Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lajitas Patio Brunch

This shot is another from our trip this summer to Lajitas in Big Bend country. It’s a table set for a mid-morning brunch on the resort restaurants eastern exposure. The shaded scene looked like a good place to take a little break from the 100 degree plus weather.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 50-200 Zuiko @ f2.8 @ 50mm, 1/6400th @ ISO1250, Aperture Priority Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Crop>Levels>Curves>Merge Visible>Len Distortion Vignette for Additional Darkening the Foreground

Sunday, December 28, 2008

East Beach Gate

Took a trip down to Galveston today and shot this entry gate to East Beach. It was rainy, breezy, and cold [for Texas anyway] and I was hoping to find some fairly dramatic skies. This gate was recently sandblasted and battered by Hurricane Ike and looked to me more like something from Beirut than it did a ticket booth for Texas tourist.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 Zuiko @ f4 @ 12mm, 1/200th @ ISO100, Aperture Priority, with Stacked Circular Polarizing and Enhancing Filters Post Processing: Duplicate Background>TA “Specify”>Rotate>Crop>Vignette>Merge Visible to New Luminosity Layer>Levels to Brighten Highlights in Sky

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kindred Spirits

FYI – These are football fans!!! I don’t think they minded so much that they were supporting opposing teams on this day. It’s pretty obvious these two strangers have more in common than who their favorite NFL team is.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 Zuiko @ f4.5 & 12mm, 1/20th @ ISO2000, Aperture Priority. Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Crop>High Pass Sharpen>TA “Mid Color Pop”

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, one day late, to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I took a few photos at my wife’s niece’s first birthday party this weekend and this was one of my favorite shots. I like the juxtaposition of the balloon photo and the subject baby in the baby in the background, and the colors for sure. There’s something else intangible there that I can’t put my finger on, but I’m not going to worry about it. Sometimes you just like a photo for not particular reason.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/12-60 Zuiko @ 55mm, f4.0, 1/400 @ ISO2000 Post Processing: Duplicate Background>TA Noise Reduction>Merge Visible>Levels>Curves>Hue/Saturation>TA “Psychedelic”>Lens Distort Vignette

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thanks Barry, I agree. Here's a version where I've used a deep blue photo filter in CS2 to change the water color to something closer to the sky..

Monday, December 22, 2008

White Oak Bayou Christmas Tree

Correction: I originally posted this shot as "Buffalo Bayou Christmas Tree" but have since been corrected. The tree is actually in "White Oak Bayou" near downtown Houston.
Talk about putting lipstick on a pig! Someone must have had a warped sense of humor when they decided to hang Christmas tree ornaments on this gnarly old tree. Located northwest of downtown Houston this tree stands alone in a long stretch of Buffalo Bayou not to far from the University of Houston Downtown. It caught my eye from the freeway and it took me about 45 minutes to find a vantage point to shoot this shot from. I like the shot but imagine that I will go back to this spot again and try to improve on it. This shot features a lot of post processing and the scene I spotted from the highway seemed surreal enough to me that I feel like I should be able to capture it more honestly. Or maybe it looks the way I saw it now! To be continued….

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 Zuiko @ f5 & 16mm, ISO2000, Aperture Priority. Post Processing: Combine 3 Exposures in Photomatix Pro>High Pass Sharpen>Topaz Noise Reduction>Topaz Adjust Specify w/ Gradient Mask>Topaz Adjust Simplify>Lens Distortion Vignette

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boy in the Crowd

This boy was in the stands at Reliant Stadium for last weeks Texan game one row down and two seats to the left of me. He kept turning around looking over his shoulder and over our heads at something going on in the stands behind us. He did this just often enough that had reason to assume he’d do it again. I laid my camera in my lap and folded out he articulated screen so that I could focus on him without looking directly at him and when he turned I snapped this shot. The problem was I had my 70-200 and 1.4 converter on my camera and wasn’t sure I could focus within the six foot max distant. I like the resulting shot. The long focal length really did a good job of separating him from the busy background of the crowd. It supports my theory that it’s better to be lucky than good!

