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Junction

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35 2.8, 17mm, iso100)

I’m out in Henderson, Nevada for work this week and of course dragged my gear along with me. I used to hate carrying a lot of crap with me back in the day, but now I take along my personal laptop, camera bag and tripod if I’m gone longer than a day or two. It certainly makes things more difficult, but then again, I’d miss out on stuff like the above image.

I had no idea where I was going yesterday, but I decided to take a drive after getting done at the plant. I headed south on the 515 which turned into the 95 and then took the 93 towards Lake Mead. Not sure what I was looking for…I just knew the sun was going down and I wanted to get a cool picture of something.

I passed by this building off to the left and saw a bunch of broken windows. Bingo. It was close to the road, no fences, so I flipped around and parked at a pullout right by it. Was almost like it was an overlook to view this place (link to it here from Google maps).

Now, there is something about a building being abandoned, windows broken…the oldness, the quiet…that spooks me. I mean, this thing was only a few hundred feet from the road but I still kept looking over my shoulder. I need to get over that.

I slowly explored the area and was amazed to find the door to the above room open. I didn’t have to work hard to slide it all the way which allowed in a bit more light and let me setup the tripod.

The site itself was interesting. It looked like a power generation station but also a small water reservoir storage system. This set of pipes is some kind of junction for the process…I count at least five valves in the picture. I love old, worn, decrepit stuff like this…and I seriously love how the HDR process brings it to life.

I took a few more shots from around the place and will post them at a later time. Below is kind of a quickie image that gives you an idea of what the outside area looked like (posted it on Twitter last night).

In Bruges

Something a little bit different for Movie Title Wednesday this week…you don’t get one image, you get a BUNCH of images! Yay!

My portrait photography business has been ramping up here in the last few weeks so my time out shooting brackets has dwindled. Not to mention putting that photobook together has really sucked down my time. So now appears to be the right time to bust out these shots from Bruges, Belgium that I took this past July.

And what better movie title than In Bruges could you possibly use for this? I dare anyone out there to find one! If you haven’t seen the movie, you should rent it…of course, be prepared for a dark comedy with foul language, violence and midgets. This is one of my most favorite films of all time.

When I was there in Bruges back in July, I immediately knew that the big square in the middle of town with the giant church was the same from the film, and it was kind of awesome to stand in the same place that they filmed part of the movie. Maybe because I never thought I’d go to Bruges and suddenly I was standing there.

The thing about Bruges is that you honestly can’t take a bad picture. I could have shot for weeks and probably not gotten all the subtle nuances of this medieval city. Most of the images you see above were all shot with my 50mm 1.4 and I couldn’t love them more. I had been using the 17-35 for most of my time there and decided that for the last few hours, I’d switch to the 50mm and see the city in a new way. It’s amazing how much different everything looked to me through that lens.

The photos above are mostly of “the city”, but I have another slideshow planned for another day of “the people”…random shots of life in Bruges. If I could open up a thriving portraiture photography business anywhere in the world, it would probably be there. In Phoenix, you look for cool locations to do photoshoots…in Bruges, the ENTIRE town is a location. You could shoot people anywhere and it would look amazing.

I hope you enjoy these few photos. We actually printed off at least 5-8 of these from the slideshow and put some of them up in the house.  I know a few of these grouped together would make for some great wall art in YOUR house too *grin*

The Fountains at The Bellagio

(Rebel XSi, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, F16 (or F22, can’t remember), two exposures blended)

I was in Las Vegas this week for my day job and while I didn’t have a ton of time to explore, I did get out for a few hours each of the two nights and look around.

I just happened to walk out of The Bellagio just 10 minutes before the first water show started for the night and thus I had a nice, flat railing to put my tripod on to capture the event. If you’ve never seen this water show before, it’s definitely a MUST if you ever are in Vegas. It may not last too long (it plays to music, so when that song runs out…), but it’s majestic, inspiring and beautiful to watch.

If you are just there to see it, I recommend being in the front, which would be those roundish portals on the left side of this image. But from where I stood, I liked the lines and perspective on the left, the way the lights reflected off the water creating even more lines, plus the rising City Centre buildings in the distance. And if you look closely, there is a sliver of the moon on the upper right.

This is not an HDR shot, but just a blend of two exposures. Although recently I got into a debate about that, but I am fairly certain exposure blending is not considered HDR.

Fringe Universe

Embrace your surroundings young man!

Now that I’m spending almost all of my days in the downtown urban areas of Phoenix, I’m trying to evolve my vision a bit to be aware of things I may not normally look at. That process was certainly helped yesterday morning when we had a brief downpour around 5am, which left some amazingly clear puddles of water everywhere. I’m not sure if it just doesn’t rain all that much in the mornings here, or if you do get rain, it’s too cloudy for the pools of water to be that great looking…who knows. All I do know is that it rained, the skies cleared and the reflectivity of all these puddles were fantastic.

This was taken in the parking garage at my place of full-time employment. The focus was set on the building itself, hence the foreground cement is less than crisp up front. Took a few tries to get it lined up just right to have the other building appearing like a singular monolith out of the water.

Now, I apologize up front to people who have no idea what the title means. I love to watch a little show called Fringe, which is the first sci-fi series to come along that feels anything like the old X-Files (which will hold a special place in my heart forever). Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Fringe yet and plan to…this may give away a little bit about the show, but to keep it simple…let’s just say there may be other worlds out there that mirror our own. If you do watch the show, I will assume you get the title *grin*

Wish I could have taken another 30 minutes to roam the puddles…but work beckoned. Was glad to get a few brackets fired off though…may post a few more images from this morning down the road.

