This weekend I am in Minneapolis to photograph the Indiana State football team take on Minnesota. Actually by the time this posts I will be in the stadium a few hours into my day. I like the idea of following a team on the road, and documenting the trip. So far this has been a fun journey. Above is one of the photos that I made during the flight. Today will be filled with both action and behind the scenes photos. Later tonight I will have an Exposure post with all of my photos up for you to see.
We made our way to the Disney World the day after Christmas. Part of the fun of traveling during the holidays is seeing the different Christmas decorations as you go. As we arrived in Orlando we started off to find the Disney Magical Express buses that would take us to our hotel. As I was walking with my daughter I saw this amazing scene unfold in front of me. The unique nature of this concourse along with the Christmas tree in the middle was just asking for a photo to be made of it. I grabbed my camera out of my bag with one hand while holding Lanie with the other to make this photo. I really love the lines here. They all seem to take you right into the center of the photo to the tree.
Having Your Camera Ready
For most of the trip I had some form of camera near me at all times. Of course we always have a camera with us these days with the iPhone and the other phones that may be more camera than phone. I also had the Canon G16 with me most of the time on the plane and in the airports. For this photo though I reached into my Think Tank messenger bag to grab my Canon 5D Mark III with my Canon 17-40mm lens on it. I wanted the look that the 17-40mm lens would give me along with the high ISO capabilities of the 5D III. I thought that this turned out very well for a quick grab shot.
I normally do not get a window seat on an airplane, but on my flight to Ocean City from Philly I found myself in that window seat. Before I left town I decided to take my window mount for my GoPro after watching some cool videos by another photographer Trevor Mahlmann. He has some amazing photos so go and check his new website out. I thought the flight would be short enough for a cool time-lapse so I put my GoPro in the window of the plane. After I made the photos I realized that I had my camera shooting a new photo every ten seconds. That was probably too much time in between frames. On a short flight like this I should have made more images. You learn with each shoot though so I now know that I need to shorten that length. It still is a great way to condense a flight into 16 seconds.
Being Clear About Your Intentions
As I was placing my GoPro on the window the elderly woman next to me started to look a little alarmed. I explained to her what I was doing, and I even showed her my camera. I missed some of the footage at the gate, and I did not check my settings to see that I was at ten seconds because of this. I did however put her at ease, and that was important to me. I never want my photography to make someone uneasy.
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.
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.
Yesterday I finally made the jump and I joined the Creative Cloud. I have been very happy with what I currently use without the need to be in the cloud. I think that I just thought that the $9.99 a month price for the photography plan. I think that I could use the video features in the cloud, but I don’t use them enough to justify spending $40 more a month for the full suite. During the Adobe Event last week they mentioned that the cloud pricing for the photography plan was frozen where it was. That is something that I have been waiting to hear. What finally tipped the scales for me was the fact that Lightroom Mobile was thrown into the mix. I like the idea of having some of my collection available to me. Say I am on a plane coming home from a trip. Having the photos from the trip in the cloud to edit is great. It would make editing a bit easier. I don’t think that it is feasible for my sports photography workflow, but it might help make weeding through my vacation photos a bit easier. Just for fun I went through and took a photo from my last trip and edited it from start to finish on the Lightroom Mobile app. I took screenshots along the way, and then uploaded them right into Lightroom from the app. I don’t think that for most photos I will get my final photo from this process, but it is a way to see what you have quickly. I will probably revisit this idea in the future to see what I think as time goes by.
Editing My Vacation Photo on the Lightroom Mobile App
I am not a professional reviewer. I can only speak to what I have seen with the camera using it for everyday images. This is a camera that I thought would solve a lot of problems when I bought it. I wanted a camera that I could take to concerts, or just have in my pocket so that I wouldn’t have to lug my dSLR around in everyday situations. I went to Best Buy with a couple of cameras in mind, but a sales rep talked me into this Nikon. My main concern was that I wanted a camera with manual controls, and the person in charge stated that it did have them in the menu system. Of course the camera could not turn on for me to see the controls. When I pulled the camera out and charged it I realized that I had been lied to. The camera performed very well though in good light so I thought that maybe it was a keeper after all. When I took it to my first concert I realized that I was very wrong. The camera would hit on an image every now and then, but for the most part it would give me a terrible blown out image.
