I haven’t done panoramic photos in quite some time, and I am definitely out of shape in the process. Both of these were suppose to be much wider but I must have not lined the individual shots up correctly. When I tried to stitch them together in Photoshop, it was a hot mess. So I had to drop out some frames to get them to work. Both of these are roughly 5-6 stitched images. The top one were a series of long exposures take before dawn. The latter was about 45 minutes later…testament to how quickly light changes in the early morning.
A few snags taken from a drive around Willow City Loop, a scenic drive near the town of Fredericksburg, Texas. I moved to Texas in the dead of winter, and heard much about the wildflowers of spring. Come spring time, they lived up to the stories. At the peak, it’s hard to find any area not teemed with the wildflowers, especially the blue bonnets (which seem to be closer to purple than blue in my opinion…but blue-bonnets does sound better than purple-bonnets or lavender-bonnets).
In the evenings, I have been attempting to run down the energy of our Labrador with a combination of running and exploring the wooded areas near our house where he can go off leash. Below is a forgotten farm shed I had came across before, but returned today with a camera…and dog, who is usually nervous and did bark and raised back hair once towards something that bothered him…that I couldn’t see. A bit unnerving.
Also of note, Lightroom rolled out it’s new update, and this time included it’s own HDR and Panorama merge (always had to pump out to a plugin or Adobe Photoshop before). I AM DIGGING the HDR merge in the new release, and highly recommend to those seeking a more natural “exposure fusion” approach to bracketed photographs. I like most HDR, but most often, shoot in brackets to get the full dynamic range, to get what you can’t get in just one shot. Before HDR programs, I use to load my bracketed shots into layers in Photoshop, and then mask and brush between those layers to get the full range of light…the HDR. It was tedious and took a great amount of time, but I found you could teeter on the nexus point of perfect exposure and the surreal. Going too far into the latter has given “HDR” some bad rap. What I love most about the Lightroom HDR Merge is that it retains the control of RAW. In other words, files aren’t converted into TIFFs or JPEGs before entering an HDR processor. What this means is when the HDR is sewn together, you still have much leeway for adjusting exposure, white balance, tone curves, color levels, etc. It’s like it spits back to you an HDR file in RAW format (actually .DNG). Then you can apply any preset you have created or go slider pulling. In the below, I went to a preset I use that mutes the tones, warms the image, and drops the exposure a bit. Both were bracketed shots at -2/0/2 @ f11. Again, I really dig the natural approach in the new Lightroom update. So check it out if you like more of that “exposure fusion” look.
Oh, and in my absence, I have finally dedicated the time to building a website. Check it out at http://www.brandonbrasseauxphotography.com. It’s still a work in progress, but finally moving forward.
If I can get away with one more…
These egrets were never-leavers. They stayed the whole year. Pelicans, a litany of ducks, and smaller waterfowl would teem this peer on the river. These egrets would fly, swoop, and roost with all of them. But then they all went home. It warmed up, and the summer suffocated the air, The egrets could still be found at the peer.
This is another old, and hopefully not a redux. I can guarantee if it is a re-post, the image didn’t look like this as I did a good bit of editing to get it to this point…and it’s one of my favorite black and white pieces I’ve done to date.
Like my previous post, I enjoyed the composition but it teemed with distracting elements. I removed most of them, and when finished, liked the way it added enhanced the spotlight of the elephant. Of course, by removing the crowd elements it evokes a sadness, a depression to the subject.
I captured this one from my father-in-law’s horse farm a few years ago. The horse was standing at the entrance of the born, and probably wondering why I had not given him any feed yet. Maybe. Horses always give me the evil eye no matter what I am doing.
This is another photography I kept but never touched. I probably kept it because of the horse’s presentation. The original had the blackness of the barn, but many other distracting elements. I enjoyed processing this one as it demonstrates less can be more, and with the processing tools we have now, it’s to easier to simplify a distracting original. I converted to grayscale, dropped the exposure, and then cloned out the stuff that was distracting. Then I went ahead and cloned out everything save for the horse. This one seemed to be about expression, and not the ancillary barn ropes, posts, etc.
