Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Senate Chairs and HDR Efex Pro Quick Review

Senate Chairs

As usual, I'm a little late to the party. Nik Software's HDR Efex has been out quite a while now and there are a lot of reviews of it already. Money and time prevent me from getting the latest and greatest software out there as soon as it's released, but I finally had a chance to get the new HDR Efex from Nik Software and I must say, I'm quite impressed.

The shot above is nothing to write home about or even blog about for that matter, but it's one that I thought I'd use with HDR Efex.  The version I have is the Photoshop plugin.  To use it with Photoshop you just do the following:

Open up Bridge, select the brackets for your HDR and select Tools | Nik Software | Merge to HDR Efex Pro.  You will get a dialog that pops up asking about the brackets you want to use, strength of ghosting, etc.  I just used the defaults there and clicked on OK.  When it's done doing it's thing, you will get the standard Nik window with your merged image and many presets to the left.  I then go through and pick the preset I like most for the particular shot I'm working with. For the Senate Chairs shot above, I used the "Vibrant Scenery" preset.  That's it!

This is the how the shot looked after I completed that process with no noise reduction or sharpening done to it afterwards like I normally do.  I'm not sure if HDR Efex does that automatically or not, but it sure looks clean and sharp to me.  Maybe those things won't be needed anymore!  The other thing I like about this, just like with Photomatix, is that it keeps most of the EXIF data of the shot in the final image, unlike Photoshop which strips it out when you merge to HDR.

I highly recommend it and will have to play with it a little more to see what else it can do.  Check it out!

As far as the shot above goes, this is inside the Senate Chamber in the Texas Capitol Building.  I'm not sure who these chairs are for.  Maybe pages or aids of the senators when it's in session.  Who cares.  Anyway, like I said, the shot isn't that great, but I thought it worthy of posting since I used the new software.  Gotta get out and get some more stuff!

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f3.5
Exposure Bias: 1.67
Shutter: 1/8
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -0.33 to +3.67 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

373 in 1:05

Jim Nix, Dave Wilson and others found a cool app that will take your whole flickr portfolio and put it in a quick Vimeo video accompanied with some techno-like music.  It flies by pretty quickly, but it's pretty cool.  Take a look my site by clicking the play button (hope you aren't susceptible to migraines, because this could trigger one, hehe):

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Top 10 of 2010

Dave Wilson, Van Sutherland and Mike Criswell all posted their top 10 shots of the year.  It looks like a great idea, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Mine are nowhere near their league as those three are very good at their craft.  I just try to emulate them thinking I may learn something someday.  With that said, here are mine in no particular order with my thoughts underneath each shot:

Grace Heritage Center

Church Entrance

This is a shot of the Grace Heritage Center just off the square in Georgetown, TX. I liked this shot because of the lines in it. I converted it to black and white because it already had a monotone look to it in full color and the black and white treatment made it look even better in my opinion.


Stagecoach Inn Porch

Stagecoach Inn Porch

This is the old Stagecoach Inn in Salado, TX.  It has a great history and is a great subject for photography. I really liked how this porch shot turned out after the HDR process. It has that "painterly" look to it.

Texas State History Museum

Texas State History Museum

I think what I like about this one is the way the words "Texas State History Museum" look when lit up at night. 

MetroRail at Downtown Station

MetroRail At Downtown Station

This year, the agency I work for, Capital Metro, launched the new commuter rail system.  This image is of the train stopped at our Downtown Station.  It is one of my faves for a couple of reasons... For one, Capital Metro liked it so much that they bought it from me. That was my second sale of anything as far as my photography goes, minus some little microstock stuff. Also, this shot made the cover of the 2011 American Public Transportation Association Calendar.

Moon Over Texas State Capitol

Moon Over the Capitol (and the big blunder)

This is a shot that I didn't think would turn out because I messed up on the quality settings in my camera. However, it still turned out really nice with the moon and the lighting around the capital.

Bluebonnet Sunset

Bluebonnet Sunset

Springtime in Texas is beautiful and an area in Georgetown just off the Texas 130 toll road has one of the best bluebonnet fields in Central Texas. This shot was recognized by meteorologist Jim Spencer on his blog and during his evening weather forecast on KXAN in Austin, Texas.

Metro Streak

Metro Streak

I took this shot on the Metro in Washington DC. The streak of the train going by at this stop worked well here.

Amante's Restaurant Bar

Amante's Restaurant Tribute

Last January, the owner of Amante's Restaurant in Georgetown, Kim Daskam, asked me to shoot her restaurant for her website and other marketing ideas. It was a great experience. It was the first time anyone contracted with me to shoot anything of theirs and it was the first sale I ever made. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not make it, but I really appreciated the opportunity!

The Old Coffee Pot

'The Old Coffee Pot' bar and kitchen, New Orleans

Speaking of restaurants, this is the inside of "The Old Coffee Pot" in New Orleans, LA. They server a killer eggs creole! Check it out if you ever get there.

Superdome Panorama

Who Dat Nation (Superdome Interior Panorama)

Lastly, I like to shoot panoramas sometimes and the Superdome in New Orleans was a great subject for this. My panos don't always turn out, but I think this one did. 

Well that's my picks for 2010.  I really enjoy doing HDR photography, but I think I might try some other styles in the new year.  I'm not quite sure what those will be yet, but I'm slowly getting some ideas.  We'll see what the new year brings.  Have yourself a great finish to 2010 and have an even better 2011!  Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Texas House of Reps with Christmas Tree

Texas House With Tree Panorama

At lunch last Thursday, my friend and co-worker Van Sutherland and I took a quick trip to the Texas Capitol to see if there were any good Christmas shots we could get. First we went to the Senate chamber and it didn't have anything in it, although we both took a couple of shots. Then we traveled to the other side into the House and sure enough, it was decorated with a great tree! I tried various angles to try and capture it since I only brought my 18-200 lens with me. But, I wasn't too satisfied with those so I thought it was time to try an HDR panorama. That's what I have here. It's a two show pano with five brackets each. I kind of like it, but the final shot doesn't follow some basic photography rules such as the rule of thirds. Oh well. It was still fun to put it together. Maybe in the future I'll try some more panos.

