ISO 200 18mm f/11 1/25sec
I definitely have a weakness for rundown barns, that and a huge weakness for light houses. Anytime I see a beat up discarded barn I get the sudden urge to pull over and jump out to shoot it. And thats exactly what I did with this one! I could just see the peak of the roof over the hill next to the road, but it was enough to peak my interest (get it.. because the peak of the roo… nevermind). So I threw the car in park, grabbed my ready to go camera and dashed up the hill. As soon as I hit the top I was just about knocked off my feet by a most fowl smell. It was difficult to place at first smelling like sour horse manure, but I managed to keep trekking forward off of pure excitement. It wasn’t until almost slipping on a rotten onion that I realized where the smell was coming from. I looked around the ground and realized I was standing in what I would probably say was the biggest rotten onion field this side of the mississippi (which is the only state I still spell out in my head when writing, not because Im afraid of spelling it wrong, but because as a kid we used to run around the playground chanting the letters like it was some sort of group spelling bee). With the constant change of weather out here it has left our fields quit muddy, so walking around this shack was harder then trying to walk across an ice rink wearing glass slippers, not that I’ve ever done it, but I figure it must be difficult. It was a continual battle between trying not to slip in the mud and or step on the squishy rotten onion land mines that were dispersed throughout the terrain.
I liked this particular shot the most, however this shot I also slipped when taking so the highlight exposure for the hdr was a tad off. Luckily the latest Photomatix Pro is great at reducing most of the ghosting when tone mapping the HDR images. In fact besides adjustments made in Lightroom 3 giving it my signature slightly desaturated look I’ve been loving in my hdr lately, I haven’t made any other adjustments.
Im typically more partial to red barns specifically, but this green really spoke to me! It worked so well with the muted tones of the rest of the field and wasn’t the typical bold barn Im used to seeing. It was well worth putting up with the smell and struggles against the mud. I’ve probably been its only visitor since the final days of onion season last year and more then likely it will stay that way until the soil is ready for next season. Because of that I feel privileged to have run across such an unattended beauty. One of the few that get to witness what it has to offer. The good ol’ onion patch barn.
I am continued to be impressed by the Kelby Media Group. In my previous experience with winning anything its taken months to get to me and it hardly lives up to what the prize bearer makes it out to be. These on the other hand arrived just 3 short business days after winning! They were accompanied by a personalized thank you/ congratulations letter as well! Now thats customer service!! I cant wait to dive into these plug-ins and see what kind of magic they will create! Stay tuned for updates and reviews on these three as well as other excitement I have for my new friends over at Kelby Media!
ISO 1600 55mm f/9 1/1000sec
One of my biggest inspirations when it comes to street photography is by far Jay Maisel. I could browse through his work for days with complete amazement. He just recently turned 80 years old and it shows, not in his physical ability, appearance or mannerisms, but in his wealth of knowledge and skill! He’s famously known now days for his beautiful photography of the streets of New York. He goes for a “photo walk” every single day and exercises his “photography muscle” as he so elegantly describes it. He’s also known for shooting pretty much everything at ISO 1600 giving him a very distinctive feel to his stunning photography.
I have learned so much from studying the work and watching many interviews with this extraordinary photographic master. So I decided to give a go at running about town at ISO 1600, and I must say the noise that you get at this ISO speed gives a very stylized effect which I like in some instances such as this photo, and have yet to acquire the taste of in others. It adds a bit of extra grit to the already gritty scenery downtown and can lead to some pleasing results. And I cant argue with the forgiving shutter speeds it lends in taking crisp shots in busy downtown. I think often as photogs we tend to get to worked up on image quality and trying to shoot at the lowest possible settings that we forget to just play, and experiment. Its great to see a true expert ignore the rules and CREATE his own masterpieces rather than worry about the settings.
I am truly happy I gave this a shot as it has pushed me outside my comfort zone of having to have as sharp or smooth of images as possible. It brings to the table the flexibility of creativity. Though I may not shoot like this all the time like Jay, it is definitely in my “camera bag” of tricks, and I look forward to pulling it out when the time calls… and maybe even when the time doesn’t call for.
Thanks Jay Maisel!
