Friday, December 17, 2021



I specifically saved this image as the last one published from Trinity Groves. It was one of the sharper images and captured the color from the city lights in great depth. There is even a slight glow just above the skyline, which I believe adds to the image. But, most importantly, this shot highlights the car's lights and waving flag. I am still amazed how the drone remains still while taking long-exposure images, but whatever magic it uses, I greatly enjoy it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021



I continued my flight by pushing the limits of my connection. I flew past the bridge and to the far side of the Trinity River. When flying, I can see five bars of connection. Five bars is the best, and one bar automatically triggers a return to home sequence. While taking this image, I was at two bars. The distance each bar reaches, and how far the drone can fly, varies depending on the terrain. For instance, in Colorado, where there were no buildings and signal interference, I flew over a mile away and still had four bars. While in Dallas, I flew a fifth of a mile and had one bar.

Monday, December 13, 2021



After switching the battery, I flew a little to the north and west to capture the entirety of downtown Dallas, including Reunion Tower. When editing, I wanted to magnify the glow that came above downtown. To accomplish this, I increased the amount of grain in the image. I don't often do this because I like my images to be crisp and clear, but recently I have been experimenting with this technique. It works in images like these because it increases the glow, but for regular images taken during the day, it is not effective.

Friday, December 10, 2021



The next image I wanted to post is this one. I flew past the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and set my position again. One of the problems I often have flying in the city is medical helicopters. During this session, a PHI Medical helicopter was flying to a local hospital at 1,100 feet (I know this because the DJI drone app provides their flying height, and I have another app that provides flight information of all aircraft). I was flying at 385 feet, and while it was over the 100-foot buffer the FAA requires, I still wanted to be extra safe and flew down to 150-feet. But, the helicopter eventually flew over, and I was able to capture this image.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021



The next spot I wanted to fly during the night was Trinity Groves. If you scroll down far enough, you can see that I have now been there three times. I went once with my camera during the night, once with my drone during the February snowstorm, and this time with my drone during the night. I think I have exhausted all possible pictures from here! I had been planning my trip here for multiple days, but the wind was too strong for images like these. Even when I took these images, you can tell by the flag how strong the wind was, but, after searching through two hundred pictures, there were enough clear images to post.

Monday, December 06, 2021


For my final drone battery of this night, I ventured over to a nearby mall and took a few images from above. I was hoping to capture the entire mall and its multiple parking lots, but the mall was much bigger than expected, and I did not want to fly that high and risk fines. So, I stuck with one parking lot, the main one. When I flew over and was preparing to take these images, I was surprised by how little activity there was. I imagined seeing around ten cars moving, but there was much less traffic than expected, quite surprising for a Friday during the holiday season.

Friday, December 03, 2021



One of the few benefits to the sun setting so early is I can capture shots like this. For instance, it appears I took this image at nine or ten at night, but I took this image at 6:42 pm on a Friday, right when people are trying to get home. While the setting sun is annoying because my drive home from school is pitch black, it does help me take long exposure images before it becomes too late into the night. Regardless of the time taken, similar to the first image in this series, this image also seems peaceful. Even though there is the roar of traffic below, everything below the drone appears silent. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021


After spending a drone battery flying above Interstate 75 (around thirty minutes), I drove on over to another intersection I knew would be very busy. The image you see is a combination of two images. Both were long exposures, but I wanted to emphasize the car lights more, so I merged the two. I have also been experimenting with different presets in Adobe Lightroom. A preset is an already constructed edit that you throw onto an image to quickly and easily edit it. For this image, I used Future 04. Essentially what it did was increase the contrast, vibrance, and saturation of all colors. This was my first image with the preset, but I think it will become much more commonly used.

