Thai Rising – Part 2

Wrapping up the Thai buildings today. These were all shot on my A7R except for the first one and were originally shot for HDR but I when it came time to post processing I just opted for a more normal edit. It went with the rest of the series.

I am heading home today back to the East Coast of the US. Costa Rica had been fun and its been a cool little trip. Home for awhile then off to Portland, Oregon for a week then going to another Latin American country for a long weekend trip.

While I didn’t plan on shooting much here in Costa Rica I did take a few snaps. Once I dump them into Lightroom will see how they came out.


PS – Happy Leap Year! It’s the 29th of February!

Thai RisingThai RisingThai RisingThai RisingThai Rising

Thai Rising – Part 1

Since I am in Costa Rica and not the biggest fan on editing off a 13″ Macbook screen I have pre-edited all the images. I’m going to split these up into two posts then return with more flowers for Tuesday.

I personally like tall buildings. Don’t know why but I do. There isn’t anything overly special about Thai buildings. Some have a bit of an Asian feel to them but for the most part are typical resort style hotels and condos.

The interesting note on these images are the fact that 3 different cameras were used. My Olympus EM1, Sony A7R, Sony RX100. I can tell them apart just by looking at them but I doubt the average non-photographer could.


Thai RisingThai RisingThai RisingThai RisingThai RisingThai Rising

Ground Control

These images were shot in Incheon, South Korea when I was laying over on my way to Thailand last year. I figured why not share them now as I flew a couple days ago and sitting in Costa Rica as I type this up.

Nothing overly fancy here with the editing. Just me and the Wacom tablet bonding. The images were shot on my Sony RX100M3. The craziest thing I did was the 2.4 to 1 crop on the first image give it a cinematic feel.


Ground ControlGround ControlGround Control

Shimmers of Gold

This is from the Southwest DC Waterfront. There are lots of boats docked down there and people actively live on them. Most marinas are empty in the winter but this one had people coming and going and going. You could tell a lived from one that was winterized. While I complain about the subarctic conditions the reality is winters in DC are fairly mild with only a few cold days so you can keep a boat in the water without fear of heavy ice.

This is a HDR that I just quickly put together. No idea what preset I selected but it had the look I was going for without the hassle of doing a manual edit. Brought it into Photoshop for a quick fix with the sky noise and then called it a day. Not often an image comes together quickly but this one did and I was happy with it.


Shimmers of Gold

Secret Garden – Part 2

With a break from flowers with some architectural stuff I feel I can attempt some more flowers! So I return to my secret garden or the US National Botanical Gardens. Considering I was stuck behind a Chinese tour group with photo permits for tripods I guess its not that secret. I have encountered Chinese tour groups before in Thailand and they are serious about their gear. I was genuinely impressed by the tripod permits they had. They are not that easy to get and they take planning.

I’m not sure how I feel about this batch. This is where I started to have some flash issues and I was fighting with the flash and camera to get the look I was going for. One of the problem was the LCD was showing me some funky colors but when I loaded them in Lightroom things looked normal. Even still you can tell I used flash. I am far from a flash guru. I’m not afraid of flash I just don’t use it often enough.

Usual round of editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. I will say that in all my years of shooting flowers this is the best detailed batch I have ever gotten. It has held up to the sharpening color correction well. So there is something to using flash. Maybe one day I’ll get ambition and do focus stacking.


Secret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret Garden

Vegas Rising

I don’t really want to do all my flower stuff at once. I have a lot of it so don’t worry they will return. So instead I shifted back to some of the Las Vegas stuff I shot before I jumped on a plane and flew to Thailand for 6 weeks. Most of these are around that Aria Hotel and Casino and I don’t pretend to know the names of them. The buildings aren’t straight and they just out at angles that mess with your perception.

Nothing overly fancy here in editing. All of them were shot on an Olympus EM1 and with a tripod and shutter release. Did the usual Photoshop voodoo. Was fun to use the Wacom to do the dodging and burning.


Vegas RisingVegas RisingVegas RisingVegas Rising

Secret Garden

So I’ll reveal where I shot recently; it was the US National Botanical Garden. I had attempted to shoot there a week before but my car’s very expensive and recently replaced alternator died so I delayed it a week. Considering its the US National Botanical Garden its not really a secret and as a bonus no concerned citizen asked me not to take pictures!

