Hello everyone. The calendar says Spring, but Winter is S-L-O-W-L-Y loosening its grip with the cold temps and recent dusting of snow. I’m anxious to go out and shoot photos, especially at night. Hard to do that siting inside the car with the heat turned on.
I shoot in RAW and have been for over 2 years now. Whenever I make a mistake taking a photo, I can easily correct it in post processing. For example, yesterday (Sunday), my wife, 2yr old, and I were at Union Station in Kansas City. They went inside the nice and warm station to look around while I stood outside in the cold and wind on the pedestrian bridge over the tracks to shoot trains going by. I bagged a couple of trains and went inside to find my wife and oldest (and also to warm up). We visited the model train displays, since he loves Thomas. I pumped up the ISO to 3200 to photograph my son watching the model trains run by in a very dimly lit area. We then left and started to cross the same pedestrian bridge were I was before to get back to our car. As we walked up on the bridge, a train was approaching with brand new shiny locomotives. I raced to get into position and shot the train as it went under. After the locomotives past, I viewed the photos on the back of my camera, which by the way, was successfully repaired and is working fine. I noticed that the photos with the new locomotives were waaaayyyy overexposed. I still had the ISO at 3200. I should’ve changed it to 100. I didn’t worry too much as I knew I could correct it in post processing….well, I hoped. I downloaded the photos into Lightroom and easily corrected it by underexposing the photo about 2 stops. I then cropped it a little and finished processing it. It turned out real nice, and pretty much the same if I had changed the settings before taking the shot.
The RAW image of the new locomotives as shot in the camera with the ISO at 3200:
As you can see, the whole image is way overexposed and blown out.
Here’s the corrected and complete image:
Thank goodness underexposing the image about 2 stops fixed the overexposed issue. I then cropped it a little and did my normal processing to complete the image. If I had shot this in jpeg, I would’ve had to undo the processing the camera would’ve done, fix my problem, and then process the image to complete it. Plus, I would lose most of the quality of the image if I had shot it in jpeg. Shooting in RAW is my preference and not a golden rule in photography, but RAW makes it a lot easier to correct mistakes made in camera.
If you want to move to shooting in RAW from jpeg, you must be good in post processing as RAW images are just that, a raw image. The camera captures the image, but does nothing to it. You then do the adjusting and sharpening in post. When you shoot in jpeg, your camera quickly processes and sharpens the image with its own built in software, which, in my opinion, is not as good as Photoshop. Plus, you lose quality as it then compresses and saves it to a jpeg to your memory card.
I’m having withdrawals. I knew when the time came it would not be easy to deal with. I took my 7D in for repairs, and I’m feeling the withdrawals of not shooting with it. In case you didn’t know, the mode dial on my 7D broke leaving me stuck with just one mode set, which is one I use most if not all the time, and I was ok with that for a while, but now I want to do some other creative stuff that requires other modes, so I took it in for repairs. Sure, my backup, which is a T1i, is working nicely, and I can do the same creative stuff with it, but the T1i certainly doesn’t have the same feel as the 7D. I guess the comparison would be like a pianist that was used to playing with a grand piano is now using a baby grand. I’m not a musician, so I wouldn’t know how the two sound or play apart, but I think that could convey the feeling I have right now.
I went out over the weekend with my T1i photographing trains trying to get through my withdrawal. It performed very well like it always has. Not quite the same though. Here are a couple of images I shot with the T1i:
I think my T1i will get me through the withdrawals while the 7D is getting repaired…..I hope.
A hint (very little) of Spring starts today, and it’s getting warm enough to finally let me wash the crud from the snowmaggedon off the car. I now remember what color it is, LOL. I know it’s not going to stay that clean for long as snow is melting from the sides of the streets. Better news is I’m preparing for this summer’s art shows and festivals. I’ve applied to one already and should hear back soon regarding confirmation.
This image here is “Old Stick Out Of Gas”, which is an old Skelly fuel truck that hauled fuel to rural locations where a gas station was not there. It has a manual transmission hence the Old Stick part of the name. I’m not sure if it still runs, but maybe some TLC can bring it back to life. I shot this while out shooting another project. It’s one of those distractions, but a good one.
It’s now available for sale as a print here on my website under the Nature Gallery. I’ll upload more images to the site here that will be for sale as prints.
Hi everyone. I am really ready for Spring to get here. In my area, we have about 8 – 10 inches of snow within part of last week and over the weekend. My oldest (2yrs old) certainly likes the snow. I liked it the first day when everything was white and pristine, but now everything is either frozen or a slushy mess. Plus, some of my favorite outdoor photo locations are inaccessible due to high snow banks.
That brings me to my point here on photographing outdoors. The only problem you can’t control is the weather, and where the snow removal people decide where to pile up the snow after it’s removed. In cases like this, it’s best to check out your spot well ahead of time after it snows even though you’ve been there many times before. For example, there is a place where I (and other train photographers) like to take pictures of trains at Kansas City’s Union Station. I wanted to photograph Amtrak’s Southwest Chief #3 after it stopped at the station for passengers to get off and on. I got there early before the train was due to scope out my usual spot to see if it was still accessible after the huge snowmageddon storm we received last week. As I suspected, snow was piled high at and around the spot, so I searched for another spot that would suit my needs. I later learned that my intended subject was running VERY late. I could not stay that long, so I went back home a little disappointed.
I went back later that week knowing exactly when my subject would arrive, and I got in place just in time. Now, instead of a clear sky that I had earlier in the week, there was now this gray gloomy somewhat spooky sky. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief comes through Kansas City late at night, so what was a gray gloomy day turned kind of spooky at night with the city lights reflecting off the clouds giving a eerily glow. All that told me was, don’t shoot the sky, or don’t include it in the photo. In other words, crop in tight.
