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. 

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. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


High Tide

When I think back on my California trip, this is the image that comes to mind. After some incredible food at Del Mar Pizza, I walked down to the beach to watch the sunset. I found a path above the beach and continued south. Eventually, I found this lifeguard stand that was closed for the night. There happened to be a full moon that night, and it was high tide. These two made the waves higher than average, causing them to reach the stand. I had the drone take a long exposure image and snapped the shutter.

Monday, July 12, 2021


While it may look like all of the sunsets were clear, that is because the few sunset pictures I post are the ones when it isn't cloudy. Right after this sunset, a low fog rolled in and blocked a starry night. But for this image, I utilized the ND filter trick I mentioned a few posts ago and slowed the motion of the scene. It may seem weird that the drone was able to stay still long enough to take the image, but if you start the exposure right as a gust ends, you should be able to capture the image without any blur.

Sunday, July 11, 2021



Panoramas are something I have seen many photographers do recently. I have done a few in the past, but nothing where I was purposefully trying to take one. But, when the sun was to the west, and the people were to the north, I knew there was only one option for this image. The trick to a panorama is to have the horizon line perfectly level. It took me a few minutes to realize this, but once I did, I immediately realized how incredible the image looked.

Saturday, July 10, 2021



This image is something that is not the most interesting, but its simplicity is well needed. As I was taking panoramic shots and flying the drone (both pictures that I am posting later), I noticed this ship to the west. I believe it was a military ship, either Coast Guard or Navy. Regardless, I like how the sky is bright all around it, and the ocean is rough and dark. Then, in the middle, is the one ship.

Friday, July 09, 2021



Since most of the days were cloudy and the sunsets were not optimal, I had to find other objects to be the subject of my images. I use this technique often with my camera but had only experimented with it once on the drone. The idea is you put a neutral density (ND) filter on the lens, and it darkens the image. It allows the shutter to remain open longer, and it creates a blur in the moving objects. I utilized this to smooth the waves and to add more depth to the seemingly calm city. 

Thursday, July 08, 2021


Beach Side

On one of the few sunny days we had, I was lucky enough to see the Pacific Ocean and the Palomar Mountain Range. The timing of this image was very unexpected. We decided to check out a new clothing brand, and since I wasn't interested, I decided to fly the drone. I only had time to fly for five minutes, but that was plenty of time to take this shot. Then right after I landed, I had THE BEST burrito ever. Yes, I said it. The place is called The Taco Stand, in Encinitas, California. Steak, avocado, cheese, and fries in a burrito? Yes, and churros and condensed milk to wash it all down.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021



On another adventure, we drove in then hiked around the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Unfortunately, they prohibit drones from taking off and landing within the reserve, but that didn't stop me from finding a few compositions. About thirty minutes into our hike, I noticed this overlook, Yucca Point. The point offered incredible views of the ocean to those on it, and from my perspective, it created an entirely different image. I saw dramatic formations on the rock contrasted by the smooth clouds. And between those parts are a group of people looking off into the ocean. 

Monday, July 05, 2021


Free Flowing

After a few days in California, I was ready to pedal again. Luckily, the hotel we stayed at had bikes to rent. I opened up Google Maps and found this location, San Dieguito Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area, right next to the Del Mar Fair Grounds. It looked promising from the satellite pictures, so I biked on down there. At this area was a river of seawater that created a unique ecosystem of birds, fish, and plants. I sent the drone up to capture a larger perspective of the land, then took this image. 

Sunday, July 04, 2021


Coastal Highway

Next to the beach was a (slightly annoying) train track. It allowed for both passenger and cargo trains to go through. We happened to stay near a railroad crossing, and every time a train went through, you could hear it rumble. It wasn't much a problem during the day, and at night the trains would generally stop, but at 5 am, it was a little unpleasant. But during the day, the tracks provided the perfect leading line in an image. For this picture, I was flying the drone when a train went by. It might seem like I was lucky to be in the right spot at the right time, but with the frequency of the train, I had many chances to take the image. 

