Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finding Ansel Adams and Lake Georgetown

Lake Georgetown

Oh, to be this guy. To make along story short, he found some long lost Ansel Adams glass negatives that could be worth up to $200 million!  And get this, he only paid $45 for them.  Talk about turning a profit!!!  Check out the story here.  On another note... Do you think Ansel Adams could be considered the first HDR photographer?  With all of the post-processing he did, I wouldn't bet against it.

OK, on to the photo above.  I took this one on the 4th of July this year while wandering around Lake Georgetown.  I walked the hiking trail that makes its way around the perimeter of the lake.  I came upon this little alcove with a nice rocky little beach on it.  Everything there was kind of bleached out from the sun and water and I thought it would make a nice little shot.  The light wasn't quite right  because the sun was still a little high, but I didn't have time to wait for it to go down, because we were going to watch the fireworks later that evening.  Anyway, I still like the way it turned out.

I did the standard processing for this, but I did have to mask in the little waves lapping up on the beach due to the ghosting that happens during the HDR process.

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: 1/320
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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

SRV in B&W

SRV Skyline Silhouette

My wife and I got back from our trip to Iowa on Tues and on Weds I had a couple of Tammadge Market Research Studies to participate in. If you never done one, they will pay you around $100 - $150 for your opinion on anything ranging from cat food and radio stations to virtual computers and remote access to servers. Very cool stuff! You can sign up at their website if you are willing to participate in any of those.  I had a study in the morning located at their main office off of Riverside and Congress.  So I thought I'd grab the camera and snap off a few shots to see what I could get. 

Well, by the time I arrived at Auditorium Shores, the light started to get bad and the haze made it look worse.  I thought I would give it a shot anyway.  I did the 5 bracket thing here using my D90 and the kit 18-108 lens.  When I processed the brackets, they turned out ok, but I didn't think it was anything special.  But, when I hit the black and white converter filter in Nik Color Efex, I liked the change it made.  I also added a little old photo filter to it and them masked in the previous sky.  After that, I left it alone.  I didn't do any noise reduction or sharpening on it.  I think it looks pretty good the way it is.  It does have halos around the statue and the buildings, but the haze and the sun resting behind those buildings sort of gave it that look anyway.  I think the black and white just accentuated it.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 200
Aperture: f16
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1/125
Focal Length: 30mm
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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mill and Motorcycles

Mill and Motorcycles

Dusk on a mid-summer Sunday in Independence, Iowa is an interesting time.  Most shops in the main part of town are closed, yet there is still quite a bit of activity happening.  I noticed people fishing and jet-skiing in the Wapsipinicon River by the mill, kids on bikes riding through the park and an unusual amount of traffic running though town.  Even some restaurants that one would think should be closed were open and doing well.  Granted, the town probably wasn't hopping as much as a Friday evening, but for a Sunday I thought it was pretty good.  I tried to capture some of that activity in this shot.  The motorcyclist were having a meal in Chinese restaurant just to the left of the shot and the light streaks represent the cars cruising up and down the main drag through town.  The long exposure to get the light streaks made the people on the sidewalks disappear, however.

I used my standard processing on this shot.  Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f16
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 2.0
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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wapsipinicon Mill

Wapsipinicon Mill

Just got back from a great trip to Independence, Iowa to visit family on my wife's side. It's always fun to visit as there's never a dull moment. And as always, our hosts, Sam and Betty Miller, were just as welcoming and great as ever!  Thanks again guys!

The last day we were there, I had a chance to take a few photos downtown. The most interesting place there is the Wapsipinicon Mill.  There are a lot of different angles that I shot from and the next few photos I post here will be of the mill.  It's located just off the main road going through town.  This shot was during sundown so I had to take quite a few different exposures to get the mill exposed properly along with the water.  Then I masked in the water due to all of the artifacts created on the water during the HDR process in CS4 and Photomatix.  I'm pretty happy with the result.  Other than the extra exposures, I followed my standard processing for this photo.

Here is more info on the mill from the Buchanan County, Iowa Historical Society website:

"The mill you see today was built in 1875-76 by Samuel Sherwood and it is the foremost cornerstone of our community.  The six story structure is 112 feet long by 62 feet wide by 102 feet tall and was used at first as a flouring mill.  The superstructure was constructed using a heavy timber frame encased with a brick wall 8 inches thick.  The interior of the building reveals hand hewn timbers and superb craftsmanship.  Mortise and tenon construction was used throughout the building, complete with square nails and large wooden pegs.

Bread in all times and in most cultures is considered the staff of life.  Therefore, grinding the settlers’ wheat into flour and other grains into various mill products for a fast-growing population was of the utmost importance.  The Wapsipinicon Mill served in this capacity for over 100 years.  As wheat production slowed down, it became more economical to produce “Wapsi” brand poultry and stock feed. 

It still resides in its original location but has since received several cosmetic reconstructions.  Surrounded by several eateries and just over the bridge from our historical downtown, the Wapsipinicon Mill serves as a substantial tourist attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."

Other camera settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 200
Aperture: f22
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter: 1/500
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 9 exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +5 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Shannon Graves

Shannon Graves

This is one of those shots that I thought needed the old black and white treatment. As you can see, it's a set of four tombstones at the Driftwood Cemetery in Driftwood, Texas that are starting to succumb to the weeds and ivy. That's all I know about it. I'd love to know the story behind the ones buried there, but that will probably never come to pass. All I know is that when I finished processing this shot, it seemed to lack something. When I hit the bw conversion filter in Nik Color Efex, that seemed to do the trick. I think it adds a creepiness factor and makes it a little more timeless and interesting. I also added a little vignette to draw the eyes in. Not sure if it works or not. What do you think?