To see this shot bigger, click on the picture which will take you to my flickr site and once you get to flickr, go to Actions | View all sizes and click on the original.

This shot was processed as usual.  But, I put together two shots using Photoshop CS4's automerge function.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f16
Exposure Bias: 1.00
Shutter: 4 & 0.8
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +1 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Texas Capitol Tree and Menorah

Texas Capitol Tree and Menorah

This is a shot of the south side of the Texas Capitol from about one block away on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. As you can see, it's decorated with a Christmas tree as well as a menorah to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Of course the tree and menorah are on the sidewalk outside the grounds for some reason. I'm not sure if it's because of the politically correct climate we now find ourselves in these days or if it's just because of some other reason. At least, however, they are there and that's a good thing.

I think the thing I like most about this shot is the two cops on bicycles waiting for the light to change. I didn't even realize they were there when I took this shot. Plus, like good bicyclists, they are observing the rules of the road! That is another thing that is not often seen by your humble blogger here. I'm pro-bicyclist but when they don't observe the rules of the road, yet expect automobilists (a new word I just made up) to do so, it drives me crazy! OK, maybe that's not in the spirit of the season, but it feels good to get that off my chest!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for visiting!

This shot was processed as usual

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 2.5
Focal Length: 32mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 4 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +1 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mary on the Altar at Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose Altar

I had to dig into the vault to pull this one out, but it seemed appropriate for the holidays. It's also appropriate since I really haven't been out to shoot a whole lot of stuff lately.

So I took this shot down in San Antonio, Texas at the Mission San Jose. Very picturesque place it is. It's on of a few missions down there that are pretty close together. Sometime I'll have to get back down there and shoot the others. As far as I know, this is the only one that still has an active church in it. The other missions have churches, but I'm not sure if they still have active congregations. Anyway, it's a great place to visit if you are ever in San Antonio.

The following is from the mission's website:

"Known as the "Queen of the Missions", this is the largest of the missions and was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). Spanish missions were not churches, but communities, with the church the focus. Mission San José shows the visitor how all the missions might have looked over 250 years ago."

Sorry, but I don't have the exif data or the info on how I processed this one because I'm currently trying to clean up space on the old hard drive here and I deleted the brackets since I'm pretty happy with the final result.  However, I'm pretty sure I processed it the usual way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seton Williamson Hospital Lobby

Seton Williamson Entrance

The Seton Family of Hospitals has branches all over the Austin area. My wife Eileen now works at the Williamson County location and thought I might like to shoot there.  I was up for that!

This location opened about a year or two ago and is very close to our home; 6 miles to be exact. It's very convenient for Eileen! I wish I could find work so close. It beats the 28 mile one-way commute I have to endure. Waaa. Anyway, the hospital is very nice and new and, as you can see here in the lobby, they have a couple of white Christmas trees set up with red bulbs on them. I remember those kind of trees from the 1970s. I guess they are coming back.

One other thing that's cool about this place is that Seton is a Catholic institution and there are crosses everywhere, yet they are subtle.  I'm sure you can find a couple in this shot. 

Lastly, I wish this would've come through in the photo, but the green portion of the wall behind the counter in the back of the shot is a waterfall.  It's very cool, but you wouldn't know it from looking at this shot.

This shot was processed as usual

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: +0.33
Shutter: 1
Focal Length: 11.5mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Manual
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, December 10, 2010

Texas Capitol From Under Christmas Tree

Texas Capitol From Under Christmas Tree

Just off the south side of the Texas Capitol Building lies a Christmas tree and a Menorah for the holidays. They are on the sidewalk that passes in front of the Capitol on 11th Street. I tried to get a good shot of the Capitol with some of the lights and stuff from the tree but I don't think my Sigma 10-20mm was quite wide enough. I guess a panorama was needed here. Oh well. Something to think about for next time.

Thanks for dropping by and see you next time!

This shot was processed as usual

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 3
Focal Length: 12mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Williamson County Courthouse Christmas Tree

Williamson County Courthouse Christmas Tree

This is another shot I took last year, but I thought it was worthy of posting. The old Williamson County Courthouse has multiple levels inside and each level has a balcony looking down to the ground floor in the middle. The tree they put in every year is tall enough to reach from the ground floor up to the third level and is very pretty with the red ornamentation they put on it. This shot is looking up from the bottom floor.

I can't remember for sure how I processed this one, but I think I used Topaz Adjust more than anything. I hope you enjoy it.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 3
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Impeccable Dallas

Impeccable Dallas

This weekend, Eileen and I went up to Dallas on Saturday to see a show up there. We went to see a show put on by a couple guys from a cable news outfit. I won't bore you with the details about the show. However, getting TO the show was a scary adventure. It was at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Fair Park is where the Texas State Fair is every year and also home to The Cotton Bowl. It was only about 6 miles from where we stayed. But, we didn't have directions so we asked the person who checked us into our room how to get there. She pulled up some directions off of Google, but those directions didn't take us to Fair Park. The route took us by there, but we ended up off of Dolphin and Spring roads. You talk about a scary neighborhood. Imagine the south side of Chicago or maybe Compton, CA. Those places seemed like Beverly Hills compared to where we ended up. Needless to say we got the f*** out of there in a hurry! We proceeded to stop at a gas station to get directions and the nice gentleman working behind the bullet-proof protected counter told us two ways to get there; either take this one road or take the highway which was backed up due to Big 12 Championship traffic (I think). He recommended the highway because he didn't like the neighborhoods. No sh**! Well, we took the first way anyway because we didn't want to end up in traffic. That was a bad area, but not as bad as where we came from. AND, it didn't take us to Fair Park, it just took us back to the highway. So, we got on the highway, found Fair Park and made it to the Music Hall. When we got to the Hall, we subsequently did a post-mission check of our vehicle for bullet holes, dents, and just general damage. Thankfully, none found. OK, we didn't really do that, but looking back, it seemed like we should've. ;-)

That brings us to the picture. The hotel we stayed at was the Hyatt Summerfield Suites on Harry Hines Blvd. It was a very nice place and if you ever go to Dallas, I would recommend it. Just don't get your directions to anywhere from anyone working there! They have a parking garage there which is about 4 levels high. That's where this shot came from. It's the view of Dallas from there. Just out of the shot to the right is the American Airlines Arena. I would've tried to shoot that, but it was obscured by trees, powerlines, etc.

