Friday, February 25, 2011

Light Painting...

I enjoyed Kent Weakley's Night Photography eClass so much that I signed up for part 2...fireworks and light painting. Using a flashlight with a pink color gel (made out of a report cover) and different colored led lights from radio shack I turned out the lights and began my long exposure shoot.

In darkness...

Let me just say that making beautiful lines is a little harder then it looks....we won't show my first 20 attempts that look like a two year old was let loose with a's to capturing light...thru the lens.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just around the bend....

Walking along the Riverwalk yesterday scoping out some areas to shoot the full moon and around the bend I come upon this one section that I had seen in photographs but had no idea where it was. Nice little surprise! Took a few shots but didn't really spend too much time there but I'm very pleased with the way my pictures came out. I'm still testing out some trial versions of Topaz plugins but the HDR was processed in Photomatix. I'm just an HDR newbie and
lovin it!!!

Riverwalk...San Antonio, TX

.....thru the lens.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shooting the moon....part 1

So my last assignment for Kent Weakley's night photography
eClass and I think I went a little moon crazy....I've been shooting
the moon for a week now in preparation for the big night and
what happens....Clouds, clouds, clouds. I did get some
shots from downtown before the clouds moved in and the moon
disappeared completely but let's begin with a week ago....

The quarter moon...F/11, 1/50 sec, ISO 100
My main goal was to shoot the moon with details and I was
quite happy with this shot until I figured out I forgot to
zero out my camera settings and my white balance
...hence the blue moon but I got details!!!

Waxing Gibbous...F/8, 1/125, ISO 100
My day shot...moonrise

Waxing Gibbous...f/11, 1/100, ISO 100
Night shot 7:27pm

Blue hour and the moon....finally!!! This took me about
4 nights of trying. Caught the roofline too! I really thought
the moon would be over the roof and once I set up my tripod
and realized blue hour was happening I had no time to
reajust and just started shooting.

Blue hour....all this work in preparation for the full moon
and let me just say I must have taken a total of 300 shots
in the last week to get the shots I was happy with.

Shooting the moon....part 2

Showtime....full moon

Let me just say I've been planning to shoot the full moon
for a week now at Hemisphere Plaza looking at the time
the moon would rise and where it was coming up...I knew it would
be near the Tower of the Americas but calculating
exactly where with the buildings was a little difficult.
So I waited....

and waited until I saw it coming up across Hemisphere
Plaza but....

I really pictured the beautiful full moon right here....

when in reality it appeared here....Oh well, my
calculations were a bit off. I waited for awhile hoping for
a better shot around the tower but finally gave up and....

shot this in the parking lot.

and my final full moon shot in the parking lot!!! Good
thing too because the clouds rolled in and the moon
disappeared for the rest of the night......Thanks
Kent Weakley!!! Great eClass and I've learned so much!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Quarter Moon...

I've been taking Kent Weakley's Night Photography eClass on blue hour and shooting the moon. Next weeks assignment is to shoot the moon the night before the full moon as it rises at the same time the sun sets with daylight still in the sky. Well, I'm a week early because I have to test out my skills before the big night so I've decided to start shooting. I have to say this is my first time actually shooting the moon with my camera and not my Iphone....that tells you what my skills were before this class and I get to test out my zoom lens for the first time! Here we go...the first quarter moon.

F/13, 1 sec, ISO 100
My first attempt and I was hoping to capture the details of the moon and blue hour at the same time but the moon was too bright. Not sure if I needed a filter. Yes, this is me going rogue and not following directions.

F/11, 2 sec, ISO 100
My second attempt and details are still blown out but I do like this shot because if you look really close you can see the left side of the moon in Earth's shadow.

F/11, 1/50 sec, ISO 100
My third attempt and this was me actually following the information given to us during our eClass on shooting the moon and we have details...YAY... but I really wanted details and blue the details though!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Riverwalk....HDR Newbie

Shot #2

My final processing of this shot!!! Yep, I'm never touching this photo again. What's done is done. Finally figured out how to get rid of the ghosting in Photomatix...Yay me! Also replaced the clouds with a little tutorial from my daughter and I think my brain has shut down now...totally shut down!!!

Shot #1

Another attempt at HDR and for any other beginners out there like me, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range Photography and involves taking 3 shots of the same scene at 3 different exposures and combining them into one picture....phew that's a mouth full but basically HDR captures a "greater range of tonal detail." I probably would have been a little hesitant to attempt HDR but found out that my new Nikon has the auto Bracketing set up in my camera so that I can take a series of three shots without having to change the exposure for each photo myself. I just set one exposure and then my setttings in the auto bracket will take one underexposed shot and one overexposed shot. It's probably best to do this with a tripod but during the day you can still take a series of 3 shots just holding your camera and making sure you don't move and shoot in the same place. This shot was taken at the riverwalk and I have been testing out editing software for HDR photography. I used Nik Color Efex Pro Complete and it's really the first time I've used it. I really love the colors in this shot. Not sure though if I pushed the editing a bit too far making it look a bit unrealistic. I have some ghosting on the left side with the people walking by and decided not to kill myself trying to edit them out yet until I perfect the software a bit more. Opinions welcome... just remember I am just beginning with HDR but absolutely love it!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bridges of the Riverwalk....

I've always loved bridges and in San Antonio there are many weaving in and out of the Riverwalk...It's like your own little secret garden of bridges and there's always another surprise just around the bend....


Saturday, February 5, 2011

San Fernando Cathedral....

I was not happy with my photo below and the slant of the building but was informed by my eClass instructor Kent Weakley that this lens distortion could be fixed in Photoshop software. I thought I had done something wrong in shooting this picture but have since learned it is a common thing depending on what lens you are shooting with. Next step, my 19 year old showed me how to use this tool in CS3...I am just tickled pink!!!! This top photo is the lens corrected version and the pic below before correcting.

Took one more shot tonight for my eClass on blue hour and although I am very pleased with the beauty of the Cathedral in this lighting I do see some mistakes that I made namely tilting my tripod up and making the building to the right of the cathedral appear as if it were slanting... at least I believe that is what happened....Lesson learned! Try, try again : ) Opinions welcome! Please enlighten me as to what I did wrong in this shot!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blue Hour....The Alamo

After practicing for 3 nights to capture blue hour I finally felt confident enough to head downtown and and try to capture the beauty of the Alamo at this magical time....Tonight was the perfect time since the temps were still pretty chilly and tourists would be at a minimum. Usually the Alamo is pretty crowded at all times of the day and night and my intuition paid crowds!!!

F/11, 5sec, ISO 100, 6:40Pm

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blue Hour....attempt #3

Success....I think?!?! Nothing like finally seeing that blue hour coming thru your lens. After three nights in a row of shooting in below freezing temperatures I finally got it right....yay!!! Tonight's attempt was a last minute thought so I just ran out to give it another try. I really had no time to "stage" my shot just saw that blue color and went for it!!!

F/8, 6sec, ISO 200, 6:40PM

F/10, 3sec, ISO200, 6:35PM

F/10, 3sec, ISO 200, 6:34PM

A little boost in my confidence now...time to head downtown for some shots.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blue Hour...

Attempted to shoot at Blue Hour tonight but my pictures are still coming out pretty dark. Hoping to get my settings correct before I venture downtown for some shots. These are the best pics after shooting for about 30 minutes. Couldn't take the frigid temps any longer then that.

F8, 2 sec, ISO 200, 6:34PM

F/5.6, 3 sec, ISO 200, 6:48PM

F/4, 6 sec, ISO 200, 6:54PM