New York

It’s surprising that I have generally lived very close to New York and still hadn’t visited the city. That’s why I made a conscious effort to take some time out of my trip to afford myself the opportunity. I knew that it was going to be rough to drive around the city, especially since I had to go to the direct city center. I had always figured that it would be challenging but when I actually arrived there, I found that the roads were not in the best shape. The streets were all kinds of torn apart and in definite need of construction. I had to go across the Brooklyn Bridge in order to get to the city center and it was a little crazy. I’m sure that if I were to have been inside a car rather than a motorcycle it wouldn’t have been as bad, but the roads were so torn up that it was messing with my tires. Fortunately I came out okay, but needless to say, I would be doing that again anytime soon. This is a 5 exposure shot that I put together in Photoshop CS6. I had seen this area in various publication and didn’t have too much trouble finding it. It was off one of the piers. My D810 was great to have in this instance because it kept the detail and handled the noise very well. That is always an issue for night shots, and my camera was fortunately a beast. Hope you like the...

Los Angeles Cityscape...

I had been waiting to go to this spot in Los Angeles forever but I had never known where it was. Recently I was wondering around on 500px and finally stumbled across a similar photo that had the location on it. Now that I was fully equipped with the location and my new camera and zoom lens I was all for it. For those who are looking for this spot, it is right off Mt Hollywood Trail. This is pretty much off one of the paths that you can hike on around Griffith Observatory. I had always thought these pictures were composites since I had never found this angle, but once I got to this spot I was ecstatic to find out that it was real. For this shot I used my Nikon D810 mounted on a tripod, with my Nikkor 70-300mm lens. This was actually my first time shooting with this lens and I was really happy with the results. I shot 5 bracketed shots and combined them through HDR processing and luminosity masks. I will sometimes combine the two processes if I find that one of them isn’t cutting it for what I am trying to accomplish. I hope you like the results....

Happiness

The great thing about photography is that you are able to capture moments and hold them there forever. For instance in this photo I captured happiness. This couple had just gotten married that day and we were doing some post wedding pictures over at the Urban Lights at LACMA in Los Angeles. You can see on their faces just how happy they felt at that time. Photography is one of those things where you can look at a picture and immerse yourself back into that place and time of that picture and remember how you felt, that’s why I love it. The ability to capture it, no matter how fleeting the moment or time may be, is a reward in itself. I’m sure there are many pictures people have of past relationships, old friends that moved out of their lives, or people that have passed that show many different emotions in them. Regardless of what feelings may be carried by those memories now, a photo of that time is something that you can look at and remember back when you enjoyed that time in your life. When you were in a different place, and different circumstances, with no idea on how the rest of your life was going to turn out. I find that amazing. I was literally lying down on the ground in order to take this shot. I told them just to talk to each other and not to mind me for the time being, however hard that might have been. What ended happening when they started talking? They started smiling and laughing. Who knows if they thought it was funny that I was on the ground but either way it was great for photos and nice to see that they were...

Just Married

My good friend Richard got married last week and entrusted me with being his wedding photographer. The wedding itself took place in downtown Los Angeles at Albertson Wedding Chapel. It was a nice place and they didn’t want it to be too big so it all worked out. After the wedding, they had decided that they wanted to take some photos at the LACMA urban lights. I had been to this location several times before for other photo opportunities and I absolutely love it. Only problem is, is that it is often packed with people. This night was no different. Fortunately enough, I was able to get around that by moving around and being a little more creative with some of the angles I used in other photos that I took. This photo here is probably my favorite one out of the set. I feel like it really makes them stand out and has a movie feel to it. Funny enough, this was one of the first photos we took when we got there. I tried to keep the photos for the actual ceremony as natural as possible, whereas I really wanted to make these stand out and catch their attention. Still, I didn’t have to do too much post-processing to get these where I wanted them. Although this photo is in color, several of the other ones in the set are black and white and I found that a very handy plug-in for black and white wedding photos…or any in general, is Nik Silver Efex Pro. There was no bracketing on these. Just one photos and several adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop. Perhaps the most difficult thing about shooting here was the higher ISO that I needed to use with my D7000. But...

Balloon Glowing Jun06

Balloon Glowing

A little over a week ago a friend had told me about the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival. Unbeknownst to me, I decided to check it out. Turns out it is this really cool event that is held in Temecula yearly. It took place over at Lake Skinner, just through Wine Country. The General Admission tickets get you into the event and even let you attend the concert at night (which I didn’t even realize prior to it starting). Once you are in you get to look around and go to shops or do what my friend and I did and just go straight to buying tickets for alcohol. The price isn’t terrible and you get to try all different kinds which is really cool. After being at the festival for a few hours, the Balloon Glowing started. I brought my camera specifically for this opportunity. I had never been to one so I literally Googled how to shoot a balloon glowing prior to coming. I didn’t find much advice unfortunately. So what method did I use? Shoot a crap load of pictures of course. Well…with at least some intention. I wanted minimal people in the picture and I wanted every balloon lit up from the flames as well. Now getting the balloons all lit up wasn’t too hard since all I had to do was wait for each one and snap a few pictures each, the people were a different story. It was pretty crowded around here and I still don’t have a wide angle lens so I couldn’t really get in front of everyone and get all the balloons in at the same time. So instead I literally took close to 100 images and masked the people out one by one. Quite...

