Posts

More Wynnewood

A strong EF4 tornado spins across the fields near Katie and Wynnewood, Oklahoma on May 9th, 2016

This tornado! Never get tired of it 🙂 I’ve been wanting to take some frames from the time-lapse of this guys and do more fine turning on the editing…so I’m finally getting around to doing that. This was one of the first few frames I shot when I got to this spot south of Wynnewood, Oklahoma on May 9th, 2016.

You can see the time-lapse of this at the end of Vorticity, but it’s cropped a bit so you miss out on the beautiful structure above that twister.

Part of doing the fine tuning was removing the powerlines, because while it’s too difficult to do in a time-lapse, I really disliked them and wanted this to feel more in the middle of nowhere. If you can’t tell, I’m dying to get out chasing. Just about three weeks until my schedule is open and I can head out!

Fields of Gold

FIelds of Gold
(please click to view on black // canon rebel xsi, canon 18-55mm f/3.5, 18mm, f/10, 1/160th, iso 200 // buy print)

I was going through some old images from 2010 this weekend and while my processing methods back then horrify me, I found some RAW files that were actually pretty good shots and just needed to be re-edited with the way I do things now.

The above photograph was taken with my first DSLR…a Canon Rebel XSi, plus the kit lens that came with it. I merged two photos to get the panorama. It was such a stunning sight that afternoon. I don’t remember ever seeing it like that before or since. It must have rained a lot that winter, because the gold wildflowers were just everywhere. I had Lyla with me (around 1 and 1/2 at the time) and she was in awe of the flowers. It was also awesome to get some beautiful clouds to complete the scene.

 

 

Zona Communications

Vistancia is a community waaaay out on the northwest corner of Phoenix. Even from a central location like downtown Phoenix, this place is still 32 miles away.  My buddy Rick Young actually lives way out there, plus some members of my family. It’s beautiful, surrounded by mountains and desert. The photo above is of the main waterfall that marks entry into the neighborhood.

Zona Communications is a company that provides internet, phone and television to their customers out in Vistancia and northern Phoenix. I kind of wish they were down our way because their high-speed internet uses fiber optics technology, which is faster than a bandwidth-sharing cable connection and also requires NO modem. Wow. I want it.

Their marketing director Joe Harding needed some pictures of a few of their clients that run businesses out of their homes and then some random shots of the community. They want to highlight these Vistancia businesses on their website, which is a great idea!

So I packed a cooler, a tent, a sleeping bag and made the long drive out there. Okay, I’m totally kidding. But I did need my passport. Kidding again.

If you live out in this area, you might want to check out Zona Communications and also these great local businesses represented below.

First up on the shoot was Ron Fraser who does commercial printing with his company Client Focus Printing. He has a beautiful home on a golf course, so we shot in a few different spots.

Next was Eva Guibert, the CEO of Guibert Travel. We shot at a wonderful local park where you can play basketball for free indoors and swim outside in a beautiful pool. It really looks like an enjoyable place to live.  We even got her friend Jason to join in for a shot or two.

Next up was Sarica Cernohous, who is a rep for Not Just Printing. The main goal was a shot of her for the website, but her kids were super-cute and instantly posed for the camera. I had to include two shots of them, followed by Sarica.

From what I gathered, Sarica did some modeling some years back. When we went to get a shot on her living room couch, she sat right on the edge of the cushion with absolute perfect form. Made my job super-easy!

Joe wanted some shots on this desert trail that loops through the community. So we walked around by the waterfall you saw at the top of the page and snatched a couple of shots.

The Tasting Room is also a Zona client, so we snatched a quick photo of their storefront.

Thanks to Joe and Zona Communications for letting me take some photos for them and I look forward to working with you again in the future!

Flowers, a bee and thirteen years

Flowers Bee Arizona Desert

I was up in Vistancia (far northwest Phoenix) on Friday late afternoon on a little commercial shoot and as we wandered around a desert trail, these flowers demanded some attention from my camera.

Last year was huge for wildflowers in Arizona…they were all over the place. On the sides of freeways, on the slopes of hills and mountains…everywhere. This year, not so much. But this little area by a pond was filled with them and it kind of reminded me of the stunning beauty of flowers in the desert.

There is a bee in there too if you can find him!

Don’t usually post blogs on the weekend, but today is my 13th wedding anniversary and I wanted to do just a little something for my wife. I wont go gushing or anything, but most of you married guys doing photography might feel the same as I do. I wouldn’t be doing this at ALL if it wasn’t for her and that’s the truth. She is the only person in the world I can count on to always support me and have my back. Her encouragement is the reason I am where I am.

Just wanted say thanks Jina for all you do. Happy Anniversary!

Spring

(Looks a bit nicer in a lightbox…just click on it for a larger version)

I took another drive Wednesday afternoon, this time I was on the hunt for an old ghost town called Nelson that was south of Boulder City. I found it, but I wasn’t loving it and the big one that they talk about is kind of a man-made deal…not my cup of tea.

But the desert mountains and surrounding scenery was breathtaking. The road goes on past Nelson and winds through what is known as El Dorado Canyon. The pavement ends at the Colorado River which was something I definitely wanted to check out.

