Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays

Photo above was taken at Dickens on the Strand in early December. Texture and tone added in post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dickens on the Strand #3

Another photo from Dickens on the Strand -- same base image as the previous post. I've been experimenting with a trial version of Alien Skin Exposure 4 during the last week or two. All the edging, texture and toning was done in one pass through Exposure 4 and a resulting one layer in Photoshop.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dickens on the Strand #2

Seems like in the past 3-4 years there are almost as many Steampunk characters as Victorian characters at Dickens on the Strand in Galveston. We photographed this woman as she waited for a group of friends. Initially we had her against a colorful palm tree, but as we were finishing up I decided to take a slightly different angle and position for a few final shots -- a bit lower and from an angle where a white tent would become my background. Don't know why, just wanted a neutral background. Toned and tinted in Photoshop to a more vintage look. 1/80 sec at f/5, 82mm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dickens on the Strand #1

From Dickens on the Strand in Galveston Saturday. 1/250 sec at f/9, 78mm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Renaissance Festival #5

Another photo from our trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival - Soraya from Gypsy Dance Theater. 1/640 sec at f/4.8, 68mm.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Renaissance Festival #4

Another photo from our trip last weekend to the Texas Renaissance Festival - Tsura from Gypsy Dance Theater. 1/1000 sec at f/5.3, 92mm.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Renaissance Festival #3

Another photo from our trip last weekend to the Texas Renaissance Festival - Tulo from Gypsy Dance Theater. 1/800 sec at f/5.3, 105mm.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Renaissance Festival #2

Another photo from our trip last weekend to the Texas Renaissance Festival - Zara from Gypsy Dance Theater. 1/640 sec at f/5, 70mm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Renaissance Festival #1

November usually means Renaissance Festival field trip time for our photo club. The couple above were some of the more colorful people we met Saturday at the festival. 1/60 sec at f/4.2, 48mm. Light from a Canon speedlight in a small Photoflex softbox from camera left.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blue Angels

Photo of the Blue Angels Sunday at the Wings Over Houston performance -- taken from my backyard near the end of their show. 1/800 sec at f/5.6, 300mm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pyramid in Soft Light

I spent a few days last week at Moody Gardens in Galveston taking photos at a symposium. Early one morning as I was waiting for the elevator I noticed the scene above and took a few photos. Nice soft light at 7:30 am -- can't beat it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Tex

Big Tex in better times -- 10/1/12. If you missed the news, Texas State Fair icon "Big Tex" burned to the ground on Friday after an electrical fire. I can remember going to the fair when I was a kid. Big Tex was always a fascination for me -- awe-inspiring to a kid, but somehow creepily animatronic at the same time. Sad news, but I'm sure next October, he will be rebuilt bigger and better than ever. The human (and animatronic) spirit is strong.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Under the Pleasure Pier

Earlier this year I bought a variable neutral density filter with the idea of using it in Georgia and Florida on the trip to Jekyll Island and Amelia Island. I never spent the time or had the patience then to use it properly. I was pretty frustrated the few times I pulled it out of my bag. I found myself in Galveston early Saturday morning so I decided to try again. The photo above was taken under the Pleasure Pier on 25th Street and Seawall. 3 secs at f/16 with 8 stops of density dialed in on the filter, ISO 200, 48mm; further enhanced with Nik Color Efex.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Friday Night Football

I took photos at the O'Connell High School homecoming game this past Friday. Tried my hand at sports photography in a poorly lit field. Makes you appreciate the high ISO capabilities of these modern cameras we carry around nowadays. Photo above is the Buccaneers quarterback Corey Mallia on a run in the first half. 1/400 sec at f/4.5, 240mm, ISO 6400, noise reduction applied in Adobe Camera Raw.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Courtyard of the T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Research Building on the campus of UT-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas; 3 handheld exposures merged together with Nik HDR Efex.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Monument Valley

Mittens, Monument Valley, Arizona, April 2010. Five bracketed exposures merged together with Photomatix Pro. Why it's taken me two and half years to edit these photos I don't know.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nicole with Lens Flare

More experiments with lens flare and holding objects in front of the camera lens. Photo of Nicole taken in August on the beach in Galveston with a yellow glass flower ornament held in front of the lens, enhanced with some textures and toning layers in Photoshop. 85mm, f/2.5, 1/200 sec.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

