I’ve slowed down a little – could you tell?

There’s nothing like a three week break between posts to demonstrate how much I’ve slowed down in my shooting.  Just to be clear, though, it’s only my shooting that has slowed down!  I’m spending more time studying new techniques and continuing work with those I’ve already added to my ‘toolkit.’  Also, it is Spring so I have to spend a little more time at home working on the yard and taking care of business in general.

I’ve continued my exploration of in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR), as you will see below.  As explained in a previous post, HDR is the process of combining multiple exposures to utilize the best parts of each image for best detail from shadows and highlights.  After figuring out the settings, it works much better than I originally thought.  I noted an interesting part of the in-camera process the other day.  While reviewing several sets of exposures, I saw that the camera floated the ISO setting to obtain the underexposed image.  When I manually create multiple exposures, I usually float my shutter speed to create the over- and under-exposures.  I never adjust the aperture because of the impact to depth of field.  In addition, I’ve been exploring the Nik Efex filters and the variety of options available in Photomatix Pro.  I made these pictures at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, with the Sierras as the background.  They will demonstrate better than words.

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In-camera HDR with minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Another problem with in-camera HDR is that the file is in JPEG format, which limits post-processing options.

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This image was made from the same set of exposures as the one above. I combined the exposures in Photomatix Pro with additional processing in Nik. I received feedback from another photographer, telling me I needed to change my camera settings to minimize noise and also be careful of chromatic aberration. I’ll discuss these topics in future posts.

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This in-camera HDR was processed in ACR.

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Also in-camera and processed in ACR.

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I should have shifted a touch to the left to keep Jobs Peak from hiding behind the wheel spoke.

My lovely bride and I are members of the Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch, and I’ve been working with the Curator on some note cards for them to sell.  Here’s a couple of the options we are discussing.

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I took this image several years ago when I didn’t know what I was doing photographically. There are those who will argue that I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll leave that alone for now. This image was shot in low resolution JPEG format at the wrong time of day, but I was able to work it enough to make this image – formatted for a large note card.

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Just for grins, I made it monochrome and applied a sepia filter. This will probably not make the cut for the final note cards.

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Better light and better angle. Jobs Peak is visible in the left side of the picture.  This one will be on the note cards.

The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park teamed up with the Carson Valley Arts Council for an event called Something in the Wind.  A kite group from Oregon came down and put on a wonderful event.  The wind cooperated, sometimes just a little too much.  Here’s a little of the color from the two day event.

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These spinners were on poles – very fun and beautiful.

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Can you tell we had good wind? The spinners came down soon after I made this image.

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Lots of colorful flags, too!

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And then there were the kite fliers – all shapes and sizes! This little guy worked his kite pretty hard.

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The bubbles were quite the hit on Sunday!

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Kites are very beautiful these days!  A far cry from newspaper and sticks that we used.

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The kite folks put these in the air and tethered them, and they flew all day!

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This young man walked by my booth and proudly announced that he just turned 7 and he got this box kite for his birthday! I enjoyed seeing a father and son spending time together.

I stopped by my favorite Owl venue and captured this Barn Owl!

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Looks like a young one by the puffy feathers. I shot this handheld, so it’s not the best focus (camera shake from me and my hands – the low light and long shutter speed also contributed).  A cutie nonetheless.

The nice wet winter brought lots of flowers to the desert.

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This is the introduction for my next shooting technique – Macro Photography! Stay tuned!

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The mountains west of the Carson Valley.

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Shot from the road, looking up hill. But the flowers are gorgeous!

I’m really looking forward to my exploration into the world of Close-up and Macro Photography.  Thanks for looking at this blog.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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What a Rush!!!!!

This week has been wonderful.  While Shooting the West (shootingthewest.org) was awesome, the days before and since were equally wonderful.

I was in the final stages of building my STW presentation and needed a little break, so I decided to try something new – flowers overlaid on a textured background.  I’ve played with the technique before, but not with a specific goal in mind.  I had some textures in a folder, and the flowers from my backyard this Spring were great candidates.  To make a long story short, the results are wonderful and I will be making them into note cards and prints.  I’m thinking about canvas prints, too, but we’ll see.  Here they are!BLND3950-TXTR0250-a-w

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I drove to Winnmeucca last Thursday.   I took my time and enjoyed the drive.  A couple months ago, I got my US 50 Survival Guide from the Nevada Commission on Tourism, so I planned to get a couple stamps while I was on the road.  The Dayton Chamber of Commerce was closed, but Fernley’s was open so I got my first stamp!  For the uninitiated, the US 50 Survival Guide is designed to promote travel on the Loneliest Road in America.  When I get 5 stamps, I qualify for my US 50 Survivor certificate and sticker for my car!

