Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Signs of Winter - Vail, CO

Just another day on top of the mountains in Vail. Theses clouds are a welcome site to many folks that live there as they know moisture is in the air and with the first cold snap the snow will start to fall and then ski season is right around the corner.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI

And you thought I was done with my Images from St. John...Nope, I still have a few left in the bag. This shot is a photograph looking down at Cruz Bay. Cruz Bay is the little town that greets visitors as they arrive by Ferry from the surrounding Islands. Lots of good bars and restaurants to keep you well fed and quenched. Our favorite is a place called The Beach Bar, aptly named.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cooling Off - Eagle County, CO

I recently watched a video of David Smith South African nature photographer over on Marc Silber's Silber Studio TV about shooting nature photography and a tip he mentions about shooting wide to capture the animals in their environment is one of his favorite ways to shoot. Many people think they need to be right up in the face of the animal and in some cases this is good, but in other instances he likes the image to be more of a story . Showing the animal in their natural environment gives the viewer a more complete story. While out in Colorado I was thinking about this tip when I was told by some hikers that they had spotted some moose out on the waters edge. My longest lens was a 200mm so I knew I had to capture a wider scene, but I also wanted the moose to be the central subject. I set out to get a composition in which the moose could be viewed as if the viewer was a hidden observer letting the animals do their thing. The below was the result which captures a mother moose with her calf cooling off and enjoying a refreshing drink in Piney Lake with the towering pine trees creating a visually pleasing clean background for the image.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Football Sunset - Round Rock, TX

A quick post today as I write this wrapping up my Friday night football assignment and head home to pack for the UT tailgate party tomorrow. As I was waiting for the game I saw a very nice feature shot high up in the stands. I exposed for the sky and silhouetted these two young girls sitting atop the stands before the game. I think the distinct segmental composition is what give this photo my check of approval, what do you all think?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner on the Mountain - Beaver Creek, CO

OK I still plan to get back to my guest photographer Thursday but I slacked on lining some people up. I hope to have things in order next week. In the meantime enjoy this photo inside Beano's Cabin in Beaver Creek Colorado. A fabulous place to go for dinner with an even better way to get there. My wife and I arrived at this cabin via horseback to enjoy a world class 5 course meal comprising of everything from wild hare and buffalo prime rib! We were even visited by the house porcupine see a flickr image of this guy here. For more on this place you can visit their website Beano's Cabin. During the winter they take you up via a horse drawn sleigh!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where the Waters Begin - Eagle County, CO

This photo marked the halfway point of my hike from Piney Lake to Mt. Powell. You see from here I had to turn around and go all the way back. This was sort of the pot of gold that I knew was at the end of the trail head and it kept me going many times when I thought it was best to go ahead and turn around. I am glad I fought through the last 8 switch backs to finally come to these falls. The trail head actually ended at the top of the falls so in order to get the shot I had to do some pretty careful bouldering down the rocks to get to a spot that made for a good composition. My path down was along the rocks you see on the left of the image. Once down I realized to get the shot I had to cross the falls and get to the other side. Every step down I knew meant a return trip back up but I kept that at the back of my head and told myself we will deal with that after the shot. I also again got lucky with the light. Some nice clouds had rolled in and killed most of the harsh midday shadows and slowed my shutter for a nice smooth flow of the water. Thought I would also share a comment string I had with a friend over on my facebook page. After posting my last image he asked if I had been on vacation all summer. I got a kick out of that and told him that that is why I love photography because even though I have not been gone all summer my photography allows me to go back wherever, whenever and as many times as I want. It's a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oktoberfest - Vail, CO

If you are thinking about heading to Vail, September can be a great time of year to go. Perfect weather for being outside and all sorts of things going on at night. In between days full of biking and hiking we ventured out to Lionshead Village to partake in the Annual Oktoberfest. This is a great street party with giant steins of beer and lots of great food and music. I also found out why Oktoberfest is held in September in most places. It is a party to celebrate the upcoming October harvest. Sort of a one last party. Well they throw a good one in Vail Colorado.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Colorado Gold - Eagle County, CO

This photo was taken along my hike to Mt. Powell from from Piney Lake. As you can see the mountains are getting closer but I still had a long walk ahead of me. I stopped here to take the photo fro two reasons. The peaks of the mountain were being lit up by the sun peaking through the clouds and the two unique landmarks. The round rock sitting on the granite slab as if it had journeyed down the mountain and found a good place to rest. And the young aspen tree that had changed to gold long before the others just to show them. Whenever I am photographing I always look for some thing uniqe that will draw your viewer into the scene and make them look twice or move their eye through the image. Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rightful Claim - St.John, USVI

This may not be my most scenic or beautiful image from St. John but I really enjoyed the subject. This was another St. John Ruin I came across while hiking on St. John. While many ruins have been preserved by the park services this one is tucked deep into the trees along a trail, in which the trees, vines, and ruins seem to be one. In this picture nature is laying its rightful claim to this piece of land 200 years after this dwelling was abandoned. the bulge in the tree to the left of the ruin is a termite nest. These are found in several trees along the trails in St. John.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Up Through the Aspen Trees - Eagle County, CO

