The Best Of All Worlds

I love to photograph barns, and I love to photograph bridges. The worlds collide so to speak when you come across a covered bridge. It looks like a barn, and it spans a body of water. These things are great to photograph. Last year I made it a point to get out and photograph as few of these great barns on my drive to Indiana State. I thought that I was doing a good job until I came across the Bridgeton covered bridge. This bridge is amazing, and it has the old mill there as well. I need to stop here a lot more in the future. A little snow would make this scene look pretty good this time of year.

The Vintage Look

For this photo I took a film preset and changed it up a little. I liked the more subdued look of the photo with the preset, but I thought the sky looked a little dirty. I cranked up the saturation on just the blues to sky looking good again. It did not take much to make this a photo that I really liked. This is an example of why I hold some photos back. I wait until I am inspired to do something different with it. That worked out well here.


Visiting the Mansfield Covered Bridge

On my way south to Indiana State to cover their senior night I saw a sign for a covered bridge and an old mill. What photographer would not pull off the road for that? I made a shot of the mill with my quadcopter that you can find here, and then I went about exploring the bridge a little. With all of the signage and other nonsense out in front of both entrances to the bridge it did not really work as a photo for me. I want to see a covered bridge looking like it was just a bridge. This one looked like a place to hang signs from that would also let you cross the stream below. I also made a few shots of it from the side with my quadcopter, but being the dead of winter I was not too thrilled with those either. I decided to cross the bridge to see what was on the other side, and that is when I noticed the shot above. As I was packing up to leave from my quadcopter shoot this gentleman showed up to fish. As I was crossing the bridge I saw a scene that looked like it belonged on a wall. It was then that I had the idea to frame the photo that way. I wanted to show just the right amount of the inside of the bridge, but also have the scene outside the bridge be large enough to see clearly. It was something that came to me at the time, and I really like how it turned out.

The Week In Photos

I have been promoting my weekly look back at my photos a lot this week, and that is because I really like some of the photos in there. You can find that post here. This was a fun week for me, and I enjoyed putting the post together. This week is kind of a wild card. It could be an epic week, or it could fall flat. By the time that this post will be live most of that equation will already have been answered. As I sit here typing this I hope that things are already going great, and I have had an amazing week so far.

Watching the Ice Form on the Wabash River

Last week I spent quite a bit of time near the Wabash photographing the wildlife there. I had some fun seeing the eagles, herons, and everything else that calls the Wabash home this time of the year. One of the days a large dump truck came into one of my spots on his horn. I knew that it was the end of the wildlife for a while so I moved about a bit. I saw this scene driving by, and I came back to make this photo. I love the symmetry all around here. The twin bridges moving off into the distance, the sky nearly matching the river. It was just a cool scene to me. I knew that with the color of the Wabash that I would be converting to black and white so I metered with that in mind.

An HDR Image That Does Not Look HDR

When this blog was in its infancy I often made photos that looked very fake. There was something in the HDR process that I liked to crank up. As time has gone on though I have found a way to have the best of both worlds. I get the look that I like, but it is in a very believable photo. This is done very simply now. I take my three photos (in this case they are metered at -2, 0, +2) into Photomatix Pro. I merge them there, and then when the 32 bit image pops up I save the file to a tiff. This was the point when I would have gone on with Photomatix to make something much too dreamy. I open the 32 bit tiff file back up in Lightroom to use the sliders there. What I end up with is one very large file with a lot of data. I can pull things out that would have been lost in any one photo. This is the way that I prefer to do this now, and I think that it works very well. What do you use on a scene with a lot of dynamic range?

Shooting From a Great Location

I have talked about shooting from this spot in the past. On my only trip to the Big Apple in 2008 I went with a friend who had just been to the city earlier in the year. He had a great spot to park at that would allow us to roam the city without having to pay big money to park. Not far from that spot was this great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Everyday we came back to the same place, and I marveled at the view. I thought that it was ‘my spot’, and that nobody else had ever thought of shooting from here. Of course after the fact I see many movie scenes are filmed right here. It is actually amazing how popular the spot is. The week that I was in New York must have been the only week that it was slow. To me though it will always by ‘my spot.’

Shooting the Brooklyn Bridge

How do you make a picture of an iconic bridge that has been around for 130 years? Any angle that you think that you have found on the bridge has to have already been taken. When I shot this in 2008 I had no such illusions in mind that this would be a unique shot. I just wanted my postcard shot of the bridge. Sometimes when you travel you have to take the postcard shot first. When you go to New York you have to have a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and other historical locations. Once you get those out of the way you can then shoot what you want. If you bore family with photos like I do though you have to give them some kind of payoff, and that payoff comes with the shots that they are expecting to see. With that in mind I do have a couple of shots that I would like to take of this bridge. I never did cross it, and I think that the shot that I would like to make the most would come from the pedestrian walkway on the bridge. Someday I will get back to New York, and I can see how my vision has improved in the last few years.