Here is the result.
I like how the engine crew came out in the image and that they are at eye level at this angle, which gives the photo some human feel. I also like the light reflection off of the roof. The ice above the vent is a bonus.
This is the shot I had in mind before pressing the shutter. The exploring for another photo spot well ahead of time and mentally cropping in tight due to ever-changing weather conditions saved me a lot of headaches, because not long after getting this shot, the train left. Had I fumbled around at the last minute looking for another spot (which I’ve done before and failed getting my intended shot), I would’ve missed this opportunity. Sure I could’ve waited until the next night, but with three kids, I have to schedule my free time accordingly.
So, if you just do a simple walk-through of your spot after it snows, or some other way weather can affect it, before it’s time to take your shot, it can save you a lot of time and frustration. Plus, chances are good you’ll get your shot.
Happy New Year! I guess I’m about the last person to say that, but since this is my first blog post of the year, and we’re only 15 days into the new year, I guess that still qualifies as still being a new year. Distractions can be a good thing when you’re out in the field on a photographic mission. I get distracted every time I go out! I was driving out north of Lawrence, Ks on Hwy 24 watching for trains to photograph. I turned onto county roads to hop from one crossing to another when I came across the Vermilya-Boener House, which is an old two story limestone Italian Villa style house built in 1866. It was long abandoned with the windows and doors boarded over. Very cool subject to photograph! I took some shots of it. Something else caught my attention. Off to the side of the house was a fallen tree, and under that fallen tree was an old upright piano that has been long exposed to the elements and probably damaged beyond repair. The front top was missing revealing the backboard, strings, and the rest of the insides. Lots of detail! My best ballpark guess is the piano dates between the 1910s to the 1930s. The serial number is still on it, and a quick Google search provided sketchy details on the exact date. Originally, I was going to call the photo “Broken Song”, but the piano itself is way beyond broken. I thought it was kind of sad that this piano will no longer play a song, so I thought “The Saddest Song”, as in the saddest song is one that cannot be played, would be a better fit for the name. The photo is up for sale now under the Nature Gallery here on my website.
The Saddest Song
Distractions can be good when they lead to interesting things.
Hello everyone. The Holidays are here! Where did this year go? It has gone by fast for me, especially in the last couple of months. We had an addition to our family, a baby girl. Now, I’m an extremely busy father with two boys and 1 girl, all under the age of 3. I’ve forgotten what sleep was like, lol.
I have a Holiday photo, sort of. It’s of the 2013 Kansas City Southern Holiday Express at Union Station Kansas City. The “Holiday” part that the public can visit sits at the station itself, while the Business train that pulled it in is parked on the North track. The Business train is my main focus as the KCS uses vintage locomotives to pull the train, which itself is made up of vintage cars, so the whole train is vintage.
Business train on the left. Holiday section in background right center sitting at Union Station.
Business train only.
B/W version with selective color returned. This gives it more of the vintage feel.
I do have a new image (none of the above) that I will upload for sale here soon. I debuted it at the Sprint Art Show a couple of weeks ago, and it was successful. Visit back for it.
I hope you and yours have a Happy Holiday Season.
Hi everyone. Sorry I haven’t shared anything in a while. We had a new addition to the family, who has kept us very busy (ie..kept us up late at night…and during the night). My presentation for the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society’s Mini Meet in Kansas City went well. It was a digital slide show of photos taken at various locations along the BNSF (ex-ATSF) tracks with a starting point in Kansas City, and then a day’s trip out east and west from Kansas City. I was asked by the people who will be hosting the 2016 SFRH&MS main convention in Wichita, Ks if I would do the same presentation. Oh Yes, I will! I’ve hit the big time! Can’t wait till 2016.
I’ve started thinking about my top 10 photos of 2013. I’ll admit most of them will be train related. Hard to believe Christmas will be here soon. I’m partially in denial over the ending of summer, but the fallen leaves, shorter daylight hours, and cooler temps pound in the fact Fall is here. I’ll post the photos either here on my website or my fb page.
I visited Topeka, Ks a few weeks ago and took a photo of a scene at Old Pioneer Town, which is a collection of old small buildings, railroad signals, and a caboose. The scene included the caboose.
Next photo is a night scene with Wisconsin Southern’s business train, which was parked at Union Station Kansas City. I like photographing classic locomotives!
My Holiday special continues. See my homepage for the details. I guess now I have to start thinking about the big Thanksgiving dinner.
Is it October already?? I’m still working on my upcoming railroad themed presentation for next month. The hardest part is to decide which photos make the presentation. Well, the second hardest part. The real hard part is FINDING older photos that I know would fit nicely, and I spend a lot of time tracking them down. Nothing slows down a work flow like having that “Now, where did I put that?” moment.
I’ll admit, some..er..most..um..all of the problems with me finding older photos are my fault. The only way I cataloged them was by the date of the photos. I’m resorting them by locations where I shot them. Part of that is completed. It’s not something that can be done overnight. I’ll work on what I need for the presentation and then do the rest later.
If you are starting out in photography, make sure you have a good catalog system of finding your photos. It’ll save you a lot of time searching down a photo. It is easy to fill up a hard drive (or three in my case) of images taken over time. For my train photos, resorting them by location where they were taken seems the best way for me, since I know which railroads go through those places.
I better get back to work on my presentation, right after I have some more coffee.
Now where did I put my coffee cup?
