Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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Waiting for the right time

   This morning when I was photographing I was struck by a comment by Tim Cooper, that much of landscape photography is waiting for the right clouds.  I was out with the American Photo Treks crew this morning and the clouds didn’t cooperate with us.


About the time the the core of Milky Way was about to rise the clouds rolled in. But we took pictures and waited, and almost when the moon was about to rise, the clouds were somewhat more favorable. Not perfect, but better than it was earlier.

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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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Painterly Photos

I’m in the process of working through Kathleen Clemmons class on Creative Live, Creating Painterly Photos. In the class she talks about using Lensbaby lenses to accent the focus, just where you want it to be.  Here, I was working with the Lensbaby Velvet 56, which is a different style of Lensbaby.  There’s no bellows or rotating mount for this lens.  So it’s a softer focus style lens.  

We were photographing a show from the Denver Orchid society, and I believe that this one came in second place.  It was nice of the folks at Tagawa garden center to allow us photographers access.

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Flashpainting

   This weekend we went to Wings over the Rockies to take some pictures before they let the public in.


Last month Erik Holladay showed us his technique of using a hot shoe flash with remote triggers to construct pictures of airplanes in a dark hanger. I went back and extended the technique a little using a 600 W battery powered strobe. So instead of taking 4 or more pictures blended in photoshop, this only took two pictures.

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Holiday lights part 2

Tonight I went out with the Denver Photo Hikers for my last round of capturing the the holiday lights for the 2016 Season.


Here I was using my 16-35 lens.

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Art for Art’s sake

Earlier today I was out taking pictures at Union Station with Jason Odell, and his Mile High Cityscapes class and ran across this piece of art.

Lola at Denver Union Station

Lola


A few weeks ago I took a tour of artwork that the city has commissioned and Brandon mentioned that they had installed a piece of artwork at Union Station. If you’re looking for it, it’s a bit out the way, since I was installed on the bridge from Union Station in front of the stairs leading down to the platform. Brandon said on our tour that 1% of the funds for civic improvement projects go to public art. This piece was by Christian Moeller, and called Lola. It depicts both the imagery of person waving goodbye to someone on the train, and a swiss railway clock.

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Making your photos unique

Last night I went with the Metro Denver Digital Photography Learning group to do some macro work.  I ended up using a technique that Tony Sweet was teaching in his Fine Art Floral Photography Course from BetterPhoto.  Note:  I don’t think the course is offered anymore.

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Here, I was experimenting with combining multiple shots into one. In the Nikon D810, you can combine multiple shots into one raw image. You could do this in photoshop, but it’s easier to do in the camera. The nice thing is that with the auto gain option it makes it easier to adjust, or in this case not adjust.

I don’t think I would call this journalism, but this is what it looked like out of the camera. However if you shoot in raw, you have to post process your photos.

And for the folks who want to know the particulars of this image. I used my 70-200 at about 200 mm about as close I could get.

If you want to know more about the technique, Kathleen Clemons teaches it in her “Creating Painterly Photographs” class on Creative Live.

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Night Photography

I’ve made it out the last two weekends to do some night photography. This weekend, was more urban night photography, and I had a chance to try out what Tony Sweet was telling us, that you can overlay multiple shots to make a more interesting picture.

Saturday night on I=25

Saturday night on I-25

Here we took two pictures and used the lighten blend mode to overlay them. Since it was lightly sprinkling, we had some reflections working for us. The two shots were 25 seconds each, and since I had my iso set to 64, I didn’t need my neutral density filter. It does rely on the fact that you have a good tripod.

Tony had shown us a demo, where in the small town he was photographing in, where you could make a small town look like it had the traffic of the Las Vegas strip. In this case, the traffic on I-25 wasn’t bad either.

Since I was doing urban night shots, we didn’t need a cloudless sky.

In the next picture, I was out at Mt Evans, where I was trying out some software that allowed me to stack star shots and align them automatically.

Stars and Bristlecone pines

Stars and Bristlecone pines


Here this was 4 shots that I stacked. I was using Star Stacker Pro to do the alignment. This technique should allow me to use higher iso levels without paying the noise penalty. Thankfully last weekend, the clouds cleared up before nautical twilight. This 4 shots were all shot at 25 seconds each as well.
If you click on this photo, you can see how many stars are in it. I did get a comment on Facebook asking if there were really that many stars.

Mt Evans is still within the Denver light pollution, and later this summer I hope to take pictures on the other side of Rocky Mountain National Park where it will be darker.

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Rino Art District

Went out this morning with Anne T and her See like a photographer meetup group to the Rino Art District. There’s lots of interesting images that could be made there. I was glad to be part of a group shooting this morning. Since this group was large, Anne broke us up into 3-5 person teams. She gave us some suggestions of what to look for. I choose Roy G Biv, or all the colors of the rainbow. After finding that, I went out to just see what was around.
jstachowski-20160528--Email-3After I finishing cleaning up this image, I thought of Ocean Gypsy by Renaissance.
In this case, I was much more inspired by the color, rather than wanting to shoot this in infrared.

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Meetup at the Forney

This morning, the folks at the Forney museum held a tripod event for the Front Range Photography Meetup. They had some docents who were kind enough to join us, and were helpful and educational. One of the folks at the meet up had suggested that we might want to consider flash for some these pictures.
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This vehicle was built primarily of wood, including the roof. It had been lovingly restored. The docent pointed all this out to me, and was kind enough to allow me to get a good shot.