Monday, January 16, 2012

Hillsdale Lake, Hillsdale, Kansas

Hillsdale Lake

I received a telephone call last night from a friend who told me that he had spotted an eagle nest at Hillsdale Lake.  Now, with this being January, I was not expecting the eagles to be using the nest.  I was however hopeful that they would still be hanging around the area.  I trudged out this morning on a scouting trip to find the nest.  I did find the nest, and did see the eagles (two adults and two juveniles).  They did not feel like cooperating with the length of my camera lens, so I was focused on shooting other things. 

I noticed that the water was lower than normal, and slugged my way out into the open mud flats.  The wind was kicking up some waves, but it was not unbearable as a warming front was moving in.

This is a lake that holds hunting memories for me of my dog, Cody.  It holds hunting memories of past duck hunts that went well, and many others that ended without a shot.  I guess that is why I was so concerned when I started to notice the hand of man around me.

I can understand maybe loosing a decoy, or the accident of dropping something.  I can... it has happened to me.  But the wholesale, short sightedness of just throwing things into the lake?  Most of the guys and gals that I hunt with are awesome at taking care of the land we are privileged to use.  One part of the hunter safety coarse that I learned some 30 years ago was to leave the land BETTER than what you found it.  Why is it that more people can not do this?  

Why is it that certain "outdoorsmen" can not take care to clean up after themselves?  

I picked up what I could, and will have to resign to trying to pick up more the next time I go out.

  Will you?

Classic Single Light Portrait

I was walking through the kitchen the other afternoon, and looked over at my wife.  I then saw what must have struck some of the old masters of paint.  The classic single light (window light) highlight of a beautiful woman's face.  

We see scenes like this everyday.  We see the instance where the light strikes something and we think, "Wow that is nice... very pretty."  Here is the rub.  We need to capture those moments, or at least know how to recreate what we saw (and sometimes improve on it).  

I happened to have my camera handy (I know, shocking right?).  This was shot hand held, and then processed in Lightroom 3 and Nik Software Color Efex Pro.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Contest by Rick Sammon for a copy of his book

    Rick Sammon is one of my favorite and prolific photographers / teachers.  If you have not had a chance to see him teach you should.  I caught him on Creative Live, and he was awesome.  Some of the best energy from someone who you can tell cares about the art of photography.  His blog / site is here:

Anyway, I usually check his blog and watch his doings on facebook.  I noticed this morning that he had put out a contest using NIK Software's Color Efex Pro (  If you are into making photographs of anything, I can say to go get this software.  IT IS AMAZING, and I love it.  Some of the things you can change your photo into astound me.  I also love the way it is used as a plug-in for Lightroom, or you can use it as a stand alone composing tool.

Back to Mr. Sammon and his challenge.  He listed two images on his site and here they are:

© Rick Sammon

© Rick Sammon

His request was that you take the two photographs and make something new using Nik Software's Color Efex on the edit.  He posted an edit of his:
© Rick Sammon

I dig this edit.  The drop shadow added in post gives the three (balanced) birds movement from right to left - toward the moon.  I wanted to use the moon as more of a backdrop.  Using it as a common image that we all see all the time, and using it to set the birds further apart from the sky.

Now realize that these are low resolution photographs published for the web.  The only software I used was Photoshop Elements for the layers, and the Nik Color Efex Pro 4.  In Nik, a little fog filter was used to soften the backdrop of the blue sky and moon.  I also used this to allow for some false bokah in the image to separate the birds from the moon.  I also adjusted the levels of the birds to provide light movement from right to left.  A small, fine border was added to give it a set away from the web backdrop.  I also added a bi-color filter to give the image some color depth.

Monday, January 2, 2012

So here we are into the new year and the world has not come to a screeching halt.  I am dropping by to officially say, I am going to start this year with a goal of a Project 52.  With the weeks of the year coming to a start, I thought I would try to endeavor to share one image a week on here.  Spread the word!  You can also request to be part of the Project 52!  Send me a pic, request a certain pic.... hell, holler at me and you can be the pic :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

     With the season of Christmas and giving here upon us, I just wanted to stop by to say thank you. Thank you to all of those who have supported my photography and my art.  Thank you to those who have wanted my interpretation of light for your personal portraits.  Thank you to those who have given freely of their feedback (both good and bad) for me to cultivate and grow from.  Here is a glass raised in holiday spirit to you.  May you have more than you want, and need for nothing.