San Antonio, TX – Riverwalk

Here is a little color explosion for ya!  Back in December we went down to see the XMas lights at the Riverwalk in San Antonio.   Late nite when it was quiet…I stationed myself on a bridge and played around with long exposures and zooming in and out.  I wanted to catch some light streaks using the hanging lights from the trees.  It is easy to do…just set a long exposure and zoom in or out while the photo is being taken!  And this is what you get!  Have fun with photography!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length:  200.0mm to lower (for the effect)
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  3 seconds
  • Aperture:  f/11.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4
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San Antonio, TX – Mission San Jose (HDR)

About 1 hour south of Austin is San Antonio.  It offers some nice photo opportunities….the Riverwalk, Alamo, Zoo, and the Mission Trail.   The Missions consist of San Jose, Alamo, Concepcion, San Juan and Espada.  The jewel of the bunch is Mission San Jose.  I have only visited San Jose and the Alamo.  So a few more to explore!  I am hoping to get to the others this spring!   The shot above is from Mission San Jose – the interior of the church.   Simple but beautiful!   If you have time, a nice place to visit!   …at least in the spring!  The summer will be blazing!

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/7.1
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

San Antonio, TX – San Antonio Zoo (HDR)

I have been traveling alot recently and decided to take a day off yesterday. We took our little one to the San Antonio Zoo.  It was a beautiful day…sunny and 73 degrees!  All the Texas kids are on Spring Break this week. So the Zoo was crazy!  It was my first ‘real” zoo ever!  I had been to small town ones, but never a city zoo.  I was prepared with my new Nikon 70-200 VR and Teleconverter!  It was a great zoo to visit!  They have many open cages to view these magnificent animals.  I wanted to see the Tiger, Lion, Giraffe, Elephant, Kangaroos, Hippos and this big little guy….a Rhino!

We had a fun 3 hours walking around.  This little guy was around 6000 lbs.  Looks to me like a teenager?   He walked around alot and posed for some shots.  My wife and I did get a little sad for the animals as we walked along.  They seemed bored…I suppose most zoo animals do.  But I am sure they are taken care of well…they are safe and hopefully live a decent life?    Anyway its a great place to take photos.  We talked during our visit how great it would be to go on Safari!  I’d need a bigger lens for that trip!!!  …and a window camera mount!  Ah to dream!

I did alright on my shots…Got a few good ones.  I was shooting f/4 to try and get some bokeh working…but I think next time f/8 to f/11 (a few more stops up)….especially on a sunny day.  Unfortunately, the Lion, Tiger and Grizzly Bear were sleeping..so no luck!  This was my best shot of the day.   I thought the Rhino skin in HDR might work well.   Since it is almost impossible to shoot an animal in true HDR (due to movement)…this is an HDR via the Single RAW method.  Worked fantastic!

While we watched this guy…something spooked him and he took off on a quick sprint!  WOW!  Amazingly fast!!!  If this dude hit your car head on…your car would surely lose!!!!!   They are like a little tank!  I’ll get another shot up soon and post more details on this wonderful zoo!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8 + Nikon TC-14EII (1.4x Teleconverter)
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length: 180.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/2500 sec (Single RAW HDR)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Lightroom 3.0

San Antonio, Texas in HDR

Any city in HDR is always great.  Night or day!  Of course day shots need some clouds…if possible.  I posted this same shot on Dec 29th as a nite view.   This was the early AM shot from my Hilton hotel balcony.     San Antonio is a great little city thanks to the Riverwalk.  Right below the trees on the left is the Riverwalk…covered nicely!  I need to get back soon and visit more of the San Antonio Missions that are just about 5-10 minutes from downtown.  I will then be on a HDR mission trail!

I just returned from Florida and visited Tampa, St. Augustine, Disney and the Daytona 500.  Will get some pics up in a few days!  And I just received a nice package from Nikon…the 70-200 f/2.8 VR (first version).  I hope to have my first video review up for this lens soon!  I have rented and used it a few times, just an amazing lens.  More details to come!

