Sunset in Amsterdam

Ah, lovely Amsterdam!  What an interesting city!

I find Amsterdam to be very interesting.  It's a study in contrasts, really.  It's a city rich in history and culture, but it's better known as a party town.  It has incredible museums, but people go there for it's relaxed views on things.  The architecture is fabulous, and the old churches are beautiful.  It's really a great place.  More than many other towns, it wears these 2 hats equally well, I believe.

Being in my mid-forties and interested in the photography aspect of cities, I love going there, but obviously not for the party.  I enjoy seeing all the canals, museums, and architecture - and then photographing the heck out if it.

On my trip there last year, I wandered around while sunset and blue hour were approaching, as I was looking for a nice vantage point to get some shots that I hadn't seen before.  I was on the fringes of the Red Light District when I saw a little alley sort of thing that appeared to end at some water.  I wandered down that alley and was confronted with this wonderful view.

Since sunset was upon me, I fired away for a bit and then waited for blue hour too, since I always love to get nice reflections at that time of day, and the water was really still here due to very limited boat traffic in the canal.

That's one thing about HDR photography - while it's great most of the time, I find that it really excels during sunset and blue hour.  It just does so much more to a photograph than a single exposure can give you.


A Copenhagen sunset

It's hard to beat the beauty of Copenhagen!

When I visited Copenhagen, I was really excited because I had never been there before, and being a traveler at heart, I always love to go see new places.  But I never really expected to love it so much.  And boy did I really love that town!

It seemed like everywhere I went in Copenhagen that there was something interesting and beautiful to point my camera towards.  That's a great feeling, because it means you come home with a lot of photos that you like - and I did.  I will probably be sharing them for a long time here, and I have only been there one time.  Of course, I hope I get to go back someday!

This was just some random street I was walking down.  With the canal there and the lovely architecture, it doesn't take much to get me to set up the camera on the tripod and start firing away.  It's what I do.  When you add in that lovely cloud cover and the soft sunset light, I was a pretty happy dude, even though I wasn't staring at some fabulous monument or famous place.  It was just another beautiful side street in Copenhagen...and there's a lot of them there!

Faking Fall in Austin

I love Fall - it's my favorite season!  What about you? 

There is just so much about Fall that I love - the chill in the air, the holidays that are rapidly approaching, the changing of the leaves.  The only problem is that we don't really get a full-on Fall season here in Austin.  We just don't have enough of those types of trees, among other things.

So although it's my favorite season, I've never really gotten to experience it like I want to - which is to say, I have never been to New England in the Fall.  That seems pretty awesome, to drive around in the country and see mile after mile of country road surrounded by trees that are glowing orange and red.  Sounds awesome, but I've never done it.   Hopefully someday.

So I did the next best thing with this photo - I totally faked the Fall color. 

It's pretty easy to do, really - and not in Photoshop.  I'm not much of a PS user.  I did this in Color Efex Pro, by Nik Software by using the Indian Summer filter.  It's just one of the great filters available in the product.  Click a couple of buttons and you're all done.

By the way, this was shot at Bull Creek Greenbelt which is a nice little park not far from my home in Austin.  I was there shooting the waterfalls, and couldn't resist this section of the creek since water reflections are one of my favorite subjects.  I just wasn't a fan of all the trees being so green.  It just didn't look like Fall.  So click, click, click and here you are!

A Port Aransas sunrise

As a follow up to a shot I posted last week, I wanted to share another sunrise photo from my recent trip down to the Texas gulf coast.  As I said before, I had a couple of fabulous sunrises there with great clouds and color.  It was awesome.

On the morning that this occurred, I was moving slow I guess and by the time I looked outside, this was already in full swing.  I grabbed my gear and headed to the back porch.  Although I wanted to shoot this on the beach, I knew that I didn’t have the time to get there.  The back porch had to work.

Luckily, there was this little lagoon between the houses in the community, and that gave me the option to get some sweet reflections.  I was pretty fired up when I saw all that color in the sky.

Doesn’t it look like some Skittles exploded or something? LOL

Austin reflected

Like any photographer in his home town, I have a handful of “go to” spots that I love to shoot from.  In my experience, you start out hitting as many spots as possible when you are new to photography (and the list of places you want to get to in your hometown never stops growing) but over time you develop a fondness for a few key spots.  This is one of mine.  I go back as often as I can.

The Colorado River runs through Austin, and we dam it up in several spots to form lakes.  This section is called Lady Bird Lake, but was previously known as Town Lake (and that’s what old-timers like me still call it).  As you can see, this section runs right next to the downtown skyline, which is why I like it.  I love shooting reflections, especially in HDR, and this is the best place for it in town.

You can find all my favorite spots around Austin here on my list.  Enjoy!

Sunset in Austin

I love the Austin skyline.  I think it’s very photogenic, especially when you are on the banks of Lady Bird Lake and get the reflections and lights twinkling in the water.  Normally I am aiming my camera to the larger part of the skyline, which is out of frame to the right.  You can see that pic here.

But in this instance, the sunset was producing some nice color out West which was in this direction, so I swung the camera around and aimed this way for a shot.  This probably makes Austin seem small, but the town has grown a lot over the years, and people keep coming here.  

As a result, the skyline is vastly different from what it was just a few short years ago.  But in my opinion, the skyline has actually improved as these new buildings have gone up. If nothing else, it’s more stuff to aim a camera at!

Caesar reflected

A bit of a post and run today - I grabbed this HDR one morning in Las Vegas.  I am a sucker for blue hour and lights reflected in getting both is always something I shoot for!

This is the pool in front of The Bellagio, and that is Caesar’s Palace that you see reflected there.

Venetian reflections

I really enjoy Las Vegas, but not for the obvious reasons.  I am sort of like the anti-tourist: I go to bed early, get up early, and wander the streets alone.  It’s a whole different Vegas that way...and frankly, a better one in my opinion.  

Just to be clear, I’m not a teetotaler.  I enjoy a nice glass of wine, or a fine cold beer.  I just don’t care to do the party scene in Vegas.  It’s not my thing.  I would rather get some rest so I can get up and shoot.  In other words, photography is a bigger passion.  That’s a good thing, right?  :-)

Oh yeah - I took this shot one morning while wandering there.  This is from the lagoon in front of The Venetian.  If you get to Las Vegas, be sure and see this place, camera or not.  It’s fabulous.

Golden hour in Nashville

I was in Nashville last week, and had a few spare minutes to shoot around the sunset hour one evening.  The sky had been empty all day, but as luck would have it, everything came together and the golden hour and then the sunset were incredible.  I was happy to be standing here for an hour, gunning brackets to the left and the right. I am always a fan of reflections, and when I can get a city skyline in great light like this, it just makes it that much better.  

I also put together another HDR Before & After which is always fun for comparison purposes...

Sunrise at Cinnamon Shore

There are a lot of reasons to get up and shoot the sunrise, and probably at least one good reason not to!  But I love shooting that time of day.  Everything is still and quiet, and it often feels like you have a place all to yourself.

I got up and out early one morning when we took a family trip last summer down to the Texas coast.  We were staying at a place outside of Port Aransas, TX known as Cinnamon Shore.  It's a beautiful neighborhood, right on the beach, and has all these wonderfully beautiful houses for rent.

As you can see, that morning I was treated to an incredible cloud formation, perfect light, and crisp reflections due to the lack of wind.  All around it was a winner!