Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rowing Machines

Back in November, Van Sutherland and I went out to the Texas Rowing Center to see if we could find any keepers.  I found these rowers that are just sitting on the docks for use.  I'm not sure why they are there since I would think that the boats they rent out would provide the exercise needed.  I guess if there aren't any boats available, one can stay on dry land and work out as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Plaza Saltillo Arches

Plaza Saltillo is in the east side of Austin and is a location for one of Capital Metro's train stations. It has a lot of potential for activities with a gazebo and some other amenities, but that has not been realized yet. I think once the trains really catch on in Austin and people have a reason to travel to the east side, this plaza will really become something to behold.  As stated in the link at the beginning of this paragraph, "Austin's new Plaza Saltillo was inaugurated by a visiting delegation from our Sister City of Saltillo, Mexico, for which it was named. The City of Saltillo generously donated ornate traditional Saltillo benches for the Plaza. Inspired by the popular plazas of Mexican cities and towns, Plaza Saltillo's design includes a bandstand and an arcade for sidewalk vendors. The Plaza will be a stop for Capital Metro's new commuter rail system."

I think the shot below is one of the arcades.  From the inside it looks like an area where you would present your ticket to gain entrance to the plaza, but an arcade would be a good second. Other than that, I really don't know what it is.  However, I liked how the arches framed the lights out in the plaza.  Pretty cool look!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homeless

One of my personal vows for the new year was to try some new photography techniques. Although I have done this sort of thing before, "street photography" has not really been my forte. I've tried it a couple times before with my Bongo Bangin' shot and my Dog Walkin' shot, but I didn't set out to do those at the time. This past Monday during my lunch hour, I decided to just focus on the street. I didn't come away with much except for this. This shot has an emotion to it that I tried to convey. Words are hard to describe what's seen here with the poor man eating stuff out of a trash can in front of a grocery store located next to a jeweler that's willing to buy gold. The irony and dichotomy is overwhelming. The only thing I wish I had for a scene such as this is better glass to make it as clear as possible. Other than that, I can only hope that this poor man has some sort of guardian angel because it looks like he's going through hell.  Oh, and did I mention that it was only in the 30s when I took this picture?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

S-ing to Downtown BW

David Nightingale Workshop

I'm pretty psyched today... I just finalized paying for an upcoming workshop put on by David Nightingale and organized by Dave Wilson. If you've read my review of David Nightingale's "Practical HDR" book, you'll see that I'm a big fan. His Chromasia website is awesome as well. Can't wait to find out how this guy thinks..  And, thanks Dave W. for putting this together!

S-ing to Downtown BW

Last Friday I was out trying to get some new content for the site here and I went to one of our train stations on the east side of Austin, Saltillo Plaza to be exact.  I shot a lot of stuff, but as usual, most of the stuff I captured was so-so.  But, there was something about this shot with the tracks forming an s-turn and heading into the heart of Austin that I kind of liked. The big building on the left is The Austonian, which is purportedly "the tallest residential building in Texas".

I decided to give it the old black and white treatment to give that more timeless look.  Does it work?  Times like this I like you to be the judge.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Heavenly Hay Bales

Sometimes coming home from work is good, not because of leaving work, but because of some things I see on the way. Last week I had to stop to shoot the sky over this field of hay bales. There was a thin layer of clouds in the sky with a small hole in it that the sun shined (shown, shone?) through. It was as if a higher power was checking on his hay crop or something. I tried my best to capture the scene and I hope I was successful here. One thing about the sky is that it's always changing and if you see something that looks good, you have to get it fast because it won't be there long.


I processed this the usual way with some extra Nik Color Efex vignetting and Bi-Color User Defined filters to punch up the sky and the hay a little.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Astor Hotel

NFL Wildcard Weekend!

I love this time of year! NFL playoffs are great! In a way it's kind of sad, too because now that the playoffs are here, that means the season is coming to a close. Then it's a long 6 months until football is back. But, the reason I write this is that when there are playoffs happening, it makes taking and processing pictures a little more difficult. Hence, the shot in today's post...

Astor Hotel

This is a shot of the Astor Hotel sign from the other side of Canal St in New Orleans.  It's a grand old hotel right in the French Quarter that has this timeless look to it.  I bet it's a great place to stay if you can.  There's a certain charm these old hotels have that you just don't get in a new Holiday Inn or some place similar.  Probably a certain price per room as well, but that's a subject for a different blog, hehe.

This photo was taken straight from the camera, converted into black and white with Nik Color Efex with negative control points on the red in the sign.  That isolated the red.  That's it.  A non-HDR shot.  I liked it this way because I think the silhouette of the three palms turned out nice in the black and white conversion.  Also, I took this shot while walking, handheld.  Makes it tough to do HDRs that way!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bike On Stand

New Size Photos

For the new year, I thought I'd try and experiment and post my shots a little bigger to see how they look and to ask you for feedback on whether the bigger ones are better than the size of the photos in previous posts.  What do you think?

