Hallway of higher learning

This shot is from the campus of The University of Texas in Austin.  My friend Pete Talke and I got out there last December for a nice photowalk.  We got shots from all over the place and I still have many to review and process.  This one was from one of the buildings just beyond the Littlefield Fountain, if you know the place.  Anyways, I really like the repetitive pattern of the arches, and besides, I thought you may want to see something other than a blue hour shot!

The cool thing about photography is that I find my skills and tastes change over time, and (hopefully) improve as well.  I remember many months ago I worked on this shot and never came up with anything that I even remotely liked, so I shelved it (I rarely delete shots for the very reason that I expect in the future I may find either new skills, new tools, or new interests that may cause me to regret deleting it).  A few days ago I was scanning through some of my folders and came across this one, so I took a stab at it for the second time.  This time around I decided that I liked it.  Thanks for looking!

The oaks can't help their feelings

This is a group of live oaks that I came across on the University of Texas at Austin campus while on a photowalk with Pete Talke.  I have to credit him for the shot, as he was setting up to take it when I walked up.  I had to agree - I liked the view.  I also like how the trees seem to be hanging down, almost like they are sad or something.  It reminded me of the song "The Trees" from the band Rush that I used to listen to all those years ago, and the title was borrowed from the lyrics of that song. I always thought the song was making some sort of social or political commentary, but I'm not sure.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/22.  There was plenty of light so the tight aperture worked well in this situation.  The exposures range from -3 to +2.  I blended the shots into an HDR using Photomatix, and then made some of my usual adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) before a final light touch in Topaz Adjust.

One of the things I like most about HDR is that it accentuates detail that is often lost in shadow.  For example, in this shot I really like the color and detail on the stone bench on the left, which looks much better (at least to me!) in HDR than it ever could with a normal exposure.