Sunday, March 31, 2013

Awesome 6 Year Old Drummer

Hello everyone..  No photo for today, but I thought I would share a cool video I stumbled across today..  This is a 6 year old kid, yes 6, named Avery Molek playing Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" on the drums!  He tears it up!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

8th and Congress

This isn't a shot that I would normally post, but when I processed it I noticed that there was a kind of cool feature that caught my eye...  You see, I took this shot a little hastily on my way to work and as you can tell, I was kind of in the street when I shot it.  But, after I processed it, I noticed that there was this shaft of blue light coming from the top right of the shot that I thought was quite interesting.  It probably is a sign of a crappy photographer, but maybe it means something else?

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Austonian Through Construction Pergola

How about that for a title?  Well heck, I don't know what to call these construction tunnel thingys...   The Austonian is the building in the shot with the blue neon on the top.  It is a residential building and as far as I know, it's the tallest one west of the Mississippi.  I'll bet the views from there are spectacular.  Anyway, just across the street lies a huge hole in the ground where a new JW Marriott hotel is going in.  And of course, where there's construction there's these pergola tunnel things that pedestrians can walk through whilst not disturbing the delicate construction going on.  I tried to get a shot of the construction, but there just weren't any good angles.  So, I saw this and thought it might be kind of cool.  I gave it a little bit of an angle for some interest and tried to give it a gritty look through various filters in Nik Color Efex 4 and Viveza 2.  Do you like it?

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Monday, March 25, 2013

UPDATE: Nik Bundle Free!

Well, maybe not totally free.. Google bought Nik a while back and now they are doing something extraordinary! You see, if you own any one of the plugins, you are now eligible for a free copy of all of the Nik plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture!  I just received an email regarding this.  I do own a registered copy of some of their stuff, but not all. This would be fantastic if true!  According to Digital Photography Review, it is true!  I must admit, I was a bit skeptical when I received the email because it seemed too good to be true.  I didn't want to download any malware!  So, if you purchased any of their plugins within the last 5 years, you are now eligible for the whole shootin' match!  And if you don't, they dropped the price 70% to $149!  That's a heck of a deal!  I'll try it out tonight and let you know!

UPDATE (3-26-13):  Yes, it's true!  I downloaded it last night and got all of the plugins free!  Pretty awesome! Now, I'm the proud owner of Nik's DFine 2, Viveza 2, Color Efex 4, HDR Efex 2, Silver Efex 2 and Sharpener Pro 3 (at least I think it's 3).  Woohoo!! I just hope any updates that come out from now on are of the same quality that they were when not owned by Google.  We'll see! 

Are you an owner of any of these?  If so try it out for yourself and let me know!  Thanks for reading!

Click here to go to the new Nik site by Google...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Finally Back to Weird

Transition to Full Frame Complete!

I'm so jacked about having a full-frame DSLR with full-frame glass, I cannot contain myself!  I never thought I'd actually own one, ever!  But, after a few years of waiting, it finally paid off.  It's kind of like buying a luxury car, at least for us..  First you start with a "reasonably priced car" (as they would say on Top Gear) and then trade or sell for one that's a little nicer and then trade or sell that one for one a little nicer, and so on and so on.  After doing that for a few times, you can finally have the car, or in my case camera, that you want.  I started with a Nikon D90 (reasonably priced), then went to a Nikon D300s (a little nicer) and now I have a Nikon D700 (luxury - for me anyway)!  Granted, I bought it used, but it's still awesome!  Then, I sold my lenses (glass in photographer geek-speak) on ebay and used that money for new full-frame glass.  Now I'm in full-frame nirvana!  It handles noise so much better than my old cameras and it's just a better camera all around.  From the buffer size and speed to the size of the viewfinder, it's just great!  There are only a couple of things that my old cameras had that this one doesn't..  The D700 only has one memory card slot.  My D300s had a CF and an SD card slot so you could really pack in the pics.  The other thing my old cameras had that this one doesn't is a button for live view.  The D700 has live view, but it's on the select dial on the top and it's not really easy to get to.  I wish I could change one of the other buttons for this.  I know you can change the function button, but I have that set for bracketing as most of the shots I take need to be bracketed.  If only there was another button..  Oh well.  Overall I'm ecstatic!

Finally Back To Weird

Since all of my glass finally arrived, I was just itching to get out there and get some HDRs with the new camera.  So, on my way to work Friday morning, I stopped on South Congress Ave in Austin and took a few shots.  The conditions weren't the best as it was very drizzly out there, but I got several shots anyway.  This is a shot of Doc's Bar and Grill.