Over the weekend, I continued shooting material for my upcoming presentation in November for a train related group, which I’m a member of. I passed an old small gas station in Lebo (pronounced Lee-Bo), Ks with three elder gentlemen sitting out in front just watching the traffic go by. After checking out my next photo spot, I circled back to the station. One of the men was just leaving, and the other two were putting all three chairs back inside the station. I think the sight of me getting out of my car with a camera kind of “spooked” them. What I didn’t know was that the station was just about to close for the day, and the owner was going to go have lunch. Had I stopped when I first drove by, I would’ve had a better chance of photographing them out in front of the station. Oh well, it wasn’t the first “coulda-woulda-shoulda” moment and probably won’t be the last. I could not stop looking at the bright red roof that clashed with the blue sky, and the building itself was painted white with red trim that fit in with the red roof and blue sky. The Skelly logos just seem to jump out at you. It just screamed Classic America!
Skelly Oil was founded in 1919, purchased by Getty Oil in the 1930s, and then Getty was bought by Texaco in 1984. This station still has a Getty sign. The owner, whom I can only recall his middle name, Russell, said he never received a Texaco sign, so the Getty sign was kept. Now, the station gets its gas from an independent dealer in Kansas. Yes, it is still a functioning gas station! As a matter of fact, a car pulled up for gas while I was there. I stepped inside, and it is small! The original cash register was still there! Russell said you would ring up how many gallons pumped on one side, and the dollar amount sold on the other side, and hit the long space bar type button at the bottom to complete the sale. NEAT! The storage room in back was added on sometime in the 1930s. The only slight downer was that the pumps were not the original tall slender ones with the see-through glass container on top. I would’ve thrown myself out on the street to stop any car from the 1930s-1950s just so to pose it in front of the station. Well, not really throw myself in the street, but aggressively stop them. I didn’t want to keep Russell from his lunch appointment, so I let him go and continued walking around shooting the building. I was still hoping for a classic car to come by, but it didn’t happen.
That just brings me to the point of if you come across a subject with a picture perfect scene laid out for you that is just screaming “take my picture-take my picture”, don’t waste any time. That moment can be gone in a second.
Another fun and successful art show is in the books. Thanks, again, to all who visited me. I’m humbled about the compliments on my photos. I spoke with a lot of you, at both the Westport and Zona Rosa shows, about my processing procedures on my photos, which is whatever looks good to me. I have a complete vision on how I want a photo to look even before I press the shutter. Some photos have minimum processing, and some have more done to them. I’ll look at my subject and think she/he/ it would look great with this-and-that done to it or maybe just this or just that.
I understand there are people who look at post processing differently and correcting issues should be done in camera. I agree with the part of correcting issues in camera before pressing the shutter. However, even though digital cameras do an excellent job of capturing images in great detail, the sensors don’t see the various shades of color and the level of detail that our eyes can see. Post processing brings those shades and levels back into the image. It can also enhance the photo further.
The Zona Rosa Art Festival was my last show of the year. This was my 2nd year of doing these shows. I spoke with some veterans, and they sometimes do 3-4 back-to-back weekends of shows. I’m exhausted with doing just 2 back-to-back weekends lol. I always have fun at these shows though, and I get to meet you!
In case you were not able to meet me at any of the shows this year, there are some new places (to us) we want to take the show to next year. We are working on expanding the display and making improvements in other areas. In the meantime, all the photos that I sell at the art shows are available here on my website in the Galleries sections.
My Westport Art Show was a HUGE success! Thank you to all who braved the scorching heat to visit me. I caught up with some old friends and met a lot of new ones. Art Westport is one of Kansas City’s best Art Shows, and I understand why people come from all around the state to attend. I was blessed to have participated this year as a vendor and proud to be part of a rich history.
My centerpiece, which was a 24 x 48 framed print of my “Downtown KC at Night” image, sold quickly, and the proud owner gladly carried it inside his home after I delivered it to him personally.
It was HOT HOT HOT! I think it would’ve been a tad cooler if we wore snowsuits while sitting in front of a bonfire. Thankfully, we didn’t get burnt, just a good tan. An ice cream store was a few feet away. We consumed A LOT of ice cream. Staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water helped out too. A chair with an umbrella is on my list of things to get.
No time to waste as I’m preparing for this weekend’s show at the Zona Rosa Art Festival in North Kansas City. It was fun there last year. I’m hoping it will be even better this year. I’ll bring my snowsuit and some wood for the bonfire if I need them.
Hope to see you at Zona Rosa!
I hope you had a great Labor Day Holiday weekend. Ours was good, meaning we did not do anything at all, but just bum around, which felt good for a change. Actually, we were gathering material to enhance the appearance of our display setup for our tent. We still have a lot of work to do for the Westport Art Show this weekend here in Kansas City. This will be my first show at Westport, and I’m excited! I will have 3 new images, “Storm Over Red Butte”, “Steam Locomotive #4960″, and “Private Railcars at Union Station Kansas City”, framed, matted, and regular prints available at the show. I will also have more prints of the “Downtown KC at Dusk” image. Of course, these images and more are in the Galleries section available for sale.
I know this post is short and sweet as we have a lot of work to do to get our updates finished in time for setting up this Friday. The short week doesn’t help all that much.
I hope to see you there!
This past Friday, I learned that a locomotive was repainted and was just released from the repair/repaint facility. I didn’t waste any time getting over there as new paint always attracts a camera (at least mine), because, well, it is freshly repainted and will be the only time it looks that “clean”. For comparison, it’s like shooting a classic car with that showroom finish. It looks great, and normally you can smell the paint (it’s a guy thing). However, unlike a showroom car, a locomotive will get grungy and dirty and will stay that way until it is repainted again, usually after a wreck or major overhaul. In this particular case, the locomotive was involved in a wreck in Montana back in 2011.
I got to the facility and saw the locomotive was sitting in an ok spot, and I was trying to find a good angle to shoot it. There was a railcar parked next to it, and what you don’t see is a huge pole for overhead power lines to the left of the camera, so not that many unobstructed angles to shoot if from. I managed to get some good shots. As I looked it over, it dawned on me that this locomotive is 23 years old, which is very old in the railroad industry. Normally, older locomotives that are deemed too maintenance extensive, or the warranty has expired, are either sold off, returned to lessor, or if unrepairable, sold for scrap. This railroad determined that this locomotive is worth of its keep, so it was repaired and repainted.
