Sunset on Paradise

Why not wrap the week up with a sunset from Thailand? This was taken along the beach on the Gulf of Thailand. You can see Koh Larn (koh means island in Thai) in the distance and a little bit of Pratumnak on the left.

The beach I was on had all these weird rocks. I have no idea what they were but they looked good in the water with the sun setting. I have published previous images that were similar but I really liked this one. It seemed the HDR just made it pop nicely.

Editing was done in Aurora 2017 and doing the conversion myself. I just add layers until I am happy with the final product then taking it into Photoshop for some final work. One of the things I have to do is defringe all the images. While Aurora can do it Photoshop does a much better job in the Camera Raw Filter. Once that was done it was spot removal and then some dodging and burning and done.


Sunset on Paradise

Tunnel Vision

This is along the Riverwalk in Chicago. I was returning to my hotel and saw this tunnel lit up and I thought it would be a cool shot. I quickly setup my tripod and waited for some people to walk through. I got lucky with these two and fired several frames to make sure I got them where I wanted them. Their motion blur because of the exposure time give it a sense of movement.

Usual edits but I did mask in a HDR layer. Mostly to make the colors and textures in the tunnel pop more. I deliberately made sure the outside where I was shooting from clipped to black for the most part. On the other side you just get a faint outline on where they came from.


Tunnel Vision

Fort At Casco Viejo

I believe and forgive me if I am wrong that the portion to the right is the old fort at Casco Viejo, Panama. I really took the image because of the layering of color in it that I liked.

I’ll get to editing first. This was shot on a Nikon D810 with a 16-35mm lens. I did the usual adjustments and then started to add in various layers. I stayed away from a HDR mask and went with a normal one to bring out the sky and water textures. As is usual when there is a lot of information in the blue channel I had to mask in a bit to remove the noise from the image. Annoying but it smoothes things out. Still, there is always a bit of pixilation.

I am on travel the next 30 days. The first 8 days will be in Chicago and I will be shooting a lot there. Taking the Sony A7R along with my 15mm Voigtlander, 16-35 Sony FE, 24-240 Sony FE, and my 35 Oshiro to test out. I will also have my Sony RX100M3 and a couple smaller point and shoots.

From Chicago I go straight to Thailand. I have some ideas on what I want to shoot there. I am also going to attempt video for the first time. How much I do I don’t know but I have a couple of GoPro’s and various mounts and a gimbal for them. Will be fun to see what I come out with at the end.

Not sure how I will handle photos. I am sitting on a comfortable backlog and I do have a large monitor in storage in Thailand so I can edit on that versus my 13″ Macbook Pro screen. If you start seeing Thailand photos in the next 30 days assume I decided to edit.


Fort at Casco VIejo

Panama Pride

I am back from a week in Panama where I did a lot of photography. One of the issues I faced was the weather. It’s the rainy season this time of year so I had a lot of flat grey light to work with. On top of that, you could figure out it was going to rain every afternoon around 1 or 1:30 which also coincided with the humidity making it so hot that you didn’t want to be outside.

I rented a Nikon 28-300 from and I’m happy I did. After about a day and a half of shooting I realized it wasn’t going to work for me. There is nothing wrong with the lens, its just slow to focus and wasn’t adding much that my 24-105 wasn’t going to do since I rarely went much longer. So it was relegated to my bag and then happily returned. The beauty of the rental was that I didn’t buy it to find out I was was going to hate it and collect dust.

For the image itself I did use the full 300mm to get this shot. The flag is the Panamanian flag and the buildings behind it are Casco Viejo.

I didn’t do a lot to this image. The 28-300mm isn’t the world’s sharpest even stopped down so starting to put in layer masks which isn’t lossless means I lose sharpness. So it was a simple curves layer and some dodging and burning. The goal was to make the flag stand out and I think I did.



Baltimore Days

I shot this series as a preparation for my Panama trip where I am now. I wanted to see how the Nikon D810 performed in blazing afternoon sun. In addition I wanted to see how I performed in the blazing afternoon sun while carrying the “beast” as someone called it. The Nikon performed better than I did before I tapped out and had a beer after a few hours of lugging it around.

I normally take my Sony A7R on trips because it’s much lighter than the Nikon D810. Yet, with Panama I really wanted to capture the country with a lot more detail. While the A7R is a great camera I primarily use it on a tripod. With Panama, I’m going to be in a ton of different shooting situations so I wanted a camera with image stabilization (all my lenses have it) since may not be using a tripod all the time.

What I learned is that the Nikon lenses are beasts with weight so lens selection is critical. I deliberately lugged all the lenses in a messenger style bag I have. I learned quickly that it’s not a good idea. Messenger bags with that much weight are uncomfortable. So for daily shooting take a smaller backpack that can evenly distribute the weight. In addition, lens selection is critical. No need to carry an arsenal. So with that in mind I rented a Nikon 28-300. After reading all the pros and cons against it, for my style of photography it’s perfect. If I like it well enough I’ll purchase one on return.

With the experiment over it was time to process the images. I deliberately pushed myself off my usual paths in Baltimore and started to wander. The white tower you see is part of St. Vincent de Paul. I have always seen it but never walked myself towards it. So this time I did. As, always I took a shot of the City Hall building. I call it my muse because I have at least a 1000 shots of it. The other shots are around the Inner Harbor that I never really wandered into during the day.

Editing wise I kept it simple, no masking in filters and layers. Sometimes you just need to let the photos speak for themselves.


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The View Out

This was shot at the Sanctuary of Truth in Thailand last November. I need to tell the back story of this image. Not that the shot itself was special, I setup the tripod and pointed out. No, the story is I have attempted to edit this image no less than 5 different times and I have about 8 hours worth of work on it. I have routinely just trashed my edits and went and did something else.

I was watching Trey Ratcliff’s – Becoming and Artist and one of the things he does is mostly edits in Lightroom where as I don’t. After watching him do a few edits I was like let me try this image just editing it Lightroom and ignoring all the anal retentive photo rules I tend to follow and go with the flow. So I did. I just went with what I felt I wanted out of the image and once I had it the way I wanted it took it into Photoshop.

There was some of the usual dodging and burning but it still didn’t feel “right”. So loaded up Macphun Intensify CK and started playing with filters until I found one I liked. Brought it back into Photoshop then masked in the bits I wanted. Mainly I wanted it to glow and feel warm. Make the carvings pop more than they were. A couple of masks later I was happy.

Is the image perfect? Hell no. Am I happy I finally got it to some place I could live with it? Hell yes! I really liked the image and I just didn’t want it to go to waste.

Full resolution here.


The View Out