Jan 232015
 

Stumbled on a competition site this morning for those using the “Topaz” plugin with Photoshop.  One person posts an image and then everyone tries to make it better/different using the Topaz filter somewhere in the process.  Here is the original image and my version.  Click on either version to see a larger image. Click on that image to see the full size image.

 

topazoriginaltopaz

Jan 222015
 

Harry's AutoCarrierEarlier this month, I created a Showboard for my friend Harry Kraemer over at www.flymall.org. He had recently purchased this beautiful 1912 AutoCarrier to add to his growing collection of unique three wheel vehicles and needed the showboard for upcoming shows that he would be entering.

We (I say ‘we’ because my showboards are a collaboration between the owner and myself on design, rather than using template. No two are exactly alike) came up with the design you see on the left. (click to see a larger image)

This morning, I was looking through the images I had taken and decided to do something a bit more artistic.  My idea was to create an image that while recognizable, would look a bit aged. Here is what I came up with.  I’d be interested to hear any comments.

 

AutoCarrier

Jan 202015
 

Each January, our pastor chooses a theme for the upcoming year.  This year’s theme is “Walk the Walk so that others may see Christ through you.”  (Eph. 5: 2, 15, 16).  Here is the banner I created for our website to showcase the new theme.

walk the walk for web

Jan 182015
 

Well, here it is the middle of January and I’m just writing my first blog post.  Over the past few month, when time allowed between all the hussle and bustle of the holidays, I’ve played with some new photo techniques that I found interesting. One is a way of making an ordinary photo appear as a painting.

On my old site I had a page with photos of the gear-heads that visited the various and so this year, I’m combining the two and every week or so, I’ll post a new ‘painterly’ image of one of the guys/gals on the ‘GearHeads’ page. (under the Cruise-ins tab)  For the introduction, I’ve picked three that I think most folks will recognize.  You can click to see a larger version.

Gearhead2_a

Gearhead3_a

Gearhead1_a

Nov 072014
 

Let me start by saying that I am definitely a ‘fair weather’ rider. I don’t like riding when I’m miserable so when the weather drops down into the 40s or below, I don’t break the motorcycle out unless it is an absolute necessity.

Having said that, I love the autumn weather with its beautiful scenery and fresh, brisk air.  I also like the fact that I can be comfortable riding with full leathers so I am somewhat protected from the next accident.

This morning, it was in the low 50s and I needed to go to the bank so I took the bike. Wonderful morning and once again it reminded me of just out beautiful our world is in the early hours.

For those of you who are not out on two wheels, early in the morning, here is my idea of what you miss.

autumn-194834_web

 

Nov 032014
 

Here is one I did for my gear-head followers.  Not sure of the year/make but for this type of technique, it’s not really that important.  This would look great hanging in a den or man-cave. (particularly if your own car is used for the image).

 

hudson-112217

Nov 032014
 

Well, as you can see by the dates, I’ve been away for almost two months. However, I’ve not been idle. I had some health problems and then my wife was given many new responsibilities at work.  She needed some help getting acclimated to the software that she needed to use and I was that help.  Considering that she was computer illiterate when she began three weeks ago, when this additional work was handed her, she has come a long way. So, now that she is up and running with very little help from me, I can get back to my blogs.

We are in the process of redecorating the condo (very slowly, I might add) so I’ve come up with a few idea for a large canvas to hang above the fireplace.  Needless to say, none of my ‘man-cave’ art suited her so I created a few girly-images for her.  Flowers and such.   I was surprised that she actually liked a few of them. Now we just need to decide which to use.

In the process though, I came up with a new process and will be posting as I play with it. Here are the first few for the mantle.  The selected image will be printed at 40″ x 30″ on art canvas using the giclee process.

red_yellow_hues1

tulips-47399_1280

Untitled-1

And one I did for Thanksgiving.

Untitled-2

Sep 152014
 

LINCO-Studio-Lighting-Photo-Light-Softbox-Backdrop-Stand-Muslin-Kit

I recently purchased an ebay studio kit from a company called “LINCO” and thought I would post a hands on review for those who might be considering such a kit. But first, a bit of background. I’ve got over 40 years as a professional photographer. On 9/11/06 I had a massive heart-attack that retired me. After being told by my doctor that I had limited time left, I sold my studio equipment but kept my camera and lenses. Now, 8 years later, feeling that I might have a longer life than expected, I want to get back into studio work shooting pets. I figure that will be a fairly low stress, low exertion field that I can do out of my condo. However, until I see how things are going to progress, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on equipment. For that reason, after looking online at various setups, I chose this LINCO setup.