Memories can be powerful, especially when going back to a place that was a big part of your past. Such as the case when I visited my hometown of Emporia, Ks over the weekend. I was there on a photo project when I took some time away to look around my childhood home and other places I roamed. My sentimental side kicked into overdrive as I looked around.
I was saddened to see that my childhood home has fallen into disrepair. I’m sure there are some building code violations that are broken. I showed the photos to my wife and mother, and they could not believe their eyes. As I drove around downtown and other areas I frequented back-in-the-day, my mind would flash back to either a business or other building that existed where a parking lot or different building now stands. Overall, those areas looked rundown and tired. Downtown was almost deserted. Back in the day, it was difficult to find a parking spot. Of course back then there were more “Mom and Pop” businesses. The economic downturn from a few years ago hit Emporia hard, and it looks like it’s a very slow recovery.
As I was walking around downtown, I was surprised to see the circular pebble/stone placements in the sidewalks all through downtown were still there. They do need serious restoration. When I was a kid, my friends and I would try to jump, or take minimal steps, from one placement to the other. We never successfully made it in one step or less
I wished I took photos back then when I had a camera or used Mom’s camera, but I didn’t think twice about anything changing. I was naive, which is the understatement of the year. Even though my childhood home is in such disrepair, I do cherish the memories from family photos Mom took inside, especially on Birthdays and Christmas mornings.
I hope my kids will be just as sentimental. They will have lots and lots of photos to look back on when they are grown.
Hi again, everyone. Last week my body and mind were on Mountain time from being in Arizona. It was hard readjusting to Central. I’m almost done going through all the images I took over my vacation. This is the most I’ve shot so far (3.000 images at least). Some of them I’m thinking about putting up for sale here on the site. There will be a mix of train and scenic/nature images.
Back in June, I was contacted by a train magazine to publish a photo of mine. The magazine is Private Varnish, the magazine of privately owned railroad passenger cars. The photo is a night shot of 2 private passenger cars parked at Union Station Kansas City. I had a nostalgic vision of how Union Station was back in the day when scenes like this were everyday occurrences. They liked it so much they ran it as a 2 page spread (pgs 30-31 of issue 138)! I am humbled and ecstatic to see it in print.
It’s not the first time I’ve been published. However, it’s been 20 years since the last time I’ve had a photo published. Perhaps I should be more engaged on having my work published. I will put the image up for sale here on the site in the Trains Gallery.
Even though I still have numerous images to rummage through from vacation, I managed time to grab the camera and take another train photo. After all, I couldn’t let all that nice bright cloudless late afternoon sunlight go to waste!
BNSF container train rushes west through Holliday JCT (Shawnee, Ks) on the Emporia Sub.
This photo might be included on a project I’m doing for an upcoming function in November where I’m giving a presentation on Photographing the (ex) Santa Fe in and around Kansas City. It’s BNSF now instead of Santa Fe, but the BNSF still runs on former Santa Fe trackage. I still have more areas along that trackage to photograph. Don’t worry, it’ll be finished in time.
You can now comment on my blog. The comments section is at the bottom of this page. You’ll need to sign in or create an account to comment if you haven’t already. It’ll be nice to hear from you.
Right now, I’m going to finish reading the newest issue of Private Varnish. OH..and finish going through my vacation images.
I’m back! Arizona and New Mexico were just as I expected, fun and AMAZING! The scenery was spectacular, especially seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. No photo can do it justice. The Grand Canyon, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, is something you must see in person to feel its massiveness and beauty. New Mexico and Arizona are best seen from the roads, mountain tops, and trails. If you haven’t been to those two states, you’re missing out on great natural beauty. We had fun driving along parts of Route 66. There are still places along the “Mother Road” from the ’50s and ’60s. I also had a great time visiting with a couple of friends who moved to Arizona from Kansas a long time ago.
I have at least 3,000 images (I stopped counting at 3,000) to process from our vacation, so I will post 3 images I quickly got ready here. They represent a small fraction of what to see in Arizona and New Mexico, but are very memorable.
1st photo was taken off I-40 just west outside of Albuquerque. It gives a small taste of the Southwest.
2nd photo was taken at the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook. Yes, you can actually stay in a Wigwam. The old cars are just for display.
3rd photo is of a storm taken from the train on the return trip from the Grand Canyon. That is Red Butte in the center background. A curtain of showers can be seen to the far left of Red Butte. This summer, Arizona is experiencing monsoons, so it would be sunny and clear in the mornings, but by afternoon, storms would build up, and they would come like waves. Arizona was having drought like conditions before.
One thing to point out here is that I brought an extra battery and a memory card for the Grand Canyon trip. Without those, the 3rd photo would’ve not been taken. It just proves that having backup can help you in a crunch and save your memories. The last thing you want is seeing a shot that you got to take, but can’t because your battery died or memory card filled up.
We had a great vacation and were not quite ready to come back, but other responsibilities like work made us return home. In a sense, we were getting kind of homesick, and as great and fine as our hotel was, living in it for a week was enough for us.
Next week I’ll be on vacation in Flagstaff, Arizona, so I’m writing this today as I’ll be on the road Monday. If you haven’t been to Arizona, the scenery ranges from deserts to mountains surrounded by pine forests. Last time I was there, I drove from Phoenix to Winslow. The scenery was AMAZING, especially when you’re driving along at sunrise when first light hits the side of the mountains under the moon! Driving along portions of the remaining original Route 66 was very cool. It’ll be fun going back. I can’t wait!
