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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Even after using this feature multiple times with the drone, I'm still impressed by it. Somehow a flying object that is subject to wind can take crisp long exposure images. Of course, if there is any gust of wind, it will ruin the image. But most of the time, this style of photography is successful. This style works best when there is a moving object, and the long exposure captures the motion, but it also works for capturing subjects in dark light.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
During one of our final nights on this adventure, I tried to photograph the full moon. I waited and waited, then waited some more, then I decided to check when it rose. 10:43 pm and it was 9:15. I packed my gear and started walking around town when I found these palm trees. I positioned my tripod as low to the ground as I could, then shot upwards. As you can tell by the blur of the trees and clouds, it was windy that night. I was discouraged by the blurriness at first but changed my mind once I realized that the stars could be the subject and not the trees.
Friday, July 16, 2021
After taking a few drone images, I ended the timelapse on my camera and positioned it to face the road. I added my neutral density filter to increase the shutter speed then took the image. One trick I used in this image is covering an object with another. In my case, a few construction vehicles ruined the mood. I used a flower bush to block them, hoping to make a more impactful image. If I were to change one thing it would be making the flowers more in focus. It would be nice to see some definition on them, but regardless, the image turned out great.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Near the spot of yesterday's image comes this one. North of Torrey Pines State Park is a public beach. As I was looking around, I noticed all of the lines from this angle: the lagoon, highway, parked cars, and ocean. The sun had set by now, which meant the only way to take a properly exposed image would be with a longer shutter speed. This was both good and bad. The good being smooth waves, the bad being blurry cars if they were moving. But, I think the waves are more important than the cars, and the image turned out quite well.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Some days I like to plan my sunset spots, and others I find on Google five minutes before leaving. We had just finished dinner, and I hadn't decided on a sunset spot for the night. I opened Google Maps and found a place called Sunset Seat, appropriately named. There was a line of cars parked along the highway, and that's how I knew the spot was a good one. There is a little trail system that leads to some cliffs overlooking the beach, I randomly took one then put down my bag. I sent the drone up, took a panorama, edited it up, and am now posting it.