Tuesday, March 31, 2009

View into the Loft - Burton, TX

I am finding old wood makes a great HDR subject. I think it really brings out the texture and lines in the wood. In this photo I tried to compose a simple subject but at the same time give the viewer lots to look at. There are no distracting elements and the viewer can be engrossed with the wood grain and trying to peek inside the window and missing board to try and see what is inside. I also like how the HDR gives just enough light into the loft to show the viewer what it was used for. interested to hear if you all like this or not.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Grand Gorman II - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

So I think this will be the last in the Gorman Falls Series. What a photo op it was. This Last photo I think really does a good job of showing how many different beautiful aspects of the falls there are to view. It is even more impressive in person but I hope I did a good job capturing it with my camera. If you want to go back and look at the others here are some hot links

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Journey - Colorado Bend State Park, Texas

The waters of the Colorado river come from many sources. Some starts high up in the Colorado Rockies. Yet more falls from the sky above, and even some comes from the ground below in spring fed streams. All of it converges into the main Colorado and after a long journey empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The below photo shows Gorman creek falling over the cliffs and into the Colorado River. This digital art is comprised of a 5 shot HDR blend. Then in photoshop some selective filtering, saturation, and levels were applied to give the final digital art rendering.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Lonely Street - Lampasas, TX

Quite tired today so excuse the quick post. I am a fan of the photo below because of the simplicity of the scene but yet they way in convey what I felt on the lonely streets of Lampasas. I loved how the red bench mirrored the red stop sign and then it was mirrored itself in the reflection of the window. It was also the color of the bench that stopped me and made me take this photo. See you all again soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Steps of Gorman Falls - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

So I gave everyone a break for a while on photos of Gorman Falls but as I continue to work photos I keep finding a new angle that I have to show everyone. I think I have about 3 photos still unprocessed. I must have shot the falls from every angle possible. This is the left side of the falls at about the mid section. This is the only part that has the water stair stepping down.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mutton Bust'n - Burton TX

As a kid you just can't jump up on a bull so you start them early in Texas with an event called Mutton Bust'n. The kids get on a sheep in a shoot who is let go and the kids hold on for dear life. The goal 6 seconds. The end result for most is below regardless of if they make it the 6 seconds or not. So if you bust the mutton or not there is a 100% chance the kid is gonna bust their you know what just like the kid below. All however get up and dust off with grins from ear to ear. It is for sure a crowd pleaser. As they get older you never know which of these kids you will see on a 2 ton bull in the future. I bet they all think they could do it tomorrow however after a little Mutton Bust'n!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beauty at Rest - Burton, TX

Butterflies are not the easiest thing to photograph. I went following this butterfly around for what seemed like hours before he finally set still long enough for me to get my lens in close. I think I finally wore him out and he had to rest and this thistle was the closest flower he could find. Not an ideal resting spot if you ask me. If only he new I wasn't a giant bird looking for lunch we both may not have been so worn out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Longhorn Herd - Watson, TX

In the past I have seen multiple Longhorns together but this was a first for me. 11 Longhorns in 1 photo. Yes it is kind of hard to see them all but I count 11 including the two calves. A true gem of a scene for any Texan. Even better for a longhorn fan. Another great example of how a cloudy day can make for a great photo opportunity. This shot was another pull off the highway composition. I am not 100% sure on the location but it was off 183 between Watson and Briggs north of Georgetown.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Small Town Urban - Lampasas, TX

A little different take on small town Texas. Roaming downtown Lampasas I decided to get off the main streets and walk down some of the alleys. In the alleys the stone walls these buildings are made out of really came into view. It made for a great opportunity to put together an urban photograph in this small Texas town. This corner stood out due to the contrasting door, and then the wire spools with the dead vines just added to the whole photograph.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Windmill on the Farm - Liberty Hill, TX

This was taken on my way out to Colorado Bend this was another highway stop I made. It was taken right off hwy 183 North of Liberty Hill. It is a 3 exposure HDR then two subtle textures were applied. This photo I took a little more liberty in photoshop and use more texture blends and color filters to give it more of a canvas painting look. I am very interested in seeing how this may look on a canvas mount as a print. Well the weekend is almost over and back to the real job! Hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did mine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gorman Falls in the Distance - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

OK I hope you all are not getting tired of Colorado Bend Photos because I have several more to go through. This shot was composed by going off trail and finding a little out cropping of rocks that had a clean view of the falls. So my tip for the day get off the trail. The best photos are never made from on a trail.

