Another Post About a Great Light Show

Once again I will talk about my brother’s Christmas light show in Martinsville, Indiana. It is a great show that uses his lights to music to entertain. You can find his Facebook page here if you want to learn more. During the course of the show I walked around to try and capture some unique angles of the show. Here I shot through one tree to his large tree in the yard. I love the depth that it gives. What makes this type of shot so hard is that you have to time things so that you have all of the lights on at once. That is not easy to do during a multi-channel lights show. Here I was lucky that they all fired at once. If you fire when they come on it will be too late. You have to anticipate the moment. Luckily the show is timed to the music so you can kind of do that.

It’s All About the Bokeh

One thing that I wanted to do while shooting the show was to make a couple of nice bokeh shots. I shot the same tree that you see at the top of the post from a close angle to get the above shot. I know that many people think that bokeh shots are for beginners, but I think that there is something beautiful here. I love the mix of colors with the occasional Ven Diagram thrown in for good measure. This is part of the beauty of the season.


Santa Claus Comes Tonight

You have one last day to be nice before Santa brings his goodies tonight. He is probably busy resting up waiting for his big day. It has to be tiring traveling the globe bringing presents to all of the good kids, but someone has to do it. I took this decoration that resembles Santa, and put it a across the room from our tree. With my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens I focused on the jolly man, and made my photo. I wanted to play with the bokeh from the tree a bit before it goes away. This is an exciting time of year. I am the type of person who wants everyone to open their presents early. I can’t wait to see how they like what I have given them. Of course I have to wait to see that, but that time is almost here. It is hard to believe that in a few short hours Christmas will be here, and 2015 will be right behind it. It does not seem like that long ago that we were ringing in 2014. For now though we can enjoy this time with our family as that is what it really is about.

Photo of the Day

Here is another photo on the Stan Laurel sculpture that my father was given for Christmas. I have always thought that Stan was not appreciated the way that he ought to be. His routines have been stolen for years since he performed them. He is one of the all time greats in my opinion.

Technical Data

For this photo I was dealing with a few different sources of light. I worked really hard to try and balance them in Lightroom. I also used the HDR look preset by Matt Kloskowski to give me the look that I wanted. In the end I think that it looks pretty good.

Bonus Video

Usually here I post one of my own videos. Today though I thought that I would post one of my favorite Laurel and Hardy skits. It is a simple premise. One man has to bottle some wine. What ends up happening though is quite different. I hope that you enjoy it.

Over the next few days I will be looking back at some of my favorite photos of the year. To start things off I wanted to do some of the photos that did not make it into any of the other categories. I had a hard time coming up with a name for this one due to the fact that it was such a wide range of topics. I guess still life kind of fits here. No matter what it is called here are my 13 favorite shots without people from this past year.

13.) The first photo here was taken at the Purdue Memorial Union just before Christmas. They have a gingerbread house competition between all of the dining halls. What comes of the competition is really something to see. This gingerbread house showing a scene from the movie ‘Elf’ was one of my favorites.

12.) The ‘Elf on the Shelf’ has become a great tradition in our house. Every year Nobow shows up after Thanksgiving, and leaves with Santa on Christmas Eve. He always surprises us with his hiding spot every day. Sometimes he even gets into our food. Here he is seen eating some icing from our gingerbread cookies.

11.) At the Purdue Memorial Union they have busts of all of the former presidents of the university. This Christmas one extra bust was added. I like the way that they fused the tradition of the Union with Christmas here.

10.) This statue of Laurel and Hardy was given to my father this past Christmas. There is something about this picture that I really like. It is for pictures like this that the title of the post is not my best of this past year, but my favorite.

9.) This photo has appeared twice now in a week. This is an out of focus picture that is something that I love. The bokeh of the Christmas Tree lights really does look great. This is the time of year to make some great portraits in the house. With this as a background how can you go wrong?

8.) Here is another image from AT&T Park. I really loved going to the park, but I took just a few minutes to explore the outside of it before going in. I knew that I wanted to see the Willie McCovey statue located on the other side of the cove that bears his name. There are some nice photo opportunities here, but I liked this one with the Bay Bridge in the background the best.

7.) While traveling along I come across some pretty interesting signs. For some reason this sign in Tipton, Indiana really stuck out to me. This is a place where you can fill your car and your stomach. The way that they have worded it though kind of makes you think that the food will not sit well with you. I had to pull off the road to make a couple of pictures here.

6.) Last February I was in Milwaukee for a couple of days. One of those days saw us at the Children’s Museum. Just outside of the museum is this great statue of kids saying the pledge of allegiance to the flag. In a world that doesn’t see the need to do that anymore this was a very cool gesture.

5.) One of the symbols of my hometown of LaPorte is this indian. This statue has always been near the courthouse in some capacity. I think that its current location just feet from the courthouse is a good one. Oe cold day last March I made this photo of the statue.

4.) This was my first real attempt at light painting. I was sitting in a dark room in the basement with only an old flashlight in my hand. I would then ‘paint’ the light onto my subject while the shutter was open on my camera. It was fun seeing the many ways that I could change the look with just a few strokes of my flashlight. This was a very fun experiment that gave me a desktop background for a few days.

