Two Views One Wheel

This is the skywheel at the National Harbor in Maryland. When I did this set I remember taking a lot of images of it because it is the most dominating feature. Lit up at night it was very cool so I took a ton of shots of it.

Editing wise I’m not sure what I did. The one problem is that when I do pre-edits I forget what I did but I know I masked in a bunch of stuff. You get lost as you start thinking about features to this area or that area and the next thing you know you have like 8 masks total.


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A Splash Of Green

This is the inside of the Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor. I really like how the building is all open and you get light from all sorts of angles and the rooms look down into the atrium area.

This is one of the first images I shot with my Voigtlander 15mm lens and you really get a wide angle without some of the distortion you normally do when you have a super wide lens. So I was able to capture the fountains along with the entire atrium structure.

Editing wise I went a let nuts with masking in stuff. I honestly don’t remember what I did and how I did it anymore other than it was done.


A Splash of Green

Two On The Rocks

These images were shot at the National Harbor and I just got around to editing them for. No idea why I never published them but I finally did. They seemed to work together so instead of doing one at a time I’ll post them together.

Editing wise I went back to masking in layers and so on. I have been doing fairly clean edits so with these images I went a little wild and made the world look like I wanted instead of what really was there.



Baltimore Days

I shot this series as a preparation for my Panama trip where I am now. I wanted to see how the Nikon D810 performed in blazing afternoon sun. In addition I wanted to see how I performed in the blazing afternoon sun while carrying the “beast” as someone called it. The Nikon performed better than I did before I tapped out and had a beer after a few hours of lugging it around.

I normally take my Sony A7R on trips because it’s much lighter than the Nikon D810. Yet, with Panama I really wanted to capture the country with a lot more detail. While the A7R is a great camera I primarily use it on a tripod. With Panama, I’m going to be in a ton of different shooting situations so I wanted a camera with image stabilization (all my lenses have it) since may not be using a tripod all the time.

What I learned is that the Nikon lenses are beasts with weight so lens selection is critical. I deliberately lugged all the lenses in a messenger style bag I have. I learned quickly that it’s not a good idea. Messenger bags with that much weight are uncomfortable. So for daily shooting take a smaller backpack that can evenly distribute the weight. In addition, lens selection is critical. No need to carry an arsenal. So with that in mind I rented a Nikon 28-300. After reading all the pros and cons against it, for my style of photography it’s perfect. If I like it well enough I’ll purchase one on return.

With the experiment over it was time to process the images. I deliberately pushed myself off my usual paths in Baltimore and started to wander. The white tower you see is part of St. Vincent de Paul. I have always seen it but never walked myself towards it. So this time I did. As, always I took a shot of the City Hall building. I call it my muse because I have at least a 1000 shots of it. The other shots are around the Inner Harbor that I never really wandered into during the day.

Editing wise I kept it simple, no masking in filters and layers. Sometimes you just need to let the photos speak for themselves.


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Flying High Again – Part 2

As this post goes live I will be in a car heading to the airport to catch a flight out to Panama. It seemed appropriate to post these images today since I’ll be among the clouds again.

This set of images focuses mainly on the ground and not the clouds. Shooting the ground from a plane is a lot easier because you have more contrast than clouds. The downside is you are going to notice motion blur just because you are moving so fast. I’m sure if I used a better camera with a longer lens I could achieve better results but I like the smaller ones because I can move the camera around to reduce glare coming in from the window. I can also use it 1 handed and use my other hand as a flag to block out light.

For inquiring minds on the city at the end of the series, it was Washington, DC. and the surrounding burbs.

Processing wise it’s a lot of dehaze and clarity. They really are your friends when processing this stuff. It allows you to put contrast into the blacks and create separation. Then you can use gradients for localized adjustments.


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Portland Roses – Part 2

This is the rest of the roses from Portland, Oregon that I shot. I wish the weather was better when I was out there visiting but the shots I got were pretty good and I did enjoy visiting the city. Would have loved to see the Japanese Gardens that were next to the Rose Garden but I was out of time and I had a plane to catch to San Diego.

