Jan 2010

Chevrolet

Chevrolet

Here is another photo from the Western parts of Utah Valley. This was from a small junk yard. Most of the homes in this area had no trespassing on them. This junk yard would have been fun to be able to enter and spend all day in. This photo was taken from the side of the street. It was again hand held at Iso 200 and three shots.

I like how everything around the truck looks black and bleak.
I like the bright yellow of the truck. It is a stark contrast to the rest of the vehicle.
I like how with this photo there is no question as to what the subject is.
Everything in this photo draws the eye to the front of the truck.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Farm Eqipment

Farm Equipment
Today we decided to get out of the valley smog and go for a family drive. We left the smog of the Wasatch Front and went out towards Eureka, Utah. Eureka is a small mountain town in the West mountains of Utah. It was founded on silver mining. Along the way I stopped anywhere I could see some old farm equipment or an old rusted truck. We found plenty. This was the last photo of the day, and by far my favorite. All of the photos were hand held and three exposure HDR. For this one I had to turn the saturation down just to keep the orange under control. The last edit was to apply a small amount of Topaz Adjust to bring out the details.

I like the deep blue of the sky.
I like the texture of the clouds.
I like the orange and blue and the interaction of the burnt brownish red clay soil.
I would like to have the orange a bit more toned down.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Stewart Falls

pre-Stewart Falls
For today’s post I thought I would do a before and after of an image I took last summer. The first image has no processing done at all. I took this image into Photoshop and resized it for the web.

Stewart Falls

This image received the standard processing and sharpening. The difference was that after I processed this image I created a duplicate layer in photoshop and using Topaz Adjust I enhanced the entire photo. This made the photo look to over processed. I then erased the overblown areas. I made a few more adjustments on the waterfall and merged the layers and masks.

I like how in the final photo the water and rocks are the highlight.
I like the detail in the rocks.
I like the detail in the water after it falls from the fall.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Circles


Circles on the Provo River
Last fall I took my daughter to the High Uinta mountains in Utah. As we were about to leave the Provo river and come home I saw a few bubbles on the far side of the river that were moving in a circular motion. I set the camera up with a neutral density filter, a low iso and the f/stop of f/22. These all allowed the shutter to be open for a long time. This was a six second exposure. Having this long exposure gave the appearance of the bubbles forming a circle.

To process this photo I ran through the normal steps, but the photo still looked a bit dull. I then used the pluging Topaz adjust this brought out the details on the trees and in the river bed. I didn’t like what it did to the rocks. It made them look a bit to over processed. They all had a strong blue color to them. I decided to bring both of them into Photoshop. The Topaz photo was the top layer. At this point I erased the rocks on the Topaz layer thus allowing the more natural processed rocks to shine through.

I like the colors of the water.
I like how the rocks center the circle.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Night on Timpanogos

Night on Timpanogos
Over the weekend we had a nice snow storm throughout Utah. The storm was clearing as the sun was setting. There were enough clouds in the air that it had the potential for a great sunset. I headed for the foothills, but as luck would have it the sunset fizzled. As I was heading home Timpanogos Mountain began to come alive. I decided to head down to Utah Lake and take a straight on photo of the mountain. The sun had now fully set, but the light was bending towards the mountain in a way that it just glowed. I missed the best light on the mountain, but there was still enough that Timpanogos stood out from the rest of the scene.

The specs.
38mm
30 second exposure
iso 200
f/22

I like the darker blue of the sky. There are a couple of small star dots starting to show.
I like the dark color in the middle of the scene with the lights. It show that dark has come.
The dark and light of the mountain draw the eye to the city and the mountain.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Simplified Truck

Simplified truck


This is a five shot HDR of an old pick up I found in Midway, Utah. After processing it I decided to apply topaz simplify as the final edit. I like how the colors and rust were simplified, yet you can still tell it has serious rust issues.

