Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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Chromatic greyscale

   I just finished a class with Gabriel Biderman and Chris Nicholson from National Parks at Night about light painting and shooting black and white.  Or as Vincent Versace would say, chromatic grey scale.  To paraphrase Gabe,  a lot of people shoot in color and only convert to black and white when the color photo doesn’t work.  Usually I shoot black and white for a specific project or when a picture screams at me I need to be a black and white photo.
This was the last set of photos I took at our Sloss Furnaces workshop. I usually don’t think of taking pictures of star trails in the middle of a big city, but in this case the folks at Sloss were kind enough to shut off the lights for three days and allow us to do envision their historic landmark in a new way.  This stack was about 38 photos and I finished just before dew fall.  I really wondered about this, since I had been doing star trails up in Rocky Mountain Park with Chris, it was much darker up there so I was happy to see these results.

Ty from Sloss Furnaces gave us all a special tour when we started which added so much more to the experience.  Ty mentioned that the Birmingham administration put funding the museum/furnaces to a vote.  The vote was 100% in favor and they dedicated 3 million dollars.  There are about 10,000 students that tour the facility on a yearly basis.  In our case having Ty explain what these buildings and machinery contained within, helped us understand what we were photographing.  

Not only is this interesting from the point of view of being a historian or technologist, but Sloss furnaces has an arts program that’s going strong.  Being made of pig iron, their pieces are a little heavy.

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Island of Hope, Island of Tears

Here’s a photo of the the isolation ward at the hospital on the south side of Ellis Island.

This is the isolation ward, and I got a feeling of abandonment here.

I’m currently taking a class with the Colorado Photographic Arts center taught by Frank Varney about Perfecting your Black and Photography and Prints.  The photos I took on Ellis Island are interesting material for this class.

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Eagle in infrared

Got up this morning, and went out with the Mike’s Camera and Hawkquest to take pictures of raptors.

Here I was spending some time with my infrared work. Just doing the channel swap resulted in a picture that seemed a bit otherworldly. Which might be a good look for Comiccon, but not for wildlife. So I did a bit of work on this picture with NIK filters by DXO. I applied a slight green filter in the software to pop the eagle out from the trees in the background.
Kin and his folks did their usual unobtrusive job, finding ways to get us good shots. And the Mike’s Camera folks were around to help us with getting the best shots. I was the only one doing infrared, so that’s what I wanted to share.
Eagles have two fovea in their eyes so they can see better than we can, but they can’t see in infrared any more that we can.

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Using filters

These days most photography instructors will tell you that the only filter you need is a polarizing filter. That’s true as long as you aren’t shooting film. Since I was shooting black and white film last month, I was experimenting with a slight yellow filter, k2, on the Colorado State capital.

I think my next experiment will be with a red filter. The yellow filter did darken the sky slightly but not enough to notice.
The film I used here, Fuji Acros 100, was more for night photography, but I like the grain size in this shot.

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Night black and white darkroom work

I’ve been off exploring the black and white side of the world with the folks from the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

Here I’ve started to meld my night work with my black and white darkroom work. Many thanks as well to Michael Snively, who instead of asking me why I tilt at windmills, assists me in my madness.
Earlier today, I pointed out the Fujifilm rep that they had discontinued the film that would have helped in this. He pointed out that this was .5% of the market. But that percentage is probably where I want to be.

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Classic Aviation

Saturday I was wandering Wings over the Rockies with a group of photographers, and I started looking at B-18 under restoration, and speculated about airplanes designed in the late 30s.

This particular aircraft wasn’t capable of going up against the German BF-109 but found a role searching for German U-Boats. But I was intrigued by the look of this rotary engine. It had such repetition. In the days that this aircraft flew, it had a reliability much better than the world war one aircraft. But nothing like today’s jet engines.

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Garden of the Gods

Yesterday, I was intending to see if I could find some fall colors, but considering the possibility of snow, I ended at Garden of the Gods.

Since it was a nice day, I decide to take pictures in infrared, to see if the colors of the rocks would influence the picture. The infrared really made the clouds pop, but I don’t know that the colors of the rocks looked that different.

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Milky Way over the Plains

I went out a few weeks ago with the American Photo Treks group. to take pictures of the Milky Way over the plains.  I tried out a new lens to see if that made it easier.

This was a 20 mm lens and I used a shutter speed of 15 sec.  I could have gotten away with 20 sec according to the 400 rule, but I’m beginning to think that I should do the math and calculate the star’s rotation rate by how far away the star is from true north.  Then, I’ll write an app for my iPhone.

And I did shoot this in color but came to the conclusion that I didn’t need the color for what was important in this picture.  I used NIK silver efex pro 2, and the noise reduction in DXO optics.

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Some folks have the best imaginations

    I was walking downtown and ran across this.

bicycle stand
I’m trying to figure out if this was a clever piece of marketing, or just a joke. There wasn’t wasn’t the room for a bicycle’s front wheel. Then again, you could lock your bike to it. But I did enjoy the eat Denver on it. It was in front of a nice looking restaurant.

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Photo Workshops

A few weeks ago, I went to the Great Smokies National Park with Tony Sweet. We were blessed by good weather. Tony and Susan Milestone are great folks to take a workshop from. In addition to being familiar with terrain at the workshop, they’re very interested in finding ways that you can advance as a photographer. One of the avenues that Tony introduced me to, was infrared photography.
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This shot, was a infrared pan at Foothills Parkway. As Tony pointed out, infrared is wonderful to bring out the texture in the clouds.  I like the clouds but I also enjoy the patterns of light in valley below.

This was 8 pictures stitched together, and the camera that Tony let me use was a LifePixel converted super color Nikon D800 with a Really Right Stuff panning head.