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Friday, January 27, 2012

Shooting star over the Dallas skyline!

I had made a mental note in the back of my head that the next time the river floods, I need to go shoot the Dallas skyline and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge reflected in the Trinity River. After the Dallas area received more than 4 inches of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday I decided I better head downtown for sunset. The river was definitely flooded but the lights on the new bridge were not turned on. Bummer! I decided to aim the camera at the downtown skyline and not worry about the bridge on some of the shots. The bridge looks so much better with the lights on and I could have really got some sweet shots had it not been sitting off to my left in the dark. Not the end of the world though. My archives didn't have an image of the Dallas skyline reflected in the Trinity River so I decided this was a good time to get a few. I was doing my usual thing, shooting 4 or 5 bracketed exposures of each scene. During a 13 second exposure I see something flash like a firework and then I see the shooting star streak down the sky, right in the middle of what I am photographing. Damn! How cool was that!
Quite honestly, I'm not sure if the picture does the shooting star justice. I like the photo just fine but I wonder if you would know what the streak was if I hadn't told the story. Feel free to give me your thoughts on that. I will probably never get another photograph of a shooting star in the skyline, but just in case you are listening up there  "could you bring it in at a 45 degree angle next time?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Inside Angel's Diner

Inside Angel's Diner

I was looking for an image in my files and when I came across this one I thought "I've never shown this to anyone". So here it is! This was at Angel's Diner in McAlester, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Work From Your Old Archives!

"Zion Tree"
This morning I read a blog post from an acquaintance on G+, Alan Majchrowicz. It was about "Bringing Life to  Old Photos". I definitely could relate to his words since I also have a habit of reviewing images that were shot years  earlier. The image above is a product of that habit. Whenever I return from a trip I will review all of the images. I will process all the favorites and then it may be months or years later before I go back and take another look through all the "losers". Oh heck, I shouldn't call them that. The favorites were probably the tens out of the group.There may possibly be many eights and nines in the remaining images and maybe a ten that I overlooked first time around. This can happen because my expectations are different immediately after a trip. I usually have a few shots that I am really excited about but sometimes I don't think the final image conveys how excited I was when I initially created the image. Several years later my mind has cleared of all those expectations. Software, my processing skills, and my vision have also changed and I hope for the better.
"Zion Tree" was taken three years ago in Utah's Zion National Park. I may have liked it better as a color image if it had a rich blue sky and better light to contrast with the snow and red rock. The light was flat and the sky was gray. When I looked back at it a few months ago, I thought "it may make a nice black and white". After making all the adjustments in Photoshop I was pleased  but I did feel it needed one last tweak. Most of the Topaz filters seem to be used a little heavy handed  by most photographers but a little bump from "Topaz Detail" worked perfectly to add a little texture back into the snow. I created a separate layer for that adjustment and then masked the layer so it only had an affect on the snow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

To Crop or not to Crop?

 Last week I posted a selection of images of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. One of them was this top image but I had cropped it right at the base of the arch. It also had a little more contrast and saturated color. This version is pretty true to how I remember it. I'm possibly having second thoughts about the first version. After looking at the raw file again I am starting to like my shadow running towards the arch of the bridge. The man that is taking a picture doesn't bother me that much. I did slightly crop the left side to remove a distracting person that I still don't want in the picture.
This second image is nothing more than a crop of the first one. I also like it this way but I still tend to be partial to a version without people. I think the shadow of me and my tripod would be enough. What do you think? Which version do you prefer?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Color or Black and White?


I'm getting to where I will also process an image in black and white to see if I also like it rendered that way. Many times I feel that both versions work and possibly for different reasons. This is an oddly shaped church that I spotted while driving around Dallas last week. I was perfectly happy to have clear blues skies when I stopped by the following day for some mid-day pictures. The quick scouting of the place the day before told me the light would work well at this time of day. As a photographer, I try to shoot a scene when I feel that the lighting will give me what I'm after.  It's not very often that lunchtime is my choice.
 The black and white version was easy to process where the sky was very dark, drawing attention to the design and shape of the building. The church's odd look is what attracted me to it in the first place. The color version works much the same way to emphasize the shape of the building. However, it does have the contrast of the deep blue with just a touch of brown in the pointed doorway. Which do you prefer and why?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Recently, I have been making some photography trips to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge that is being built in Dallas. The bridge which spans the Trinity River is scheduled to open on March 2, 2012. I think for the most part the bridge is finished but the road presently stops at its west end.  The road that connects to it is what they must finish in the next six weeks and from what I see they better start working some overtime.

Reunion Tower has been the stand out building in the Dallas skyline since it was built in 1978 but this Santiago Calatrava designed bridge is quickly becoming the hot subject for photographers. I saw the results from this years Trinity River Photo Contest last week and many of the winners were of the new bridge. I did not enter the contest but I might decide to next year.

The very top image was shot yesterday evening when I made my second visit of the weekend to the bridge. At the end of the bridge there has been a sign that says no-trespassing. I've never seen anyone on the bridge until yesterday. When I arrived there was people everywhere on the bridge. I decided that I would just head out on the bridge and take some pictures too. That was about the same time the sun broke through the clouds and the light was great. It was however hard to take a good shot of the road portion of the bridge because people were everywhere. After maybe ten minutes I decided to get off the bridge and go down the levee to where I had planned to shoot. Right after I got on the levee the cops arrived and made everyone get off the bridge anyway. The nice light also vanished for the day so the very first shot I took was the one I liked best. I did crop off the bottom pretty good but I like it.

 The bottom three images were all shot two days ago. A shallow pond in the Trinity River bottom made it possible to get a great reflection shot on the windless day. The last two are of the underneath portion of the bridge. They really have it lit up. That makes for some good night photography though.

I have a new web site!
This is my first post since 2011 and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2012. I have also made some changes to the look and design of this blog. I really like it and I hope you do to. My web site has also had a total makeover and the design of the blog compliments it. The new web site now has e-commerce. You can purchase prints or license images directly from the web site. It also has a great image search feature using key words to help you find what you are looking for. I sure wish my web site had included all these features years ago. The links at the top of the page will link you to the new web site. I have also enabled web forwarding so the same URL you have previously used will still take you to my web site. www.clarkcrenshawphotography.com