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Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Trip to Big Bend!

 Dorgan House at Big Bend

 A couple of weeks ago several friends and I went down to the Big Bend area of Texas. Since there is not a whole lot of civilization in the area, it has some of the darkest skies on the planet. It was also during the dark of the moon and the peak of the Perseid Meteor shower.

 Terlingua Cemetery at Night

We divided the trip into different segments since it is such a long drive to get to Big Bend. Our destination was the ghost town of Terlingua which is actually on the far side of Big Bend. Our first night of shooting we stopped at Fort Davis and photographed at the McDonald Observatory. Great clear skies and some of the brightest milky way I have seen. Unfortunately the observatories were completely dark and there wasn't a red glow coming out of them as there was on my previous trip. That red glow sure adds interest to your images.

 Terlingua Cemetery and Perseid Meteors

After breakfast the following day we headed towards Terlingua. After scouting some locations that afternoon we realized the area had a lot of interesting things to be shooting after dark. Despite the scouting, we took off that evening to a site that I had only seen on Google Earth. The shell of the Dorgan House was a 30 minute drive from Terlingua. We found it right before dark and it did not disappoint. I added some LED lights inside and we also light painted the exterior. The resulting image is at the top of the page.

Stone Ruins and Milky Way

After we finished at the Dorgan House, we headed back to Terligua. The old cemetery was our favorite location. Lots of crosses and stone monuments helped keep us busy until 3am. If you look at the large view of each cemetery image you will see some of the many Perseid Meteors that we saw. They were sneaky little dudes. The very biggest and brightest we saw on the trip all managed to avoid the camera lens. A little light painting was done on both the cemetery images.

Terlingua Church #2

The following evening we drove about 20 miles down the road to the Contrabando Movie set which is located next to the Rio Grande on the Texas Mexico border. Six or eight different movies have been filmed there although I haven't heard of any of them. It is an interesting place to take some pictures but the weather that evening didn't really cooperate. It was cloudy and trying to rain. It looked like our clear weather had come to an end. Fortunately, by the time we got back to Terlingua, most of the clouds had cleared. Yahoo! The night wasn't lost.

Old GMC Bus

The stone ruins and the old church were almost completely lighted from the lights in Terlingua which is not really that much of a ghost town. A popular Bar and Grill was not too far away. The only thing added was the light coming from the interior of the church. Several of my LED lights gave it just the right glow.
I had hoped to get permission to photograph the old bus during the night since it was right next to an artist's studio and home. Since I couldn't find the owner, I had to settle for a daytime shot. I like the image I got but still would have liked to have done some light painting on it around 2 in the morning.

Officer's Quarters View

The following day we decided to drive part of the way home and come up with something we could photograph after dark. I decided a stop by Fort McKavett near Menard might be just the thing. It was looking very cloudy near  sunset, but once again it  cleared off and gave us some clear skies and a great view of the milky way and the meteor shower. The fort has numerous buildings which only have some of their stone walls remaining. They made great subjects to combine a little light painting with the ruins and the stars. Overall the trip was a great success.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The State Farm Insurance Office Campus in Richardson, Texas

I have been watching the construction off Plano Rd. just south of Highway 190 for a number of months now. The design of all the large cranes has had my interest. Yesterday evening conditions looked good so I headed that way to get some pictures of the site where a large State Farm Insurance Office Campus will be. You can read more details about it here in a series of blog posts by Steve Brown with the Dallas Morning News.

When I am going to photograph a place, I will usually try and photograph it under a variety of lighting conditions. When I arrived at the location about 5pm it was mostly cloudy, but it did appear that there would soon be a hole in the clouds near the horizon for the sun to shine through. It wasn't long after I got set up that the sun did indeed make an appearance. The sunlight made the white cranes really stand out against a mixture of blue sky and gray clouds.

 I always try to shoot horizontals and verticals. As the clouds broke and moved by I waited until they would provide a little more balance for a vertical shot. Using my 100-400mm lens I was also able to isolate parts of the big scene for a few of the shots.

If you compare the first image and the last two you can see how much the mood of a scene changes as it goes from sunlight to dusk. There was less than an hour difference between the first and last image shown here. I think the light is great in all of them, but do you prefer one over the other? I would love to here your reasons why.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

Last week I spent an afternoon at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. It was my first visit to the 3,621 acre facility. It was also nice, considering it was the last day of January, that I could hike around in a short sleeve shirt and get familiar with part of the 20 miles of hiking trails. I will definitely have to plan another visit so I can explore some more. The image below was taken on the marsh boardwalk.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The McDonald Observatory's Otto Struve Telescope and the Milky Way

May 5, 2014 will mark the McDonald Observatory's 75th Anniversary. You can read a little more about the observatory at http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/afraid-losing-dark. This image is also being used in the Texas Monthly article on line. I shot this back in November on a warm and clear night on my way to El Paso. You can see the whole series of observatory images that I took here http://clarkcrenshaw.photodeck.com/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=McDonald+Observatory&license_type_id=*ALL*&orientation=*ALL*&commit=Go

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Top Ten Images From 2013!