Monday, November 29, 2021



For this next series, I wanted to do some night drone photography. I am calling it, What the Bird Sees. The idea is, after dark, I will fly over and around different areas of the city and capture the lights from above. It will be somewhat challenging because I can only take images if the wind is perfectly calm. For instance, this exposure was eight seconds. Multiple times there was just the slightest amount of wind, ruining the image. Regardless, I was able to capture an interstate and major road. From above, it almost looks peaceful with the smooth taillights and soft focus. But from experience, sitting at a stoplight above a loud interstate is anything but serene.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021



As the night progressed and my homework pile wasn't dwindling, I decided to stop at one last house before calling it. When driving around, there isn't a specific type of house that I desire. This style of photography is to capture suburban America and everything that comes with it. That means no added lights and props, except for the occasional spray of water. The houses I look for are ones with lights on and window shades pulled back. Or sometimes, it is the door that intrigues me, like this image. I noticed the two lights and puddle and wanted to capture it all. 

Monday, November 15, 2021



A few months ago, I posted this image from Portland, Maine. Recently, I edited it in the darkroom and manipulated it into the image you see today. I started by putting a digital negative template on the file, printed the negative, enlarged it on a piece of black and white paper, then toned it with a copper color. My explanation makes the process sound way more complex than it is, and the entire process took me just under two hours, but compared to the black and white version from Photoshop, I think the time is well worth it. 

Friday, November 12, 2021


Recently, I have been messing around in the darkroom and physically manipulating images to make them black and white, and this image is no different. If you may recall, I took this image from the first time I visited Tandy Hills Natural Area in Fort Worth, Texas. I edited the image digitally, then printed it onto a negative, enlarged it, then printed it on black and white paper. I debated adding a tone to it but chose not to and decided to keep it simple, black and white. 

Monday, November 08, 2021


Many of the images that follow this style come from long drives during the night. I will leave my homework for a few hours and enjoy the darkness, but all of the school work recently hasn't allowed me to take many images, so when it started raining, I knew I needed to explore. I was about thirty minutes into my drive when I saw this light post. While the rain made the picture-taking process a little more complex, it allowed for the light to reflect across the concrete. I positioned my camera low to the ground once again, then took this image.

Friday, November 05, 2021



Dallas in the summer doesn't have much rain, so when it finally came, I knew I needed to capitalize. I wore a rain jacket, held an umbrella, and put a towel on my camera to shield it. And even with all of those precautions, my camera still got wet. Regardless, I stayed out and continued shooting. To capture this image, I set my camera on a tripod and positioned it as low to the ground as the tripod would go. While crouching under a leaky umbrella, I didn't even realize the blue light coming from the house. But while editing, I wanted those lights to be the focus of the image. I made sure to increase the exposure and vibrance in that area. It is subtle, but once you see them, they add a mysterious element to the image.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021



Around the end of April, my photography teacher introduced me to Todd Hido. He often takes images of houses at night, with light pouring through the windows and furniture existent, but not humans. After editing, he makes the title the file number to allow for open interpretation of the image. I decided to follow this route and now have a collection of pieces for this style. I wanted this image to appear older and blurred. To accomplish this, I sprayed my camera lens with water. This action made the image appear softer, the focus slightly off, and added the streaks you see on the left side. It also amplified the warm light from the lamp throughout the image, which I believe rounds out the piece.

Thursday, October 14, 2021


Into the Sun

Backing up a few hours from Tuesday's post, I had sent the drone into the air to capture the sunset. There was a steady breeze of about twenty miles per hour with gusts reaching thirty-five plus. The limit for my drone is sustained winds of twenty-three miles per hour, which was just barely high enough to tackle that night's storm. I tried taking a timelapse from the drone but kept receiving high wind warnings requesting that I land it. I ignored those requests, everything turned out alright, except that my time-lapse was quite shaky. Regardless, I was able to take a still out of the video, resulting in this image. I chose it because the sun is partially hidden behind a cloud, reducing the effect of a blown highlight. This, paired with the magical colors of the sunset and Fort Worth skyline, makes for a fabulous image.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021



After spending way too long away from my camera, I decided one afternoon to take sunset pictures. You might recognize this spot from when I took images of the lunar eclipse it's, Tandy Hills Natural Area in Fort Worth, Texas. I had heard of a storm rolling in and couldn't think of any spots in Dallas to take lightning pictures, so I made the short drive. When I arrived, I wasn't alone. Three separate wedding photographers had already claimed their spots. I staked out my spot and set up my cameras. I had the GoPro and drone doing a timelapse and my Nikon doing a mix between timelapse and hand-held image taking. This image comes from a timelapse which I took individual images out of. There is no way for me to snap the shutter in time to catch lightning, so I had the camera automatically take pictures then I chose the best ones.

