After dark in Central Park

After dark in Central Park

I just got back from NYC, and brought home a few images as well.  It's a great town for that, though you can read my thoughts on NYC in this post.  In short, I like it, but don't love it.  However, I really enjoyed wandering in Central Park and firing off a bunch of photos!  Check 'em out!

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Blue hour on the River Loire

There always seems to be a little magic at blue hour, morning or night.  It’s such a special time of day, when everything is quiet and still, noises seem to be at a minimum, and the whole Earth feels like it is resting.  I love those moments.

I was out one evening in Amboise, a small town in the Loire Valley of France, and had been looking for interesting things to aim the camera at, which isn’t really very hard in this area - there’s something beautiful at every turn in France.

Anyways, I started out way across that bridge and behind the Chateau de Amboise which you see in the photo.  After crossing the bridge, I saw that little boat anchored in the swift-moving water, and wanted to take a closer look.  It took a little fence-hopping and trail-maneuvering, but was well worth it.  Interestingly, the boat wasn’t moving back and forth very much at all - must have been anchored pretty well!

It wasn’t long before my quiet revelry was disturbed by 3 little French boys who just wanted to make a new friend.  Sadly, my French language skills are terrible, so I barely understood much of what they said - apart from the constant “take my picture!”.  So I did.

They climbed up on that statue of Leonardo da Vinci and I popped off a quick shot with the flash.  It was fun hanging with them actually, even though I had no idea what they were saying.

Loop 360 light trails

The Loop 360 Bridge (formally known as The Pennybacker Bridge) is both an Austin landmark and a beautiful structure.  I have shot it many times and always enjoy it.  This shot is actually from Christmas Eve in 2009 - I just came across this project in Aperture and realized I have many shots to process from that evening that I had completely forgotten about.  So, hopefully I will get to them and get more shots of this wonderful bridge posted.  I had been at the top of a large rocky overhang, where everyone goes to shoot the bridge, but had finished up and was walking back down the hill.  About midway down there is another trail and so I headed over there in the dark to try out a few things.  This was a single exposure, 10 seconds at f/5. 

Blue Hour in San Francisco

One evening after work while in San Francisco, I went on a solo photowalk and was just sort of meandering.  San Fran is a great town for that.  There are things to photograph on nearly every corner.  I made my way over to the gate at the entrance to Chinatown, and nearby was the Grand Hyatt.  I had read that there was a restaurant or bar sort of thing at the top, and that the view is great.  So, with camera and tripod in hand, I just walked into the hotel, made a beeline for the elevators, and hit the button for the top floor.  When I got out of the elevators, I found myself in a very busy place.  All the best tables were taken and it was crowded - but I guess I should have expected that.  It's not like they wait for me to arrive and just clear out.  Luckily I saw a little alcove off to the side - it looked like an area where they used to have pay phones, which I guess people don't really need anymore.  It was small, but most importantly it was empty and offered this wonderful view.  I quickly set up the tripod and snapped some shots, before the host decided it was a bad idea.

Single image, 8 second exposure taken at f/5.

By the way, I registed this website with CoolPhotoBlogs, so if you like my work please take a moment and vote for this site at this URL: http://www.coolphotoblogs.com/profile15048

Night falls on Austin

Taken on my recent photowalk in downtown Austin with all my Flickr buddies...had a great time.  It is hard to beat taking photos, talking with great people about photography, and a beautiful evening.  We wandered around the edge of the lake (technically the Colorado River) for a bit and snapped a few.  I also did this same scene in HDR, but feel like it didn't give me any benefits over this version, which is a single 5 second exposure at f/5.6.  Sometimes the simple approach is the best, at least for me. 

Curved rock on Laguna Beach

This HDR was taken on Laguna Beach, out in Orange County, CA.  It’s a beautiful place and if you are nearby I highly recommend that you go check it out.  Bring the camera too!  I happened to be there around sunset, just after some storms had passed so I really enjoyed walking around and snapping a few.  In this shot, I really liked the curved rock and it appeared to me to resemble a gloved hand or something along those lines.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/13, with exposures ranging from -3 to +2.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix, and then made my typical adjustments in PSE and Aperture, and also added a light touch in Topaz Adjust.

A quiet night in the old 'hood

Recently we had a little family outing in San Antonio, which included seeing my mother who lives there, in our same house in the same old neighborhood.  It's fun to return to your old stomping grounds, so to speak, and see things in a new way (that is, through a camera).  You certainly do look at things differently once you become addicted to camera work.  After a wonderful dinner, I started noticing the soft, warm colors in the sky and got the itch to snap a few pictures.  The spots I had in mind were either too far away to make it before dark, or closed in the case of one place in particular that we tried.  So, I asked my mother if that old neighborhood pond is still around, and of course it is.  We cruised up there and she took a little walk while I did a little photography.  It was a quiet evening, and the air was still, but it was comfortably cool outside which is just how I like it.  It's rare that I shoot in a neighborhood, but in this case I liked the light while the sun was fading and the reflections of the various lights in the water.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/5, with exposures ranging from +1 to -4.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix, and then I did some of my typical adjustments in PSE around Curves and Contrast.  Final touch up occurred in Aperture.  

By the way, have you heard about the IOSafe Solo?  It is an external hard drive that is both waterproof and fireproof.  It is awesome!  I recently got one and wrote a little review of it, which you can find here.  Check it out!