ISO 64 4.28mm f/2.4 1/20sec
I love when things make me stop and think “Thats interesting”! For whatever reason this was one of those things. I happened to look up at the store we were at and this made me pause and gander for a few moments. The crazy thing was I looked at it as if it were black and white already. I find that the more I develop my photog eye the more I seem to separate scenes in my head. I will not only see in color but strip the color away and leave its bare essentials all in my mind before even taking the camera out. Its exciting! Already this year I can feel my photography improving and were just now nearing the end of the first month.
I love this scene, simple yet complex! Its quit busy, yet everything seems to have its place. The lines are simple with various angles, parallel and perpendicular threads of interesting cables and soft circular curves. I cant help but scan the whole scene to see what little bits of fascination I can absorb.
ISO 100 25mm f/9 1/60sec
Im writing this description a day late because yesterday was focused on my wonderful (now) 2 year old niece, who was having her candy land themed birthday party. Because of this my focus was on her and taking photos of her party so I didn’t take my usual photo walk. However that left plenty of opportunity to share another photo from Fridays findings. Often times when Im out running errands I like to force myself to explore the various routes of getting to where Im going. Theres something invigorating in exploring the different scenery available on the way to work, the market or anywhere else you may be going. And if time permits, Im not afraid to get lost and explore even more.
Thats exactly what happened on friday with this photo. I was out running an errand and turned down a wrong street. I realized my mistake shortly after but decided to venture on forward to see where this unfamiliar path would lead. I was excited to find these railroad cars down this road in an industrial parkway. I fell in love with the industrial yet clean feel and decided to shoot a few exposures for an HDR version of the scene. Continue reading
ISO 400 21mm f/11 1/125sec
I had the pleasure of running across this beautiful Chevy Impala earlier today as I was out running errands and shooting around town. I cant help but to fall in love with rusty old vehicles like this. In fact I probably find more interest in this decayed beat up Impala than I would in a fully restored garage queen (and trust me you don’t typically hear that from a car guy like myself). But theres just so much character to a car like this, you know its had its good ol’ days! The rust adds a distinguished unashamed ambiance to this once so popular vehicle. Sure its rough around the edges but it still stands with tall with confidence ready to take on a new challenge to add to the many adventures it holds in its past. They say “If only cars could talk… the stories they would tell”, well this old classic is sharing a “thousand words” worth of stories right here, and oh what exciting stories they are. Each knick, ding, scratch, scuff and divot is a separate tale engulfed with emotion and even bits of pain. This is evident in the rust trails on the fender from what seems to be tears shed of both Joy and Pain, as its moved through this world treasured by some, and discarded by others. But don’t worry Ol’ Rusty, even though your imperfect, thats perfectly fine with me!
So I woke up this morning with an exciting email in my inbox informing me i had WON the weekly drawing on NAPP and Kelby Trainings weekly photoshop show Photoshop User TV with the hosts “The Photoshop Guys”!! So Awesome!! I watch the show every week and even without winning anything I have been a raving fan, not just of this show but of all Scott Kelby’s weekly podcast shows and the Kelby Training program! But before going into all that I should share the excitement of what I won Continue reading
ISO200 75mm f/7.1 1/25sec
I love the quiet feel of this scene, its like a taste of relaxation amongst the bold busy ingredients of the rest of Downtown. Its actually quit contrasting to the busy street it is nestled into. This small restaurant sits on the corner of a building I’ve shot just about every time I’ve been downtown shooting. The building has a certain character to it that I have not done any justice with my photos, butt I will continue to fight with it until it opens up to me. However every time in shooting I’ve always focused on the detailed lining of the rounded roof and have constantly overlooked this beautiful scene beneath. I have touched on this subject in the past, yet still find it amazing that we can be so focused on something that we miss the beauty thats just a few feet in a different direction. And yes even I unfortunately fall into this pitfall at times, but its refreshing to catch myself in the act as it brings me back to reality.
Overall I just find comfort in this scene, with the warm tones and gentle structure. I probably should have bumped the ISO up a being in the shadows, but I still enjoy the resulting image. Even the soft edges from hand holding at this low of a shutter speed adds to the general comfort of the photo in my opinion. I do plan on getting back to enjoy the food and wines they have to offer, in hopes the building will warm up to me and allow me a nice shot of its other beauties.