The product was delivered packaged well and in a timely manner. First impressions were good.  One thing to keep in mind while reading this review is that the whole setup cost only $134.  I did not expect pro quality equipment but was pleasantly surprised at the quality.  My only problem was that one of the bulbs was broken on arrival. I contacted the seller and they responded within minutes.  A side note here: In all my years as a professional, I have never dealt with a company/seller that had better communication procedures than LINCO. They answered my emails within a few hours at most and were most accommodating.  My replacement bulb has been shipped and I expect it in shortly.

In today’s post, I’ll discuss the background stand and accessories. In a later post, I’ll discuss the lights.

The bg stand comes in its own canvas bag. The bag is very sturdy and has a separate section with velcro closures for the four cross bars.  The stands are definitely not designed to stand up to commercial use.  However, for the beginner just starting out, they are sufficient if used carefully.

ID: Linco#4151 77″ x 120″ Background Support System Qty: 1
2 x 8816 Linco ZENITH 77″ Compact Backdrop Stand
*Height Adjustable from 29″ to 77″
*Width adjustable from 5ft to 10ft
*3 Sections Backdrop Stand1 x 4222 Linco 10′ 4-piece/set Senior Crossbar
*4 sections.
*Adjustable width:5ft 7.5ft 10ft.
*Easy to use.

1 x 3178-12 Light Stand Carrying Bag
*Custom designed for background support kit and photography accessories.
*Made of good oxford nylon.
*Maximum load: 25lbs.

The backgrounds supplied are only useful for headshots and/or product use.  At only five foot wide, unless the subject is standing/sitting next to the backdrop the sides are going to show.  Ideally, the subject should be at least 3′ to 5′ from the background to leave room for a bg light and to avoid shadows.  I’m used to working with 10′ wide muslins so these will take some getting used to.  I have a couple of 10′ x 20′ backgrounds available so I’ll see how they work. I’m concerned that the weight will be too much, particularly the heavy black non-reflective background.  I’ll post on that later.

I do need to mention though, that everything was just as described online so this is not something that wasn’t expected.

As for the accessories shown below: useless for anything but the included backdrops. The two holders reach about 1′ max so they are only usable when using two crossbars with the supplied backdrops.  The 5 helpers/clips are two small to be really usable.  I’ll use clamps such as these to clamp the background over the crossbar.

ID: Linco#4216-1 Linco#4216-1 Backdrop Holders Qty: 2
4216-1 Backdrop Holder ?Easy Adjustment To remove wrinkles and unevenness shown on the muslin, hold onto the button as shown and slide the attached clip to the best location. Adjust each muslin holder so that there are fewer wrinkles and unevenness in the muslin. For further and more precise adjustments, you can unclip some muslin holders and slide them to locations where wrinkles and unevenness are present. ?Superior Quality and Light Weight Linco muslin holders are super compact, lightweight and of high quality. They are made of genuine leather and high, durability elastic material with an exclusive Linco engraving. Linco muslin holders are only 1/13th the weight of the, conventional muslin clamps
ID: Linco#4228-1 Backdrop Holders (Backdrop Helper) Qty: 5
*Used on crossbar (Diameter<28mm).
*Help you change backdrops faster.
*Maximum load:5lbs

 

Aug 112014
 

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things after my year-long hiatus. Here are some shots taken yesterday morning at one of my regular cruise-in sites. It was a beautiful morning and we had a great turn-out. Enjoy the photos. You can open the first and then advance through them all using the small arrow on the right or left. (hover near the right edge and the arrow will become visible)

Jul 262014
 

Today, I rode up to Boonsboro Maryland, to the American Legion Post #10 car show. I had not been to this show in previous years so had no idea what to expect. The American Legion hall is at the north west end of town right on Rt. 40. The ride up was perfect once I got on Rt 40, which is two lane with a 35-45 MPH speed limit most of the way.  Lots of curves and switch-backs which made the ride fun and enjoyable. This is a perfect day-ride location for you gear-heads and bikers out there.