Texas State Capitol In HDR

On our recent trip to Texas we spent an afternoon at the Texas State Capitol with our Nephews. The light wasn't great for "straight up" photography so I shot a lot of bracketed images and then ran through Google/Nik Software's excellent HDR Efex Pro software. I've been happy witht many of the results, including this one of the North side of the Capitol: A slightly over the top HDR image of the North end of the Texas State Capitol

 

As you can see the details are a bit exaggerated but I like the overall result. The HDR processing brought out a lot of the reflections in the capitol windows as well as in the skylight at the bottom of the frame. Underneath that skylight is a Texas Sized underground office building. I took some shots of the capitol building from below the skylight that I have yet to process so keep your fingers crossed that I have some keepers! :-) If you also notice, I got the Texas State Flag flapping nicely in the breeze. I didn't notice that until I got the images in Lightroom and started working on them.

Greetings From Driftwood Texas

While we were in Austin I met up with Jim Nix, a great guy who maintains a fantastic travel/photography blog called Nomadic Pursuits. Jim is a bit of an internet photography "celebrity" because he posts many great images as he travels around. Much of his work is done in HDR and the unique look that can be achieved using this method complements many of the scenes he photographs. While we were walking around Downtown Austin one evening with our cameras Jim mentioned that I really needed to take the drive to Driftwood Texas to photograph a unique building, an old Texaco service station that has been converted to a private residence. Well, the next day, we did exactly that. But not before stopping along the way to have some tasty Texas BBQ at The Salt Lick! After we had our fill of slow-smoked ribs, brisket and sausage we drove a few miles until we came upon the building. It was mid day and a bit windy but I figured I could get some decent images of the building. After dashing back and forth to the middle of the road several times to get some shots I had a few different perspectives of the building. Here's the one I like the most so far (subject to change, of course) :-) Greetings from Driftwood

The building is definitely a little Kitschy but in a good way. It is in good shape and the owner has kept the classic Texaco sign and fuel pump brightly painted. Because of that, and the fact that the light was pretty harsh, I bracketed three shots and processed the images in HDR Efex Pro which is my "go-to" HDR software. It's easy to use, fast and integrates with Lightroom very well. I'm definitely not an HDR expert but I think I'm getting better at it. To go with the nature of the subject, I went a little "overboard" with the HDR processing, just because I could. I like the effect HDR gave to the building bringing out the texture of the stone and wood. I tilted the image a bit in Lightroom to exaggerate the perspective.

I've got a few more images from out Texas trip to go through so hopefully I'll be sharing those in the next week or so. Until the.....

Cheers!

Colorful Corner: The Austin Graffiti Wall

  Hello! After a very busy month I think things are slowing down enough that that I can start posting to the blog again.

I'm going to start with a colorful image of some graffiti. We recently got back from a trip to Texas where we spent some time in Dallas, Houston and Austin. I did some photography while there including at the iconic "Austin Graffiti Wall", which is an abandoned building site that has been converted into a public graffiti showcase. Thanks to Jim Nix for recommending we visit this site! :-) I had a lot of fun exploring all the nooks and crannies that were full of all kinds of colorful graffiti.

This particular corner caught my eye so I set up my tripod and captured this image. What I like about it is that it shows all the variety of graffiti in vivid color along with some "urban artifacts" like the picnic table and other junk.

I should be posting some more images soon so stay tuned....

Cheers!

Pittsburgh In Black And White: Circles, Shadows, Reflections

Here's a photograph I made with my little Olympus XA 35mm rangefinder camera while in Pittsburgh last month: Circles, Shadows, Reflections

I made this while walking through the pedestrian walkway to Point State Park. The walkway goes under the I-376/I-279 roadway that crosses the small piece of land right before the point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers merge to create the Ohio River.

As we  were walking along I noticed the reflecting pool and how the reflections in the water gave a nice symmetry to the arching roof and the circular light boxes under the bridge. I attempted to line myself up as best as I could to get right in the middle between two sections of the roof. I didn't have my tripod and the rangefinder focusing is still a little wierd to me but I think I did a good job of getting things as symmetrical as possible. The film used is Acros 100, my "go-to" 100 speed B&W film, and I developed it in Kodak HC-110 for 6 minutes at 70 degrees. Once I scanned in the negative a did a quick adjustment in Lightroom to bring out a bit more detail and darken the shadows along the bottom of the frame.