One highlight for me was visiting the place made famous by the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy”, which is the Standin’ On The Corner mural in Winslow. Yes, the song played while I was there. Actually, the souvenir store across the street continuously plays Eagles songs all day long, so eventually you’ll hear the song…two…five…six times depending how long you visit.
Standin’ On The Corner in Winslow. This image is on sale in my City Scenes Gallery.
This time it is a family vacation with Jeanie and our boys. Jeanie would like to see the Petrified Forest National Park just east of Holbrook and the Barringer Crater near Flagstaff. I, too, have some places along the way I want to visit. Of course I’ll have my camera with me the whole time!
Today, I’ll be testing my equipment to make sure they will work when I need them next week. The last thing I want if finding out at that moment when it comes time to take the shot is something failing on me, or that I forgot to bring this or that. Just like you’ll pack extra underwear on your vacation (I’m assuming you do), I’ll bring extra batteries, not only for the camera bodies, but for flashes too.
Your vacation will be less frustrating if you plan and prepare ahead of time before you leave. Pack extra batteries in your camera bag. Better yet, recharge or load fully charged batteries in your flashes and camera bodies BEFORE you leave. Chances are great you will miss the shot simply because you’re replacing batteries, which sometimes decide to fall out of your hands and roll under something just to make you frustrated.
Testing your gear before leaving and packing extras will help ensure you get your shot and make your vacation even more memorable. The last thing you want is Murphy tagging along for the ride.
Look out Flagstaff. Here come the Griswolds…er…the Honeys! lol
I hope everyone had a great weekend. My oldest, Jacob, wanted to go see trains, or choo-choos as he calls them, on Saturday. For those who don’t know me, I am familiar with trains due to my father and an uncle being railroaders long time ago. I was pleased and very happy to fulfill his request, so I grabbed my camera gear and took Jacob with me on a little road trip.
The weather was cloudy, so I thought I will have more angles to shoot with. Little did I know that some thunderstorms were moving into eastern Kansas. Had I watched the forecast, I probably would’ve known, but I normally don’t watch news or weather on the weekends, or during the week for that matter.
Let me take a sidetrack here (no pun intended…well maybe). Long time ago in the steam locomotive era, the preferred way of shooting train photos was with the sun at your back and the subject brightly lit. You would shoot the sunny side of the subject. Most steam locomotives were black or dark grey. Almost all detail was lost if they were photographed on cloudy days. Also, cameras during that era were not so great like what we have today. Fast forward to today. DSLRs today are incredible tools that can capture a lot of detail, even on cloudy days. Post processing software like Photoshop can help bring out the details even more. Train locomotives today are diesel instead of steam and are more colorful. There are some train photographers today still stuck in the mindset that they will only take a photo when the sun is out. I think they are limiting themselves. Pixels are free, memory cards can hold a lot of photos (hundreds and even a couple of thousand), and batteries on cameras can be recharged. If you have backup, you can change batteries and memory cards on the fly and keep shooting. Plus, as I mentioned before, post processing software like Photoshop can help to bring out the details more and enhance the image.
I too sometimes prefer to shoot on a sunny day, either early morning or late afternoon/early evening for that “sweet” light. I’ll also shoot at night, which is when it can get really creative. This time, I thought the incoming storms would create dramatic scenes and give me lots of opportunities for some great shots. I wasn’t disappointed.
Fortunately, the storms were heavy, but not severe, or severe enough to call off the road trip. I was able to get some good photos with lots of ominous looking clouds and frequent heavy rain. Here are a couple of examples:
I was standing in light rain taking the first photo. However, it turned into heavy downpour when I took the second photo, so I rolled down the window, stuck the lens out, and took the shot from inside the car. Another curtain of rain can be seen in the distance in the second photo. Both photos are very dramatic, which is what I was aiming for.
So the main thing to take away from this is don’t be afraid to take photographs on a cloudy day. On overcast days when there are high clouds, those clouds diffuse the sunlight just enough to give you some soft light. You can even bring light with you like a flash to fill in some dark or shadowy areas. If you prefer to use it, post processing software can help bring back details that were lost in shadows. There is really no reason to limit yourself to just bright sunny days.
One thing that EVERY photographer MUST HAVE in his/her camera bag is…a backup, being a lens and camera body. Believe me it will save you headaches and save your photo shoot. Such the case happened to me last weekend with the photo shoot with Jenny. During test shots at the beginning, the mode dial on my 7D began to spin freely, meaning it broke. First thought..well..I can’t mention that here on a family site :D I wasn’t sure if I was still able to use the body. However, I did not worry too much, because I had a backup body with me, which is my T1i. We took a small break long enough for me to switch out bodies. After a few test shots, we were able to successfully complete the shoot, and Jenny is very happy with the final images I sent her. Later that day I found out I can still shoot with my 7D, and I have used it on my latest two photo shoots, but it is stuck in one mode. Thankfully, it is one I use 99.99% of the time.
Here’s me with my T1i during the shoot with Jenny. My wife, Jeanie, helped me during the shoot. Thanks to Shannon for taking the behind-the-scenes snapshot.
Here’s one of the images from the shoot:
There are a couple more images from the shoot in the slideshow on my Home page. Without my backup, this shoot would’ve been down the tubes. You could ask “why not use your iPhone?” Well, I think my iPhone would’ve done an..err..umm… ok job, but not quite as well as a DSLR, and it would not have given me the results I wanted to achieve, which I was able to do so with my T1i. iPhones (and other smartphones) are good for snapshots, but for a photo shoot, I prefer a DSLR that can give me a lot more options than a smartphone can.
I understand not everyone can afford to have an extra camera body or lens in their bag. I do feel it is important to have a backup for something that your camera uses. For example, a battery. I carry a backup battery and a memory card for both bodies. Even if you have one camera, do get an extra battery and memory card. You’ll be thankful and still be able to get the shot.