I also want to say that this is the last post for weekends going forward. Taking last weekend off made me realize that I could do better editing when I had time to put cohesive series together and work on images instead of rushing them at the end of the day. Churning out images 7 days a week is a lot of effort. While doing that many edits has really pushed my editing skills it also has made me sloppy by rushing them. So no more. Going forward there will be no more images on Saturday or Sunday. I’ll post a reminder next week but this is it.

Enjoy the final weekend post. I go out with flowers much like it started!

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Around Matlacha – Part 2

This will wrap up the Matlacha series. I never would have guess a funky little town located on the Florida Gulf would have generated so much interest but it did. If you are itching to visit I highly recommend a weekday versus a weekend if you are going for photography and towards the winter if you can. It’s a wee bit steamy in the summer time as I can attest.

These images are more of the views you get around Matlacha versus the funky buildings. I tried to keep the water stuff separate from the funky town stuff since they are very dissimilar. I do know I over sharpened a few of these images so they may look a bit more crispy than normal. It had to do with the new Photoshop action and muscle memory, not me trying to get diamond cutting sharpness out of them. Since I was in series editing mode to go back and correct would have been a real pain in the ass.


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Portland Roses – Part 1

It’s my Mom’s birthday today. She would be the one that comments everyday on every post. She often times mentions that I should have more flowers. I often respond offline that I am not a flower photographer. They were great when I first started in photography but not so much now. I periodically take pictures of them and throw them up on the site to make her happy.

It it with great fanfare that I held these images back from when I was in Portland in May. I had the opportunity to go to the Portland Rose Garden which is free and open to the public. I never knew Portland, Oregon was that into roses but apparently they have a huge festival every year. So before I flew down to San Diego I went with a group and shot a bunch of photos. It seemed a better idea than sitting in a hotel bar or an airport bar.

If you are a lover of roses you are going to like this. Think there are 28 images total and I’ll split them up into 2 parts. I was very basic on the edits simply because there was so many to process. I kept it simple and if there were imperfections on the roses they stayed because to clean up that many images would have been a nightmare. The one good thing I do now versus when I started with flowers is I use gradients and do localized contrast adjustments. This means I don’t get weird background behind the flowers. By using the gradients I can keep the focus on the flower.

Most of these were shot with my Sony A7R and the 24-240mm with a few shot with my Sony RX100M3.


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Upon Reflection

This series was shot while I was at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers, Florida. When I went there I was hoping to get sunset type photos but the trees were blocking my view of the sun which I wasn’t used to because I had been shooting along the river.

With the light dropping and not getting sunsets I adapted and started to shoot the islands and their reflections on the water. It turned out to be one of the longer shoots I did with me walking around the circumference of the lake and the light dropping to almost dark. So I was shooting under constantly changing conditions.

Normally with edits like these I mask in various bits and pieces but with this many in the set I did straight edits and kept the images “pure” for lack of better words. Just curves adjustments and local adjustments using dodge and burn. Standard sharpening and called it a day.


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Flying High Again – Part 1

This series was shot on my return from Fort Myers to Washington DC. I had upgraded my ticket to a Premium Seat for extra leg room. I’m not tall at all but I like boarding early so I make sure my camera bag get into the overhead. It’s worth it to know my gear is safe.

With my upgrade I lucked out and had a whole row to myself! I’m normally an aisle type of guy as I like to get up and stretch on flights but I’ll gladly look out the window when I get the chance. So I quickly reached up and grabbed my Sony RX100M3 and prepared to shoot out the window during the flight.

One of the joys of shooting out an airplane window is that you get shifting light at the plane moves through cloud layers and banks. You also get the joy of shooting through thick glass that usually has someone’s fingerprints or head imprint on it. You can mitigate the imprints with a quick wipe off with your sleeve. Then I should mention the plane doing something like 500+ miles an hour or whatever it is. So you are dealing with constant motion.

With this set I focused on clouds. So they aren’t in sequential order or anything. The next set will focus on the ground. Editing clouds is a bit of a pain in the ass to be blunt. You gotta be extremely careful you don’t blow out the highlights and you still want to put some contrast in to give separation. It’s a fine line and I’m sure I stepped over in a few images. I will say that dehaze and clarity are your friends when you do plane photos. Just don’t abuse them.


PS – Double bonus points if you get the Ozzy reference. Not sure if he was singing about clouds.

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