Friday, March 20, 2009

House at Berry Springs Park and Preserve - Georgetown, TX

A quick post today so I can put the computer down and go fire up the grill for a nice evening with friends. This is the same house as shot in Light Through The Window

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fly Fishing the Colorado - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

While most people don't think Texas when it comes to fly fishing there is actually a pretty big community of fly fisherman in central Texas. This fisherman was captured trying his luck to catch the famous Texas White Bass. They swim upriver ever spring to spawn and this attracts fly fisherman to the river to try their luck. It is a beautiful back drop to spend the day fishing and if the title does not confuse enough folks I bet several people may just assume this is in Colorado and not Texas. I wish I was going out to chase some White Bass tomorrow, but that will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Gorman - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Here is another photo from Gorman Falls. It is a 9 shot HDR vertorama. This shot took some work not only in getting the photograph in the first place but also the blending of all the photos in post. To try and give you a sense of getting into position I first had to make my way down a river bank that was solid mud. There was little to no traction and I just new I was going to slip and slide all the way down into the Colorado river ruining all my gear. I decided to take the risk because I wanted to get to the bottom of the falls where it flowed into the Colorado so I could compose a shot that showed how grand and awesome the falls were. Once down to the river I had to pack my gear up tight in my pack and wade through thigh deep water to get to the opening. Using my tripod as a walking cane I carefully felt the bottom of the river to make sure I did not step in any holes that sent my gear to an early death. After a slow walk I made it to the mouth. I had to brace myself on a rock and set my tripod up and pull my camera out of the bag. I didn't want to spend a lot of time due to spray in the air so I quickly composed my shots and fire off probably around 30 frames. I packed up and went back. The trip up the mud bank was even harder then the way down but I made it with no damage to me or any of my gear. I think the end result was worth the risk. To give you some more reference the shot earlier in my blog of Gorman Falls was taken about halfway up in this frame all the way to the right side. If you look close and view this large you will see the falls almost span the entire frame.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gorman Creek - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Below is a photo of Gorman Creek in Colorado Bend State PArk. Gorman Creek is the spring fed creek that creates Gorman Falls. From here the creek is quite serene and still. About 100 yards behind me and about 60 yards down a cliff face the tranquil still water turns into Gorman Falls. To get good photographs sometimes you are just going to have to get a little uncomfortable. Most average snap shotters would be happy standing on the bank to capture this great scene but I knew I needed to get in close and personal with the lilies so in I went. With the rain I knew there was a good chance of getting wet so I was prepared and wore my waders and man did they come in handy. Several of my shots were in standing water. It was the only way to get the angle and composition I wanted. I loved the leading lines of this shot and the alternating very contrasty lines of the brown and green.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Forgotten History, Keystone Hotel - Lampasas, TX