White Pelican

White pelican, Galveston, Texas, 1/1250 sec at f/5.6.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monument Valley

From early morning April 20, 2010 -- Monument Valley, Arizona. I took this photo right before we left Monument Valley, and as we drove to Flagstaff we went through a pretty bad sand storm. Five bracketed images merged together with Photomatix Pro.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron, St. Augustine Rookery, 300mm, 1/800 sec at f/4, -0.7 EV.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nicole Backlit

Photo of Nicole taken at the beach in Galveston back in August. Earlier this summer, I saw some videos of a photographer named Lindsay Adler holding inexpensive glass objects in front of the lens to create flare and distortion. I tried that with this image; also enhanced color and added the bokeh in Photoshop. 85mm, 1/250 sec at f/2.8.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Labor Day Crab Boil. Nik Color Efex, Adobe Pixel Bender plug-in.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nicole in the Dunes

Another photo from our Nicole shoot on the beach.85mm, 1/500 sec at f/5.6, natural light.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nicole on the Beach

A few years ago I saw a photo of a saxophone player taken on the beach -- not just any photo, but one that has as they say "impact." It sort of resonated with me. And it makes sense why. It was taken by Joe McNally, one of the best location shooters and lighting photographers working today. It was one of those images that you file away and always want to try, not that you'd ever really come close to McNally but even a poor man's attempt might have some sort of merit. After finding a model for this -- (Nicole, who I work with at UTMB) we scheduled a shoot and I invited two other photographers who I knew appreciated McNally and the sax image just about as much as I did -- Larry Patrick and Doug Haass. After some flash and ambient photos in the dunes, as sunset neared we headed for the water's edge and made our best effort (above). Perfectly fine image. Will it be in my portfolio one day? Maybe. Am I happy I made the attempt? Absolutely. Because any time you put yourself out there -- working in not exactly ideal conditions -- you learn and grow as a photographer. And that's the fun part of any vocation -- making those small steps in the evolution. 85mm, f/5 at 1/40 sec handheld; light from an Elinchrom Quadra from camera left.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Orleans #4

Welmon Sharlhorne with his artwork in progress, Jackson Square, New Orleans, May 2012. From a technical standpoint, this photo is an interesting comparison to the first photo of Welmon -- both were shot at f/5.6. In the first image you can see the effect of the 300mm compression on the background and how nicely the background renders. The image above was shot at 58mm, and you can still see detail in the trees behind Welmon. Just an interesting side note. Sometimes we get caught up in shooting shallow apertures and forget the fact that zooming and compression also play greatly into the "bokeh" look that is so popular now.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Orleans #3

The photo above of Welmon Sharlhorne was taken in Jackson Square in New Orleans. Interesting story here. Welmon is a folk artist in the city; some people call his art "outsider art." These terms stem from the fact that Welmon's not a classically trained artist. His work is very linear and geometric -- often containing buildings, birds, and clocks. It's pretty unique, and honestly not what you'd expect from a street artist in New Orleans. Kim and I were sitting in the park taking a break from the warm late May temperatures when Welmon strolled by and stopped at the same park bench. We struck up a conversation immediately and he told us his life story. Welmon spent some time in juvenile detention as a young boy in Houma, then as a young man began mowing yards in the New Orleans area. After getting into a dispute over payment for a job, Welmon found himself on trial and eventually incarcerated at Angola State Prison. The details of the story here get pretty vague. But ultimately, he spent over 20 years at Angola, and during his time there he began creating his art using ballpoint pens, manilla envelopes and tongue depressors. His story became known, and upon release from prison his art became highly collectible. He's been exhibited in numerous regional art galleries, the Smithsonian, and in Europe. He's not shy about telling you his story and promoting his art. He seems to survive through support from fellow artists and local places of business who let him work in their space. He's a true character -- one that you couldn't make up and don't meet very often in life. I knelt down on the warm Jackson Square concrete and took some photos of Welmon as we finished our conversation ... using the trees behind our bench as a backdrop. With the late afternoon sun coming from behind my right shoulder I used the pop-up flash on my camera for a little fill, but the majority of the warm light came from the low sunlight behind me. 1/125 sec at f/5.6, 300mm. Note he has no lenses in his glasses, which made my job of getting rid of reflections very easy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Orleans #2