Old Mcdonald

This is the oldest operating Mcdonald’s in the world! How cool is that? I stumbled upon this little gem when I was looking for cool new places to go take photos. Someone had mentioned this place so I decided to look into it. Fortunately enough, I had been traveling up to Los Angeles that night anyway so I figured why not make a little stop along the way. This Mcdonald’s is so old but still so charming looking. They still have the original building that has a diner feel to it because of the metallic counter-tops where you order your food. The menu is pretty much the same as all the others but there is a little museum to check out some of the original Mcdonald’s stuff from back in the day when it first opened in 1953. Now, I’m not much of a fast food fan but I couldn’t pass up getting food here just to say I did. I was a little worried that this place was going to be more busy than it was but turns out there wasn’t too many people. There was a crowd every so often that would build up but I just waited long enough to get a shot with no one there. People probably thought it was weird that I was taking a picture of a Mcdonald’s but I didn’t care. I shot this photo right before dusk turned into night so I could get some of the clouds in the picture. I had my Nikon D7000 mounted on a tripod and a remote shutter for the low light situation. I bracketed the photos and layered them in Photoshop. I then used luminosity masks in order to pull some of the darker detail from where other photos...

Bridge and City Apr23

Bridge and City

I only had so much time in San Francisco during the road-trip that I took with my sister and I wanted a few different shots of the Golden Gate Bridge Website. It was getting late and by the time we were done with this spot we were going to have to hit the road again, so I decided to try anything I could think of for a new shot from the same spot. This is how I came across this photo. I zoomed in with my lens and got a tight enough crop where you could still make out the bridge in the foreground while peering through to the city in the background. I had wanted to take a shot like this too fortunately, I just always forget. There is another photo from the same night on my website that includes the whole bridge if you want to check that out too. This was literally the nicest setup I had ever seen for this scenic spot. The fog was rolling in perfectly and the lights from the bridge turned on just in time to create a calming mood. Thankfully, my sister was a good sport about hanging out and waiting for it to get a little darker. I don’t think she minded it much though considering this was her first time in San Francisco and this view was quite the sight. I shot this with my Nikon D7000 mounted on my Vanguard Website tripod and of course bracketed it for -3, 0, and +3. I used layer masking to merge the best lit parts of the photos together in Photoshop CS6 and did some finishing touched with Nik Color Efex Pro Website. Hope you like the...

Cabin in the Woods

The trip through the woods to the Redwood Forest was quite the adventure. When we arrived at the front gate we had a little over a quarter of a tank of gas and figured we would be fine. How far could it be, right? Wrong! We wanted to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the United States and this tree just so happened to be about sixty miles down the road, or I should say up the mountain. It was literally all uphill. It was also extremely close to sunset so we were rushing. We had hit up so many places already that this was one of the last ones to go to and we didn’t want to miss it. By the time we had finally reached the top where the parking lot was the gas light had already been on for about ten minutes. We ended up being able to see the tree with just enough sunlight to spare. We thought it was a different one at first but after going a little further down the trail you find that it is clearly labeled. It really was quite the sight. By the time we were done it began getting pretty dark. On our way out was when I saw this shot. Surprisingly I actually like this shot better than I like the ones of General Sherman. It was a little tricky when it came to the post-processing part but I was able to pull off the look and feel that I was going for. I wanted it to show how serene it was in that instant and how quiet it felt. Hope you like the...

Luminance

This is an old photo that I took while at Corona Del Mar. I have been wandering around the internet lately reading various articles that all seem to focus on a technique that I had never used before called luminosity masks thus the name of the post luminance. What these essentially do is bring in particular light values of a photo, acting almost like an HDR technique, which is something that I like and am very familiar with. What I read was that luminosity masks actually had much more control and accuracy compared to the HDR technique so I decided to give it a shot. Most of the info I used was off of the 500px website which you can get to by clicking the link. Jimmy Mcintyre also has an awesome website that has loads of useful information on the subject of digital blending and luminosity masks. I used a luminosity mask action that I set up in Photoshop CS6 and imported all the three exposures as layers. The main file that I used for the base image was actually a lightly processed HDR image that I had put together. I wanted to see if I could actually get better results from luminosity masks and I quickly found out that I could, so not much of the final image is HDR. It was tricky to get it to look right at first and required a bit of work from the get go, but the hard work quickly comes to fruition once you get the hang of it. Hope you like the...

Helix Bridge

If you have ever been to Singapore then you no doubt no where this area is. This is situated right in the middle of the city where the famous Merlion statue is located. This was the second time we stopped here for a port visit and I had already planned on coming to this spot. The first time I visited, we didn’t have enough time to see everything so I didn’t expect to come back here, but fortunately we did. The spiraling metal structure on the left of the picture is the Helix bridge. It is an awesome place to be at night because the bridge will change colors and every night there is a light show. The view for the light show isn’t as good from this spot as it is from across the river but you get to see the designs project on the building that you can’t see from the front. We waited here for about an hour or so so we could get the best lighting. I have several other shots that include different lighting situations like during twilight. I posted this photo because I thought that it was more flashy. I took this on a tripod and bracketed with -2, 0, +2. This is also a panorama because I still have yet to get a wide angle lens. The editing in Photoshop is always a pain with these types of photos because the stitching program never seems to match up all that great for me so I often have to do it manually. But hope you all like the results. If you got any questions about the processing just...