3.) One of the highlights of this past year was going to AT&T Park to see the Giants play the Rockies. I have wanted to see this park for some time, and it was everything that I thought it would be. Seeing the Willie Mays statue in front of the park is a must. It is a great statue that can be photographed from many angles. This is a great memory from a much needed trip.

2.) This photo was taken during a horror expo in Columbus, Ohio. We were in town to get married when we saw that a few things were going on in the convention center. One was a horror convention. I really don’t like this kind of stuff, but I thought that it would make for a good picture or two. After having a fake zombie try and scare the pants off of me I came across these dummies. For some reason I have liked this layered shot of them since I took it.

1.) With the crazy processing that I applied to this photo I think that the Arnold statue takes number one this year. I really like how everything came together here. I knew that I wanted a different look, and I managed to do it. Of course the top two pictures come from a short weekend in Columbus. Maybe I need more time there to see what else the city has to offer.

Photo of the Day

I was trying some things out with my camera yesterday when I decided to try and capture some of the lights on our Christmas tree in bokeh. That is to say that my goal was to take an out of focus picture of our tree. It is not often that something so out of focus can look that nice.

Technical Data

Not much was done here. I pumped up the colors a bit, but with a photo like this not much was needed to be done. I did crop in a bit to get rid of some of the black space on both sides of the photo. The crop gave the photo a bit of an Instagram feel to it.


Photo of the Day

Yesterday I went back up north for the day. I had a few things to do in my old hometown, but I really wanted to see what the Lighthouse looked like in the next town over. After lunch we drove to Michigan City to see the historic lighthouse there. I was hoping for a north wind which I got, but I did not expect the lake to be down as much as it was. I guess it has been a while since I have been up there. The icy pier and lighthouse that I was hoping for was not there. A dull sky also made for some boring pictures. I tried a couple of things that I normally would not have done, and I liked the result here. I went for some detail of the area, and was rewarded.

Technical Data

I shot this picture three times. Something seemed to be missing the first two times I did it. I opened the lens all the way up to blur the background, and I liked the shot right away. When I imported the shot into Lightroom I forgot to turn off the sports preset on import. I liked the look, but did tweak it a bit to my taste. On a day when I thought I would come away with no keepers I was very happy with this shot.

navy pier bokeh

Photo of the Day

I nearly forgot to post a photo today with the basketball game and everything else going on. In a way I am glad though as with the ice storm that came through here I knew that I would want to post a warm looking picture. I took this in 2011 while on my first photowalk at Navy Pier. We were working on some bokeh techniques and I saw a perfect scene to have in the background. I really liked how this picture turned out. It has a nice subject, and also lets you know where you are. Here is to warm weather.

Technical Data

I ran this jpeg through Lightroom to see what I could do here. I used a preset called Grandma’s Lemonade that I got free from On One Software. I love the look, and it really made this picture pop.

Photo of the Day

This past week I was introduced to a new friend. His name is Nobow. He is the Elf on the Shelf that comes to our house every year just after Thanksgiving. Every morning we wake up and look to see where he is, and we have been very surprised to see what he was doing. This morning he was seen driving a Barbie car around. It will be interesting in the days leading up to Christmas to see what Nobow decides to do every day.

Technical Data

I really wasn’t feeling up to par so I did not do much to this photo. I just ran it through one of my custom presets in Lightroom, and called it a day. This biggest piece of technical data here is that I shot it with a high aperture to get the bokeh effect in the background.


Photo of the Day

Tonight I really was not too inspired to go and take a picture. I was looking for a place with access to the Wabash River when I decided to park in the lot of Merou Grotto. I was going to walk across the road to the river, but I thought that this sign with part of the Wabash in the background would look cool. That and I was too lazy to get out of the car. In the end it is not the best shot that I will take, but it was a chance to play with a couple of lenses to get the effect that I want.

Technical Data

I went with the shot that I took with the 70-200mm lens in the end. I liked the bokeh in the background, and I just couldn’t get that with my other lenses in the bag. I didn’t do much to this shot. I just upped the highlights a bit, and added some clarity. Normally I bring back the shadows as well, but today I actually wen the other way with them. I thought that it added to my shot a bit. Just before posting this I added a vignette. I just didn’t like how the shot looked up there so I changed it just before hitting the post button. See this isn’t a science.

Kelby Worldwide Photowalk

Here is that part of the post where I talk about the photowalk that I am leading on campus after the Wisconsin game in October. The date is October 13th to be exact, and the walk will start at 4 o’clock est at the Neil Armstrong Statue in front of the Armstrong Hall of Engineering. Over  1,000 photowalks are planned around the world. If you are not near West Lafayette then you kind find a walk near you on the Kelby site. Sign up now to be part of this event. Nearly 17,000 walkers have already signed up so far. Activity has picked up a bit on the Purdue sites even with the short time being posted. You don’t have to be a pro (I am far from it) to attend. Any kind of camera is welcome as well. Here are a few links to the various sites which promote the event. If you want to sign up you should do so on the Kelby site in order to be eligible for the prizes though.

Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk ( Official Purdue Site)

Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk (Purdue Facebook Page)

Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk (Purdue Google+ Page)