I have not shot flora in a long time. I think it was June of last year. There isn’t anything wrong with it but I prefer travel and landscape photography. I setup on a tripod and go about shooting. It’s much slower and I just get to wander around without anything in mind other than how is the light and what am I shooting. With flowers which might as well be macro there is a bit more planning.

I knew I didn’t want to shove a macro lens down at a flower and hope for the best. So I packed my 60mm macro (120mm eq) and my 40-150mm (80-300 eq) along with my flash. I attempted flash before with this style of work but with limited success. This time I went TTL but went with a modified. I have a couple of MagMod diffusers laying around. I put it on the camera and selected a soft white diffuser and after a couple tests put the grid on the front and called it a day. So when I got to the garden I was good to short of a real world test. The 60mm wasn’t working but with the large zoom I could get the distance I needed for the flash to be effective and still have a decent shutter speed.

Not being a real flash user much except when I need to I had a few issues getting flash output correct but with a bit of adjustments here and there I was very pleased with the results. It made the shoot much more enjoyable because I wasn’t struggling for light or shooting at stupid high ISO. In fact I went from 400 to 200 once I got flash dialed in.

So enjoy the secret garden. I will break the posts up as I am not that into flowers but there will be lots of botanical stuff over the coming days.


Secret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret GardenSecret Garden

Don’t Drink The Water

Got a theme going today for this image set. Self explanatory I think. I still don’t want to give away where I shot but there are major clues here simply because of the foliage. I despise cold so it wasn’t an outdoor garden in Washington DC so that should be a major clue. Plus it drives my Mom nuts that I won’t tell her.

There were all taken on my Sony RX100M3 except 2. The other 2 were shot on my Olympus EM1 with a 40-150 (80-300 eq). I went with a low key style for these images as I just felt that it fit the mood a little better. One of the things that my weekly Photoshop lessons from Ming Thein has taught me how you can change the key of an image depending on how you apply your tone curve. While I’m not at Ming’s mastery I see what he does weekly. I will also say that my Wacom Tablet juju is getting stronger. I totally get the control you get over the brush in Photoshop by using a pen. It’s a whole different world.

I also tossed in one image that didn’t fit anywhere but I liked it. Got me all Jurassic Park like!


Don't Drink The WaterDon't Drink The WaterDon't Drink The WaterDon't Drink The WaterDon't Drink The WaterDon't Drink The WaterJurassic Park

Two Different Styles

I was out shooting yesterday and I already had my camera packed up so I just used my phone. While I was in a major tourist area where cameras are common and not unusual no one thought anything of me with my cell phone. As I mentioned earlier my cell phone is a rather good camera. I have a Nexus 6P which has a 12MP sensor in it and I use Camera FV-5 app that uses the 6P’s ability to shoot RAW. With the app I have basic DSLR controls.

Funny thing is as a photographer getting harassed for having a camera is becoming more common. Having a cell phone which is equally sufficient for producing images is considered non-threatening. These two images are proof.

They are vastly different in styles. The first is a landscape in a classic 16×9 crop. The other is an abstract in monochrome. I didn’t feel that they warranted a separate post for each so I just toss them in together to show what a cell phone can do and to give a teaser on where I shot. Double bonus points if you can figure it out. Saying Washington DC isn’t enough. The abstract is the real give away but I only shot a very small portion of the total work. Oh, and super double bonus points if you get the reference for the title of the abstract.

Simple Reflections

Simple Reflections

The Thing That Should Not Be

The Thing That Should not Be

The Low Side of the Tracks

This one is from Las Vegas. One of the buildings is the Cosmopolitan and the others I want to say Wynn but I honestly don’t remember. I had just crossed a pedestrian bridge over Las Vegas Blvd and setup my tripod for the shots. I liked how the tracks just ran through the buildings that towered above.

The image felt better in monochrome than color. It was a nightmare getting perspective corrected because the buildings aren’t straight on purpose. If it looks skewed who the hell knows if I got it right or not. It did take two tone curves to get the tone right and more Wacom Tablet playing.


The Low Side of the Tracks