A bit obligatory, but here is an Austin skyline. The skyline from this side of the river is a bit more expansive, but those buildings were full of cranes. What has been incredibly interesting about Austin is how this area is so empty at night when contrasted with the infamous 5th & 6th streets. Have a great weekend!
Captured at Hamilton Pool, a natural pool and grotto located about 25 miles west of Austin. Despite striking scenery all around, it proved to be a difficult place to photo. For starters, the dynamic range is wide—from dark cave to the direction sunlight. I was able to grab it all with 3 stops down and 3 stops up. The preserve doesn’t open until 9am so that added to the difficulty of a morning visit. I’m really looking forward to returning in the spring and summer to shoot again…and swim!
Some story commentary for this one. A few months ago I was traveling on company business, and ended up with some extra time at the end of the week. I was around Jasper, Georgia–a small town maybe 30 minutes from the Tennessee border and near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Surely there was a good photo spot near, so I hit my Google search and found a buzz about some nearby waterfalls. My navigator took me to someone’s house, who did not want unexpected company (there were some falls, but they were on his property). By that time, the evening light was slipping away so I drove feverishly through winding roads to Amicalola Falls, a road that led me to the top of the falls. I descended on a trail for about a half hour to get to the location shown in the above photograph. The late light allowed me to pull off a long exposure but then had to climb all the way back up in the dark (and a hot summer night).
…still the one you have at the time.
You’ve heard it before, the old adage about cameras. It proved true for me recently. One evening after work I could sense a stunning sunset was setting up, and knew it was happening in the next few minutes. There was no time to go home and grab the tank. So I had my cell phone, a Motorola something. I chased the sun down on a farm road, and parked near a harvested cotton field, and grabbed the below. Right light, and right time still remain the thing.
I used the panoramic feature from Google Camera in the above.
Now that we are mostly unpacked, and had good weather, I was able to get the kids out the house and to Pedernales Falls. As the area slowly recovers from drought, water rushing up and over the rocky riverbed has improved. Will be worth repeating. And only one kid fell in the water.
Captured a few miles from the Austin 360 (Pennybacker) bridge in an area named “Wild Basin.” Apparently, exploring here with running water has been a rarity in the past with the “7yr drought.” The last two years of above average rain has poured life back into these places.
This is a Georgian photograph, and not Texan. I grabbed this one a few months previous near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains near a town named Ellijay (elah-jay). I put the pronunciation there because I mispronounced the town name 25x while there. For once I had something for “Fence Friday.”
It has definitely been a while since I have updated this blog, but for once, I have a pretty solid reason. In December I accepted a new job in Austin, Texas, and made the long move between Christmas and New Years (a timing I don’t advise). I had been eyeing the Austin area for some time, and thus far Austin has lived up to the hype. While Austin has quickly validated the culinary, artistic, and musical cultural nodes most referenced for, I didn’t realize how much scenery it had to offer until moving here—from the broad sweeping strokes to the nuances of nooks and crannies. Now that I have settled in a bit, I have begun new adventures that seemingly lack exhaustion. Of course, I am currently racking through the process of hitting the iconic places first to pay homage (also provoked by the wife wanting new print decorations for the house).
Photographed above is the Pennybacker Bridge (aka the 360 bridge), captured about forty-five minutes post sunrise. One interesting aspect of the bridge I noticed when photographing is that no part touches the lake. While I liked how the warm morning light poured in perpendicular to the bridge, I have already bookmarked this spot as a place to return in the evening, an outing that should render spectacular sunset and twilight photos.
With a fresh new canvas to explore, I really hope to return to regular posting here. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by and commented during my hiatus.
