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Sneak Peek: Eleana, Dale and their boys

Meet this foursome, from left to right: Duke, Dale, DJ (Dale Junior) and Eleana.  I met the human duo of this group at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market when I showed my photography there about a month ago.  What an amazing couple these two are. They love their horses beyond words and wanted some pictures taken for the holidays.

They have been awfully kind to me. Eleana used to live by the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction and told me that she’s never seen a photograph that captured their essence until she walked by my booth at the market.  Because of that they wanted me for their equestrian photoshoot this past Friday. I was blown away and humbled at her comments and of course I took up the challenge of capturing the four of them.

Never photographed horses like this before, so it was definitely a learning experience!

Thank you guys so much for having me out there to hang with you and your boys for a little bit. Wonderful animals, they were adorable and fun to be around. Watching them run and play was so amazing…something I don’t think I’ve really seen before.

Here are just a few images from the shoot…there are so many more to go through!

Another sunset on the Gila River Indian Reservation

Now that we’re moving to downtown Phoenix, I’m really going to miss being close to places like this that are just a quick jaunt from where I currently reside. The Gila River Indian Reservation has been kind of my stomping ground this past summer for a lot of my storm chasing adventures. Once I move, getting to a spot like this will take about 30 minutes longer.

Still, I can’t wait to see what is in store for me downtown and the surrounding areas. I know for certain that South Mountain has some hidden treasures to offer and I’ll be checking it out a lot more.

So this picture was shot back in early August during a little trek I took to southern Arizona for some monsoonal action. I hadn’t even been here before and was taking a chance down a barely paved road to see where it led. Yes, it has a road in it, which is slowly becoming an obvious love for me…but I just love how they add depth and dimension to a frame.

Hoping for some more action this week as a storm system will move through the state Tuesday-Wednesday with some potentially good t-storms and rain. It’s been dead here for weeks now and I’m going through withdrawals. Bring on the rain! Woo!

Fluffy clouds over the San Tan Mountains

Something a little different than the standard HDR photos I tend to post here. While HDR is amazing at adding drama to a scene, I still love a good black and white or even a textured photograph. This was shot while out testing my new Tamron 16-35mm f2.8 without a CPL (which I hope to get today in time for Holland!).

What I usually do with shots like this is to use the RAW editor to manipulate the same photo two different ways…one to bring out the sky and clouds, the second to get the foreground just right. Then I blend them in Photoshop. I’m positive I’ve shot this scene before, probably on the same road and from the same spot, so I tried something new with the faded effects and texture overlay.

Definitely feels like the Arizona west I know.

Just another Arizona sunset

At first glance I would expect most people to see this photo and NOT choose Phoenix, Arizona as the location it was taken. You have some farm fields, tall trees, wildflowers and some hay protected by the sun. Definitely not something people naturally picture when it comes to Arizona and our deserts. Ah, but it is.

I photographed this last night about 1.5 miles from my house down in Chandler, which is basically on the southeastern corner of the metropolitan Phoenix area. We’re moving soon to downtown Phoenix and I’m going to miss sights like these on a few miles away. But out here, amidst the new home developments, shopping areas and industrial construction, you still have pockets of farms and agriculture thriving and hanging around. I love it.

The monsoon season hasn’t really nailed Phoenix yet, but the debris clouds have been spectacular and last night’s sunset was full of rays shining through clouds, stretching across the sky. The sunset photo I posted a few days ago ironically also had sunflowers in them, but they are really all over the place right now. I saw them here earlier in the week and knew I wanted to head back for a sunset shot whenever I got the chance.

Technically, this is a hand-held, 3-bracket HDR from Photomatix, CS5, Imagenomic and some Topaz. I Actually processed two HDRs for this, one to get the sky right, one to get the flowers and foreground a little more colorful, and then masked them together in CS5.

I also used a new lens that I purchased off Craigslist…a simple Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4 Di LP SD. The price was cheap and I’ve been wanting to get a nice wide angle for portrait shooting, and one with a decently wide aperture. All the reviews of this lens, plus the sample shots, were fantastic. If anything, it’s an amazing upgrade from my 18-55mm Canon kit lens. I loved the way this shot turned out.