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/16
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Topaz Adjust

San Antonio, Texas – Mission San Jose (HDR)

In San Antonio there is a Mission Trail filled with great photographic spots.   Before we went downtown to San Antonio a few weeks ago, we stopped in at Mission San Jose.    It is only about 10 minutes from the city and easy to get to.     Mission San Jose is supposed to be the most beautiful of the bunch.    The Mission Trail list consists of the following:  The Alamo, Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada.  They all are very close to each other.  I must say Mission San Jose was wonderful!  It was a cloudy day and perfect for HDR!   This photo is form the side of the Mission and here you can view its famous arches.

One of my goals in 2010 is to learn more about Photoshop and try new things (plug ins, styles, and actually learn more about using Photoshop!).  So I thought this was a perfect time to try using textures.  Something I have never done before.   It is fairly easy and only takes a few minutes!  Add a the texture layer and overlay…maybe a little touch up and that’s it!    So above is my first textured photo!  I figured with old historic Mission a rustic feel might add to it?   The photo is also and HDR.   Hope you enjoy!   I know with any new style, people can go crazy…so I will make sure to keep my textures in check!

This was the only Mission we visited this day, but I will surely go back!   I’d like to return in the spring and photograph all of them!     I have a few more photos from this day and I will post them soon.  Here is some quick info on Mission san Jose:   While the Alamo is the most widely known and visited, travelers shouldn’t make it their sole stop inside San Antonio Missions National Park. The San José, established in 1720, was a model for other missions–and the most prosperous. Located just south of the Alamo, this “Queen of the Missions” represented a social and cultural center. Its 300 residents sustained themselves by raising livestock and tending to vast fields. The mission had its own gristmill and granary, which have been restored. At the church, look for flying buttresses, carvings, quatrefoil patterns, polychromatic plaster and the famed “Rose Window,” a superb example of Spanish Colonial ornamentation. Explore the stairway that leads to the belfry and choir loft; all 25 risers were hand-hewn form a single log and assembled without the use of nails or pegs.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 24.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/16
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Textures

San Antonio, Texas (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

A few weeks back we stayed overnite in San Antonio at the Hilton (right on the Riverwalk).  I requested a city view room and this is the shot from our balcony.  Been a bit lucky with my hotel room shots recently! Don’t be afraid when you check in to ask for a free upgrade or a good view!  Luck can be with you!   We visited for the Riverwalk Xmas Lights and from this shot above you can see the trees decorated with lights and the river is just below as it meanders through the city.   San Antonio is a great stop for the holidays!   Have fun!

San Antonio, TX – San Fernando Cathedral (HDR)

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

This past week we took a day off and traveled about 1 hour south of Austin to San Antonio.  San Antonio is known for the Alamo, Riverwalk and some wonderful Missions.  We were eager to see the Riverwalk as it is  decorated with holiday lights.  When we checked into the hotel, the San Antonio magazine located in our room had this picture of the San Fernando Cathedral on the cover.  I thought what a great pic for a sunset!  I called down to the front desk and they told me it was just 5 blocks away from the hotel!  We went for a walk in the cold and arrived just as the sun was setting.  The Cathedral had its own “patio” out front which included tables and fountains.   In a city…perfect spot for relaxing and having lunch…and for photographs!

The sun was setting and I snapped away…trying different settings..hoping for the perfect HDR.  For each shot I liked that included the fountains, I tried using F/4 (wide open) and F/22.  As with all water shots…water looks great when it has fluid motion.  The f/4 versions with the fountains just did not look as good compared to the f/22.  So use f/22 for any flowing water for HDR’s!   The longer exposures create magic with water!   I will post another shot of the Cathedral soon with details.   If I ever make it back to San Antonio….I will make sure to shoot here again!  Lovely!