If you haven't seen my blog before and would like to know how I process, please check out my work-flow.

Other photo info includes:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter: 1/200
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

This will be the last post for about a week and a half to two weeks.  Heading north to see family.  Thanks for reading and keep shooting!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Driftwood, TX Texaco and Country Store

Driftwood , TX Texaco

This is gonna be a quick post, but if you've read yesterday's post, you'll know I went to Driftwood, TX over the weekend to get some shots. As the title states, this is the old Texaco gas station and country store. I'm not sure if it is open anymore since it was the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. Perfect time to be open if it could be. But, maybe it's closed it's doors for good. Not sure. Anyway, it looks like something that belongs on Route 66 somewhere. Pretty nostalgic looking.  I tried to capture that in this shot, but after looking at it a little longer, I'm not sure if I did.  The good news is, I have a couple more shots of the place that I might put out here and see what you think of those instead.  Sometime I'll have to get back there when the sun is going down.  This middle of the day stuff isn't great, but HDR helps that a long a little I think. 

I did the old standard processing for this, but I put an ND filter on the lens to see what difference it might make.  I think it made the sky bluer, but it slowed the exposure and kind of made the clouds stack up a little between brackets.  Not good for HDRs.  Live and learn.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Shutter: 1/40
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 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cimarron Rose?

Cimarron Rose Antique Store

Yesterday was another one of those days where my wife went shopping with her Mom and sister. Therefore, I was able to spend a little time practicing my limited photography skills. Since we were down in the South Austin area towards Kyle, I decided to head back out to Driftwood to see what I could find.

Driftwood has a pretty cool old Texaco gas station and a church with a cemetery across from the Texaco.  I took some shots of those two places and then trekked on out to the Mandola Winery.  That's a very nice Tuscan-looking place. I wish I liked wine because I think I could've stayed there a while trying all of their different vintages. Oh well, it was not to be. But, I took a couple shots from there as well.

On the way back from Driftwood, I saw a couple of places in downtown Buda that looked very interesting. One was a building that was all decorated with stars and stripes and red, white and blue pinwheels. It was very "Americana".  It looked like the 4th of July threw up all over it... in a good way. ;-)  Another place I found was an old antique store and I think it is called "The Cimarron Rose".  I'm not really sure because I couldn't find a sign outside, but I did find the building on Google and that's the name that came up. So, I'm guessing that's what it is.  It's a pretty big place and it's full of old stuff.  Everything from old Nat Geo and Time magazines to old razor blades, furniture, postage stamps and just about anything else you can think of. There's no air conditioning in this place so they keep the doors open for cooling. Of course, in Texas when you have to leave the doors open, you get lots of dust and none of this stuff looked like it had been dusted in decades. What a great place for HDR photography.

This shot was taken in the back of the store and it really shows some of the stuff they have there. You can really see the dust on the glass enclosed shelves on the left. I didn't take a lot of shots there as I didn't want to overstay my welcome there. Actually, the proprietor didn't know I was shooting, but had she known, I don't think she would've minded. She was a very nice lady and she saw me with my camera and tripod wandering around. She asked if I got any nice pictures and I said, "I think so." She was happy with that. I asked her how long she had been open and she said since about the 1970's and business has been OK for the most part.

I have a couple more shots inside the "Rose" that I may post at a later date, but I think this is my favorite for now. I will also post some of the other shots I took around Driftwood and Buda in the coming days. However, I will be leaving for a trip to Iowa on Wednesday, so the old blog here might be idle for a week or two.

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts or critiques.

I did the old standard processing for this one, but I did crank up the bleach bypass layer from Nik Color Efex to about 35% opacity to give it more of an old antique look. I thought it went with the subject well.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter: 1
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 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mission San Jose Granary

Mission San Jose Granary

This is the inside of what's called the Granary at Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas. It housed the grain used to feed the inhabitants of the mission and could hold up to a year's worth.

The granary, along with the rest of the mission was restored back in the 1930's with what could be called "stimulus money", but was better known as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The granary was the first of all the structures to be restored as it was on the verge of falling down. But, now as you can see, it is fully standing and is now one of the more interesting parts of the mission. Also, inside the granary is a miniature mock-up of the entire mission to give one a birds-eye view of the place.

I used my standard processing for this shot.  Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f20
Exposure Bias: 0.0
Shutter: 2.5
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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gloomy Cornfield

Gloomy Cornfield

As with most holiday weekends, I found myself having a little extra time to go shoot. The problem is that I sometimes have difficulty figuring out where to go and what to shoot. Well, one place that I've shot before are some of the old buildings in Granger, TX. Last April, the Coen Brothers decided to use Granger as a set for one of their new movies, a remake of "True Grit", called, naturally, "True Grit". I had heard about this and I also heard that Granger may try to make a tourist attraction out of the set. Now, since all of the filming has been done for months, I thought I'd go out there and take a look.

On the way there, I stopped on a little side road and took a shot of the sky over the cornfield there. As soon as I got setup it started raining. I took this one and packed everything back in to the car and proceeded on.

Well, When I got there, it looked like everything from the movie was pretty much gone. It didn't look any different from when I was there last. I imagine some of the locals could say what's from the movie and what isn't, but I couldn't tell. So, I left to find something else. I drove all over the place trying to find something interesting, but my imagination and eye for that failed me the rest of the day. So, from all of that came this shot. It's the only one I shot Saturday, but I'm OK with it.

This one use my standard processing, but I had to mask in the corn from one of the brackets because there was just too much movement from the wind.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Value: -0.7
Shutter: 1/160
Focal Length: 15mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Better late than never, but Happy 4th of July to everyone out there. Hope you have a great day and as always, keep shooting1

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