Archive for the ‘Atlanta’ Category

Piedmont Park shot from bygone days

Andrew and I found this picture while looking back through some of the pictures we’ve taken and I honestly have no idea why I didn’t post it then. Probably we all had great shots from that day (I mean, look at those clouds), and so I worked on something else. Anyways, I reprocessed it to see what I could make of it. Enjoy!

The lake has a great view of the downtown skyline, and we were lucky enough to have beautiful clouds in the sky to complement the view.



Tribute to A-Town

Well I’m almost set to head down to New Zealand for a semester abroad! Amidst the packing and preparations I’ve realized that between school in California and only a handful of brief visits home, I haven’t really done much in terms of shooting in Atlanta. So, this week I went out and did my best to put together some material that would stand as THE Atlanta shot or shots when I think of work from home. The result is a 2-for-1 post!

The first image is a bit cliche with the long-exposure highway blur but the more I thought about it the more I realized “I’ve never actually done one of those before…” This image is also available in the Desktops section of our site if you feel so inclined.

The fast moving red blurs on the right side of the southbound lanes quickly becoming individually discernible cars tell a pretty truthful story about Atlanta traffic on the Downtown Connector: Atlanta, GA

And the second is from about 50 stories up in an office building at sunrise. I’m looking North here, so the light from the East was just beginning to hit the right sides of these buildings. Eventually I think I want to try this building again, there may be a better place on the floor to try this from. Actually, by the time I get a chance to try this again, the sun will be rising in a slightly different place — which might turn out to be better anyways!

To address the large building dominating the left side of the frame, I actually wanted this to come off as being taken from a building, not as some helicopter aerial view. Besides, the large interesting buildings only really extend to the North from here so there isn't much to see on the other side of the foreground building anyways: Atlanta, GA

HDR Panorama!

In keeping with the idea of branching out from the norm, I’ll follow up the HDR video from Andrew with an HDR panorama. I know Giacomo recently posted a shot from this same day, but I  wanted to try my hands at processing a panorama with the added twist that each segment of it was an HDR shot and this is the only one that I’ve shot so I was stuck with it. This is the same old skyline, nothing special about the shot really, but it was one of those rare days with really dramatic skies that makes the picture worth taking, and the texture and type of clouds was so varied that it actually justified doing the whole pan! I hope to find a more suitable location soon, one that will really lend itself to something like this… if I could get closer to the city perhaps? Definitely something I am keeping in mind. This is composed of 4 separate HDR images stitched together, which really wasn’t too difficult because the lighting was fairly even and I’d zoomed in to 24mm to help minimize distortion from the 16-35mm. This is probably one that you’ll want to click through to the full-resolution image just to zoom around and see it, well, bigger!

We honestly only have a few days like this every year in Atlanta; skies like this are "just" average in places like Maine.

Dalí Till Dawn at the High Museum

Last weekend, I was asked to “provide coverage of the Dalí Till Dawn event” at the High Museum in Atlanta, where I am currently working. This turned out to be a larger task than one person could handle, as they wanted both still AND video coverage of the whole night, which went from their normal closing hour of 5pm until 5am. Luckily I didn’t have to stay till 5am, but I did enlist Andrew’s help to do video and we were there until 2am. Giacomo came as well and he hung out with us towards the end. All in all it was a good time, and the only downside is the 600+ photos and hours+ of video I have is very difficult to edit down to a 3 minute video… it is coming along, but slowly. We were even able to take the time to grab a few night-HDRs of the museum, as well as a time-lapse HDR of the festivities inside which will probably make its way up on the blog soon. I really liked the way this photo turned out, as it shows the density and length of the line, but one thing it does not convey is how cold it was. These people were waiting in line for hours and hours in below-freezing temperatures, all to see the galleries within! Things like this make me feel validated in my love of art, because the Dalí show really was one that was worth waiting in that line to see. Anyway, here is this shot of the museum entrance around midnight.

This shot was taken with Andrew's 24-105mm, which is very likely to be my next lens purchase... that range on the full-frame 5D is so perfect.

