Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Photos of 2013

2013 is leaving us so why not reflect on the year by posting some of what I thought were the highlights of the last 365 days?  Eileen and I had some great trips and those afforded us some wonderful pictures.  Not to mention that she has put up with me for another year!  Congrats to her for sure!  I love you, Eileen and can't wait to see what is in store for us in 2014!  Lastly, but certain not "leastly", here's wishing you and yours a happy, safe and prosperous New Year in 2014!

So here are my top 10 favorites (OK, really a dozen, but who's counting?) from 2013!  Enjoy!

For more info on each picture, click on the image and you will get redirected to that photo's original blog post.

 Above: Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, WY.

Above: I-35 Upper Deck Panorama in Morning, Austin, TX.

Above: Doc's Bar and Grill, Austin, TX.

Above: Centennial Park Fountains, Atlanta, GA.

Above: Sunrise in Kapoho, HI., the "big island" of Hawaii.

Above: Mesquite Trees, New Braunfels, TX.

Above: The Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii.  (This shot was also selected by Popular Photography as it's online Photo of the Day for October 10th, 2013.)

Above: Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, Arlington, TX.

Above: Austin Skyline Reflection, Austin, TX.

 Above: Grand Tetons Above the Snake River, Jackson Hole, WY.


 Above: Misty Texas Capitol, Austin, TX.

Above: Sea Turtles, Punalu'u County Beach Park, Hawaii.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Gallery Sale!

Merry Christmas everyone!  We here at Evan's Expo wish you a very wonderful holiday season and hope you have an even better new year!  With that, we are offering 30% off of everything in our gallery.  Just go to http://egearingphoto.zenfolio.com, pick out anything you like there and use coupon code XMAS13.  It's good thru the end of the year!  And, if there's something on my blog here or on my flickr site that you cannot find in my gallery that you wish to purchase, please email me and I will be sure to make it available!

Round Rock Tower #2

Here's another shot of the Round Rock Water Tower that I took the other morning.  It's quite similar to the first one I posted, but it does have a couple of differences.  The first most obvious one is that I went back to my old watermark.  I love the new one that I've been trying, but it takes a lot of time to get right.  I think I will eventually use that style permanently, but I still need a lot more practice.  So, in a pinch, I'll use my old one like I did here.  The other difference is that this is not an HDR, but a single shot that I processed very little in Photoshop CC's ACR.  The more that ACR can do, the more I'm thinking HDR may become obsolete except for the shots where there are extreme contrasts.

Well, that's all for now...  Except for one more thing, as Columbo would say.  I know I mentioned I would post a couple more shots from the Driskill Hotel, but I've really been struggling to get those processed properly.  So, until I can get them the way I want them, they will have to wait.  Sorry about that.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 6
Aperture - f/14.0
Focal Length -  20 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Friday, December 20, 2013

Zoom Blur with Nik Analog Efex

OK, I know I post too many pix of the Texas Capitol.  I apologize.  But, I have a good reason to post this one now.  I just discovered something in Nik's new Analog Efex filterDeborah Sandidge, an excellent photographer who's blog I follow, has been using it and she's been getting some really cool effects out of it.  I wondered how she did it and I finally figured one of them out.  You know, a sort of lightbulb went off in my very dimly-lit brain.  There are a bunch of different settings in Analog Efex and one of them is called "Zoom and Rotate Blur".  With that setting, you can make a shot look as though you are moving when you took it and you can add a rotation to it as though you might have been spinning as you were moving.  It's really quite cool!  You can also add a whole bunch of other effects as well.  For this shot, I just added a film type to it to give it a little more interest.  But, I went from a nice black and white of the capitol to a pretty cool zoom shot.  The first shot below is what it looks like in the Analog Efex interface.  The second is the original and the last is the result I got from Analog Efex.  Which do you prefer?  Well, I think it is cool anyway!

Above: View in Nik's Analog Efex

Above: Original Black and White

Above: Result from Nik's Analog Efex

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture -  f/16.0
Focal Length - 16 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Texaco Sign and Tower

Here's the next shot in my Round Rock water tower series.  I tried to find a few interesting angles and when I walked around the block that the tower is in the middle of, I found an old gas station that had been converted to a realtors office.  However, they left the old Texaco sign there and a couple of the old gas pumps.  I tried to get a shot of those as well, but I'll have to go back for those again sometime because what I did get suck.  Anyway, I liked the Texaco sign and tried to get it and the lit up tower in one shot.  I did that here.  Did it work?  Any feedback would be appreciated!