I like the focus on the front of the car.
I like the rust, this truck begs for some tender loving care.
I like the colors of the truck and the barn.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Zion Moon

Zion Moon

We were in Zion’s National Park right after I had purchased my first DSLR. It was winter and we only had a couple of hours to look. The trails had ice on them but there were some good photo opportunities. This picture is a perfect example of getting to know your equipment. I had just purchased a 70-200mm lens and I was experimenting with it. Normally I won’t shoot landscape photos hand held and with the lens wide open. This photo turned out ok, but it could have been a lot better if I had been more familiar with my equipment.

The Specs:
f2.8
Shutter 1/3000s
exposure +.3

I like the interaction of the clouds, moon, and sky.
I like the colors of the cliffs with the rich blue backdrop.
I like the moon centered in the “V” of the cliffs.
I would like to have more depth of field.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Hand Cart

Handcart
This silhouette is of my two oldest children pulling a handcart in Wyoming. We had taken a group of youth to Martin’s Cove Wyoming to reenact the Willie and Martin handcart companies trek to Utah. We had better conditions then the pioneers did. Our equipment, clothing, food and weather was better then the pioneers had to endure. By the end of the few days we were in Wyoming these kids had a better understanding of the hardships the pioneers had endured. The trip was a success.

This photo is pretty straight forward. I set the exposure to the sunset. In doing so the foreground and the subject became a black silhouette.

I like this photo because it shows the subjects facing the elements. It gives a sense of loneliness. Yet with the sunset there is a feeling that they can rest. The grass blades show to me that they are in the plains or an isolated area. Martin’s Cove is an incredible place. The elements can change quickly. After spending a few days here I have a much greater appreciation for those who helped settle the Western United States.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Snap Art Wagon

Snap art Wagon

This is another view of the same wagon in yesterday’s blog. It is still a five exposure HDR. The only difference is that after it was processed I ran it through the Snap Art 2 plugin. The setting was an oil painting with a natural fiber paper look. The thing I like about these plugins is that they allow the photographer to experiment with new mediums to display their art. So next time you have processed your photo try a new twist and experiment with one of the many fantastic plugins available.

I like how the oil painting turns this photo into a realistic painting.
I like the texture of the paper.
I like the colors of the paint.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Wagon

Wagon

This was a fun little photo to take. The wagon is located on the front porch of the cabin I filmed the other day. This is just one of many theme items on this porch. This photo was with the aid of a tripod. It was foggy and the light wasn’t great. The photo is a five exposure HDR that I batch processed and then exported into Photomatix Pro. Batch processing is basically editing one of your photos and then applying those settings to each of the other photos. Here is a link to one of many tutorials found on the web http://vodpod.com/watch/1972915-batch-processing-in-lightroom. Basically it is a way to save a ton of time editing large groups of photos.

After composing the HDR and getting the settings the way I liked it on the photo I exported it to Photoshop and applied a small amount of Topaz Adjust, and Denoise to the photo.

I like the rustic look of this photo.
I like how it looks like a toy, but one that was useful.
I like the rich colors of the photo.
I would like to have a a handle on the end of the wagon with a child pulling it.

Thank you for visiting my site. Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Rexburg Temple Sunrise

Rexburg Temple Sunrise

We were in Rexburg, Idaho to take a tour of BYUI. This was one of the schools my daughter was planning on attending. The Rexburg Temple sits on top of a hill on the campus of BYUI. It is an incredible building. This was our last morning in Rexburg. I arose before anyone was awake and set the tripod up in an empty field. My goal was to take a photo of the temple right as the sun rose over the horizon. The Temple faces East. This was one of my first attempts at HDR photography. The photo is a five exposure HDR. I didn’t have a cable release or a very good tripod, but I think the photo turned out nice. The small specks on each side of the temple are actually birds that took to flight as the sun rose.

I like the sun enhanced color of the temple.
I like the color of the horizen, it matches the temple.
I like the moon in this photo.
The blue to me off sets the color of the temple nicely.


Thank you for visiting. Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonfly-1
Dragonfly eyes

I had a friend text me today asking about the Coyote photo on my website. I took that photo in Yellowstone a couple of years back. He also mentioned the bugs. It got me thinking about spring and warmer weather and again taking photos of insects.