The lake that wasn’t there

Canon Rebel XSI, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, F9, Six exposures, HDR

An amazing weather system moved through Arizona earlier this week. In fact, a total of FIVE confirmed tornadoes hit northern Arizona on Wednesday. That is unheard of.

What is also seen on very, very rare occasions is standing water in the middle of a flat desert. This “lake” didn’t exist earlier in the day and within about six hours of heavy rains and hail, it formed out of nowhere.  My buddy Bryan and drove down this little road to capture some awesome storm clouds about 90 minutes before sunset…and then decided to just sit and wait to see what things looked like when the sun went down.

We got lucky with the clouds, because they were all but gone about 30 minutes before this, but suddenly started forming again right over the mountains. And I was so focused on the water and sky, I didn’t even notice the colorful rocks that lay right beside me.

I have so many different shots from different angles and with different lenses around this area, I may post a few over time…I love them all, especially for the uniqueness in the fact that it’s unlikely anyone could ever capture this again.

A canal near Damme, Belgium

Just as Bryan was responsible for my photo from yesterday, a goofy GPS in our car we rented in Holland may have been responsible for this photo.

We were headed to Bruges, Belgium and the route was fairly direct, but somehow we found ourselves down a small farm road in the middle of nowhere and had at some point veered off towards the north. The GPS was leading us down some winding road for no apparent reason. Perhaps our driver turned right when he should have gone straight, but regardless, we were pretty happy where we ended up.

As we crossed this bridge over one of the many canals in the region, we just had to pull over. The scene before us was breathtaking. Lining these canals (not just here, but most canals we saw) was an endless line of very, very tall trees all spaced evenly, and perfectly, apart.

The sheer scope of a project that required trees to all be planted at the same time, the same distance apart and then to be trimmed and maintained to look mostly uniform was mind-boggling.  Only in very rare spots did you find a tree missing to break up the continuity.

Not only this, but on each side of the canal, just on the other side of the first line of trees, were pathways, and then MORE trees lining those. I have a shot of one of these sidewalks as well that I’ll post at another time.

This shot was difficult to process for some reason. The sun was overhead and bright, the wind was strong and the sky kind of intense. I’d love to find this spot again someday around dusk or dawn and see what I could do again.

It was was a magnificent place…I could have sat on the railing of that bridge for hours and hours.

(More shots from Holland: My Holland Trip)

Postcard from Bruges, Belgium

By far…by far the place I loved the most on my trip over to the Netherlands, was the drive we took to see Bruges (or Brugge), Belgium. I had heard about it from the movie “In Bruges”, a fantastic, funny, dark comedy that came out a few years ago…and then had some friends tell me I needed to see it if I went there.

The town is old and has medieval architecture. The canals twist around, little bridges go here and there and old trees, paths and stone can be seen everywhere.

This particular shot was taken around 9pm as we were getting ready to leave. The sunsets in this area of the world tend to drag out a long time, so it was nice to have time to see the city in a lovely dusk color.

I was struck by the reflection of the buildings in the water, the details on the left canal wall, the color of the roofs on the right and the simpleness of the few clouds in the sky. I wasn’t carrying my tripod, so this was propped on the railing of another stone bridge to get. Three bracket HDR.

Definitely one of my favorite shots of the trip…because it will always remind me of Bruges. A quiet, peaceful, ancient and awe-inspiring town.

(More shots from Holland: My Holland Trip)

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)

Storms over the Strawberry Fields

Go figure. I get slightly jealous about Phoenix having an amazing chance of storms last weekend and ME having to go to Holland. Okay, I wasn’t TOO upset, but part of me wished I was there enjoying the first big storms of the year. But it turns out it wasn’t a bad thing to be over here.

They definitely didn’t materialize in Phoenix, but I sure got a dose of them here in Nuenen, Netherlands. First night I was here I was woken up by a thunderstorm, and then today we had two big storms roll through and drop a ton of rain.

This shot was taken about 25 feet from our hotel on the farm next door. That is a giant strawberry field spreading out before you and the puddles came from the rains earlier in the day. Such gorgeous country with the trees and farms around our hotel…simply beautiful.

Also, that’s not my tripod out in the field, it’s some kind of watering sprinkler 🙂

It’s been fairly warm and humid here, but the rains really turned this evening into something amazing. I have a few more storm pictures, this one really turned out well.

(You can see more pictures from Holland by visiting this link: Holland Trip)

An old feed mill in Ogalalla, Nebraska

I have a feeling that if you dumped me in Nebraska for a week, I’d still come home wishing I had snapped just a few more photos.

If you follow my work, you know I stormchased in Nebraska a few weeks ago. I drove from Denver to Ogalalla, Nebraska late at night to set up for the storms the following day. Never heard of this town, never been there before obviously, and it was just the next stop on the road with hotels and me dying for sleep at 2am.

The next day I had a lot of time to sit around waiting for storms to pop, so I drove around this little old area of Ogalalla. This feed mill was abandoned and awesome. The clouds of course made me giddy to snap brackets for some HDR photos and the mill itself was a beautiful white color despite some old, rusty areas.

I love the overpass behind it, a place I ended up wandering to after taking this picture. I also have a couple of other shots of the mill, a little closer with more detail.