Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yawning Cheetah

I caught this cheetah in mid-stretch when I went to the Philadelphia Zoo last Sunday. I had hoped to get some more photos from the new Big Cat Falls exhibit but the exhibits were so busy it was tough to compose a good shot.
The cheetah enclosure is split from the other cats and was relatively free of visitors. After standing around for some time I caught a generally lazy cat stand up to stretch. In my effort to crop out the man made things in the background I accidently cropped out some of the cheetah's tail as well.

Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4.0L
@149mm, f4.0, shutter-1/200, ISO-100
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Falling Petals

I took this photo at the Viscaya Palace and Gardens in Miami, Florida. This was one of many colorful orchids displayed in the garden area. The overacast lighting helped bring out the soft colors in the petals and emphasized the details.
I made sure to use a small enough aperture to include the lines of the wooden table the orchid was placed on. I felt the diagonal lines and the dull color helped bring out the beauty of the flower better.

Canon 5D, 24-70 f/2.8L
@58mm, f/8.0, shutter-1/200, ISO-200
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Little Lamb

Finals finished up this week and I flew out to Philly this morning. I finally got a chance to go take some serious SLR photos instead of being cooped at home. Now I am completely amazed at the options and quality you can get out of shooting in RAW format.
I took this lamb's photo at Hopewell Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. It's an old iron mill that is restored to its original style.
In this shot I included the fence and the rolling hills in the background to give a sense of how tiny the lamb was. To give you an idea I had to kneal down to shoot through the fence. This lamb kept turning back to look at me whenever my shutter fired.
By the way I'll be in Miami till the 25th so expect some updates after that.

Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4.0L
@200mm, f/9.0, shutter-1/60, ISO-50
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spiral Stairs

I took this photo from the top of the steps at the Point Loma lighthouse in San Diego. It was near closing time and the one of the National Park Rangers let me go up right before they locked up for the night. Being the only one in the lighthouse made this shot much easier.
I have always found the design of spiral stairs to be interesting and this set reminded me of a human eye. While I normally don't like centering the subject within the frame, I felt it was neccessary here to emphasize the spiraling effect of the stairs.

Canon 5D, 24-70 f/2.8L
@24mm, f/3.2, shutter-1/20, ISO-1000
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, May 12, 2006

Twisted Tree

This is one of my early attempts at landscape photography taken at Joshua Tree National park, a few hours east of San Diego. I noticed this really interesting and well worn tree walking up to the top of a small hill on the outskirts of the park. I was drawn the to the detail in the weathered bark and trunk and how the entire tree was twisted over time by the high winds and dry climate.
In framing the shot I used the twisting and curving tree to lead the eye towards the snow capped peaks in the background.
I plan on focusing a good bit of this summer to landscape photography, so look out for those photos.

Canon 20D, 22-55 f/4.5-5.6
@22mm, f/5.0, shutter-1/400, ISO-100
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Donuts Stop

This is a sort of a demonstration of the power of image processing (which I am just rediscovering now). The top image was created from taking the bottom image and running it through a few saturation and hue adjustments.
I took this photo in San Francisco in January somewhere around the marina district. I noticed the old retro looking donut sign and thought it would be interesting next to the bright red stop sign. Unfortunately the strong lighting and the faded colors of the sign left a less than interesting image.
Normally I'm all about minimal or no post processing but certain photos lend themselves to more aggressive image editing. For some reason the rusty color I got in the second image seemed to fit the look of the sign and the over-saturation really makes the photo jump off the screen.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5
@24mm, f/4.0, shutter-1/2500, ISO-200
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, May 07, 2006

City Lights

This photo instantly reminds me of New York City whenever I look at it. The combination of the NYPD vehicle, the taxicabs and the bright lights of Times Square.
Even though I took this photo around 9 at night, the number of lights and the reflectivity of the glass made for a very bright scene. As I've mentioned before, I'm always looking for reflective surfaces to increase the number of elements and colors in my photos.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
@28mm, f/3.2, shutter-1/250, ISO-3200
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, May 05, 2006

Color spots

I tried to be a little bit more abstract in this image. I chose a pretty bland night scene and purposely blurred and underexposed the image so that it looked more like a graphic painting.
As you might figure out from the colors, this is a shot of a traffic light with some street lights and car headlights on the side.
In the same way macro (close-up) photography forces you to look at the details, I think purposely blurring photos makes you see the world in a more general and broad sense. Instead of seeing a boring city street you see a whole bunch of shapes and colors interacting with each other (notice where the edges overlap).

Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4.0L, AV f 4.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wine Cask

I took this photo of a huge wine cask in the Sonoma/Napa Valley of California when Robyn and I visited earlier this year.
The cask itself was huge (over 10 feet tall) and was just there for display as more modern containers are used today. I liked how the bars from the window cast strong lines on the cask while the sunlight brought out the grain and rich color of the wood.
In case anyone was wondering, the candle serves no useful purpose, it's just there to add some mood lighting. In addition to the well maintained fields and gardens, 'Wine Country' has a lot of old equipment and buildings which make for interesting photo subjects.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f 5.0
[click photo to enlarge]