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The Light Rail Bridge over Tempe Town Lake

I guess I’m not done with stuff I shot in Tempe a few weekends ago. I had some issues with this photo but I worked them out and finally got around to posting it.

This bridge is for the public transit system we call “the light rail” here in Phoenix. It’s kind of slow, it has to stop for traffic lights, cost a lot of money and time, but it’s actually pretty cool that we finally have something like this here in town. This particular bridge goes over Tempe Town Lake and the underneath of it changes colors randomly.  I have a few other shots of it right here from late last year where you can see a couple of other tones.

The lighted bridges in the background is the Mill Avenue Bridges, which are simply beautiful at night with the stringed lights going over the lake. Stunning.

Hayden Ferry Lakeside

This is a photo of the office complex and high-rise apartments that are all part of Hayden Ferry Lakeside. It sits just south of the Tempe Town Lake, which is where it gets its name obviously.

I was wandering through here and just liked the kind of “opening” this water feature made and the structure of the buildings framing the shot. My only regret is that the water fountain is apparently shut off at night, otherwise it probably would have added something great to this shot.

This is probably the final shot from my Tempe photowalk…I have a few more, but they need some more work and I am not sure how much I really like them.

Looking around for the next photowalk soon, although on Friday I’m headed up to Grand Falls and cannot WAIT to see it.

The Fountain at Mission Palms in Tempe

My tour around downtown Tempe took me through the Mission Palms Hotel and right by this fountain. It’s located in the middle of a round-a-about that serves as the hotel’s main entrance. I plopped down on a curb and grabbed a bunch of brackets ranging from 1-30 seconds.

What struck me most about the shot was just the way the palm trees were lit up from spotlights and the way they served as a pretty sweet background to the fountain. My only wish was that the water spilling over the edges had a stronger flow, because the blur is a little more subtle that I was hoping.

Still, the light catching where the water lands in the basin is kind of cool.

Definitely click on the photo for the larger version, there is a lot more detail in the full-sized view.

The light rail bridge in Tempe, AZ

I’ve been playing around a bit with my HDR processing methods after snapping photos in downtown Tempe Saturday night. I was ending up with a lot of noise in my shots and had to find alternative ways of getting the job done.

This one above was in the same boat, but I ended up loving how it looked anyways. There is a lot of “grain” as I like to call it in the shot above. The sky, the clouds, the underneath of the bridge…all have a lot of dirty noise going on. I felt it looked a little more abstract than normal. So instead of processing it like normal, I ended up trying to embrace what I was given.

It works here for me. The clouds were moving fast, you can see the trees on the left look like they were blowing around pretty good. I lowered the saturation of the original HDR photo and masked in bits and pieces of an original raw shot.

I hated it at first because the colors were dominating the shot and there was gobs of noise, but just dropping the saturation gave it a whole other atmosphere. I love the grain, which is something I work very hard against in most of my other HDR photos. Experimenting today with something different…let the noise be your friend.

A lot of techno babble, but it was a tough group of photos to process. I left my photowalk not loving the shots I got, so being able to turn any of them into something I actually love has been a triumphant struggle.

Aside from all the post-processing talk, I just loved the composition of the shot. The bridge coming from overhead and behind, plus the curved road in front of me. I timed it to make sure I got a some headlights going around the bend, but it wasn’t s super-busy road. The clouds in the sky were hard to see with the naked eye, but a 30-second exposure really created something with a little motion to it.

Sunset behind the old Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe

Saturday night I went out for a little photowalk of downtown Tempe and started the little excursion by climbing up A-Mountain to watch the sunset over the city.

This building on the right is a 100+ year old structure called the Hayden Flour Mill which began construction in 1872. You can read all about it on the Tempe.gov website.

It was a great night for a sunset and I’ll post a few more later this week. I also have another shot of the flour mill after dark, but I just could not find a way inside the perimeter fences. I’d be too terrified to go inside at night anyways *grin*

It definitely begs for some external HDR exploration, but it’s hard to get too close.

The Tempe Center for the Arts

Back in early January when we had some amazing storms blow through Arizona, I was out going nuts with trying to capture it all. I posted a shot of the Salt River Dam all deflated (You can see it here), which you see from the walkway between the Tempe Center for the Arts and the river itself.

I drove to this spot just to capture the river, but after I had snapped all the photos I wanted, I turned around and realized what a fantastic piece of architecture the Tempe Center for the Arts actually was. Amazing angle and lines, lots of glass, a very cool negative edge pool…just brilliant to look at.

So of course, my focus left the weather for a bit and I took a bunch of bracketed shots to make some HDRs out of this fantastic work of art.

I’ve never posted them until now. I didn’t even process them until this weekend..they sort of went forgotten in a way, but someone was ordering prints from me of Tempe and was curious if I had anything else, so I remembered these.

This last one shows the awesomeness of a negative edge pool…it looks like this is the lake itself, extending all the way to the bridge, but if you look at the above photo, you can see where it ends.

Mill Avenue Bridges

My previous post about the sunset over the Tempe Town Lake wasn’t the only thing I photographed down in that Tempe area. My excursion that night led me all the way to downtown Phoenix, but my favorite stuff ended up being what I found in Tempe.

In fact, it’s an amazing thing about photography. The stuff I was “planning” on shooting when I left the house ended up being my least favorite things that night and it was the random, surprising stuff that made it such a worthy trip.

So after the sunset I drove down to the little beach park area underneath the Mill Avenue bridges that cross the lake. There is a northbound and southbound bridge, a light rail bridge and then an old railroad bridge. A fairly awesome place to take pictures. So here are the results:

(FYI, some of these might look great hanging somewhere in your house, office or Tempe Chamber of Commerce *grin* let me know if you are interested in a print)

This first photo is an HDR and is off the Mill Avenue Bridge from the west. We’re looking south into Tempe during dusk and the lights that are strung across the bridge really light this thing up. I love this photo.

I moved east into the little space between the north/southbound bridges. This is an HDR, but technically came from only one image. I’ve learned a lot about processing and have snagged a few tools that really help finish these things off.

This shot is further west between the light rail bridge (on the left) and the railroad bridge. The light rail has this unique aspect of having the underneath lit up by lights of all different colors. You can see some of them here.

This shot is of the light rail on the east side and is just a standard, time-lapsed photo. The yellow and white streaks at the top of the bridge are actually of a light rail train passing over while I took the photo. You can see further down the bridge where the white lights start, which is when I pressed the shutter open. The light on the bridge itself can be seen changing from a blue-ish color to purple off in the distance.

This is the same as the above shot but also an HDR.