This photo was taken in the New Orleans French Quarter in May. I've never tried much street photography, and with an afternoon to myself to wander around I thought I'd give it a try. I saw this older woman shopping in this very trendy boutique so I hung around across the street and took a couple of photos. I guess you can read into this image a lot of things, and that's part of the beauty of street photos. They are a moment in time and a peek into a person's life with some sort of underlying meaning. 1/25 sec at f/8, spot metering, 82mm.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Orleans #1

Back in May, Kim and I made a trip over to New Orleans. It was a rich and interesting photo experience. More images to come over the next week. One of the highlights of our trip was dinner at Jacques Imo's -- a wildly popular, quirky little Cajun restaurant in the uptown area of the city. It was the day of Tulane University's graduation when we ate there, so it was extremely busy -- wait time for a table was up to an hour and a half, and as we sat on a church pew near the reception desk, we saw group after group gladly put their name on the list. No beepers, no loud speakers -- "Oh, we'll find you" was the reply from the hostess when the name went on the list. People made their way to the bar or spilled outside onto the narrow street. And somehow people were found and groups made their way back into the shotgun house now a restaurant -- through the kitchen and into living rooms that had become dinning rooms. The food was great -- authentic Cajun food with interesting modern twists. The atmosphere and the whole experience was something you tend to remember for a while. As we left we took the photo above with an iPhone. Just a couple of things to point out -- The Jacques Imo's flat bed car in front of the restaurant had a table for 2-3 people in the back, and people were happily eating dinner right there. Also to the left is a grill where they were serving broiled oysters on the half shell as people waited for their table -- quirky and interesting -- everything you'd expect in New Orleans. iPhone photo; saturated in Photoshop, pixel bender filter applied generously.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Floral Macros - Version 2.0

More experiments in extreme shallow depth of field -- 50mm lens with 36mm extension tube, 1/100 sec at f/2.5, two lights in umbrellas above from either side at about 1/8 power, auto focus turned off, get in close, hold breath, trigger shutter, hope for the best.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jekyll Island at Dawn

The photo above was taken in the spring on Jekyll Island, Georgia. It was one of the many shots I took on Driftwood Beach at sunrise. This was taken on day 2 of three sunrise shoots on the beach. I ventured back near the scrub to back light this great downed tree on the beach. Only problem is that the area where the beach met the brush was also the place where the noseeums were the worst. I've been bitten by mosquitoes and fire ants over the years, but after three mornings at Driftwood Beach, I don't think I've ever had worse bug bites. 0.6 sec at f/14, 56mm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tri-Colored Heron

Tri-Colored Heron feeding, Armand Bayou. 1/2500 sec at f/4, 400mm, ISO 640.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Dragonfly at Armand Bayou. 1/640 sec at f/8, 400mm, texture and tone added in post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wood Stork

Wood stork in flight, Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, Florida. 1/1000 sec at f/6.3, 300mm, -0.7 EV.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beach Portrait

Portrait of Sarah at the beach. 1/250 sec at f/8, 85mm; light from an SB900 in a Lastolite octa from camera right.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bryce Canyon #2

Another photo from Bryce Canyon in 2010. 1/250 sec at f/13, 12mm.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bryce Canyon

Two years is about my threshold for photos. If I haven't worked through them by then, then they're likely never going to see the light of day. Sometimes you file mental notes away -- like "one day I gotta go back and sift through those Bryce photos when the clouds came through." So, from the spring of 2010 -- Bryce Canyon. I remember putting on my 12-24 lens just as these clouds came through ... and I just sat back and shot as wide as I could. Ran this one through Nik HDR Efex and Nik Color Efex to boost contrast, color and details. One frame captured in camera - 1/250 sec at f/13, 12mm.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sports Portraits #4

Here's another photo of Casey at the pool. 1/640 sec at f/2.8. A couple of Photoshop tweaks here: 1) I shifted the color of the goggles to a light orange, and 2) I blended a texture into the background to eliminate some distractions.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sports Portraits #3

Another photo of Casey at the UTMB Field House pool. 1/1600 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400. Lots of Nik Color Efex to add some tone and atmosphere.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sports Portraits #2

