Winter Storm Clouds


The Kansas State University Olathe campus is closed tomorrow because of the weather, still not sure if the campus here in Manhattan will be open or not.  I’m guessing it will be business as usual. Last week we got hit pretty good, maybe 7-8 inches of snow, not the 12-15 I was expecting and kinda hoping for, but I didn’t waste what “little” we had.  It started out as just a small group of us friends throwing snowballs at each other but it morphed into this epic snowball fight with like 20 people!  It was a lot of fun.

Anyway, with all this snowy weather we’re having, I decided to post this image.  I actually took this back in January.  I think I was on my way to class or on my way to the office.  I was carrying my camera, using my Carry Speed Strap, so it was handy and easy to get to.  I take my camera with me everyday, but I usually have it in my bag, and I’ve found that unless I have it out of the bag, even if I have it with me all the time, I’m not going to take more photos.  That’s why I got the Carry Speed Strap, so I could easily carry it outside the bag and be ready to take and make photos.

This photo is a HDR image.  I used Photomatix Pro to merge three DNG RAW photos bracketed from -2EV to +2EV.  I then imported the merged or tonemapped image into Aperture 3 (I use Aperture 3 to manage all my photos).  I did a few adjustments in Aperture like exposure and added contrast using curves.  I lightened certain parts of the image with the dodge tool, just brushing it in on parts of the lamp-post and some of the snow.  I also used the intensify contrast brush (I really like this one!) to darken the clouds in the background a bit more and make them stand out a bit.  I then used Nik Color Efex Pro Aperture plugin to bring out some more detail and add some “brilliance” to the photo.  The last step was to send it to Photoshop for sharpening with the unsharp mask filter.  That was pretty much it.

Winter Storm Clouds

 

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/10
3 image HDR, bracketed from -2 EV to +2 EV

 

Winter by the Lake


We’ve had what I would consider pretty cold weather in the last few weeks, with high’s below freezing.  Luckily we got a bit of snow with it on New Year’s Eve.  No point in having cold weather if there isn’t any snow.  Well until the snow gets slushy and dirty anyway.

For this year, one of my personal photography projects is that every month, I will visit some place in Kansas, photograph it, and at the end of the year I will put together a calendar for 2014 using these photos.  So on the first day of the year, with snow on the ground and the clear winter air, I went out and drove to Lake Shawnee and took some photos.

Before going out on any kind of shoot, it does help to plan a little.  Part of my planning for this shoot was to check the sunset time for January 1, and I think it was around 5:09 pm, and I wanted to be there right around 45 min to an hour before sunset so I would have time to scout around and get setup.  I also looked up Lake Shawnee on google maps so I would have an idea of which side of the lake would probably be the most interesting, not to mention accessible.

When you go out to some nice place to shoot and you have your  tripod with you, you might be tempted to set up at the first spot with a nice view.  Don’t.  Force yourself to look around and to scout out the place. That’s one of the reasons for planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time.  Doing so will definitely increase your chances of getting a very nice and maybe, a unique photo.  Hey, if you don’t find any other nice spots to shoot from, just go back to the one you found first.

So when I arrived at the lake and had my gear out and my tripod over my shoulder, I took a walk.  Since I had time I would take a series of photos from different spots and try different angles.  As I was doing this, I noticed this bird (I’m not sure what kind) in the water and near the shore.  It was a pretty big bird, and it was alone, and it was in a perfect spot for a photo.  So I got the 70-200 out and tried to get closer, but even before I got close, I somehow spooked the bird and it decided to fly over to the other side of the bend in the lake.  So I walked around over to the other side, it was maybe 200 feet, and even before I got there, the bird flew off again. Bummer.  But, it turned out to be good, because on that side, there was a spot where the bank of the lake was pretty low and flat and the edge of the water was right up against the snow on the bank.  Perfect!  So right as the sun was about to disappear behind the line of trees, I took this photo.

Winter by the Lake

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 19mm
Aperture: f/16
HDR Composite using 6 photos from -5 EV to +4 EV
Merged using the Photomatix Plug-in for Aperture 3