Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trump International Hotel

I think this might - just might - be the last photo from Las Vegas that I will post for a while.  I have many more, but they are all meh.  Maybe if I find some great way to improve them, I'll post others, but for now I think this will be it.

This is a shot of the Trump International Hotel that I took from the top of the Stratosphere the second night we were there.  I like how it turned out because of the light that's reflecting off of the gold windows.  Speaking of which, apparently those windows are gilded with 24 carat gold.  I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds expensive and it looks pretty good as well.

I also like this shot because it's straight from the Fuji X-T1 camera using the Velvia film simulation.  I did not do any post-processing on it whatsoever...

Well, that's not totally true.. I resized it and added my watermark.  Speaking of the watermark, I created a whole new one and have started using it.  It's in the upper right corner of the shot.  Tell me what you think.  Maybe the word "Photography" under my name should be a little bigger??  Anyway, don't let that distract you from the overall image either.  I'd like to hear what you think of that as well! :-)

Thanks and stop by again!

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.
 
Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - Fujinon 50-230mm f4.5-6.7 OIS
Focal Length - 143.9mm
Aperture - f6.0
Exposure - 1/18
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 6400
Exposure bias -0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - NA
# of brackets - NA

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lightroom Maneuverings

If you are a serious Photoshop user like myself, you probably know that Adobe has released a new version of Photoshop (PS) CC in their Creative Cloud platform.  It has some new features that might be fun to try out such as focus masking and others.  And, if you are new to Photoshop and want to try it, they've dropped their monthly subscription rate down from $20.00/mo to $10.  If you've upgraded from a previous version and went with this subscription it's been $10/mo, but now everyone gets it for that price.  It's a very good deal and cheaper in the long run than the old pricing model.  Just hope the rates don't increase.  Anyway, if you opt in, you also get a free copy of Lightroom (LR).  Not bad! If you like LR, that is...

You see, I have it, but I'm rather intimidated by it and still don't like it, yet.  I shouldn't be intimidated because it's supposed to be simple to use.  But I'm so used to using Adobe Bridge along with PS, that when I get into LR, I get screwed up and can't figure out what's what and then frustratingly get the heck out and go back to Bridge/PS.  Well, a couple days ago, I thought I should give LR another crack.  It seems each time I go into it, I get a little more comfortable with it.  Downloading this little piece of literature from the Lightroom Queen helped as well.

So, to play around in LR I needed a photo, right?  I decided to use this one you see here.  It's one of the very first photos I took when I started this whole photographic journey with DSLRs about 5 years ago.  It's a shot of the Bertram train station in Bertram, TX.  I took it with my old trusty Nikon D90, a great camera in it's day and is still a good option for a used one if you want to start out...  I converted this photo to black and white and used some of the adjustment brushes in LR to bring out some detail here and there. (Here's my original HDR, if you are interested) However, I did open it up in PS to add my watermark and save it as a JPG.  Still not crazy about how the library works in LR on how to save a photo, but that's probably because I still don't quite understand it.  It seems the easier Adobe tries to make things, the harder it gets.

So, I'll keep poking around, but I'm not sure I'll ever like it.  Maybe some day I'll take a class on it and maybe that will help.  I have a book or two and that's good, but nothing helps me more than actually seeing someone working it.  We'll see!  Thanks for dropping by!

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D90
Lens - Nikkor 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 VR
Focal Length - 21mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure - 1/250
Exposure program - Program AE
ISO speed - 100
Exposure bias - -0.33 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rain and Taro Fields in Hanalei Valley

Here's another shot from Kauai from last year's trip...  This is known as the Hanalei Valley and this shot was taken from the lookout off the main road near there:

"Pull off the the road at the Hanalei Valley Lookout to get your shot of one of the most photographed lookouts in all Hawaii. The Hanalei Valley is an enchanted site charmed with the likes of countless waterfalls, rainbows, fields of taro and hidden treasures waiting to be explored. Set against the backdrop of the carved out and waterfall bejeweled Namolokama mountain, this magical place is not to be missed."

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 VR
Focal Length - 28mm
Aperture - f7.1
Exposure - 1/200
Exposure program - Program AE
ISO speed - 400
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Go Spurs Go!

The Spurs are playing the Heat tonight for the championship!  Go Spurs Go!!!  So, to mark the occasion, here's a shot of the Alamo I took when my sister Elizabeth visited back in 2011!  The shot is an HDR from my compact Sony DSC-HX9V so it has a few issues, but I like for the most part!

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Sony DSC-HX9V
Lens - 4.3-68.5 mm f/3.3-5.9
Focal Length - 4.3mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure - 1/250
Exposure program - Program AE
ISO speed - 100
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - Yes
# of brackets - 3

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Neighborhood Lightning

We're having a storm roll through right now and it is putting on a pretty good lightning show.  So, I tried to capture some of it from just outside my garage.  It's not a great shot, but this is my first.  Plus, we don't have a great horizon for something like this, but it was fun to try.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - XF 10-24mm f4 R OIS
Focal Length - 10mm
Aperture - F4
Exposure -4 sec
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - +.3 EV
Tripod - Yes
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Riding the Las Vegas Monorail

This is a shot of our friend Mike as we rode the Monorail back to our hotel.  I thought it was a good idea at the time, but where our hotel was, we had quite a long walk from the closest station.  It was probably better just to walk back without taking the monorail.

