Tag Archives: Sunrise

In Service of the Print

In the spring of 2013, I was preparing for my biggest road trip ever. I knew that I was going to take a lot of photos of 4 incredible destinations. I was trying to learn as much as I could about photography. I came across a Youtube video by B&H about HDR photography by Alan Kesselhaut (youtube link [http://youtu.be/v3CPavb2NWs] / Alan’s site: http://www.alankesselhaut.com/]. He said something 23 minutes into that video that struck me, that what we do in photography is “in service of the print.”  If you’re interested in watching the video, be prepared, it’s long, but very informative even if it’s almost 3 years old.

I recently made several prints. I made a calendar using several photos and three large prints of my photos. The calendar was great. I used Picaboo [http://www.picaboo.com/]. I knew nothing of them before I tried their service. I thought it was worth a shot to see if they are any good. I have to say they are GREAT! The photos had a nice glossy finish and the card stock for each pages is really sturdy. The binding wires are also good quality and makes for easy flipping of the pages. Based on this, I think they probably produce good prints with their other services.

The following are the prints I used for the calendar:

I am THRILLED about my large prints, however. I used Bay Photo [http://www.bayphoto.com]. I’ve heard nothing but good things from them. Now, I made a print on a piece of metal, but it was a SMALL metal print. But something happens with the large print. I requested a 48″ wide print of my photo of Chicago’s skyline that I like to call “Chicago on Liquid Lights”. This was printed on a “Pearl” paper. It’s priced a little higher than their “Metal” paper option. It is AMAZING. I can’t say that enough. The lights of the City of Chicago look simply amazing. AMAZING!

Chicago on Liquid Lights

My other photo I made was am 18″ x 24″ of the photo I call, “The L Runs Through It”. The paper and print I used was identical, the pearl paper. Again, I was absolutely thrilled with the print. The blue hour sky was amazing. The lights of the buildings were great, but the light representing the train’s long exposure was crazy good! There is something about the paper that reflects light in an amazing way. I don’t know how else to explain it.

The Chicago L going through the near north side of city center.
The L going through the near north side of Chicago just before it crosses the Chicago River into the “Loop”.

Another photo I printed was among the first photos I took with my NEX-7. It was a photo of a gate in Libertyville called the “Liberty Walk”. The gateway is just an alley between two buildings to get you to the parking lot. But the walls were made of brick, the cement walkway was wet, too. There were lights that had a starburst in the image. The brick walls were also wet, too. Again, the print looks great.

Liberty Walk

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

New Years 2015 – Skyline Photography

I don’t usually like to get thick into the weeds when it comes to creating a photo. I do get technical, but I’m fully aware lots of people don’t like reading all that stuff.

I’m preparing to do a skyline panorama of Chicago. This morning I went to the Adler Planetarium to take these photos. It was 6 AM when I got out of the car. It was FREEEZING out, btw!

Here’s the photo:

Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.
Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.

I took about 5 images going from left to right. This one is roughly the center image. Whenever I do a panorama, I almost always at MOST move the camera’s field of view only about 1/3 of the frame.  Then I take another photo.

When I’m stitching a panorama, I’ll try it one of two different ways. First, I’ll try it in Photoshop. This is usually easy but also takes a long time for the computer to do.

The second method I use is a free program from Microsoft called Microsoft Composite Editor. This program is actually pretty quick. The knock I have against it is that it requires me to create 16-bit tiff files to my hard drive.

But the problem that I have with creating panoramas happens regardless of which program I use. A panorama program will stretch the image if you tell it to stitch to maintain PERSPECTIVE. The tends to stretch the lines so that they are all straight. Straight lines matter with architecture. But, it stretches out the sky, too. What is the problem with that? What used to be clean and clear sky is now showing pixels that I couldn’t previously see.

There are several things I can do to minimize that, but it takes a bit more work. It would be lovely if there was a tool that minimized this problem all in one step, though.

So, that’s my riff on panorama stitching. If you found it interesting, let me know.

Inside the Window

Inside the windowSunrise inside the North Window Arch at Arches National Park.Sometimes you just got to go black and white with the red sandstone at Arches National Park. There’s so much detail in the rock and so much natural contrast that color is just a distraction.

