Technological Armageddon

Such a Mess

I am a big fan of recycling when I can. Sometimes the powers that be, just make it TOO HARD! Other times I miss opportunities right in front of my eyes, like when I started to throw away my Starbucks cup and one of my relatives from California said, maybe you want to write your name on that cup so you know it’s yours. No, Ill just get another if I want something (into the trash). This was a recycling day in my home town a few years ago for electronic “junk”. Its sort of amazing how much waste we make. Out with the old and in with the new. The problem is, what do you do with all that we discard?

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: iPhone 4
  • Taken: 23 October, 2010
  • Focal length: 3.85mm
  • ISO: 80
  • Shutter speed: 1/180s
  • Title: Technological Armageddon

Meet Ms Scarlett My 2016 Mini Cooper S

It was her employer MS SCARLETT!

It’s a day I thought would never come…I finally purchased a NEW car! I am a frugal sort of person. All of my automobiles have been given to me in some way. A used car someone didn’t want any longer. My old 1992 Ford Ranger XLT had been through most of the members of my family when it came to live with me. Oscar is its name, but from looks, to convenience, to a dead air conditioning system on a super hot summer…I finally decided, after 40 years, it was time to actually BUY a car.

Ms Scarlett came to live with us yesterday. When I met her I literally squealed and jumped for joy. She was custom built, just how I wanted her by the awesome Mini team in Oxford, England. Already I can tell she likes to drive more than I am accustomed to. The interesting thing is she is SO FUN to drive, I am completely agreeable to this new arrangement between myself and das auto. The Mini people refer to it as “motoring” and I can tell Ms Scarlett and I have a long number of years of fun ahead of us together!

Photo Technical Info

Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse September 2015

Blood Moon

This total lunar eclipse on September 27th, 2015 took me a bit by surprise. I didn’t realize it was happening and sort of lucked out seeing post on Facebook. I quickly checked outside and I happened to get my camera setup just about midpoint of the eclipse. I am not an astral photographer (obviously), but it just goes to show you, you never know what awesome things will be happening in your own back yard!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 27 September, 2015
  • Focal length: 300mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1.3s

The Gateway Arch

Less an Abstract Arch

The first photo I published from the St Louis Arch was a bit on the abstract side. I took a number of photos really close up on the arch, they still feel like the arch to me, but they also don’t scream out ARCH! With this photo I wanted to bring a more concrete feel, but still give a different perspective then we usually see. I tried to frame the arch so it feels different with a strong and different graphic flow. I have more of this series I would like to work on…the sky that day had a wonderful cloud system overhead and a deep blue feel.


This is a three bracket (-2, 0, 2) shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Really Right Stuff Tripod, combined in Photomatix, processed quite a bit in Photoshop and the Nik suite, finished in Lightroom 4.

The Jeweled Ceiling of Union Station


Ok…so maybe jeweled is a bit of a stretch, but it is really impressive looking. Perhaps not in the European Palatial sense, but I found it quite stunning. I shot from my tabletop tripod and kept expecting someone to tell me to get lost. The great thing about that little booger is that people don’t see it as a hazard like they do my larger tripod. I incur the wrath of many a security guard when trying to open my Really Right Stuff legs, but my tabletop…NOTHING! It’s like a tripod in stealth mode! I cant recommend one of these little guys enough.


This was a 3 exposure bracket (-2, 0 +2), processed in Photomatix, exported to Photoshop to repair some burned out light bulbs, Tonal Contrast was added out the wazoo in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 as well as sharpening done in Sharpener Pro, final touch-up work was done in Lightroom 4.

Union Station Kansas City MO

Pop In for a Quick Photo

You never know where an interesting photo may present itself. We were in downtown KC for WordcampKC and during lunch decided to take a walk around. Who would think Union Station in Kansas City Missouri would have been so quiet. Really quiet. There were really only a handful of people and that let me capture a really empty hall with some interesting light.

Sticks (Tripod)

I was also surprised the guards didn’t seem to mind me using a mini tripod. I had left the Really Right Stuff sticks behind, but I had my new Manfrotto 709B DIGI (link to 209 legs with a different head). It’s TINY and fits nicely in your bag. Its pretty stable even for the 16-35mm lens and I can fold the legs up under the lens using the ballhead in a way most people wouldn’t notice you even had a tripod on your camera. Its like tripod stealth mode! While the ballhead is less than stellar, it is functional and this unit is a MUST for your camera bag.