Driving into Lampasas Texas is like driving into any other small town in Central Texas. You have the old downtown streets with German style architecture, the prototypical town square and the railroad depot all within a few square blocks. What I found after further detail however was how this historic downtown was becoming somewhat of a ghost town. Building after building was abandoned with broken windows and gutted insides. It was somewhat saddening to see these historic buildings fall into such disrepair. Even while the buildings bore the Texas historical marker emblems it was as if on this day no one cared they were even here. I truly hope this is not the case and that maybe it was the stormy weather but I was all alone on this Saturday as I walked the streets of downtown Lampasas. Other then Brown's feed store it was hard to find another person. The photo below of the Keystone Hotel is very typical of the buildings I saw. I was kind of glad it was overcast on this day because it truly added to the ghost town feel I had. the Keystone Hotel was once a bustling center of commerce and a popular stagecoach stop, and with the old train depot just across the street I am sure this was a bustling place in 1865. It did appear that there may be some renovations in the work and I sure hope there is because it would be a shame to see this historic hotel disappear forever. The name by the way is after the keystone arches the architect put in over the windows. I hope you enjoy this photograph of the Keystone Hotel.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brown's Feed Store - Lampasas, TX

On the way to Colorado Bend you pass through Lampasas Texas. The typical small Texas town. I spent a good two hours walking around the downtown to capture some photographs. Just on the edge of downtown you can find Brown's Feed store. Most of downtown Lampasas is a ghost town but not Brown's feed store. Out front I found Mr Brown himself greeting by name the constant stream of customer and pitching in to help load bags of feed into the backs of trucks. I stopped to talk with him for awhile and he was a very nice man. Just like any person whose living revolves around the land he spoke happily about the rain and asked how much rain we had in Georgetown. He told me he had run feed stores since a boy with his father and opened Brown's when he moved to Lampasas in 71. After this experience I think I am going to make sure I try to take the time to take more portraits. A photo is that much better when there is a face in the photo to help tell the story. Ohh yeah if you like these photos be sure to vote over to the right.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gorman Falls - Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Today I did not have much going on so decided to hop in the car and take a lazy drive towards the northwest. I knew where my final destination would take me but I did not know how many stops I would make in between. I decided to post my last photo first. In between I drove down winding one lane highways, slid across wet dirt roads, stopped to talk to the owner of a local feed store, hiked about 5 miles, and stopped to take hundreds of photographs, the last few being at my final destination, Gorman Falls, ,in Colorado Bend State Park. The final destination was well worth it! I put this on the map for this weekend after we FINALLY got some good rain. All in all we had about 5 inches and I knew that meant these falls would be a grand spectacle and they sure were. After resting a while and shooting quite a few photographs from all sorts of different angles, I knew I had to get going. I had another 4 miles to hike back to my car and it was starting to get dark. This is when I was hoping for some magic sidewalk or transport to beam me right back. Not to be, I made it back to the car with some sore legs and muddy boots. I stopped in Lampasas on my way back and had a great Chicken Fried Stake at Yumm Factory Cafe. What a perfect way to cap off the day. A lLittle note about this photo. It is called a vertorama, meaning it was comprised of multiple shots stitched together to give the viewer more of the scene. Most folks have heard of panoramas. It is the same thing here just a vertical orientation.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Busy Bee - Cedar Park, TX

This is another one of my older photographs and one of my favorites. I was holding off in posting it until spring. I remember taking this photo and the time I spent nose deep in these flowers, which I believe are Cross Vines. There were bees everywhere and I just knew I was going to get stung, but I hung in there and took hundreds of shots waiting for the bee to be facing out of the flower. I had several shots where I was too late or too early or the bee just decided he did no feel like having his photo taken. Anyways I got out of there with no stings and this photograph. Happy spring everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mills Pond - Round Rock, TX

