A Night with Harley

My Unexpected 24-70mm Usage

As a landscape photographer, I tend to go wide-angle a lot… Actually, I don’t particularly “like” (not facebook-like, like-like) being called a “landscape photographer” — but I know people like to categorize, and it’s better than being called a “underwear tester”.

So back to the wide-angle bit. I love my Nikon 14-24 lens… and when I go on trips, I expect to use that the most! However, I notice that this current photo-adventure in Iceland, I am using my 24-70 most of the time. About 70% of the time! I find it gets me the compression and framing I need for so many landscape situations.

I’ll have to add more photos soon to my Nikon 24-70 Review here on the site… but it is a very versatile lens!

Daily Photo – A Night with Harley

These bikes are really a fun subject for photography. I get excited every time I head out for one of these events. There are so many styles, customizations, and characters behind them… you never see the same thing twice.

Setting up for these photos is also somewhat of a fun challenge. Getting the right “background” is very important to me… sometimes it just does not work out, so I have to move on and leave a pretty bike alone. The other thing about these bikes, which you don’t realize until you take thousands of photos of them, is that you probably only have a 12.5% chance of getting a good composition and background. I break it down thusly:

  • 50% chance that the bike is on its kick stand and leaning the direction you want.  These are just too hard to shoot from the downward-leaning side.
  • Compounded by a 50% chance the background area is boring, distracting, inappropriate, or otherwise unpalatable
  • Compounded by another 50% chance that the bike will be blocked by another bike, since these tend to travel in flocking patterns, like their riders.

HDR-Photo

The Driskill at Night

HDR DVD getting closer!

I know there is rampant demand for the HDR DVD, and I wanted to give you an update. The production is about to come to a close, and we can get it to everyone as soon as possible. I’ve been getting early cuts of some of the sections, and they look really sharp. They are filled with many, many examples of my exact workflow, showing how I make layers in Photoshop, how I do my settings in Photomatix, the best order of operations, how I “think through images”, and more. You’ll love it!

To make sure you are the first to know, be sure to sign up for the free newsletter right here!


Daily Photo – The Driskill at Night

Here is one of the photos that I process on the HDR DVD.

During the Austin Workshop, we had a professional team in place to make sure everything went off without a hitch. We started the weekend with a long photowalk through the streets of Austin. I stopped to take a photo of The Driskill hotel, which happened to be the same place we held the actual workshop. I talked through the shot a little bit and what I was trying to accomplish.

During the actual workshop, I did not process this photo. But I have since done so, and I recorded the whole session to be on the DVD as well. It’s one of those classic “problems” where there is a lot of ghosting from the car movement.

HDR-Photo

Mozart’s Coffee in Austin

Photoshop Tools

I’m in the middle of my weekend workshop here in Tokyo and we are having a great time. People flew in from Hong Kong and Shanghai for the event – cool! I gave everyone a bunch of homework… we will see how they do!

During the class, I’ve been showing people some of my other tools that I use regularly. In case you do not have them, I suggest you check out the:

Daily Photo – Mozart’s Coffee in Austin

This is one of my favorite places in Austin!  Like many other are coffee shops, it’s one of those spots that techies go to be alone, together.  If you know what I mean.

It’s full of Macbook laptops, coffee, coffee-related products, and sweet sweet Web 2.0 geeks.  It used to be uncool to be a geek… but now it is quite socially acceptable.  The ironic thing is that geeks gave up the concept of social acceptability a long time ago… so we are all somewhat aloof to this newfound status.

The Lime Couches

Daily Photo – The Lime Couches

One of my favorite sites for finding boutique hotels is Tablet Hotels.  They are not an advertiser or anything…  I just wanted to thank them for having an awesome service!  I quite like staying at boutique hotels.  These are usually smaller, quaint, with unexpected interiors.  Often times, I like them better than the huge hotels because they seem more intimate and I sometimes get more personalized services.

This hotel is The Magnolia in Houston.  At least, I am 95% sure that is the name of the place!  It was one of those I found on Tablet…  give it a try next time you travel and let me know if you like it too!

SXSW in Austin

Special Post – SXSW at night in Austin

I’ve been having a great time at SXSW. I decided to walk around one night with my camera to take a few shots of the streets at night… I know most of you are not coming down for the event, so I am doing my best to bring it to you!

This style is a little different, but I hope you like it nonetheless. For some of you, I’ll see you at the Austin American Statesman Social Media Awards ceremony tonight! I’ll be there, with camera in hand… the big question I keep wondering about… 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.4? 50 or 85? Hmmm…. hmmm !!! I must decide… the pressure is intense. Anyway, if you are at the event, please feel free to come up and say hello!

The Gentle Bridge

Kiva and Team Stuck In Customs – Over $3,000 raised so far!