Two summers ago I had a blast taking photos of dragonflies. It seamed that everywhere I went there they were. At first they were a little bashful. They are predators that are quick to move and don’t stay anyplace very long. It seamed that every time I would get close they would move. I developed a technique of moving in close to them with the lens on auto focus and the camera set to rapid fire. I would then start taking photos non stop as I ever slowly moved the lens closer to the dragonfly.

The first photo is the dragonfly as I started to take the photos. The second is when I had moved as close as I possible could get. As long as I was moving slowly towards the bug I was not perceived as a threat. I did not change the settings on the camera or the lens for this shot. The only thing that changed was perspective. Notice how the depth of field gets shallower as you get closer to the subject. When shooting in Macro mode it is extremely important to have your point of interest in sharp focus. The margin for error is literally less than millimeters.

The photo with the black of the eye is the reflection of my lens while the light spot is the reflection of the sun. I shot these photos in full sun. By the time the last photo was shot I was only a few inches from the bug.

This sequence was 15 photos. The two photos above represent the first and the 15th photo. It took all of 3 seconds to shoot. The camera was on continuos shooting mode for the entire sequence.

The Specs:

Iso 320
105mm lens
f/14
1/125 second
Hand held.

I like how the dragonfly looks like it is smiling at me.
I like the huge eyes.
I like the detail on the individual eyes.
I like the look of the nose and mouth.

Thank you for visiting today. Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Front Porch

Front Porch

I showed my friend Jon the photos from my daughter’s engagement photo shoot in Midway. He liked the location so much that on Saturday the two of us went back up. We went early in the morning and found that the Heber Valley was cloaked in a thick layer of fog. The temperature was 13 degrees. By the time we finished shooting the pictures I had small ice droplets starting to form on my beard. We had a blast and this porch was filled with so many interesting subjects. We could have stayed all day.

I like the dark and light areas of this photo.
I like the rustic look of each item.
I like how the snow frames the bottom and the fog frames the top right corner.

Thank you for visiting and please let me know what you think.

~wr~

Check out the new improvements

The major updates are now complete. I have made several significant changes. The first is the layout and format of the entire web page. I hope you like what you see. I added several new features that make the page easier to navigate. Each of the sub pages are more true to the content. On each page the photos are clickable. They will take you to the page described to the side. Or if you prefer you can click the link from the drop down menu or the title next to the photo. I have updated the links page with links to some of the programs I use. These are the manufactures that allow you to download their software for a free trial period. I also have an example photo of those people who have web pages that I have links to. The best part is now all the photos are uniform in presentation and you can view them in a larger format. In the coming days I will do some minor updates that are mostly cosmetic in nature and I will work on updating the photo albums. In the process of this entire rebuild I reorganized my workflow. One casualty was the misplacement of several photos.

Take some time and explore the new web page and thank you for visiting. If you like what you see please share with your friends and family.

~wr~

Updates Coming Soon!

I am working overtime this weekend to finish up the updates on my web site. The plan is to have the web site updated on Monday. I will have new material this coming Monday, January 18, 2010. Thank you for your patience.

Flip

Flip

I wanted to share this photo with you as an example of getting lucky. I had just barely purchased my first DSLR and my boy asked if I would go to Brighton and take some photos of him doing some snowboarding tricks. I knew enough to get make sure I had the camera set up on a tripod and that I was out of the way from the snowboarders. After I got the tripod set up I also knew enough to place the camera in manual focus. I got everything set up and decided I better do a test run of the next boarder to come down the mountain. This was my test photo. I have no idea who the person is. I tried for the next couple of months to locate the person so that I could give him the photo all to no avail. My boy came down the mountain and hit a rut right before the jump and landed hard. When we came home we downloaded a free trial of photoshop and stitched the six different positions of the boarder into one photo. It took us forever. We have since learned how to make this a faster process. The big key to this was to guess the right exposure, have the camera in focus, on a tripod, and to be at the right place at the right time.

