Morning Cherry Blossoms

The sun has just risen and it was effectively daylight when I shot this picture of the cherry blossoms. The moon was still in the sky and it was originally in this image but I had to take it out just because it was so bright it didn’t blend into the rest of the image. Use your imagination and visualize it between the two trees. That’s where it originally was.

One of the joys of doing any type of nature photography is you are at that mercy of nature. In this case there was wind so there is motion blur in this image. Nothing I can do about it so I worked with it the best I could. I ran a few filters to bring out the color in the blossoms and then left it as is. If I did any dodging of the tree it looked very unnatural so I just left it alone.

I’ll upload the full size to Flickr for viewing but not 100% sure about the quality of it.




Rider At Dawn

I shot two locations over the weekend. The Tidal Basin in Washington, DC and Manassas Battlefield in Manassas, Virginia. After I shot the moon I saw this statue when I arrived. What you see is roughly what I saw when I turned my attention that way. My first thought was what the hell is the rider doing there but then it dawned on me it was a statue of a Civil War soldier. I didn’t read the plaque that was near the statue because it was too dark and when I was packing up to go I forgot to go back and check it.

This will likely be the only color image from this series as the day turned grey on me. It said partly cloudy in the forecast but it went full cloudy. Still, this shot made it worth going out there for.

This image is more or less straight out of the camera. I added a gradient to blacken the grass a bit but that’s it. Not even sharpened, I just gave it a minor unsharpen mask to give a bit more color separation. The light trail behind the tree is a plane taking off. I debated on fixing it but I liked it so it stayed.


The full resolution will be on Flickr.

Rider At Dawn


Good Morning Mr. Jefferson

So I was at the Washington DC Tidal Basin to shoot the cherry blossoms this past Saturday. Since I got there at ass o’clock in the morning I had some time to kill before the sun was up so I figured why not get some cool shoots of the Jefferson Memorial since I was looking at it. Seemed the proper thing to do and all.

This was the second outing with my Sony 24-240mm lens and I’m in love with it. As someone who is lazy as hell about changing lenses I was able to shoot all those focal lengths on one piece of glass. I’m sure someone is screaming its not pro-grade but its a $1000 piece of glass and it lives on a tripod and used for landscape and travel work. I think its fantastic! I will admit that I do have a Voigtlander 15mm for those times that 24mm isn’t wide enough. Just waiting for it since I got it on pre-order.

Little side note about this adventure. I badly misjudged the weather and it was cold. I didn’t bring my photography gloves and my hands were numb by the time I wrapped up the 3 hours of shooting. They were so bad it took me forever to pack my gear to throw in my car because my fingers weren’t cooperating with me.

Final thing. On stuff that I think it worthy going forward I’ll upload the full size image to my Flickr account. These will not be watermarked but I do hold the copyright on the image. So if you want a full size image for your desktop or something like that than have at it. If you want a print or something else then contact me. If you want to pixel peep then email because it will care more then you telling me my sensor is crap or something equally useless. However, constructive criticism is accepted and appreciated. My ego isn’t so big that I know I am flawless. Photography is subjective to some extent and what works for me may not work for you. There are some great photographers out there that I just look at and go meh on some stuff. It doesn’t resonate with me. Doesn’t mean its bad. Just doesn’t work for me.


Here is the link to the full sized.


Transition to Dawn

I have been doing early morning shoots which means getting up something on the lines of ass o’clock (recognized time) in the morning to get to where I need to go so I can get my shots. I have been all over the last few days shooting just shooting and then heading home and taking much needed naps so I can be fresh for World Cup and Olympic Qualifies along with Euro 2016 friendlies (football matches for the unknowing).

This shot was taken just as I set the camera on the tripod and got my remote shutter and level cube thing on it. I looked up and saw the sky and thought why not fire off a shot and see how it comes out. I had nothing better to do at that moment. It was around 6:30 in the morning and the sky was just starting to lighten up and there was very little ambient light were I was.

The moon is a bit hot in the image. I get it. Moon shooting is hard and I have only gotten a few shots off of the Moon. The moon really screws with the cameras metering and I tend to leave it in spot meter so it may help out if I switched it to another mode. Still, I liked the image.

Ran it through Photoshop then went into Intensify FX and just started stacking filters until I got something I liked it. Not a world class photo but a cool looking one. Plus its proof that I can drag my ass out of bed at 5 AM to get to some place to do sunrise photos!



Evening Rush Hour

I shot this while I was down in DC for work. I forget the name of the bridge, its one that goes over Rock Creek Parkway and its Connecticut Avenue. It was still rush hour which goes till just a little after 7 PM. So I setup my tripod knowing it was going to be a long exposure and the lights from the cars would give me a cool effect.

I went low key for this image then did a dodge and burn to various parts of it. I ran a couple filters on it using MacPhun’s Intesify FX and masked them in depending on what I wanted. In all a simple edit but a cool photo.



