Photo of the Day

On our last day in California I was determined to soak everything in. Of course I had seen a few great bridges during our short trip, but everyday in Sacramento all I had to do was look out the window to see the Tower Bridge from our room at the Embassy Suites. This was no accident. When we booked the hotel we asked for this view. Over the course of the four days we were there I took a few pictures from our window. None of them spoke to me though like this one taken at sunrise on our last day. The sun had come up behind me, but the colors that it gave off were amazing.

Technical Data

This was shot with the intention of making a three shot HDR image. In fact I have included a version that is HDR next to this one in my SmugMug gallery. I liked the colors from this metered exposure better though so I decided to use it. I did use a preset in Lightroom though to get me close. I used Matt Kloskowski’s HDR Look (medium) to get it close, and then I tweaked the sliders to try and recreate the beauty of that morning.

Over the course of the trip I made many beautiful images with the 24-70mm lens that I had just purchased. I love the lens, but here I couldn’t zoom as far out as I would have liked. On a full frame camera that may have worked, but here it did not. I instead switched quickly to the 10-24mm Tamron lens that I have had for over a year. I really like the range it gives me, and it helped me get this shot. I only used a couple of lenses on this trip which just shows how much faith I have in those lenses.

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Photo of the Day

Part of the fun of going to California this year was to see San Francisco. I have always loved the town from afar, and it was amazing to get to visit it. After being up 23 hours Friday I took what amounted to a short nap before getting up to head to the Marin Headlands to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise. I still had not seen the historic bridge before heading out that morning. I made my plans for the shoot completely based off an an e-book by Rob Dweck. The free book gives exact locations for some of the best views of the bridge. I only had one shot at getting the bridge so I wanted a higher location in case fog rolled in. I chose Hawk Hill as my vantage point as it gave me the best view in any conditions. This shot was taken on Conzelman Road just before Hawk Hill though. I couldn’t wait to get a picture, and the light was just right. I pulled over to make this picture. It was a good thing that I did as the gate giving access to Hawk Hill had not yet been opened. I did get some great knowledge while shooting from a very nice local who helped me gain access to another area later on that I would not have tried. A couple of pictures from that quest will appear later on I am sure.

Technical Data

Here is where things get interesting. I set up very quickly on the hill to get a shot before the light came up. I set my camera to f/10 to allow me to get a little longer exposure. I wanted at least a 30 second exposure to smooth out the water, and also to create the light streaks on the bridge from the early morning traffic. I shot three frames in order to make an HDR image in Photomatix. When I was on my way home I processed this image in Photomatix. I saved the 32 bit image, but I also tried to tonemap the image. I really thought that the tonemapping process just created a result that was not very realistic. I opened up the 32 bit image in Lightroom to see what I could do with it. I really worked hard at creating an image here that represented the beauty that I saw that morning. I kept working the sliders until I was happy with the result. Having the information from the three images helped the process very much. The one odd thing that had to be done involves the lower left corner. A car was running on the overlook with its lights on while everyone was shooting. Those lights lit up some brush in that corner that I had to get rid of. I simply used the brush in Lightroom to paint over the brush that was lit, and I just adjusted the exposure until it was blended in like it should have been.

grand valley celebration-8

Sports Photo of the Day

While I was in California I was reading up on the disappearance of former Grand Valley State Lakers quarterback Cullen Finnerty. I had a chance to watch him play his senior season in 2006, and he was a great college quarterback. That season culminated in a National Championship in Florence, Alabama. The picture above shows Cullen (#16) in the middle of the celebration holding the trophy. We were able to meet up with Cullen on the field, and despite being the quarterback on the winning team he was very down to earth, and posed for some pictures with us. This was the end of a great college career that saw him win three National Championships during his four years on the team. Not many quarterbacks can claim that.

I had often wondered what happened to this great quarterback. Watching him on the field I thought that he had that something special that just wins games. I knew it was a longshot, but I thought that he might have stuck with some team in the NFL. I had not heard his name for quite some time until the news of his disappearance broke over the holiday. Of course when you hear the news you hope for the best. Late last night the news of the worst case scenario was released. The young man was taken too young. The details of what happened may never be known, but a great story ends way too early no matter what.

Technical Data

I made this quick and easy by using the light sports preset by Matt Kloskowski. This got me pretty close to where I wanted to be. I got rid of the vignette that the preset has, and moved up the highlights slider. I also cropped in a bit to showcase the players a little better. That was the end of the adjustments here.

red rabbit

Photo of the Day

Today I will be on my way home from California. Last year on the way home I took this picture just after arriving at the Sacramento Airport. When we arrived I was perplexed by this huge rabbit, but the excitement of seeing a new city was too much to stop me. I knew that I would be back in a couple of days. On the way out of town I did stop in order to make this picture. I have seen some interesting things in airports, but this one takes the cake.

If all goes well I will have a new image from the trip for you tomorrow.

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later. 