Picking my favorite images each year is always a tough thing to do. It would be nice to say that it is hard to decide because I shoot so many wonderful images but the subjective nature of the process is what really makes it difficult. It is much like judging a photo contest with several other judges. You like an image but the other two judges don't. Then you and judge #2 like an image but #3 says "this doesn't do much for me". Such is the nature of the beast! I did get some feedback from several friends and family before finalizing the choices. Several opinions were given but nothing strong enough to make me change things much. 
Another thing that helped make the choices difficult is that most of these have several very similar versions that are also on my web site. Horizontal or Vertical? This angle or that angle? Most of the time they all work well...but which is the best? I welcome your comments. If you like a different version of one of these ten then feel free to say so in the comments. You might also see one on my web site that I took this year that you feel I overlooked. One thing you might also notice is this...I am becoming quite the night stalker. Almost all of these were taken well after sunset.

Looking to the Stars

I have put these images in the order that they were created during the year.  I will also give you a little information about each. The image above was taken at the Very Large Array about 40 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.When I finished shooting on this cold February night the temp gauge on the car said 10 degrees.

 Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

While I was in Kansas City for a show in  May I had several evenings to shoot the downtown area. I didn't really have a plan the first night but as soon as I saw the Kauffman Center it was like "where do I park the car". The building is really a photographer's dream. I spent the entire evening shooting it from different angles.

 Fulton Beach Fishing Pier #2

 I was in town for the Rockport Art Festival which is held over Fourth of July weekend. Somehow during previous visits I had missed the green LED lights of the pier on nearby Fulton Beach. Not this time.

 Devon Energy Tower and Sculpture

 I had photographed the Devon Tower the previous year and felt the area was worth exploring some more when I was back in town Labor Day weekend. I couldn't resist combining this interesting sculpture with Oklahoma City's tallest building in the background.

 Pensacola Pier

Last year I bough several neutral density filters in order to take long exposures lasting several minutes. I really had not used them very much but from seeing other photographer's work they were usually most effective when you have moving clouds or water that will blur heavily during a long exposure. Spending a November evening on Pensacola Beach was a good opportunity to see what they could do. I was pleased with this 3 1/2 minute exposure.

 A Nice Place to Swing

One of my favorite places to fish and photograph is Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border. I was blessed with a clear and calm night to shoot this dock that was built around one of the many Bald Cypress trees that grows in the lake. The light was coming from a nearby boathouse.

McDonald Observatory and the Milky Way

The drive to my last art show of the year provided me with several of my top images. I had planned to take several days to get to El Paso, Texas and do some photography on the way. The first day I detoured off the interstate about 40 miles in order to shoot the McDonald Observatory after dark. Most of the drive from Dallas had been cloudy but the skies cleared around sunset and I had some great conditions for picking up the Milky Way above the telescope domes. Be sure and check out the similar images on the web site. There were numerous winners from this nights shoot.

Guadalupe Reflections #2

The following day I drove to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I was a little late for fall color but recent rains had a salt flat flooded that was just west of the park. The winds were dead calm at sunset and the reflections of El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak could not have been better.

 The Light From Within

After sunset I drove a few miles down the road to some abandoned buildings and did some light painting. I shot numerous versions with different colored gels on my flash, but this version definitely worked the best.

Futuro Home With Green Light

I have driven by this abandoned Futuro Home for years on my way to the lake. A clear December night with a full moon was just the time to make the 45 minute drive to photograph this structure which looks much like a spaceship that has landed. Unlike the previous photo, I used an LED light with a colored gel to provide the light for the inside. The light coming down the steps was made with a green flashlight.
I hope you have enjoyed these and have a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beale Street

Several months ago I participated in the River Arts Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. While I was there I couldn't resist spending a little time on the very popular Beale Street with my camera. As you can see by the sign it is the "Home of the Blues" and the "Birthplace of Rock and Roll". Several of my previous images from the area sold well at the art show and these are welcome additions to my Memphis Gallery. You can see the full collection on my web site here. http://clarkcrenshaw.photodeck.com/-/galleries/travel-and-architecture/united-states/memphis

  Welcome to Beale Street

 Daisy Theater

 Orpheum Marquee

 Big Ass Beers To Go

Voodoo Alley

Pee Wee Saloon and the Hard Rock Cafe

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Web Site Featured in Shutterbug Magazine!

I looked in my mailbox yesterday and there it was...the January edition of Shutterbug magazine. I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival because my web site is featured in one of the articles. Each month, Joe Farace writes an article called WEB PROFILES. He will review four or five photo sites. He will write several paragraphs of praise for each site, show a screen shot of the home page, and of course include the web address. Thanks a bunch Joe!

Pensacola Pier

Quite honestly, I think my web site deserves a lot of praise. Not very much of my business happened on the web until I built my Photodeck web site. Today, I have more than 1200 images on the site. Images can be licensed or prints can be ordered. Purchases can be made through Pay Pal.When a purchase of a print is made several emails are automatically sent out to me and the client. Several emails are also sent out when an image is licensed. One of those emails will contain a link to download the image file in the size that was purchased. AWESOME! If you are interested in getting your own site through Photodeck, use the code YG@UNGXXE to get 50% off your first month.