Inside the window
Sunrise from inside the North Window Arch at Arches National Park, Moab, UT.

North Window Arch (My gateway to The Arcanum)

This is another photo that I had redone after getting more knowledge from The Arcanum. This is a recent photo. In fact, I had taken this photo ONE DAY before I got the e-mail telling me that my mentor / master, had chosen me. It was also among the first photos I processed from my vacation. I was very excited to have this photo when I first posted it. I still am proud of the photo. But I know that I would have been far more effective taking another photo like this in the future!

 

At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park
At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park

What did I do differently? Well, in the original, the sky was getting a tonal shift. In this one, the sky is much smoother. The rest is finer detail work that increased the detail of the stones. I can honestly say it is an improvement! 

Sunrise on the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.

This was another photo from the first morning I had in Yellowstone National Park this year. The fog in this photo is really steam from the hot springs that feed the Firehole River. There is a wolf in the distance catching it’s breakfast, too.

This proved to be perhaps the best morning of the whole trip. The clouds were great, it wasn’t raining when I woke up, and the wild life was really participating in the show, without having to run into a bear. Take advantage of what you get, because you never know when the show will come to an end!

Sunrise on the firehole river

Arches National Park- North Window Sunrise

Sunrise through the North Window Arch

This was at Arches National Park on July 1, 2014. I was pretty thrilled to be there. This was the last day of my vacation that also took me to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons National Park.

Side note: I would have visited this park last year if someone hadn’t thrown a lit cigar but with it’s wooden cigar ring at my car window  as I was entering the Grand Canyon National Park last year.  That cracked my windshield. I still saw the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, but after that I traveled as fast as I reasonably could to Grand Junction, CO to get the windshield replaced.

There is another arch that is part of this general formation called the South Window Arch. But this one was a little easier to set up at. It’s amazing how when the sun rises, so does the wind! The wind just funnels through these arches, picking up all sorts of sand and what not! It made changing lenses impossible. But it was also making life difficult for my tripod. It’s a heavy and sturdy tripod, too. I wish I had more time for this park, but maybe I’ll get to it again in the future?

North Window Arch in Arches National Park at sunrise on July 1, 2014.
North Window Arch in Arches National Park at sunrise on July 1, 2014.

Driftwood Sunrise

Just taking a shot at sunrisephotography. 🙂 Something about this is just pleasing to me when left on the screen. 
This is the first time I’ve had something in the foreground to work with on a shot like this.  But I didn’t realize just how low to the ground that I had to keep the camera. The tripod was pretty much useless! I used my foot instead.
 
Driftwood Sunrise
 
There was a moment with this morning on the beach when I was going back to my car and there were a couple of girls just enjoying the morning.  Maybe they were out for a run or a swim or something? They aproached me to take their photo. I graciously abliged.
 
They wanted the sunrise behind them, but their faces were pure shadow. So, I directed them to turn so the sun lit up their faces a little bit. I wish I used my camera, instead I used their iphone. That’s ok. It made my day. They were really happy with it and so was I!
 

Easter Morning Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Happy Easter!

This is one of those mornings you HAVE to go to church.  This includes many people that ONLY go twice a year. That means the churches will be packed. This means getting up early. Well, if I was getting up early, then I might as well get up earlier than that to get an sunrise on Easter!

By the time I got in the car, my options had already removed getting to downtown Chicago for sunrise at 6:04 AM. Evanston was also out of bounds. I didn’t want to go north to Waukegan, so I chanced something out by Glencoe.

I don’t know Glencoe all that well. Thankfully, they have a public beach that was open! Thankfully, I also have an Android phone with google maps to help me find it!

Easter morning in the Chicago Area (Glencoe, IL). Today is a new beginning.
Easter morning in the Chicago Area (Glencoe, IL). Today is a new beginning.

Processing wise, all I used was Adobe Lightroom! Some graduated filters here and there, a little bit of brushing this and that, and a few healing brush clicks and I was pretty happy with it. I hope you are too!