Monday, November 28, 2011


Hope everyone is recovering from the Thanksgiving holiday.  Getting back into the everyday routine is really difficult.  The next three weeks will be spent in a frantic overload pace - as many other families will be as well.  It was a nice Thanksgiving for us - family, too much food, and seeing some fall color.  Seems we've shifted in weather to almost winter (34 deg this morning taking the kids to school) but hopefully next week we'll be back to our normal weather for this time of year.  Speaking of weather (had to sneak it in), we've been receiving some rain around the state, not enough to alleviate the drought, but certainly enough to lift the burn bans on many counties - which is a step in the right direction.  Hope you enjoy my one picture of fall color we saw in East Texas (the yellows are really visible, but the reds are just starting to show).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Learning Something New - HDR

Galveston Island State Park
Although I realize most of the time I am behind the rest of the world in learning new techniques - I am really enjoying this approach to photography imaging - HDR (high dynamic range) that fuses 3 photos together (1 underexposed, 1 balanced, 1 over exposed) so that the final output includes all the colors, tones, etc that is possible.  I've seen photos like this circulating around, but didn't know how to get that look.  This seems to be especially effective in lower light. 

The above picture was taken at Galveston Island State Park, Texas, in the middle of the afternoon (I know very bad time for taking pictures), but I wanted a few very quick pics to play with.  I needed to do some research to figure out how to set my camera for bracketing and also quickly found out I would have to shoot in a manual mode (aperature priority) - not my favorite thing to do - but this will force me to get better.  I used 3 stops up/down and fused 3 pictures together using HDR software (Photomatix Essentials).  I didn't crop this - this is how it came out of the camera.  Once in the HDR software I applied the "painterly" tone mapping.  There are other choices & you can preview before you save the fused file/picture. 

Here are some details of what I did/used to get this picture.  Keep in mind that I've reduced the file size of this picture for the web - way down.

Camera - Nikon D90
polarizer filter on (for color saturation & glare)
bracketing set for F3 (3 stops +/- around the balanced photo
aperature priority (F4.5)
auto focusing

Here's another photo of a gull that I applied the deep tone map affect - wish our water in this area was that nice blue (it is usually kind of muddy), but it makes for a nice picture.  Same camera, aperature priority, auto focus, with polarizing filter (because yes I was taking pictures in the middle of the day).  This picture has been cropped. I really like the sharp/bright colors of the granite/rock he is standing on as well. 

Gull at Texas City Dike, Texas

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dealing With Life

I think this picture says it all without any caption.... an arm that is bent not at the wrist, but where it shouldn't.  This has been one of my excuses for not posting - dealing with life right now.  Good news - my son will be fine after the usual period in a cast - although his arm was slightly manipulated again after the initial set - he's a strong guy to tough it out.  As for taking pictures - I snuck this picture with my phone really quickly in the hospital ER while it was up on the lightbox.  I don't have an iPhone, but I still find my phone's camera very handy for these kind of quick pics - don't think it would be proper to haul out the big camera and ask everyone to pose just for historical recording purposes.  But I did have a chance to use the real camera at a dressage schooling show.  I've been photographing horses with and without riders for a few years now and at least I can say I've seen an improvement in my efforts.  Here's a couple that I took that were from a little different angle than you usually see.  An additional benefit from these pictures - they can be used as teaching tools - showing the rider what they could do differently or what they did really well.

A rider's hands help guide the horse.
FYI... the fingers should be closed.

A young horse looks relaxed in her
first dressage show.