In photography I am always trying new things, sports, landscapes, wildlife, portraits, you name it I have shot it. Call me a generalist. I may not be a master at any one form but I really enjoy doing it all. Of course I have my favorites but being able to do a little of everything I think really helps me grow along this photography journey. The learning for me has not stopped just with the photography. I am always challenging myself with new post processing techniques from HDR,to using textures, to my latest process, digital blending. The below is a digital blend. It is similar to HDR in that it combines multiple exposures. The difference however is that you forgo the tonemapping step which blends your lights and darks evenly across your photo. The digital blend technique is all done in photoshop in which you overlay exposures and then painstakingly combine the exposures where you want them to be lighter and darker. It gives you a little more control if you want some aspects of darks to remain in the photo. I decided to use a digital blend technique on this scene to make sure the viewer could tell the time of day. I hope you can tell that the photo below was shot as the sun was setting to the left of the frame. With an HDR technique I lost all the shadows in the water and the trees at the back of the pond. These shadows were key to giving the photograph a time of day. The other advantage of the digital blend was I was able to still keep the deep deep blues that show in the sky during the late part of the day. By the way Mills Pond has sure been a treat to photograph lately. If you live in the area you should get out there and go to work. Be sure to share with me if you do. Here's a little secret for you as well. The fishing ain't bad either!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Early Spring Colors - Round Rock, TX

I need to spend some time learning more about trees and flowers, my knowledge of trees is very limited and I could not tell you what type of trees these were if you asked me so I will ask the help of my viewers to help with the IDs. All I know is I love the purple and white blooms in the trees in this photo. They don't last all that long so enjoy them while they last. In this photo I loved the complimentary colors of the purple, white and green of the trees. The clouds added a nice touch as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sun Catchers - Cedar Park, TX

This is one of my earlier photos and remains one of my favorites. I think it was when I realized how powerful light was and how much of an impact it can be in photographs. I loved how all the Sunflowers looked as if they all were reaching out as high as they could to try and touch the sun.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Longhorns and Live Oaks - Leander, TX

OK after forcing myself to post the picture of Reveille a few days ago I have comeback to redeem myself. On my way to shoot the baseball game on Saturday I spotted these longhorns in a field off the road. The setting could not have been more perfect so I pulled over and took some photos. I loved this wide angle as it gives you full appreciation for the size of the giant Live oaks in the pasture. Normally I would want to be in close and tighter to the longhorns, but in this case the long horns are just a nice addition to the overall subject of the photo which to me is the entire landscape. I wanted the viewers to see the land, the tree, the sky and of course the longhorns.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

First Sign of Spring - Round Rock, TX

So what is the first sign of spring for you? For me and many in Texas it is the site of the fresh dirt and clean cut grass of the baseball diamond. When the bats come out and the dirt flies spring has arrived. The following is a shot I took while shooting the Round Rock Dragons play Lewisville in an early season game. Whenever I shoot sports I always look for something else to shoot other than the typical sports shots. Why this photo could never pass in mustard in the journalism world due to the post processing the cloudy day screamed for a more artistic HDR. the below is what I came up with. This one spent quite some time in photoshop utilizing the layer mask technique to reduce masking and motion blur of the players as well as the halos from the netting. I hope you all like my introduction to spring, and thanks all for the votes on the 2009 Photoblog awards.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Three's Company - Round Rock, TX

Everywhere I am looking these days spring is in the air! You may get spring overload from me over the next few days but this is one of the best times to be photographing. It starts simple enough but then it will hit like a freight train and all the browns and grays disappear as if god himself was using a layer mask tool in photoshop :) (An inside joke for those familiar with photoSHOP tools!) This is another shot of some different ducks at Mills Pond from Friday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Golden Eye on Mills Pond - Round Rock, TX

After waking up at 4 in the morning, and putting on layer after layer of clothes then another layer of cammo on top of that, I ventured out to a remote water hole in 28 degree weather. OK just kidding, why would I do that to get a great shot of ducks when I can disappear for 30 minutes on my lunch break and stumble across a neighborhood pond that looked to be the biggest waterfowl social get together in central Texas. This shot was taken at Mills pond today on my lunch break where I found 100+ ducks feeding and bobbing on the water. There were wood ducks, golden eyes. pintails, teals, and probably many others.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reveille - Burton TX