This is another 9-shot HDR processed via Photomatix using the fusion method.  Then I brought out the Texaco sign using Nik's Viveza 2 with control points on the white portion at the top to make it stand out as well as with the red and green.  Then I sharpened the thing up with Nik Sharpener.  One other thing - because some of you guys might notice - there is a little lens flare in the middle of the shot.  Sometimes I like those little imperfections and I decided to leave them in.  I guess it could be considered a mistake, but that's ok.


Exif data: 

Camera -  Nikon D700
 Exposure - 1.6
Aperture - f/6.3
Focal Length - 17 mm
ISO Speed -  200
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Round Rock Water Tower

This morning I got up a bit early and scampered into downtown Round Rock to get a shot or two of the water tower.  Round Rock does a great job of stringing lights on it every year and every year I think, "I need to shoot that"!  This year I finally did.  I was able to get several different angles, but I think this is one of my favorites because of the light streaks I got from the passing cars.

I bracketed 9 shots instead of my standard 7 just to make sure I reduced the amount of noise in the final image as much as possible.  Then I took several shots at a f13 I think it was so as to get a long exposure when cars drove by.  Then I blended the tonemapped HDR with the long exposure and here's basically what I got in return.  Then a few tweaks in Photoshop and wa-la!  What do you think?


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure -  6
Aperture -  f/5.6
Focal Length - 24 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Georgetown, TX Visitor's Center at Christmas

Here's a shot I took while walking the Georgetown, TX square one night in Dec. last year and just got around to processing.  It's the Georgetown Visitor Center and it's located caddy-corner to Gumbo's.  I like the shot, but I just could not find a good enough angle to get all of the "Most Beautiful Town Square" sign on the back wall in the shot.  I'm kinda disappointed about that, but otherwise, I like it.

I changed this one up a little from my normal routine.  It is a 7-bracket HDR, but I processed it mostly with Nik's new Analog Efex and I added a white vignette instead of a dark one.  I also had a little fun with the water mark.  It isn't perfect, but I think I might try to start getting a little more creative with those. You never know, it might help boost some other skill.

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by!


Exif data: 

Camera -  Nikon D300S
Exposure - 2
Aperture -  f/11.0
Focal Length - 10 mm
ISO Speed - 640
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Mode - Auto
Lens Model - Sigma 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6


View Larger Map

Friday, December 13, 2013

Goddess of Liberty (Two Versions)

At the top of the Texas Capitol, there's is a statue known as the "Goddess of Liberty".  It was designed by a gentleman from Detroit named E.E.Myers back in 1888 and is said to be inspired by the statue at the top of the US Capitol.  This one here is just a replica of the original, but you can see the original at the Texas State History Museum if you're interested.  You can also read more about the statue here.

Speaking of liberty, I could get all political here and I really want to, but instead I will just say liberty does not seem to be the same anymore and that's not a good thing.

I took this shot the other day as I was leaving the capitol grounds.  You see, I went out there on my lunch hour with hopes of playing and practicing with a new 10-stop neutral density filter.  I figured some nice cloud streaks over the capitol would be a good place to start.  There were some wisps of clouds in the sky when I drove to the capitol, but by the time I got there they were pretty much gone.  So, not one to miss an opportunity to shoot anything, I took a few snaps of the grounds and this was one of the more unique shots I got.  I guess I'll have to try the ND filter another day.

This is a single shot raw file that I processed in ACR and Photoshop CC's black and white filter.  Then I just removed noise with Nik Dfine and sharpened with Nik Sharpener 2.

SO... Originally, I was just going to post the black and white shot directly below.  But, after letting it "cook" for a while, it just came off as being a little blah.  I loaded this shot into flickr at the same time I drafted up this post, so instead of processing it some more in Photoshop, I decided to see what flickr's Aviary editor could do.  I put this through their effect called "Avenue" and I kind of liked the aftermath.  That's the second shot below.  What do you think? It certainly added a little interest in my eyes as well as a little pop.  Maybe it is too much?  The goddess herself might be a little blown out, but I still kind of like it...

Above: Original black and white


 Above: Edited in Flickr's Aviary.


Exif data:

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.001 sec (1/1000)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 300 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SkyView Atlanta and Westin

Hawaii Photos in Gallery

I have uploaded some of the shots I took during our recent trip to Hawaii in my gallery for purchase.  You can buy rights for the file itself or you can buy a print of anything you like there.  Or, you can just browse the non-watermarked versions of those shots.  Click here to see!

SkyView Atlanta and Westin

We're going back to Atlanta in this post and yet another view of the new ferris wheel called "SkyView Atlanta".  It's just across the street from Centennial Park and looks like a fun ride.  The cylindrical building on the left is the Westin Peachtree Plaza in the heart of downtown.  Looks like a nice place to stay, but not nice enough to pay for..  ;-) We stayed at the Hampton Inn right next door to the Westin and it was much cheaper and very nice.

