Christmas at Graceland

Today I won’t be blogging so I thought that I would post an older picture. I took this picture in 2006 as we were touring Graceland. The home of Elvis was decorated for Christmas. I can’t think of a better time to tour the mansion really. The trees in all the rooms seemed to give it a much more unique look. I have had this photo ready to post for a couple of years now, and it always gets pushed back. I thought that I had better post it quick this year before it ended up getting pushed back to 2015.

Posting the Old Stuff

It is hard to believe that this photo is now eight years old. That trip through the south seems like it was just a couple of years ago. Time really flies. The year 2006 was the year that I first used a dSLR camera. I had no idea what I was doing (nor would I for a few years to come), but I saw some great sights that year. Even though I am not entirely happy with a lot of the photos looking back on them, they are part of the growing process that I have gone through. Sometimes I hesitate to post the old stuff, but then I remember the moment, and I want to share it with you.



Photo of the Day

Here is another photo from 2006. I had just purchased my Canon Rebel, and I decided to spend part of the winter going around the southern part of the country making pictures with it. All I knew was that I made good pictures in this TV mode. I later found out that it was shutter priority mode. Sometimes it worked while other times it did not. Here is one time in a dark room when I seemed to luck out and it worked. In Graceland they have a sign that reminded me of Elvis’ comeback special. I thought that it would make a good picture, and now here it makes the blog seven years later.

Technical Data

Once again a jpeg from the Rebel is used here. Without killing the picture I walked a fine line between improving it, and having it all fall apart. I spent some time on the sliders here trying to make sure that everything looked good. In the end I think that I improved a decent picture from a great trip.

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.

elvis ride

Sports Photo of the Day

When most people think of the King of NASCAR they think of Richard Petty. On a weekend when the Daytona 500 will occur his name comes up often because of his dominance of the sport. In 1998 thought the King of Rock and Roll made his way into NASCAR. Rusty Wallace raced the inaugural race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with this Elvis pain scheme. This was a very cool car that I bought as a diecast to have. How can you not love a car with the King on it that goes nearly 200 MPH? I was really thrilled to see the real thing when I toured Graceland in 2006. This was a sharp car that I was happy to get a picture of up close and personal.

Technical Data

As I said I took this picture in 2006 just a couple of months after getting a dSLR. I really had no clue what I was doing so inside in low light like this it was hit or miss as to what kind of a shot I would get. This was one of the shots where I got extremely lucky. Here I performed three steps to clean up this shot. The first was to apply the Matt Kloskowski light sports preset to it. That really seemed to sharpen it up for me. I then cropped the image because I did hot like how I framed it initially. The final step was to get rid of the noise caused by the high ISO. I did not use any third party software. I simply used the noise reduction portion of Lightroom. Sometimes this is all you need, and I completed a fairly simple edit with that.

elvis pool room

Photo of the Day

Since today is the birthday of Elvis I thought that I would post this image from Graceland that I took in 2006. I was really just learning the camera, but it says a lot for what these new cameras can do when someone who can’t use the thing takes a picture, and it turns out pretty good. I liked the unique nature of this pool room at Graceland so I wanted to capture an image to remember it by. It must have been something else to live in Graceland. Every room is like another sort of amusement park.

Technical Data

As I said before this was a pretty good shot just using the little green box on my camera. I did run it through Lightroom to try and bring out a few of the highlights in the image. I didn’t want to overdo it, but I think that I did a good job here of trying to get this picture close to what I saw in real life. It is hard to get a good shot like this in a dark room without a tripod. The good news for me was that early on in my photography I didn’t know that so I had nothing holding me back from taking this shot.

graceland christmas

Photo of the Day

About six years ago I was lucky enough to see Graceland during the Christmas season. We were on a whirlwind tour after watching the Division 2 title game, and Graceland was on the list. I really did not get many pictures that I loved from that trip, and this was one of them. It was just very flat to me. My dSLR was new to me at the time, and I was still a slave to auto mode. Compound that with taking this through a bus window, and you have a shot that I have never really loved. After some minor editing though I realized that I really like this shot.

Technical Data

That minor editing consists of using the medium sports preset by Matt Kloskowski, and then fine tuning the image from there. This was not a RAW file so I had to really be careful with my adjustments so that I didn’t ruin the picture. In the end the adjustments gave me a shot that I not only could like, but post on here.

Photo Flashback

Normally I reserve my flashbacks to Friday, but today I thought I could make an exception. Today is the 35th anniversary of the death of ‘the King’ Elvis Presley. I was fortunate enough to get to see Graceland just after I picked up my first dSLR in 2006. We were on a trip through Alabama to see Grand Valley State win the National Championship in football. Part of our itinerary though was to check out Graceland. I had heard stories of its beauty, but I guess some of it you have to see to believe. You are awed in many of the rooms long after technology should have passed them by. The most somber part of the tour though takes you to the grave of Elvis. For me it was moving watching the people still full of great emotion (at that time) thirty years after his death. The uncontrollable sobbing and gift giving was amazing to see in person. This is a somber picture, but I thought that it should find its way to the site today.

