What is it about seeing an old country store that makes people want to stop and take pictures? Well, anything old for that matter. Every time I see something like this as I’m out and about I’m am just completely drawn toward it like a moth to a light. Perhaps it’s just me that likes this sort of thing so much. I suspect part of it is my love of history and digging around in the past. The future is unknown and as yet unexplored, but the past is known and can be very much explored through the remnant of what once was.
This store in the central Idaho’s Camas County has probably been photographed thousands of times. It is right beside a well traveled highway, en route to a very popular birding wetland. But whatever, the Grand Canyon has probably been photographed BILLIONS of times, but I don’t see that stopping any new shooters giving it a go. Here’s my take on the old country store.
Since I am just beginning to explore the realm of HDR photography, I continually find myself trying to push the limits of what it can and cannot do. What that tends to mean is that I shoot into the sun a lot. Since we’ve been having a record dry summer here in Idaho, that means there aren’t any clouds to photograph. What then? Well, I just make the most of it. On this occasion I saw this cool tree gracing the hillside and knew that I had to at least try and make a photograph. Facing away from the sun meant a rather flat and boring scene, but facing into the sun brought those nice long shadows and also gave me something to use for framing and reducing the glowing sun. And so we have something that looks like an oxymoron, a dried up and dying tree of life.
I’m beginning to play with HDR. My goal is not to create images that LOOK like they are HDR, but that have a nice range of tone that is visible to the human eye. Because current camera technology is limited, the only way to do this is to combine several images into one. This can produce some very crazy results. This image looks closer to normal than it started out. Surprisingly, it takes a lot more work to get a natural looking image using HDR processes, rather than a crazy psychedelic scene. This little view is just outside my driveway here in Idaho. It is one of my first attempts at capturing and processing HDR and I hope it is a pleasing skyway view.
Yesterday I went into town to do a little architecture shooting. I did a few things and came away with a shot or two that I like, but nothing stellar. However, on my way out of the city the moon was setting in this gorgeous soft hued sky and I was dying to find a place to shoot it. Being in the residential part of the city there really wasn’t anything striking to shoot with this fantastic sky. As I was just on the outskirts of town I decided that it would be best if I just hurried along up into the mountains and grabbed a landscape from there, though I didn’t have a clue where that would be. Suddenly I came upon this giant concrete plant and I instantly knew that this was the shot for me. I had to double back a take a couple mile circuit to return to where I saw the scene, but I was able to get there in time. The biggest challenge of capturing this scene was that I had to shoot across a very busy highway, so timing was difficult. I was shooting with HDR as my end goal using 3 exposures. This meant that I had to time each shot precisely so that no cars were passing in front of me. Add to that the extended wait time between shots for long exposure noise reduction and I had quite a task to accomplish. But, I did finally manage to get it done. And here is the end result of shooting a concrete moon.
This part of Idaho is dry in the summer. VERY dry. Like, we haven’t had rain for 65 days kind of dry. So I was a little surprised to see this odd fish cloud lounging above town a few weeks ago. That was the only one. Not a single other cloud could be seen. It struck me as strange, unique and interesting all at once. I wanted to capture the ‘above town’ part of it, but that part of town just wasn’t deserving of being in a photograph. It wasn’t until I started to work on the image that the shape of a fish stuck it’s head out at me. What do you think: fishy or not?
On the day I was visiting friends in Senj, there were two storms that started to pound on us at almost the same time. This is just a little shot I got when Irma stopped on the side of the road for Jonny and I take a few snaps. It was pretty dark, very windy and I had no tripod. I did my best. I hope you enjoy the Senj Sky as much as I enjoyed seeing it in person along the Adriatic coast of Croatia.
You never quite know what you’ll find when you venture out for a photo walk… One quite evening I decided it was time to go looking in various nooks & crannies to find out what was in my neighborhood. As I boldly crossed the frontier line of my driveway and started down the adjoining one, I immediately was surprised to find this fancy little truck tucked down below the grade of the road. As I started to choose an angle to shoot from I got my second surprise; the cat on a hot tin roof of the truck. It’s my neighbors cat Lucy and she is a very good mouse hunter. What fun! What wasn’t quite as much fun was that this was really the only angle to shoot this from as the others were surrounded by busy/noisy things in the background.
I hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed being surprised by it. If I try hard enough, I can even see this from my own bedroom window.
I’ve taken a new approach to photography recently: I always take my camera with me. For a while I was quite burned out on using camera’s for much of anything but I’m starting to get the joy back. And with better and better image processing options I have the ability to make shots I’m proud of without spending all day in Photoshop. This image didn’t even see Photoshop once. I only used Lightroom 2 and Topaz Adjust 5.
This is my very first image processed using a fantastic little plugin called Topaz Adjust. I’m just on the 30 free trial right now, but I’m LOVING it so far.
This is along the Payette River between Banks and Crouch, Idaho. It’s a tough place to shoot because the road is on the north side of the river and the hill opposite is VERY steep and facing north, so it almost never gets good light on it. Plus, it has a strongly lit sky behind. But that all makes for a good photography challenge. These two stones seemed to go nicely with each other even though I’m clearly breaking some rules of composition. I don’t care. Sometimes you just have to shoot be it good or bad.
While on my latest vacation with my family, I decided to stop being so lazy and actually take some pictures in the morning when the light was optimal. The next thing I did was shoot straight into the sun. Ugh. Well, I think I like this image anyhow. It was just too beautiful to pass up at least attempting to capture the scene. I did take the necessary bracketed exposures for and HDR process, but haven’t gotten to that part quite yet.
The morning was cool and clear until the sun came up. Then all of these awesome puffs of clouds started to rise up out of the valleys and skitter across the sky in assorted patterns. It was actually a great time to be making images of the surrounding cliffs and peaks and I made the most of it while I could. Now I have to do the actual work part of the shots – post processing. Well, that is a story for another time. Back to the setting.
With the high mountains surrounding, jutting up to 13,000 ft, and the dark foliage of the trees I really had my challenges. I was also down in a deep canyon shooting waterfalls and rocks and sunbeams, and those images truly do need HDR processing to look nice.
Just imagine being there in the still morning air, bundled up in cozy gear against the chilly 38 degrees and the dew on the grass. It’s really a picture of peacefulness.