Ok I admit it was a little tuff to post this. Being a die hard Longhorn, I bleed Orange. If you know my wife she will attest that this picture pains me just a little. However, I post this picture for a good cause and to announce that a print of this photograph along with the photograph of Bevo will be auctioned off at the 2009 Cotton Gin Festival. This festival has very special memories and meaning to me so it is only fitting that I give back by trying to raise money for this very historic Texas landmark. I have to think that these two photos are very unique in that I have the two mascots from the two largest state schools taken at the very same location. So come check out the festival April 17-19th and have a good old time at a small town Texas festival and be sure to say hi if you come out. Oh and don't forget
to click over here to vote for my blog------>>>>>

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Barn Rays - Burton, TX

Here is one more shot processed from the area around Uncle Cope's Barn. This one obviously another taken inside. It is also pretty obvious what drew me to set up and shoot this direction. The trick though was upon entering these rays were not present. However the barn floor was loose dirt. I thought maybe if I create a little dust the light coming through the cracks would create beams as it lit up the dust in the air. One quick kick and presto I saw what could be a very nice photo. The problem was getting it to last long enough to shoot the shot. This is where my wife comes in. I had her assist by kicking up some dirt with me until the inside was all nice and dusty and then I would run back to the camera to fire the shots off. The end result a shot that conveys the solitude of an old barn and the light that brings beauty to the eye. And this my friends is why I am getting a kick out of this photography thing. Oh and by the way if you like my blog and actauly read the post to see this, don't forget to vote for it by clicking on the 2009 Photoblog Icon on the right. You do have to register but it is easy and fast. I would love your vote.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Abandoned Radiance - Burton, TX

Today I bring you part 3. The last three shots all were shot within a 100 square yard area. I could have spent so much more time photographing different angles and subjects in this area but alas I had to call it quits but I plan on going back again soon to see what else I can capture. This is another HDR showcase photo that shows how endless the possibilities can be. A single exposure directly into the sun would have resulted in a disastrous end result. This is shot from outside Uncle Cope’s Barn. I must have walked around this barn 20 times to look for the right angle. At first the front looked promising with some gorgeous evening light on the side but on about the 20th time around to the back I saw the sun had lowered to a point where it could beam through the old fence and there was just enough of an opening in the brush and trees to get a clean view of the barn. This gave me the interesting factor I was looking for and gave the shot a unique look and feel.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Uncle Cope's Barn - Burton, TX

Here is part 2 of this weekend’s photo excursion. This barn is simply known as Uncle Cope’s Barn. It has not been a functioning barn for some time now. There is not much inside the barn these days but what is there has sat there for some time, disturbed only by the light that peeks through the cracks in the wood or the dirt dobbers that make their nest on the ceiling. The beauty in photographing places like this lies in the details. For this photo is the patterns in the wood grain, the fraying of the rope hanging on the rafters and the hay that has sat in the loft above for so long it makes one last attempt to free itself by pushing its way through the floor from above. This may be one of my new favorites and I think the subject was made for HDR. Without the HDR technique the detail would be lost and now should time eventually claim this barn the detail that was found inside can be preserved.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Old Shed - Burton, TX

I went to go visit Burton this weekend and my wife told me there was a place near by she thought I would like to photograph. I asked her to take me out there and show me and she was right! I was able to collect some great photographs! My wife lasted as long as possible being my assistant until she had had enough and decided to retire from the photo excursion. She did manage to help out on a couple of my shots so I will tell her “thank you very much and I appreciate your patience with me.” I had so many great shots from this weekend it was hard to decide which one to lead with. I decided on the below because it incorporates the new texturing technique I am learning and some HDR treatment together. One of the textures used was actually taken on location at this site. It was a concrete water tank that had a distinct rust line that I thought was very unique. After the HDR treatment and texturing I added some filters to give the final antique look. The shot is of an old storage building outside what is known as Uncle Cope’s Barn to the folks in my wife’s family. I see so many shots of old decaying farm buildings I am sometimes hesitant to shoot them unless I feel that I can get a truly unique shot. Putting together the composition, subject, and post processing I hope I have succeeded. Would love to know what you all think.