Join me by the fire?

I notice that good interior design, once rare, now is pervasive. Something has happened in the last 10 years that has enabled the best interior designers in the world to get their work spread widely. It’s snowballed because now everyone has high expectations everywhere they go.

When I stayed in Houston, I went to The Magnolia hotel, since it was recommended by Tablet Hotels, which is my favorite hotel booking site. I normally don’t like giant hotels that are impersonal and predictable. The hotels in the tablet line seem to put a premium on good design and are more along the “boutique” specialty locations. Often, I find, they are cheaper than the Hiltons and Hyatts of the world too.

The other half of good interior design is that it is traditionally very difficult to capture in a photograph. Have you ever been somewhere really cool, taken a shot, then gotten home and said, “well it was much cooler in person!”. I think the problem lies in the detailed textures and light levels that change on a small scale. The eye can pick it up, but the typical camera method can’t. Of course, this HDR method I use and describe in the tutorial is perfect for picking up the subtleties of the textures and light.

In other news, the nice people at Fotoflot sent me a sample of their work using one of my photos. I put up some photos here that you can check out.

Join me by the fire

Chicago Thaws into Spring

Here is a shot of our pilots for the shot below, Bill and Jeff, circling back towards the city about an hour before the sunset.

bill and jeff

(also, the site is going through a redesign… please ignore any changes you see that might mess up in IE or Safari… getting it worked out…! thanks for your patience).

Daily Photo – Chicago Thaws into Spring

I was lucky enough to be in a helicopter over Chicago at sunset. A big thanks to Fiona and our pilots Bill and Jeff. They took the door off the helicopter for me, which sounds like a good idea until you are experiencing 100 MPH of chopper backwash while hanging out trying to get this kind of shot!

It was a fun day. We stayed up for a few hours and circled around the city several times. I got hundreds of amazing shots. I haven’t had time to process any of them except for this one… but I wanted to go ahead and get it up since I know the Twitter and Facebook crowd has been waiting on it since I mentioned it on there. Also my mom was very worried about the whole door-off-the-helicopter thing.

Right in the center of the shot on the bottom is the famous Navy Pier. We timed this shot to get at the right height the second the sun dipped below the horizon to cast a rainbow of hues into the sky.

Chicago Thaws into Spring

Chicago Thaws into Spring

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Where the rivers start

The Rockies are the source of a few rivers, and here is one of them. I can’t remember the name of it for sure (although I am sure some of my smart readers can), but I am pretty sure this is the Yellowstone (or maybe the Madison?) river, flowing westward out of the park. This part of the river is impossible to see from the road. I had to pull over and then walk over a tiny little hill/mountain to get there. I stayed at the top, listening to my ipod, waiting for the sun to set… It was all quite serene, as you can see! :)

Where the rivers start

Salsa in Houston

After a few long days with lawyers, I was invited out to go dancing with one of ours. He’s a great guy and, as much as I like to tease lawyers as members of an impenetrable sovereign nation (they have their own superset of rules, their own imports and exports, they live among us, yet exist within a patina of independence), I do like being with them for the intellectual stimulation. From these photos, it’s hard to get any sense of intellectualism, although that’s not really the point. I suppose the counterpoint is the point in this case.

My attorney here is Chanler, the only guy consistently in all the photos! And in the end, I put up a sunset photo of Houston. That’s about the prettiest you’ll ever see Houston.

Salsa Dancing in Houston

Houston and Salsa-2817-March 12, 2009

Houston and Salsa-2776-March 11, 2009

Houston and Salsa-2822-March 12, 2009

Houston and Salsa-2840-March 12, 2009

Houston and Salsa-2863-March 12, 2009

Houston at Sunset

The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

Angkor Wat was really more of a fortress than it was a temple.

There is a massive moat that encircles the complex.  I can only imagine how long it took peasants to dig a thousand years ago.  I also wonder how they all drank fresh water back then.  I know I couldn’t go more than 10 minutes walking around the area without needing a drink.  The massive heat, humidity, and standing water was a perfect recipe for cavalcade of bacteria to rise up and fight back.  I don’t suppose they all boiled their water.  Maybe everyone was just more hardy back then…  Luckily, when I was there, there were plenty of little children running around selling me bottled water.  Which, upon further reflection, I probably should not have drank.

The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

The Guardian of the Ancients

I found this daunting chap while trekking to northern India. We stopped to rest on the long road to Agra at a fairly imposing little structure on the side of the road. I was curious to see if I could find a drink or maybe a bit of food.

As I approached, this guy stood out front. I was pretty sure he didn’t speak English. We regarded one another for a bit. I tried to survey the authenticity of his weapon and the his circumspect agility. He examined at my anachronistic garb and camera for a bit. Then I gave him the international symbol for, "Can I take a photo?" He stiffened proudly in a pose. I took a quick shot, nodded, then passed by to see what he was guarding within.

A Guardian on the way to Agra

Inside the Train Station

I think, as Americans, we are over-the-top interested in European train stations. I really enjoy them. I don’t know why… they just seem like really interesting places to be. This is part of the train station in Leipzig — the part after you get off the train and go into the shopping area.

Curiously, if you look at the large or original size, you can see taxi cabs driving through the inside of the mall. I do not have a full explanation for this.

Inside the Train Station

The Point for Artists

Isn’t this just the perfect kind of place to take this sort of photo? I say it is! I almost don’t even know what to say about this place, and anything I say about it would only take away from it!

The only interesting thing about this is that I was in a tremendous hurry to take this shot and get to another destination. I think I had literally 45 seconds to take the shot. I prepared for it… got all the camera settings right, ran into what I felt was the perfect spot, ripped off some shots, then got right back on the road. Afterward, naturally, I was happy to see that everything worked out as expected.

The Point for Artists

Downtown Boston from my Hotel Room

Usually, I like to sneak up to the roof of buildings to get the best shots.  But, every now and then, my best plans are foiled by locked doors and surly security guards.  My charms fail at some point, and I am stuck shooting out of my hotel room window. The only advantage is that I don’t have to freeze in 10 degree howling wind while waiting for the light to hit its apogee of beauty.

This was just about the prettiest part of the day, especially since I had to spend the rest of it staring at morose lawyers.

Downtown Boston from my Hotel Room

Borobudur in Poetry

One thing we always ask for, as part of the deal, is for the companies to send us a copy of the final product. So we get several of these kinds of things a week, and it is always cool! I get excited and giddy to see my work used in creative ways across many mediums. Here is one we recently got of a poetry book that used on of my Indonesian pics on the cover. I put the orig below, along with a few other shots from that temple.

I end up throwing all of this stuff into these giant boxes in my office. I don’t know what I will do with them! They just kinda pile up… I should have a giveaway some day! :)

Borobudur Book

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands

The Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise

The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM

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