I did beforehand is place my settings to RAW as I knew that I wanted an HDR of the moment.  So this was one of my few RAW shots this day.  #5 (on the far left) is my boy Dungey.  He came out of the holeshot 5th and won this race…also the 2nd race this day…taking the title at Freestone!!!  Congrats Dungey!!!!

Just an awesome day…I will gladly photograph MX anyday!   Even in such conditions!   Shooting sports is tricky, but keep trying.  Read you manual and study your settings!    Great photographs await you!   I promise!!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 200.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/806 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

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