Monthly Archives: February 2010

Spring Cathedral


Blog_20100227_1As I probably said last year, spring is one of those great times for photography: a lot of color, subjects everywhere and it is spring! Here are a couple of images trying to capture the excitement and beauty of spring.





A couple of suggestions:

  1. Use a polarizer to saturate the color.
  2. Shoot just after rain or when things are wet to bring out the color even more.
  3. Diffused light from a cloud cover is often best – but not always (you might want blue skies).
  4. Experiment and have fun.

You may have noticed these are similar to my fall color suggestions.



Blog images:

1) Mirrored image with a bit of Nik Glamour Glow. Nice surprise cross in the image.

2) 9 exposures pivoting the camera slightly on a point on the tree trunk.

3) Just a straight shot. My favorite of the set.

4) 9 exposures moving the camera up and down slightly between exposures.

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Nike Clouds

Blog_20100221_1 While out camping and relaxing this past sunny weekend I noticed some unique clouds overhead. I don’t what type they are, but there was a grouping of clouds that all looked like Nike swooshes. I do live in Nike country so maybe this is some great marketing deal between Nike and the cloud people 😉

Take time to look up, who knows what you will see!

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Anticipation – The How…


Drum roll please;-) I will now reveal the secret sauce behind the “In Anticipation…” images. Just kidding…hopefully you had some fun trying to figure out what was going on.

The studio lighting and setup is as shown in the figure below:

Studio flower shoot

Images “Anticipation of Spring”:

Blog_20100215_1 1) Two images overlaid. First image shot with a piece of textured glass between the camera and all of the flowers. The shutter speed was 1/4sec so the glass could be moved vertically while the shuttBlog_20100215_3er was open. Second image shot without the glass. The two images were merged into one using the in camera overlay function – being careful to keep the stamen of the front flower strong enough to serve as a focal point. Blog_20100215_2

2) Single image with glass between first tulip and the two other tulips. Glass moved during the exposure in an obtuse angle.

3) Two images overlaid.Blog_20100215_5 First image shot with glass between the first tulip and all the others. The glass was moved in a small circular pattern in this case. The second image was shot without the glass, defocused and expoBlog_20100215_4sed +1-2 EV. The two  images were then merged with the in camera overlay function.

4) Two images overlaid. First image shot straight, no glass, etc. Second image defocused and overexposed +1-2 EV. Merged in camera again.

5) Just a simple, single swipe at 1/4 sec.


Images “More Anticipation”

Blog_20100216_6 1) Two images overlaid. First images shot straight, no glass, etc. Second image defocused and overexposed +1-2 EV. Merged in camera again.

2) Same as #2 above.

Blog_20100216_3 3) Two images overlaid. First image shot with front flower in focus and background flower out of focus. Second images shot with the background flower in focus and foreground flower out of  focus –Blog_20100216_4 f3 used for both. The two images were then merged with the in camera overlay function.

4) Simple 9 shot multiple exposure of a tulip while panning to the right.

5) Single shot of three tulips shot through a stationary piece of texture glass (like you see on a shower door).



Blog_20100216_5 Blog_20100216_1

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Spring is Here!


Just a quick blog entry to say spring is here. I have been keeping busy, but I will add an entry soon that describes how the previous blog images were created. I will tell you that the last image in “More Anticipation” is a big clue and the camera was only moved in one image – the last one in the “In Anticipation of Spring” set.

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More Anticipation

Blog_20100216_6 I haven’t seen any guesses or inquiries as to how these were made so I thought I would share a few more images shot with the same set of tulips and props.



Doing this set of images was for me an exercise in creativity. I was really in the midst of one of those “I don’t feel inspired” times. So per past experience and the recommendation of a friend I did this shoot with not expectations. As you can see it went well and I found some inspiration. This also helped me in my thought process about  “What I really love shoot?”



As with the previous images, no paint programs, etc were used. Just in camera techniques with props.

Any questions?

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In Anticipation of Spring

Blog_20100215_1 While I was waiting for the rain to stop yesterday, I decided to do an indoor shoot of some tulips – ones that I bought for my wife earlier in the week. While you might think I used all kinds of software for these special effects, these were all created in camera using technique and props. The only Photoshop usage was for the usual tonal/contrast adjustments, touch up (dust), etc. No paint programs, Topaz, Photomatix, etc.Blog_20100215_3Part of my purpose in creating these images was to encourage those of you who may not have the latest greatest photo processing software. Don’t say “someday when I have such and such”, but use your imagination today and the tools you have. Blog_20100215_2Now I am going to do something different here and let you use your imagination to guess what techniques I applied to create these images. Submit your ideas using the blog comment feature. I will tell all in a few days. Blog_20100215_5


Hint: Some images did take advantage of the in camera overlay capabilities of my Nikon D300 (a D80 can do this as well). But if your camera can’t do that you can use layers in a low cost program like Photoshop Elements.

