Nov 152010

Here’s another shot from my trip to the cemetery a few weeks back. It’s HDR and I really like the sky, but I’m just not happy with the statue. It’s the subject, but it’s the darkest thing in the picture. Unfortunately, it’s just really dark with age. Even the overexposed frame of the HDR sequence is far from bright. Anyway, I’m tired of fooling with it and I like the sky so I figured I’d post it.

I need to get out and do some more shooting, but I’m drawing a blank on where to go or what type of stuff to shoot. Hmmm….

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Aug 032010

I thought I was done shooting for the day (last Sunday) when I went to pick Mary up from the veterinary hospital at UT. However, as I was waiting for her to get her things together, I went wandering around the publicly accessible areas and stumbled on this hallway with two open doors.

Click for a larger view

This is an HDR image that I intentionally over processed to get some halo effects. To me, the halos and the black and white image combine to make the hallway look a little creepy; like an image you remember from a nightmare. I can only speak for myself, but there’s always been something about long hallways that just compels me to look all the way down them to see what’s at the other end. In this case, the curiosity about the hallway is added to by the fact there is another set of doors which means it goes on even further back.

Aug 022010

The Rock at UT

(Click to see full size)

As I mentioned yesterday, when I went out on my Just Shoot Something assignment, I parked near The Rock on UT’s campus. Having never gone to UT myself, I don’t really know the full story about it. Below is what the UT website has to say.

The Rock
Unearthed in the 1960s, the Rock probably soon thereafter became a “canvas” for student messages. For years the university sandblasted away the messages but eventually deferred to students’ artistic endeavors. The Daily Beacon has editorialized: “Originally a smaller rock, The Rock has grown in prestige and size while thousands of coats of paint have been thrown on its jagged face. Really, its function is as an open forum for students.”

This is an HDR image that I purposely over processed to get just a touch of that grunge look. It seemed rather appropriate given the subject matter. Now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t find this image all that compelling. I wish I could have captured someone actually painting on it but since I was there during the summer session and on a very hot and humid day, I was out of luck. I also didn’t spend time trying out other angles because after setting up and taking a few shots, I was ready to get out of the sun. Still, I like how you can make out the texture of the rock underneath the countless layers of paint. Once the students start returning for the fall semester, I might see if I can catch a more interesting scene.

Speaking of returning students, I’m also considering heading back to UT on the day they let the students move into the dorms. Last year, it was a mad house getting Mary moved in. This year, she’s moving into an apartment on campus the day before the dorms open. Depending on how hot it is and some other logistical considerations, I’m thinking about heading down there and doing some street photography of the move-in madness.

Aug 012010

I finally made some time to go out shooting today. I can’t say I spent a great deal of time at it, but I didn’t come back empty-handed so I guess that’s something. I’ve been both busy and, to be honest, not feeling the creative juices flowing the last few days. I knew I had to do something to get past the creative block. I left home about an hour earlier than I normally would to pick Mary up from work and found a place to park on UT’s campus. It happened to be near The Rock so that was my first photo. (For those that don’t know what The Rock is, I’ll explain it as best I can when I post the final image – probably tomorrow.)

As for today, the image below was taken across the street from The Rock. It was part of a huge bush growing between the sidewalk and a building. This one particular branch had really taken off and grown out and over the sidewalk. I tried setting up my tripod underneath it but it was just too hard to try different angles on the tripod with the camera pointing almost straight up. I had to handhold it to shoot the 3 shots needed for the HDR sequence. Fortunately, it was  a bright day and I wanted a fairly shallow depth of field so the apeture was wide open enough to keep me a couple of stops under max shutter speed for an average exposure. I put the camera on high-speed continuous shooting and had my 3 exposures in under a second. There was barely any noticeable shift between the images and Photomatix kept the ghosting to a minimum around the flower. There was some ghosting around the leaves, but I selectively blurred the entire branch to keep the focus on the flowers.

This is definitely my favorite of the shots I came away with today. I think the main reason I like it is because it’s simple and busy at the same time. It’s simple in that it’s just a single branch with flowers on the end against the sky. But the flowers are in a bunch so there’s lots to look at there and the branch is full of leaves and the remnants of flowers that were blooming when they were at the end of the branch. And the clouds aren’t just blobs of white; there’s texture and form there even though they are not perfectly in focus. I will say that the full size image shows the complexity better than this version since I had to scale it down to fit on the page.

Well, that’s it for tonight. The good news is that I’ve got 3 other images to post so I should be good to go for a few days with blog material.

 Posted by at 8:54 pm
Jul 262010

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to talk about a couple of the shots I took on the Worldwide Photowalk that just didn’t quite do it for me when I got them into Lightroom. Hopefully, going through the exercise of analyzing these photos for why they didn’t work will help me the next time I’m out shooting.

Here’s the first one.

This is a shot of The Tomato Head restaurant in Market Square. Every time I’ve come here to eat, it’s been packed. It’s a very popular place and the food is excellent! Anyway, when I was standing out on the square early on Saturday morning, I was struck by the fact that it was one of the few times I’d ever seen the place when it wasn’t full of people. I also thought it interesting that even when it was closed, there were still bikes parked there. I presumed they belonged to employees that were already inside cooking up stuff to serve later in the day. I put a polarizer on my lens to cut the reflections on the windows and setup my tripod so I could get the entire restaurant in frame with a moderately wide angle. I shot two or three HDR sequences so I could capture the inside of the restaurant as well as the outside. Technically I’m reasonably satisfied with this frame (though I probably would have played with the crop a little if it was a keeper), but the picture doesn’t really communicate what prompted me to take out my camera. Still, this could be a good spot to come back too in the early evening when there are people sitting at the tables. I would probably raise my vantage point, though, so I could shoot over any parked bikes.

It wouldn’t be much of a farmers market if there wasn’t produce being sold. I’m standing at the end of a rather long table full of different varieties of tomatoes. The signs caught my eye as well as the contrast between the yellow bins and the red tomatoes. I took different shots at slightly different angles and alternated focusing on either the closest sign or the ‘Ultra Sweet’ sign on the right side of the frame. Unfortunately, in all of the shots, I found the background too distracting; especially the words on the banner which in most cases are just out of focus enough to be unreadable but in focus enough to make you want to try to read them. I’m also thinking that I should have probably been higher up and pointing the camera back down to see more of the tomatoes in the bins.