Selfie Before the Milky Way, How I Edited It

My buddy Gabe Campos and I made a run to the Big Bend region of Texas to shoot the Milky Way. Somewhere along highway 170 between Terlingua and Lajitas, Gabe suggested we take this picture, this is what it looked like straight out of the camera. The image was taken with a Nikon D750 with a Rokinin 14mm lens and edited in LightRoom. The camera settings in the upper left hand corner.

In the Basic panel, the following adjustments that started to really bring the image out.


In the Tone Control panel the STRONG CONTRAST preset is selected. 

Detail panel changes:

Lens Correction panel was set for the Rokinon 14mm

And finally, even though it's set as a default, the Camera Correction panel is set for the 2012 process and Adobe Standard profile

Light Painting in the Brazos Drive In

Brazos Drive In Concession Stand

Brazos Drive In Concession Stand

The Brazos Drive In is a working drive in theater here in Granbury that I thought would make a good light paining. Here's what I learned by making this picture of the concession stand.

  1.  Here's the location on Google Maps to give you an idea of the surroundings. The high school sports complex is behind this building and all the lights were on.
  2. The photo is from this angle as there was less light, a busy road is less than 100 yards behind the camera, as is more city lights from the fire station, apartment complex and residential areas.
  3. 5 photographs, each with an 8 minute exposure, f11, ISO100 at 24mm.
  4. I used an SB800 flash with a blue gel, triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus X. The flashes are hidden on the second row of chairs.
  5. Doing some crappy math (which means I figure that since the flash is farther away at each successive station and would therefore need more light to be even), I started from camera left to right., I fired the flash 5 times at the first spot, 6 and the second, 7 at the third, lost count at fired maybe 12 at the fourth spot (should have fire 8) and then 9 at the 5th spot.
  6. You can see the bright spot on the ceiling from too many flashes at the 4th station.
  7. I started at 9pm. I should have waited until later, or another time so the background lights were less.
  8. I should have taken a "no-flash" picture at a 3 to 5 minute exposure to have the interior lights dimmer.

Not a terrible photograph, but I'll shoot it again making some additional changes.




Ruined a Potentially Good HDR

Breezeway HDR at the Perry Mansion

Breezeway HDR at the Perry Mansion

My buddy and his wife invited us on a road trip to Terlingua Texas. A great little ghost town in the Big Bend area of Texas. We stayed at place called Upstairs at the Mansion (it's the old Perry Mansion) and while I was walking around, I noticed a great location in the breezeway to shoot an HDR - so I did and here's the result.

It's not a terrible picture, it has color, a chair, a cat, some good details. And a big boring white spot right in the middle of the frame.

The picture was made at 7:30CST in the morning, looking ESE, after both the morning blue and golden hours had long passed.

But it could have been a much better photograph.

How could I have made a better photograph?

By not being lazy.

We were there for 3 days. I could have easily shot during either the morning or evening blue/golden hours and come away with a vastly different photograph. The only thing that would likely be missing is the cat...

I was mistaken...

Back on August 31, I wrote about the perils of not paying attention. Seems I was mistaken that I wasn't paying attention.

Nope, I wasn't doing the needed maintenance and such on the camera. All those spots in the picture were on the sensor (more accurately the sensor's filter), and were only really visible depending on the camera's settings. I discovered this was the case when I photographed the ruins of the Mosheim School, a relatively popular place to photograph west of Valley View, TX last week.

So, Saturday the 26th I ordered the stuff ( Sensor Swabs and Eclipse solution) to clean the sensor. Watching the video, and doing the research on line (some good advice from ByThom), it looked like a piece of cake. And ultimately it wasn't hard, I just had to do it 9 times to get the sensor clean.

Once you get the method down, it takes all of 30 seconds to clean the sensor after a minute or so of prep. The hardest part is getting up the nerve to do it.

Bearville, Texas (a place I'd love to photograph)

If you're ever in the Graham, Texas area you may want to check out Bearville's photography opportunity. The place is amazing: old cars, old signs, farm equipment, and other assorted things. The lady that runs it seems pretty eager to host photographers.

The catch, it'll cost you $125 an hour to access the place. The family that owns Bearville tell me all of the proceeds from your shoot go to assist a disadvantaged college student with the expenses of college. So that's cool. (But I can't say whether or not the guys from American Pickers had to pay when they filmed the 2013 episode "Grin and Bear It" there.)

I'd love to photograph there, but the cost is prohibitive to me. My current confidence/skill level an finance abilities do not relate well to spending $500 or more for a session.

Advanced planning is required and the good people at the Graham Convention Center and Visitors Bureau can get you in touch with Bearville.

How to get there:

  • Bearville is about 10 miles north or Graham on US380 West (Newcastle Hwy) on the right.
  • If you're coming east, it's about 5 miles outside of Newcastle on US380 East on the left..
  • Here it is on Google Maps
  • Or the coordinates for your GPS 33.195393,-98.657474