Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another shrine HDR

The last couple of shrine photos were rather well received, so here's another HDR shot as the sun went down. It's a bit warmer (light color wise) now, as the sun is a bit lower. This is looking north. If you look reeeal close, you can see Lanette snapping away in the background. :) Click to enlarge to 1280px.

Part of me wishes I could get access to photograph this place after dark. The north-facing glass would make for an incredibly interesting rotating star-trail above the beams, and the cars on I-80 would create an interesting glow.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another HDR / non HDR comparison

One of these photos is a downsampled HDR -- the other is one of the 11 photos used to assemble the HDR. Can you tell which is which? ;) Click to enlarge.

Alley Chair

I have no idea who calls this their chair; I found it sitting by itself in the back of an alley after the sun had gone down. Click to enlarge.

This is another one of those shots that just would not have been possible sans tripod before I got my new IS lens.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The last of the UNL candids series. :) Click to enlarge.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lanette (Winter)

Some of you who've been following this site for a while may remember this picture of Lanette from a bit ago (click to supersize 1280px wide in a new window):

Me n' Lanette went out on a photo shoot this past Friday. I wanted to get out to this location again (a glass Catholic shrine between Lincoln and Omaha) and shoot a winter version of this shot -- we got there just in the nick of time. The guy who was running the visitor center was ridiculously nice, and allowed us to stay for sunset, despite the fact that it was already 15 minutes past closing. Anyhow, here's Lanette, the winter version (click to supersize in a new window):

This was shot with a Canon EOS 20D camera with a Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens. Tripoded, 5 shots were combined in Photomatix to create this image. All tone mapping was turned to minium. The image was then saved as a TIFF, opened up in Photoshop CS2, and toned.

If you want to do HDR portraiture yourself, there are four things that are important:

1. You must have a camera capable of bracketing photos (i.e., the camera must be able to take several photos in rapid succession, each photo having a different exposure).

2. You must have a tripod.

3. You must have a model that can stand very still.

4. You must have a HDR assembler/tone mapper like Photoshop CS2 or Photomatix. (This was done with Photomatix, but I prefer CS2 generally. This was one of the few applications where Photoamtix did a slightly better job.)

Essentially, you must set up your shot, have your model pose, have him or her stand very still, and then fire off all the shots. After you have all your shots, you assemble them to create an HDR, from which you can tone-map to create a pleasing image that renders on todays monitors. I have a tutorial for doing this posted here.

Props to Lanette for once again being an incredible model!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Step Lively

On THursday, I wanted to test the flare control on the new lens by shooting the sunset from atop a parking garage here in town. While I was waiting, I looked down -- and had an idea. :) I'm kinda glad I got the f/2.8 now, as the light was low enough that I'd never have stopped even the minor body movement so late in the evening with a f/4 lens. Click any image below to enlarge.

Friday, January 26, 2007


The temps are finally climbing out of the freezing mark here in Lincoln, and it seems like the whole world is melting. :) I found this pipe running meltwater downtown near the skywalk yesterday. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


A gaggle at UNL a few days ago; click to enlarge. I'm nearly at the end of the stuff I shot -- but that's no prob, since I have the next two days off, and can hopefully do a little photo hunting. :) I hope some snow is still around; I've got a followup photo I've been meaning to do at that shrine off I-80 between Lincoln and Omaha.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I wasn't the only one at UNL looking for candid shots. :) Who watches the watchers? Why me, of course!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A few guys

From the candids a few days ago at UNL. Just to prove that I don't only shoot women. ;) Click to enlarge.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Girls on Phones

I was just telling someone yesterday how fun it is to take pictures of people using cellphone, especially women -- their facial expressions mirror the expressions they'd use if they were talking to someone face-to-face, and they usually aren't paying enough attention to realize that some guy with a huge camera is taking their picture. Great candid material, in other words. I took these while testing out the panning IS / AI servo of the lens the other day at UNL. Click to enlarge. :)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mac Addict

Today's shot is of a woman using a Mac inside the food court of the Student Union at UNL. Shot from outside -- this worked surprisingly well. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

UNL candids (I)

So, to futher test up my new Canon 70-200 2.8L IS, I went down to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln yesterday and camped by the student union. Mainly, I wanted to test the Ai Servo focusing (which is just a fancy word for "let the autofocus track objects that are moving towards or away from you"), the mode 2 IS (which is the lens's ability to pan horizontally while eliminating vertical vibrations), and the performance wide open. The last time I tried shooting candids at a college was when I was in college, and so this was also an interesting experiment for me photography wise. :) I've got way more than will fit in a day's posts, so I'll just cherry-pick and post a few at a time.

