Photo of the Day

Here is another photo that I re-worked a bit since it last appeared on this blog. I made this photo last September as I was getting ready to watch Purdue take on Notre Dame. I had already shot one football game from the sidelines earlier in the day. I was not even going to go to the football game, but a promising sunset lured me in. I bought a seat on the side of the field opposite the press box and the sunset as high up as I could go. I had an idea in my head, but mother nature just had to cooperate. When I purchased my ticket the girl that sold it to me acted like I was crazy for wanted to be up that high. There were still plenty of tickets available below me. As the game drew near the seats really started to fill up. I knew that I would have the fans that my shot needed. From past experience I knew that the team would have an explosive entrance as well. I just needed the sunset to fall into place. It really did for me. The sun set at a time that allowed all of the light to even out. A nice glow occurred over the stadium, and it seemed to match the fire from the players’ entrance.  My $70 gamble really paid off for me. I would not know just how much it paid off until the next day when my feeds blew up over the image. This image will always hold a place in my heart because of the access that it allowed me to have. I shot the rest of the football season from the sidelines because of this photo. The contacts that it gave me also allowed me to shoot for the University by the end of the season. Sometimes all you need is a little luck, and there was a lot of it involved here for this image.

Technical Data

I really wanted to try a complex HDR image here. I thought that I could capture all of the light in the scene that way. What I found was that by altering the metered exposure I could get a similar result without having to mask in the moving portions of the photo. At the time I just performed a quick edit so that I could post the image the next morning. I had planned on going back to it later. Well because of the way that it blew up I had to edit the image quickly. I had seen a version of it that Paul Sadler at Purdue had done, and I loved the way that he made it come to life. For the past nine months or so that is how this image looked. I tried to bring out the detail in the shot. I also got rid of the two light towers that were brought in for the game. When I came back to edit the photo I decided to take out the cell tower as well. It just seemed like another eye sore. I pumped up the vibrance in the image as well. The final step was to add a James Brandon preset to the image. I really like his blue-yellow polarizer preset. It makes blue hour images look fantastic. After the additional work I needed to clean up some noise as well. This is where the noise reduction inside of Lightroom 5 comes in handy. I adjusted the sliders there to clean up the image a bit more. I think that this is how this image will stay. I love the colors of it, and I can’t see anything else to work on. After nine months I finally added my spin to the image.

Photo Sale!

This photo is hanging inside of Mackey Arena, and it can hang in your house too. From now until Labor Day I have decided to place all of my prints on sale. All you need to do is to enter the coupon code ‘summer’ at the checkout of my SmugMug page here to get 50% off all of the prints that I sell. You can also click on the image to be taken directly to this photo to purchase it. Now is the time to buy if you have a print in mind.

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Photo of the Day

Tune in to 91.7. That is what the sign says on the outside of my brother’s house in Martinsville, Indiana. Every year he puts on a display of lights set to music that just seems to get bigger every year. You can see more about his display on his Facebook page here. I had a big plan for this photo, but for some reason it really did not turn out how I thought it should. The good news is that I have time on my side to make it better.

Technical Data

For this photo I had an idea in mind. Perhaps it was too far reaching of an idea. I wanted to get a picture of the house with all of the lights on, and then shut the lights down, and get a picture of the stars in the sky around the house. Trying for both at the same time would not work, but separately it could. I could then mask the photos together in Photoshop. I admittedly am not very good in Photoshop. In fact with the new edition that I own I couldn’t even figure out how to get the two photos into the same project for a while. Eventually I merged the two photos together. Somewhere in the dark of the night though my focus must have been off. I don’t like the look of the stars here. I think that this really is a photo that deserves a redo. Sometimes the fun of having a big idea is going through the process of figuring out just how to make it happen. It is that challenge that makes photography fun for me.

Photo of the Day

Today I thought I would post another photo from New York. This one was taken at the East Coast World War II Memorial. The memorial is actually nice because of the way that it is laid out. Facing the direction I was you get a very nice background for the eagle that guards all of the names on the walls. The eagle looks out directly towards the Statue of Liberty. I stumbled across this statue while walking around Battery Park in 2008. It was dedicated in 1963 by John F. Kennedy just a few months before he himself was killed. Despite what the picture looks like this actually is an area that is very busy.