Photographing the City From Near the U.S.S. Indianapolis Site

A couple of years ago I was in Indy for a friends wedding. The same friend that was getting married showed me this great location for a photo not that long before. I made some hand held photos the first night, but with time on my side the second time I came prepared with a tripod. Even at the blue hour there seemed to be a wide dynamic range of light here. I made a 20 second exposure to smooth out the water. It also allowed me to capture all of the light that I needed for the shadow details of the photo. I shot at f/22 in order to get the long exposure, but I also liked the effect that it had on the lights surrounding the canal.

Photo of the Day

Today I would like to show another image that I made last year from the top of Hawk Hill overlooking San Francisco. I only had one morning to make an image of this iconic bridge, and you never know when the fog is going to roll in. In fact as I was making this image the fog was coming closer to the bridge. I knew that I wanted a high vantage point so that I would not be shut out. I knew that the sun would rise in the wrong location, but I banked on some color to help me make an interesting image. I really had a great morning that made me want to spend many more around this bridge. Once the sun had come up most of the crowd up on the hill left. I made some pictures behind the hill, and then on my way back around I made this one. When I am somewhere new I don’t want to rush the scene. One of my favorite images from the trip came about a half an hour after this image was made.

Technical Data

For this photo I started off with a crop. I did not like the foreground, and I thought that the panoramic crop would get me closer to what I wanted the viewer to see. I then used the graduated filter to make the sky a little darker and a little warmer. With that done I could then cool down the water a bit to give this image this unique look. I then spent the rest of the time working on the sky. For some reason I was shooting at f/23 according to the exif data, and the dust spots were everywhere. A rough morning on my lens really showed up here.

Photo Sale!

Over at my SmugMug site I have cut the price on all of my photos for the summer. If you visit my site at 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.

50% Off

Photo of the Day

While in New York a few years ago it seemed as if I found myself at this spot everyday. The one person in our group who had been to New York previously knew that we could park here. I found that I thought that this was my special place in the city. While the others would go somewhere else I would make pictures here. Without a tripod at night though I was left with nothing when I got home from those adventures. A great night shot from here is definitely on my bucket list. If this is indeed my special spot it has become famous. In the nearly six years since I stood on this point I have seen it appear in many movies and TV shows. I think that this may not be my spot after all.

Technical Data

This photo was just a jpeg shot with my old Rebel XT. I didn’t have the power to do some of the things that I would have liked to do to this photo. In the end though I think that it looks just fine as is. I used the strong HDR Look preset on it because of the fact that it was just a jpeg. You need to crank the sliders up a lot more with those to bring out the data that you want.

Photo of the Day

This is a photo that I took in Columbus last summer. For some reason I really liked how the sign was just big and bold and in the middle of a beautiful bridge. I thought that it made for the perfect piece of foreground interest for my photo. Sometimes while trying to take all traces of modern life out of the photo you decide to leave a little in. Here I thought that it was a photo that asked a couple of questions.

Technical Data

This shot really had a large range of light in it. To expose everything in the foreground correctly I lost the sky. That is not a huge deal, but a beautiful sky like that should not be lost. I decided to make the image black and white to even everything out. I really upped the clarity and contrast to add some punchiness to the photo. I also cranked up the blacks to add even more. I thought that this looked good a little crunchy. Continue reading “Time to Say Something”

Photo of the Day

Yesterday I took my daughter down to Indy to meet my brother and have a photoshoot along the canal. They dyed it green the night before, and the electric look was still in place. I really struggled with finding a good way to show how this electric green looked in respect to the surroundings. You really can’t get the height that you need on the canal. That was until I saw this pedestrian bridge. I thought that it gave me a great vantage point to shoot from. I had a fruitful day shooting, and I am sure that many more of those pictures will show up in the coming days.

Technical Data

For this photo I applied the medium HDR Look preset in Lightroom to start with. I thought that it would get me started in the right direction. From there I applied a few minor adjustments including getting rid of a couple of spots in the sky. I really debated for a while the leaves that were in the water in the foreground. In the end I used the spot removal tool inside of Lightroom to get rid of most of the leaves. The big pile was just too distracting. If this was an editorial image they would have had to stay, but thankfully this was not.