Anyway, Mike here is looking over the old golf course that used to be part of the Desert Inn casino.  Now I think it is part of the Wynn Hotel and Casino.

I like this shot because when I initially took it, a lot of what you see out the windows were rather blown out.  But, with the power of Adobe Camera Raw, I was able to bring a lot of that back and now you can really get a good idea of what we were seeing as we rode along.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
Focal Length - 12mm
Aperture - f4.0
Exposure - 1/180
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Green Sand Beach Pano

We're gonna go back to Hawaii for this shot, specifically from the "Big Island". This is a panorama of what's known as Papakolea and affectionately as the "Green Sand Beach".  It's only one of about 2 green sand beaches in the world.  You can kind of see where the brown sand ends and the green sand begins as you get closer to the water.  According to greensandbeachhawaii.com, "the green sand gets it’s color from olivine crystals created from eruptions to a dormant volcano years ago. Nestled in Mahana Bay, this is truly a unique place and one of only two green sand beaches in the world."

It was quite an adventure getting there.  This beach is pretty far away from any towns or villages for Hawaii standards.  It's located at almost the very southern tip of the island.  So you have to drive for a little while and when you get about 2.5 to 3 miles away, the road pretty much ends.  Then you can either walk, 4-wheel, or you can hitch a ride for about $20/person in an open-air beater of a Mazda pickup truck for a 4-wheel ride that will clog your nose and other portions of your body with dust. There are other vehicles there to take you out as well, but they are all in a similarly worn-out shape and all covered with dust.  We just happened to get the Mazda. :-) The people who run this little business are an Hawaiian family and it seems they do pretty well, at least during tourist season.  You can also drive out there yourself, but it can be pretty treacherous if you aren't used to 4-wheeling.  Needless to say, we made it out there and back, but not without fear of falling out of the truck a few times.  We never did, but it seems like we came close a lot!

The beach itself was incredible!  There's nothing quite like it!  I mean, how often would you see green sand? It has the potential for privacy because it is a cove, but yet it is very public because people want to see the green sand.  Seriously, if you had the means, why not see it? But, it's kind of far away from everything that one can't spend too much time there because it's just not feasible.  For that reason, we didn't stay too long after we got there. It was rather windy plus we didn't really bring any beach stuff with us.  We're certainly happy we did it, though!  To conclude, it's worth seeing, but if you decide to see it yourself, don't plan on spending a whole day there if you want to explore other things during the same day.  Keep in mind, we are adventurous, but not THAT adventorous, so your mileage may vary. ;-)

I made this shot using my panorama technique.  Well it isn't all mine, but it's what I do and the camera I had did not have a panorama function in it anyway.  As a matter of fact, I don't like most cameras' way of doing panoramas.  They all seem to do it in landscape orientation, whereas I like to do them in portrait.  I think you get more in the shot that way.  They only thing that I know of that does panos in portrait orientation is my iPhone!

Oh, and one thing about doing panos that I didn't mention is, if your camera has manual mode, use that.  First take a good test shot of what you want in the center of your pano using Program or Aperture Priority, note the aperture and shutter settings and then switch to manual and put those settings in.  Then flip to portrait orientation, take the shots ensuring you have at least 1/3 overlap between shots and then process those accordingly in either Photoshop or whatever you use to stitch the resulting images.  That seems to work best for me.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5 - 5.6 VR
Focal Length -28mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure -1/1000
Exposure program - Manual
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's National Donut Day!

Today is National Donut Day!  Otherwise known as National Fat Pill Day! ;-) Woohoo!  Thanks to Eileen for letting me know!  To commemorate the day, here's a shot of the Round Rock Donuts store in Round Rock, TX.  They make the best glazed donuts..  They have like an orangey citrus glaze on them!  Man, they're good!

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR
Focal Length - 16mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure - 1.6 secs
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0EV
Tripod -Yes
HDR - Yes
# of brackets - 7, spaced 1 EV apart from -3 to +3

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fountains of Caesars Palace

Here is the entrance to Caesars Palace.  It has the world-famous fountains in front as you can see and they were made famous by various individuals riding on various vehicles - mainly motorcycles - and jumping over them successfully and unsuccessfully.  I've added a video below the picture showing the three main motorcycle jumps over the fountains, two of them made by people with the last name of Knievel and one by the last name of Wells.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS
Focal Length - 23mm
Aperture - F3.2
Exposure - 1/80
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 2500
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA



Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Mirage

As we walked the strip, a crowd gathered in front of the Mirage to watch its volcano erupt. It's always a fun little thing to do. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the strip when it began, but we still had a pretty good view.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
Focal Length - 14.5mm
Aperture - f4
Exposure - 1/80
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 2500
Exposure bias - 0EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

Disqus for Evan's Expo