Hi again, everyone:
Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend. Mine was fun and eventful. My wife, Jeanie, and I took our two boys (22 months and 10 months) out Thursday evening to see their first fireworks show. Both were taken aback a little by the crackling BOOM of the fireworks, but quickly adjusted.
Over the weekend itself, I had a couple of photo shoots outdoors. I like shooting outdoors as it gives lots of creativity options that would be very difficult to achieve in a studio. Don’t get me wrong. I would like to shoot in a studio, if I had one, which is something that is planned further down the line. First shoot was with Jenny on Saturday, and the second shoot was with my long time friend, Shannon, on Sunday, for her Engagement session.
Another great thing about shooting outdoors is sometimes you catch interesting things that you can’t find in a studio.
Before Saturday’s shoot with Jenny, not far from the location, Jeanie and I saw a doe and her fawn grabbing a quick nibble. This was on someone’s front lawn!
My friend, Shannon, applying makeup to Jenny.
Shannon catching us in action. My wife, Jeanie, helps out on photo shoots. In case you are wondering, yes, I’m wearing knee pads. I’m young at heart, but my knees say otherwise
Here’s the resulting shot from above. There are a lot more shots, and you should see them up on the site soon.
This year’s Olathe Arts Festival was my best show yet!! THANK YOU to all who stopped by my tent. I SOLD OUT on prints and framed version of my image of downtown Kansas City, MO at dusk. I’ll have more by the time the Westport show comes around, which I think is in September. The crowds were huge, especially right at opening time Saturday morning! The photos I posted on my fb page didn’t do the crowd justice. I don’t know the official number, but other vendors mentioned this year’s attendance was the biggest so far. The only downside was I got some sunburn on my knees and neck. I spent much of yesterday recuperating (sleeping).
The FAQs were: “What do I use to process my photos”, and “What camera do I use?”
1st answer: Lightroom (LR4) and Photoshop (CS6)
2nd answer: All were shot using a Canon. Older images were taken with a Rebel T1i. Newer images were taken with a 7D, which is my current workhorse. The T1i is my backup.
I have nothing against Nikon. My first SLR was a Canon Rebel II that I bought new back in 1993, which I still have today tucked away in a closet. I liked the way it felt in my hand. I shot both print and slide film with it. Sometimes I get the urge to get a roll of film and go out shooting like in the old days, but I’m really spoiled on digital and seeing the image on the back LCD. I don’t think I can stand waiting for an hour or so now for the lab to process the film.
I’m now on Twitter! The link is up at the top next to my photo and under the fb one. Here’s another link to my Twitter page.
Thanks again to everyone to stopped by my tent. It was great meeting you.
Hi again, everyone:
I’m almost ready for the Olathe Arts Festival this weekend in downtown Olathe, Ks. The images featured in the galleries here on the website will be for sale at the festival. Weather is suppose to be cooler this weekend. Last year’s festival was really warm. Volunteers were very busy visiting us vendors passing out water and snacks to help us keep cool. Hopefully, they won’t need to work so hard this year.
I’m ecstatic about being contacted by a train oriented magazine about publishing one of my photos I took last month of some passenger cars sitting at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. It would be the first time in 20 years since one of my train photos was published. I’m not revealing the name of the publication or the photo until the edition comes out. I can say this, the photo is not posted here on the site….yet
Book a Portrait Photo Session for July or August and receive 1 8×10 print, 2 5×7 prints and 2 4×6 prints free. There is a $50.00 per hour session fee which is due at the time a reservation is set for the setting.
Book a Senior Photo Session for July or August and receive 1 8×10 print and 8 die cut wallet prints free. There is a $50.00 per hour session fee which is due at the time a reservation is set for the setting.
See you in Olathe!
My wife and I just watched Man Of Steel, and we were blown away by the action and cinematography. My review of Man Of Steel is based on Christopher Reeve’s version as his is my generations’ definition of Superman. His version is what we went to the theaters to see and later imitate in our homes. I know I’m dating myself here. Here’s my review:
If you are looking for a Superman reboot that has the heart equal to or greater than the late Christopher Reeve’s version, then you will not be disappointed. The storyline is thorough and easy to follow, but keeps your interest. Acting is very good. Russell Crowe’s Jor-El is more in depth. Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent is more supportive in a Father Figure role. Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent takes more of a serious tone and is mostly referred to as Kal-El instead of Superman, which is mentioned only 3 or 4 times. Also Cavill’s version is darker. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is more heroine than Margot Kidder’s. Special effects are top notch, and there is more violence than all previous Superman movies.
Krypton is told in fuller detail of issues other than its ultimate demise. Clark’s childhood is told in flashbacks, which come at certain times throughout the movie. The storyline focuses on an alien living amongst humans.
Notice I haven’t mentioned Brandon Routh’s version. There is a very valid reason. His doesn’t even fill Cavill’s boots.
I don’t want to give too much away, but this Superman reboot is more structural in storyline, very good acting, top notch special effects, and a heart bigger than Christopher Reeve’s legacy. I give it 2 Big Thumbs Up!
Happy Friday all,
Last night, I attended what’s called a “Railroad Roundtable”, which is basically a bunch of guys, mainly retired railroaders, get together once a month at the same restaurant to have dinner, share stories from their long career, and then one of them will present a slide show, which is sometimes done with actual 35mm slides (remember them?) and a slide projector. About 95% of the time it’s done all digital. The subject, of course, is trains, or anything railroad related, and they really have some cool stuff to share. I’m not a railroader. However, my Father and an Uncle were, so I grew up with railroads engrained in my psyche.