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Night Lights


As I continue to write in my blog, you can find images any where. In this case I was sitting in a parking lot getting a quick bite to eat after work before heading to another engagement. As night came on I first noticed how the texture in pine tree bark outside my windshield was being highlighted by oblique lighting. After shooting bark for a while I started playing with pans and swipes of the bare deciduous trees.

On a separate night in the parking lot waiting for a movie with my wife we both noticed how the trees were illuminated  in the fog by the parking lot lamps. In addition, a full moon was shining through the fog (but no detail).  This is the lead blog image.

So when the day is done, get out that camera and have some fun.



About the  images: all these images required relatively long exposures (1 to 15 seconds at ISO 800) and were shot on a tripod as required (not for swipes). The unique colorations are due to the different light sources (I only partially adjusted the white balance). The camera’s noise reduction for long exposures was also turned on.

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Working It in HDR – The Truck

Blog_20100207_1-2 Well I finally got out to do a little shooting this past weekend. The main subject I came across was an old dilapidated truck. Great subject for some nitty-gritty HDR images. While there were other vehicles, I choose to really work this vehicle. I have included three of the images here in the blog. As usual these have all been processed in Photomatix (grunge look) and processed further in Photoshop using Nik Software pluggins. The top blog image is a bit different in that it is composed of a multiply blend of a high structure BW image (ala SilvreEfx Pro) and the color image – gives it a real gritty look. Also note that I chose to break a rule and let the horizon line in the background be tilted. Keeping the background out of focus made this less of an issue so I could add the dynamic tilt to the truck.

Which one do you like best?



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Know Your Camera Repair Person

Blog_20091010_1 You may look at the title and wonder if you are on the right photography blog, but you are. This blog is more on the business/relationship side of photography than the art side. Sooner or later if you are out shooting a lot you will have an “accident”. They hit when you least expect it. For example, last year I was done with a shoot one day walking on the shoulder of the road back to my vehicle and suddenly my feet started slipping on some loose gravel and down I went, camera, lens and tripod. While the tripod and camera got a couple scratches the lens took the brunt of it (and so did I). You get a wonderful sinking feeling about how much this is going to cost (after you get past the shock and pain). Time to visit the camera repair person.

This brings me to the title subject. Over the years I have been fortunate to find a good local camera repair shop. I have had them clean sensors, repair lenses and cameras, etc. They have always done good work, given me the repair options vs. cost and guaranteed their work for 1 year. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized one of their greatest values.

When picking up a lens from an inspection yesterday I had the opportunity to just talk and ask questions of the owner who had inspected the lens. The more I talked with him the more I began to realize the wealth of knowledge and skills he possessed after a couple of decades in his business. He knew details about lots of lens, compatibility issues, which were best, how they might fail and what it would cost – just good practical knowledge that  I usually look up on the internet. The big difference was that I could ask follow-up questions, get opinions on tradeoffs, etc. I also found out he offered services that I never even thought of but could have used (and will use).

In this age of the internet, it can be easy to overlook the wealth of knowledge and skills that might be next door. So take the time to talk with your local camera shop or repair shop owner. You might be surprised what you can find out.

If you don’t have a local repair shop let me recommend Advance Camera Repair, they do great work for reasonable cost and the service photographers all other the US.

Blog image: Just thought I would throw in another train image that I am submitting for a calendar. HDR double processed with the headlamp turned on courtesy of Nik Viveza.

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Birds in Motion


I haven’t been able to get out and shoot lately so I decided I would share a couple images from another body of work I have been working on and will continue with in the coming year. They are a series of early morning light images of birds and water fowl in motion. They have been captured at relatively low shutter speeds (1/8 to 1/4 sec) and in some cases I have used an on camera flash set to rear curtain mode at full power. What does that mean? It means that flash doesn’t fire until the end of the time the shutter is open. This combined with loose panning creates a very interesting effect as you can see in the first blog image. Simple soft backgrounds are another common characteristic of these images. Note that it does need to be pre-sunrise light in order to shot at the slow shutter speeds and have any impact with a flash. Hope you like them.



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