Saturday, February 28, 2009

Skull Study #2

Most models would complain, but my patient subject allowed me to remove his lower jaw for this shot.  Nikon D700, ISO 200, 180mm f2.8, f/5.6 @ 1/30s, handheld.  Processed in Lightroom 2 to crop 1:1, applied Mike Lao's "300" preset (see his blog and download link here:  as a starting point for adjustments.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo Journal

I've rebuilt my Photo Journal blog on the Wordpress blog engine and it's completely functional now. You can leave comments without registering, but the registration is working now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gerry Pagano

I've been working on some new (to me) lighting techniques for this portrait of Saint Louis Symphony musician Gerry Pagano. More here...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moonrise Hotel

I got out the Oktomat camera again today and took some shots around the new Moonrise hotel that is being built. The hotel is starting to look magnificent and I'm really excited for the Delmar Loop to be getting this.

The hotel is between the Pin-Up Bowl and the Pageant in an area of the Loop that for a long time didn't have much development.

I used the Oktomat at dusk, which turned out really dark in the processed film. It was 400 ASA film, so next time I might try for the 800 ASA, or else take some shots a little earlier on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Metrolink Car

This is a shot taken from Metrolink car while it went by another Metrolink car. I like the portability of the Canon G10 - I had it in my coat pocket and was able to easily pull it out for this shot. It's a half-second exposure at f/2.8 and ISO 200.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Skull Study #1

Today I took my first quickie picture in our space at the Grand Center Art Studios.  The subject is an old family friend.  Light is from a window facing North-East.  Handheld, Nikon D700, ISO 200, 180mm, f3.3 @ 1/250s.  Cropped to 1:1 in Lightroom 2.  The Nikkor AF 180mm f2.8D ED-IF has an amazingly smooth bokeh that one usually associates with German lenses.  Nikon did well to not depart too far from the original 1932 Carl Zeiss design from which it is derived. 

Metropolis Torchiere

I snapped this picture of a lamp in my office to test the speed of a Lexar UDMA 300x card with the Nikon D700, which is one of the few cameras that actually supports UDMA.  The buffer definitely clears faster when shooting RAW.  
I liked this shot because it reminds me of opening credits to Metropolis.  Handheld, Nikon D700, ISO 200, Nikkor 180mm, f/2.8 @ 0.7s.  Cropped and converted to Agfa Portriga Rapid tone in Lightroom 2.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photosynth: Big Boy Legs

This is a Microsoft Photosynth of a statue outside of Christman Studios in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood where I live.

I used the Canon G10 to take 118 photos of it - slowly circling so I could get as many angles as possible. It's a little awkward to use, but an interesting test of the technology. To view it you'll probably need to download some of the software, but it lets you spin around the legs and view them from most angles.

It took my low-power laptop computer about an hour to process the photos. I want to explore future pictures with this - it's an interesting way to look at a subject, and very easy to do.

The legs themselves are 1/2 of a statue in the Chrisman Studios area. The top half is also nearby - it used to be in front of a grocery story.

MetroLink Subway Zooming By

This is the underground MetroLink station at Forest Park Parkway and Skinker - across the street from Washington University. I recently spent eight weeks on a trip wandering around Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The portion where I felt the most unsafe? The return journey on Metrolink between the airport and my neighborhood.

But it all worked out. And really, there hasn't been a gunfight at the Delmar station for more than a year, and before I left helicopters started patroling the area to scare away the groups of teenagers. Besides, it makes for some interesting photo opportunities.

Taken with the Canon G10, f/8.0, ISO 100, 1 second shutter speed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Light Fixture at Chain of Rocks Bridges

I'm sure I travelled this bridge at a time when this light was cared for, functional and less interesting.  Nikon D700, ISO 200, 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, Cokin circular Polarizer, f/16 @ 1/90s.  Processed in Lightroom 2, applied Nikon Vivid preset, which reminds me of slightly underexposed Kodachrome.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eagles of Alton

Ray and I went up to Alton on Friday morning to try to shoot some eagles. They are magnificent birds, and very skittish. A couple of times we got somewhat "close", and the eagle would fly away. Above is a heavily-cropped picture of one of the eagles we saw. The eagle later swooped into the river to pick up a fish and returned to that branch to eat it. He flew away when we tried to get closer.

The other picture is of the sunrise and the Alton bridge. Both shots taken with a Canon Digital Rebel and 300 mm Canon lens.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Moon Obscured by Clouds and Dust

The full moon was very low in the sky, just after dark, peeking through clouds and dust on the horizon.  I had to hand-hold the shot from the car, so I pumped up the ISO and guessed the exposure.  The result is pretty accurate to to what I saw in the viewfinder.

Capture: Nikon D700, ISO 1600, Celestron 1,000mm telescope, f/11 @ 1/1500s.
Processing: Lightroom 2, ACR 4.6 profile, cropped 1:1, landscape sharpening preset.  

Full Moon - February 7, 2009

We had a balmy-for-February-in-St. Louis night and a full moon almost directly overhead.  My last shots with a ball head and aluminum tripod were unusable because they were too soft.  I figured that the long focal length was magnifying vibration from the mirror.  Ordinarily I'd use mirror lock-up, but I was trying to catch a shot between fast moving clouds and figured the lag time would be too great.  With a little digging, I uncovered one of my wood tripods to see if would dampen the vibration.
Capture: Nikon D700, ISO 200, Celestron 1,000mm mirror telescope, f/11 @ 1/200s (using sunny 16 rule +1 stop), supported by a Zone VI wood tripod and  Manfrotto pan/tilt head, Nikon MC-30 shutter release.
Processing: Lightroom 2, Nikon D700 Landscape preset, 1:1 crop.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Penguin Walkout

It's ok, it's not a protest. I was at the zoo last week when the penguins were allowed a short stroll in the snow, and they seemed to feel right at home. More at my Photo Journal...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Peeling Paint Study #2

Maybe it is just because I'm getting older and trying to make the best of personal decay, but peeling paint and rust evoke a character and dignity that really fascinate me.  This is a patch girder from the Chain of Rocks bridge in deep shadow.  Lighting is from two mylar reflectors, one to spotlight surface, the other to put some cross light in the groove.  Nikon D700, ISO 200, 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, f/16 @ 1/15s, Cokin circular polarizer, imported into Lightroom 2 using the Nikon Camera Neutral profile.