This is a seven-shot HDR fused in Photomatix.  The ferris wheel didn't turn out quite right so I masked in one of the brackets and then tweaked the rest out using ACR and Nik Color Efex.

Hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for dropping by!  Oh, and I'll probably post a couple more Driskill Christmas shots in the coming days, so keep an eye out for those if you are interested.


Exif data: 

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 1.3
Aperture f/16.0
Focal Length 21 mm
ISO Speed 200
Flash No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Driskill Hotel Bar Couches at Christmas

Well, it's that time of year again..  December is rolling in with a bang.  Just yesterday the temperatures in Austin were in the 80s and just this morning we got in a cold front that dropped the temps down to the high 30s to the low 40s with a chance of freezing precip.  Not to mention that early December means Christmas is just around the corner.  That means it's time for Christmas pics.  I actually took this one last year at about this time, but didn't post until now.  It's gets me a little psyched to go get some more, just not sure if I want to get out in this cold.  Inside the Driskill Hotel is always good though!


Exif data:

Camera -  Nikon D300S
Exposure - 4
Aperture -  f/11.0
Focal Length - 10 mm
ISO Speed - 640
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture priority-AE
Lens Model - Sigma 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6


View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Andy Warhol Portait of Farrah Fawcett

We are nothing if not topical here at Evan's Expo...  OK, we're not, but I like that as an excuse to post a snap of some art I took at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin last July...  Apparently there is some scuttlebutt going on between the University of Texas (which the Blanton Museum is a part of) and Ryan O'Neal.  He says he owns a piece of artwork created by Andy Warhol of his now deceased ex-wife, Farrah Fawcett, but the University of Texas says the artwork is theirs.  So, there is a lawsuit going on and apparently O'Neal has just recently testified that it's his and the university says that she donated it.  The piece in question is one of two versions that Warhol created at Fawcett's request in 1980 and O'Neal already has the other. Not sure how this will pan out, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Well, back when I was a kid, I loved Farrah Fawcett!  Yes, I had the iconic red bathing suit poster hanging in my room! (It's still for sale on Amazon!  Unbelievable!) Therefore, when I saw this portrait in the museum, I just had to take a snap.  

I heard the news of the suit last night and I thought it made for a good opportunity to post the shot. It's hanging in the same room as Luis Jimenez' "Progress II" sculpture at the Blanton.  Check it out if you go because if O'Neal wins, it probably won't be there long!

I just did minor adjustments of the original raw file in Adobe Camera Raw, add some vignette with Nik Color Efex, removed noise with Nik Dfine and sharpened with Nik Sharpener.

The following is from the information card in the bottom right of the photo that describes the work:

"Andy Warhol
Pittsburgh, 1928 - New York City, 1987

Farrah Fawcett, 1980
Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas
Bequest of Farrah Fawcett, 2010

Beginning in the late 1960s, Andy Warhol painted commissioned portraits of notable figures.  These included celebrities, members of the art world, and socialites.  By 1980, Warhol had achieved the same celebrity as many of the famous faces he depicted; commissioned portraits by the artist were in high demand, Warhol based this painting of Farrah Fawcett on one of dozens of Polaroid photographs he took of her.  He enlarged and screenprinted the actress's face over flat areas of red and green that emphasize her mouth and eyes, then added a white highlight to her lip.  The portrait not only captures Fawcett's renowned allure, but also shows a more serious, pensive side of the actress than was typically on view."



Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700 
Exposure - 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture - f/8.0
Focal Length - 26 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Well, if there's anyone out there who reads this anyway! ;-)  Here's wishing you and yours a great holiday and to giving thanks for all of the blessings each of us have!

The photo below is a shot I took when Eileen and I traveled to Plymouth, MA a couple of years ago and visited the Plimouth Plantation.  The Plimouth Plantation is a recreation of what the settlement looked like when the Pilgrims arrived back in the 1600s.  They have a mockup of the Pilgrims village along with a mock up of a Wampanoag village.  The Wampanoag is the tribe of American Indians that lived in the area when the Pilgrims arrived.  What you see here is what a typical Wampanoag home looked like.  If you ever get to Plymouth, MA, visit the Plimouth Plantation.  I think you'll enjoy it!

The shot is something I decided to have a little fun with..  It's an HDR that I put through Nik's new Analog Efex filter using one of the old camera presets, and then I ran it through Nik Silver Efex2.  So that's why it has this old gritty look to it with all of the stains and stuff on it.  I thought this house is from a long time ago so why not make the photo look like it came from a long time ago!  I hope you like it and thanks for dropping by!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D300S
Exposure - 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture - f/11.0
Focal Length - 10 mm
ISO Speed - 400
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Sigma 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6


View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SkyView Atlanta

Recently, Atlanta opened up a new ferris wheel right next to Centennial Park called SkyView Atlanta.  We didn't ride in it while we were there, but I got a couple pretty cool shots of it.  This one was from Centennial Park as you can see one of the torch towers on the right.