The presentations that these retired railroaders give feature the era of railroading that I grew up hearing about and looking at pictures of, which range mostly from the 1950s to the 1980s. I grew up during the ’70s and ’80s, so some of these presentations are a trip back in time (I desperately need a DeLorean). Back then, there was more variety of railroads with colorful locomotives and just as colorful boxcars and other cars. Today’s railroads are more bland and monotonous, but some of them have remnants of those once colorful locomotives and railcars around from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s that are still keeping their worth. Some of them are badly faded and could use a trip through the paint booth and a mechanical overhaul, and some do come out of the paint booth (in different colors) giving a showroom look. In any condition, they are a real treat to photograph!
I can reminisce all day on this, but the main point here is that last night’s presentation was a digital slide show of photos taken by a long time member of our group who passed away a few months ago. It was a way of remembering him and celebrating his photographic work. My sense of mortality sunk in. I would be humbled to know that someone would put on a presentation featuring my work, after I’ve passed on, as a way to remember me. Now, this is far, far, far, far down the road. I’m middle-aged, in good health, and have a lot of years to go before it will be my time. It would be a great presentation. Just wish I could be there to watch it
May 2013 is almost gone! Time is moving fast. Memorial day was the unofficial start of summer. Schools are out. Vacations coming up. Of course, those of us who are parents of toddlers and babies, there is NO vacation.
I’m getting prepared for the Olathe Arts Festival next month. Prints for sale on my site will be available for purchase at the festival. This will be my second show there. It’s kind of a special one for me as the Olathe festival was my very first show. I’ve learned a lot of what to do and NOT to do. We were blessed to have help and support from other vendors.
I came across my old light box I made about 3 years ago as a starter project. I made it, because, 1 – to prove I could build something useful, and 2 – to help sell some small items on eBay. The second part did not pan out as I just got too lazy to post them.
A light box is a box lined with reflective material to bounce light all around inside to make the object you’re photographing seem to float in mid-air. People use this method when photographing jewelry or other small items. You can spend a lot of money (at least $50.00USD) for a basic light box already made, but for much less, you can make one of your own. I don’t remember exactly how much the materials that made up mine cost then, but it was much less than ones pre-made.
To make one yourself, you will need:
A cardboard box of any size, but keep in mind the size of the objects you want to photograph will determine what size box you’ll need.
White poster paper
White Muslim cloth
Glue (Elmers will do)
Daylight bulb (at least 100 watts). Bulb is not needed for box itself, but to provide your light source.
First I took a box I received as a package and cut out 3 sides leaving 1 inch remaining on top, bottom, and sides. I left 2 inches of room from left and right ends on the front and back of box to provide sturdiness. Cut off all top flaps, and tape down all bottom flaps to keep them from popping up.
Cut and glue in the white poster paper to all sides of box covering all holes.
Cut the white poster paper where you had cut out all the windows before on the box itself. You don’t have to cut the white poster paper in window on the back side. Cut and tape the white Muslim fabric around the 2 end sides leaving the front open. Insert a white poster paper as your backdrop making a curve at the bottom (don’t crease it or it will show in your photographs). The bottom of the paper should rest just along the inside bottom on front of box. Trim the top of the backdrop flush with the top of the box if needed. This white paper insert serves as your backdrop and placement of the item(s) you want to photograph. Click on photo to enlarge to help show the edge of the backdrop going down the back and curving at the bottom.
Tape a piece of Muslim fabric to cover the top, and it’s finished. It’s now ready to make your object “float” when light is aimed at it.
I put the light box on my computer desk with my lamp, fitted with a 100 watt daylight bulb, hung directly over the box to light up the object inside. The other box below it is just to help prop up the light box closer to the light. I’m using a basic outlet clamped to a shelf above. As you can see, the light box is flooded with light. The object can be barely seen inside. It is best to use a tripod to sturdy your camera when photographing the object.
You can add more lights to shine into to the sides to eliminate minor shadows if they appear such as in the photo below using only one light. Now your object appears to “float” in mid-air. BTW the figurine in photo is NOT for sale
This is an easy diy project. Fool your friends that an item can float in mid-air, all without using Photoshop!
My special on Portrait sessions:
Save $37 with my summer special: Book a Portrait Photo Session for May, June, July, or August and receive 1 8×10 print, 2 5×7 prints and 2 4×6 prints free. There is a $50.00 per hour session fee which is due at the time a reservation is set for the setting.
See you later!
It’s Monday, and to me it’s a good Monday. This time last week, I came down with a nasty sinus infection. My nose was drippy and stuffed at the same time (well..it felt like both), my head felt like it would pop off, and my energy was completely zapped. The doctor prescribed good antibiotics, and I’m about 95% better now. Still keeping Kleenexes handy. Best thing is I have my energy back.
The Springfield ARTSFEST was a blast! Weather was crazy, but people still came out to have a great time. My snapshots of the event didn’t even show half the people.
Lately, I’ve become infatuated with night time photography. Night photography can change the mood of a scene than how it appears during the day. It’s fun to play with the light and shadows. I have 2 new images for sale. Both were taken at night. 1st one is of a train scene at Union Station Kansas City where a vintage Kansas City Southern locomotive is coupled onto privately owned passenger cars to appear like a passenger train from long years past, while an actual current passenger train in the background is stopped to unload and load passengers. The iconic Western Auto sign is lit in the further background above the vintage passenger train. Both the Western Auto sign and the vintage locomotive represent Kansas City icons. 2nd image is of downtown Kansas City, MO taken at dusk. The remaining light from the day is fading away as the lights of downtown start to take over. The sky has nice shades of blue. Union Station and the Western Auto sign are nicely lit. The Block Foundation Fountain in front of Union Station is at full height. The Kauffman Performing Arts Center shines bright while the Bartle Hall towers reach up to the sky behind it. The whole front of the downtown Marriott lights up with seasonal images and messages. The Locomotive at Union Station Kansas City scene can be found here and Downtown KC at Night can be found here.
