Sunday, July 29, 2007

Continuing Down the Civil War Trail -
Since I am still in bachelor mode with the rest of the family on vacation I decided to take another little day trip to yet another Civil War site. This one was a little bit further than the last. My destination for today was Harper's Ferry, WV. It had been a long time since I had been there. The last time I visited I had a 4x5 field camera in tow and digital wasn't even a consideration. Flash forward twenty years and I'm shooting digital IR. Who would have thunk it? I spent the better part of the afternoon wandering the very hilly streets and exploring the shops and the National Park grounds. The town sits on the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. It is also the home of John Brown's attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States. It is highly worth the trip if you are ever in the area.
(To see a complete gallery of my Harper's Ferry images, go here)

A Few More From Today...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Playing Around
Just messing with some filter effects and blending modes. I should probably write down what i do just in case i find something I like. This turned out ok and sort of achieved the look that I had in mind when I began.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Couple More...
Here are some other shots that don't really fit into the battlefield theme but I did take them at the park.

Manassas Battlefield continued....
Here are a few more images from yesterday's shoot. I always seem to be shooting in the middle of the day. Not very many "golden hour" shots but sometimes you just have to shoot when the opportunity presents itself.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Manassas Battlefield
I spent the better part of this afternoon wandering around the Manassas Civil War Battlefield Park. I hate to admit it but I have lived in the Northern Virginia area for the past 27 years and this was my first visit. You wouldn't think that open farm fields would be very interesting but I have to say that it was indeed. It has an almost eerie feel about it when you are walking along the roads and trails where so many people died in what were some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. I'll post some more this weekend but here are a couple to start off with.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Logo Design
I have had several people ask me about my signature logo so I thought I would put up a quick post to tell you how I made it. First, all credit must go to Scott Kelby from who I learned this from in his type class at the last Photoshop World. Who knew that type could be so fascinating.

First of all, you don't need a Wacom tablet to do this. I have a Wacom but chose to go "old school". Just get yourself a fat Sharpie and a piece of paper, write your signature out a few times until you are happy with how it looks, then scan it into Photoshop. Once you have the signature layer, lower the opacity to about 40% or maybe even a little less. Now grab your type tool and put your business name (or whatever you like) right on top of the signature. You can flatten the layers or leave them and save in psd format. It really doesn't matter. Now here is the real key, when you want to place your new logo on the bottom of a gallery print or somewhere else on an image in Photoshop, don't copy and paste it, open it as a smart object in your image by choosing Place... from the File menu. This will allow you to resize the logo and then go back later and resize again if you so choose without worrying about image degredation due to loss of pixel data. That's it, very simple but a really cool effect. And if you want it in black, just invert your image and then do a levels adjustment of your mid-tones to make the signature look just right.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Afternoon shoot at Great Falls
I arrived at Great Falls National Park around 3:00 PM and headed out for my afternoon shoot. It was hot (93 degrees) and humid and I had 20 pounds of gear strapped to my back, not to mention the tripod I was carrying by hand. The light was not great this afternoon with a little haze in the air. I wanted to get some good IR shots but nothing really worked out from the overlook points. I decided to climb down to the water level and try some different angles. You can't really tell from the images but the climb down can be anywhere from 50 to 100 feet, depending on where you want to get to. I started near the falls which is the easier climb down. An hour or so later I had climbed back up and moved down river to where the reflecting pool shots were taken. This is almost 100 feet down and it took me about 45 minutes to negotiate the boulders and rock to get there. The only thing worse than the climb down, was going back up again. If nothing else, I got my exercise for the day.

Off to the Falls
I am going to run out to Great Falls and take a few happy snaps this afternoon. My plan is to shoot a lot of IR images since I will be there mid-day. I was thinking of shooting the falls at sunrise but the park doesn't open until 6:00 AM so I would have missed it by 1/2 an hour. Anyway, this is just a test image I shot in the backyard this morning when I was checking out my gear. The image was captured with a Nikon D200, 17-35mm f 2.8, and the exposure was 25 sec. at f 2.8 with a Tiffen 87 IR filter. The image was processed and converted to b&w in Adobe Camera Raw 4.1

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hit Counter Added
I finally got around to adding a hit counter to my blog so I could see if anyone was actually paying attention. Now I can stalk all of my secret fans, all two of you :-) Have a great weekend everyone, and in the words of my #1 fan, Mike (who is quoting someone else but I can't remember who), "it hasn't been shot until you shoot it."
Thanks for all of the nice feedback on my profile over on Jason Moore's Soup Questions site. I have been looking at all of the great stuff that Ben Wilmore has been doing lately and decided to play around with some grunge effects. Here is a picture from one of the prison cells on Alcatraz that I have been playing around with. What could be more grungy than a prison cell.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!!!
I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th. I spent my afternoon fishing on the Potomac and, while the water was rough (2 foot swells getting to the Md. side), the fishing was phenomenal. I caught over 20 before I had to make the rough ride back across to the marina. There were some storm clouds overhead and I didn't want to get caught out in the weather. When I came home and put my toys away I decided to pick up the camera and see what I could find for a subject. I settled on a little pot of hens and chicks growing on the back porch. These are a few that I took with the 60mm macro.