This isn't the greatest shot I've taken in the world, but I liked the way it turned out for the most part and I thought it might be worth throwing up on the old blog, especially since I haven't gotten anything that new lately. Time get back out there!

Thanks for stopping by!

This shot was processed a little differently... I merged 5 brackets in Photomatix 4 and used the Fusion mode versus the usual tonemapping with details enhancer.  It looked better.  Then I opened it in Photoshop CS4, reduced the noise with Noiseware Pro's Weaker setting and did some tweaking in Nik Color Efex 3.


Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f4.2
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter:0.8
Focal Length: 34mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Schlitterbahn Slide

Schlitterbahn Slide

Well, I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving! I must say that ours was great. Eileen's Aunt Betty and Uncle Sam came down for a visit along with their daughter Melissa and her family. It was a great visit with all of them and as it always does, time just flew by way too fast! We all had a great time! But, with the great time comes lots of food and that's something Eileen and her family can do, put out LOTS of food! We are still eating and will be for days. Nothing like Thanksgiving leftovers!

Speaking of leftovers, this shot is a leftover from last year. Our tradition is that after Thanksgiving, the holiday decorations come out. We decorated the house already. So, as a reflection of that, I thought I need to put some holiday shots on the old blog. However, I don't have any new stuff yet. Well, I thought a holiday leftover would suffice. This is a shot from a visit to the Schlitterbahn waterpark we went to last year. They decorate the whole place with lights, put out an ice skating rink and really make the place Christmassy. It's a fun place to shoot if you can get there. I have one or two more that I will put out in the coming days. In the meantime, I guess that means I need to find some new holiday content, so I will see what I can come up with.

Anyway, let me be the last to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and the first to wish you a Merry Christmas! Thanks for visiting and get your shopping done soon!

This shot was processed as usual.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 400
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1.6
Focal Length: 19mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rusty RV

Rusty RV

I love getting shots of old rusted out cars, trucks, gas pumps, etc... It seems the rust just pops in HDR! Of course, playing with Nik Color Efex a little helps. I'm not sure if this is a bus or an RV, but it's definitely seen the end of the road. I would love to see what it looks like on the inside, but who knows what one might find. That could be a scary thought indeed.

This will probably be my last post for the rest of week.  Thanksgiving is rolling around and we have many people to see and visit with!  It's gonna be great!  With that, you all have a great and happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading my silly little blog!

This shot was processed as usual. In addition, I added the duplex filter from Nik Color Efex and added the darken/lighten filter twice to darken the areas around the edges of the shot to draw attention to the vehicle itself.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter: 1/30
Focal Length: 11.5mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Katz's Caddy

Katz's Caddy

At 6th and Rio Grande here in Austin, is a restaurant called Katz's. It hails out of NYC I believe and are open 24 hours a day. The owner, Marc Katz recently ran for political office here, either mayor or governor, I can't remember which. It could even be both. Anyway, out in front of his deli sits this great old 1970s era Cadillac. It's in pretty decent shape, but it could use a little work. However, I thought it would be a cool subject to try and capture. I hope I was able to a little here.

Another note about this place.... When my wife and I got married, we had our reception at Scholz's Garten. The reception went into the wee hours of the morning. Once it was over, we and a few friends decided we needed more to eat, but everything around Scholz's was closed. So, we thought maybe we could get something on 6th Street. Well, everything was closed except for Katz's. It was a long hike, but we made it. Not to mention we were in no shape to drive, hence the hiking. Anyway, we got there at something like 3:00 am and we still had to wait for a table. I ended up laying down on the floor and taking a nap because I was so tired. Yes, tired. Nothing else. Tired is the word. We did finally get a table and ate, but oh what a night!

This shot was processed as usual.  However, this time I downloaded Photomatix 4 and merged the brackets there instead of using Photoshop CS4's merge to HDR engine.  I think I might start using this more because it has more built-in presets for tonemapping and fusion, and it's de-ghosting capabilities are pretty cool.  Not to mention, I don't lose the EXIF data when I merge with Photomatix! Cool!

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 500
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 11.5mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Texas Tower 100

Texas Tower 100

The University of Texas recently celebrated it School of Architecture's 100th anniversary and to mark the occasion, they lit the tower orange and the windows with "100". It was a pretty cool sight to see on my way to work. I just wish that when I had gotten there, it would've been a little darker out to emphasize the lights on the tower a little more. I didn't know about this celebration until I drove by and by then it started getting light out.  Plus, I didn't have the time to find a great composition, but I wanted to get a shot of the tower lit this way since it doesn't happen too often.

This shot was processed as usual.  However, this time I downloaded Photomatix 4 and merged the brackets there instead of using Photoshop CS4's merge to HDR engine.  I think I might start using this more because it has more built-in presets for tonemapping and fusion, and it's de-ghosting capabilities are pretty cool.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 640
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1/5
Focal Length: 50mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Inside the Palace on Whiskey Row, Prescott, Arizona

Inside the Palace on Whiskey Row.

