Archive for the ‘Sun in frame’ Category

Summer in Maine…

…sure beats summer in Atlanta! We have settled in here, and I went out tonight for an hour or so to see what I could get. Not the best sunset ever, but theres a lot more time for that, not to mention the amount of places I want to go and shoot. We got to our plane with 6 minutes to go before the closed the gate, and all of the overhead bins were full, so we had to gate-check our carry-ons. I am SO lucky that I got the Pelican hard case when I did! They would have checked my camera gear in it’s soft case that I previously had and that would almost certainly have ended in disaster; as it was I cheerfully handed them my Pelican, knowing that they could literally drop acid on it and it would come back to me fine. After unpacking, I went into the nearby town of Damariscotta to get these two shots.

Sunset over the Damariscotta River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean, which results in churning waters during tide changes.

Same sunset, different view, this one taken from the spit of land that the Damariscotta hospital sits on.

More from Grant Park

I spent lots of time today processing more from yesterday’s shoot at Grant Park… and I’m only about halfway through! It takes me about 20-30 minutes per picture, from the initial HDR process in Photomatix to the final edits and touch-up in Photoshop, so when there are tons of images, like this, it can extend on and on… but it’s fun, and it will give me something to do on the plane to Maine tomorrow. I’m really, really pleased with how these are coming out. One thing I have noticed is that there is a huge difference between the color profiles in Photoshop on my PC and Mac, and the color on my Samsung display is way different (worse) than the LED display in my Macbook Pro. I have been doing most of my edits on my PC these days because it is quite fast, but the images, when posted, do not look as good on the site as they do in Photoshop. Ah well, I can always reprocess them later. Or I could waste time doing tons of calibration and creating custom color profiles but… I am lazy 🙂

The small, ugly playground that the city wisely decided to put on the canon mounds. Notice the skyline peaking through the trees!

Closeup of the plaque on the entrance columns, with the requisite sunburst.

A pretty pond and fountain, marred by the sewer drain... those clouds are the storm that hit moments later.

Grant Park Conservancy

Well, I got my wish regarding storminess and cloudiness and general light awesomeness. Rick Jones, a friend and talented architect, asked me to come take some shots of some areas in Grant Park that he has both worked on and is looking to improve upon. I showed up at 7:30, right as the light was getting great and shot for 2 hours, really getting a feel for the place. These, the longest days of the year, never cease to amaze me; it was 9:00 and we still had great light! The sun finally set around 9:45 and we had to call it quits. The storms of yesterday carried over to today in the form of, yes, awesome clouds. I shot tons and tons there, and have only processed a small amount, and only explored a tiny amount of the Civil War site…. but that just means there’s a lot more HDR to do! And that’s never a bad thing.

I am standing on a Civil War mound that soldiers used to support a canon.

Some of the work Rick has done, in a newer area of the park.

One of the entrances to the park, which needs work. Gotta love the sunburst 🙂

Embarrassment/Malibu #1

So I went to Disneyland on Sunday in high hopes of getting plenty of stuff to keep me busy for weeks to come. I got to the front gate with camera in hand and noticed it felt a little light. The battery was of course still charging on the wall at home… What did I learn? Move “batteries” farther up the list of things to do. In the meantime, I will be retouching some old favorites that haven’t yet made it to the site yet. This is Malibu #1, taken in mid-January earlier this year. We had dinner at Gladstone’s last night, an excellent restaurant right up the beach from here, so I figured I should retouch this one and get it on the site. One interesting thing that I guess I knew but never took the time to think about was how the sun changes position in the sky depending on what season it is. Back in January the sun set well out into the ocean but last night it set well behind the land that makes up the unique coastline. More on that in Malibu #2.

In all honesty, it really can't get too much better than this: Malibu CA

Around an Ancient and Beautiful Siena

Well. Finally got around it and took a day to go and shoot some pictures around this wonderful city of Siena. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I got asked more than a couple times to take pictures by various couples between time spent lying o

n the ground with my little tripod trying to set up some brackets of the many beautiful things around the city. One particular guy who asked me for a picture had a 30D with the 24-70mm f/2.8L on it (which I commented on, leading to an impromptu discussion of the pros and cons of crop factor bodies, and the wonderful 16-35mm f/2.8L, whose awesomeness I know all too well). Anyways, I ended up with some great shots, but have not had nearly enough time to process all of them. Here’s a few.