This is a 3 bracket series (-2, 0, +2) processed in Photomatix, Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 (Tonal Contrast) and Sharpener Pro. The final touches were added in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Abstract Arch

An Abstract Gateway

We recently took a trip to St Louis, Missouri where we visited the downtown area and Gateway Arch or as some say, The Gateway to the West. I chuckled as I straddled the mid-point stepping back and forth saying to my wife…I am in the west, no the east, no the west. I took a good deal of photos of the arch, many of them abstract. There are so many people milling around the arch at sunset that most of my full scope shots ended up feeling cluttered. It was however good to see so many photographers down there near sunset trying to get some interesting shots. I think perhaps the best shot may have been across the river, but as Chimney Man says to Jelly (see Jelly’s Last Jam):

Ever hear of East St. Louis? Piss me off again n’ you gonna be giggin’ in ole West Hell. Even the devil doesn’t go there after dark.

Twilight in the Woods

The Long Good Sunset

I attended a going away celebration this weekend for a work colleague who was leaving our team for greener pastures. The party was held outside of town in what I might well call the woods. I was told before-hand to bring my camera as the location was atop a small hill that gave a good vista of the surrounding countryside. I arrived about a half an hour after sunset and I thought all might be lost as I prefer the overly dramatic nature of just before sunset. The positive was the low light pollution gave me some great starry night sky. This is my first attempt at catching stars with my 16-35 f2.8 and I am afraid I caught a bit too much of the Earth’s rotation, but it came out an interesting shot none the less. It was amazing how long the color stayed around on the horizon.

A Rant on Gear

As happens when I get around people with my camera in hand, I get asked lots of camera questions. Someone inevitably wants to purchase the awesome power of the DSLR and I am always a bit hesitant with the advice. Most people will see a shot like this and believe (thanks marketing) it was the camera. WOW! If I only had that $4000 setup like you, I could take pictures like that too! Well, not quite. Full disclosure, I spent 3 hours post processing this image.

My workflow went a bit like this:

  1. Lightroom – Import and initial color correction.
  2. Photomatix – HDR bracket combination and pre-work processing. This images was re-imported to Lightroom.
  3. Photoshop – I removed unwanted elements, blended the HDR and normal exposures with layer masks, reduced the impact of some green colored lights, etc.
  4. Nik Define – Noise Reduction (this step was probably unneeded).
  5. OneOne Perfect Effects – Autumn and Golden Hour Enhancer – Color enhancement and mild glow.
  6. Photoshop – Blending of the OnOne layers (I prefer layers in PS sorry OnOne).
  7. Nic Sharpener Pro – Sharpening for screen display.
  8. This was all re-imported to Lightroom for some final cropping and distribution to online sources.

All of this takes quite a bit of work. For YEARS, I would take pictures, import them onto my computer and be immediately discouraged. They were dull in color, not sharp, boring, poorly composed or cropped. This would lead to me putting my camera away for months at a time. In 2009 I literally took 44 photos. 44! What the hell! I LOVE photography…why did I take only 44 photos?

I had often heard from other photographers that gear doesn’t matter. Get out there and use the camera you have! I understand this truth now. The extension of this, that I missed for years…the thing that kept me for really pursuing photography is a simple realization that I would like to share with you now. Great works start with the click of the shutter. They don’t end there. The click is the first step in a huge process…great images come for blood, sweat and computer time. Today’s image isn’t an illustration of greatness, but its good and I learned ten new things I will take with me to the next image. I will grow…I will get better.

The same goes for you! If you want better images, start learning the techniques that help you create the images you see in your mind. Practice, learn, absorb, try new things. Perhaps someday you will want to spend $4,000 on a camera. Great! Welcome to the club! Know though, that an expensive camera doesn’t create good images. Only you can do that.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Up Close and Personal

One evening while visiting some friends in Kansas City, Missouri, we took a car ride around during a misty, cold fall evening. We happened to be driving to the Power and Light District when I eyed a crazy structure off to our left. It was the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. With obvious architectural ties to the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim it truly is an impressive building which I look forward to seeing inside some day.

It Almost Looks Like a Big City

I have been continuing to work with HDR and this Saturday I got up before dawn and make the not so far trek down to the Grant Avenue bridge in North Springfield, MO. When Pamela and I go across this bridge we always remark, “From here, you know it almost looks like a big city”. After the conversion to HDR cropping the pic down to a panoramic to get rid of some of the distractions.

Panoramic photos are always best bigger, this photo has me questioning the width of my blog. It maybe nice to have a wider for photo display, its something I am considering for the future of the site. What are your favorite spots in SGF? I am wondering what I should photograph next.