Thursday is usually my guest blog Thursday but since I was out all week taking photographs I have not had much time to peruse the Internet and select a photographer for this week but hope to have someone new next week. So instead I will post another photograph from Colorado. This was along the trail up to Mt. Powell at Piney Lake. These are Colorado's famous Aspen trees. During the fall months the Colorado mountains go through a dramatic color change. the Aspen Trees can be seen from miles away as they dot mountain sides with patches of yellow. While these trees had not changed they presented a unique perspective as I looked up through the canopy to the deep blue Colorado sky. The colors provide such wonderful contrast that the beauty in this picture was its simplicity. By the way do you know another photographer you like? If so let me know and I will try and feature them in an upcoming guest photographer Thursday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Touching the Sky - Vail, CO

On our second day in Vail we decided to hike to the top of Vail Mountain. As we got closer the clouds began getting thicker and thicker and lower and lower. The view of the mountains in the background touching the clouds was a very cool scene. With the clouds rolling in the chill began to race through you at 12,000 feet. So to capture this chill I appplied a cooling filter along with my HDR technique to the photo to recreate the cold chill on top of the mountain. It will only be a matter of weeks until the first snow falls and tcovers these mountains.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nature's Reflection - Eagle County, CO

Sorry about missing so many days with my blog but I have had a difficult time connecting to the internet. I finally found a nice spot in the Betty Ford Gardens in Vail Colorado and I am able to pick up some wifi. So I will take this opportunity to share with you all a very cool shot I made yesterday. One of my goals in coming to Colorado was to capture a mountain reflected in a lake. I set of Tuesday morning to a lake called Piney Lake and when I arrived I saw these beautiful mountain in the distance towering above the lake and I set of around the lake to get the best angle and reflection. This image is the result. Beautiful Mt. Powell in the distance reflected perfectly in the glass like water of Piney Lake. What a start to the day to have this be one of your first photographs. Not only was the reflection perfect but the colors were also perfect. In one image I had reds, blues, greens, yellows, purples, oranges all in one photo. I don't believe I have another landscape photo in my collection that has all these colors in the same images. There is so much to see and enjoy in this photo for me. From here the day went on as I hiked along the lake and up about midway on Mt Powell where you came to a waterfall that helped feed Piney Lake. It was a strenuous hike but with a beginning like this and an end that I will share with you later it was a perfect day!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Football Friday - Round Rock, TX

I shot my football game on Thursday night this week instead of Friday so I will post my photo tonight. Sometimes a good sports photo is just being in the right place. I don't own any super long 400MM lenses so I have to sometimes wait for the action to come to me. This photo of Adrian Smith was just that. I was waiting down by the 20 yard line when Adrian broke around the corner and started coming right toward me. I captured a nice tight shot with him making his turn up field. May be off line for a few days but I will do my best to try and update my blog as I can.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guest Photographer Thursday - Peter Talke

Today's guest photographer is a fellow Austin area photo blogger Peter Talke. I discovered Peter through his Blog Places 2 Explore. Peter's blog is less than a year old but he has already established quite a following. He dabbles in all sorts of styles but his two most prevalent styles are HDR and infrared photography. I am most drawn to his use of infrared. The below photo was a recent post of his that showcases his ability in this type of photography and it is a spectacular example of what good IR photos can look like. Peter and I share a very similar path into photography in that we are both self taught. Peter is always teaching himself new things. He never stops learning and is always trying new things. He hopes to begin his portrait career soon and will also begin trying to add sports photography to his list as his daughter begins her budding sports career. Pete's travel photos span the globe and his blog is a very enjoyable escape so I encourage everyone to go get lost in his wonderful photos but you may end up lost in thier excellence. Pete you have a bright future ahead of you in the world of photography
Follow him on Twitter at @TalkePhotogrphy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ruins of Windy Hill - St. John, USVI

I had a previous post "View from Windy Hill Estate" that was shot at this same location. This is what is left of the estate built on top of Windy Hill. this image further paints the images I had in my head as I sat on the edge of this estate and overlooked the Caribbean sea below. Places like this are off the beaten track in st. John and a visit to them will make your trip. For more on this location be sure to go back and read my "View From Windy Hill Estate" post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old Annaberg Ruins - St. John, USVI

The photo below is an artistic rendering utilizing HDR and textures. It was shot at the historic Annaberg Ruins on St. John. These are probably the most visited ruins on St. John and are preserved and maintained by the national park service. They are easily accessible and are a must stop on any visit to St. John.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Waiting for the Evening Flight - Bertram, TX

Labor Day weekend in Texas typically means opening weekend for Dove hunting. Dove are a migratory bird that are in abundance across Texas. Each fall thousands of hunters set out in the early morning and late evening to wait for these birds to take flight which is when the hunt can begin. The hunter below sits patiently across from a livestock tank which is a common roosting spot for dove in the evening. The photo below is a 5 shot HDR with some artistic brush work in photoshop to give this more of a painting effect which I thought went really well with the outdoor sportsman theme in the photo. Happy Labor Day everyone!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