On the hike back from the river, I walked up a wash that flows to the Colorado. This wash has signs EVERYWHERE about how the flash flood potential is extremely high. Made me want to be up about 50 feet along the edges to witness an awesome flash flood someday *grin*

The wash was bordered on each side by cliffs and the sun was basically on the horizon shining straight towards me on my walk back. I spotted this desert bloom in the sunlight and had to snatch a shot of it. I love the shot, I had the camera basically resting on the ground, but I do wish I had been able to just lay there to get the shot perfectly focused…I think it’s slightly soft. Still, I dig the bokeh.

It’s mid-March already and with all the rain the deserts got this winter, I expect the wildflowers are going to be amazing. This little guy is just the sign of things to come.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/1.8, iso 100, 1/800 sec)

Serenity

(Click to view larger and sexier in lightbox)

I’m been on a Firefly kick the last few weeks, so it makes complete sense that when I looked at this image tonight, the name of the movie came flying at me.

For those that don’t know, Firefly is an awesome, awesome sci-fi TV show that the Fox Network brutally, and without just cause, canceled before it had a chance to really find legs. They only aired about 10 episodes and all told there were 14 made which you can see on DVD now.

It had such a big following that the ended up making a movie to essentially give the TV series a rightful ending. It was called Serenity, which is the name of the ship in the movie/series. The lead in the show was Nathan Fillion, the captain of Serenity and you may know him from the current show Castle (which I love mostly because of him). It’s hard to describe what is so appealing about the show to people. I mean, it’s basically like a sci-fi western set in space. It doesn’t sound too great.

The writing was amazing though. It was so unique and had its own style and language…it was brilliant. And the entire ensemble cast meshed so well together from day one that you instantly fell in love with them all. Fillion was excellent though…he’s one of my all-time favorite actors now.

All I can say is to go rent the DVDs and then cry when they end and you wish for more. Then watch the movie and cry again that is over. You’ll love it.

NOW, the image above. I’ve been holding onto this thing since the end of January. I have a lot of love for this photo and at times never wanted to post it. The motion in the clouds is so beautiful to me. The single yucca stem rising from the ground gives this feeling of peacefulness and solitude. More to the point of using the title from the film…it’s serene. It’s also a desert setting, which you see a lot of in the movie/series.

This was on a rainy morning of course and to me, there is nothing more relaxing than watching storms drift by and the occasional drops falling on the roof.

What’s fun about photography is the unexpected shot. I climbed this hill because I saw a ton of Ocotillo Cactus peppering the landscape behind me. After all this effort to get up there, I hated any of the compositions I came up with. Instead, I turn to leave and spot the scene above. I go for the forest and end up with the opposite. Ironic.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100)

Flowers and Storms on Deer Park Lake

You may be wondering where the heck the lake is, but I’m kind of standing in it. At least, that’s where it should be. Sometimes there is water and sometimes not. I think the snow melt earlier in the year floods this place, forms the lake, and then once summer hits…you get fields of gold just like this.

We were driving to Williams for my real job and noticed more and more flowers on the way up…and when we passed this wide open area…I knew we’d come back to it on the way home.

What made it even more awesome of course was the thunderstorms going nuts up there. You know me…something as beautiful as a field of flowers only gets better if you throw in some wicked monsoon clouds!

While this spot may look beautiful…I was getting attacked by mosquitoes and who knows WHAT else. But most of the time when you see a shot you just have to have…the environment doesn’t matter. You’d lay in field of cactus to get that PERFECT shot.

Technical crap: 6-brackets using my Tamron 17.35mm 2.8, Photomatix 4 Beta, CS5 and some masking.

De Collse Watermolen

The taxi drivers in Holland are absolutely insane. They drive 60mph down two-lane highways the size of a one-lane highway with bike riders only inches away from losing their lives. Somehow, someway, I spotted the water mill in the photo as we flew past it Sunday night on our way to Eindhoven to watch the big soccer match.

Last night was beautiful after two separate rain storms, so we took a nice walk, passed some cool old houses, horses, cornfields and of course, found the mill.  This is the “Collse Watermolen”, a thirteenth century mill that was used for oil pressing and as a cornmill. You can read a lot more of its history by clicking here.

The biggest “claim to fame” this mill has is that Vincent van Gogh painted it back in the year 1884 when he lived in Nuenen, the town I’m staying in while in Holland.  You can see it at the bottom of this post.

One of the cooler things I’ve seen so far in Holland, I also took some very up-close shots of the wheels themselves and will process those later on.

(You can see all the pictures so far from my Holland trip by visiting this tag: Holland Trip)

Amsterdam – Bikes and Bikes

One thing about Amsterdam (and maybe a lot of other places in Europe, I can’t honestly speak truthfully since this is my first time overseas) is that there are a ton of people riding bikes. And even more than that are the number of bikes just chained up all over the city. Chained here, chained there, chained everywhere.

This is a little alleyway between two other “larger” roads going through Amsterdam Centraal.  I almost passed it, then looked at all the bikes and knew I needed a picture.

A few other photogs I follow would probably have loved to use their Tilt-Shift lenses on this scene, but since I don’t have one, I tried to get as close to the left wall as I could. This was taken with my new Tamron 17-35 about a foot away from that left wall.

My wife has already seen the shot and loves the tree at the end of the alley. I just love the details in the old bricks everywhere, plus the light touch of color from the flowers and flag up on the walls.

(You can see all the photos from my trip by browsing this tag: Holland Trip)

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.