I like the complete rotation of the boarder.
I like the clear blue sky.
I like the height the boarder gets.
I would shoot this in Raw next time. Raw would allow more flexibility in the edit process.
I would shoot the entire sequence from take off to landing.

Thank you for visiting today. Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Chevy

Chevy

This is the truck we found while taking pictures of my daughter and her fiance. By the time we came on this scene it was getting quite dark. This was a simple three exposure HDR the longest exposure was for several seconds. First I combined the three photos using Photomatix. Once this was complete I enhanced the details and some colors using Topaz Adjust.

I like how the colors of rust, red, green, brown and much more just flow together.
I like the snow surrounding the truck.
I would like to not have the playground in the photo.

It is always important to make sure to check out the background. A lousy background can ruin a perfect picture.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Rustic Cabin

Rustic Cabin

I decided to take my daughter and her fiance up to Midway today for some Bridal photos. We had a blast, but it was cold. Just as we were about to finish up and leave for warmer weather I came across this fantastic looking cabin. It was getting quite dark at this point. This photo required a tripod and a cable release. It was a five exposure HDR with a slight amount of Topaz adjust for extra pop. The longest exposure was 13 seconds and the shortest was 1.6 seconds.

I like the rich colors of the wood and the decorations on the porch.
I like how the cabin sticks out from the drab clouds.
I like the snow and ice hanging off the front of the building.

The specs
Iso 200
24mm
f/16
tripod mounted
five exposure.

let me know what you think, and thank you for visiting my site today.


~wr~

Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge

This is another photo from last week. The sun was starting to set when we came across this bridge. The covered bridge is located between Heber and Midway, Utah. This is a seven frame HDR photo. I love the look of the bridge. It is new construction with an old fashioned feel. This bridge is a walking/bike path. The bridge goes over the Provo River. Twenty feet to the left is an ugly road for cars and ten feet to the left is a water pipe. I wish this bridge was away from these two structures it would make for some great photos if you could have the water and the bridge.

I like how in this photo the road and bridge are at an angle.
I like the blue sky.
I like the bridge being framed by the trees.
I don’t like the dirty snow on the left. It has a slightly yellow color to it due to the sun setting behind me.


Let me know what you think

~wr~

Rocky Mountain Farming

Rocky Mountain Farming


This is a 7 exposure 3 frame panoramic photo from last week. I took this photo about 20 minutes before the sleeping lady photo with the reflection on the lake. Timpanogos Mountain is located just to the right of the v in the mountains. I set the f/stop at f/2 to gain a maximum depth of field. I wanted to get the farming gate in the center of the picture, but when I took the photo I wasn’t happy about the weeds. I now like them as they add to the look of this gate being abandoned.

To achieve this type of photo you must move fast. Get all of your settings in order before you begin taking pictures. Equipment that is necessary is a tripod and a cable release. I set the tripod in the snow as far down as it would go. In saying this it still did not touch solid ground. That is where the cable release comes in. it made it so that there was no movement on the camera. For each photo you also need to have overlap so that the software can stitch the individual photos together.

I am working on an update to this web page it is looking great, but I don’t want to release it until I have it as nice looking as possible. In the meantime I am adding some of the new features to this page. Such as clickable photos on the blog and on the home page. I hope to have the new version in the next few weeks.

Thank you for visiting and please share this site with your friends and family.

~wr~

Pencil Sunset

Pencil sunset

I went out again tonight to take photos of what looked like a promising sunset. It did turn out to be okay, but we have a temperature inversion that is getting pretty strong. When this happens the pollution from the cars, fireplaces, and businesses gets trapped in the valley. It creates an ugly layer of smog. This photo was to be a five exposure HDR of the sunset, but with all the smog in the air the photo ended up having a gray covering of what almost appeared to be digital noise. So instead of fighting this one I again decided to play around with Snap Art. This is a factory preset for a medium colored pencil drawing. I then went into the sliders and made a few adjustments on the coloring.


