Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tops for 2009

Here on the last day of the last month of 2009, I thought I'd write a few words about my favorite photo applications. These are the programs that I've either discovered this past year, or older programs that I've gotten to know better.

The program I came to appreciate the most in 2009 was Adobe's Lightroom 2. I found this to be a tremendously powerful, efficient and flexible program. The presets in the Develop module are my favorite thing. I often have difficulty visualizing how an image would look with certain changes, but the presets give me a thumbnail preview of these effects. This not only takes me in exciting and unexpected directions with some images, but also increases my efficiency when working through a large number of images. Everything about the program feels streamlined and efficient. I look forward to discovering more about it in the coming year.

2009 was also the year where I really started to find my stride with HDR, or High Dynamic Range images. This is the process of shooting multiple exposures of the same image and combining them in post processing to show a wider range of light than you could get from one image. You can use this technique to either more accurately represent what the human eye sees, or take a more surreal approach and create something almost otherworldly. The one program that's essential for creating this type of image is Photomatix Pro. This program takes a while to master, and I'm certainly not there, but I am starting to find what works best for me. For best results you really need an editor that supports layers, like Photoshop to finish the images. An inexpensive program on the Mac that supports layers is Pixelmator. There's a lot of Photoshop level power in there without the crazy price.

I can't talk about this past year without talking about the iPhone. I got mine in January, and it has since become my most used camera and post processing machine. I have it with me at all times, and not only is it good at just capturing moments that you would otherwise miss, but is a legitimate image making tool in it's own right. Some of my favorite images from 2009 were taken with my iPhone. The apps that I've found to be essential are Best CameraBest Camera, PhotogenePhotogene, CameraBagCameraBag and AutoStitchAutoStitch Panorama. Apps I use less frequently, but are still cool are Photo fxPhoto fx, ShakeItPhotoShakeItPhoto, TiltShiftGenTiltShift Generator - Fake DSLR and TimeLapseTimeLapse.

If I were to pick a favorite post from this past year, I think it would have to be "Water droppin'" I think I had the most fun shooting those images, and I certainly got the most views and feedback on that post.

I want to thank of you regular readers for your feedback and continued visits. I would still be taking pictures even if no one else ever saw them, but I truly enjoy sharing them and hearing/seeing what others are doing. In 2010 I look forward to growing in both my "seeing" what's around me, and in my finishing skills on the computer to deliver my vision. Can't wait to see what's to come!

Rainy days

It's supposed to rain here today. I know, crazy right! Anywho, here's some cool drops to set your mood today.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Window on the world

This is a 45 minute exposure I took in Yosemite. Such an inspiring place. Just a technical note about these kinds of images; be prepared to do a lot of clean up in post production. Different cameras will generate different amounts of noise during a long exposure, but there will still be colored or hot pixels that will need cleaning up.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Clouds over Mulholland

I thought I'd throw in some moving pictures to get the week started. I shot these sequences just down the road from my church, a few minutes before yesterday's pic. Have a great (short) week!

Sunday best

This is an image I shot yesterday at my church. It was so great to walk around by myself and enjoy the peacefulness and changing light. As seems to be my norm lately, this is a 3 exposure HDR.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has a fantastic day with family and friends. My family and I will be enjoying a quiet day at home, staying out of the bitterly cold 70 degree weather. ;)


Up a creek

I was photographing in and around Bridealveil Creek when this photographer stepped into my shot. I decided to just got with it. His bright red shirt really stood out and livened up that part of the image.


Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Self Portrait

If it stays cold outside, you could be seeing a lot of these this winter!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time for a topic

I've been feeling a bit low on creative energy lately. My Twitter buddy Jay Friesen and I decided to pick topic this past weekend for a little motivation. We agreed on "Time" and he went off to shoot video and I shot stills. To check out his video, head over to his blog. Here's my interpretation.


My subject is a little grungy, but he was cheap. ;)

This kinds of topics/challenges/limitations really get my creativity flowing. I really needed a kick in the butt to go out and shoot and this did the trick. Maybe we can do some more of these in the future. Thanks for the push Jay!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hot ride

A conveniently parked motorcycle just down the sidewalk from where I took yesterday's Christmas tree image. This is another 3 exposure HDR.


Holiday cheer

A little something to get you in the holiday spirit.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Falls and trees

This one's from our most recent trip to Yosemite. I went back and processed this single image as and HDR to get a better handle on all the super brights and super darks. Me likey.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lexus LF-A

The is Lexus' entry into the supercar market: the LF-A. As with most pictures taken at car shows the background wasn't very appealing, so I spiced it up a bit in Photoshop.


Dam symmetry


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Water and hills

Another from my recent hike around the Sepulveda Dam park. Had some fun with the tone and color of this one.


Friday, December 11, 2009

A bridge with range

I took this during a walk today around the Sepulveda Dam recreation area. This is a 3 image HDR processed in Photomatix Pro and finished in Photoshop Elements.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Took this on the walk back from lunch.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Viper ACR

I went to the L.A. Auto Show with my two boys and my dad yesterday. I've been almost every year that I've lived out here and it's great to be able to share it with my boys now. It was a bonus to have my dad come. I took a lot of shots, but this is the only one I'm happy with so far.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Tora Tora Tora

Taken during a Pearl Harbor reenactment at the Edwards Air Show.


Here's a link to a slightly larger size.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Morning jewels


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Driving to Yosemite Valley

Here's a video I shot while driving into Yosemite Valley during our trip in November. If you've never been there, this might give you some sense of the scale and beauty of the place. I really had no idea what to expect the first time I visited and I was just blown away by its' size and majesty. The video quality isn't the greatest as I shot this with my Canon G9. But hey, you use what you got! I want to thank my wife for holding on to the tripod that was sticking up through the sunroof for the whole 27 minute trip!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wine? Oh.

Inspired by a post over at Syl Arena's blog, I decided to try my hand at some product photography. This post, and really his entire site, are worth reading and subscribing to in your feed reader. I'll let you read the post, but I had a lot of fun setting this up and trying to recreate his shots. I didn't have a softbox like he used so I shot my umbrella through a diffuser. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement, but it's so great to try something new and step outside of where you're comfortable. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the wine was very good. ;)


Check back tomorrow for a special video post!