Saturday, January 28, 2012

my idea of paradise

I never did blog the photos from last Sunday's trip to the nature preserve. I got a little distracted by the giant print and completely overlooked my "to post" queue. Since I went back today to see how the preserve looks at high noon, I might as well make this post a two-for-one. Consider it my apology.

Last week

I was meeting the twins after their scout meeting got out. When I pulled in to the parking lot, the sandhill crane was standing on the parking stone of the spot I wanted. If I could have safely taken its picture and parked, I would have. Since it seems interested in my camera and my car, I got some amazing pictures that I don't think I should have been able to get safely. (Previous experience suggests that sandhill cranes do not like the sound of the camera shutter.)
Chapel Trails adventure 1 diptych
Chapel Trails adventure 2
Chapel Trails adventure 3 diptych
Chapel Trails adventure 4 diptych
Chapel Trails adventure 5

After the meeting, we started exploring the boardwalk as a family but were quickly joined by a bunch of other scouts. There wasn't much wildlife to see but the kids were so much fun that I didn't notice. Although that might have something to do with them rocking the floating dock and/or climbing into my lap while I was trying to shoot.
Chapel Trails adventure 6 diptych
Chapel Trails adventure 7
Chapel Trails adventure 8

This week

I ventured out during high noon and didn't know what to expect as far as wildlife goes. I did know that midday sun means high contrast and tried to use that to my advantage.

Chapel Trail high noon 2
Chapel Trail high noon 3
Chapel Trail high noon 4
Chapel Trail high noon 5
Chapel Trail high noon 7
Chapel Trail high noon 11

I did some experimentation with HDR techniques to see if I could replicate the tonal range I saw in real life. Nope. Not even close. But I did make some interest composites in Photomatix and Photoshop.
Chapel Trail high noon 1

I also had an awesome experience with a wood stork. I could see him from the other end of the boardwalk and I just kept getting closer and closer until some birdwatchers scared him off.
Chapel Trail high noon 6
Chapel Trail high noon 8 diptych
Chapel Trail high noon 9
Chapel Trail high noon 10
Chapel Trail high noon 12

On today's adventure, I took my 10,000th picture on this camera and reset the internal counter.
Chapel Trail high noon 13 diptych
Chapel Trail high noon 14
Chapel Trail high noon 15 diptych
Chapel Trail high noon 16
Chapel Trail high noon 17

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happiness is a 2' by 3' print

I was sitting at work today when brotherface texted me this photo.

In case you never heard this story, let me start at the beginning. This past winter concert was the first time that the band, orchestra, and chorus all performed together. The head of the music department wanted to capture this momentous occasion and asked if anyone knew someone with a decent camera. Since he knew I was bringing my camera anyway, my brother volunteered me to take the picture.
While they were rearranging the stage to fit everyone on, I dashed to the back of the auditorium to stake out my place. I took a few test shots before they started to get the exposure right, make sure I could fit everyone into the frame, and get a decent amount of sharpness. But once the "Hallelujah Chorus" began, I was ready. I took a few different shots as the lighting changed and the musicians moved so I could capture what it was like to be there and hear them play.
winter concert 16
Later, brotherface told me that they wanted a large print to hang on the wall. Jokingly, I told him that the largest print Mpix could make is 2' by 3' (yes, that's three feet across) and asked if that was big enough. I priced it and sent the information to the band director, who immediately asked me to order it.

Not only does it have a Brendazzle Photography imprint on the back, he let me sign the front in silver Sharpie. (Ok, silver paint pen. We couldn't find a silver Sharpie in any of the stores we went to.) He also added his own caption on the front and then he hung it up in the band room.
Sorry. I can't contain my excitement. I have this love affair with large prints. I think a lot of photographers do. This is the first large print I ever had made and it's HUGE. I'm not sure how I'm going to top this; luckily, I'm currently redecorating my room.

Monday, January 23, 2012

babies love books [I heart faces]

It's been a while since I've had an entry for Photo Challenge Submission. This week's theme is books and I knew right away I had to submit a photo of Liam. I posted this photo months ago when I went to visit him but it's too cute to only feature once (and I totally miss seeing it in my slideshow).
baby Liam books

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chapel Trail nature preserve

It's always an exciting day when I can announce that I found a new wetlands boardwalk near my house to explore. I don't know how I managed to live here so long without knowing it existed but it makes for a great discovery.
Mom and I ventured out during golden hour for a great adventure. I'm glad we didn't leave our house any later because we would have run out of light. And oh, how gorgeous the light was. I may end up going back again today because it was just so lovely.
Chapel Trail preserve 1
Chapel Trail preserve 2 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 3
Chapel Trail preserve 5
Chapel Trail preserve 6
Chapel Trail preserve 7
Chapel Trail preserve 8
Chapel Trail preserve 9 diptych
The flare on this one is totally natural. The light was so warm and lovely.
Chapel Trail preserve 10
Chapel Trail preserve 11
Chapel Trail preserve 12 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 13 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 15
Chapel Trail preserve 16
This photo is actually two exposures (one for the sky and one for the grass) masked together in Photoshop.
Chapel Trail preserve 17
Chapel Trail preserve 18
Chapel Trail preserve 19
Chapel Trail preserve 20 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 21 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 22
Chapel Trail preserve 23 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 24 diptych
Chapel Trail preserve 25 diptych