Reworking One of My Favorite Photos

When I started this blog I was always on the lookout for a new subject. I had to make a photo a day for an entire year, and of course that meant that I always needed a subject. That year really opened my eyes though, and many of the photos that have followed since are because I still always have an eye out for a new subject. It was on one of those early days that I spotted this barn. I was headed out of town, but I knew that I would end up back there later in the week. I called the photo High School Pride because of the sign on the building. I would later find out that it was the barn of the Anthrop family who I had photographed before. I was only 56 days into my project at the time, but I was already learning that you had to take the great subjects as they came. This was an early success that I still like to this day.

The Reworking Process

Part of the joy or agony of a photographer is the fact that you are constantly learning something new. I really don’t like pull a George Lucas and constantly revisit old photos. This was one though that I knew that I had to do. The sky always bothered me a bit, and I knew that I could fix it with the skills that I now possess. I was still early in the editing process at this time. I was using HDR for everything, and the results were not always good. Here though I knew that I could make a photo look much better so why not? I took my three source files, and ran them through Photomatix again. Instead of using the program to make the final photo I took the 32 bit file that had all of the data of the three files, and sent it to Lightroom. Inside of Lightroom I used the sliders to get the final result that I was looking for. At the end of the day I feel that I made the photo better, and much closer to what I saw on that day. That is what it is all about. The dark forbidding clouds in the first photo just put out a vibe that I was not looking for.

More Sports on the Way

This may be the last post that does not revolve around sports for a while. Over the next week I will be covering a lot of sports for a few different teams. I was lucky enough to get a new client that has three games in the area this week. This coupled with the normal sports for me means that I will shoot sports each of the next six days. I will be traveling a bit as well so my posts may be a bit brief. In the end I will have some photos from some new venues which I really need. A portfolio with images all shot at the same school start to all look the same. I will shoot two games in the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse this week, and one at the newly renovated Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame. It is an exciting time for me as I branch out a bit.

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The Neon Sign of O’Rear’s Pastry Shop

This is a photo that I made a couple of years ago. It was during my photo 365 project, and I would look for anything interesting to photograph. I always liked this sign as it had many different colors that looked great at night. When I made this image I knew that I should have been there earlier during blue hour. As it was I jumped out of the car, made the image, and then hopped back into the car. I always said that I would go back at the right time to make this image again. That is the problem with saying that you will come back to photograph a location. Things can change quickly. The sign looks nothing like this now, and I won’t have a second chance. I am happy with how this photo turned out though. I thought that it was fitting to post this image today after my post above about Thomas Hawk and his love for neon signs.

Editing This Photo in Lightroom 5

As I said above this was a quick capture. This was not a well thought out picture with the perfect conditions present. This was a three shot HDR image that was processed in Photomatix 4. I then took the 32 bit image back into Lightroom. Back in Lightroom I started off by using the HDR Look preset by Matt Kloskowski. From there I adjusted the vibrance, highlights, exposure, and contrast to get the look that I wanted. In the end I liked the final image.

Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below. Just enter the code ‘summer’ at the checkout for your savings.

50% Off

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Using the Tamron 10-20mm Lens in the Upper Deck of the Friendly Confines

This is a photo that has been a long time coming. I made it in August of 2012 while my wife and I were in the middle of a unique doubleheader of seeing a game at Wrigley Field followed by a game at U.S. Cellular Field. We had some great seats on the first base side down low, but I wanted to try a shot like this one. I have always taken a shot from behind the plate when I visit a park. It is a way for me to show that I was there at the stadium. You usually can see much of what makes the park unique from this view. If I can I take a photo coming back at the press box as well, but this is the one that I usually like to see. I have liked this shot since I made it, but a couple of technical details prevented me from posting it sooner. I love how the field kind of lays out in front of you with the wide angle lens. This was my first real test with my 10-20mm lens at a stadium. The lens would make some of my most famous photos in the future, but it is kind of nice to look back and see how I used it early on.

