People strolling early in the morning on the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River. This was taken just as the sun was peeking up over the Lake Michigan horizon and the light was a deep orange. The sun’s rays had a straight shot down the river — unimpeded by skyscrapers — so the bridge managed to catch the best light.
A recent sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico along Padre Island National Seashore. The image was processed with 4 or 5 different textures in OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite. After that I did a few Photoshop curves adjustments…that’s it.
I posted this picture a long time back in a post about candid shots but I decided to re-post since it’s one of my favorites. We were visiting friends in Rockport, TX and my son spent much of his time picking up little things on the waterfront. As the sun headed toward the horizon one afternoon I spotted him intently searching the beach again and grabbed this shot.
What have I come to like about this one? For starters, parents just like pictures of their kids. Second, he has that cute little look of concentration on his face. Third, from a photographic standpoint I like that there’s just enough of his face showing to include him personally in the picture as opposed to some faceless “subject” (umm, yeah…I planned that…sure). Finally the light and surroundings are just nice IMO. As always, there are a few things I’d change if I were planning/posing this but I won’t dwell on those 🙂
I processed this picture differently this time. I first cloned out a few things (a piece of plastic on the shore, a pole in the water, and a tiny clump of grass). I then used several curves layers to selectively adjust areas of the shot and to add some vignette. These layers were in luminosity mode since I wanted to pretty much leave the colors (which were very warm due to the setting sun) intact. In Lightroom I did a few more minor tweaks with clarity and very specific exposure adjustments.
A friend called up this afternoon to let me know that a “photographic opportunity” was coming up this evening. The University of Texas Men’s swim team had won the national championship so the UT Tower was being lit orange tonight in their honor. Now, I’m not a huge UT fan (flame away) but as a photographer I recognized that it truly was a unique chance to get a great image. I really felt like staying home for the evening (my wife and I had bagged some errand plans for that very reason).
My wife reminded me that I’d regret not going so I packed up and went to campus with one of my daughters. The weather was perfect and we had a great evening out. I even took some street portraits for some ladies who wanted their picture taken with the tower in the background. They were quite the jokesters — “I want my head put on Sandra Bullock’s body…I want so-and-so’s body…Do a lot of that soft-focus thing on my face”. We had a good time.
The image above was generated by taking four manual exposures then using Photomatix to fuse the exposures (no tonemapping). I used to darkest exposures to bring back a few highlights. I’ve only played with fusing exposures a little, but I’ve found it to generally produce a nice, clean image. If fusing did not work out I would probably have gone the composite route (manually blending the exposures in Photoshop). I didn’t even try tonemapping as I often don’t like it much for night shots. I added some sharpening a smidgen of clarity in Lightroom. That’s all I did — no noise reduction, no curves.
I hope all you UT fans like this photo. Well, I hope you all like the photo…