Snowmageddon 2011

So it may not be a big deal for the northern half of the country, but 6 inches of snow is bad news for Atlanta. The city has been shut down since Sunday night and the roads were largely impassable until yesterday. I saw on the news a trucker from Chicago who was stuck on the highway for 29 hours in the ice who said “Back home this wouldn’t have been such a big deal…” True. Atlanta has absolutely no infrastructure for dealing with snow and thus it has largely remained where it fell and then frozen there. Tucker, Andrew, and I finally got out yesterday when it warmed up enough for us not to die while waiting for a bracket, so we tried to shoot some pictures of the sunset from on top of a nearby parking deck.

Of course we had the eternal problem of "Oh that sunset looks beautiful, let's go take pictures," then by the time we get there it's almost gone...

Back to the Park

It’s been a while since any of us has posted content from Atlanta…maybe we’ve just gotten tired of the place.

Ha, as if. I love Atlanta, but it’s not always the best place to take pictures. However, the other day Tucker and I were driving around and commenting on how spectacular the clouds were, and within 5 minutes Andrew (who’s back in the ATL) texted us about the same ridiculous meteorology that was occurring. We decided it was time…to take some pictures. So we went back to Piedmont Park, which we somehow have not been to for shooting in literally a year. Last time we were there we had no idea how to take HDRs and looking back on our attempts I am glad how much we have learned since then. Anyways, here’s one of my favorites from the shoot there. Tucker and Andrew have other content to post but this is what I want to show off right now…

The Downtown skyline seen from one of its best angles, in my opinion

Christmas Eve Fun

There’s a house on our street that does a decent job of lighting up around this time of year and my mom had mentioned several times that we ought to go snag some pictures of it while the lights are on at night. So we went a few hours ago, deciding what better way to spend the early end of a Christmas Eve than taking pictures of holiday lights! I’m still working on a few of the ones we got but it pains me to say that in my vanity I asked to borrow her Rebel XTi and used it to shoot what ended up being my favorite images from the night… of my own camera under some of the lights. Say what you will, we had a fun time trespassing on private property and agitating the neighbors dogs just for kicks. Spending more than 5 seconds looking at this image will reveal something unusual on TAG: Nikon equipment. Gasp. Before I drove home from LA about a week ago, I had a good opportunity to pick up some old Nikon primes for video work on the 7D but I was lazy and waited a long time to order my F to EF mount adapter. That’s a 14mm f/2.8 on there, representing the widest end of our combined lenses… can’t wait to slap it on Tucker’s 5D when he gets back from HI…

Merry Christmas everyone! We're supposed to get a little snow tomorrow so here's hoping we get an excuse to add a "Snow" category on the side... Atlanta, GA

Water Life

I’ve had a few pictures floating around that I’ve been working on the flow of, and I think I’ve gotten all the ripples out. Whew, ok, d’you think I killed the water metaphor enough yet? 😉 I took the water lily picture at the Botanical Gardens, always a good source of flower photography, which although not the most original, is not overdone without cause (flowers are pretty!!! yay). The mallard came upon me as I wandered around Lullwater Park at Emory University, probably expecting bread crumbs or something. I had no such gifts to offer, which probably explains the indignant look he is giving me. Oh, and, both are single-shot HDRs. Admittedly, I exaggerate the HDR processing on single-shot HDRs, or else I don’t feel like I’m getting enough out of the picture. Too much? Either way, thanks Photomatix 4!

A water lily blooms in on of the ponds in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A Mallard glares at me after I don't give it anything to eat. He left shortly after.

More from the Gardens

While the season still lasts (which it does here in Atlanta, at least), I should probably post these Fall-themed shots I took at the Botanical Gardens. They had the trees decorated with glass fruits and a lot of glass sculptures interspersed with the actual fruits and veggies in the gardens, which was an effect I really enjoyed (especially since the glass fruits make cool pictures).

They had a huge cornucopia set up, filled with glass pumpkins and squashes. It was pretty sweet, and shiny. Which I like.

One of these apples a day would send you to the doctor extremely quickly. I don't think you'd make it past the first day, actually. But they looked nice, even if you couldn't eat them!