This is a single shot, non-HDR.  I tried HDR for this, but it didn't work out too well.  What do you think? Oh and that bright white dot just above the ferris wheel is the moon.  I probably should take it out, but I like it there...

Here's some more info from the SkyView Atlanta website:

"Located at the South end of Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta, the SkyView Ferris wheel is set up to thrill families from all over the Atlanta Metro area. The wheel is almost 20 stories high with 42 gondolas that will be able to hold up to 6 people.  With a view like this, everyone will be wanting a ride. And if you want to ride in style, check out our VIP gondola that gives you all the perks including the wonderful view. Surrounded by many other local favorite attractions of this downtown Centennial Park area, you'll never find yourself looking for something to do. SkyView. You can see Atlanta from here."


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 4 seconds
Aperture - f/22.0
Focal Length - 19 mm
ISO Speed -  200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Centennial Park Fountains

Last weekend, Eileen and I took a trip to Atlanta, GA.  You see, we have this bucket list to go to every NFL stadium and attend a game.  I swear I'm the luckiest guy in the world!  Anyway, we decided that Atlanta and the Atlanta Falcons were next on the list.  Last year the Falcons went 13-3 and went to the playoffs with a decent chance of going to the Super Bowl.  So we thought we'd pick a good game and the Seattle Seahawks seemed like a good opponent because they almost went to the Super Bowl last year as well.  Plus, Atlanta plays in a dome!  Nice!  So we bought the tickets!  However, fate decided something different.  This year the Falcons turned out to be one of the worst teams, but Seattle is still one of the best.  So, to make a long story short, Seattle kicked the Falcons' collective butt and we knocked another stadium off our list.  Now we just have to go to about 24 more!  At one game a year, it will be a while!

We also went to visit a good childhood friend of mine, John.  He and I lived just down the street from one another when we were kids.  We pretty much hung out all the time but went our separate ways after high school.  We visited him and his wife Nicole and their son Alexander!  It was great to see them and we had a great time catching up!  Thanks again for everything, guys!  Hopefully we'll get together again sometime soon!

So, that's where this picture comes in...  We stayed at the Hampton Inn in the downtown area which was right across from Centennial Park.  This is that park that was built for the Summer Olympics back in 1996.  Hence, that's what these fountain rings are you see here.  In the summer, kids will play and cool off in these things.  I'll bet that's a fun thing to do as a kid.  I like how the fountains were lit up here, but I'm a little disappointed that the red ring on the left's fountains weren't at full pressure.  Maybe I caught them at a bad time since they are supposed to do a little "dance" or something, but even when they were doing their "dance", they never got above the height that you see here. 

As far as the shot goes, this is a single shot, 13 second exposure that I took with a tripod standing atop a brick wall just above the fountains. I just kicked the aperture down to f22 in aperture priority mode and let the camera do the rest.  I then did a bit of post-processing in Adobe Camera Raw and added a vignette with Nik's Color Efex 4 via Photoshop CC.  Finally I cropped it down to a 16x9 ratio since there wasn't too much foreground interest in the original shot. 

I hope you like the shot and thanks for dropping by!  (As always, click on the picture if you want to see a larger view.)


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 13
Aperture - f/22.0
Focal Length - 18 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eden's Exit

To me, Hawaii is the definition of Paradise.  It's so lush and the weather is so perfect, I can't imagine another place that could better reflect the word.  But paradise, as all good things, isn't everywhere and it has to have an entrance and an exit.  This shot could be paradise's exit.  As you can see, this place has some great green foliage and that it is just what a portion of paradise might look like.  But, something sinister can be seen on the other side of the bridge... A hole that has an orange red glow...  Could it be Hell?

Luckily, no, it isn't hell.  It's actually the entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island.  The following is from gohawaii.com's website as linked previously:

"Lava caves like this are formed when a river of lava gradually builds solid walls and a ceiling. When the lava flow stops and the last of it passes downhill, a cave is formed. These caves can be a few feet high and only yards long, or they can stretch for miles with high ceilings. The Thurston Lava Tube is a fantastic example of a massive lava cave. Lit by electric lights, with a flat rock floor and a ceiling high enough in the center to keep you from scraping your head, this is a great introduction to lava tube geology."

