Sunday, July 26, 2009

Land Ahoy!!




This is one of those images that you frame in your mind before you take the shot, knowing exactly what is you want out of it and a good idea of you're going to achieve it.


This was taken at the St. Petersburg Pier in St. Petersburg, Fl during a photowalk I went on with my friend Mike Hoffman. I met Mike through NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals http://www.photoshopuser.com/ , great site full of great people and awesome talent, you should go check it out some time, if you are a photographer or graphic artist you'll be amazed at the community over there). As you can tell by the color of the sky, this was taken late in the day just 30 minutes or so before sundown. The pier area is a great place to go and take photos at, it's very much so a target rich environment. It's a really fun place with lots of interesting things to photograph.


As we were walking around the Pier, I saw the HMS Bounty facing the city, the sun setting and the skyline of St. Pete in the background. I had to find a way to incorporate all of those elements together in order to make the impact I wanted to make with this image. So I decided that I was going to have to attempt to capture this using HDR (High Dynamic Range, yeah, what a stretch for me to use HDR but hey, once an HDR addict, always an HDR addict). Since I had left my trusty tripod in the truck, I would have to hand hold this in order to get the 3 or more exposures that were required to turn this into an HDR image. So I leaned against the ship with my shoulder and held the camera as still as possible without leaning too far and falling in (of course at the time I wasn't too worried about that, it was after I took the shot that it became a concern LOL).


This was the first image that I worked on the next day, I was very excited about how it was going to turn out. I knew there was a lot of potential here and that motivated me a lot to spend the time working on it. It's pretty funny, I had joked to myself when I saw the first exposure in Adobe Bridge that this was going to be a Monty Python photo. It reminded me a lot of the Corporate Raiders scene from The Meaning of Life. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this came out, hand held HDRs are tough to pull off in low light, camera movement will ruin any photo and having to try to hold the camera still for 3 shots in a row, wasn't easy. I'm sure there's some motivational saying out there somewhere that would fit this image and a title like "Sailing into the Future" or something like that. Perhaps when I come up with something, I'll turn it into a poster.


As with this and most of the images I will be discussing in my blogs, they are all available at http://www.rorymadstudios.com/ in the Art Gallery.


Next week's blog is going to be about Ghost Town, Ybor City and the day I lucked out and nobody was on the street. See y'all next week :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Red Barn photo





Pretty amazing that I could be walking around a resort in the San Antonio area and find this gem to take a photo of, right? Well, the barn was taken at the resort but what you don't see is the base of the barn because it's concrete block and not rustic wood like the top half of the barn appears to be. The sky is from another of my images as well, it was taken in San Antonio afterall.


I had a mental picture in my mind of what I wanted this barn to turn into unfortunately though, every morning and evening, the sky was blown out, so I took the photo knowing I would have to do something about the sky later. Trust me, the photo isn't near this dramatic with a white sky. Incidentally, the sky is from a photo I took here in the Tampa Bay area, I just had to adjust the saturation to match that of the barn and it was ready to be merged into one image. The barn itself was pretty neat but the sky is what made this image stand out and what I was looking for the entire time I was in San Antonio. (Great place to visit by the way, even though the Alamo was a bit of a let down).


My trip to San Antonio yielded me a lot of great subjects for photos. The Missions there are absolutely amazing and highly recommend the Spanish Mission tour if you're in town for a few days and have some time to spare. Here are a few more photos that I took while there.


Mission Conception - San Antonio, Texas



Red Wagon Wheel Closeup San Antonio, Texas

Wagon Wheel, Sepia San Antonio, Texas

Thank you for taking the time to read a little about my Barn photo, it's one of my more popular photos. All of these photos can be found on my site at http://www.rorymadstudios.com/ .


Warm regards,

Michael

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Aistream Ranch


(click to make larger)

What is the heck is this, you ask? It's the Airstream Ranch located at Exit 14 on I-4 in Florida. You can find it on the north side of the interstate, the property belongs to the RV dealership nextdoor, Bates RV. This is one of my favorite places to photograph and the owners are more than happy to have people stop by just for that reason.



This particular piece of work is very near and dear to my heart. I grew a lot as a photographer with this particular image. I used to take photos and worry about what they were going to look like later, afterall I could correct most issues in post processing. This however, was not shot in that way. I had a plan for this image the moment left the drive way and headed out to the Airstream Ranch or Redneck Stonehenge as I had affectionatly labeled it at the time.



