A Bricktown Christmas

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this past weekend!  It was great fun for us.  Family, food, fun - it was all there.  A little too much food maybe :).  I wanted to share this shot which I took on a recent trip to Oklahoma City.  In their old historic district downtown, called Bricktown, there is this river that runs through it and it is all lit up for for the holidays.  I made my way through there, following the river and snapping lots of HDR's of each scene.  I am a sucker for reflections, and when you throw in some Christmas lights I find it impossible to resist.  Hope you enjoy the shot, hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and thanks for stopping by today!

Somewhere in the Rockies

Just a short drive outside of Denver, up in the Rocky Mountains somewhere, I was lucky enough to go on a mountain biking trek.  It was just a couple of hours but the scenery was magnificent the whole way.  At the turnaround point, we all took a break to rest, since it was mostly uphill on the way there.  We were next to a nice little stream and so I climbed down next to it and snapped away.

Swift currents

Pedernales Falls State Park - outside of Austin, TX

This is a beautiful place to visit, with lots of cool water shots you can get, interesting rock formations to photograph and climb over, and of course just enjoying being out in nature.

Biking to the dam

Mountain biking is fun, and it is something I used to do a lot here in the old days, though Austin isn't really known for its mountains.  I remember wanting to be somewhere mountainous so I could do some "real" mountain biking.  So when I was in Denver recently and was presented with the opportunity, I jumped at it. We were all in Denver for work purposes and got a free morning for this little adventure.  I brought the camera, of course, but there was no place for a tripod, which was fine.  It was about 6 miles round trip, which feels longer when you are going uphill but the return trip down was all coasting!  The turn around point was at this dam, the name of which escapes me, but everyone stopped for water and Power Bars, while I snuck off to explore the sights with my camera.  I was interested in this dam, but as you can see on the left side there was a stinkin' fence keeping me from getting too close for my own good, so I had to settle for this shot from a distance.  You could hear the roar of the water gushing out of the dam, and you can sort of see it there too. My favorite part is the spray of water hitting the rocks in the distance, and that lone tree leaning in for a closer look...

A waterfall in the Texas Hill Country

As you know from some of my previous posts, back in the Springtime I went on a little tour through the Texas Hill Country in search of wildflowers.  I had some good success and hope to do that again next year.  I think this year I was about 1 week early - I still got some good shots but boy did the flowers just explode a little while after I went!  Anyways, while I was there I passed through a little town called Llano.  In a previous post I showed their big bridge which crosses over the Llano River.  While I was down around the base of the bridge, I noticed this waterfall that was spilling over the little dam.  This isn't your "oh my gosh would you look at that" type of waterfall, with a huge drop zone and crashing water flying everywhere, but rather it's a bit more subdued and gentle.   The thing I like most about it is all the naturally occuring pink granite that it's flowing over.  The colors of the moss combined with the pink granite and blue sky were a color combo I could not pass up!

Sunrise on the Pedernales

One morning recently I went on a photowalk with my good buddy Pete Talke - check out his stuff if you haven't yet as he does great work.  Anyways, we were going on a tour of Westcave Preserve outside of Austin.  It's a beautiful place and I will share some photos soon.  Pete told me that there is a nice spot to stop and photograph the Pedernales River (that's pronounced purd-nal-us to those not from around here) so being an early riser and a nature guy, I headed out so I could catch some of that soft morning light.  It was a beautiful morning and nature rewarded my earliness with some nice clouds too!  I really enjoy being outdoors, somewhere remote, and holding a camera.  It's like the perfect storm for HDR!

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/11 with exposures from+2 to -3.  I merged them in Photomatix and made my typical adjustments in PSE and Aperture.

The basement of time

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean

Shot at Pedernales Falls State Park, outside of Austin, TX.  7 exposure HDR at f/22, merged in Photomatix and adjusted in PSE and Aperture.

Looking downstream

I really enjoy shooting landscapes, and doubly so in HDR.  There is something that is thrilling about it to me.  It is some of the thrill of the hunt, since you never know what you are going to get, but also I just love the beauty of nature and enjoy capturing it and sharing it.  This was taken at Pedernales Falls State Park, which isn't far outside of Austin and offers some dramatic scenery and really beautiful waterfalls too.  We spent a couple of hours there, hiking and taking pictures, and generally just enjoying the heck out of it!

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/22, with the exposures ranging from +2 to -4.  It was mid-late morning, if I recall correctly, and there was obviously a lot of light.  I merged these into an HDR in Photomatix and then made some adjustments in PSE around Curves and Contrast, as usual.

I recommend a visit to the area if you are in or around the Austin area.  It is about 30 minutes west of Austin and offers some great photographic opportunities.

A different sort of fishing

We used to put on waders and spend quite a bit of time in this river, wading and fishing - hoping for that elusive trout to decide he was hungry (though he usually wasn't!).  This time though, I got the waders out and went fishing for interesting pictures instead of trout.  I frequently try to look at things from a different perspective, raising and lowering the tripod, or shifting left and right, trying things out.  It's fun to me.  In this case, the interesting perspective came from being in the water, not next to it.  I stayed in the river and walked under the bridge.  I am a fan of taking pictures of bridges, and frequently try to get under them because I like how they look.  This was not some big fancy city bridge - just a simple wooden bridge with a quiet, cool river running underneath it. 

This was a 3 exposure HDR taken at f/22, with exposures of -2, 0 and +2.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix and made some adjustments in PSE around Contrast with a little final touch up in Aperture.

At the end of a hike

I just love taking pictures of landscapes, and when you are in Jackson Hole, WY there is no shortage of beautiful scenes to photograph.  This was taken before I ventured into HDR photography and perhaps I can return again some day to capture that area in all its HDR glory!  In the meantime, I do have some wonderful shots from my trip there that I will continue to sprinkle in here and there, just to keep it fun (at least for me!).  This was taken while on a nice little hike with my buddies.  We were there on a guys trip, so what else are you going to do?  Basically, we walked around in the woods for days.  It was awesome!

This single image was taken at f/10 with no exposure bias.  I made some adjustments to Contrast in PSE and some minor color adjustments in Aperture, and that is all.