Technical Data

As I said above this is a very busy area. I decided that this picture would be a good one to try out the content aware brush in the new Photoshop program. I was just going to get rid of a couple of the people in the photo, but I just kept going. It was a challenge to remove some of them, but that is what made it fun. I am not the best with Photoshop, but slowly but surely I am getting better. I toyed with leaving a couple of key people in the shot, but how could I stop removing them?

Photo of the Day

Last week I helped my brother move into his new house near Martinsville, Indiana. While I was sad that he was moving away I was happy that he and his wife are starting a new adventure. After spending two days moving things around I decided that I would find something pleasing on the way home. After seeing some of the pictures that Chris Harnish Photography has made at the falls I decided to go myself.  I looked at the trip more like a scouting trip because of the harsh midday light coming down. I still went down to the falls to see what I could see. I really liked the scene so I decided to make a couple of pictures. This is a location that I will visit many times I feel because there are so many possibilities with the many falls and streams.

Technical Data

This photo was one that used a couple of techniques to make. Because of the harsh light I decided to make this an HDR image. I had three exposures that I took on the scene at -2, 0, and +2. I had my .8 ND filter on the lens. That allowed the water to ghost out a bit. When the shots are fused in Photomatix Pro that ghosting is enhanced even more. I usually take the 32 bit file back into Lightroom to work on it, but I processed it in the program here. For some reason I really liked the Trey Ratcliff Lightroom preset called Basic Black Dress on this picture. It really gave it a great look. I adjusted the preset a bit, but for the most part it was good from the get go. The only other fix was to open the photo in Photoshop CS6 to get rid of the power lines that go across the stream with the content aware tool. Why run power lines in a scenic location right? This is a photo much like one I would have made early on, but I hope that I have made it realistic as well.

Behind the Scenes Video

I thought that I would post another video of my trip so that you could see what I see on location. I didn’t have my GoPro that day, but I did have my Nikon point and shoot that takes great video. It is not the most exciting video, but you can see a bit of what I do on location. The video is directly below this section.

Photo of the Day

I posted one picture of this lighthouse already, but this one might just be my favorite. From what I can tell I might have just been standing in Maryland while I took this picture of this Delaware lighthouse. This is a picture that I would normally have not taken in the past. I will get into that more later. This is a nice little lighthouse that was a pleasure to make photos of. Sometimes it is the small little trips that are the most fun. I did not spend much time here at the lighthouse, but it is a great memory from a very fun vacation.

Technical Data

This is where the fun starts. I have been having fun doing minimal processing to my images. This one however is very different. I first took three pictures on the scene bracketed at -2, 0, and +2. Back at home I ran those three images through Photomatix to fuse them together. I then sent the 32 bit file back to Lightroom so that I could use the sliders there. I used a Matt Kloskowski preset called HDR in Lightroom (medium) on the image to start. From there it was a task to massage the sliders to get the look that I wanted. When I had the image close to where I wanted it I opened it up in Photoshop. There I took out the six power lines that ran directly through the image. Normally I would not have even taken this shot because of the power lines. Here I took it because I liked the angle, but also to test out the content aware tool in Lightroom. I was not let down as it made the lines disappear without a trace. I really have fallen in love with this part of the program. Shots that were too cluttered to take are not very doable. I then took the photo into Perfect Effects 4 by On One Software. I wanted to see what the program could do for me. I applied one of the glow effects called “Orton Hears a Who” to the photo. I only ran it at about 20% opacity, but it did make the picture look better for me. That is all that was done here. I think I only left out two programs that I could have used. Maybe I can work those in next time.

Photo of the Day

Here is another picture from my trip to Ocean City last year. I made one of my favorite pictures that I have taken a couple of docks down just about an hour later. I liked the idea of this English phone booth right outside of the small restaurant. I wanted to make a picture of the scene, but for some reason I never really liked what was there. A lot of clutter got in the way of what I had in mind.

Technical Data

This is a groundbreaking picture. It is the first picture that I edited in Photoshop CS6. I recently picked up the program, and I love what it can do. With the program I was able to take out a dolly and a power line. Both of those items really were not something that I wanted in the shot, and I liked it much more without them. This was a three shot HDR image that I processed first in Photomatix. I liked part of the end result, but it was a little flat for me. I took it into Lightroom 5, and added some blacks as well as a little highlights. I thought that it was much more realistic, and didn’t look as flat to me. Over time I will be able to learn Photoshop a bit more, but for now I love the power that the content aware brush has. Ugly power lines will no longer be a problem, because they can be removed.