This photo is a 7-shot HDR bracketed at 1 stop intervals from -3 to +3 EVs. I processed them via Adobe Camera Raw, saved each bracket as a tif, merged them in Photomatix 4 using the natural setting and then tweaked it out in Photoshop CS6 with Nik Color Efex 4's tonal contrast, glamour glow and graduated filters.

I hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for dropping by!  As always, click on the image for a larger view.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.3
Aperture -  f/9.0
Focal Length - 16 mm
ISO Speed - 800
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fish Foto Fun

I knew I wanted to do some snorkeling in Hawaii and try my hand at getting some underwater pictures. So, I bought a used Canon S100 compact camera and a Canon WP-DC43 underwater housing.  I went the camera and housing route because there just isn't an underwater compact camera on the market that has raw capability and processing a raw file is so much better than a jpeg in post as you know.

It was fun indeed, but a lot of the shots I got were worthless.  I did get a few OK ones, but I think I need to practice a bit more.  Too bad there aren't nice warm and clear tide-pools here in Central Texas! :-)  Anyway, I did snorkel twice..  Well, really three times, but one time I can't really count because the water was too rough and I got all of my gear knocked off at one point.  That's a funny story in itself and I might talk about it one day.  Until then, I thought I'd post a few of the decent shots I got as well as a few things I learned while shooting with it...

1.  Even though the camera is in a housing and you have a mask on, it's still pretty hard to see the view screen on the camera.  It's OK, but not as good as when you are on dry land taking a snap.  You have to use your judgement a little more when composing and hope you get the shot.  If you can adjust the brightness, do so, but be aware that will also drain your battery faster.

2.  Fish don't normally sit and pose for a shot. Imagine that?  Silly fish..  So, you have to have a little luck and rely on your instinct as to where the fish might go and when.  Have your camera ready to go when you are close to the composure you want so you don't miss the shot.

3.  Turn off your camera when you know you won't be using it in the water.  Leaving it on all the time underwater is very tempting, but it can drain your battery before you know it.  Nothing more of a PITA than to have to get out of the water, take your camera out of it's housing, exchange batteries, then put it all back together while hoping you don't get one grain of sand in the housing's seal and possibly ruining your camera.

4.  It seems to take a bit longer for the camera to focus when underwater versus on land so you'll need to compensate for that.  If you can set a manual focus for aperture f4 say, you might have better luck. Plus, with the camera in the housing, Canon's housing anyway, it's very difficult to press the shutter halfway to get the camera to focus.  You kind of have to play with that a bit because it doesn't have that same feel.

5.  Snorkel in the midday sun.  This way it will be as bright as possible underwater and your camera will hopefully be able to focus faster and have shorter exposure times.

6.  Lastly, if you want really professional-quality underwater shots, prepare to use at least a camera with an APS-C size or above sensor and then get an underwater housing for it along with a good fisheye lens and some strobes.  Also get ready to pay thousands of dollars for a rig like that.  In other words, don't use what I did.  As you can see, the shots below are nice, but they are lacking detail and sharpness.  I really enjoyed taking them and I enjoy looking at them, but after that, they aren't good for much.  All of that being said, I still had lots of fun and would like to try it some more.  Maybe with some practice these shots will get better.  It would be interesting to see what Nikon's new 1 AW1 camera can do as well.  It's not APS-C size, but looks like it might be good...

About the shots...

Below:  This is a school of convict tang fish that I took near the Beach House Restaurant in Poipu, Kauai.


Below:  Here is the unofficial fish of the state of Hawaii.  It's called a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a or reef triggerfish for short. The long Hawaiian name means "triggerfish with a snout like a pig." It's not a great shot, but I just had to prove that I actually saw one, especially since I have a t-shirt with this fish on it! I took this one near the Beach House Restaurant in Poipu, Kauai.


Below:  This is a moorish idol fish that I took in the tide-pools near our rental on the big island.


Below:  This is an orange-spine unicornfish that I took in the tide-pools near our rental on the big island.


Below:  This is a raccoon butterflyfish that I took near the Beach House Restaurant in Poipu, Kauai.



View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Black Sand Beach on the Big Island

One of our goals when we went to Hawaii was to see a black sand beach.  We found one down on the south side of the island at Punaluu County Beach Park.  It's a beautiful place and is just so typical "Hawaii"!

When we got there we walked around a bit and just took in the sites. The sand felt just the same when walking on it as sand on a regular beach.  However, it's just such a different landscape (ocean-scape? beach-scape?) and so exotic that it was fun yet weird to look at.  But, I liked it!  Of course the palms and the ocean were just beautiful as well!

There was also a gentleman fishing with a net and he caught a few fish in his bucket.  I asked him what they were, but at this point I really don't remember.  I do remember seeing some small silver and black striped fish, but that could be almost anything.