The first day that I had the camera I made an image of a diner just south of town that I really liked. I can’t say this enough that if you have good light this camera can do some great things. The problem with that is that most situations that I wanted to use it in that involved family are inside where the camera did not perform very well. The smart setting on the camera would do its best though, and was very useful. It made candid moments easy to photograph. You didn’t have to worry about the settings, you could just point and shoot. I took this camera into the delivery room when my daughter was born last year. I had it in the smart mode, and it helped me make some of my favorite photos. Of course the room is well lit because of the operation in progress.
Nikon Coolpix S9500 Pros and Cons
Size of camera
Long zoom capability (550mm)
Smart mode is great
18 megapixels in a point and shoot
Pop up flash is very powerful for a small light
If you are into filters there are options in camera
Picture quality fades quickly as the light does
Charging problems early in life
No manual controls
GPS continuously searches for your location killing your battery
Here is another video showing a bit of the processing process. I think that each photo is a bit different, and I like to show a bit of what goes on. You can see the decisions that make the final photo what it is. In a perfect world I would have had a bit of video of the actual shoot, but while traveling I was not thinking about that. I think that in the future I will have to make a video down here because it is a great way to go for a walk. I am glad that airports see the value in this type of art. It makes a boring walk a work of art.
While we were in O’Hare Airport I had a little extra time. I did not spend much of it photographing the airport, but I did break out the camera for a while. My daughter really loved this walkway into concourse C of the airport. She loved the sounds as well as the lights. I of course loved it as well. After spending some time down here with her I ran back up to grab my camera. I knew that it would be impossible to relate the beauty of the scene, but I could give an overall feel for it. This is one of those situations that you would love to have a lot of time and a tripod. I had neither so I tried to be as still as possible to make this image.
This is a beautiful work of art by Michael Hayden called ‘Sky’s the Limit.’ I may have to try and photograph this from a different angle each trip through the airport. I have a couple of other shots that will make their way onto this blog in the future.
As I said I had no tripod with me. They frown on using those in the airport anyway. I had to crank up the ISO, and stay as still as possible for this shot. I bracketed in manual after coming up with the metered exposure. The scene was really fooling the camera so I had to dial it in on my own. I took the three photos into Photomatix Pro 5 to fuse them together. After they were fused in the program I sent the 32 bit file back into Lightroom 5 to use the sliders there to edit the photo. I just seem to get a more realistic result this way. I used to use the sliders in Photomatix every time, but I really feel more comfortable using the sliders in Lightroom. I started off by trying out a couple of presets on the photo. From there I can tweak the photo more to my liking. I made a video of the edit that you can see below. I feel that this makes it a bit easier to see what I am doing. The processing in Photomatix takes quite a bit of the beginning of the photo. I used the deghosting feature as well so it really took some time. I sped things up so that you didn’t have to see the process in real time. At the end of the video I used the presets in Photomatix to edit the photo as well. I just wanted to see what the result would be in there. In the end I liked the darker version that I made in Lightroom a bit better.
While coming back from Colorado last year we had a fairly long layover in Atlanta. I knew that I would see a good show as the Super Bowl was getting ready to start. What I did not count on was an even better show out the window as the sun went down. While everyone else seemed to be focused on the pre game on the TV I was focused out the window. With a little patience I was able to make this photo.
This blog has been on autopilot for about the last week as I prepared to leave town for a couple of days. Tomorrow I should have some fresh pictures from my time in Pennsylvania.
For this photo I used a preset called A Golden Daytime in Lightroom 5. It really seemed to make the photo pop for me. It is nice to get out and try some other presets every once in a while. After applying the preset I performed an exposure and vibrance adjustment. I then used the graduated filter tool to darken the sky to the level that it was when I was there. That filter works great on a scene like this with a fairly level horizon. Trees or other objects that rise up take on the same levels as you are applying to the sky. Here though I was able to give it the look that I wanted.
Over at my SmugMug site I have cut the price on all of my photos for the summer. If you visit my site at pinolaphotography.com you can order any item that I sell for 50% off from now until Labor Day. Just use the coupon code ‘summer’ at the checkout.