Below are two more from my brief stay in Jasper, Georgia. What I loved most about these photos is that they came at the end of a busy week. The technical “optimal” time to grab these photos had passed, but when I was there, it was all about working to slow it down…a nice contrast from the preceding activities. Hope you enjoy.
I was listening to a song a few days ago with a theme surrounding “handwritten” (unable to recall band, and too lazy to Google). The theme touched on the idea that handwritten words sequester a more emotive quality by default. It makes sense because with text, handwriting adds an extra layer—another subtext. Character can be imbued simply by how it appears on the paper. It adds a psychology that might be lost in word processing. But when thinking about this, and listening to the band, wouldn’t the same apply to musicians? Isn’t a good song bent along a stringed instrument—also handwritten?
Above is a moth that was on the wall right outside my front door. I noticed one evening and came out with macro to get a closer look. This moth was big, maybe three to four inches at wingspan. I was using a wider angle, but was so close to the moth, I thought it would fly away. But it didn’t. When I took this one, the lens was nearly touching its thorax, leading me to the conclusion the moth was dead. Sure enough, though, as soon as it became dark the moth ventured off. From watching the other moths, I came to the conclusion that the reason why moths perch in a near death like state during the day when you find them…is solely due to their night time activity. It must be catastrophically exhausting to fly in such frenetic, random, and indiscriminate directions at night around the light bulbs. I have no science to back that up, but it has to be the reason. They are hungover during the day.
There has been much hype around here about our August moon, another super moon, etcetera. I’m terrible at shooting the moon, finding it to be one of the more difficult subjects at night. The last time a “super” moon rose, I broke out the telescopic lens. While the moon was noticeably impressive, the photos I grabbed didn’t look any different than any other moon shot I had taken. For this one, I had pretty much blown off the event. But when hanging out after dark, some wonderful clouds moved in so I gave in and grabbed a pic.
(actually under the trampoline in above)
With the heat, I’ve been having a hard time taking photos when the sun it out, and have been slipping out only in twilight lately. I was driving down a highway when the afterglow of a suffocating hot & humid day winded down. The orange in the sky was awesomely bloated, so I pulled over to edge of cornfield.
My oldest child recently picked up a talent agent. At least the everyday theatrics and drama is being fortified into something useful :) This talent agency has actually done casting for the Walking Dead (I admitting have never seen the show), and the agent had asked if I had any or could produce any “grungy, dirty” portraits or “something that would fit in an apocalypse film.” Well, for anyone that has visited my blog in the past knows the answer to that one. So with a quick knuckle crack, I composed the following. What do you think? Grungy?
I know many photography enthusiasts whose shutter-snapping origins reside in child photography. More specifically, they never picked up a camera in a more “serious” manner until they had children. I am one of those. But why is that? Why is it that a child, completely unaware of photography, often catalyzes this burning need in people? I wouldn’t be surprised to find a DSLR camera on a baby registry these days. If I was to have another child, hell I might register for a nice 24mm prime lens. My only answer to that question is the propensity to preserve a memory which seems to burn the most with parents…i.e. forging a memory.
And the forging, the ability to freeze the moment—even if you are the only one who recalls the moment—it is I believe the root of the matter. While I can revere in the near cataclysmic awe of someone else’s photo—a gaped wonder of the Grand Canyons—and appreciate the beauty of the capture—I know that the exchange will always be a separate event for the photographer that nobody else can see. There is a memory of the event that enhances the photo that only they can see. But memories are rapid, evanescent images in the mind, and without immediate context, are hard to describe for another. The camera can fill in, but I like to explore the former more with the camera. Can you make an image look like a memory? This is something I always try to do in child photography. Make the photos “look” like a memory.
© 2014 Tom Coghill Photography, All Rights Reserved
Encyclopedia Miscellaneous - 'quality' blogging since August 2011
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Perspectives on Nature Photography
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Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography
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A Free To Share Chronicle by Michael Xavier Ortiz
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Looking at - and seeing - the world