Dinner at Hooper’s Crab House

A Replica Dale Earnhardt Barn

Our first night in Ocean City, Maryland we ate at Hooper’s Crab House. This is an annual stop. On my first visit to this restaurant I made a picture that is now framed in my house. You can see that photo here. The food is good, and the inside of the restaurant is a photographers dream. I did not spend much time photographing the restaurant this time as I spent time with the family. I had also made some photographs of the interior on my previous trips. From my seat though this was the view to my left. I did manage to snag this shot during the night.

Shooting With the Canon Powershot G16 on Vacation

My camera of choice most of the time on this vacation was the Canon G16. It is small and compact, but it also gives my 12 megapixel files that I can really edit when I shoot in RAW. I have really come to love the portability of this camera. If I am shooting for fine art purposes I still think that I would choose the 5D Mark III, but for family shots and snapshots like this one you can’t beat the G16.

The Laughing Gull

Watching the Black Headed Gull

While in Maryland I could not help but watch the laughing gull. They are everywhere, and they make themselves known. They have a  loud screech which is very audible, and gives the gull its name. They are also very bold. On the boardwalk they actually stole part of my lunch one day as well as taking the famous boardwalk fries from many vacationers.

I made this photo while looking at the horses of Assateauge Island. A storm started to roll in while I was out on a walk, a bunch of birds flew overhead. I decided to try my hand at making bird photos. I liked how this one turned out even though it is of a gull. They were a part of my vacation, and why not include them here?

Editing the Photo in Lightroom 5

The grey skies of an approaching storm really makes this a rough photo. The gull needs to be white, and I had to work a bit to get it there. The auto white balance in the camera was fooled so I had to adjust my white balance in post. Of course I shoot RAW so that is no problem. From there it was a couple of minor tweaks to the white and black sliders to bring out both a bit more. This is a great way to bring in more contrast. I also cropped in a bit since I was shooting with the 70-200mm lens. I would have loved to have taken my 300mm lens, but for the limited shots I would use it for it would not be worth lugging it across the country. Here the 70-200mm once again proved to me what a great lens that it is.

Go Pro Video: Photographing the Sunrise Over the Ocean City Pier

Using the Lee Big Stopper to Photograph a Sunrise

While in Ocean City I made a couple of videos of some of my shoots. On my way home I was kind of upset with myself for not making a time lapse of the sunrise. I was only going to use a snippet of the video in a how to form, but then I decided to just speed the video up. This takes up more space on my hard drive, but does give the same feel as a time lapse. I used the GoPro Studio once again here, and I sped the video up 2000%. I also adjusted the exposure and contrast a bit on the video to show the beauty of the morning. The GoPro was trying to give me something that was 18% grey, but that was boring. The photo of the day for tomorrow was taken during this video. Another thing that I love about the video is watching the seagull trying not to get into the surf, but still getting as close as possible to it. While I was waiting for my exposures it gave me something to watch.

The Ocean Gallery

The #1 Paul McGehee Gallery in the World

No Trip to Ocean City would be complete without a visit to the Ocean Gallery. This is a fantastic building for photographers. Inside the building is a wide variety of art that acts as a great inspiration. Of course as you can see the outside is pretty special as well. You can go for the entire building as I have done here, or you can focus on bits of the building. I have photographed this building every year that I have been to Ocean City so far, and I am sure that I will continue to do so in the coming years. As I was making this photo a storm was blowing in. You can see it in the distance. I had already toured the inside of the gallery, but I did not get a chance to make some pictures outside that I wanted to. The good news is that there is always next year.

