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

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Big House" Panorama in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Big House Panorama

Last weekend my wife Eileen and I took a trip up to Michigan to visit my side of the family.  While we were there, we had the privilege of seeing a University of Michigan football game courtesy of my sister, Elizabeth and her significant other, Jack.  My brother Tom also went to the game as well as some of Elizabeth and Jack's friends who were very fun people.

This game had Michigan playing the University of Connecticut Huskies - boooo!!  Needless to say, Michigan clobbered the Huskies 30-10.  And, Michigan's quarterback this year - Denard Robinson - looked awesome!  He broke Michigan's single game record for total offense with 383 yards and he also broke the single game rushing record by a quarterback with 198 yards.  The dude is awesome!  Oh, and I forgot to mention, he doesn't tie his shoes!  I just hope he can do something against Notre Dame tomorrow.  It will be on NBC tomorrow at 3:30 EDT if you are interested.  I know I'll be glued to the TV for this one!  Especially after what happened last year!

I had been to Michigan Stadium one time before when I was very little.  My Dad took me to a Michigan v Michigan State game - I think - but that was so long ago that I can't remember who Michigan played for sure.  This year, Michigan rededicated the stadium to show off some of it's new construction that was put in place during the last two years.  It is definitely a huge place!  One other record that was set was the attendance record which was 113,090!  And I can say for a certainty that not all the seats were filled.  We sat where some season ticket holders normally sit but they don't show until conference games.  So, this number is short by at least two or three.  Wait until the Michigan State game this year!

This shot here is a panorama of 8 pictures taken with my handy-dandy Lumix DMC-TZ5 stitched together in Photoshop CS4.  Other than the stitching, no other alterations were made to this shot.  The only thing about this picture I'm not happy about it the field on the right side.  Photoshop wasn't able to stitch it together too well there, but I'm happy with the results everywhere else.  I really just wanted to convey the size of the stadium and hopefully I was able to do that here.  If you want to see a bigger shot of this, click on the picture above which will take you to my flickr site and then go to "Actions", click on "All sizes" and check out the original.. That will give you a better idea.

Let me know what you think and thanks for taking time to visit.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Glass Hotel (Omni), Austin, Texas

Glass Hotel

This is the front of the Omni Hotel which is part of the Austin Centre in Austin, Texas. I wanted to get a corner shot of this hotel from an adjacent parking garage, but the garages close to this place were not easy to find access to the top floors. So, I was relegated to shooting it from across the street in front of the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th Street. I'm kind of glad it worked out that way because this shot really shows the expanse of the inside through the glass. I just wish the interior was lit up a little more.

If you are curious as to what the inside of the hotel looks like, check out my other posts here.  Looks like it would be a very nice place to stay.

I did my standard processing for this shot and I had to skew the shot a little bit due to the distortion from my Sigma 10-20mm lens.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 640
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1.6
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

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