I’m glad you guys are having fun on the Charity page here on the site. We’ve already done more than $3,000 for Kiva, and that is great! I’m still enjoying my own personal experience on there… seeing emails come in from time to time talking about repayment of the loans… How has your experience been so far?

March 1 – First Photo From New Zealand

This is my goal! Be ready for that day… I’m not totally sure I can make it happen… but this is my goal! :)

Daily Photo – The Gentle Bridge

If I could only clone myself, just for dusk! After that, all the clones could die off, like in The Prestige. They could die off in a less-violent way, however…

Usually, when I scout a location (let’s say case the joint), I wind up finding a number of spots to take pictures at dusk. Then, that high-pressure 10 minute-period hits and I run around trying to squeeze them all in… and it’s never easy with five exposures each!

This little bridge is at Horseshoe Bay in Texas. Everyone likes bridges, eh? Like cute kittens and Yourube videos when dads get hurt in the crotch, they are universal favorites.

Austin Book Party Tomorrow! (Wednesday, Dec 9th)

Austin Book Party Tomorrow Night

Poster design by the great Fabien Barral

I know I know… I always get comments I am not coming to YOUR city!  Sorry about that… believe me, I’d love to make it an around-the-world tour.  But for now, we are just doing three cities, Austin, New York, and Chicago.

The Austin one will also feature a Photowalk where the best photo wins $500 in Driskill gift cards.  Cool!  Also, I’ll be debuting the next Stuck In Motion video.  It’s going to be a 140-second job that I’m entering into the Nikon Festival.  It’s very cool, and I’ll be sharing it with everyone else the day after the party.  Get ready!

And no, you of course DO NOT need to buy a book to come to the party… It’s not a sales-thing at all… the book is just an excuse to have a little party!

I’ll be giving a short talk, signing books, meeting people, and giving more details on the photo contest.  After the event, everyone can share their work on the FB Event page, just like last time.

The Harleyfest on 6th Street – Do People See the World Differently?

Twitter Contest Winners

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Twitter Contest to win a free copy of theHDR Book, “A World in HDR”! I think Peachpit was completely overwhelmed with the results. I hope it gave you a chance to discover and share some great art on the web. Thanks to John P from OneMansBlog.com who was The Judge. Visit his website below and see the winners!

Less than 24 hours left on eBay Auction!

The first in the Limited Edition Numbered Print for the book is on eBay.  It looks to be a hot item…  only for the true collectors out there.

Daily Photo – The Harleyfest on 6th Street

This is one of the best times in Austin for HDR Photography!  I really think it’s perfect perfect conditions to really show off what this style of photography can do.  Long exposures just don’t do the trick.  The wonderful thing about being there is that the human eye really can see all these colors and light levels at the same time.  At least… to those of us that see like this.  I’m convinced that after talking to countless groups that not everyone “sees” in the same way.  It’s not that one way is better than another – just different. What do you think?

The Harleyfest on 6th Street - Do People See the World Differently?

The mysterious bridge to the fantastic forest

Party Details

I posted links to the Facebook Events for the book launch a few days ago. I’ve gotten some email that not everyone has Facebook. So, I will endeavor to copy all that info to a webpage here when I get the chance. For now, just pencil in the dates — I look forward to meeting you! And yes, I’m sorry it’s just in those cities… but I’ll be traveling around a bit and we might just have surprise photowalks here and there!

Daily Photo – The mysterious bridge to the fantastic forest

I think if I were in charge of building little bridges, I would give them all a fairy-tale touch. And, of course, I would put cool glowing lights all over it and other mysterious ones underneath. Even better, I’d try to make sure it was dusk all day long so there could be just a touch of ambient daylight remaining. You guys probably think I’m crazy, but I always really like that time of night when the lights first flickr on…  it’s a nice feeling.

The Mysterious Bridge with the Green Glow Underneath

Golfing after Dark

Coming up soon

We have a short video coming up in the next week. It’s another of my bad shaky-cams, capturing some of the behind-the-scenes footage of some photos I took in Yellowstone. The quality isn’t great… but the content is good… well, let us hope!

National Instruments

Thanks to the nice people at National Instruments here in Austin! They invited me up to speak today at lunch. They have a huge photo club there with about 100 people. I gave them the old van-down-by-the-river talk. They asked very good questions and were very nice. I invited them to one of the upcoming book launch events (which you also know about, since you subscribe to the newsletter, right? Right???).

Daily Photo – Golfing After Dark

Horseshoe Bay here in Texas has one of the nicest putting courses in the world. They illuminate it at night with hundreds of lights scattered across the meticulous landscaping. This one is worth a large view! I happened to take it right at that moment in dusk that only lasts about five minutes.

Golfing at Dusk on the Lighted Course

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