McNeil vs Belton. Round Rock, TX

So my goal is to post my photo from Friday night on Saturday but opening day of Longhorn football kept me busy :) We host a tailgate for every game and it is hard to find time to blog in between tending to a grill and watching football :) So here is the photo from Saturday nights game from McNeil vs Belton. I get asked a lot about the settings I use when shooting sports so I thought I would post them in this post. For shooting football, I shoot in AV mode and open up my camera wide open F2.8. and typically ISO 1600 in RAW format. By doing this I know I will get the fastest shutter speed I can which is the most important thing to monitor when shooting sports. I always monitor this while shooting through the in camera meter and try to keep it above 1/800 at a minimum. If I am getting a fast enough shutter the first thing I change is the ISO I will bump this down to try and reduce the noise caused by a high ISO. Typically however a ISO of 1600 is required due to the bad light at most high school stadiums. In many case even at F2.8 and ISO 1600 my shutter will drop below 1/800. When this happens the use AV mode allows me to drop my exposure to -1/2 and by underexposing I can get a faster shutter. This is the main reason I shoot RAW. Because as long as you don't underexpose too much you can typically correct the exposure in your post work. Hope this helps.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Guest Photographer Thursday - Oliver Fluck

I am going to start something new on my photo blog. Every Thursday I am going to post a photo from a guest photographer. These are going to be photos I have come across on other photo sites or other blogs that I follow. I will post the photo and write a little bit about the photographer and why I like the photo. Today's photographer is Oliver Fluck. I found Oliver Fluck over on twitter @fluck. He has some great work that spans wonderful city scapes to intimate portraits. My favorite photos of his however have to be his B&W street photographs. He captures the essence of street photography, random moments, random times, simple stories. His photographs capture these elements perfectly. The photo I decided to feature is "Good Morning, Mr. Conner. Ready for Work?" This is something you just don't see everyday and it is pure gold. The gentleman in the background really makes this photo and makes this photo hit all three elements I described above perfectly. Check out more of Oliver Flucks great photos at his blog Oliver Fluck Photography.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dell Diamond - Round Rock, TX

This was another sunset photo taken during a Round Rock Express game. There was no HDR on this photograph. This was a single exposure. There are so many elements to this photo that I enjoy. And your eye is constantly moving through the photo to capture the entire scene. While the photograph froze the action your eye moves through the image causing your mind to unfreeze what you see. If you look closely you will even see the ball flying over the pitchers head for a base hit.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pirate Bill - Coral Bay, St. John, USVI

I have to say I am proud of myself for holding true to my personal goal when I set out to St. John. If you remember back from my post on July 23rd, Shirley Temple Please , I wanted to make sure I tried to take more portraits in part thanks to this cool video from Clay Enos. So with this post I wanted to write a little bit about my experience and what I have learned taking street portraits or in this case "beach portraits " Taking portraits of strangers can sometimes be very intimidating and it was for me as well. It just takes a little gut check and then go. Just tell yourself what is the worst thing that will happen. They say no thanks. Some folks are easier to approach than others but the same thing holds true. People will let those they feel comfortable with take their picture. So sometimes this means simply introducing yourself, and others it may be sitting down to chat for a few minutes first. In the case of Pirate Bill it was a simple Gin and Tonic. Before I ever approached Bill I asked our waitress who he was because from how I saw him interacting with folks I knew he was most likely a regular. She told me his story and I asked if she knew if he was open to people taking photographs of him. She said he has people ask him all the time and sometimes gets quite tired of it. So I did not want to be just another tourist snapping a picture. I wanted him to see me as a nice guy he could share a drink with and also as someone who took my photography seriously and did not just take a photo of just anything. I sat down and introduced myself and asked what he was drinking. He told me Gin and Tonic "but you got here to late" he said with a smirk. "my drink is full" I told him the next one was on me. A few minutes later he was agreeable to me taking his portrait. There was no complicated posing or taking him out of his element. I told him just stay right there and this will take no time at all. I set up my tripod and fired off about 7 different shots in 2 minutes. After the photos I told him about my website and he laughed saying "I have no idea about that Internet thing." I said not thinking "well then let me email you the photos" and he laughed again and said "don't worry about it " me then realizing the stupidity of my own words. This portrait was taken at a bar on the East End of St. John in Coral bay at a place called Skinny Legs. I first noticed Bill while I was shooting a photograph of a dog laying down under a table. Obviously the first thing you notice is the beard but after sitting down to talk with him you start to see so much more in his face and body. Inside these details hide hundreds of stories from his life all of which I wish I had time to hear. There is the sandy white sailor beard uncut for years, You can see a tint of blue in his grey eyes that have faded with time. The blemishes and creases in his skin give him an almost wizardly demeanor and as you look around his neck you notice the medallions hanging in a long loose cord that give Bill his adventurous pirate mystique. While I don't know any of his life stories what I do know is that he is where he wants to be. If there is someone out there who reads this and knows Pirate Bill or you think you may know someone who might please reach out to me so I can make due on sending him a copy.