Editing This Photo in Lightroom 5 and Photomatix 5

This was another situation where I wanted to use HDR to show the scene the way that I saw it in person. I probably could have used a RAW file here, but I would have had some noise. By using three photos two stops apart I was able to get a much more detailed file to work with. This has become my go to way to deal with a scene that has a high dynamic range. I send the three photos from Lightroom into Photomatix 5 to process them. I normally would deghost the image, but I liked the way that it ghosted the patrons of the boardwalk here to blur the faces. Once the 32 bit HDR file is created I save it, and open it up inside of Lightroom again. I then edit this large file with the powerful sliders inside of Lightroom. I started out with the HDR Look preset by Matt Kloskowski, and then I tweaked the sliders from there to get the look that I wanted. I have been favoring punchy photos lately, and this one is no different.

Sunset in Ocean Pines

Looking For the Great Light in Ocean City, Maryland

During this last trip to Ocean City I decided to try and chase the light a little more. With a family it is not always feasible to make every sunrise or sunset. For the most part I was watching the sunset with my family. One night after dinner though my niece came inside to tell me that the sky was a great color. I looked out, and I saw that it was pink. I made a few pictures with the pink sky, and then it started to change. It really was amazing how much the sky changed in a five minute period. A small rain storm must have been a couple of miles away, and the introduction of those clouds just amped everything up tremendously. The pink sky with the purple clouds made me very happy. I was not able to see the end of the sunset on this night, but I can only imagine that it was amazing.

Editing This Photo in Lightroom 5

On the scene that day I made three images two stops apart each with HDR in mind. I have not been doing much HDR lately, but in a scene like this I knew that I needed all of the range that I could get. Having two stops on either side of the metered exposure gives me a lot of data to work with in post. I sent the 32 bit file back into Lightroom to use the sliders inside of Lightroom to work on it. You can see how flat the 32 bit image is below. You really have to realize that this is just the beginning, and the file has a lot of data in it. For this photo I used the HDR Look preset by Continue reading

Inspiring Images: Almost 76 by Joe Azure

Inspiring Image

The chain continues as I keep this portion of the blog going. I first found Joe Azure through a podcast by Thomas Hawk who is the subject of the last Inspiring Image post. Joe has some fantastic work, but it is his images of the Golden Gate Bridge that really took my breath away. His images are the reason that we stopped in San Francisco for a day last year. I wanted one morning with the Golden Gate Bridge. I found out very quickly that one day is not enough. His many images of the bridge tell me that you will always want one more shoot with the bridge. His shots are some of the iconic images of the bridge.

How to Find Joe Azure

Joe uses SmugMug to host his website. You can view it here to purchase some of his images. If you like the photo that accompanies the post you can just click on it to be redirected to his site. I personally also have Joe in my circles on Google+ here. You can also find links to his other social media contacts on the front page of his website linked above.

The Sky Is The Limit at O’Hare

Another View of a Beautiful Walkway

Last month while traveling I had some time to make some photos of this now iconic walkway at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Michael Hayden used neon to make a boring airport connection terminal into a work of art. I spent some time here with my daughter who loved the lights, but then went back to get my camera. I would love to spend a couple of hours here to capture all of the nuances of the tunnel. This time I did not spend too long though. I do have some ideas for my next visit though. Today I will once again spend some time in airports, although I doubt I see anything this beautiful.

Processing This Photo in Photomatix 5 and Lightroom 5

This is not an easy task to capture all of the light in this tunnel. Thanks to HDR though I could show what my eye sees, but my camera does not. On the scene I made three photos two stops of light apart at -2, 0, and +2. I then sent them into Photomatix Pro 5 to fuse them together. I used the auto de-ghosting function of the program with the intent of slightly blurring the travelers in the scene. The de-ghosting works well in the program, but it sometimes gets confused in auto mode. I was counting on that here. I then sent the 32 bit file that Photomatix produced back into Lightroom 5 to process it there. For some reason I think that I get a more realistic result this way. I started off with the HDR Look preset by Matt Kloskowski. I then adjusted the temperature to 3700k. From there the photo just needed some subtle tweaks of the sliders to get it to where I thought it should be. The final element here was a crop to take out a distracting element on the left.

Bonus Video

Below is a video that I made while editing another photo from this tunnel. You can see that post here. The editing process was very similar for the two photos.