Special on Portrait Sessions:
Save $37 with my summer special: Book a Portrait Photo Session for May, June, July, or August and receive 1 8×10 print, 2 5×7 prints and 2 4×6 prints free. There is a $50.00 per hour session fee which is due at the time a reservation is set for the setting.
Winter is not going quietly into the dark night. Cold front has swept through bringing us rain turning into SNOW (4-6 inches predicted tonight) after we had a few days of sunshine with temps in the 70s and 80s. A lady I met earlier today was running from a playful dog in fear of getting bitten. I told her she would have a better chance of getting hit with snow in May than the dog biting her.
After a photo shoot with a client in Loose Park last Sunday, which was the start of the (brief) sunshine and 80 degree weather, my wife and I stayed a while longer to enjoy the nice morning. We noticed a mother duck and her duckings swimming along the edge of the pond. I managed to get a few shots before a goose came over and spooked them. This is an example of what Spring SHOULD look like.
This weekend (May 4th and 5th) I’ll be at ARTSFEST. Images in my galleries here on the site will be on sale there. Stop by if you’re in the area.
See you soon.
Hello everyone. I feel like building an Ark from all the rain this week, or at least get a snorkel, a pair of fins, and trade the car in for a boat. It would be nice to see the sun again. I am proud to announce my newest image for sale. It is called Sacrifice, which is one of the spiritual guardians on the tower of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO, the nations’ official WWI museum. Also, there is the image of the middle level of the 12th Street Bridge in Kansas City taken at night. This bridge has 2 levels, and is part of Kansas City’s history. You can find these images and more in my City Scenes Gallery.
I will be selling my photo art at ARTSFEST May 4th-5th in Springfield, MO. I always have fun at art shows, because I have more one-on-one opportunities with my clients and meet more artists.
My April/May Portrait and Senior Sessions Special continues. Book a Portrait or Senior photography session for April or May and receive a one hour outdoor photo session along with 1 – 8×10 print, 2 – 5×7 prints, and 2 – 4×6 prints for $47.00. This is a savings of $40.00. The $47.00 fee is due at the time a reservation is set for the setting. This fee is non refundable. If a photography session must be cancelled or rescheduled, your paid fee will remain as a credit for a future session. Email email@example.com to book a session.
See you soon!
I will be displaying and selling my photo art at Artfest in Springfield MO May 4th and 5th. Click here for more information about ARTFEST
Easter is next weekend, 3/31/13. I know a lot of children (and adults) will do Easter egg hunts. Honestly, I never was good at egg hunts when I was a child, because all of them were found before I could find my first one. They were better egg hunters than me. My 18 month old will have his first experience at an egg hunt. He’ll have a good time either randomly throwing the ones he finds or try to eat them LOL. Since my 6 month old is a little too young for an egg hunt, I’m doing an Easter themed photo shoot of him. I’ll also do one of his older brother, even though getting him to pose is a bit challenging. His attention span is not quite long enough. However, little brother seems to be natural at posing, so he gets to be the first at all my photo shoots I do of the boys. Here is a behind the scenes look at the setup. My 6 month old will sit in the basket next to the rabbit. I don’t have an indoor studio, so the dining area in my home does good enough. Happy Easter Everyone!
Spring is almost here. It’s the season when most people schedule outdoor portrait shoots. I’ll be busy! Spring brings warmer weather, and I think I have a good start with this T-shirt.
This is soooo me!!
March is already here??? Wow! Time flies when you have an infant and toddler in the house. I usually post updates just on my fb page. Now, I’m posting updates here on my blog, and then update my fb page. I’m new to blogging, and I need to get better at keeping it updated.
I’ve been working on odds and ends to keep busy during the winter months.
Here is my latest effort. In anticipation for Iron Man 3 due May 3rd, I took a pic of an Iron Man figurine purchased at Target and did some Photoshop and Lightroom magic to it. What do you think?
Weather is colder, and the trees have lost some of their leaves. Some trees have lost all their leaves. The plus side is the low winter sun allows good train shots almost all day long. Usually, in train photography, the best times to shoot trains are either just right after sunrise or just before sunset as these times are the “golden hours”. These guidelines are copied from landscape photography. However, I’ve shot trains in other conditions (except heavy downpour rain) due to subject matter or the mood just fits.
I have most of my train photos posted on my flickr page, but I’m moving onto 500px as it is a better fit for me. Click here for my 500px.com page. My photos are best viewed in sets. I try not to cross post my photos between my own site here and social network sites except for my fb page. I will be posting more photos here on my own site for sale. If you are interested in purchasing one or more of my photos on either flickr or 500px, let me know. Best way to contact me is firstname.lastname@example.org. One reason for me moving to 500px is that photos can be purchased directly from the site.
The Zona Rosa show was a success! In addition to selling some prints, I met lots of great people. I’ve now branched into Portraits and Model Photography. My facebook page shows my latest work.
More photos uploaded to the site under the City Scenes Gallery. Check them out!
Details on my upcoming show at Zona Rosa coming soon.
Well…Here it is! My own website! I need to say THANK YOU to my wife, Jeanie, for creating this site for me. She has done a terrific job here. Tomorrow, June 21st, is our 9th anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Love!
I am a newbie to Blogging, so I’ll try to keep my ramblings to a minimum.
To read my Bio, go to the “About” page.
The Olathe Arts Festival was held on June 9-10. It was my first show. I learned A LOT of what not to do and what I need to improve on. I did sell 2 matted prints! I call that a successful, albeit rough, first show. The next show I want to do is the one in Zona Rosa in the KC area this fall. Lots to do between now and then.
I will add more photos to the site here over time, so keep checking back. Thank you for visiting.