Technical Data

This was shot in three frames at exposures of -2, 0, and +2 in order to fuse them in Photomatix to make an HDR image. At the time I thought my result looked too fake, and I didn’t like it. The beauty about technology is the way that it helps you see your vision through. I started using Lightroom after this trip, and with a little knowledge I was able to get the photo that I wanted originally. I still ran the three photos through Photomatix, but this time I saved the image as the 32 bit file. After re-importing back into Lightroom I was able to see the photo achieve what I had hoped. In a room that had a wide dynamic range of light I was able to bring all of that back to life. I love it when plan comes together.

stockton burger

Photo of the Day

Last year when we went to California we went to Sacramento right from the airport. We had an idea of a place to eat at, but it was not open. The next choice was this burger joint down the street. As we were leaving I wanted to get a picture of the place where I had my first meal in California. The picture above is the result. I am writing the posts that will show up during my trip early so I have no idea what my eating habits will be while out there. I do know that the burger here was a great way to start the trip off. I ate a couple of new things o the last trip so who knows what will happen this time?

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later.

Technical Data

I was in the middle of my ‘HDR everything’ phase while out in California. Thankfully I also had just started shooting in RAW at the time. I took my metered exposure into Silver Efex Pro 2 to see what I could do. I love this program, and it gives me some great results. Here is a look at what the fine art preset in the program can do. I love the look, and I think that it needed no other tweaks to it. If you haven’t bought the program yet it is now cheaper than ever. It is well worth the money.

sacred city roller derby

Photo of the Day

Last year while in California I was able to see a bout while there. I went to see the Sacred City Derby Girls in Roseville, CA. I was still very green when it came to derby, but I did manage to get a couple of shots that I liked. This is one of the shots that I liked. I think the ease in the face of the jammer compared to the pain in the other faces really shows how the bout went. I may get a chance to see some derby this weekend again, and I have a lot more knowledge behind me if I do.

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later.

Technical Data

This was one of the first images that I used the ‘300 look’ preset by Matt Kloskowski on. I wanted some pictures with some red in them to try it out on, and I thought it might work good here. I love how this looks, and I still like the look. I have not messed around with this as much as I could have since that time, but maybe a few instances this weekend will help me find another use for the preset.

battery park

Photo of the Day

Today I will be nearly as far as you can be across the country from this sculpture. Whenever I think of a trip though I think of my trip to New York in 2008. This was really my first trip somewhere new with a dSLR where I was citywalking. By now I have done some walking in San Francisco, and I will probably be somewhere watching the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge right now. I hope to have some interesting pictures when I get back, but for now enjoy one of my favorites from New York.

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later.

Technical Data

This was a tricky image to edit. I will be the first to tell you that I missed this shot on the scene in New York. I was still a firm believer in the auto mode of my camera. I would give me a good result most of the time. Here though it did not. It was not until nearly five years later that I could rescue it i Lightroom. I used a preset called ‘the 300 look’ that will make an image with a lot of red in it look great. It also helped me make this photo look a bit older, and in my opinion save it.

lisa marie

Photo of the Day

Part of the fun of going to Graceland was hearing the stories of the quick trips that Elvis made in his plane the Lisa Marie. Want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a chance to see snow? Hop in the plane and fly to Denver. I saw this plane in 2006. I was really amazing inside. It had everything that you would need. The interior was amazing, and its owner had died nearly thirty years earlier.

Today I fly on a short trip of my own. I will be in San Francisco today followed by a couple of days in Sacramento. My posts will automatically flow over the next couple of days, but expect some new content about mid week. I will be in the middle of some great sights so I expects to come back with a lot of material for the blog.

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later.

Technical Data

I edited this picture a while back. I used the light sports preset for Lightroom by Matt Kloskowski. I tweaked the sliders a bit after applying the preset, but for the most part this is very close to what the preset did for the photo. I like how it makes my older pictures look.

indy 500 practice

Photo of the Day

Here is another picture from Carb Day last year. Early on in the day they had a practice session for the drivers who would be in the big race on Sunday. I did not make pictures for most of that practice session, but I did manage to make a few. I was high up in the stands trying to make an interesting picture of a car far below me. These were not ideal conditions, but looking through my pictures I realize that I could have done some very interesting things. Next year maybe I will try a couple of things at the track during practice.

Follow My Journey

This is my first trip actively using Instagram. If you want to follow along with my trip follow me on Instagram at pinolaphoto. During the trip I hope to show the journey as well as a couple of sneak peaks at what is to come on the blog later.

Technical Data

I have always liked the way that the pros tilt their images to make it appear as if the car was diving down. I did not shoot it that way, but rather shot as close as my 75-300mm lens would allow. Luckily I had enough room around the image to perform the tilt in Lightroom. I also applied Matt Kloskowski’s light sports preset to the image. With all of that done it just took a couple of tweaks to the sliders to get the image to where I wanted it to be.