Philadelphia, PA – Eastern State Penitentiary (HDR)

On a recent visit to the Philadelphia area…I had a chance to stop by the amazing Eastern State Penitentiary.  Now I have been to Alcatraz and was not too impressed.  This abandoned prison is super cool!   30 foot walls surround the cell blocks.  You cant visit every block, but they have enough available to fill your time and enjoyment!  If you are in the area and love ghost stories and HDR’s…this is a must visit!!!  The whole place is an HDR in waiting…decaying cells, rock walls, rusty pipes, brick…all the ingredients needed for great pics!   Even Al Capone’s cell!  Look for more soon!

PS..this was my first ever 9 exposure HDR!  With so many details in this place…I decided to go with more brackets. =)

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0 mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 9 exposures (+4 to -4)
  • Aperture:  f/11
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro,   Photo Tools 2.6,
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – Jet Ski Dolphin Tour

We just returned from a few days vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The pic above is not mine…it is from the tour guide.  I wanted to tell you about this amazing tour!!! Def a Place 2 Explore!!  We had heard about this Jet Ski Dolphin Tour from my wife’s friend and they had told us that it was amazing.  We looked online and found a few places in MB that offer it.  As we were staying in North Myrtle…we found Thomas Outdoors Water Sports.    Only 10 miles from our hotel.  I called and made reservations (as they are needed) for 8 AM this past Tuesday.

A small little place, but 12 jet ski’s lined up and ready!   My wife and I each rented one. If I can recall it was $135 each jet ski. Each jet ski can hold up to 3 passengers…prices per ski!  Nice!  I had my daughter on my lap for the entire tour.  Vests are given to you when you arrive. So for the first 30 mins you fill out paperwork and they give you a quick class on jet ski safety.  This was my first time ever on a jet ski!  I listened closely!   After the class you are off to get on board your ski!

The tour was 2 hours long and it takes about 45 mins to cruise down the inlet to the ocean.  One they way we stopped twice…once near Goat Island and the other time on Bird Island (parked and walked the beach for 15 minutes).  Soon after Bird Island you enter the ocean and the waves are nice and big!   After 45 minutes on the ski, I got the hang on turning and making slight jumps.  So as soon as we hit a big wave…my little one and I hit a big wave and got some air!  Of course we were splashed big time!   Great fun!  On the tour you have to ride single file for safety reasons and everyone was doing a great job!

When you arrive in the ocean we found a shrimp boat ahead.  We made a bee line for it and all pulled up behind.  These shrimp boats are collecting shrimp and any other fish or other critter caught in the net are tossed overboard back into the ocean.  The dolphins have learned that following these boats equals an easy buffet!   As we pulled up I roughly counted 15-20 dolphins following this boat.  From here you are free riding and following any dolphin you can find!  WOW!   How truly amazing!!!  To see these magnificent creatures swim right next to you is truly unreal!!!  Your eyes cant believe what they are seeing!  The closest we got to a dolphin was about 3-5 feet.  I am sure they smart enough to avoid the skis, so maybe if you are very lucky…you can touch a fin!!!  We cruised behind the boat for about 20 minutes and then it was time to turn back.

Single file we went back to Myrtle Beach.   The ride back is quick and fun!!  I opened it up to about 40 miles and hour in certain sections.  When we returned…they offer pictures of the shots they took while on the tour and…we bought the CD for $25.00.  We also brought our own water proof Kodak Cheap camera….but man did those pics stink!   Glad we bought the CD!  One amazing morning that I will never forget.  If you are in Myrtle Beach or any location that offers a similar tour…do it!!  Fantastic!   Jet Ski Dolphin Tour are a must Place 2 Explore!!   The pic above is me and my little one….my wife was right behind us!  You can see the dolphin popping out of the water.  So cool!!!!!

We had a great group and wonderful tour guides!!!  Thanks Thomas Outdoors!!!  We will do it again next year!!!!  Loved it!!!