In the spirit of the season, here’s a 1-shot HDR from the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were all dressed up for Halloween when I went a few days ago, and yielded some cool pictures. More to follow…

A scarecrow dozes on his perch at the Botanical Gardens

Texture and More of Rick’s Creations

A while back I posted some of the HDRs that I took of designer Rick Jones’ work. Those shots were of work he had done for clients, and he is truly able to visualize exactly what should go in a space in order to make it magical and transform it into a place in which you really just want to stay. He has done the same thing with his own home, and I posted some interior shots of his bathroom and kitchen before, and as the final part to this project he has asked me to photograph his back patio, yard, and shed, along with the steps on the front of the house. I’m nowhere near done with the processing as it takes an hour or so per photo, as many of you who have tried HDR and really put your heart into it know, but here’s a shot that I really liked to the point where I finished it up first, before starting from the beginning of the shoot! There is just so much going on here, from all of the different natural textures of the trees, plants, and stones, to the shifting colors in the sky, and the great pre-sunset light setting the foliage on fire. What a fairyland!

Time stops for a bit as you enjoy life outside in Rick Jones' beautiful backyard.

Return to Freedom Parkway and a Few More Updates

I’ve taken more time to tweak the site, most noticeably changing the header image to one from Maine. I also added a “Random Posts” widget to the sidebar. Hopefully this will let people who are new to the site see some of our older work from earlier in the summer. The only bug I have seen with it so far is that for pictures that are not landscape-oriented, the thumbnails end up smushed. There is little I can do about this, as it only lets me set an exact size for thumbnails and not a more dynamic “fit within” like WordPress lets me do for the main blog. Ah well, it’s certainly better than nothing, and the majority of our pictures are landscape format anyway. Beyond that, I noticed that the very earliest posts, before we had this current domain name, all linked their images to files on a different server and thus were showing up as question marks. I’ve fixed this too, (although some of Andrew’s are still not properly linked and thus will show up as question marks on the blog and in the sidebar widget) and in doing so decided to take one of those images that wasn’t showing up, reprocess it, and repost it, seeing as how most of you haven’t seen it anyway! This is a particularly dramatic shot and because of this I purposely processed it fairly surrealistically in Photomatix. The result is contrasty, saturated, distorted, and cool. I don’t know what it is about that location, I think it is the combination of so many different great elements at once, the graffiti, the splitting roads, the path underneath, and of course, that awesome Atlanta skyline… and when you throw a good sky in there on top of it all, well. It’s fun to shoot!

Thunderhead, god-rays, graffiti, oozing grass, and distortion... what's not to like?

More Macro Experiments

While on another shoot for Rick recently, this one in Garden Hills, I came across a small object that caught me attention as I was about to pack away my gear. This glittering statuette seemed too cool and full of detail to be missed, so I grabbed a few quick shots of it with the 100mm macro as I left. and I had the idea to do two HDRs, one with the Owl in focus, and one with the background in focus, and merge them somehow. These are the preliminary shots:

The first HDR, with the focus on the owl figure.

The second one, with focus on the background.

After making those two HDRs from the two sets of 3 brackets, I took each image into Photoshop, created two layers, and began to selectively adjust opacity and erasing in areas where I wanted to get details back, namely the owl. I left the out of focus trees at about 20% opacity over the fully in focus ones, mostly because it looked “too” fake if I just had crisp focus on both parts. This way I think it looks obviously manipulated, as I like my HDRs, but not completely fake. Looking back, I wish I could have taken a third HDR with the wall behind the owl in focus. It had a great texture and would have helped make the final look a bit less weird, I think, but I dunno… this whole close-up HDR thing is new for me! Anyway, here is what I ended up with. I really like the cobwebs, and I did not notice them at all when I was shooting. I am actually kinda glad about this, as I would probably have removed them before taking the shot.

The final edit, with crisp focus on the owl and some definition in the background, but not a distracting amount.

