Sunday, June 28, 2009

Photo of the Week - Practice & Preparation

My shooting this weekend has been practicing with my speedlight as a fill light for outdoor portraits. My model was my daughter Melanie. She's my princess (and knows it!). She will be a sophomore in college, and turns 20 this week.

The reason for practice is that this coming weekend I will be shooting the re-commitment service for Cat and Darren. I say re-commitment because they eloped back in the spring. They will be celebrating their union with family and friends on Sunday. The site of the ceremonies is the park at Lake Shawnee that we visited (and blogged about) a few weeks ago. This is my first attempt to shoot this kind of event as the primary photographer. I'm looking forward to it, and a bit apprehensive as well. But with practice I have a good feel for my SB-600 and Lumiquest diffuser.

After the ceremony and reception Debbie and I are headed west to the family ranch in Nebraska for a week on vacation. This is my first "photo" trip to the area where I grew up. I have two projects that I will be working on. One, I will be shooting landscapes of the area around the ranch and the nearby lake. I have a long-term project in mind about publishing a book of landscapes from Western Nebraska.

Second, the timing is about right for us to document the wheat harvest. I haven't been home at this particular event for 10+ years. I am really excited about the opportunity for both potential sets of images.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photo of the Week - Lorikeets

Debbie and I made a weekend trip to San Antonio, TX to spend time with our son Alan. One of our stops was the San Antonio Zoo. While many of the enclosures are not of modern design, the animals looked healthy and active. Their bird collection was very good.

This Rainbow Lorikeet was in a free-fly area which was populated with parrots and lorikeets from Australia. They were very friendly, landing on your head or shoulder looking for handouts

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Technique - Learning HDR

I have been reading about and seeing many HDR processed images. My interest right now is not the more extreme images, but rather how to improve more traditional image capture. I have access to Photoshop CS4, and I have been studying up on how to use it for this process.

The two images are the finished HDR, and the 'middle' image of the three shot bracket taken. Note the improvement in the sky color.

Finished HDR Image
Original Image

This creek and the rock shelf are off Staley Road in the Northland area of Kansas City, MO

Photo of the Week - Fireworks!

The Royals sponsor a fireworks show after every Friday home game. Last night was the "Big" show of the season. These are two of the best of my photos. We were positioned east of the K just off Blue Ridge Cutoff.

You can see more fireworks and a sunset view of the stadium in the Night Views gallery at my gallery site.

This is the first time I've shot fireworks using my Nikon D90. The more elaborate color controls give you more options in highlighting the colors. I had to do some post-processing to get the colors the way I liked. Next time I will be able to set that up directly in the camera.

Alan is home for the weekend. He has moved into his apartment in McPherson and is here to take back the last of his furniture.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Photo Adventure - Lake Shawnee

Debbie and I had an adventure day today. We traveled from KC to Topeka, KS to visit Lake Shawnee. My reason for visiting is that I will be shooting wedding pictures there for a friend on July 5th. So I wanted to see the "lay of the land" and get a feel for the light.

Our friend Cat has picked a beautiful location. The service will be here in the gazebo. Another event was setting up while we were there. There were at least three in the area.

The picture of the gazebo is taken at about the same time as the service in July. If it is typical Kansas weather it will be a bright day, like today. I will have to deal with some deep shadows and high dynamic range.

Debbie was my practice model. I like how this photo came out. With the high dynamic range between the foreground and the background I'm going to need to use a lot of fill flash.

When I go photo adventuring, Debbie gets to go quilt shop hopping. We found two nice shops in Topeka. She found materials or books at each shop. Sometimes we go on quilt adventures: Debbie puts together a list of shops to visit, and I try to find something to shoot when we get there!

Love you Hon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Photo of the Week - Gift of the Sun

I went out looking to take advantage of the high contrast that the mid-day sun was offering to shoot B/W.

The day lilies and the statuette made a nice combination. I generated more darkness in the image by spot metering the bright spots in the background and using that exposure to capture the foreground image.