Prescott Arizona is home to some great Wild West history. There's a street nicknamed "Whiskey Row" which has bars and saloons on it that date back to the 1800s. Some of these places have seen their share of characters from the old west. This shot here is of the back of "The Palace".  Here's some more info from The Palace's website:

    "The Palace Bar first opened its doors in September 1877. Although Whiskey Row was known for its many saloons. The Palace was much more than a fancy "watering hole". Men came in to check for notices of work available; it served as an election central for several area political races and cattle spreads; and mineral claims were bought and sold over the bar. The Palace is still the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona and the most well-known and historic restaurant and saloon in the state.In the late 1870's, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday were patrons of The Palace. Virgil and his wife Allie lived in Prescott where Virgil owned a saw mill at Thumb Butte and was Town Constable. Wyatt and his other brother, Morgan, visited Virgil in Prescott before they left for Tombstone. Doc was on a winning streak on Whiskey Row (possibly at The Palace) where he won $10,000 in Poker. He joined the Earp's eight months later in Tombstone.

On July 14th, 1900, The Palace was destroyed by the Whiskey Row fire. The ornately carved 1880's Brunswick Bar, which is still in use, was carried to safety across the street to the plaza by patrons.

In order to rebuild, the owner Bob Brow formed a partnership with Ben M. Belcher and Barney Smith, owners of the former Cabinet Saloon, also destroyed in the fire.

By 1901, The Palace Hotel and Bar, complete with Chinese restaurant and barber shop, was back in business. Today's Palace owners have done extensive remodeling to restore the Palace to its grandeur of 1901. Although still a frontier saloon, the addition of dining makes The Palace the gathering place it once was."

This is a non-hdr shot with a little Nik Duplex filter thrown in.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 1600
Aperture: f3.5
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/20
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: None
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Austin Sunrise

Austin Sunrise

This is the shot I was after in my last post where I discovered a half '52 Chevy Deluxe. It's another one of my Parking Garage Views of downtown Austin.  This was on Henderson by Lamar and 9th.  It's always fun to try and find some good skyline shots that haven't been already published by other photographers.  At least I don't think this view has been shot by anyone else that I know of.  Let me know what you think and thanks for dropping by.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f4.2
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1/13
Focal Length: 36mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Half '52 Chevy Deluxe

Half Chevy

I'm not sure what the deal is here, but I saw this while adding more shots to my "Parking Garage Views" series.  One morning on my way to work I decided it was time to see if I could find more views of the Austin skyline and this time I headed west on 6th street to Lamar.  I turned right on Lamar and then another right onto 9th and then another right onto Henderson.  This garage was the first one on the left.  As I walked to the stairs to go to the top, this unusual sight befell me and I thought it very interesting.  I can't imagine why someone would do that to a car like this one.  As a matter of fact, my friend and co-worker, Darrell Jourdan has one just like this, except it is whole.  I guess this is another one of those weird things that Austin is trying to be famous for but has yet to get there.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
ISO: 200
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 27mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kayaks at the Texas Rowing Center in Austin

Kayaks at the Texas Rowing Center on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX

A few days ago my friend, co-worker and fellow HDR enthusiast/photographer Van Sutherland took some great shots of the Texas Rowing Center located off Lady Bird Lake here in Austin, Texas. I marveled over his shot of the boat house.  He said he wanted to go back out there again and asked me to tag along. I'm not one to turn down an invitation like that, so off we went. We went during our lunch hour on Tues this week and spent about 20 minutes or so there. This shot is probably the best of the bunch that I took. I guess that's not saying too much because I'm not sure if I like this one. I think I cut off the boat on the right a little, but it was hard to get a good angle.  Let me know what you think..

One other reason I was happy to go out with Van was because I went to the next model camera up the Nikon food chain and purchased a D300s and this gave me an opportunity to work it out.  So far I like it and I hope to not have to get another in a long while.  Some of the reasons I purchased it are (not in any particular order):

1. Up to 9 shots for auto-bracketing (excellent for HDR)
2. Magnesium body (weatherproof)
3. Save as tiff
4. 51 focus points vs 11 in the D90
5. Dual card slots, 1 CF and 1 SDHC (so I can auto backup photos as I go)
6. 7 fps native and up to 8 with the battery pack

The ergonomics on it are great and getting to shoot a set of brackets without having to change settings after three shots and then shoot again is nice!  I also got the Nikkor 18-200 lens so the options are even better!   I probably should have waited for the next version of this camera, the oft-rumored D400 or something since this model has been around for over a year, but the price from B and H Photo for the D300s is pretty good right now and it has all of the features I want and then some.  Plus, I'm sure the successor to this will cost a few hundred dollars more.

The best reason I got this camera is that part of it was a birthday gift from my wife and her parents, so it's very special in that regard!  What an awesome gift!  Thanks again guys!  Love ya!

This shot was processed as usual.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f16
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1/160
Focal Length: 11mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day and the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

Arlington Memorial Amphitheater Entrance

From the Department of Veterans Affairs:

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

The picture above is of the entrance to the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.  I thought it an appropriate shot to post in recognition of the upcoming Veterans Day.  The amphitheater sits next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  If you see a veteran, please take a moment to thank a him or her and also, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our vets have made to keep us free.

Thanks for visiting.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 640
Aperture: f5.6
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter: 1/2500
Focal Length: 17mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

Underground Rotunda and a Wild Commute

Coliseum-Like

I have two things I'd like to share with you today... The photo above is one I took back on April 1st where the photo gods played a little trick on me and made me take some shots of the Texas capitol with my camera on its basic jpg quality setting. They turned out quite well for the most part, but if only the image quality setting was the highest. Those shots are my Capitol Blunder and Capitol Blunder Companion shots.  You can read about what stupidity befell me on this particular morning in those posts.  So, this was the last in that series that I took that fateful morning.  Anyway, this shot above is what's known as the "Underground Rotunda" at the Texas State Capitol.  It's at the end of the extension that sits on the north side of the Capitol grounds and it's pretty cool to look at.  This view is pretty much street level looking down into it.  It almost looks like some sort of Roman coliseum or something.  I thought it looked pretty cool and worth a post.  I'm hoping to get out pretty soon and get some new content.  So stay tuned.