High Dynamic Range at the High Museum of Art

See what I did there? The pun in the title? Yeah, I thought you would be laughing. umm so anyway… I’ve been wanting to get an HDR of the exterior of the High Museum, where I’ve been spending a good portion of my time lately as an intern. Unfortunately the weather has been really nice, not too hot (which is good) but no rain, so the skies have not been that interesting… I dug back to the beginning of the summer, when Giacomo and I went there for the Allure of the Automobile exhibit and remembered that I’d taken a few exterior shots as we left. I picked out a bracket and processed it today, and it came out alright. I’d love to get a stormy-dramatic one, of course, but this is a more accurate representation of the place anyway, albeit aided by a circular polarizer. Also, I’ve recently gotten an iPhone 4 and have been messing around with its HDR capabilities. I have found a few things: 1) it works great outside, and looks awful in almost any indoor environment, 2) it only takes 2 shots, one dark, and one light, and merges them, and 3) it’s not the same as doing it with a true SLR camera. The third may seem obvious, but the images that the iPhone takes with HDR on really just look “better” than the original, not “different, weird, cool, and trippy” like HDRs from Photomatix tend to, and they don’t have the characteristic “glow,” increased saturation, or increased contrast. The iPhone HDRs look like the original with maybe 1 stop more dynamic range in each direction, causing me to think of it really as EDR or Extended Dynamic Range… but still, it’s a fun thing to be able to experiment with. I plan on attempting to actually take a decent picture with it and upload it here, but I’ve just been using it to see what it’s like and haven’t shot anything worth posting. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be asked to go to the uncrating of the Jeff Koons mustache that he made specifically for the Dalí exhibit at the High, and I got to watch them take the huge cast-iron thing out of the box and set up the chains and hang it. All in all it took them almost 6 hours to do… they are very meticulous! Unfortunately, due to a bunch of different reasons that mostly involve artist rights, I can’t post any of the shots I took there, but if you’re in Atlanta the Dalí exhibit and the accompanying mustache are not to be missed.

The original building, seen here, was designed by Richard Meyer and completed in 1995. The addition, peeking out to the left, was done by Renzo Piano and completed in 2005.

Even More Atlanta Skyline

So I am suffering from “lack-of-new-material” syndrome again, which means you get to see more Atlanta skyline! In my ideal world, I’d be able to post a picture every day from a different shoot, basically exactly what Trey Ratcliff does… unfortunately I do not make a living traveling the world taking HDRs, so I must make do with what I have. Speaking of Trey Ratcliff, I have recently become a part of his spinoff-website, HDRspotting. It is, as you might guess, a community for people who like creating and looking at HDR in all forms. Members can upload one HDR a day, and editors review the submissions, essentially admitting everything, but choosing to “feature” some and even designate some as “editors picks.” If you want to see a TON of HDR (both good and bad…) check it out, its well worth browsing. The editors seem to favor church interiors, as literally ever single one that gets submitted ends up being featured, if not an editor’s choice. Maybe they are afraid of provoking divine wrath if they do not show their adoration for houses of worship….? No church interiors for me, but you can see what I have submitted here.

Anyway, these are from a few weeks ago, shot from the ever popular location of Paul’s roof. I had posted a cityline HDR taken with the 70-200mm zoom, but from a different location. Usually, HDR does not work well very low light (ie, night) like this because the long exposure ensures that most areas of the shot are exposed, but with a city there are so many different light sources that it actually works pretty well to get tone in the sky and from all of the artificial light. Using the 200mm lens allowed me to really pick a part of the skyline and, well, zoom in on it… but this can make composition hard. I prefer the 16-35 for HDRs, but occasionally, different can be fun! I’ve been seeing a lot of black and white HDRs on HDR Spotting, so I decided maybe I’d give it another shot. There are also a lot of great HDR panoramas, but I haven’t yet found the perfect scene to attempt this feat… perhaps when I am in Hawaii for Christmas break I will be lucky enough to find just the perfect place.

That odd line in the fog to the upper left was really there, it is not an artifact of the process! I was tempted to remove it but I kinda like its oddness.

The black and white version of the same image. I like this one better, it reminds me kinda of something out of Sin City.