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 70 Zuiko and 1.4 Tele Converter@ 200mm [35mm =], f5.0, 1/1600, ISO200, Aperture Priority. Post Processing: Duplicate Background>High Pass Sharpen>Merge Visible>Levels, Curves>Topaz Noise Reduction>Crop Square.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fellow Photographer

I spotted this fellow at Reliant Stadium attending last weeks Titan vs. Texans game. He looked like he was rigged for serious photography so I didn’t think he would mind if I took a picture of him.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 Zuiko @60mm, f4.5, 1/80, ISO1250 Post Processing: Duplicate Background>High Pass Sharpen>Merge Visible in Overlay Mode @ 68%>Merge Visible w/ B&W and Levels Adjustment Layer>Merge Visible w/ Lens Distortion Vignette.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Queen of the Parade

This little girl was definitely the Queen of the City of Baytown Parade this year. I don’t know if that was her actual title or not, but if it wasn’t it should have been.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 Zuiko, f5.0, 1/125, ISO1000, 60mm, Oly FL56R Flash Fired TTL Mode Post Processing: Crop>Duplicate Background>High Pass Sharpen>Merge Visible on New Layer>TA “Radiance”>Merge to Blur Background Layer>Merge to Brightness Layer to Darken Background

Monday, December 15, 2008

Plenty of Time

Here’s a shot from Sunday’s Houston Texans Vs. the Tennessee Titans football game at Reliant Stadium. Like most shots the pros take – they make it look easier than it really is!

Technical Info: Texas 13, Titans 12

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Field Trip Shots

Last Tuesday night out photo club, the Bay Area Photo Club of Clear Lake, met for our monthly Honors Program. It’s an opportunity for members to submit works in either an “Open” category or an “Assignment” category. I enter the “Assignment” category because I like the challenge of conceptualizing and shooting [or just lucking into] shots for a specific topic. This often forces me to take shots and develop techniques I might not otherwise try.

Tuesday’s assignment was “Field Trip”- any shot you like from one of official club field trips for the calendar year of 2008- and these were my entry. The photo of the train was taken on our field trip to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Parade early in the morning. I darkened the photo, added the moon, and highlighted the lighting to give it an overall more mysterious mood. The two toy figures where on our Galveston filed trip. The figures where laying on the loading dock of a post-Ike Strand retailer along with other washed out fixtures, merchandise, and junk. I spotted them and, after setting them into position, snapped this shot.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I usually photograph squirrels, birds, insects, and domestic animals in my back yard on the Texas Gulf Coast. However the other day I spotted this fellow [I believe it’s a Chupacabra] perched on a tree limb and just managed to snap a picture before he scampered off. I know they are not native to the Houston area so I suspect he probably came up from Mexico following the great herds of migrating goats that typically winter in South Texas before heading South again in the spring.

Tech: Panosonic Lumix 12X Superzoom, f3.6 & 1/15 @ -1 @ ISO 100, 60mm Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Level Adjustment Layer>Merge Visible to New Layer>High Pass Sharpen>Topaz Adjust “Simplify” Preset>Merge Layers>Lens Correction Vignette

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fireperson On Parade

Today’s post in another from the City of Baytown Christmas Parade. I like the photo because of the, to me anyway, surprise factor. Even in a parade you expect to see a big burly fireman hanging on the side of the fire truck, not an attractive blonde female.

Tech: Oly E-3 f5.0 & 1/25 @ ISO 1000, Zuiko 12-60 @ 60mm, On Camera FL56R Flash Fired TTL Mode Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Topaz Denoise>Levels Adjustment Layer to Lighten Mid Tones>Merge Visible >Lens Distortion Vignette

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Clear Lake Park Triathlon

The Bay Area Photography Club made a field trip of a local Triathlon held at Clear Lake Park in Houston earlier this year where I captured this image. It was the first such event I had attended and was very interesting to watch and photograph. These participants are in the cycle staging area setting up there gear before the race.

Tech: Oly E-3 f5.0 & 1/25 @ ISO 125, Zuiko 12-60 @ 19mm, Flash Post Processing: Open in Photomatix Pro and Create Pseudo HDR>Open in PS2>Duplicate Background in Darker Color Mode>Color Balance Adjustment Layer>Merge Visible to New Layer>Lens Distortion Vignette

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dike Birds

This seascape was taken at the Texas City Dike in Texas City Texas on a BAPC photo field trip earlier this year. The dike was constructed in 1935 by the Army Corp of Engineers and extends into the Bay for about six miles. It has long been a favorite recreational venue for area residents to fish, swim, and boat. It was constructed of large blocks of tumbled granite with a paved road on top and featured [before hurricane Ike] several bait shops, fishing piers, shrimp boat docks, boat ramps, sandy beach areas, and picnic areas. Unfortunately the dike was all but wiped clean by Hurricane Ike which recently devastated the Texas Gulf Coast.

