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Storm Photos: Part 1

What a week of weather. I don’t know if anyone else can understand how an event like we had can be as exciting as it was to me. The low pressure system that brought all the rain, wind, tornadoes and snow, was record-breaking.

The aftermath of that storm demanded that I document it. Granted, I didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but that’s usually the case when it comes to my excursions. I head out with one idea in mind, but end up somewhere else entirely.

I took Friday off from work just to drive around. The photos below were all taken on Friday, the very LAST photo being my absolute favorite shot of the day.

Also, you’ll notice these have a new watermark on them, something I’m going to start using now to protect them from being stolen illegally. I usually don’t mind them being downloaded as wallpaper for your computer, but I would like to sell some prints and if I make them readily available without the watermark, then I wont sell anything.

Hope you enjoy these! They are all HDR.

The above is the Superstition Mountains on Friday morning. The clouds were hugging the tops of the cliffs and made for some spectacular views.

Tempe Town Lake lowered it’s inflatable dam to let the Salt River flow once more.

A shot of the Salt River flowing under the Country Club Avenue bridge.

This is a wash on the Indian reservation south of my house.

The Salt River again from Country Club Avenue.

A thunderstorm south of my house.

And my favorite…I called it “Shrouded in Clouds.” This was the sight of the day…if nothing else had turned out, this would have been just fine. I will be using this road again this summer during monsoon season.

If you are interested in a print, just drop me an email!

Tuesday's Storms

This week is going to be wild and wacky in terms of weather. I’m hoping that we get enough rain so the Salt River is flowing and maybe some outlying washes become rivers because it sure would be fun to shoot a few photos of those thing!

Tuesday night was the second wave of storms, Monday having been fairly week. Tonight though, tons and tons of rain…at last look we had almost an inch of rain at our house! (see my weather station).

Before the storms came in though, there were some great clouds and falling rain that just HAD to be captured by yours truly, so here are  a few shots.

This first shot above was taken in the morning as the first wave of storms was leaving…only to be followed by the stuff below in the late afternoon.

Contrails over the desert

I took these awhile back, but never posted them on the blog. I noticed some awesome contrails over the desert and so I drove out at lunch to take some shots.

Contrails usually don’t show up too well on bright, sunny skies, but the usage of HDR and a polarizer filter can really bring them out.

These are all HDR, shot south of Hunt Highway.

San Tan Mountains

On Monday, Lyla and I took a little trip in my car out to explore around the San Tan Mountain area. There is so much to see over there and it’s only 10-15 minutes away from my house…I just haven’t taken the time to look around.

I will say that I can’t wait until Lyla is a little older and understands what I’m doing. I think maybe she will enjoy the outings to different places and love to explore with me. Hopefully…crossing fingers.

So here are the results of the little excursion.

A simple HDR photo of some rolling hills. My style with HDR lately is to try hard to make it look as natural as possible.

This might be my favorite one. Found this giant cactus and hiked out to it. HDR.

Same cactus, different angle…this is an HDR with an almost black and white treatment to it with lightened borders.

Black and white HDR

Thought this mailbox was funny sitting in front of empty land. HDR.

Aston Martin Vantage

One of our favorite places to eat is Joe’s Farm Grill and while we were there the other day, we stopped to get coffee next door. Sitting in the little covered area across from The Coffee Shop was one of the owner’s cars, an Aston Martin Vantage.

What a sexy vehicle…the lines and the look was too perfect to pass up. I snapped a few shots and stitched them together to make an HDR, plus did some enhancements and smoothing to really make it shine.

Working at Paradise Bakery

My car is being fixed, it had a bad engine coil and some warped drums on the front brakes, so I’ve been sitting and working at Paradise Bakery on Germann and Gilbert. I do love this place…the people have been friendly, even offering to get me a refill of my diet Coke.

Had a fantastic omelette for breakfast and if I’m here any longer, looks like a decent salad for lunch. It’s actually been quite fun and an easy place to focus on work. I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done this morning.

If you’re curious, the cup in the picture below is sitting on a stack of P&ID drawings for a project I’m working on in Henderson, Nevada.

Oh, and a bonus sunrise photo from today:

The above is a regular ol’ sunrise photo, the ones below are HDR/

Some recent HDR photography

I wrote not too long ago about my first real HDR photo, which you can read if you missed it. Basically it’s the art of combining three or more photos of one scene, shot at different light levels, and turn them into a surreal looking finished product.

I’ve been really going nuts with it in the last week and I think my abilities in this manner area really getting better.

I’m posting the best ones of the bunch below, hope you enjoy.

Read more

My first HDR photo

Most of you are probably asking what HDR means. I actually asked myself that when writing this blog, because while I know what an HDR photo looks like, I always forget what it stands for:

High Dynamic Range Imaging…or HDR (the “i” gets dropped) Read more here if you want to learn the details.

The simple explanation is a merging of multiple images of one scene shot at different lighting levels. Some cameras can take many photos in a row and do something called “bracketing” where it will alternate between lightning levels. You then take those images and combine them using software and tone mapping.

I’ll explain it below by showing first the three images I took in rapid succession, followed up by the completed product.

The key to HDR images is to make sure you scene has enough contrast to really take advantage of what HDR gives you. When I was in Springfield taking sunset photos, I realized that coupled with the clouds, this might be a great HDR photo.

I hit the nail on the head with this one.

So here are the first three images, taken at different levels (+2, 0, -2 EV):

IMG_1557

IMG_1555

IMG_1556

Apart, all three are pretty boring and don’t show much detail. The purpose of taking three shots (or more depending) is to capture all the possible lighting details in a scene or subject. Sometimes there are so many details that one photo wont see, so doing an HDR opens up a whole new world.

The result tends to be a photo that looks other-worldly or almost fantasy-like. Some HDR photos can be very subtle, others can be insane.

So here is the finished product after I combined all three photos using Photomatix and tweaking the look a bit:

2009-10-30-Springfield-IMG_1585

Pretty cool huh? I’m so proud of this photo…I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been wanting to create one of these.

If you want to check out more HDR photos, just Google it, or check out the links below.

HDR 1

HDR 2

HDR 3 (this one is pretty friggin’ amazing)