Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter at the Beach #1

One of the great things about Texas in the winter is that you'll never know when you might get a string of good weather days. That happend this week, and we were fortunate enough to have scheduled a shoot with Sarah and Lauren on the beach in the west end of Galveston Island. Light from a Nikon SB900 shot through a 36" Lastolite octabank from camera right, 85mm, 1/250 sec at f/11. Postprocessed with Nik Color Efex 4.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa Fe Architecture

Image above is from a trip to Santa Fe over the summer. I am always amazed how well Nik Color Efex brings out texture and color, and it did not disappoint in this shot. 1/500 sec at f/9.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kari and Tad #2

Another photo from the portrait shoot with Kari and Tad several weeks ago, again in the alleyway near the Strand. Light from an SB900 in a Lastolite EZYbox from camera right at about 1/4 power. Postproduction with Nik Color Efex 4. 1/100 sec at f/5, ISO 200.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Birth of Venus

Splash screens. Every time you open a program, work on a file, or check an image you see them...probably take them for granted, right? Christmas, 1988 -- I was a new employee in the graphics department at the university where I work. A project had come in -- illustrations for a book chapter, and I somehow got picked to work on it. I think I was chosen mainly because most people were on vacation, but nonetheless it was my first big project. And long about the same time this new program was installed on our Macs -- Adobe Illustrator '88. Now back then, when Mac Draw and Mac Write were considered cutting edge, this new Illustrator program was a different beast -- vector-based drawing, setting type, all WYSIWYG. Pretty advanced stuff. So for about a week or two, I learned Illustrator and worked on this project. I bought a book about the program, and learned it from the ground up. Back then, before Adobe's Creative Suite and its monochromatic color coding of applications, there was this splash screen when Illustrator booted up based on Botticelli's Birth of Venus painting. I found an interesting history of the program and the splash screen here.

Fast forward 23 years, and Illustrator is still the program that I use every day for logos, medical illustrations, graphics to accompany manuscripts, and graphic design projects. Illustrator has become the swiss army knife of graphics programs and is usually the resting place for most things I work on. It's like an island in the tumultuous sea of Powerpoint graphics and Excel charts and graphs. If I can somehow get a graphic into Illustrator, there is hope. I never really thought about the splash screen change as Adobe transitioned to Creative Suite and dropped the Birth of Venus image in the early 2000s.

I took the photo above at the Renaissance Festival in late October. What initially drew me to the shot was the parasol and the radiating lines. But the more I looked at it, I realized how similar it was to the old Illustrator Birth of Venus splash screen -- the facial expression, hair, slight tilt of the head ... all harkening back to the time of a start of a career and the comforting thought that things are gonna be ok when Illustrator opens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kari and Tad

Photo above was taken a couple of weeks ago at one of my favorite alleys to shoot in down in Galveston. This is Kari and Tad, a really nice young couple who I had the privilege of photographing. The plan was to work our way down near the water to shoot some ambient backlit sunset photos near dusk, but it was such a dull, grey day that we stayed in the alley. This was taken near the end of the shoot facing west. I was struggling to bring up the ambient because it was so dark and dull. Light from off camera left from an SB900 in a Lastolite EZYbox. 1/50 sec at f/5.6, ISO 320; postprocessed a bit with Nik Color Efex 4 to add some exposure and texture to the overall scene.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Taos Sunset

Photo above was taken in Taos, New Mexico in July. I've been to that part of the country a couple of times, and you hear a common theme from artists and photographers -- how beautiful the colors are around sunset. This photo was taken near the Rio Grande River Gorge, which you can see at the very bottom of the image. The town of Taos and Taos Mountains are in the background. The view here is actually the eastern sky at sunset, opposite the setting sun. 3 bracketed exposures at f/9, merged together with Nik HDR Efex and enhanced further in Nik Color Efex 4.