So while in NY I blew about 150 bucks on cab rides. I walked about 25 miles too but I did take a taxi when I wasn't sure where the heck I was going or whether the area would be safe at night etc. I don't know what it is but there is something about a yellow taxi that screams NY. I also wanted to have some sort of HDR image that had the "Broadway" street sign in it. Here is the result. A 3 image HDR shot of a taxi blasting by in Times Square....
If you want to check it out full size on your monitor, just click on it. You will notice that it is not very sharp because it was handheld at shutter speeds around 1/25th and 1/50th. I think it still turned out kinda cool even though its not print worthy.
And here is a straight up image to go with it.
Until the next image theft...
Spent a couple of days at the Interphex Pharmaceutical Equipment Show in NY and managed to get out and shoot a few images. It was a busy couple of days with meetings and events so I didn't stray very far from the fabled times Square. Here is a little HDR to commemorate this historic location.
These images were all captured with the new Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 prime. What a tack sharp lens this copy is. I cannot wait to use it for some serious portrait work in the future.
So how the heck can the above image be so tack sharp if it was shot at f/1.4? Isn't the depth of field of a lens very shallow on a fast lens at this f-stop? The secret is understanding hyper-focal length and the depth of field of wide glass. Google it to understand it fully! Based on a little calculation work using the DOFMaster App for the iPhone I had pre-determine what the hyperfocal distance was for my new lens. In a nutshell, the hyper-focal length is the distance in which your lens is in focus to infinity. You simply calculate the hyper-focal distance (About 95 feet in this case) and everything from about 48 feet to infinity is tack ass in focus. It is a huge tool to use for street photography etc. You can go to www.dofmaster.com for free online caculators etc. The wider your lens the greater the depth of field. For example, on my Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 wide open, if I focus on something about 8 feet away, everything from 7 feet to infinity is in focus. You don't even have to worry about focusing unless you are trying to capture things closer than 7 feet! Another great use of this technique is at a football or soccer game. Lets say you are at the 50 yard line at a football game with your Nikkor 70-200mm lens and want to capture the goaline action without worrying about focusing quickly. All you do is focus on the goal marker and everything from 5 yards out to 5 yards in the endzone is tack focused since the DOF is about 30 feet or 10 yards. Its an awesome technique I use all the time. Try it sometime!
The other day I had an event planning meeting at a wonderful private shooting club called Strathalbyn. I'll be doing shoot there in the spring for a Sporting Clays event brochure for the Saint Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC) so stay tuned! On the way out, I stole the following image of the road leaving the farm for the forgotten roads series. I knew I was going to convert it to black and white and do some Tilt-Shift effect so I setup for it. I wanted kind of a different crop for the road and tree and here is the result:
I took a bracket of 9 images, imported them into Nik HDR Efex Pro 2.0 and then converted it to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. To get the Tilt/Shift effect I used OnOne's Focal Point 2.1 and tweaked the image until I got the balance of blur and contrast I wanted.
In 1912 Cass Gilbert opened his gift to St. Louis Architecture when the 200,000 square foot Central library was unveiled to the world. For a century, this magnificent library provided an unparalleled collection of over 4.7 Million pieces whose purpose was intended to educate the people of Downtown St. Louis in both literature and the rich regional historical information. In the spring of 2010, the library was closed to undergo a massive restoration project intended to both modernize and prepare it for another Century of duty. Cannon Design, an architectural firm with an office here in St. Louis who I've personally used for numerous projects at Mallinckrodt successfully led the effort and reopened it in December of 2012. I finally found the time to document its beauty. Here is the result. Make sure you select the images with your mouse to enjoy them full size on your monitor....
This great hall was amazing. I would have studied it more but the D3S sounded like a 50 caliber Browning Machine Gun and every time I fired off a bracket of 9 I got evil looks from the two people without their ipod headphones in.
This area had a unique lighting system at the ends of the bookshelves that reflected off the jackets of the books. It looked amazing. I bet it would be really cool at night!
The inscription above the entrance to the great hall reads, "Speak Low. Tread Softly through theses Halls. Here Genius Lives Enshrined. Here Reign in Silent Majesty The Monarchs of the Mind."
I was going for an architectural rendering type of feel with these next two images...
I had to capture these three checking out their books. It was three generations of library goers. The Father, Son, and Grandson. This is what a 100year library is about. Generations to enjoy it!
When the weather is nicer and the snow is gone, I'll do a shoot of the exterior this Summer to complete the collection.
Until the next image theft, Enjoy!