Photo above was taken a few weeks ago. This is Casey Boyd Duncan, a surgical resident who I work with. Casey swam competitively in college at the University of Illinois. Photo of her doing the butterfly taken at the UTMB Field House pool. 1/2000 sec at f/5, 400 ISO; black and white conversion done with Nik Silver Efex.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sports Portraits #1

Over the course of the past several months I've had the opportunity to do a couple of sports portrait photo shoots. This is Taylor, a surgeon and marathon runner who I work with. These photos were taken about a week after she ran in the Boston Marathon. She was photographed above at the Clear Creek ISD football stadium under the bleachers. The main reason we were under the bleachers was because of the extremely bright conditions. We lit her with two Elinchrom quadras and let the background blow out to white. I added the sky in post. This is probably one of the first times I've heavily masked a background using Photoshop CS5 and used the new masking and refine edge capabilities. They are pretty awesome. 1/250 sec at f/8, 85mm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Great Egret

Great egret in breeding plumage, Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, Florida. 1/640 sec at f/4.5, 300mm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Robert Grossman, MD

The photo above was taken last week at Shriners Burns Hospital in Galveston during a lecture. This is Robert Grossman, MD, who is chairman of Neurosurgery at Methodist Hospital in Houston. He was chief of Neurosurgery at UTMB from 1973-1980, but what he's most known for is being the neurosurgeon on staff at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in November of 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. Interesting lecture. Photographed without flash at ISO 4000, 1/15 sec at f/6.3.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spring Portraits #4

Another photo of Nina taken several weeks ago, this time pushed into a very high contrast black and white image. 85mm, 1/100 sec at f/6.3, light from an SB900 in a Lastolite octa from camera right.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Spring Portraits #3

Portrait of Nina taken several weeks ago at Clear Lake Park. Light from a SB900 in a Lastolite octa from camera right, no background light. 85mm, 1/100 sec at f/6.3.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Portraits #2

Another photo of Denise. 85mm, 1/250 sec at f/4. Light from an SB900 in a Lastolite octa from above camera right, background light from a blue gelled SB800.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Portraits #1

The photo above was taken several weeks ago at Clear Lake Park. This is Denise, a relative of a fellow photo club member. For the past couple of years I've been experimenting with various lighting gels and placing objects in front of those lights to alter the color and texture. In this case the background was a very neutral cream colored metal building wall that I made blue with a blue gel on an SB800. I also placed a plastic box fan screen in front of the light. The effect wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but the color shift seemed to work well with Denise's blue blouse. Camera tilt to mimic the corrugated texture already on the wall. 1/250 sec at f/4, 85mm, main light from above camera right from an SB900 in a Lastolite octa.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jekyll Island

The photo above was taken on a recent trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia. For three mornings in a row, I'd get up around 6:00 and drive to the north end of the island and shoot at Driftwood Beach. This was one of my first shots one day -- pre-dawn, just as color was starting to appear. The bumps you see in the middle of the image are jellyfish that had washed ashore during the night. Three frames merged together with Photomatix Pro, base exposure at 2.5 seconds at f/14.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Well-Used Kayaks

The photo above was taken on Amelia Island, Florida in March. I was killing time waiting for sunset on the west side of the island where many of the marshes and wetlands are, and stumbled on the scene you see here. The residents of this subdivision had a rack system where you could store your kayaks ... kind of like a bicycle rack for kayaks. I liked the color and texture so took a few frames. 1/50 sec at f/5.3, 92mm.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Little Blue Heron

Little blue heron in breeding plumage, Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, Florida. 300mm, 1/1000 sec at f/4.5.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In the Dunes on Amelia Island

Photo above was taken last month on Amelia Island, Florida. This was the second morning shoot at this location. The first was full of frustration and awful photos, no foreground objects, nothing really inspiring. Then I really did a dumb thing, out of sheer frustration I began playing with a neutral density filter, which made things even worse since I really haven't mastered that piece of gear. So as I dejectedly walked back to the hotel through the dunes, I came across these fences that I assume are there to promote dune building. I later saw some mostly covered to the top with sand. So the next morning I planted myself in front of the fences as the sun came up determined to get a better photo. 44mm at f/11, 3 bracketed photos at 2 EV apart. Merged together with Nik HDR Efex, further enhanced with Nik Color Efex 4.