Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Komatsu Quarter Tire

While out and about in greater DC suburbia, I happened across a Komatsu wheel loader sitting in the parking lot of a shopping center. It was bright yellow and thought that it looked interesting. So I pulled up alongside and began to look at it to see what I could see. Industrial abstracts are interesting to me (George Barr has been doing a great series from a local machine shop). I liked this image because the eye naturally wants to complete the circle, which gives it some internal motion. The white line is another important element that helps fill an otherwise empty space in the image and provides a bit more of a kick. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Steel Cross

As I was stopped waiting for a light under an overpass for the Fairfax County Parkway, I decided to stick my camera out the window and see what I would get. I had no idea what was up there, just point and shoot. What I got was unexpected, this steel cross.

I processed the image in a traditional way first using Lightroom but was not completely convinced the image met my vision. I saw something strong and dramatic, but I was not getting that from my processing. So as I am wont to do when things are not quite coming together, I created a virtual copy of the image and ran through some of my presets to see if something else works better. That is how I hit on this one. I used an extreme desaturation preset and added back in some color to the girder. I love presets in LR.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chili Fire

Another shot from the 10th Annual Great Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off and WinterFest. As I wandered around, I saw a guy stoking this fire, which was in a brick oven sitting on a trailer. Now I have seen pit BBQs in the South on trailers but never before have I seen a brick oven on a trailer. I liked the smoke and the flame. Something different.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kepler Flyover

I sat on my back deck the other evening and watched the Moon rise in the still blue sky. The blue hour is always so cool and to have a nearly full Moon was great. I had my 100-300mm zoom on the camera because I really wanted to get some images of jets going past the Moon. I live right under the routes for Dulles airport. No jets, but I did get this flock of birds flying by. And luckily in this one shot I managed to get a bird (hiding the Kepler Crater if you want to zoom and check it out - I know super geek alert) crossing the Moon while the other caught the light of the setting Sun with their underwing plumage. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chili Pepper Meets Clown

We happened to be in Ithaca, NY this weekend just as their 10th Annual Great Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off and WinterFest was getting underway. I wandered around practicing my street photography. Man was it COLD out there. But the people were very nice and this clown was having a grand time entertaining everyone.

Friday, February 15, 2008

On Coming Traffic

Driving home from my parents one evening, I decided to put the camera on the dash, set it for long exposures and see what I could get. This was the best one of the bunch. I really liked the results but learned a few lessons. 1) Clean the windshield before setting out. A lot of shots were killed because of the spotty nature of the windshield and the fact that those spots were illuminated by any light. Not easy to fix after the fact. 2) Secure the camera better. A few times the camera went sliding a bit, but I was using a point and shot figuring if it slide off, it would be ok. 3) Shoot after it is dark. There is still a lot of light for the camera to pick up on a long exposure. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Barn in the Wind

This barn is outside Culpeper, VA along Zachary Taylor Highway (Rt 522). There is a bend in the road there with some great scenery, and I always stop when going to my parents house who live down near Louisa. On Sunday, I went down for a visit and even though the wind was blowing something fierce, I pulled over to take some images of the barn. I loved the clouds and the deep blue sky. This is an HDR image processed in Photomatix and then imported into Lightroom to have one of Matt Kloskowski's lightroom presets applied (Matt's Midnight Effect). Some further tweaking and cropping got me to where I was happy with it. I debated about the top of the crop, should I or should I not include the clouds in the upper corners? Should this just be blue sky? I decided to give it a bit of cloud to help hold the corners. Not completely convinced though. Thanks for stopping by.

(Where was this taken?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Moon Machine

As I came out of dinner with my parents, I noticed the sun had set, the Moon was out and there was some nice orange light in the sky. I thought "too bad I missed this." But as luck would have it as we pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed these gravel/grain silos right across the street. So I pulled over, rolled down the window and tried to steady my camera against the door in the howling wind (man was it really whipping). It is a bit soft but what do you expect in gale force winds. I took a number of bracketed shots in the hopes of doing some HDRI work, but I really liked how some came out even without it.

(Where was this taken?)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Toes on Red Chair

I really liked the feel of this image. My son was reading a book in the chair by the window and so with my long telephoto lens and high ISO, I captured this gritty view of his feet against the red cushion. I love using the presets in Lightroom to see my images differently and get ideas on how to make them look more abstract. I used a preset that emulates the look from the movie 300 for this image. I like how it came out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Frozen Spike

Back when we had cold weather the other week, I found ice that had wrapped around a stick in the stream beneath a beaver dam and had sheared into various frozen spikes. I had to shoot this blind and try a number of different angles in order to get what I was after. I was standing on a rock in the middle of the stream bending down to the waters edge to get my camera low enough for the angle I was after. Luckily I avoided a header into the water. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Power Line at Dawn

Ok, I admit that my recent obsession with the power lines by my house is a bit odd and not to everyone's liking. But when you are trying to shoot at least one image a day, you have to work with what is at hand. I took Fiona (our dog) out for her morning break and saw this beautiful pink sunrise in the clouds. From our house we look through two sets of power lines to the east, so I am stuck with having them in the image in some way. So I tried to make a shot that I thought was pleasing and interesting, at least to me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Portrait of an Elderly Gentleman

This weekend, after I dropped my daughter off at her friend's house, I went for a photowalk through Reston (but not the Town Center as that place is off limits). As I wandered past the Sunrise Retirement home, I noticed this elderly gentleman out enjoying the fresh air. I was across the street, but I am pretty sure he saw me. He stood there for a minute or so just enjoying the day, so I took some pictures. I really liked his pose here, dignified; almost as if to say "I am the coolest guy on this block." I looked down to review my images and when I looked up he had wandered down the path.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Portrait of a Young Girl

My daughter and I were walking home late in the afternoon on Saturday from a get together with one of her friends from school. As we walked around Cameron Pond in Reston, the bank of the dam was lit up with the warm light of the setting sun. So I had Rowan pose for me for a bit. She is really good at taking direction like a little model, which I guess is to be expected since a camera has been in her face since the first seconds of her life. Anyway, this was one of our "smile but no teeth. look at me. put your hands on your knees" shots.

I have started employing some advice I read from Scott Kelby that you should be talking to your models the whole time you are shooting them when you are doing portraits, either giving direction, encouragement, or just putting them at ease with silly banter. It does work. If nothing else it makes me feel more confident in myself. The more I feel confident, the more I sound confident. The more I sound confident, the more the model is confident in me. And on and on.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Washington Monument in the Fog

I know I take a lot of pictures of the Washington Monument. But I like it and it is so different each time that it does not seem to get old, at least to me. I really like the combination of soft fog near the water and clear skies above.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Power Line Abstract

I have been spending more time of late photographing in my immediate neighborhood because I have not been able to go out shooting, and I have a personal goal of taking at least 1 picture each day. One thing that I have found that really interests me is the power line pole that is near my house. This time of year the setting sun turns it orange, and it has all these interesting details that I had not noticed previously. I have lots of shots of it from the past month or so. But I really liked this one for a few reasons. 1) I like the perspective on it. Most of my other images are looking at it from the side, which is fine but conventional. 2) I like the abstract nature of it. 3) The splash of orange makes for an interesting shape and color contrast to the rest of the linear gray elements. In fact the curve of the orange pipe is reflected in the curve of the power line near the connector, and the curve of the gray sheathing.

It has been very busy at work and the kids have been sick, so please excuse my lack of posts.

For those who are interested, I have managed to keep my New Years Resolution going so far. I have taken at least 1 picture every day since January 1st.

Thanks for stopping by.