San Francisco, CA – Transamerica Pyramid (HDR)

Here is “Looking Up at the Transamerica Pyramid”!  While in SF a few months ago…me and my buddy Horace Kwan took a cruise up to shoot this location.  I knew going in it was gonna be tough!   My neck hurts just looking up at this pic!  LOL  Such a steep shot…I was not sure how it would turn out?  I added Topaz Adjust to give it a little extra effect and not bad??  I wonder who gets the top office??

Here is some info on this wonderful building:   The building’s façade is covered in crushed quartz, giving the building its pure white color.  / The four-story base of the building contains a total of 16,000 cu yd (12,000 m3) of concrete and over 300 mi (480 km) of steel rebar . / It has 3,678 windows. / The building’s foundation is 9 feet (2.7 m) thick and was the result of a 24-hour continuous concrete pour. / Only two of the building’s 18 elevators reach the top floor. / The aluminum cap is indirectly illuminated from within to balance the appearance at night. / The two vertical external extensions allow preservation of useful interior space at the upper levels. One extension is the top of elevator shafts while the other is a smoke evacuation tower for fire-fighting.A glass pyramid cap sits at the top and encloses both aircraft warning light and a seasonal white beacon.

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/22.0
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Topaz Adjust
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Toronto, Canada – Union Station (HDR)

If you ever get a chance to visit Toronto, it is a lovely city!  Winter’s may be tough, but my last visit was in the summer!  Whew!  Some great views, places to visit and wonderful restaurants.  Right near the Convention Center you can find Union Station.   A walk down here is an eye pleaser!   The curved glass roof above is pretty cool!  I shot it this day from a few spots.  Trying to get some cool angles.   I have to laugh at the advertisement for Kleenex on the sides.  I guess many colds occur in Toronto?   With long winters there, I can probably agree.   I am not sure if I have ever seen an ad for Kleenex other than TV.    Guess it is better than an ad for depends!

Here is some info from the web:  Union Station is the major inter-city rail station and a major commuter rail hub in Toronto, located on Front Street West and occupying the south side of the block bounded by Bay Street and York Street in the central business district. The station building is owned by the City of Toronto, while the trainshed and trackage is owned by the commuter rail operator GO Transit. Serving 200,000 passengers a day, it is the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada.

Inter-city trains at Union Station are operated by Via Rail (also operates VIA-Amtrak train to New York) and Ontario Northland, while commuter rail services are operated by GO Transit. The station is also connected to theToronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway and streetcar system via an adjoining TTC station. GO Transit’s Union Station Bus Terminal, located across Bay Street from the station building, is connected via the trainshed.  Union Station is the central terminal for GO Transit, handling approximately 41 million commuter rail passengers in 2004. Union Station is also located at the centre of Canada’s busiest inter-city rail service area, termed “The Corridor” by Via, that stretches from Quebec City in the east to Windsor in the west. As such, Union Station is Via’s most-used facility; the station saw 2.34 million Via Rail boardings in 2004, more than half of all Via passengers carried systemwide that year.

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/4
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, Topaz Adjust

Myrtle Beach, SC – Kiss Coffeehouse

When I was younger I belonged in the KISS Army!  I know dating myself again.  I had all the records of KISS….yes, records.  Even before 8 Tracks…yikes I may be old!?  LOL  So when we visited Myrtle Beach this past summer we stopped on by the Broadway at the Beach shopping area and walked around looking for dinner.  Unbeknownst to us….we walk by and see this coffee house!   How classic!  The KISS Coffeehouse! I had no idea such a place existed.  So we went in an checked it out.  Memorabilia and merchandise are all over the store…and you really can get some great coffee!    I grabbed a T-Shirt and took a few pics.  If you are in Myrtle Beach go check it out!     You may Rock-N-Roll All Nite!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 18.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:   1/1000 sec
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Topaz Adjust

Daytona, Florida – Daytona 500 (Kyle Busch)

Only one month away until the Daytona 500.  Daytona is the Super Bowl of NASCAR.   My sis gets tickets every year…so I have been to this race 3 of the last 5 years.  I may have posted before…I have been to many different sporting events and nothing beats the excitement of the Daytona 500.   It does help as out that the tickets are the first row (about 10 yards from the track).  When those cars come roaring by….WOW!    We even get a small amount of dirt and junk flying in our faces!   Makes a hot dog and beer taste even better!   LOL  This shot was from 2008 (50th year of Daytona) thanks to “Pit” passes.  You can get pretty close to the cars.  Here they are rolling out Kyle Busch’s car for the start of the race.   I wish I could use my connections and get a chance to shoot the race…maybe one day.  Now I will settle for shots from the stands!    Looking forward to the race next month!   I added a little Topaz Adjust to the shot for a little more grit.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 135.0mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Exposure:   1/800
  • Aperture:  f/14
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Topaz Adjust

Prague, Czech Republic – St. Vitus Cathedral

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, Topaz Adjust

Here is another shot from the Prague Castle – St. Vitus Cathedral.  After the security guard told me no more tripod usage…I had to go hand held.    I knew 5 exposures hand held in low light was not an option.   So amazingly I took normal photos and not HDR!  I could have tried a single raw filer HDR process, but since I purchased Topaz Adjust from Topaz Labs…I decided to give a try!  Topaz Adjust is very cool.  For those of you that want a one click HDR-like photo…Topaz Adjust is for you!    It is a plug-in for $49.99.   Very cool settings and you can have fun!

After your file is Topazzed (just made up a new word?)…you will be impressed.  Just go to their site for a free trial.   With this shot…I processed it in TA, then put it into Silver Efex Pro for B&W.  For some reason, I am liking B&W more as it gives a nice contrast.  The color version was nice as well!   It may not meet Ansel Adams Zone System perfectly..but the range is not bad.   Enjoy!

Miami, Florida – Miami Beach

Miami, Florida

Nikon D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, Topaz Adjust

If you are young and single, Miami Beach is the place for you!   Great Beaches, restaurants, clubs and lots of wealthy people!  We were in town for a tennis tounament in Key Biscayne (20 mins south of Miami) and had our little one with us.  Unfortunately, we learned a lesson, this is a party town!  Not too fun for kids!   The room next to us liked to party through the whole evening and early AM.  Needless to say we moved to another hotel away from the action the next night.  Then we were ok!  

The water is amazing, but the beaches are a bit dirty (watch where you step).  You can also see some strange people here…so if you are into people watching…this is a great spot.  Main Beach action at night cannot be topped.  Its like a show when you are walking the streets…everyone is dressed up and expensive cars rule the main strip as traffic moves slowly….its seems like cruising was invented here.  LOL   I really enjoy tropical locations and Miami must be experienced at least once in your lifetime if you can.

This is from the Miami Beach web page:  Beyond the radiant sun, surf and sand, discover Miami Beach’s rich history as an entertainment and cultural destination, from world-famous Art Deco architecture to renowned nightclubs to designer fashions on Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road.  There’s so much going on in Miami Beach, you’ll need an extra hour to enjoy everything that makes this city so vibrant.  As the world’s elite playground, Miami Beach promises a 25-hour day; and whether you are an arts enthusiast, foodie, shopaholic, socialite or sun worshipper, there are plenty of options for where to spend that extra hour (or at least wish you had).

The photo above is one of the famous colorful Lifeguard Stations located on Miami Beach.   Its just a standard shot and I added a little effect to it using Topaz Adjust.  Topaz is a new “HDR like” plug in that seems to be a new favorite for many people.  It is kinda cool…I am just trying out the downloaded free demo.   I’ll keep using it and maybe will write a review one day in the future.   Have fun!