Technical Data

As I said this picture was taken in 2006 shortly after I bought my Canon Rebel XT. I really had no clue how to use the thing yet. I had only really shot sports so something like this was foreign to me. I would change a lot about the composition if I could, but maybe I can fix that next time that I go. With this shot I opened up Photoshop and ran the Topaz Labs plugin that I haven’t used in quite a while. I liked the effect that the dramatic preset had with the photo so I went with it. My original picture seemed very flat. This fixed it for me.

As promised a few days ago I intend to post a Christmas photo a day until the actual day arrives. Since I did not take one today I thought that I would post one from the archives. About five years ago I took a southern trip in mid December. Part of that excursion was to visit Graceland. I took this picture of the King’s front room at the beginning of the tour. Somehow I would come up with a way to mix Christmas, Elvis, and a contest all in one post. I like my overall idea with this picture, but I wish that I had another shot at it. I have learned a little in the last five years that would have made this picture better. I still like it though, and I immediately thought of it when I needed one for today.

Another reason for the extra post today is to thank everyone who has been coming to the site. I have reached 2,000 visitors since starting this little venture. It is not a large following, but from the comments it appears to be a loyal one. Thanks for the support, and I hope that I can give you something good to look at over the course of this photo venture.

The final reason for the post is to say that this blog was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award from A Traveler’s Tale. I received an email shortly after I got off of work today, and was happy to see that I made the cut as one of Leanne Cole’s top 15 blogs. Part of the acceptance is to perform 3 simple tasks. The first of those is to nominate the fifteen blogs that I love to read. That seems easy, but I think that narrowing it down to 50 might be hard. Here are my top fifteen in no particular order:

  1. Experiments in Experience – I love seeing what Verena comes up with everyday. A very good blog that lets me see some of the world that I would not see otherwise.
  2. Leanne Cole’s Blog – Of course since Leanne nominated me you would expect that I should nominate her. That is part of the reason, but I really enjoy reading her blog. The header image alone should suck you in.
  3. Images By Joseph – A local photographer Joseph really seems to know how to capture a scene that I like. I love to see what he will come up with next.
  4. Little Lady Photography – I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding with the Little Lady in early September. I enjoyed her photo 365 project with her iPhone, and would love to see it run it’s course.
  5. Michigan in Pictures – This is a great site that showcases a great picture from our state to the north everyday. Maybe when I head to the Little Caesar’s Bowl I can make it onto the site.
  6. My Pixelized View – My first real follower on this site. Almost since day one he has commented on my pictures, and even given me some tips to help make me better. Thanks for everything!
  7. Rob Slaven Photography – I just recently found this site, but some of the pics are great. He has some great pictures of Lafayette on his site as well as others from around the state.
  8. Ian Spagnolo Photography – Another recent find, but a good one. His work with drop shots is amazing!
  9. The Camera Diary – Another good blog to read. She also gets bonus points for having the lamp from a Christmas Story in her window. Read about it here.
  10. Spur and Prod – Of course I think I have said that all the blogs are a good read so far. I feel like I am repeating myself, but I wouldn’t put them on here if they weren’t.
  11. Silly Monkey Photography – I just found this site within the last couple of days, but have spent a lot of time looking at his HDR images. It makes me want to try and get at least as good as he is.
  12. Art is My Sanity – Here is someone who likes sunsets almost as much as I do. Here is a link to a post where several of them are shown at once.
  13. Lightbox 3d – Another great HDR site that pushes me to get much, much better. His shots are simply amazing.
  14. Jumbo Heroes – Not a photography site, but a great site that focuses on Purdue Athletics. It is blogs like this that made me realize that I should stop writing a sports blog and leave it up to people who can do it better.
  15. White Sox Cards – Steve is one of the first bloggers that I really noticed. It is because of his site that I have done some of the things that I have done on the internet. No list would be complete without this White Sox fan on it.

Another of the tasks is to list seven things about myself. Here are the first seven that come to mind:

  1. I love photography (I know shock right?)
  2. I have lived in two states both of which start with an I (Indiana and Iowa)
  3. I enjoy sporting events way too much. I have attended over 100 sporting events in a year many times.
  4. This is the second time in my life that I have lived in West Lafayette
  5. I love comedies (Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and anything Adam Sandler will do just fine)
  6. I share the same name as my father, and therefore carry the title Junior
  7. I collect Canadian quarters, I have six of them (Sorry for the bad Deuce Bigalow reference)

Well I have accomplished all three tasks without much trouble. I love that I was nominated, but most of the blogs that I listed would make much better candidates. I have to go now since I am behind in reading most of them!