One of the many vicoli (small tunnel-like roads) in Siena

Speaking of the 16-35mm f/2.8L, I wish I could have used it to get just a little wider for this picture

Pictures on Piazza

I rarely had opportunities to really set down my tripod and get some brackets in Rome, but the other day I was at the Piazza di Spagna and finally had some time to get out my tripod and shoot some solid brackets. I did some 5 step brackets then (including the unsuccessful set of the clouds from the other day) and in processing these and others I was amazed at how spectacularly marble glows. The picture of the sun was not a 5 step bracket, and although the church is, I am unsure how much the extra stops helped. The sky turned out poorly as usual which forced me to spend hours in Photoshop bringing it back. The sun over the apartments was truly spectacular and I was glad that these brackets helped capture what I saw.

The sun peeks over some apartments at Piazza di Spagna

Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish steps above the Piazza di Spagna

The Beltline – A New Perspective on Atlanta

The Beltline project is a (very) long term conversion of the many railroads that go through the city into public transportation, including light rail and bike trails. The rail systems were what the city was original known for, and helped make the city flourish more than a century ago. One of the major things this city currently lacks is good public transportation, especially compared to cities like Boston and NYC. You really need to have a car in the ATL. The Beltline could change all of that, and will, once they get the money… who knows when that will be. Anyway, it was recommended to me as a way to see many new perspectives on the city as it passes under and across many bridges that you otherwise would not have had access to. I happen to love photographing these areas as they usually contain interesting graffiti and generally good subjects. We’ve had a bout of bad weather here, but it has resulted in some awesome clouds over the past few days so in between the rains Paul and I went out shooting and this was one of the places that we stopped. I spent the morning at a Cistercian monastery in Conyers, GA and got some fun stuff there too (they have a banzai farm…?) and will be posting those shots as I process them but, it seems, just as I was complaining about a lack of new HDRs to play with I am inundated with them. It’s memorial day so why not celebrate by posting two shots, they are also related as the second one looks under the Freedom Parkway bridge and the same Beltline can be seen running under there as well. You can also see the tents that some people are building and living in along the path… I guess the rent’s cheaper that way 🙂

More graffiti along the Beltline, located under the Freedom Parkway Overpass

Graffiti and changing weather along the Atlanta Beltline

A Storm Brews in the Heavens

It sometimes seems that despite all the careful planning in the world, bad luck can destroy a good picture. However, in the same way, good luck can unexpectedly give you the opportunity to make some amazing photographs. HDR for me seems to especially highlight this problem, since I personally have even less chance than usual of knowing whether one of my HDR brackets will make a good picture. Sometimes, though, I just get really lucky. I was attempting a 5-stop bracket with -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2 EV (manually-Canon cameras have a lot of good features but in the bracketing realm Nikon has them beat) on the sky with the sun in frame, and during processing found that there was too much movement between setting up each set of brackets. Exasperated after an hour of work, I just decided to reprocess just the 3 stops in the middle and immediately saw how spectacular this scene had come out. This HDR is definitely one of the less subtly processed; the sky looked nothing like this when I was looking out over Rome.

A mass of clouds gather in the Roman twilight

The Manhattan Project: Angle 2

So a few weeks ago my roommates and I moseyed on down to Manhattan Beach to relax for a day and procrastinate from school work for a bit. We had dinner plans at Mucho just down the road (excellent, would definitely go back) but left to go in just before the sun really started to set. I told them to go ahead and they held down a table for an extra half hour while I played around with the sunset…

The Manhattan Beach Pier, one of my all time favorite places to go shooting: Manhattan Beach CA

22° Halo over Atlanta

I was on my way to Tucker’s place to do some shooting, and at a traffic light I leaned down to scratch my leg and luckily was wearing sunglasses because I noticed out of the corner of my eye something out of place in the sky. I looked up and noticed a circular rainbow around the sun! I was completely surprised and only looked away when the person behind me honked because the light had changed. I called Tucker up and told him to go look outside at the sun, but when I got there he told me he didn’t see anything. I took off my sunglasses and saw that the haze and glare typical of Atlanta summer made it impossible to see without some filtering. Once he saw what I talking about, he quickly agreed this was worthy of some HDR. We went to Freedom Park and messed around for a bit, and he let me use his camera to set up this shot.

I looked it up the next day and the phenomenon is called a 22° halo and it is caused by light diffracting through hexagonal ice crystals in the upper atmosphere (probably in those cirrus clouds that are faintly visible) which causes the rainbow and the position 22° away from the sun.

An optical phenomenon known as a 22° halo

God is Watching – Even at the Colosseum

I recently went out to Kennesaw for a shoot with wedding photojournalist David Murray. I had shown him some previous HDR work and he was very interested, to the point where he asked me to do some “overall setting” HDR shots. This came out particularly well; there are many more to come in later posts. The wedding took place on a six building family “compound,” and the “Colosseum” was built as a ballroom purely to host the wedding reception for the owner’s two daughters, who were both married on the premises. The HDR process conveys the “God rays” above the building particularly well.

Sun peeking through the clouds causes "God rays" above the "Colusseum."