We also went to the standard tourist T-shirt stand and we met a very nice guy named "Guy".  He was awesome!  We had heard that turtles would come up on the beach during the day so we asked him when that might happen and he walked with us right out to the water and pointed some out to us.  The turtles were still feeding in the water, but he said they would come up later in the day.  He also told us a little bit about his family and stuff.  Turns out he and his family are big volleyball players and have been all over the world competing.  And, the t-shirt stand at the beach has been in his family for two or three generations, if I remember correctly.  What a wonderful life he has!  Very nice and interesting guy (pun intended..).  So of course we bought some t-shirts from him and said we'd come back to check out the turtles, which we did.

So, here are some of the shots from the beach below.  I didn't get any spectacular shots I don't think, so I thought I would post a multitude of what I got there and just enjoy the memories.  I hope you enjoy the shots, too and thanks for dropping by!  (As always, click on the picture to see a larger version.)

BELOW: View looking west with a life guard shack on the right and pavilion in the distance.


BELOW: View looking east with Guy's T-shirt stand on the left.


BELOW: Guy with Eileen as we discuss turtles and life.



BELOW: A couple of sea turtles resting that we saw on our return trip to the beach later that same day.


BELOW: Another sea turtle with the warning sign not to get too close to these guys.  The shot above was taken with my zoom so I really wasn't within 15 feet of them when I took it.  More like 25 - 30 at least.





View Larger Map

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Napali Coast #2

Here's another shot of the Napali Coast on Kauai.  It's almost impossible to get a bad shot of this place from high in the air, but I managed to get a few bad ones.  However, of the good ones I got, this is one I really like!  This is probably nearly the best of the ones I did get.  I really like the composition and it seems to be pretty sharp all the way through.  Better than my previous.  I really liked the comp in that one, but it has some soft areas in it.  Also, there's not as much water in that one as there is in this. The colors of the ocean here are just really nice and that would've made a nice compliment in my last one.  The water in the foreground is sort of a turquoise green and then it fades into a nice blue further in the background.  Anyway, like I said for the most part, it's hard to get a bad shot there. 

So, this is a single shot processed in Adobe Camera Raw and then given varying degrees of Nik Color Efex 4's tonal contrast filter throughout.  Then a little noise reduction in the sky and a little sharpening and here you go!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Looking Through Waimea Canyon

Before we went to Kauai, my friend and co-worker Lori said she went to see the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", which is Waimea Canyon, but all she saw were clouds.  Well, we had a similar experience.  We drove the road that sort of skirts Waimea Canyon from where it ends on the coast to where the canyon begins near the middle of the island in the higher elevations.  When we got to the top all we saw were clouds as well.  However, a few stops on the way up were pretty clear and we were able to see some pretty spectacular views.  This is one of those views.  It was pretty hazy, but it turned out nice nevertheless.  This shot is from one along route 550 on the way up.  It's a funny shot because if you look at the horizon, it seems kind of crooked towards the middle-right because that's where the mountains slope down towards the coast.  However, when you look at the clouds, you can see the it's really quite level.  Just one of those optical illusions, I guess.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture - f/7.1
Focal Length - 28 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Program AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


View Larger Map

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunrise at Shipwreck Beach

On Kauai, we stayed at a vacation rental home in the town of Poipu, smack dab between Poipu beach and Shipwreck Beach.  Poipu Beach was about a 10 minute walk to the west and Shipwreck Beach about the same to the east.  One morning, Eileen and I went to Shipwreck Beach to watch the sun come up and to get some snaps of the view.  It's awesome there because that's where the Grand Hyatt Resort is and my, what a great (grand) place that is!  That's what you see in this photo... Shipwreck Beach and some of the palms and a mini bungalow (for lack of a better term) on the left.

As far as processing this shot goes, I tried something different...  Instead of doing an HDR with 5 different shots at exposures 1 stop apart, I took two shots that were two stops apart, layered them in Photoshop and created a gradient mask to bring out the highlights in the foreground and the dramatic sky in the background.  I kind of like the way it turned out versus the HDR results I sometimes get from Photomatix.  Speaking of which, there's a shot from the Big Island that I took that I'm struggling with and if I figure out a good way to process it, I'll post and let you know what I did.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this shot and thanks for dropping by!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.6 Aperture f/8.0
Focal Length - 16 mm
ISO Speed - 1600
Exposure Bias -  -1 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Waterfalls Not Named Waimea

Lots of things in Hawaii have the name Waimea in them.  There are Waimea Falls on Kauai, Waimea Bay on Oahu, Waimea Canyon on Kauai, Waimea this and Waimea that.  I think - I'm not sure - but I think, Waimea may have been a king on one of the islands, so that's why so many things are named Waimea.  However, I really don't know for sure so I could be horribly, horribly wrong.  Anyway, as I mentioned, Kauai has some waterfalls named Waimea, but these ones here are not them. I do have pictures of Waimea Falls and I may post one of them later, but I liked this one better.  That being said, these falls are even prettier and unfortunately I don't know the name of them.  I guess I should've been better about that, but there are so many waterfalls on Kauai that it is hard to keep track.  And the best part is they are all beautiful!  These particular ones were kind of far away from where I stood to get the shot so the photo is not quite as tack-sharp as I would like, but I still like how it turned out for a handheld shot.