Judge Harry Truman Sat Here

The Jackson County Courthouse

One of my favorite Presidents is Harry Truman. In 2005 I followed some of his footsteps around Missouri. The main goal of the trip was to follow Truman, but I did pick a weekend that the White Sox were in town. While he was part of the town Truman put a statue of Andrew Jackson on one side of the courthouse. It is only fitting that the town would erect a statue of Harry on the other side of the courthouse. The courthouse is now just a relic of an older time. No offices are in here anymore. The courthouse has now become another piece of Harry Truman history that you can walk through.

Using the Kodak CX6330

This is one of my older photos. This Kodak camera is the one that I started using when I had to give the Sony Mavica back to my parents. I actually received this camera as a gift so that I would give the other camera back. The first thing that I noticed about this camera was the way that it rendered colors. The Mavica was a bit desaturated, but this Kodak was great. I used this camera for about a year before it broke on me in Illinois. I was driving through a bad storm with my air conditioning on. As I opened the window to make a picture of the storm something popped in the camera, and it never came back on. The humidity must have busted something in it. That paved the way for my next point and shoot which then showed me the way to a dSLR. I would love to visit Independence and Kansas City Missouri again with my current gear. Many shots I was just not able to make with the gear that I had in the low light. Now I know that I would be able to make them.

The Madam Carroll and a Lake Freeman Sunset

Photographing Sunsets With the Canon G16

This view has become very familiar to me this past summer. The sun setting over Lake Freeman. I have captured it a few different ways, but it really seems to look different every time. A couple of weeks ago I did not get the color that I was hoping for from the sunset. I did get a nice scene though that I knew would look good in silhouette. I was up on the deck of the lake house so I had a nice separation of the boats on the water. Normally I like to be as low as I can be, but here it seemed to work very well. I had my Canon 5D Mark III in the car, but the scene happened very quickly, and all I had on my was the Canon Powershot G16. I put it into manual mode, and used the viewfinder to dial in the scene. That is a great thing about the G16 is that you can see the results of your settings change in real time in on the screen. The shot came out pretty good, and with some luck the boats added some interest to the photo.

Editing The Photo in Lightroom 5

For this photo I didn’t want a preset to work off of. I knew that I just needed a couple of tweaks to make it the way that I saw it in person. I adjusted the highlights and the exposure to start off. I then applied a graduated filter to the scene to darken the sky a bit. The range of light was huge here, and the RAW file helped me bring out all that I saw in person. A slight temperature adjustment, and I was done with the photo.

Gear Review: Wasabi Power For GoPro

Wasabi Power for GoPro

Reviewing the New Line of Wasabi Power

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the Wasabi batteries and how they worked just as well as the older GoPro batteries. With the new GoPro Hero 3+ they came out with a Lithium Ion Polymer battery. That battery was supposed to last longer, and it really does. Without missing a beat Wasabi has come out with their version of the battery, and it is a winner as well. The old battery would only last around an hour. This new one can go above 1.5 hours with the right conditions. It really is amazing, and of course you cannot beat the price. After writing the previous review I decided to upgrade to the newer batteries. Of course I wanted all of the toys that came along with them.

Buying the Kit

Above you can see all that I received in my kit from Amazon that I purchased for $33. For that low price you get two batteries, a dual wall charger, a dual slot USB car charger, and the dual slot USB wall charger. Keep in mind that one GoPro battery is $20. This is a great bargain that is well worth the money. I first took a chance on Wasabi thinking that getting the wall charger was well worth my money. This time I wanted all of the peripheral equipment, but the batteries are now a known commodity. They are great, and a lower cost alternative to the GoPro battery. You can purchase the batteries here on Amazon. By giving you the link I think that you can guess what my verdict is here. Buy the batteries as quick as you can. They are worth it, and on an older GoPro Hero 3 you will get longer run times than with the battery that came with the camera by at least a half an hour.