I was shooting one of the L Trains while in Chicago and when it went by I saw a brief flash of my nuclear green shirt in the window. I decided that on the next pass of the train I was going to try and capture my portrait in the window of the train. Obviously setting the D3S at a shutter of about 1/2000th and blasting away at 11 frames per second would be pretty easy. However, to get that shutter speed in this low of light would have required a super high and grainy ISO. The solution was to pan on the train window as it was going by. Here is the result of the effort....
Click on it to see it full size on your monitor. I'm the ugly dude with the green shirt holding the camera. Kate and Wyatt were collateral's in my image!
Until next time...
One of the things that I love about the big city environment is the presence of modern high-rise architecture. Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful old building but you have to admit, there is a place for the modern lines and shapes that a new structure brings. The "Museum Park Towers" sit at the edge of Grant Park in Chicago and are perfect examples of great structures. If I had 1.2MM laying around I'd like to live in one of the penthouse condo's at the top of these beauties. The view of Lake Michigan has to be amazing.....
The sky was a really crappy grey all day and when we were walking by these beauties, the sky began to cooperate so I stole these images. Five frames, handheld and converted to HDR using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. Sharpening and Upload from Lightroom 4. Total effort of about 2 minutes......
Until the next image theft.
It doesn't matter what it is, anything made in 1893 has style. The details in architecture from that era are phenomenal. From the bronze doors of the Field Museum to its ornate marble stonework its amazing in every way. Not to sound cliché but they just don't build anything like this anymore. Being a project manager who constructs a LOT of stuff, if you proposed something like this these days they would probably laugh you out of the freakin' room. "Excuse me, how much for the bronze door and ornate marble stone work Mr. Grant"? "What if we just tossed up some prefabricated eastern hemisphere made Masonite crap, nailed some brickmolding around it and slathered on some White latex paint and called it good"? Thank god William Peirce Anderson, the architect of the Field Museum did not cave under pressure.
Although the image above says that the field museum was constructed in 1893, it is a bit misleading. The original museum was erected for the 1893 worlds fair but that building was only built to last no more than one summer. The original was literally fenced off to protect visitors from falling mortar. It was commissioned to be rebuilt at its present site and construction began in 1915. After a brief delay to be repurposed into a hospital in 1918 to support the World War One effort, it was completed in May of 1921 after a $7MM expenditure. I am assuming that this door was relocated to the new museum as part of the project. Make sure you click on these images with your mouse to experience them full size on your monitor to appreciate the detail of this structure!
You can't post any image of the interior of the Field Museum without featuring a couple of its inhabitants. The most famous being Sue, the T-Rex.
I'm sure she was a pretty hot dinosaur in her day but she seems a little boney to me......
I'll get back there this Summer and do a study of the outside of the building when its not 19 degrees.
Until then, Enjoy!
A trip to Chicago is not complete without having brunch at the Signature Room of the Hancock Building. This trip was no exception! On the way in it was absolutely freakin' polar and I managed to snag this handheld 5 image HDR exposure from the base of the tower. I was pretty happy with how sharp it turned out considering a couple of the images were at around 1/20th of a second in wind gusts of 20 miles per hour! I got one chance to frame it and nail it. The family was not interested in standing around waiting on my artistic juices to flow. Although, as cold as it was it would have been more like an artistic slushy!
Remember to click on it to view it full size on your monitor! This image was a 5 exposure HDR processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and converted to B&W in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2. Two minutes of processing for my signature black and white look....
The view from up top is just as impressive! The tall tower in middle is the Trump tower and the Willis (Sears) Tower is on the far right. This shot was from our table. I didn't even have to get up to see that!
This past weekend I traveled with the family to Chicago to visit with my wife's wonderful sister Kate. One of the things I love about going to places with a camera and venturing on foot is that it forces you to see things you typically would not notice. I have been to Chicago dozens of times and have driven past Grant Park at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt probably 50 times. Each of those times I was busy concentrating on the heavy traffic and bustling my way to some event at Soldier Field or McCormick Place. This time I was walking and noticed a really cool Polish sculpture by Magdalena Abakanowicz called Agora. Agora consists of 106 headless and armless 9' sculptures cast from a solid seamless piece of iron. Each piece has been allowed to rust and has been cast with a tree-bark like texture. Agora is in reference to the urban meeting places of the Ancient Greeks. To me the sculpture represented the many people in today's society that simply muddle through life in a chaotic fashion, don't really seem to be using their head and never put their hands to work either. There are people around who simply exist.
Here is my interpretation of Agora. Remember to click on it and view it full size on your monitor.
I thought it was pretty ironic that the last sculpture I captured (Eros Bendato) was by another polish artist named Igor Mitoraj back in the City Garden in St. Louis. I think that we need to get Igor and Magdelena together and at least get these guys some heads....
