Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New gallery site

I’ve moved my main photo gallery to Smugmug, largely because I like the appearance and the UI much better than Flickr. As a result, some of the older posts on this blog featuring links to images that used to be hosted on Flickr may now be kaput.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seville shadows

One of the challenges of shooting in Seville is the very strong contrast between hard sunlight and strong shadows. Here I took advantage of that to make the shadows the center of interest in this image.

shadow on bench, Mudejar Pavillion, Seville

HDR: Plaza de Espana, Seville

Plaza de Espana, HDR

I spent several hours shooting at Plaza de Espana one morning. I knew there would be strong light and deep shadow, so I planned to shoot HDR brackets and brought my tripod. For this image I shot 7 bracketed exposures with a 10-20 zoom lens at about 15mm, aperture set to f13. From Lightroom, the 7 exposures were exported to HDR Expose 3, merged to HDR & tonemapped. Then the resulting HDR image was taken back into Photoshop. I used Tony Kuyper’s luminance-mask-based Triple Play actions to further balance the tonal range. Finishing touches were applied with Nik Color Efex Pro and Lightroom.

BTW: this location served as the backdrop for a scene in one of the Star Wars movies:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crazy Horst’s aerial extravaganza

Crazy Horst attaches a helmet cam to an RC aircraft and captures some breathtaking video. He shoots beautiful locations, executes daring aerial maneuvers, and has a good sense of humor. Here are a couple of my favs:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flash photo seminar at B&H

Neil van Niekerk is a guru on the subject of flash photography. Neil has a very extensive website with lots of tips & tricks.

This is a two-hour seminar Neil gave at B&H Photo in NYC.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Slow Synch flash

Steve Tavelaris of the Agean Duo was kind enough to let me shoot some photos of him playing at the St. Sophias Greek Festival in Syracuse. I was using slow synch flash (2nd curtain) to try to capture the speed of his playing. I think this one turned out best. 1/8th second at f/11.

half of the Agean Duo

Sunday, May 27, 2012

last man in Alcatraz

Last man in Alcatraz

 An old photo of a cell block at Alcatraz (taken March, 2008).

I decided to play with the light and add a semi-transparent silhouette in Photoshop. I like the result.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

land of the free

land of the free

 I shot some photos adjacent to Auburn Corr. Facility today, and was repeatedly harassed by Corr. Officers making it clear that they didn’t like what I was doing. One watched me through binoculars, another heckled me from a guard tower, and a third discouraged me from a passing car. I had every right to be there and was doing nothing wrong.

I was surprised at how aggressive they were. Surprised enough to do some research. For some tips on photographers and the law, look here and here.

The media guidelines of the NYS Dept. of Corrections says this about photographs: “3. Photographs taken while physically standing on any Department property require the prior permission of the PIO. Violators risk the confiscation of their exposed film or deletion of the images in question from their digital camera(s). 4. The Department has no authority over the making of pictures or sound recordings of its property when the media is physically standing off Departmental property.” I was on a public sidewalk.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

looking forward to returning to Spain

door, Casa de Pilatos

Learning Lightroom 4

I now use Adobe Lightroom as my go-to software for raw conversion, printing, and keeping track of my photo library (almost 30,000 images and growing). Lightroom underwent a major overhaul in the transition from version 3 to version 4, with the primary controls for tonality all changed in significant ways. So training up a little on how best to use the new controls is in order.

I have found George Jardine’s video tutorials extraordinarily helpful, and recommend them enthusiastically. George’s instruction is comprehensive (over 5 hours of instruction in this video series), aimed directly at photographers, and avoids the pitfalls of technical discussion for its own sake on the one hand, and uninstructive casual chit-chat on the other.

For those who prefer a short and sweet approach, this article on optimizing exposure using LR4 by Charles Cramer may be helpful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chittenango Falls HDR

Chittenango Falls vertical2_HDR2

Six bracketed exposures shot through a neutral density filter to extend exposure time and create soft flow effect with water. Merged to HDR in PS and tone mapped with HDR Efex Pro. Much masking & blending,tweaking and other obsessive behavior in PS.

Light Stalking has some inspirational photos of waterfalls and some how-tos.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whatsis "Blend If"?

Excellent tutorial on Photoshop’s mysterious “Blend If” sliders for constraining the tonal ranges from particular layers that are blended into, and hence able to affect, the image as a whole.


Blend If Settings | The Light's Right

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Beautiful and spooky HDR Time lapse assembled from individual still images over a period of seven months.

More here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

No mercy


The license plate is photoshopped, but expresses my feelings about what these vehicles mean.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shipbreakers of Chittagong

Amazing photos by Jiri Rezak.

If you find Chittagong on Google Earth, you can see the beached ships being disassembled.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cool ap for planning sunrise/sunset shots anywhere in the world

The Photographer’s Emphemeris provides sunrise/sunset times along with a visual representation (using Google maps) of the direction of light at a particular point in the landscape. Very cool donation-ware (free download, contributions welcome).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Superb in-depth HDR tutorial videos

by Rob Hanson, Part 1 of 5. Rob has a very interesting technique involving multiple tone-mappings of the basic 32-bit HDR image in order to combine the best features of each different tone-mapped version into one spectacular final image.

Rob’s blog also offers a textual tutorial on the shadow-mapping technique for procesing HDR images.

Thanks to The HDR Resource Index for posting a link to these excellent tutorials.

HDR Resource Index

A new page by Farbspiel Photography collecting resources and information relating to High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.

The HDR Resource Index - HDR tutorials, books, people, software and more

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


A full-length (hour and 40 minutes) seminar on composition by Eileen Rafferty.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Alcazar of Segovia

Alcazar of Segovia

7-shot bracketed sequence, processed as HDR with various tools. Lots of PP on this one to correct color and tone.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chapel of Vera Cruz, Alcazar of Segovia

Chapel Vera Cruz & Alcazar, dusk

Another reworked HDR sequence that I’m liking more now that I’ve re-processed it.