Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Abandoned Winery - In leaves no step had trodden black

Abandoned Winery pergola arbor one
 Around the side of the house/tasting room there was this great looking pergola with shadows of the trees and its' cross members cascading off the side in the back left of the pic. It has so much depth I think, love this one.
Abandoned Winery jungle path
 And behind the house/tasting room it was like a jungle. I think when this place was kept up it probably look pretty good from a landscaping point of view. Even after years of neglect the grounds still looked pretty good.
Abandoned Winery tree over pergola
I love the pin oak trees here in the hill country of Texas, they can grow quite large and they get so scraggly looking. This photo though was a minor disappointment to me, this is one situation where the photo just did not compare to the actual scene. Just couldn't get it to look right in the processing stage. But here it is anyway...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Abandoned Winery - Tasting Room, Open Daily

Abandoned Winery Tasting Room Sign
This is  a series of photos I took the other day of this abandoned winery just down the road from my job. Passed by it every day just about for a year now, finally made the time to explore it a week before we move to Houston. From what I've seen online about this place, it's been abandoned for about half a decade. I loved this sign, it really shows the neglect this place has received. From this vantage point it looks like it could still be in use but the mostly glass door of the house/tasting room is busted in, presumably by kids looking for something to get into. I know what that's like, I was one once and I guess I still am...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arc de Triomphe - Fini

Arc de Triomphe inside cast in sunlight

 These are the last two photos of the Arc I processed.

Fun Fact #1: The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.   

Fun Fact #2: The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.  

Fun Fact #3: Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Interred here on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins' fire was extinguished in the fourth century. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified (now in both world wars). According to a 2008 television programme, presented by Griff Rhys Jones, “the flame has only been extinguished once, by a drunken Mexican football supporter on the night that France beat Brazil here in Paris,” most likely referring to the1998 FIFA World Cup Final.

Arc de triomphe deep blue sky
Fun Facts courtesy of Wikipedia.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Arc de Triomphe - Part Deux

Arc de Triomphe lens flare
 Here is a couple more of the Arc de Triomphe. The one to the left here had some major lens  flare but I personally think lens flare is beautiful and I love how the colors of the flare where magnified by the HDR process, in the finishing touches I purposely turned up the green, aqua, magenta, red and  blue to really make the flares pop. And I am finding out that the best HDR photos are taken with the sun to my back. The sun always blows out the sky and you don't get those beautiful blues.
Arc de Triomphe inner lit by sun
I love how the sun light bounces off the inside of the Arch in this picture. I get excited every time I take a photo involving statues or stone structures, the process brings out such beautiful detail in them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

Arc de Triomphe inner mostArc de Triomphe names detail
These are a couple more photos I took while my wife and I where on vacation in Europe. Specifically of the "Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile"  (in English: Triumphal Arch of the Star). I really like the colors of the one to the right. Not exactly realistic I know, more surrealistic. but hey, to each his own.

I was surprised at the amount of detail I was able to bring out of these. These were created from three copies of a single jpeg at varying levels of darkness and light. This monument is in the north west of Paris, France.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Deere Backhoe Construction Implement
Here's the other one I shot the other day at the construction site. Had to replace the sky on this one as well, wasn't as bad but I'm a perfectionist. I'm not a big fan of the color yellow in general but in HRD photos I think it looks real good when the yellow in a pic pops. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Ground Saw Trencher Texas Chain-Saw Massacre
Caught a couple of construction implements unattended down the road from our apartment the other day and I just had to stop and snap a few. (I think that's a run on sentence but I was never good in English) This is one is one of my more recent photos, it was taken with two sets of bracketed shots at 1 EV spacing. I used 5 of the photos at -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2 to create the image you see before you. Had some major halo issues in the sky and the tree branches, solved 'em with the handy dandy selection tool in Photomatix Pro by replacing any sky with a photo of appropriate EV levels to match the surrounding scene. I was inspired by a pic I saw on Trey Ratliff's site (which also happened to be shot in Austin, Texas) of a large construction implement of some kind. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First upload! - Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Tower)

 Campanile di San Marco - St Mark's Tower
This will be the first of many photos I upload. I am going to attempt to upload one photo every day. This particular photo is of the top of San Marcos’ bell tower as seen from inside the court yard of the Doge’s palace. A favorite of my first attempt’s at HDR. HDR, for anyone not aware of the term refers to High Dynamic Range. It’s created using various software to combine two or more photos taken at differing exposure levels. The software takes the best pixels from each photo and creates one incredible photo. This one was actually made from a single jpeg. I created three copies of the original, one darkened and one lighten. The resulting photos don’t always turn out great when using only one source but most turn out amazing as you will see in future uploads. I have some recent photos created using at least five pics at -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2 EV settings that i will get to uploading sooner or later…