Using Photomatix and Lightroom to Edit This View of Wrigley Field

This image was taken when I was deep into my HDR phase. I wanted to see everything with very little shadow involved. I used three images taken three stops apart and I processed them in Photomatix Pro. The shots were at +2, 0, and -2. I then took that 32 bit image back into Lightroom 5 to process it. The first thing that I noticed was that Photomatix really brought out the colors in the photo. The first step for me in Lightroom here was to desaturate the photo a bit. I then performed most of my slider tweaks, but something was still off. I used the graduated filter tool to darken the sky to give it a more realistic view. I then pulled down another graduated filter to adjust the temperature of the sky. I made it a bit more blue this way to give it that perfect day at the park feel.

Photo of the Day

Some photos start to define you for some reason. This was one of those photos that really started things going for me. It was January 2012, and I was in Indy to see the Super Bowl village. It was great to see the city go all out for the big game. I parked in a garage near Robert’s Camera thinking that it would be easy to get in and out of. After I had parked I realized that I had a great view of Lucas Oil Stadium where the big game would occur. I made some photos during the day, and I made sure to be back at sunset. I have a few photos of the sun going down, but it was when it was out of sight completely that the real show started. The light was just amazing, and I knew that I was witnessing something special. This is still one of my favorite photos that I have made. I have purchased much better gear, but this just goes to show you that it is not about the gear.

I have re-worked this image. You can read the original post to get some of the other details that I might have left out above. I just thought that it was time to get this photo up to speed. It is also a unique way for me to go back to a former feature on this site which was Throwback Thursday.

Technical Data

I have covered this in the past, but I wanted to go over some of the cliff notes here again. I have posted this photo again because I have reworked it a bit. I do not plan on being George Lucas and reworking my stuff every few years, but I noticed a couple of areas that could be improved on this photo. I have come a long way in post processing since I made this original image. In 2012 I made three images at the site. Without a tripod I used the wall of the parking garage as my tripod. It was not level so I used my strap to make my camera level. From there I made three images two stops apart to gather in all of the light available in the scene. I combined the images in Photomatix 4 to get one image. From there I edited the photo inside of Photomatix which is something that I rarely do today. This one turned out just fine though as far as I was concerned. Before reissuing the photo I went in and did some minor touch up, and I pumped up the vibrance just a little bit.

Photo Sale!

This photo is hanging in Lucas Oil Stadium. It can hang in your house too. From now until Labor Day I have placed all of my prints on sale. If you click on the image you will be taken to the photo on my SmugMug site. If you click purchase and type the coupon code ‘summer’ during checkout you can get 50% off of this photo. The 50% off sale goes for any photo on my SmugMug page that is currently for sale. If you have ever wanted to purchase a print now is the time.

50% Off

Photo of the Day

While at State Farm Arena Monday night I went up a ways to try a wide view of the stadium. I really did not need to go all the way up. In fact this was shot from the top concourse. The former Assembly Hall is a big arena that really didn’t get much use on that cold night. I liked the idea of trying out this 17-40mm lens that I am renting for a stadium view. I also made some pictures with the fisheye that look alright.

Technical Data

This is where my landscape work comes into play. I took three photos bracketed two stops apart in order to get all of the light that I could see in the arena. I ran the three photos through Photomatix to create a 32 bit HDR file. I then sent that file back into Lightroom to adjust it. I love the sliders in Lightroom, and anytime that I can use them I will. Here it was a matter of tweaking the sliders to get the look that I wanted.