Signs of Renewal

Its Spring finally in the Washington DC area! That means the frigid subarctic temperatures are finally banished! Least thats the story I am going with. I have had to turn on aircon on since early March. So since I walk to work now I usually have a camera or two with me. In this case I had my Sony RX100M3 and the Canon S100. When I needed a longer reach I used the S100 since it can zoom to 100mm. I get better images out of the Sony but the Canon is very usable.

Some of these images are a bit abstract. Just depended on my mood when I was shooting. Did the usual post processing and called it a day. After the marathon slog with the Prague edits I needed something easy.


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Capitol Dome

I found image of the Capitol Dome while I was looking for the Prague Castle images I knew I had. It’s shot from 2011 when I was first switching to RAW and considering photography as something more than taking vacation shots. In retrospect I should have stuck with vacation shots because I would be thousands richer for it.

My buddy and I did an early morning shoot around the US Capitol and I arrived a bit earlier than him so I had time to do some shooting on my own. Back then the concept of a tripod was alien to me nor did I fully understand ISO and shutter speed other than high ISO bad. Shutter speed was just some weird number. My buddy kept telling me about some triangle theory for shutter speed, focal length, and aperture. I nodded blankly and moved on. Sounded like math to me. If you want me to check out quickly start talking math and I’ll zone on you.

With that said this image had a crap ton (recognized unit of measurement) of camera shake. Reading the EXIF which was ISO 1600, F/4, and 1/25 shutter speed on either a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 (don’t remember) I can see why. I should have opened the aperture wide to increase the shutter speed. ISO on the Canon XSi wasn’t going to go much above 1600 anyways.

So while I was playing with the Prague images I accidentally hit the wrong filter when I went to sharpen and saw Camera Shake Reduction in the Sharpen filters. Seemed interesting and I knew the perfect image to play with. I realize that this isn’t perfect but it does make saving images that have shake in them possible. It took a bit of playing and I think once I use it more when I need it I will be a bit better at it.

If you have an image with camera shake then do check out the filter in Photoshop. I use Photoshop CC so no idea when it appeared as I never really bothered with it much before.




Prague Reimaged – Part 4

So ends the return to Prague. It’s been an adventure in editing. I don’t think I have ever published this many images ever. Only time I do this much editing is when I have a job to turn over to someone. I have never editing this much personal work in the span of a couple days. I don’t care how ergonomic your setup is your hand starts to cramp after a bit.

Most of these images were shot in Prague Castle or looking off Prague Castle. I had to scrounge my drives to find these images because I could not locate them in my library. I could run a search and Lightroom said they were there but would not preview the. Good thing I have solid computer skills to force Lightroom to do what I wanted and hence the images got edited.

One of the things I noticed about this camera and lens combo along with my particular indifference at the time for anything known as metering or even something outside of P or A mode is that the skies played havoc with the sensor. I attempted to get them something into a shade of blue but the color shift was all over the place. I found a setting that worked and went with that and damn the consequences.

It has been a fun little exercise to revisit Prague and do these edits. I promise new work in the near future as I have been shooting!


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Prague Reimaged – Part 3

Well I can now say that there will be 4 parts to this series. It has been a massive undertaking with over 80 images published. Provided I didn’t screw up the count there will be 20 images today and another 20 tomorrow. This batch took me much longer because I had to find an entire missing series of photos which will be tomorrows. While this may get a bit repetitive I can tell you part 4 seems to be when I got vaguely interested in Prague or I enjoyed the view from Prague Castle. Either way they are good.

I am not a 365 project type of photographer. I think by the end you feel forced into shooting stuff and you just check out. What I can tell anyone is that if you want to get better go ahead and post-process 365 days a year or near enough to it. Trust me, your editing skills will improve vastly. I would also say check out Lightroom and Photoshop vidoes/classes/osmosis whatever works for you to learn the little tips and tricks to make editing something you don’t mind doing instead of dumping the memory cards and looking away.

While I can say that these images aren’t perfect or stellar by any stretch of the imagination they are about a 100 times better than when I started with them and I’m doing 2 or 3 minute edits per image. Nothing more. It takes me longer to select the image than to edit them.

Enjoy Prague part 3 and wait for part 4 because it will be worth it.

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Prague Reimaged – Part 2

This is actually the second batch I started with the part 1 post. There were so many images to edit that I could not do it in one sitting. I just went through just a day in the Lightroom catalogue and started the basic editing then exported them into Photoshop. These images weren’t shot in one day but I know I screwed up the catalogue when I switched machines years ago.

Apologies in advance again for some of the picture quality of these images. It was more about feeling and a sense of being than technical accuracies. I was still new at photography and wasn’t even remotely where I am at now. So the old Program Mode and let the camera handle everything seemed brilliant at the time. It also didn’t help I knew nothing of framing, light, and so on. That and I wasn’t what you called that thrilled to be in Prague.

Editing wise this has been a challenge to try and extract a useable image. There was a lot of time doing subtle edits to these images in both Lightroom and Photoshop. Normally Photoshop gets the heavier lifting but Lightroom did a lot of the base edits this time before I started the tone curves and dodge and burning in Photoshop.

Enjoy Prague again!

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