Two simple statements… Live Life.. and Love Life.
I will be divulging my passion for these words in an upcoming post. But first I want to hear what power and emotion you may put behind these words.
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts however brief or in depth they may be. Im curious and excited to hear what you have to say!!
ISO 200 55mm f/7.1 1/60sec
Our crazy weather is back on to melting the snow once more, and its actually quit interesting that with everything covered in a white blanket the last week, the absence of snow has re-heightened my vision of interest around me. As if I had a brief vacation from the normal world and was returning to experience it once again. Adding highlights to the scenes around us the gentle lines of remaining snow reminds us not to forget what season we are in. These quick shifts in weather provide opening for gratitude and appreciation of what we encounter on a day to day basis, whether it be a beautiful winter wonder scene or the often overlooked “works of art” that lies in everyday places the contrasting elements add more dimension to our lives.
Among other things, Im a sucker for simplicity, geometric shapes and architecture and when they come together I get really really excited! I absolutely love everything in this scene! I love the two brief highlights of snow, the simple rectangles, triangles and the circle especially. On top of that the cropping of the scene leaves the sky in the same diagonally cut rectangle shape as the different cinder blocks that make up the top portion of the wall. The texture of the cement helps break it free from the overcast sky, and the inside roofing of the building just about looks like it doesn’t belong. In my mind I picture a parallel world through the hole and cant help but to want to peak through. And of course I love the blue within the ring of the circle, probably one of my all time fav shades of blue. Its such a simple scene yet it holds so much detail and has quit the story to tell. At least thats my thought
ISO 100 50mm f/1.8 1.6 sec
With Valentines day around the corner the stores are filled with all sorts of lubby dubby nic-nacs and candies, leaving all sorts of room for creativity. I decided to keep experimenting with the ol 50 prime and my custom heart shaped bokeh cover. The results were actually really pleasing, and different then I had first imagined. I started with a sheet of black poster board 10 tea light candles and three heart chocolates. Originally I had the light from the candles illuminating the chocolates, and it quickly evolved from there.
It was a race against the quick burning candles as I had all these sporadic ideas for lighting. First I ran upstairs to get some maglite flashlights to spot light the candies, which actually gave a nice dramatic effect, but was still a bit dark for what I was looking for. So I then ran and got a desk lamp to throw a wider area of light over the candies, which evolved into making a quick light snoot out of post-it notes in the shape of a heart to get this nice heart shaped spotlight effect. The bokeh cover gave me a much different look then I had originally planned but I like the way it turned out. Instead of turning the candle lights into hearts it added the multi color heart glares to the front of the scene, mimicking the double heart design of the candies themselves. The poster paper added a nice texture giving it almost a nice granite countertop look, adding an extra bit of elegant ambiance to this romantic scene.
I took some shots of a bit of the setup after it was through, and may start a behind the scenes section to give you guys a bit of a look at how I set up my shoots. Let me know if thats something you would be interested in seeing.
Ill leave you with this. A candle loses nothing when lighting another candle, yet the beam from the two produces an exciting new illumination. The same is true that hearts feel no loss when spreading love unto another, and together our love can light even the darkest parts of the world.
ISO 1600 50mm f/2.0 1/8sec
Tonight I decided to play around with this Canon EF 50mm 1.8 prime lens Im borrowing, and so far I find it a bit quirky. I think it may be just this lens, because I’ve heard some excellent reviews and heard of some amazing results, but every time I try shooting with it, it is extremely inconsistent (which was the same complaint the owner of the lens had as well). The exposure levels are all over the board, I could be shooting the exact same scene, same settings and all and it will be a stop or more under-exposed versus the last shot. Its almost like its self bracketing. So far I would almost just assume shoot with my 18-55 and not have to deal with the hassel. But then again all of this could just be my lack of experience with it, and I do plan on taking it out more to see if I can get it figured out. Its a good lens and it has its purpose, and I do love the fact that it makes you think about your shots more, but sometimes I just think this particular one is a bit quirky haha.