This is another single non-hdr shot and I just added some vibrance and saturation in ACR as well as the darken lighten filter from Nik Color Efex 4.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure -  0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture -  f/8.0
Focal Length - 200 mm
ISO Speed -  400
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program -  Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


View Larger Map

Friday, October 11, 2013

Helicopter View of Waimea Canyon

As I mentioned in my previous post, we took a tour of Kauai via helicopter and it was awesome!  So in this post I decided to show what it was like from the passenger's view as we were tooling around above the island.

In this shot we are just getting to Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai.  Waimea Canyon is so big that it is considered "the Grand Canyon of Hawaii".  I've never been to the actual Grand Canyon so I have no frame of reference, but this one here was pretty big.  I really like this shot because you can see the canyon quite well through the windshield and you can really see the gauges on the instrument cluster very clearly.  However, there are some white speckles on the windshield but those aren't flaws in the shot, they are actually water spots as we just came through a little bit of rain at this point.  As you can see, we are flying at about 3700 feet, flying at about 87 knots (100 mph), and have over half our fuel left.  Pretty cool, huh?  Love this stuff!

As far as the picture goes, it's just one shot that I adjusted a bit in Adobe Camera Raw.  I kept the white balance as set from the camera, but I let ACR adjust the exposure and then in post I added some tonal contrast to bring out the colors of the canyon and added graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky a little. Both filters were from Nik Color Efex 4. Then I reduced the noise in the shot with Nik's Dfine and sharpened with Nik's Sharpener 2.  I don't care what anyone says, I just love that whole Nik suite!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture - f/16.0
Focal Length - 16 mm
ISO Speed -  200
Exposure Bias -  0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE


View Larger Map

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Napali Coast #1

The island of Kauai in Hawaii has some of the most spectacular views in the world.  One of the most fantastic is the Napali Coast on the northwest side and the best way to see it is from the air.  We took a helicopter tour of the island with Jack Harter Helicopters and it was awesome!  They have choppers that will take you up with the doors off!  It's perfect for photographers.  And the Hughes 500 model helicopters they have are so smooth that it's like riding in a car through the air. Well, I thought so.  Eileen just wanted the trip to be over, but afterward I think she was glad we did it.

Anyway, both of us sat up front with the pilot.  The pilot was on the left, Eileen in the middle and I on the right.  I was so close to the opening of the chopper that when we flew through the rain, my arm would get wet and then immediately dry as soon as we flew out of it.  It was great because there were no windows to glare into the photo.  The photo here is what our pilot, Ben Silver called the "postcard shot".  I hope it's worthy of a postcard but you know you really don't have much time to shoot as you are flying through the air.  Especially since there are others on the flight that want to shoot the same thing from the other side of the aircraft.

So, Kauai is probably the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain.  It was formed by an old extinct volcano, Waimea I think, and subsequently formed all of these great canyons and nooks and crannies in the countryside due to all of the rain that falls there.  Kauai has the wettest climate on the planet where portions at the highest elevations can get anywhere from 450 - 700 inches of rain per year!  All of that water can do lots of things to mountains and that's why you see all of these beautiful formations here.

If you ever get a chance to visit, do the helicopter and you won't be sorry!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure -  0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture - f/8.0
Focal Length - 35 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Program AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kapoho Sunrise

Hello! I know it's been a while since I posted anything to the blog here, but I had good reason.. You see, Eileen and I as well as our friends Ellen, Theresa and Valerie just returned from a wonderful 10-day whirlwind trip to Hawaii!  It was awesome!  I mean, it's Hawaii, right?  How could it not be?!  Anyway, we spent 3 days on the "Big Island" and 7 on Kauai.  Both places are just gorgeous in their own ways and we couldn't have had a better time.  Therefore, a lot of the next posts will be from that trip. Hope you don't mind!