Saturday, July 03, 2021


Del Mar

My next adventure takes us to Del Mar, California. It is about 90 miles south of Los Angeles and is situated right on the water. Unfortunately for us, we arrived during June gloom, a time when most days have cloudy skies. For our first sunset, the clouds created a slight gap long between the Earth and sky. This trend continued for the rest of our stay, with most sunsets blocked by the clouds. Regardless, I was able to take some incredible images and some even without clouds.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021



For my final shot of this series, I return to the drone. I had received the critically low battery warning and needed to land. I looked down to find my landing spot when I noticed how the paths looked from above. They weren't straight or follow any structure. What you can't tell from this image is just how much mud is on them. You can faintly see the pool of water on the curved path on the left side, but other than that, it looks dry. My shoes and bike said otherwise.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021



For about an hour after sunrise and before sunset is a time called the golden hour. These minutes are when the sun is soft, and the light is very conducive to portraits, landscape, and all types of outdoor photography. For this shoot, I utilized the golden hour to capture some greenery around me. I was initially trying to hide the sun behind some plants but liked how the sun flare looked. I set some tall grass between my lens and the sun and snapped the image.

Monday, June 28, 2021



Minutes before the sun's rays hit this part of the Earth, I sent the drone over towards downtown to capture its awakening. I made sure that the drone took this image before the sun rose so that there was no glare from all the windows. While it would have been nice to have a light yellow glow on the entire image, I decided that not having the glare was more important.

Sunday, June 27, 2021



As the sun continued to rise, I wanted to capture the light along with the park and its surroundings. I had already taken many shots of downtown Fort Worth and wanted something different. I noticed the broadcast pole and made it the subject of my image. The image is simple, a pole dividing the brush. But I like this simplicity and feel it allows the colors in the sky to stand out. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021


To the City

In Tandy Hills Park is one main trail with a few split-offs. It had rained for multiple days before the 26th, and the main trail was caked with two inches of mud. With my shoes five pounds heavier, I pushed on closer to the interstate. I eventually found this little trail that created a perfect leading line towards downtown. I waited for the lighting to be optimal and the sunrise colors to shine, then snapped the image. 

Friday, June 25, 2021


Morning Light

My next step, as I typically do, was to send up the drone. By this point, the clouds were thin, and the sun was shining. When I sent it up, I was fascinated by the cars, shadows, and soft light on the ground. If I were to retake this picture, I would add an ND filter to the drone to allow for a longer shutter speed and make the cars a blur. Regardless, I still really enjoy this image and its simplicity. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021


Urban Nature

As the sun continued to rise, the clouds finally began to dissipate. Unfortunately, the eclipse ended at 6:22 am, and the clouds decreased well after then. While the clouds were blocking the eclipse, I pivoted and used them as a smooth, solid backdrop to allow the buildings to stand out. Also, I combined two shots to make this image, one focused on the flowers and one on the buildings. I felt the shots individually weren't the strongest, but together and with everything in focus, they create something great. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021


Cloudy Mornings

Finally getting back to posting, I return to the morning of May 26 and the lunar eclipse. The eclipse itself was difficult to see due to clouds, but they didn't block my view of downtown Fort Worth. I set up my camera on a tripod, used my variable ND filter to darken the image, and tried to maximize the shutter length. After numerous attempts, I really like how it turned out; the crisp skyline, motion in the clouds, and the reflection of the city lights into the night sky all come together perfectly. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021



This image is one of the first Todd Hido emulations that I took. After being introduced to the idea, I set out that night with no intentions other than to follow Hido's ideas. When editing, I debated brightening the image to reveal more of the house or leave it dark and hide it. I ended up leaving it dark to make the image appear more mysterious and vague. More up to interpretation to the viewer.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021



A few days later, I began another adventure to capture life void of human existence. I chose to take images of this house for its structure. There are many sharp corners, angles, and geometric shapes. Unlike yesterday's, this image is the complete opposite. Opposed to the openness of the house, this one is closed and finished. The walls filled, and lights lit. Humans definitely have been living in this house.