Photo of the Day

While in Ocean City, Maryland last year I made the short trip over the border into Deleware. I had made a silly goal at the beginning of the year to make pictures in 13 states. I made that goal, but it seemed very forced. It did get me into Deleware though which I may not have done without the goal. Just over the border is this great little lighthouse. In fact as I took this photo I think that my feet may have been in Maryland. I liked this simple house with the lighthouse looming over it. This is a beautiful scene that like many historical landmarks has to be photographed just so. A trailer park is just out of view on the right, and the front of the house here was littered with power lines. I will talk more about that in the section below.

Technical Data

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. After that I posted this image here last August. While going back and looking at some old photos I still thought that the sky looked a little off. I wondered what it would look like in black and white. I used a James Brandon preset called black and white high contrast on the image. It gave me the look that I wanted. I tweaked the sliders just a bit, but this is that photo. I thought that it gave the photo a look that shows the age of the lighthouse.

Photo Sale!

This photo can be yours. 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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Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. To some it means parties and cookouts. It is a nice day off, but it is also about the men and women who died while serving the country. It was initially called Decoration Day. In 1967 the day was renamed Memorial Day, and in 1968 moved to the final Monday in May to create the three day weekend that we enjoy today. So today you can enjoy your burgers, but as you do remember the over one million Americans who have died to make the day possible. Wars are an awful thing that should be avoided at all costs. When they happen though many who are too young to die are sent to fight. Here is to all of those who cannot enjoy the day today.

Photo of the Day

This photo was taken from the top of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Indy last winter. I was in town for the Supercross race, and I decided to try and go to the top of the monument as I arrived very early. The trip to the top is actually very inexpensive. I think $5 got you on the elevator to the top. From the elevator it was just a narrow staircase ride to the observation area on the very top. Both the staircase and the actual observation area were built in an era before McDonalds was popular. The area is cramped, but does offer a nice view of the city. From this angle I was able to see Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.

Technical Data

This photo was missing something. The cramped quarters and thick glass did not allow me to make the exact photo of the traffic in the circle that I wanted. I did make one that I liked very much though. I first ran the photo through Focal Point 2.1 to add the blur effect to the photo. I wanted it to look a bit like a miniature. Due to the gray nature of the cloudy day I also converted the photo to black and white inside of Lightroom 5.

 

Photo of the Day

I took this photo in 2006 as I was making my way to Purdue’s bowl game in Orlando. I made a couple of stops along the way that had some sort of a historical significance. The picture above was taken just outside of Plains, Georgia at the farm that Jimmy Carter grew up on. The building is the store where the family sold their goods from. I loved the way that it looked with the windmill in the background. This is a simple picture, but one that I like from the trip.

Technical Data

I thought that this photo should have some type of an older look to it. Inside of Lightroom I added a Sepia tone to the photo. I also got rid of many of the spots that showed up because my sensor was dirty. From there I opened up the file in Perfect Effects by On One Software. I tried a couple of filters to see how they looked, but this one seemed fitting to me. It is called Tin Type Dirty, and it creates a vintage photo look. I normally don’t like to do things like this, but it seemed appropriate here.

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.

carb day

Photo of the Day

I had this idea for a picture a while back, but the image was on an old hard drive. While moving everything over to my Drobo I imported my pictures from Carb Day last year in Indy. I have always liked this picture of the front stretch. Being Carb Day though the stands were very empty. For that reason alone I did not think that this shot was all that worthy. I had one idea though that might make this picture much better.

Technical Data

I originally made this picture using three images that I combined in Photomatix to make one HDR image. I was very happy with the result as it brought all of the color and texture out from that day. This was what I saw. That being said I wanted to go a step further here. I used Focal Point 2.1 from On One Software to give it a tilt shift look. I really think that this effect took a normal picture and made it pop just a bit more. I really like what this software can do, and I will try and make use of it much more as time goes on. Just before I exported the photo I used the spot removal tool to get rid of the plane and banner that was flying in the corner. When the blur was applied it looked more like a dust spot than a plane so it had to go. I have a couple of more ideas for the Focal Point Software that I will try when the cars come back to Indy this May.

last gasp

Photo of the Day

Here in West Lafayette/Lafayette we have been watching the river rise for the last few days. It reached just over 25 feet yesterday. For the record 11 feet is considered a flood. It has not been that high since the late 1950’s. Today it finally started making its way back down to a normal level. It is still far from there, but Highway 43 was nearly passable when I drove through. Had I been in someone else’s car I might have tried it. I was taking some pictures near the Highway 52 bridge when something sounded like it landed behind me. I turned and saw this fish that had to be baking on the pavement. The water went down fast enough to strand him on the road. I took a couple of quick pictures, and then helped him back to the water. Hopefully he makes it with a great story to tell his friends. I think that the eagles are gone for good because this would have been a easy target for them. Their loss was my gain though. I didn’t find any interesting subjects until this one flopped for me. I really needed something in the foreground for a picture to work. I don’t know where this fish came from, but it was a great gift.