Bike On Stand

The photo here is a shot inside a bike shop on the east side of Austin called "Eastside Pedal Pushers".  The guy working there (sorry, I forgot your name.. let me know and I'll publish it..) let me take a few shots in his establishment.  This one isn't the greatest, but I think it's the best of the bunch.  The shop is located right across from the Saltillo Plaza train station on E 5th St.  Check them out if you need bike parts, work or even want to rent a bike.  Cool place!
 


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

cheese steaks burgers dogs #19

Other Photo Blogs

If you haven't seen these before, check out the "Excellent Photography Blogs" column on the right side of my page.  There are some really good blogs out there and these guys know their stuff!  I recently added a couple more:  Brian Matiash's Blog and Mike Criswell, aka Theaterwiz.  Very cool stuff!

cheese steaks burgers dogs #19

This is a companion shot to my previous "Vicious Pig" post. This is another food stand in the same place as the Vicious Pig and others. I had a few questions about how the food was at the Vicious Pig, but I had to tell everyone, "I don't know, I ate somewhere else." Well, this the "somewhere else." They have great cheese steaks here. If you are in the area, check it out!

cheese steaks burgers dogs #19

I processed this one with my usual workflow, merged with Photoshop CS4, tonemapped with Photomatix 4 and post processed in Photoshop CS4 with the Nik plugins. This time I used the bleach bypass, duplex, tonal contrast and vignette filters to varying degrees. The I bumped up the saturation overall, reduced the noise with Noiseware Pro and then sharpened everything but the sky with Nik Sharpener.

Oh and one other thing, the brackets for this shot were all jpgs straight from the camera instead of raws.

Other settings include:

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 500
Aperture: f16
Exposure Bias: +0.00
Shutter: 1/125
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 7 jpgs (normal setting) exposures with EVs ranging from -3 to +3 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-30 Remote Release Cord

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pig Vicious and Cafe Buse

About a block and a half east of Interstate 35 on 6th St lies a little alcove of trailers and a double-decker bus that have all been converted into little trendy food stands.  They are trendy because of some of the fair one can get there.  One of the stands is called the "Vegan Yacht".  What's funny about that is everything else in there serves meat in one form or another.  That is fun-nee!  I'm not of the vegan persuasion.  I love cooked animal flesh and cowhide works great for shoes and car seats!  The Vegan Yacht is just out of this shot to the right of the gray bus.  Anyway, the gray bus is "Cafe Buse" (pronounced Bussay I'm sure) and the trailer is "Pig Vicious."  I'm not sure what Cafe Buse serves, if anything, but maybe it's just for those that want to eat without being affected by the weather.  Not sure if it's affiliated with Pig Vicious, but probably.  PV for short serves up bacon sandwiches.  That's gotta be good.  How can anyone not like bacon?  OK, maybe not the Vegan Yacht people.

Pig Vicious and Cafe Buse

This shot was processed using Nik Software's HDR Efex with the Granny's Attic preset. I like that preset for this shot because it was kind of a gloomy day and this is sort of a grungy/gloomy place.  I thought it worked well for it. I added a little vignette and some tonal contrast with Nik Color Efex and then I just did a little noise reduction of the sky with Noiseware Pro and sharpened with Nik's Sharpener Pro.

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: 1/320
Focal Length: 10mm
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

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year and Changes to Parking in Austin

Happy New Year Everyone!

For all those who check my little blog here, have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!  Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your patronage.

Parking Lots In Austin

Austin is a weird city. There's no doubt about that. It even prides itself on staying weird. "Keep Austin Weird" is one of the local mantras. However, I have seen that mantra in other cities, such as Portland Ore. So, I guess the more Austin tries to stay weird, the more it stays the same. That brings me to the shots below... Downtown, underneath the interstate between 6th and 8th streets lies a free parking lot. It's been that way for years. It's like the last place where you can park in downtown Austin for free. Well, not much longer. Someone in their infinite wisdom decided to tear these perfectly good parking lots out to put in, you guessed it, new parking lots.. with less parking I might add. There was nothing wrong with the old ones! Plus, these lots are no longer free, either. It's enough to tee of the main man at the Vatican.

Well, along with the new parking lots, someone put in these weird lighting monstrosities that give off less light that what they had before. I guess that's good for photographers like me, but it stinks for those wanting to head downtown for a little entertainment and not get mugged. Anyway, these lights are red and blue and give this strange look to the place. As you can see, the yellow lines that designate areas where one cannot park now look pink. It's bad. Also these shots make the light look brighter than it really is. The lighting is actually quite dark. If you look at the shadows in the second shot, you can see that more light is coming off the lamps above the interstate than these new... things. Maybe that's what being weird in Austin is all about... gouging more money out of the local populace while making them less safe all in the name of weirdness. Hey, I'm all for being a little different, but look at these things... Seriously?

Sorry for the rant, but sometimes I just have to let these things out. 

Lastly, I put in two shots of these lights to see what you think. One's an HDR and one's not. Can you tell the difference? Let me know what you think. And, am I wrong about all this weirdness stuff or should I lighten up a little? Thanks for reading....

Austin Parking Lot 01

Austin Parking Lot 02

Disqus for Evan's Expo