Tech: Oly E-3, 50-200 Zuiko lens w/1.4 Tele Converter @ 283mm, f11@1/640 and ISO 1250 Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Copy Lower Third to New Level and Scale for More Pleasing Crop>Merge Visible Layers>Levels>Curves

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cool Cat

This shot from the City of Baytown Christmas Parade last Friday night proves that “the coolest dudes are in the horn section.” When this guy came by the crowd there was no doubt that from the swagger to the glasses he “had it all goin’ on!”

Tech: Oly E-3 f5.0 & 1/125 @ ISO 1000, Zuiko 12-60 @ 60mm, Flash fired in Auto Mode Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Crop>Curves>Levels>Layer Merge w/Mask to Highlight Instruments>Hue/Saturation Layer> Merge Visible Layers in Luminosity Mode>Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baytown Christmas Parade

Baytown held its annual Christmas Parade on Friday night and my wife and I braved the cold [for Texas anyway – about 45 degrees] for a couple of hours. I had hoped to come up with some “Holiday” shots for my photo clubs upcoming assignment on that topic, but didn’t really end up with anything out of the 140 shots I took that rose to that level. I did get a few I ended up liking that I will try to post here over the next few days. The balance fell short not only due to the usual technical issues I struggle with in limited light shooting, but also with other issues. The old downtown Texas Avenue venue often appears more run-down than quaint and gets worse all the time in spite of the city father’s efforts to save it. The crowd seemed festive enough but seemed to lack the right photogenic elements, and many of the parade participants could have been marching in any parade [e.g.: low-rider car clubs and karate clubs.] But then again that’s small town parades for you. I have no doubt that other photographers might have captured far better moments from the same spot I was standing.

Tech: Oly E-3 f4 & 1/60 @ ISO 1600 +1EV, Zuiko 12-60 @ 20mm, Flash fired in auto mode Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Crop>High Pass Sharpen>Curves>Levels>Topaz Adjust Noise Reduction, Topaz Adjust “Simplify” Preset>Crop>Lens Distort Vignette

Friday, December 5, 2008

Guitar Highway

I took advantage of this local highway project just before opening to stage this scene. It was part of an effort to fulfill an assignment for my photography club of “still life.”

Tech: Oly E-3 f4.5 & 1/60 @ ISO 1600, 60mm Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Curves>Mask Sheet Music to Minimize Hot Spot>Brightness Layer, Merge visible>Topaz Adjust Simplify>Lens Correction Distort

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Father of the Bride

Back in October of this year my cousin Rick and his fiancé exchanged vows at an outdoor twilight wedding in west Houston. This shot of the bride and her dad was taken looking back over my shoulder from an isle seat near the front. I used my Oly E-3 and FL56R on camera accessory flash in TTL mode to capture the moment through my 12-60 Zuiko lens at the full 60mm focal length.

Tech: f7.1 & 1/125 @ ISO 800, flash fired Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Curves> Topaz Adjust Simplify

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mohawk Kid

This photo is taken at a family reunion in Sweeny, TX last June. It’s a distant cousin’s child so I not even sure of his name. One thing is for sure though this Mohawk-headed child was large and in charge at the reunion! Seemed like a natural to photograph with my E-3. I like the exposure in the shade of some large oak trees. Hope you like the photo.

Tech: Oly E-3 w/ 12-60 zoom, f7.1 & 1/160 @ ISO 1250, 55mm Post Processing: Duplicate Background>Curves>High Pass Sharpen>Topaz Simplify>Lens Distort>Vignette

Monday, December 1, 2008

Goat in a Tight Spot

I think this shot tells a story! And the moral of the story is that although the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence – it ain’t always easy to get to! Shot along side of a country road in Kerrville County this goat was captured [no pun intended] with a Panasonic Lumix Superzoom @ f4.5 an 1/640 at ISO100 and a 90mm focal length. If I had it to do over again I’d of used more of the 12X zoom capability of the camera instead of cropping about 50% to the shot you see here.

Post Processing: Crop>Duplicate Background in Overlay Mode>Merge to New Layer>High Pass Sharpen>Virtual Photographer Radiant Preset>Distort Lens Correction Vignette