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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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