Technical Data

This was going to be part of a three shot HDR image. The fish was still so I thought that it was dead. While the overexposed image was being taken he decided to flop. Once that happened this image was going to be made with just the one exposure. With the bright sun I had already compensated a bit so this was only one stop overexposed instead of the normal two. I brought the picture up to the proper exposure in Lightroom, and that is where the real fun began. I wanted to try a preset that I don’t normally use on this photo. The cloudless sky was boring so I thought that I could make something interesting with a preset. Maybe I have been using Instagram too much lately, but I like some of those looks. I decided to try one of Trey Ratcliff’s presets called Aurora on it. It really seemed to do the trick. I had one of his other presets on it already, but it was a bit too much. Aurora really seemed to get this image to where I wanted it. While Lightroom was slowly rendering my image something happened. My preview was a bit blurry for a second, and it gave me an idea. I took the image in Focal Point which is part of the On One Suite to add some drama to the image. I created a blur from the center of the fish that made it the focal point of the image. A good photograph does not need to do this, but I had a boring photo that needed some help. For me this made the image, and now I could post it online. Looking back through my photos I think I had a great shot had a took a couple of steps to my right and put the fish in the lower left of the picture. I was on a road though needing to work quickly so I just went up and snapped. I need to get better at seeing the scene right away. That will come with time.

Ricky Carmichael during his victory lap at Red Bud on July 1, 2007

Sports Photo of the Day

Since I am going to my first supercross in a while tonight I thought today’s sports picture could at least have a rider in it. I took this just after the main at Red Bud in 2007. Ricky Carmichael was one of the best if not the best rider that I have ever seen. I started watching racing during the reign of Jeremy McGrath. McGrath dominated the sport at the time. Who could be better than that? Ricky could. His nickname was the Goat. You would think that it was a bad thing, but it actually stood for Greatest of All Time. He really took over the sport, and the only thing that could slow him down was injury. In 2007 when this picture was taken Ricky was running a very limited outdoor schedule while pursuing a stock car career. The new up and comer was James Stewart who appeared to have Ricky bested on the day. That was not to be, and Ricky could walk away from Red Bud one last time as the champion. He stopped right in front of us to salute the crowd, and I was lucky enough to get this picture.

Technical Data

This shot is always one that I have liked, but the shadow on his face kept it from being great in my mind. I started off processing this photo by trying to get rid of that. As it turns out the only good way to avoid the shadow was to be in a different spot. Anything that I did in Lightroom looked too fake. I decided to try out a couple of filters in a couple of plug ins to see what they could do for me. By accident I stumbled across the Kryptonite filter in Perfect Effects 4 by On One Software. It really gave the photo a cool look that I really liked. I sent the photo back to Lightroom to do a couple of things to it. I really wanted some more texture on the bike so I used the brush in Lightroom and added some clarity to Ricky’s suit and the bike. I think that it makes it pop even more that way. From there though I was done. I think that I found a new preset that I really like, and made this picture one that could finally make the blog.

lp courthouse

Photo of the Day

Over the weekend I made it back to my hometown for a few hours. The day was packed, but I did manage to make a quick drive to get a couple of pictures taken. The old courthouse in the middle of town has always been something that people like to see when they come in. In fact some people like to photograph courthouses in every town they visit. I am not one of those, but I do manage to take pictures of the interesting ones. I did not intend to take this picture when I was there. I was there to photograph the indian sculpture that you can see on the bottom right. While doing that I decided to try this shot which actually turned out okay. It looked like every other courthouse picture that I have made though. That is why I tried something different here.

Technical Data

This shot went through a little work. At first I took three bracketed images shot at -2, 0, and +2 and ran them through Photomatix. I did not like what the color versions did to my sky so I tried the black and white presets in Photomatix. I liked the look, but not the noise that the program introduces into the picture. I really like Photomatix, but it really does not take care of noise very well. I ran the photo through some black and white presets in Lightroom, but I thought of something that might look better. Every time I saw the picture in black and white I thought of an old post card. I took the picture and ran it through On One Software’s Perfect Black and White to try a couple of older views. I liked this one called Calotype Paper Negative. All that was missing here was the writing that you used to see on the older photos. It is not my normal picture, but I like the way that it turned out.

big hurt vs. johan

Throwback Photo

I took this photo on the same day as the Throwback Photo from last week. While playing around with images that I could use the tilt shift technique on I came across this one of Frank Thomas at bat against Johan Santana. I have always liked this image because if showed two giants squaring off. On this day Frank Thomas (the Big Hurt) would win out as Johan was knocked from the game in the fourth after giving up seven runs. Johan did not let that get him down though as he would go on to have one of the best second halves in baseball history on his way to the 2004 Cy Young Award. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I think that this was the last game he lost until 2005. At any rate he had an incredible streak that put him at the top as one of the greats in the game at the time. Frank Thomas as we all know ended up with 521 home runs, and should be a first ballot Hall of Famer next year. This was fun to watch for me because my team was getting the best of the Twins for once. They did not do that a lot back then. Ozzie Guillen was putting the pieces in place for a World Series run the following year. As I said last week this was the fourth baseball game in two days that I watched, and I loved every minute of it.

Technical Data

Once again I used Lightroom to get this shot where I wanted it to be, and then I sent a copy of the picture over to On One Software’s Focal Point 2.1 to mimic the look of a tilt shift lens. I love how this effect makes the scene appear to be one inside of a toy box. For this photo I also felt that it heightened the pitcher vs. batter matchup as well. I think that it makes this photo a little better than it was straight out of the point and shoot that took it. I always had trouble making pictures with a point and shoot in low light situations such as this, but I got lucky here. Lucky enough to preserve a great matchup on the diamond.