As far as the video below is concerned, I thought this might be a good time to post it.  A friend of mine sent me the link and I thought it was fascinating.  It's a Russian biker who commutes some 25 odd miles to work and he does some death-defying feats on the way there.  He weaves in and out of traffic, pulls wheelies and basically puts his life in serious risk of being snuffed with his drive to work.  Check it out.  I suppose if I had a bike and drove this fast on my way to work, I would have more time to check my camera settings and not make so many blunderous mistakes.  Of course, what I would really do is sleep in longer, then drive like a nutcase, and still screw my camera settings if I decided to stop and shoot.  What would you do?  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Also, I just want to add, this guy is an idiot, I don't condone it, and he's probably dead now.  Still it's a fun watch...


The shot above was processed as usual.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 320
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 11
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Royal Praline Company, New Orleans, LA

Royal Praline Co.

Lately I haven't been able to get out and shoot any pictures.  More about that in another post sometime, but for right now I thought I'd put up a shot from my recent trip to New Orleans.  This is the Royal Praline Company located right in the French Quarter.  It was one of the many places we stopped while wandering around there.  Pralines are a "cookie-sized candy made of brown sugar and butter and pecans" (according to wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) that is big in the south, if you like that sort of thing.  Myself, I'm not too particular to them.  However, I do like pecan pie.  Weird?  I think so, but that's me.  Anyway, while my wife and friends were in there checking everything out, I decided to get a shot of the place.  Here you go and thanks for visiting.

This shot was processed as usual. However, this was only a 3 shot bracket due to the fact that right after I took the first set, a bunch of people started milling around the entrance obstructing my shot.  Doggone tourists!  Wait... nevermind.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/10
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Gene Simmons Pumpkin Lit

Just wanted to say Happy Halloween to those of you who enjoy this day. This is an old shot of an attempt at carving something different from a few years ago. Why not the demon from the band KISS? Seems somewhat appropriate!

Have a great day and thanks for taking a look!

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

He Played Until...

Skeleton Piano

Halloween is coming and I thought it a good time to post a shot I took in a place called "Voodoo Blues" somewhere around Decatur St and Iberville or Bienville in New Orleans. It's one of those touristy t-shirt and bead shops you can find all over the place down there. But, they have some cool things adorning the shops and this skeleton playing the piano jumped out at me. I had to get a shot of it. If only that magazine rack wasn't behind the skeleton.

Anyway, have a Happy Halloween everyone and thanks for dropping by.

This shot was processed as usual. In addition, I added the Darken/Lighten filter from Nik Color Efex to kind of isolate the skeleton a bit.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.6
Focal Length: 25mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dumpsters in Alley

TrashBins

Before I get to this shot, I wanted to let you know that the lens I just purchased from 42nd Street Photo just came in and it does have the 5 year warranty.  They honored their word and I'm pretty happy about that.  However, I'm not sure I can buy from them again since the products they advertise on their site is not necessarily what they will send.  If you do decide to purchase from them, be sure to talk to a salesman to find out exactly what you are getting before you make the final purchase.  I think I got lucky.  Read my previous posts for more info.

Pretty exciting, eh? Dumpsters. It doesn't get any better than this! This is that shot I mentioned in the my 7th Street Garage post.  It's not super exciting, but there's something about it that I like.  I guess it's the grunginess.

This is another shot that I took in the morning on the way to work.  You know, I only have so much time to get a shot before I get to work and I don't want to get up at an ungodly hour that's worse than what I get up to already.  I really wanted to try to get an alley shot and this wasn't the first.  The other shot that I wanted was pretty cool, but as soon as I had all of me gear setup, the Waste Management truck came in a screwed it all up.  It might have been good if the Waste Management truck was an actual trash truck, but this one was just a regular pickup truck. Nothing interesting there.  So, I went across the street and found this shot.  This actually turned out better I think because the lighting was brighter, but it would be cool to get a trash truck, especially in HDR. Oh well, someday maybe.  I guess I can always dream of trash.  Wait... Nevermind.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 400
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1.6
Focal Length: 12mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Side Drive at the National Cathedral

Side Drive at the National Cathedral

I was perusing the vault located on the compound here known as Evan's Expo and discovered a relic of a shot from days long ago.. April of this year. OK, maybe not that long ago, but it's a shot that I processed from my trip to DC and forgot to put out there. Not sure if I really forgot, or if I subconsciously refused to put it out because I thought it not blog-worthy, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. It's a shot of the National Cathedral I took while waiting to go in for the tour. This was the driveway that rolls up on the side of the place. I think it's where dignitaries and such drive up and go into the place.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter:1/320
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

7th Street Garage

7th St Garage

In an effort to keep this blog relatively fresh, I have to - obviously - keep putting out some new photos. One way I like to do that is to head to downtown Austin and try to find something to shoot. This time I tried to take a different tack on my parking garage series and actually get a shot of the inside of a garage. So that's what we have here. I'm not sure of its photographic value as far as all the rules are concerned, such as leading lines, rule of thirds, etc. I'm not even sure if it is that interesting. Sometimes things I find interesting, others don't and vice-versa. I thought this one was kind of interesting because of the air vent that travels along the ceiling. I thought it gave the shot a little uniqueness and sort of leads the eye around the shot a little bit. Am I in the ballpark on this or totally off-base?

Anyway, this particular garage is located on 7th Street in Austin right behind the Driskill Hotel. There are lots of things to shoot there, but nothing beautiful. It's kind of a grungy part of the downtown area. I have a shot of an alleyway with a bunch of trash bins that I will post in the coming days. They're fun subjects to shoot, but some might think, "Seriously, trash bins and parking garages? Can't you come up with something else?" Not right now. ;-)

This shot was processed as usual except for a couple things... The light behind the pillar in the middle of the shot was rather greeen so I had to use Viveza to control that.  Same goes for the bumper on the Explorer on the left.  I also cranked up the saturation on the Explorer with Viveza and also cranked up the saturation of the overall shot with CS4 by about 21, um, percent, or Photoshop units...whatever they are.  In other words, I used the hue/saturation adjustment and cranked the saturation slider up by 21.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 400
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.3 Focal Length: 12mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

WWII Era Tank

WWII Era Tank

I took this shot up at Fort Hood with my wife Eileen and my nephew Dylan.  Dylan wanted to see the tanks so we took him up there. He thought they were "Awesome!" 