Today's shots are the AI Servo tests -- shots of people walking torwards me. Click any photo to enlarge it in a new window.

Geeze, lady -- didn't anyone tell you it'd be 15 degrees outside?! ;)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lincoln downtown (testing the new lens)

Thought I'd head out today and see what I could see in downtown Lincoln. I've needed a chance to put the new lens through the paces (it only has a 90 day warranty, so if it's busted, I want to know ASAP) -- so far, I really, really, really like it. :) I guess I never realized how much of a difference image stabilization makes. Being able to handhold a 200mm lens down to 1/40th (down to 1/15th at 70mm) really opens up a lot of possibilities. I mean, that's really dark when shooting at ISO 400, which still looks nice on a 20D. Click any of the below images to enlarge. My usual monitor is fritzing out, so I had to tone these on my laptop using only numbers, so hopefully the colors/lighting doesn't look too funky. :)

This was shot through a pane of glass (as you can tell from the reflections.) I think it was like 1/50th.

Another guy shot through a store window (Jimmy John's).

This is a 100% crop from the shot above. Amazing detail for f/3.2 and through a pane of glass, IMO!

This is a test of the lens's Mode 2 IS. Basically, you flip it to mode 2 and you can track objects horizontally. The camera removes all vertical camera shake but allows the smooth horizontal panning. Really quite amazing.

Camped outside this for a while waiting for these folks to walk by. The juxtaposition, along with the color temperature difference, was hard to pass up. :)

A random urban compression. Nice reflections during the golden hour.

While walking back to my car, I ran into someone I work with near the theatre. Portraits? Check!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New lens test

I went out on my balcony today to try to see if there were any birds nearby to test the lens on. I found a mischevious lil' squirrel perched on a neighbor's porch. This was shot at 200m on the 70-200 2.8IS and at f/3.5 (f/2.8 has a ridiculously tight DOF @ 200mm at this focal distance), click to enlarge:

Below is a 100% crop of the above picture. You can even see a nice reflection in the squirrel's eyeball. That's sharp!

Yes, sir, I like it!

Monday, January 15, 2007

New lens

Got a new lens:

It's a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS. I sold my Sigma 70-200 2.8 and my EOS-3 to pay for it. (I am REALLY going to miss that EOS-3 -- we've been places, baby!) I've been wanting to use something with image stabilization for some time now, and this does the trick! I wrapped it up a couple days ago with some camo guntape (non-adhesive, of course) to break up the white. While white lenses may scream "look at me, I have a great lens!", that's not exactly what I'm after, especially with candids. :)

This was shot handheld at *1/60th* of a second. Indoor lighting, ISO 800 -- on my 20D, that's effectively 320mm being handheld at *1/60th*, and it's critically sharp. I do love this lens. Hopefully I can snag some good candids with this.

It's a napkin rack, in case you were wondering. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I've been Dugg!


Every now and then I end up shooting a wedding or a wedding reception. I haven't done very many, but I've grown to really dig shooting the dances, especially later in the night as people loosen up a bit. :) For this type of shot, I set the camera to around 1/8th or 1/4th of a second and use fill flash. The flash freezes, while the intentional camera movement creates motion. It helps if you "dance with" your subject, as your camera movements then become very natural with the motion of the people. Click any image to enlarge in a new window.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

San Francisco Alley Art

This is an old film scan of some alley art in San Francisco -- painted on the City Lights bookstore, no less. I believe the mural is a Zapatista cultural tradition, and is supposed to reflect their history. I had to wait some time for the man at the left to finally show up. Click to enlarge.

If you ever find yourself in San Francisco, I highly reccomend the City Lights bookstore. Lotta history there.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Here's an outtake from the April 2006 storm chase (you can find it as a link on the right.) Click to enlarge. I like the vertical version of this shot much better, but this gives an idea of where that forground catchlight came from. Props to Amos for the illumination! It's only January, and I'm already getting a little nostalgic for the storm season. Next year's is just around the corner... only 3 months left! I've got better mobile internet coverage this year thanks to Alltel, and that, combined with GRLevel3 radar, will hopefully mean that I can bust less and see more supercells. Hurry up, Spring! :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Just a heads up for those of you swimming over here from the ice storm photos over at Mike Hollinghead's "" -- I'm not the guy who shot those photos. :) That seems pretty obvious to me, but I've already had a few folks congratulating me for the great ice storm shots. I *wish* I could take credit for the amazing stuff Mike found on his journey into Central Nebraska, but alas, by the time I got a chance to roadtrip out there, most all of it had melted.

Anyhow -- one can certainly say that the plains are a highly dynamic place to live. Grid-wrecking ice storms in the winter, supercells in the summer. And all of it quite beautiful. :)