On August 10 (2013) I was in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania where I photographed the wedding of Jim and Mary. I spent the day before the wedding scouting the location (inside and out) and I used the wedding rehearsal to make sure I’d be in the best places to get my shots of the ceremony. It was a beautiful wedding and an out of this world location. For this blog post I wanted to share some stories and a few of the images from the wedding. Continue reading →
Recently I’ve been working on new articles for a great website called Sony Alpha Lab as well as some new stuff for here on my own blog. My latest article for SAL included some of my thoughts on shooting during golden hours and returning often to my favorite locations. In the article I shared some examples of what a difference an hour can make in terms of the sky having some great colors.
What I wanted to share here was a comparison of four shots that were all taken during the 2013 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC. The top was captured at 6:00am, then next shot down was captured at 6:30am, the third shot was captured at 7:00am and the last shot was captured at 7:30am. I really like the first three shots a lot but that last one is just blah looking to me. Everything was exactly the same except for the time of day when the shots were captured. I can talk about the advantages of golden hour but this comparison should speak volumes for waking up early to get better looking shots.
In future articles and blog entries I’ll talk more about shooting at golden hour and I’ll share some of my favorite shots captured in those magical times of the day.
According to my Lightroom 4 “2012 catalog” I captured close to 40,000 images in 2012. That’s a whole lot of pictures! I had a great year and I captured some of my all time favorite shots in 2012. WIth 2013 right around the corner I wanted to look back and pick 12 shots from 2012 that represented my work for the year. I’ve always tried to tell stories with my photography and this year was no exception. Sometimes the story was there in the picture and sometimes the adventure of capturing the shot became the story. For this blog entry I’ll share my twelve favorite shots from 2012 and the stories behind each of them. Continue reading →
In this blog entry I’ll finish sharing my current HDR workflow. In the first part of this series I talked about camera settings, using Lightroom to process a bracketed set of images, using Photoshop to merge the bracketed set into a 32 bit per channel HDR file and tone-mapping with Photoshop HDR Pro. If you haven’t read part 1 you can find it here.
This blog will share the remainder of my HDR workflow including how I tone-map images with Lightroom 4 and how I use layers (in Photoshop) to combine the best parts of two different versions of an image. I’ll also about some of the more technical details of HDR photography. I’ll be using the same F-4S Phantom II images I used in Part 1 for this entry including the 32 bit per channel .tiff file I saved after merging a three shot bracketed set with Photoshop.
Some of my favorite shots over the years have involved movement. I started shooting movement when I worked at Ford Design and I continue to explore new ways to capture a feeling of movement in a still image.
On my last trip into the Shenandoah Mountains to photograph the fall colors I decided to capture some shots of the colored leaves from my car (while driving 30 mph on Skyline Drive). For this blog entry I’ll share some of my current techniques to capture these kinds of shots in camera.
Recently I took a trip to see the Battlefield Park at Antietam, MD.
I love visiting historic sites and I’ve been trying hard to see as many Civil War Battlefields as I can because so many of the battlefields are marking the 150th anniversary of major battles. In July of last year I attended the Sesquicentennial Event at Manassas National Battlefield Park and I had an incredible time talking with dignitaries, re-enactors and historians. I can’t wait to go to another 150th event.
My trip to Antietam wasn’t on a historically significant date but the experience was still pretty awesome. The Battles at Antietam became Americas bloodiest single day with 22,720 casualties (dead, wounded or missing/captured).
This blog entry will have some of the pictures I took on my visit and I’ll share a few interesting things I learned about Antietam.
One week ago, today, I left the comfort of home to seek shelter from a huge super-storm hitting the Washington DC area. I live west of Washington DC but I knew that my area would also get hit pretty hard.
After two early mornings and one late night shooting the stars in the Shenandoah Mountains I’ve captured some shots that are among my favorites. My longest shutter speed exceeded 20 minutes of exposure time (the above shot is just over 18 minutes) and the best images were captured after 1:30am on a Sunday night. This kind of shooting requires serious camera technique since I’m sharing the shots pretty much out-of-camera (meaning they’re not getting much attention in Photoshop).
The Sunday night I ventured into the Shenandoah Mountains was the third trip I took and I was there only to shoot the stars. I wasn’t worried about the sun coming up before I was done and I wanted to see if any differences existed between shooting in the the early morning (starting at 4:30am) and shooting in the late night (starting at about 10:30pm). It turns out there are huge differences between the two times and those differences will be the subject of the blog entry. Along the way I’ll also talk a bit about the settings I used to get my favorite star trail shot to date.
Unintended consequences (also called unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) can be defined as an outcome that is not the one intended by a purposeful action. Unintended consequences, for my photography, is when I am exploring one idea and I discover a whole new idea.
During my first early morning trip into the Shenandoah Mountains I wanted to photograph the sunrise and some fall colors. When I planned my arrival I thought I’d be sitting in my car for an hour waiting for the sun to come up. I arrived that morning and I saw the stars above me for the first time and I didn’t spend a single second in my car waiting for sunrise. I Jumped out of my car and began photographing the stars and learning a whole new form of photography (for me).
I’ve never tried to shoot the stars before from a location like this and once I started I knew I was going to run out of darkness (which was happening fast with sunrise quickly approaching) and that meant that I couldn’t do everything I wanted in just one trip. I proceeded to learn as much as possible on that first trip and I started thinking about a follow up trip. For this blog entry I’ll talk about my second early morning adventure into the Shenandoah Mountains and how I captured some of my favorite shots to date.
There are some things I love to photograph. But because I can get pretty busy my work it sometimes keeps me from going out to photograph the things I love to shoot. For example, I love shooting long exposure shots late at night and early in the morning. I also love to shoot sunrises and sunsets, especially in really cool scenic locations. I’m a pretty lucky person because where I live in Northern Virginia offers me some incredible opportunities to see and photograph everything from the capital city to some incredible National Parks.
After long months of working exclusively on client projects I found myself caught up and I had a little time for myself. I thought very seriously about taking a break from my camera and laptop computer. And then I remembered something my friend, Gene, recently told me. He said that I needed to start getting away from all of the flash shots and spending so much time in Photoshop. He said that I needed to go out with a camera and get back to basics. In other words, get back to what brought me into the world of photography in the first place.
This blog entry will talk about how I took Gene’s advice and I did something I haven’t done in a very long time.