When I saw Agora I was walking toward the Field Museum with the Grant Boyz, my wife, and sister. It was a balmy 19 degrees and everyone was frozen. I had about 40 seconds to setup the camera for a 7 frame HDR, compose my image, and take the shot. I was CERTAIN when I saw the piece that this was going to be a black and white image. As you can see, I was dead wrong. The sky was reasonable for a blah winter day so I decided that it would make the best backdrop for the image. I was fairly confident that the texture and complexity of the sculpture just wouldn't work with a busy Chicago Skyline in the background so I didn't even attempt it. On the off-chance that the image would not be converted to Black and White I went ahead and set my white balance to Incandescent to force the sky into a nuclear blue hour looking hue even though the image was stolen around 3:00 in the afternoon. I wrapped myself around the D3S in my best solid hold and fired these seven shots from -3 to +3 EV. The image above is the result. One shot one kill. Gotta love 100%. It is always better to be lucky than good.
I haven't had a lot of time to go shooting lately so I'm going to be milking the images from this trip for at least 2 or 3 more posts! More to come!
Until the next image theft....
Stan Musial was laid to rest yesterday after 92 years. He was a sports icon in St. Louis and just about everyone in the city could recognize his image even though he retired from baseball in 1963, years before many Cardinal fans were even born. Several months ago, I shot the following image of his bronze statue outside Busch Stadium and have had the pleasure of enjoying it ever since.
Since word of Stan's passing, I have sold several copies of this image to Musial fans across the country. Out of respect for such an amazing man who lived his life in alignment with his strong Catholic faith and unwavering values, I have decided to donate the proceeds of every print to the Covenant House which was Stan's preferred charity in lieu of flowers at the funeral.
If you are a Cardinal fan and would like to order a print in memory of Stan, You can be assured that I will make a donation to the Covenant house for the proceeds in Stan's name.
Here stands baseball's perfect warrior.
Here stands baseball's perfect night.
Rest in peace Stan.....
I just finished building a new Niner Jet 9 RDO mountain bike and as soon as the weather breaks if you are looking for me, I can be found descending down a nasty trail with my hair on fire. This bike is purpose built for going fast and defying gravity! Every component was hand selected and installed by yours truly!
You can see all the images I took here:
Until the next image theft! Enjoy!
Thought I'd post an image of the reason the images are a little less frequent these days. This unfinished area of the basement was originally slated to be the "Home Theater" after I finish the basement next year but now its going to be the fitness room. I figure the theater would just be a place to sit for hours on my butt and eat unhealthy foods. I'd rather get outside on the mountain bike or hike with the Grant boyz instead.
I live here for about 90 minutes every day. It has been a great experience trying to get back into shape and I feel better than I ever have. I turned 44 in November and I'm probably in the best shape of my life.
For the last 8 or 9 years the day after Thanksgiving has been reserved for hunting with family. When the weather allows, the McNeil's, Morgan's, and Grants get together to enjoy each others company and shoot a few birds. This year a great friend Mark and his son John came all the way from Indy to join us. We managed to get about 35 birds and had a wonderful day despite the blustery weather. My goal with the camera this year was to get some portraits of the family doing what they love to do. It's been kind of a tough year for many of them dealing with illness and loss so the day had a slightly more sentimental atmosphere for me. I care deeply for these guys and I wanted to capture some great images of them. Here are some of my favorites. Remember, click on the images to enjoy them full size on your monitor....
My favorite image of the day was the following...
To see all the images shot that day go HERE:
Until the next image theft, Enjoy....
It seems that the only images coming from the camera this fall were of boys playing soccer, cub scouting excursions, and a few portrait sessions of friends. Not a single landscape in the bunch. Why? It wasn't the rain like last year. We had a phenomenal autumn with vibrant colors abound. The weather was fantastic, screaming for mountain bike excursions every weekend. I didn't do that either. Call it just all around crappy timing or my penance for neglecting my household duties but I spent my fall in the bathroom. All of my free time was wasted in a 6'x5' room in lieu of HDR images, Mountain Biking, and hunting. I'm happy to say that the bathroom is finished. Probably just in time for crappy weather!
Here is an HDR of "Julies Powder-Room" to commemorate and serve as at least one HDR image in November.
Even dug out the old Nikkor Fisheye as well!
Stay tuned for some upland hunting images from the day after Thanksgiving...
Until the next image theft, enjoy!
I haven't had an opportunity to just "GO SHOOT" in several months. I thought Veterans Day would be a perfect time to make an excuse to shoot a few images and to pay tribute to the fallen. I shot the following image at the Veterans Memorial in O'Fallon. I thought that Black and White would be the best media to do it justice....
There have been numerous family members who have served and fallen. This photograph is a tribute to all of them....
Remember to click on the image with your mouse to experience it full size on your monitor!