Here's the orignal HDR by the way, so you have it for reference.


(click to make larger)

This is probably one of the most photographed landmarks in the Tampa Bay area. People have photographed it from the interstate, from the road behind it, inside the fence, from the middle of the trailers and yes, even from a helicopter. My goal all along was to photograph and process this in a way that nobody had done before. To create a piece of unique art, as unique as the Airstream ranch is all on its own.

For those that don't know, I have two obsessions in photography. HDR (High Dynamic Range) and IR (infrared). HDR photography has been passion of mine for several years now, I love the surreal effects that HDR processing can help the photographer achieve. I also love the out of this world look that can be achieved by IR photography. My goal here was to combine the two into something interesting and different and that's exactly what I did.


At the time, I didn't own an IR filter or a camera that had been convered to IR. I have a filter now and one day soon I will be converting my Nikon D200 to IR only but that's a few months down the road. The only way I could achieve the look I was after was to make it happen in Photoshop (/gasp, did he say "Photoshop"). Yes, I said Photoshop, there it's out in the open, I admitted to it, I used software to manipulate my work into the exact image I was after all along. I'll let you in on a little secret, even if I owned an IR camera or an IR filter, I would have still had to use Photoshop in order to make this what it turned out to be but Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, it's our secret. See, most IR images are a carmel color out of the camera, you have to do some "processing" in order to get it to look like IR film, which turns the greens to white and creates some great contrast.

I've seen a lot of images of the Airstream ranch, a few in HDR and few IR but none that were the combination of HDR/IR. It took me several hours of trial and error to end up with the artwork at the top of the page. Lots and lots of trial and error but also a lot of learning. I haven't had any formal training in Photoshop so this wasn't easy and it was also my first major project that I had attempted where I knew exactly what it was I wanted as the out come and found a way to make it happen. This image was also one of my first featured images on Redbubble (http://www.redbubble.com/, lot of great artwork over there, while you're there do a search for MKWhite, you'll find my portfolio and if you're feeling really generous, you can buy some of my work, shameless plug I know but hey, I sell AV equipment all day long , you didn't think you were going to get through this entire blog without some type of pitch, by the way, rest in peace Billy Mays, you'll be missed ).


I have a lot work now that I am proud of but this image and the one of my father on the railroad tracks are the two that are the nearest and dearest to my heart. I plan on going back to the Airstream Ranch again soon so I can try this with my Nikon D300 , the images above were taken with my Nikon D200 and unfortunately I have lost the 5 orignal photos I used to make the HDR portion of this image.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you like my work you can find it for sale at two locations. http://www.rorymadstudios.com/ (try here first, much better deal) or at www.redbubble.com/people/mkwhite (more expensive already framed work ).





Saturday, July 4, 2009

Walking the Line



Alright, so here we go. This is one of my favorite pieces of work, it features my father. I invited him to go out shooting with me in dowtown Tampa. I really wanted him to join me so he could see me at work behind the lens but wasn't sure this would be his cup of tea. To my surprise, he was eager to go walk around the downtown Tampa area with me and keep me company while I was taking photos.


What you don't see in this photo is the railcars behind me, I was taking photos of the graffiti on the side of the cars when I turned around and saw my father walking the rail line. It's not often you see a 70 year old man balancing his way down a set of railroad tracks so I had to stop what I was doing and take some photos of him. The moment I pressed the shutter, I saw the progression of him making his way down the tracks and knew I had to find a way to make this happen during post processing. I also knew that I wouldn't be able to show that progression with just images of him walking down the line, I had to fade the closer shots out and the further ones back into frame , after all he was walking away from me , not towards me.


I've always been very proud of my father, he worked hard in his life, he didn't waiver from his ideals and he has always been there for me when I need to talk or vent. I was really happy to be able to capture this moment for the both of us, we had a great time photographing the city and I look forward to doing more outings like this with him.


I can't begin to tell you how happy I was when my father decided to put an 8"x 10" of this next to his chair in the family room. That's the best compliment a photographer/artist could ever get, the displaying of their work in a place for all to see.




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My name is Michael White and I'm a Fine Art Photographer based out of the Tampa Bay area.   I enjoy photographing various landscapes and wild life that can be found in the US.  I am also the creator of a new process called High Key HDR. 
 
You can find my website at www.carsinhdr.com and I can also be followed on Twitter at @rorymadstudios .