This plugging does make the photos appear to be abstract, but it also gives them another look and feel.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Painted Sunset

Painted Sunset

Tonight the clouds were setting up for a beautiful sunset. I came home from work with just a few minutes to get down to Utah Lake. As luck would have it I got stuck behind a train crossing that was not working. I quickly made a detour and made it just as the sun sank behind the mountains.

This photo is located at the mouth of the Provo River. The sunset turned out to be a dud so after processing I decided to edit it using Snap Art. For this photo I adjusted my tripod so that the camera was inches above the ice and took a three frame seven exposure panoramic. The photo had some interesting aspects to it even though there was not a lot of color. The dead reeds on the right, the log on the ice, and the reeds on the left all give the photo character. I like how this one turned out with the plugin. So next time you have a nice looking photo that has dull color try to use one of the great plugins that are available.

Good news! After posting yesterday’s blog I submitted it to HDR Spotting located at:
http://www.hdrspotting.com/EditorsPicksHDRPhotos

This morning I received a pleasant surprise as it had been posted on the feature page and on the editors choice page. Please take a few minutes and take a look at this new web site. It is full of great HDR photos from many talented photographers.

Thank you for visiting my site today. If you like what you see please share it with your friends and family.

~wr~

I am currently working on a major update to this page I hope to unveil it in the coming weeks. In the meantime you should start seeing some minor improvements to the current page.

Sleeping Lady

Sleeping Lady

Here is one of my favorite photos. I decided to take my daughter for a drive. She had been cooped up in the house for several days since her knee surgery. I took my camera along just in case it looked interesting. This photo was taken on the backside of Timpanogos Mountain. It is a two frame five exposure HDR. By the time we had arrived here it was quite dark. The exposures ranged from 1.6 seconds to 25 seconds. I was quite pleased with the results.

I called this one Sleeping Lady due to the Indian Legend (actually made up by a BYU professor for Family night activities). To make a long story short the male and female were in love. The female was to be sacrificed for the good of the tribe. Through there struggles on the mountain they demonstrated their love for one another in front of their god. Both ended up dying, and their god took great pity on this love story. Mt Timpanogos contains her heart in a cave (National Monument), and her silhouette forms the top of the mountain. Her hair is streaming down towards the great yellow part of this photo.

I like this photo for the colors. They work well together.
I like how the pink ice curves and meanders across the water towards the yellow sunset.
I like the reflections of the mountains on the water and the clouds on the water and ice.

This is the photo I will submit to HDR Spotting.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Wedding

DSC_1822_fused

So today the saga continued. I decided to spend the night at the hospital with my daughter. This was good since the nurses didn’t check in very often, and midway through the night she needed more medicine. Shortly before going to sleep I noticed that three rooms down from where she was staying there was a man in a room receiving tons of extra special attention. In his case it was the wrong type of attention. His room was being guarded by two police officers. Even though they were there I was glad to be next to my daughter during the night. In the next day or so I hope to have the HDR Spotting photo up with an explanation as to how I took it.

In the meantime I thought I would share a recent photo from a professional lab. This is one of the place settings from my daughter’s upcoming wedding. This is a five exposure tonemapped image using photomatix light. It has a slightly green tint due to each of the flowers being light green.

To get this photo we set up a constant soft light box and a spot light. The light box gave a soft cast over the entire photo while the spot light highlighted the rocks. Additional light was cast from the fake candles. The polished rocks were scattered around the candles and the main jar was filled with water.

I like how the water and round jar make the flowers appear bigger than they really are.
I like the soft glow in the candle holders.
I like the scattered rocks.
I would like to reshoot this and adjust my camera settings for a more accurate light.
I would also like a different cloth on the table so the image appears smoother.

Total cost for each center piece is $15.

Thank you for visiting my site today. Let me know what you think and please share this site with your friends and family.