While on the road, I got a call from a senior center in Carson City.  They were hosting a fundraiser for wild horse adoption, and wondered if I would bring some wild horse pictures to display and sell.  The fundraiser was on Tuesday, so I would have to work quick when I got home on Sunday.  I agreed and put it on my calendar.

I got to Winnemucca in good time, so I stopped by the Convention Center to check in and coordinate my presentation with the audio-visual tech.  He downloaded my file and everything worked, so that was one less thing to worry about.  I bumped into a friend who was finishing his workshops, so we grabbed our cameras and headed for the Humboldt River for a few pictures before dinner.  All we found were small birds, so we visited the local Museum.  I encourage you to stop in when you visit Winnemucca – the Museum is great!

Dinner with more friends at the Martin, a local Basque restaurant.  It was a busy night so we had a wait, but it was worth it!  I had pork ribs that were wonderful!

Friday morning and Shooting the West kicked off for me.  I enjoyed seeing old friends, making new ones, and meeting people that are friends on Facebook.  The presentations were great, with diverse subjects and beautiful images.  The keynote speaker was Drew Gurian, who discussed his work as a photographer in New York City.  Other presentations included ranch photography, large format photography, and a wildlife photography presentation, along with presentation of awards for the Range Outback Photo Contest.  I had a great conversation with  the Canon representative, who showed me how to use the in-camera HDR feature on my 7D Mark II.  An interesting process, worthy of a few pixels sometime.  (See my blog ‘An Amazing Week for Me’ on March 29, 2016, for a discussion on High Dynamic Range photography).

My presentation was Saturday afternoon, but I wasn’t worried.  I had practiced and I was ready.  I paid close attention to the morning presenters.  I was almost sold on mirrorless cameras until the presenter told us about the negatives – short battery life and very susceptible to getting dirty when changing lenses.  I enjoyed the presentation on photo workshops and tours, but started to get a little nervous as my start time got closer.  Finally, it was my turn.  I took the stage and, of course, the AV tech ran into difficulty starting my presentation.  I knew it would happen, but I only had 15 minutes and a couple jokes.  He resolved things quickly and I began.  Don’t ask me what I said – I have no idea, and I only had to rush a little at the end.  I got great feedback from everyone afterwards, so I feel good about it.

Sunday morning, and I’m off to the car show and air show at the airport.  Here’s a little of what I saw!

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I forgot the year, but this is a Hupmobile.

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You see the darndest things at a car show. The guy on the left was showing this home-built camp trailer, towed by his Model A.

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There were several military vehicles there. This is a beautiful Willys Jeep.

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The local tractor club was showing, too. I always enjoy an old Ford tractor.

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I didn’t get close enough to see if it was armed or not!

After the car/plane show, I headed east to Battle Mountain to have lunch with an old Air Force friend and his wife.  On the way, I decided to try that in-camera HDR feature.

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This is the in-camera image. It’s nice, but a little off from what I like in an HDR image.

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Using the bracketed exposures, I merged them in Photomatix with a little nicer result.

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Another in-camera image. Notice the ‘ghosting’ or multiple images of the car on the right side of the image. When using this feature, I will have to be careful to ensure that nothing moves, since the camera aligns the bracketed exposures, but doesn’t account for ghosting.

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Here’s the merge I did in Photomatix. Bottom line – in-camera HDR could be useful in the right place at the right time, but it will not replace my existing HDR workflow.

On Monday, I got ready for the fundraiser on Tuesday.  The money raised will support the Nevada Discovery Ride (www.NevadaDiscoveryRide.com).  This August, Samantha Szesciorka and her horse, Sage, will undertake a 1,000 mile journey to encourage wild horse adoption.  The weather was excellent and I met many nice people – sales were good, too!  Samantha is very nice, and I wish her well on her ride.

Okay, that’s it for this post.  I’m taking a little time and working on the yard (I finally mowed the lawn this morning!), but I will be showing at Something in the Wind at the Dangberg Ranch on May 14 and 15.  Come on by and see the kites – make sure you say hello!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR