As promised – car show pictures…

In my last post, I promised pictures from the Holy Smoker’s Car Show (May 2) and Big Mama’s Car Show (May 9).  I tried some new shooting techniques at Holy Smoker’s, using neutral density (ND) and circular polarizer filters alone and in combination, with interesting results.  As a result, the images you see below and in the Automobiles page took a lot of work in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  This is good in several ways.  I learned: 1) how to use these software packages better; 2) the value of shooting in RAW format, and; 3) most importantly, this filter combination doesn’t always work in certain lighting conditions.  My journey continues.  Let’s look at a few pictures.  (Go to the Automobiles page for a few more pictures.)

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Who doesn’t love a well done Woodie? This is a gorgeous 1940 Ford.

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I don’t remember what year this is, but my feeble memory says 1932…if only I could read that license plate…

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This 1940 Ford Pickup belongs to my good friend, Charlie. He went a little wild and widened it several inches. More elbow room, I think…

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I don’t normally take pictures of cars that aren’t Fords, but who can pass up a 1928 Franklin that looks this great?

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To prove I was there – here’s my ’66 Mustang hardtop. Darn tree put my car in shade all day, and the guys in the background were manning the barbecue grills. Yes, I gave her a bath when we got home.

After working on the Holy Smoker’s pictures, I revisited my shooting techniques and decided I was over thinking and trying too hard.  For Big Mama’s, I left the ND filters in the bag and just shot with the circular polarizer.  I like the results and the amount of work in post-production much better.  As a warning to all of you aspiring photographers out there (and a reminder to me), remove your ultraviolet (UV) filter before you attach your circular polarizer.  I used both last year and got a condition called ‘vignetting’ (dark areas in the corners).  The journey continues!!!

Here are a few images from Big Mama’s.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook have seen these pictures, but you haven’t seen the pictures on the Automobiles page.

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I have the filters worked out, but now I need to work on the finer points of composition, like ask the nice people making the shadows on the fender to move out of the way…my ’66 Mustang hardtop.

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My good friend, Mike, took second in class (gotta’ wipe off the grass from the tires to win the tie breaker) but was picked ‘Best of Show.’ Fudge will be on next year’s show t-shirts.

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Another friend, also named Mike, brought this beautiful 1928 Lincoln tow truck to the show. Last year he brought a 1912 Speedwell (featured on this year’s shirt as the kid’s choice).

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Not seen on Facebook – here’s the rear of the Lincoln tow truck. See, it really could pick up your car and take it somewhere.

Here’s a teaser to get you to go to the Birds page.  Some of our friends have been watching a Great Horned Owl pair in the tree across their driveway.  This Owl pair had two babies about two months ago.  I finally made time to get some pictures.  This is one of the babies.  The rest of the family was off somewhere.

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No, this little one’s not glaring at me – that’s just the way Owls look.

Well, that’s the fun I’ve had in the last couple weeks.  The journey continues as I try new things – some of which work and many that don’t – but that’s what a journey is all about.  Until next time, enjoy!  PHOTOROGR

Some days the magic works…

Many years ago, I met and fell in love with a wonderful woman.  In one of the greatest moments of my life, she consented to share my life and allowed me to share hers.  A couple weeks before we began our journey together, I started a very brief career as a Deputy Sheriff.  My fellow deputies were always joking about a book we should write, called “Things You Want to Say in Court, But Aren’t Allowed To.”  One of the things we wanted to say was “…some days the magic works…”  This would be in response to questioning by the defense attorney regarding the reasons a procedure, practice, or investigative technique worked (or didn’t work) in one case but not another.  Those funny (and sometimes not so funny) things we always wanted to say have come to mind many times over the years – most recently in the last week.

As you know, I’m marketing note cards featuring my images.  My first note cards were made using a card stock and were 8.5″ x 5.5″ (A9 size, in printing jargon).  Several customers requested smaller note cards on a glossy paper.  After some looking, I found note card blanks that fold to 5.5″ x 4.25″ (A2 size), with a glossy surface for printing.  I bought the paper and began making note cards with wonderful results – until a week ago.  Last week my printer adopted the “some days the magic works” mindset.  After several frustrating days on the phone with technical support, I finally found a way to make the printer work correctly.  The jury is still out, however, as I’m waiting for better consistency (some days the magic works).

Between the printer and other things occupying my time, I haven’t been out shooting as much.  I’ve been watching a Great Horned Owl’s nest in nearby Carson City.  I saw that the eggs hatched and there are two little ones in the nest.  Take a look!

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The first time I saw a baby – peaking over the edge of the nest but not far from Mama.

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Yesterday, Mama was on a limb below the nest. The little ones were very active and loud. I’m not sure if they were hungry or just mad that Mom was taking a break.

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This little one was looking over the edge of the nest towards Mama.

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Today, Mama was back in the nest and the little ones were laying low. The leaves blocked the view (there’s a hint of a fuzzy little head just to the right of Mama) of anything fun.

There are a few more images on the Birds page – take a look!

Into the future, car show season is just around the corner.  I’m working with a new neutral density filter system to make shooting in bright daylight a little easier.  The results will be great.  Until next time – ENJOY!  Photorogr

My ‘Creative Spirit’ is alive and well!

As promised, I’ve been trying new techniques and subjects this week, and I’ve been having a blast.  I haven’t forgotten my familiar subjects, however, and you’ll still see plenty of them.  Before we get to this week’s highlights, I’m very excited to announce that I am offering for sale 4.25″ x 5.5″ glossy note cards.  I printed a set of prototype cards and sold out immediately.  Take a look at the ‘Buy My Images’ page for prices.

Let’s start with my image for last week’s photo challenge – Shutter Zoom.  This technique uses a long shutter speed combined with changing the focal length (or zooming) the lens to create an interesting image.

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This is one of our apple trees. They are leafing early this year and provided a wonderful subject. The only editing I did was a little cropping and ‘vignetting’ (the light color in the colors).

The challenge for this week is a ‘re-do,’ to make another try at a previous challenge.  I didn’t have a plan for this challenge, waiting for the creative spirit to strike.  While shooting at Glen Alpine Falls yesterday (more on that later), I made an image that begged to be black and white.  Here’s my submission for this week’s challenge, a re-do of the black and white challenge.

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Glen Alpine Falls in black and white.

Since I already introduced yesterday’s shoot, here are additional images from Glen Alpine Falls.  The falls are usually much more dramatic this time of year, but the drought and resultant lack of snow pack have really impacted the falls.  They are still beautiful, but this is more typical of water flows in late summer or fall.  I worked on shooting in manual mode, selecting aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, and exploring how changing one impacts the other two.  I normally shoot in aperture priority, as depth of field is my primary concern for birds of prey.  My next go round with landscapes will include different filters.  So much fun to be had!

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Glen Alpine Falls.

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Glen Alpine Falls.

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These rocks are not part of the falls – they are downstream. They have their own water source and create a different kind of waterfall. I noticed the intricate shadows caused by the rock surface, which created a very pleasing pattern. The old and large tree on the left enhances the composition.

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Speaking of great trees growing in an unusual environment, on my way to Glen Alpine Falls I saw this tree growing at the top of a rock cut. The road was built about 60 years ago, and the solid rock slope has eroded away during that time. I am amazed that this tree is growing considering the lack of soil and water supply, and exposed root system. It grows, though, and has for years. Nature is truly wonderful!

The wild horse bands have been great this week, too.  Blue now has three babies, and Blondie has one.  Here are the little ones.

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This is the newest little one – Sydney – one of Blue’s babies.

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My special buddy, Little Jo. She put on quite a show for me the other day.

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And Little Jonah, Blondie’s daughter. She was feeling quiet when I saw her the other day.

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I found Hope having quite a fun time. She was bucking and jumping and roiling in this dirt patch. I kept thinking she found an anthill, but she kept going back and eventually lost interest.

And I found some owls.

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I’ve been trying to make a good image of these two for several months. I finally figured out the right combination of aperture, shutter, ISO, and shooting technique to get an image that I could edit. The light was not nearly this good when I made the image. And the bird on the right took off right after I made this image.

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I found this Horned Owl by accident. She had her head up at the right time. I’ve been back a couple more times, but she keeps her head down more often than not. There will be more of this one in the future.

 

I will close with a couple fun images.  The Manzanita is blooming in the Sierras, so I took this picture.  By chance this morning.  I saw this balloon in the sky over Gardnerville and pulled over in time to catch him descending and landing.  And so, my Creative Spirit is truly alive and well.  New subjects, a number of new shooting techniques, and an eye looking for different opportunities – expect lots of fun in the coming weeks!  Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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Manzanita is beautiful year round, but these pink flowers make it more so.

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Gotta love a hot air balloon in the sky, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background.

 

…and serious work to be done…

The countdown is on!  It’s D-25 to Eagles & Agriculture, and D-38 to Shooting the West.  Of course, Eagles & agriculture is the priority, as I’m showing at the Holiday Inn Express in Minden on Thursday, February 19, and setting up a vendor booth on February 20 and 21 at the Carson Valley Inn.  I’m trying to select the pictures for display, which will also be on sale, and create enough inventory for the booth.  E&A is a big event in the Carson Valley, and I want to put my best foot forward.  Any input from my friends is welcome.

As I discussed last week, I am also trying to learn Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, which is a full time job by itself.  A big thanks to my Photoshop mentors, who let me pop in to ask questions and also take the occasional telephone call, and who don’t pull any punches in their critiques.  I really like it when I don’t have to guess at the message.

These two images consumed a lot of my time this week – an entire afternoon and into the evening, in fact.  This is my first effort at replacing a blown out sky with something better.  It’s not perfect by any means, but I learned so much and the next one will be better.

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I had to overexpose the image to get any detail in the Hawk and the cupola, at the expense of the sky.

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I imported a new sky and spent a long time softening the ‘halo’ that occurs between the new and the old. I will improve my halo removal skills, and work to match the exposures of the subject with the sky to make a better final image. This editing thing is work!

I made time to get out a few times this week, as I can’t sit inside all day.  I think that’s why I enjoyed my career doing construction management so much.  Outside is much better than inside!  I had the pleasure of shooting with my friend, Steve, early last week.  Steve is a retired Navy engineer (no, he didn’t slosh when he walked), so we compared notes on our military time while we were out.  I showed him a few places in the Carson Valley, and found some hawks, owls, eagles, and a coyote.  I wanted to find an American Kestral for him, but that wasn’t in the cards.  Thanks for the great day, Steve!

Here’s a few from my day with Steve and the rest of the week.

Enjoy – Photorogr

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Nope, he’s not walking the plank. He was getting ready to take off.

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One of my best shots of these guys. I processed things differently, with better results.

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Just a pretty picture.

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Again, some new editing techniques. Don’t ask me what I did, because I don’t remember. I have to start writing things down as I edit. Sadly, the trees are starting to bud around here. I don’t think I like that – it’s still January!

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I really like these Red-Shouldered Hawks. They are very photogenic and allow me to take lots of pictures before they leave.