So, to start things off, this here is a shot of the water and the lava rock just outside the back of our vacation rental home in the town of Kapoho.  It was a small town just ESE of Pahoa on the southeast side of the island.  Where we stayed did not afford good sunset shots, so I had to opt for sunrise.  That was OK since because Hawaii is 5 hours behind US central time, we were up pretty early anyway.  What a lovely way to welcome the day!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 1.6
Aperture - f/4.0
Focal Length - 19 mm
ISO Speed - 640
Flash -  No Flash
Lens Model - 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Friday, September 6, 2013

Peyton and Eli

No photo today folks, but last night was the start of the NFL regular season and Peyton Manning put on a show by throwing seven touchdown passes as his Broncos annihilated the Ravens 49 - 27!  What a game!  And to top it off, Eileen has Peyton on her fantasy team!  She's going to be tough to beat if Peyton keeps that up!

So, in honor of Peyton and the start of NFL football, I thought I'd post a couple of funny commercials Peyton did with his brother Eli from DirectTV...  Enjoy.

One more thing... Before you play these videos, be advised that some silly thing will pop-up asking you to either "Download", "Play Now" or "Convert".  Pay no attention to that and just click on the little X in the upper right corner of that white box when it pops-up.  I'm sorry if that happens to you, but it's just more crap in the internet universe to be aware of. 



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IMHI Thru the Trees

I have posted a couple shots of the Independence Mental Health Institute a while back, but I overlooked this one.  I know it shows the actual hospital way off in the distance, but I liked how the sun shows through the big pine tree on the right.  It casts a pretty cool shadow, too.

As far as processing goes, this shot is comprised of 7 bracketed photos spaced 1 EV apart.  I also used Exposure Fusion in Photomatix instead of Tone Mapping.   I'm really starting to like that way of processing more for landscape-type shots.  It has a more realistic/photographic look to it.  Of course, if texture is your thing, go with Tone Mapping for sure!


Exif data:

Camera -  Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture - f/16.0
Focal Length - 31 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Flash - No Flash
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Backyard Squirrel

Lately I haven't been getting out too much to get any photos.  This time of year is a bit difficult just because it's so darn hot!  Not to mention the fact that I've been low on ideas.  However, this past Monday, Eileen saw this squirrel hanging out in our maple tree in the backyard.  So, I broke out the old camera to see if I could get a shot or two.

I was able to get pretty close to him.  He just seemed to be relaxing and I'm afraid I may have disturbed him a bit.  That's OK though, cause he might be the guy who's been raiding our bird feeder.  Anyway, I was able to get a couple of shots from a couple of angles and this was probably the best of them.  Right after this shot, he scurried on to the roof of the house and took off!  Guess he was a little camera shy.

This was a shot that I adjusted a little bit in Adobe Camera Raw, cropped a little bit in Photoshop CS6, added some pro contrast and vignette from Nik Color Efex 4 and finally sharpened with Nik Sharpener.

Finally, I'm still trying to think of more content to put here, but it may be a while.  However, in the next couple of months, I should have some really great stuff to post and I can't wait, so stay tuned!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture - f/5.6
Focal Length - 300 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - -1 EV
Flash - On, Return detected
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


View Larger Map

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Luis Jimenez' "Progress II"

One of the cooler things I saw at the Blanton Museum of Art last week was a sculpture by a man named Luis Jimenez.  The name of the work here is "Progress II".  The Blanton acquired this piece as well as one other sometime towards the end of 2012.  Luis Jimenez was a University of Texas alum.

I shot this piece from several different angles and I narrowed it down to two that I liked most.  However, I had a hard time figuring out which angle I liked better so, since this is named "Progress II" I thought, "Why not post both?"  So here you go...

The following is a description of what this sculpture represents from a December 31st, 2012 glasstire.com article:

Progress II, a massive sculpture cast in fiberglass and finished with car paint, belongs to the artist’s 1976 series that critically examines mythologies of the West. Rectifying traditional cowboy imagery, the work features a Mexican vaquero – the original cowboy – closing in on his prey: a snarling, red-eyed longhorn hopelessly attempting to evade defeat. Beneath the larger components of the sculpture, an owl stalks a mouse, while other small living creatures fight for their survival. An overarching theme of pursuit is revealed as JimĂ©nez uses relationships between predator and prey to allude to the concept of Manifest Destiny, America’s road to “progress.”




View Larger Map

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chairs Observing Art

If you read my last post, you'll realize that I don't get some art.  But, I think I know what "traditional" art is and here's a shot of some that I took in another exhibit not called "Lifelike". :-)

This is a 5-bracket handheld HDR merged with exposure fusion in Photomatix.  It's a bit noisy, but that's what happens when it's a little dark.  Nik's Dfine really helped get some of that out.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure -  0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture - f/5.6
Focal Length - 18 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Flash -  No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


View Larger Map

Disqus for Evan's Expo