This is a World War II-era tank located at the 1st Cavalry Division Museum.  That's a great place to visit because not only do they have old tanks from World War II, but they also have some pretty new stuff as well.  The tank with the desert color camo on it on the left behind this one is an M-1 Abrahms tank which is what we use right now.  There are also Soviet military vehicles there, some of which were capture in Iraq.  Cool stuff!

This shot may not be as awesome since I took it with my Lumix DMC-TZ5 point and shoot.  But, it has auto-bracketing on it and it works pretty well once in a while.  It can only shoot 3 brackets and the widest EV it can do is -1 to +1.  That's OK. And the other thing is that it only saves shots as jpgs.  That's fine also.

I know one thing, I'm gonna hafta go back up there with my DSLR and get some better shots of some of these things some day.  I think there are some great possibilities there!

This shot was processed as usual.  However, I think I also used the duplex filter in Nik Color Efex and sampled the light green color of the tank with a layer opacity of around 20%.

Other setting include:

Camera: Lumix DMC-TZ5
Lens: Built-in 28 - 280mm (35mm equiv.)
ISO: 400
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/800
Focal Length: 28mm (35mm equiv.)
Mode: Normal
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -1 to +1 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Follow-up: Nikon 18-200mm VR II Price at 42nd St Photo (Caveat emptor)

I just found out some interesting info from this store... The last couple of days I have been monitoring their website in an effort to price other things as well as track the order of my new lens.  I had problems reaching the site, it kept timing out in my browser.  So, I decided to call them to find out what's going on and get a status.  They said that they are making graphics changes to the site, but it would be back up in 24-48 hours.  They also said that my lens is getting ready to ship and that the shipping department would call when it was ready to go to verify my info.  Very good.

Sure enough,a couple hours later, someone from their shipping dept called and went over my info.  He asked if I would like to buy an extended warranty and I said no, I'll just stick with the Nikon US model 5 year standard warranty.  He said that it didn't come with that, it was just a 30-day warranty.  If I wanted to buy a warranty it would cost something like $79.99.  I told him that ALL US model Nikon products come with a 5 year warranty and I purchased a US version of this lens from their website.  He came back and said that I bought the "non-retail" version or something like that and the "retail" version of this lens comes with the 5 year warranty and it sells for $799.00.  I told him I would like my money back.  He then said he would check a few things out first.  He proceeded to try to sell me a 7 year warranty for $49.  I said I wanted my money back. The phone went silent for a few seconds, I asked if he was still there and he came back and said that he wanted to keep my business and that he'd send me the "retail" version for the price that I paid for the "non-retail" version, which was $709.00.  I said OK and now my fingers are crossed hoping that is in fact what I will receive in a few days.

That's still a great deal, but the their site is a bit misleading.  If you do decide to go with them, keep this story in mind and be ready to haggle if you have to.  I didn't think I would have to when I bought this lens but I should've known something was up with that great price.  I hate haggling if I don't have to.  However, it worked out in this case.

If I run into any more interesting little tidbits from this retailer, I will definitely post it.

Caveat emptor.

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nikon 18-200mm VR II Price at 42nd St Photo

Sorry, I don't have any new pics to post at the moment, but I thought I'd share a good price I found on the Nikon 18-200mm VR II f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED lens if anyone is interested.  Currently you can get it for $709.99 at 42nd Street Photo out of New York City.  It is the US version so it comes with the full warranty.  It's like $50 cheaper than on B&H Photo or Adorama.


I've been waiting a while to find a good price for this lens because I thought the original $850 price when it came out was a bit much.  I even thought about getting a refurb or demo out of Adorama or B&H for around $600 but I just couldn't do it.  Those either come with only a 90 day warranty or no warranty at all.


Needless to say, I'm pretty happy and I can't wait for it to get here in about 10 days or so!  If you are in the market for one of these, check it out!


From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

People-Mover Hospital

Bus Garage

Many things need to happen for the buses at the agency where I work to keep them on the road and getting the masses from point A to point B in their daily routines.  Everything from driving, to dispatching, to security, to customer service, to marketing, to planning, to IT, etc., must all work together everyday to get the bus to where it has to go.  There are so many things that happen harmoniously from day-to-day that it sometimes make my head spin.  One of the most vital things is, of course, maintenance of the vehicles, and that's where this shot comes in.  This is one of the main maintenance bays where the vehicles get serviced.  It's pretty impressive to walk through there and see these massive machines up on lifts getting worked on. The buses look sort of like they're lined up like patients in hospital beds where the "doctors" make their rounds and get the "patients" back to health. It's one facet of what happens here, but it's a lot more interesting that shooting a rack of servers or some file cabinets in an office, even though those things are equally important.

This shot was processed as usual except for one thing... The light at the top center of the shot had sort of a red hue to it.  To correct that, I opened Nik Viveza 2, put a control point right on the light and adjusted the color and hue to give a slight electric blue/green hue, yet keeping it mostly white. 

Other setting include:
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

St Louis Cathedral Seen Through Jackson Square

St Louis Catherdral and Jackson Square

First of all, before I talk about the shot above, check out the panorama of the inside of the Superdome I took during the Panthers v Saints game that I put out on Flickr. I would have posted it here, but panorama shots don't seem to work too well on the old blog. As you can see, we were pretty high up. As matter of fact, we couldn't get any higher. We were in the very last row on the highest level, some where around the 25 yard line. My nose just stopped bleeding. ;-) Still, it really wasn't too bad and we had a great time watching the game from there. One of the good things about the seats at the Superdome at that level is that the bathrooms were right behind us. How convenient!