Friday, August 06, 2021


For my final image of this short Northeast series, I traveled down to the Portland Head Light. This lighthouse was much more crowded than the other one due to its accessibility. If you Google an image of Portland, Maine, this lighthouse is in two of the first eight images. To make mine different, I took a long exposure panoramic image. The only time I was able to visit the lighthouse was during midday, which meant the exposure wasn't the longest, but it was long enough to smooth out some of the waves. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2021



Back to within the park, I walked down on the rocks and found these two people who happened to be standing there. When adjusting the settings for this image, I had two things in mind. The first was capturing the people so that they were not blurry. The second was capturing the crashing waves and trying to make it blurry. See the conflict? I ended up finding some sort of middle ground, with the people frozen but wave semi-blurry. I think I could have slowed the shutter down a little more, but then I would risk blurry people. 

Monday, August 02, 2021



Near Two Lights State Park are the two lighthouses for which the park is named. After leaving the park grounds, I traveled north into a nearby neighborhood and flew the drone. My goal with the image was to capture the lighthouse in the foreground with the water it overlooks behind it. You can see a few trees on the far right of the image, making it challenging to fly low and reach the angle I wanted. I kept the drone above the street I took off from, and took this image.

Friday, July 30, 2021


One of the other places I was able to visit was Two Lights State Park. Unfortunately, there was just enough of a drizzle for me to ground the drone, but I'm not sure if I can fly in a state park, so maybe the rain was a good thing. While walking along the coast, I noticed how the waves crashed only on this rock. I took my ND filter and closed my aperture to lengthen the time the shutter was open. It took multiple attempts before I found the perfect wave, but the wait was well worth it. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Mackworth Island

As I was searching Google Maps for nearby photo opportunities, I found Mackworth Island. Arthur Mackworth was given the island in 1631, and the name has stayed since. It now has a 1.5-mile trail that meanders along the outside of the island. The direction of this image is of the road that leads into and out of the island. I chose this direction to highlight the New England-style houses and used the road as a leading line to direct you towards them. 

Monday, July 26, 2021



Welcome to Maine! Straight from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. I luckily was able to swim in both oceans, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The Pacific was warm but with no islands, and the Atlantic was cold with islands. The swimmer part of me chooses the Pacific, but the photographer part of me chooses the Atlantic. Both oceans have their benefits, but I like the Atlantic more as it has better views. When I first arrived where I would be staying, I immediately knew I needed a picture of this house. It seemed almost too perfect. The lone house perched on the open bay. To capture the vastness of the bay, I took a panorama. It is not as wide as others I have taken in the past, but it is wide enough to capture the bay while focusing on the house. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021



For my final image of the adventure, I wanted to show something that captured both the city and the ocean. As I mentioned a few posts ago, due to the full moon, high tide was higher than average. This meant that the waves crashed further inland. I positioned my tripod on the beach and waited for a wave to crash. The water made the sand shift, which made the image blurry, but my foot is a good stabilizer. Then, after a few tries, I was able to capture this image. 

Monday, July 19, 2021



During one of the few clear sunsets, I sent the drone up thirty minutes into the nighttime. I was greeted with bright street lights and dim stars. One of the reasons why the light spread so much into the sky was due to the fog. Right after sunset, a thick fog rolled through. I believe this is from the temperature difference between the ocean and air, but I have not done enough research to know exactly why. This fog reflects the light which causes this glow above the city.