~wr~

Cascade and Provo River

Cascade Pano

Yesterday I had plans for my daily photo blog when life happened. My plans for the evening were to watch the TCU-BSU football game and edit a new photo I took for my recent invitation to HDR Spotting. This is a recent new webpage that displays some of the best HDR photos that can be found on the web. The actual address is http://www.hdrspotting.com/

Back to my plans I had just sat down to watch the game when my wife and daughters said it was time for family time. So being a semi smart husband I turned the tv off and listened as my 6 year old daughter began her presentation. Shortly into her presentation she let out a terrible scream, followed by tears. Our 17 month old had bitten her. After several minutes of tears and mom and dad not doing the presentation right she was again able to proceed.

At the end of her presentation I made a quick look at the clock. It was halftime. I thought ok...I can finish editing the photo for the blog and HDR Spotting and watch the second half. At this point my teenage daughter was hunched over in pain. I took her to the dr. who diagnosed food poisoning. By the time I purchased the medicine and got her tucked in bed it was 12:30. I thought no blog, but at least she is okay and on the road to recovery.

Then at 4 a.m. my son woke me up, because the teenager was in terrible pain. After consulting with her, she felt it was not much better. She would wait for the next time she could take the medicine. At 5:30 her pain had increased and we decided to go the hospital. By noon she had been diagnosed with appendicitis, she had the surgery and was resting in her room.
This photo was taken near Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. The mountain on the left is Cascade Mountain. In this area of the river there are several waterfalls that cascade off the mountain. For this shot I used a tripod and made five exposures of each section. This photo took 10 different pictures to put together.

Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you enjoyed the short narration and the photo.

~wr~

Double Falls Sunset

Double Falls Sunset

This photo was taken in the exact same location as last nights. Instead of looking directly at the sunset I turned the camera 90 degrees. This mountain is called Cascade mountain, and in this location there is a waterfall around every turn. This is a five exposure HDR.

The Specs:
Tripod with cable release
iso 100
24 mm
f/22
five exposure

I like the color of the sky.
I like the snow on the trees.
I like the patterns of the rocks.

Let me know what you think.

~wr~

Winter Stream

Provo River Sunset

I decided to travel up Provo Canyon in Utah. This photo is taken fairly close to Bridal Veil Falls. It looked like we might have a nice sunset, so we gave it a try. This photo is just off the main highway just off the old highway road. I could tell there would be a slight reflection off of the river, but to get to it I had to climb down the bank in two feet deep snow. Under the snow was last years growth of weeds and shrubs. I was unable to get the tripod grounded on solid ground. If it were not for the cable release the camera would have had to much shake to it to get this as a clear photo.

The Specs.
5 exposure HDR
Iso 100
40mm
f/22

I like the curve of the river.
I like the trees.
I like the range of colors in the sky and water.
I like the snow. It defines the water.

Let me know what you think. If you would like to see this photo or others look me up on Fliker. My link is on this page.

~wr~

Upper Provo waterfall Perspective

Provo waterfalls Perspective

Here is the last image from the Upper Provo Water fall series. This side view shows more of the waterfall and less of the rock than yesterday’s version. These photos were shot late in the morning the sun was high in the sky. There was a slight cloud cover which is why there are not many shadows. Even though there was cloud cover to achieve this look you must keep the shutter open for a short amount of time. To achieve this in mid day you will need a solid tripod, a cable release is also good, and a polarizing or neutral Density filter or both. There is no way to hold your camera steady by hand for several seconds and get the photo absolutely crystal clear.

Just remember the next time you are out taking photos look around there is always more then one way to photograph a subject.

The Specs.
Iso 250
32 mm
f/22
1/3 of a second exposure

I like how the water drops off the rocks and immediately heads towards me and then turns away.
I like the light framing of the water by the rocks on each corner.
I like the misty water.
I would like the center water to have a little less blow out area. I may fix this in photoshop.

Thank you for visiting my site. Let me know what you think.

On a side note I went to the studios of http://www.reflectedpixel.com today and did a props photo shoot of the table arrangements of my daughters wedding. In the next few weeks I will share those with you.