Now, on to the shot above.  Across the street from Cafe Du Monde sits Jackson Square, and through Jackson Square sits the St Louis Cathedral.  It's one of the most famous landmarks in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It's the oldest catholic cathedral in the US and Pope John Paul II spoke there back in Sept., 1987.  It really made for a nice shot.

It was a little too dark for my liking when I took this one, but I think it worked out pretty well.  I processed it my usual way, but I added a little Nik Viveza 2 to the cathedral itself to brighten it up a little bit.  I don't think the cathedral is really lit up at night, I just think that the lights around Jackson Square reflect off the building so it was a little dark in the initial processing.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 800
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1.6
Focal Length: 50mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cafe Du Monde, The Original Coffee Stand

Cafe Du Monde

If and when you visit New Orleans, stop at the Cafe Du Monde and try their world famous beignets.  They are these donut-like rectangular pastries covered with a ton of powdered sugar that are out of this world.  If you like donuts, you'll love these.  They may not be good for you, but man, they are good!  We stopped by there our first evening and had a couple with some hot chocolate.  We could've had cafe au lait but then we'd be up all night.  This was the shot I took right before I went in.  My wife and friends were already there.  We sat right behind the pillar where the waiter there is taking a break on the left.

I just processed this shot as normal.  However, I did have to mask in the patrons from one of the middle brackets since HDR doesn't process moving people too well.

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 800
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 15mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

French Quarter Ferns

French Quarter Ferns

The French Quarter in New Orleans is a very unique place. Parts of it, such as Bourbon Street are famously seedy and touristy with its ration of bars and strip clubs, while other parts are quite nice with art galleries, restaurants and quaint little shops. All of the areas have this great architecture similar to what you see here. Most of the buildings are two to three stories in height and have balconies with the iron railings. The decor on a lot of them are full of beautiful plants ranging from hibiscus to ferns. This building is located on the corner of Dumaine and Royal streets in the heart of the French Quarter. This one stood out to me because of the architecture and all of the great ferns hanging over the balconies. They all look so well kept and all are about the same size. It really adds to the look of the place.  I could spend weeks down there shooting and never even scratch the surface of all the great opportunities there.  I'm not even sure I did so well on this shot, but I'm OK with the result for the most part.  I just wish I was able to capture more of the very top of the building, but you get the idea of what it looks like for the most part.

I processed this shot as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: +0.00
Shutter: 1/400
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 2 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Old Coffee Pot's bar and kitchen, New Orleans

The Coffee Pot Bar and Kitchen, New Orleans

This past weekend, my wife, a few friends and I went to New Orleans to see a Saints game! Boy, was that fun! The "Who Dat Nation" was rockin'! Those people are nuts! We had a great time there and I have discovered that New Orleans is a photographer's paradise, especially for HDR. I just wish I had more time to shoot stuff there. I did get some shots that I'm happy with, but mostly I fell flat on my face as far as my shots turned out. I'd love to go back and try again some day.

This is one of the shots that I think turned out pretty nice. It's inside a place in the French Quarter called, "The Old Coffee Pot". It's a nice little restaurant we found while looking for a place to have breakfast on the Monday after the game. It was excellent! It's located right next to Pat O'Brien's on St Peters. I had the eggs creole I think it was called. One of our friends had the 'eggs conti' with chicken livers and loved them!  I think it must be an acquired taste.

So, this shot is of the bar and the kitchen.  Our table was just to the right of where I was standing when I took this shot. I really liked the look of the place with its French decor, like the copper awning above the opening looking into the kitchen. I Just wish I had the wide angle lens for this, but I was traveling light that day so I just shot this hand-held with my trusty 18-105 kit lens. 

So, if you are ever in New Orleans and looking for a place for breakfast, check out "The Old Coffee Pot".  They even advertise themselves as having "The Best Breakfast In The French Quarter".

I just processed this shot as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: +0.00
Shutter: 1/15
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 2 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking South Down Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas

street

The same morning I took my Moon Over the Monarch shot, I grabbed a quick shot looking south down Lavaca St. I kind of like this one because it shows the Frost Bank Building on the left with the four red lights at the top as well as the new Austonian, the skinny building to the right of the Frost Bank Building.  I'm not sure what the main building is in the middle with the lit green top, but it looks pretty nice whatever it is.  The only thing I wish I would've done during the shot was try to get the light streaks all the way down the street, but no time and little traffic blew that for me.

I really don't have too much more to add about this shot except in it's processing... I changed it up a little bit.  Instead of my usual way of processing, I merged and tonemapped it all in Photomatix and then did my Nik Color Efex thing.  I added one more filter from Nik Color Efex; I added a layer of the Midnight filter. However, I brought down the blur to zero and I think I set the opacity on the layer to somewhere between 40-50%.  I removed the noise and sharpened as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 10
Focal Length: 16mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dan Kaplan Under 1st Street Bridge

Dan Kaplan Under 1st Street Bridge

Today was the first really nice day in Austin that we've had in months. A nice cool front blew in yesterday and it dropped the temps to the low 80s today and the humidity went way down as well. That means it was a great day to get out and do some shooting. As nice as it was, I was pressed for time because the only time I could really go shoot was during my lunch hour... again.

I wanted to head down to the banks of Lady Bird Lake (aka., Town Lake) and get a shot of one of the boat houses down there. There's a club that rents out those long skinny rowboats, but I forget what those are called. Anyway, when I got there, it was closed. So much for that idea.

The next idea that came to mind was to shoot the underside of the 1st Street bridge. I've seen some cool HDRs of that from some others and I thought that would be something worth shooting. I trudged on over and when I got there, I heard some really cool harmonica music emanating from behind one of the bridge pillars. Well, I thought I'd just get a shot of the underside of the bridge, but I'd ask the gentleman playing if I would be disturbing him, after all, he was there first. He was OK with it.