The last couple of weeks, Austin hosted the big South By Southwest (SXSW) music/film/tech festival.  Now that it has wrapped, I think the people at Doc's are happy.  You see Austin has this saying, "Keep Austin Weird" which is pretty much "normal" for Austinites, and I guess Doc's is happy that things are getting back to "normal".  The other side of the same sign says, "S Bye SW".  That was my other clue. :-)  To be honest, I'm glad it's over as well.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moon Over Grace Heritage Center

When walking around Georgetown, TX last December, the square was filled with people and the moon was peeking through some fast-moving clouds.  I took a few shots here and there on the square, but didn't really get any shot that I was thrilled with.  Too many people around.  I did get a shot of the courthouse decorated with Christmas lights under the moon which was OK.  But, off the beaten path of the square lied the Grace Heritage Center... an old chapel that is still in use today.  The moon aligned just right with the steeple and the lights in the tree added a nice touch. 

I created an HDR and then converted it to black and white.  I did the HDR first because I wanted to make sure that I could get lots of tones in the converted black and white.  I hope you like it!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pennybacker Bridge in Morning Fog #2

This is a shot I took at about this time last year.  It's a companion to my other Pennybacker shot, but I just never got around to processing it because I thought it was a little too similar to the other.  However, I think enough time has passed to maybe put this one out.  This one doesn't have the cedar tree in the foreground, but I like how vivid the sky is.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Black Angus

The field where I was taking my mesquite shots was quite barren - really just praire-looking.  However, right next to it was another field that didn't look so manicured and was an area where some cows were grazing.  When the cows saw me shooting, I guess they mistook me for some one who was going to feed them or something because they all made a bee-line for me after I was there for a few minutes.  This is one of those cows...

I processed this via HDR Efex...  Just tonemapped one shot and gave the old "Grannies Attic" setting with a little vignette.  Nothing else...

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Friday, March 8, 2013

More Minimalist Mesquites

Here is a companion to my black and white mesquite tree shot I posted a little while ago.  It was funny...  When I was sitting on the service road of I-35 shooting these trees, a young kid showed up shortly after I got there and started shooting as well.  He had a tripod and a pretty nice Canon point and shoot.  He asked me if the place was popular to shoot and I told him I had no idea.  He said he saw me shooting pictures and he thought he'd stop.  He added that he was trying to get that perfect shot of a lone tree in a field.  I should have gotten his name, but I didn't.  I wonder if he got the shot he was wanting?

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tetons in Black and White

OK, I think this may be the last of the Jackson Hole series for a while.  I still have some other content to process, but they are similar to this yet from different perspectives.  I think I will save those for other times so as to not get too monotonous..  Anyway, I took this shot from the vehicle we were driving in during our wildlife tour.  I think it could have a little more detail in it, but overall I don't think it turned out too badly.  And, the shot just screamed to be converted to black and white.  I'm still trying to get better at taking black and white shots, but it seems to be a genre I can't quite grasp.  Maybe I need to study that zone system thing more, but that seems a little too complicated to me...

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Monday, March 4, 2013


I took this shot of a magpie on the deck of the condo where we stayed in Teton Village.  Apparently magpies are members of the crow family and are supposedly one of the most intelligent birds there is.  Of course that's what it says on Wikipedia so take it with a grain of salt.  Anyway, these birds were all over the place.  We would put pieces of bread and such out on the deck hoping to get some good shots.  However when they landed, by the time you got the camera up for a shot, they took off.  Most of the ones I took sucked, but this was the best of the bunch, with a little help from Photoshop, of course! :-)

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Clock Tower and Walk

The tram building in Jackson hole is also known as the "Clock Tower" and is the main landmark in the village.  If you ever need to meet someone there before or after a good day of skiing, just tell 'em, "Meet you at the Clock Tower" and you'll have no problems getting together.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Inside the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

The town square of Jackson, WY is an awesome place!  There's a park in the middle where the entrances on each corner have arches made of elk antlers that you walk through.  And then all of the shops that line the square have that old 1800s look with the porches made of wooden planks and such.  You just get that old cowboy vibe when you go there.  Speaking of cowboy vibe, there's a bar on the square called "The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar" and it's a must see if you ever visit Jackson.  Inside there are a bunch of pool tables, two huge bars with saddle bar stools and lots of tables made of what I think are old cedar. I took some pics of them, but as of right now, they didn't turn out too well.  I'll try working on those more, but no guarantees.   Anyway, this shot is near the entrance. Not sure if someone really shines shoes there, but I thought it made for a cool shot.

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