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The Red (Rope) Pony

This was a bit of a bear of a horse to process. I wanted three exposures stubbornly so I could get that great tonal range (even though I later converted it to a monotone). A good rule of HDR is not to make multiple exposures of difficult subjects like animals or moving objects. He was both. After much masking and manipulating in photoshop, I was able to get as close as I could although his nose isn’t tack sharp (you can see what looks like camera shake but is actually ghosting). This particular pony was on break from being ridden by cranky kids at the Memorial Day festivities at a local park. He had that look on his face… the I don’t mind being glue if this can all just stop look. I told him he was a good boy and pet his nose. I hope it helped.

Super 7(000)

Ever since seeing the poster for the new movie “Super 8“, I was inspired to try and recreate the same mood. I had no idea if I would find a location suitable or if I’d be able to come close to capturing the poster’s feel. On this day,the sky was right (menacing clouds in layers and completely overcast) and I live in a somewhat rural area in California (Sonoma County) so chances of finding something midwestern were slim, but not impossible. After driving for about a half hour I spotted this water tower out of the corner of my eye. I had to stop on a two lane road to get the bracketed shots I needed for the cloud contrast and it had started to rain. Fortunately I didn’t kill anyone (or myself) and I got my shots and processed them using Photomatix and some heavy-handed photoshop. I took the pictures with my Nikon D7000, thus the name. I enjoy fun diversions like these and encourage all photographers to take a break and have a blast doing something you wouldn’t normally do.

3 exposures EV -2 to +2
Photomatix,
Photoshop CS5
Silver Efex Pro

Raining in the Sunshine

I’ve met people who absolutely hate it when the sun is shining while it’s raining. To me, it’s one of the coolest phenomenons of weather. It is a dichotomy of meteorological logic that results in a beautiful, even cinematic scene, especially when it happens during the golden hour. This is my driveway. It’s not the most stunning scenery, but the quality of light alone is enough for me to want to preserve on film and retrieve on those dreary days. The only downside? My camera was absolutely soaked. I didn’t want to miss the moment, so I sprinted out of my house without an umbrella. Fortunately, I’ve got one of those weather resistant camera bodies. D7000, you have proved to be amazing once again. This was 3 tonemapped exposures because I was shooting into some major glare and wanted to get the foreground. 

Sonoma Ruins

I have had a problem with not being able to travel to the places I’d like to because I have, what’s it called? Oh, no money. So I’ve been making due with a 60 mile radius which has been fine for a few months but all that scenery starts to dry up and tedium sets in when trying to discover a new subject. Living in Sonoma County means no shortage of beautiful scenery, but I don’t feel like shooting the same beautiful hills to grab the sunset. So it’s more my problem than there being a lack of worthwhile landscapes. I tried to break the mood up with photoshop trickery. For instance:
Hey, look! I made it look like a painting. But alas, aside from clashing with my oeuvre, it still reminds me of at least two other published shots of mine. So, while I was driving around looking for something, already resigned to not finding anything, I saw an old, partially collapsed building hidden behind some trees and tall grass. After navigating along a fence with several signs saying something about trespassing, I found an opening that revealed a way into the structure. It was an abandoned winery, graffitied to hell and strong gust away from crushing anyone within it. This was gold to me . It looked like some abandoned civilization who discovered colorful, long-lasting pigments and was wiped out by a massive earthquake. This is the main hall but there are two other buildings with amazing visual interest, (one of which is currently the site background). I can’t find any history of this place. It’s known to a few others on flickr, but it appears that why it’s abandoned, wrecked and left for adventurous folks to illicitly wander it is known to a select and quiet few.
If anyone knows, please leave a comment.  Here’s the link to it on Google Maps.

The Eyelid

I used to go to school in Petaluma and was in the band. Every year, we would be a part of the marching band for the town’s “Butter and Eggs Day’ parade. It was usually when the weather got hot. We would have to wear skin tight polyester costumes while walking the hot streets of crowded downtown. Butter and eggs was the last thing I wanted to think about. Dairy was a bad choice. This is a view of the bridge over the Petaluma river in downtown Petaluma, CA. I was desperately trying to make a shot on the bridge work when I noticed that the bridge itself was pretty spectacular. Like the saying goes, if you look around and can’t find the subject of your photo, you are probably standing on it. The people on the bridge must have known what I was trying to do because they held pretty still for at least 15 seconds while I shot the brackets for this.

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