I took my couple of shots and then we struck up a conversation. Dan Kaplan is his name and he's a local artist who does lots of things from playing the harmonica to making sculptures. He has a pretty cool web site called paper harmonica.com. Check it out some time of you like. Dan was a very nice guy to talk to. It turns out that he has an album of his music coming out pretty soon. He said he has about a month to finish it up and it will be out sometime after that. Pretty cool!

Well as you can see, before I left I asked Dan if he wouldn't mind if I took a shot or two of him, So, here you go.  I debated on whether to turn this into a black and white or not.  Maybe some day I'll post another, but I kind of like how this turned out.  I hope Dan does.

Like I said, it was a great day for photography weather-wise, and great because I met Dan and he let me take a couple of shots of him.

This shot was processed the usual way.

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/80
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MG Junk

MG Junk

Many years ago, I served in the Air Force and did a couple years overseas in England. While I was there, I had some friends who had MGs like these here. Of course those over there were right-side drive cars as opposed to these American versions. It was fun.. We always used to tell the Brits there that they drove on the wrong side of the road and we over here drove on the "right side" of the road. They would retort with, "No, we drive on the proper side". Good times.

So seeing these rusted out MGs at a salvage yard near Belton, Texas reminded me of that and I had to get a shot. Nothing like rust and HDR.

This shot was processed the usual way.

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/125
Focal Length: 17mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bus Maintenance

Bus Engine

Before I talke about this shot, I wanted to mention one little thing... The previous three postings were from the last weekend's motocross shoot. I posted some of the better shots I took that are not HDRs in my Zenfolio gallery if you are interested in seeing them. If you aren't interested, that's fine also.

You know, sometimes when you are having a hard time thinking of something to shoot, interesting things may actually be closer than you think. I work at the local transit agency in Austin, Texas called Capital Metro and there are some great photography opportunities there. Recently I've been plagued by the "photographer's block" bug and at lunch today, I decided to try and break out of it a little. So, I grabbed my camera and headed out the maintenance garages located behind the administration building where I work. The possibilities are endless in there, even if I did get weird looks from some of the mechanics.

Lunch seemed to be a good time because most of the guys there were gone leaving me to do my work. However, like I mentioned, the few passersby that did see me gave me that, "What the he--?!" - kind of gaze. Anyway, I snapped off a few here and there and of the ones I took, this one jumped out at me because of the way the bus sat with the tool cabinets around it and with the bus up on the lift. It just looks cool to me, like more work is ready to be done.

This shot was processed the usual way.

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.4
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tail-Whipping

Tail-Whipping

It's been a little while since I posted anything and I was hoping to have more material by now, but alas, I haven't had a chance to get out there and shoot anything, much think of a good subject to shoot. So, I thought one more shot from my recent outing with Pete Talke at the Austin - Del Valle Motocross Park was in order.

Of the three shots I've posted so far, I noticed that whoever the rider with the number 5 is, he must be pretty good because he's the subject of two of them. He was buzzing around the track like a madman flying in and out of the turns and doing some cool tail-whips off the jumps. I'm not sure of he one his races or not since Pete and I were all over the track, but I'm sure he didn't do too badly.

This is an HDR using the suggestions Pete gave me that I pointed out here. Give it a try some time, it really works!

The exif info for this shot is broken out very well on Flickr if you want to take a look.  That's one good thing about doing single HDRs.. that process doesn't remove the exif info like my usual process.

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, September 20, 2010

Number 331 at Austin - Del Valle Motocross Park

No. 331

Like yesterday's post, this was shot at Austin - Del Valle Motocross Park in Del Valle, Texas. It was processed the same way as well.  It's a single shot turned into an HDR.  It's not too hard to do.

I really don't have much info to add regarding this particular shot other than, if you ever get a chance to go out there, go!  It's a lot of fun to watch these guys tear up the track.  Plus, the little kids that ride are fun, too.  Some of those little guys and girls are really pretty good.  You'd be impressed!

Lastly, I have quite a few more photos from the day, but only a few are probably worth spending the time to process into an HDR.  I will probably sporadically put a few more out here and there in the days to come, especially if I don't have anything else worth blogging about.  That's the case right now, unfortunately.  However, I hope to get more stuff soon.  Thanks for dropping by.

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Number 5 at ADVMX - Del Valle, Texas

Number 5 at Del Valle MX Park

As a kid, I always wanted to race motocross. A lot of my friends did it. The one thing that kept me back was that I didn't have a motorcycle. That's an important piece to have if you want to race. Without it, I guess it would be called cross-country racing. But, I did have a bicycle, so I raced BMX instead. I did that a few times over the course of a couple of years. The best I ever did was a couple of 4th place finishes in the novice class. Not too bad I guess. Fun stuff! So, when Pete Talke of Talke Photography invited me out to Austin - Del Valle Motocross Park, I jumped on it.

We went out on Saturday the 18th of September and shot the place up! Pete was able to get us access to the whole track. We were able to go anywhere and get any angle of the riders we could think of. It was really cool. I hope to do it again sometime and thanks Pete for putting this together! It was a great time and it was great meeting you as well!

This was shot during the first race of the evening right after the start. This probably isn't the best composed shot I took during the excursion, but I like how it sort of shows the movement of the bikes and the dirt flying, but yet you can see the eyes of the rider on the number 5 bike.

Pete gave me some great tips for shooting action like this. One thing he does is shoot jpg instead of raw. The camera can work fast to save the data of a jpg than a raw so you can get the max frames per second your camera can put out. The other tip he told me is in his processing of single shots; instead of making a separate copy and adjusting the exposure in Adobe Raw, he makes 4 copies, pull the 5 shots into Photomatix and then adjusts the exposure there when Photomatix asks you what the exposure spacing is. I did that on this shot, made 4 copies, pulled all 5 into Photomatix and told it that the spacing was 1 making the EV range -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. I am pretty impressed. Then I just processed as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 200
Aperture: f5.6
Exposure Bias: +0.33
Shutter: 1/60
Focal Length: 105mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: None
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

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