Canon 17-40mm f/4 Review

This photo was made with the 17-40mmf/4 lens that I have been renting. I wanted to see how it would react in different situations. I had a couple of tests that I didn’t get to use it for, but for what I do it really performed well. This lens is the cheaper of the two L series lenses in this category. There is a 16-35 f/2.8 that is considered the better lens. From what I can tell though the extra money to get it might not be worth it for me. I don’t shoot weddings so the extra stop really wouldn’t come into play. When I put this lens on my 60D it acts as if I had my 24-70mm on my 5D Mark III. The lens on my 5D gives me a lens much like the Tamron 10-20mm lens that I have made many pictures with. I think that I will wait until Canon shows their hand on what wide angle lens they will release this year. This 17-40mm lens is getting fairly old. Rumors are swirling about a 11-24mm lens to rival the 14-24mm lens that Nikon users have had for years. If that is true I think that it would be worth a shot to at least try out. More on that to come later.

Photo of the Day

Today the Baseball Writers will release the results of the 2014 Hall of Fame class. To me their are two names on that ballot that have to get in. Greg Maddux should be right up there with the likes of Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver who have the highest first ballot percentage. I can’t imagine a writer leaving him off of the ballot. Another player that should get in is Frank Thomas. As a young adult I used to marvel at the ‘Big Hurt’ as he crushed the baseball. He used to hit these lines drives that would just dive to the ground with topspin. He really earned his nickname because that is what he did to the baseball. Frank was one of the last great baseball players of my childhood. His career spanned the starry eyed days of my youth with my newfound love for the game as an adult. It will be nice to see his name alongside the other greats in Cooperstown.

Technical Data

For this photo I used the strong HDR look preset in Lightroom by Matt Kloskowski. Before that though I ran the three images that I took on the scene two stops apart. This photo had such a wide range of light that HDR was necessary. Two stops between the three frames may have also been not enough. Part of the photo could use a little more depth. I took this photo a couple of years ago so I hope that I would do it better today if I had it all to do over again. 

Photo of the Day

This morning I woke up to a tree that was now surrounded by presents. Santa must have really thought that we have been good this year. I will keep this short today as we have a busy one. I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I hope you all have a great holiday.

Technical Data

For this photo I thought that I would go back to Photomatix to see what it could do. I am still using version 4 even though 5 has been out for quite some time. I just haven’t had a chance to mess with it yet. Photomatix used to be an everyday part of my workflow, but now it has kind of fallen by the wayside. I took three photos with my camera two stops apart each. Inside of Photomatix I used the creative preset to start. From there I tweaked the sliders a bit. Inside of Lightroom I adjusted the vibrance and highlights. In reality this was a very quick edit.

Photo of the Day

Over a year ago I was fortunate enough to get a tour around the Samara House here in West Lafayette. It is a beautiful home that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The sky was not the best for outdoor shots, but as we were leaving the sun gave me one great final look at the home. I had to stop and make this picture.

Technical Data

For this photo I had a very wide range of light. I started out by running three photos two stops apart through Photomatix. I then tried to bring everything out using the tools in Lightroom. I used the HDR Look preset by Matt Kloskowski to get started. I then worked the sliders to get everything to look as good as it does to the eye. Someday they will make a camera that can detect all of the dynamic range that our eyes can. Until then we have to use tools such as Lightroom.

Photo of the Day

A few weeks ago we went for a walk on the Purdue campus for some family time as well as a chance to make some nice pictures. We parked in the parking garage, and no sooner made it across the street before we were stopped for some play time. I was getting antsy and I wanted to see the campus. It was that early stop though that made me look up and see something very interesting. The corner of Haas Hall had a great design, and I thought that it looked great against the nice sky. It was then my turn to slow things up as I tried to wait until the clouds came so that the sky would not be so plain. I really think that this was an interesting shot, and I may try some more like this on campus during the winter when the greenery is not existent. 

Technical Data

For this photo I knew that I wanted to do it in black and white. More specifically I wanted something with a lot of contrast to it. I first ran three bracketed images (+2, 0, and -2) through Photomatix. I then sent the 32 bit preview file into Lightroom 5 to use the sliders there. I then used Matt Kloskowski’s HDR Black and White preset to get started here. I then adjusted the blacks of the picture as well as the highlights and shadows. I really liked the look of the wood here, and with the RAW file I was able to bring it out.