Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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W Line stations – Denver Metro Fun Photo Walks and Beer

Last weekend I went out with a new Meetup group.  Oddly enough, I had been tempted to photograph some of the light rail stations and Nancy and Bryan had organized a meet up about this.  It was nice to discover others had the same thoughts.

Lamar Station

Lamar Station

Here someone mentioned that the owner of this building had problems with graffiti until he had the mural painted on his building. Now everyone just wants to look at the artwork. I ended up using my 16-35mm lens here, since I wanted to avoid stepping on the the train track.

In the shot below, I realized that I more interested in the shadow cast by the direction post, than the post itself.  My lens wasn’t that happy with me since I ended starring into the Sun for this one.

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Inspiration in Denver

This weekend I went out with the Denver Photo Night Walk Community. It was easy to be inspired that night, partially because the weather was pleasant for February, and we weren’t freezing. And I was wandering around with friends who made suggestions. It’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off of folks who don’t think you’re insane for trying new things.
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Here I was struck by the Soup of the Day sign and the artwork. Here I was also experimenting with Aurora HDR.

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NANPA local groups

Last month I had the chance to go out with one of the NANPA local meet up groups.  While I wasn’t that good at spotting critters, I had  an interesting time in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

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Talking with our workshop leader she was talking about doing abstracts. Here I was experimenting with Topaz Adjust.

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International Snow Sculptures-2016

I was in Breckenridge photographing the International Snow Sculptures. To keep from disturbing the crowds, I decided to take pictures during the evening.

One of the prize winners

The Gold prize winner

This one was titled “Rhonda and Her Recycling Robo-Octopus”. While there were many excellent pieces of art, I suspect that this one would tackle the fancy of the Big Bang crowd the most.

For those of you interested, I did use a tripod and a 2.5 second exposure.

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There are folks who are not camera shy

This weekend I went downtown to take pictures of the 2015 zombie crawl.  As you can guess anyone who spends time on their costume and makeup wants their picture taken.

Prom King

Prom King


It was a bit of mob scene down there, and there were many good costumes. This fellow had a bit of story to tell. It makes me wonder what would have happened, if I had gone to my high school prom.

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Sunset at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Tonight I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens, and saw this flower.

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Since I had never seen one of the petals curled like that, it interested me. And it was late enough in the evening that the light was just gorgeous.

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Speedlight Intensive

Last weekend, I attended Speedlight Intensive from Illuminate Workshops from Efrain Cruz.  He had a great model, and spent some time working with me to use my own equipment to get the best photos out of the camera.

Irene in Church

Irene in Church

Here I was using my portable Rapid Box – 26 Octa  with the PocketWizard system and controlling the light manually from the camera.  I liked the look of RapidBox, since it was set up as a beauty dish, so it didn’t spill light everywhere.  This was a case where I kept in mind what David Hobby said, first set your background light, the ambient light in the church.  Then set your key light.

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Early Morning at the Denver Zoo – Baby SeaLion

Later that morning, one of the docents at the Denver Zoo mentioned that the baby SeaLion so a group of us all went out to see.

Baby SeaLion

Baby SeaLion

As John Shaw says to be a better nature photographer, you need to be a better naturalist. Or at least find someone from the Denver Zoo who is.

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Early Morning at the Denver Zoo

Sunday, I went out the Mike’s Camera class and they got us into the Zoo two hours before normal opening time, so we could get pictures of the animals while it was still cool.

Polar Bear at the Denver Zoo

Polar Bear at the Denver Zoo

The folks at the Zoo had a few docents with us, and they were able to point out things that I would not have known.
Many thanks to the folks at the Zoo!

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Night Photography – Milky Way and windmills

Last night I went out with Jason Odell in a class about night photography.  Jason’s classes are lots of fun, so we ended up at the windmill site outside Liimon, CO, where he encouraged us to shoot star trails and the Milky Way.  He came out with a technique for shooting star trails where you don’t have to invest in an external  multifunction remote.  Of course I have the Nikon MC-36A but his suggestion had less background light, so to my eye it looked better.  He suggested shooting 30 second intervals, which most cameras can do with a simple remote and setting the camera to continuous high. Then you will need to import these into a layered workflow.  Adobe Photoshop, and On1’s Perfect Photo Suite would work for this.  If you want to use Phase One’s Capture One Pro, you are limited to 16 layers so using the multifunction remote  would be better.  There’s also a new tool Affinity Photo for Mac that can deal with many layers, but I haven’t got much experience with that too.

One of the things I wanted to do last night was experiment with star stacking, so shots of the Milky Way were what I was concentrating on.

Milky Way at Windmill site

Milky Way at Windmill site

If you stack multiple shots, and adjust them for motion of the earth, you can reduce the noise. The key is to mask out the ground, so you don’t get multiple images of the sky. The tool I used here was StarryNightStacker which runs on the Mac. Mike Berensen has another technique that you can use with photoshop by it self, but it takes a bit longer.

Here I took 5 pictures at F/2.8 and 25 seconds.  I was using my Rokinon 14 mm manual focus lens.  The really nice thing about that lens, is infinity is at the stop, so the problems of focusing in the dark are decreased.  Being a wide angle lens, I ran the shots through DXO Optics to remove the geometric distortion.