405 Living

Archive for July, 2010


It’s exciting when photos happen by complete accident.  I was out shooting something that wasn’t coming together in the way I’d pictured at all.  Engine sounds kept roaring in the distance and I thought someone was doing some heavy-duty mowing.  Looking over, I saw a kid on a dirt bike 15 ft. in the air! Instantly, I decided it was a much stronger possibility for a photo than what I was trying to do:

Jumping into the Sunset

Turns out there were three of them riding and I swear when they saw me taking pictures they started getting even more air on their jumps.  Total show offs but hey, I can’t blame them, I was truly impressed!

It’s funny because my friend Tristan and I were just talking about how we missed the game Excitebike on Nintendo.  When I was taking this picture I totally felt like a kid playing the game once again – except with a little better graphics:

Oh memories.



Oklahoma Farmland

Our state is full of so many unique landscapes if we’re just willing to look.  Many of them hidden on back roads, away from busy streets.  I’d noticed this field with an abandoned red barn for a while and finally caught it in some good light:

Maybe not quite as exciting as snow-covered mountains but Oklahoma does have a certain agricultural beauty to it.  The lines and rows of crops leading into the barn were what first struck my eye.   As a side note, I got absolutely hammered by mosquitos while shooting this, even after a thorough application of repellant.  Apparently they can bite you through thin clothing.  News to me, but at least now I know.

More to come (PICTURES, not mosquitos-at least hopefully not),

Also, I caught another thunderstorm/lightning pic that I’m gonna share soon,


Lightning Over the State Capitol – Final Edit

This is for anyone who might be interested in the technical side of photography.  My final edited version of the state capitol building looked something like this:

A few problems remain though.  The columns are not vertical, the horizontal part of the building bows out a little, and the building isn’t very sharp  The first two problems are the result of me looking up at the building while using an ultra wide-angle lens.  Sometimes these distortions are an advantage, especially when coming up with creative camera views, but I’m not sure the composition I chose benefits from these distortions (blame that on my lack of compositional skills with a wide angle lens – still a work in progress!)  

I ran the picture through a program called PT Lens and did adjustments for my camera, lens, and focal length, which corrected the bowing of the building.  I also adjusted the perspective so my columns were completely vertical all the way across, along with some other subtle color changes with my final image looking like this:

Notice how the top sides of the building are horizontal, with the columns vertical all the way across the image.  Really it’s a matter of being either technically correct or going with the artistic aspect of the distortion.  I prefer the straight columns but I’m sure there are others who would disagree.  For my third problem, I learned how to use layers which lets you focus on and edit one part of the picture, like the sky for instance.  Basically you save two copies of your photo and work on both simultaneously and merge them into one final layer.  In my original image there was a lot of color noise in the sky so I “de-noised” it while leaving the building alone.  As you can tell from the first image, the building was “de-noised” along with the sky so the building looks a little soft and not as sharp as should be.  In this last image, while using layers, I was able to achieve both my goals of getting rid of color noise in the sky, while keeping my building as sharp as possible. 

A bunch of technical jargon for those who might be interested.  The true mark of a talented photographer is getting everything right in camera so I’ve got a long way to go.  😉   This learning process has been really fun for me though!



Laguna Beach, CA

Every summer our family takes a week off for vacation and 99% of the time we go to Laguna Beach.  I’m more of the idea that vacations should be for going somewhere you’ve never been before, but with Laguna being as nice as it is, there’s really no complaining.  Here are a few pictures I wanted to share from the trip:

Mountains in the Mojave National Preserve

Overlooking Laguna Niguel

I really like the milky effect that long exposures put on water.

Meredith enjoying the view


We got to see the Dodgers play the Angels while we were here and it was pretty sweet.  My sister and I got $5 each to go up to the very top of the stadium.  We were sitting on the complete opposite side.  It was worth it though, we turned the money into some delish ice cream cookies.  We deserved it.  As a side note, for you perfectionists out there, I actually flipped the original picture to make everything go left to right.  More natural feeling, but the scoreboard text is now backwards.  Maybe someday I’ll learn how to fix that. 😉

Dusk at the Ritz - 4 min. exposure

The white lines in the sky are stars.  When you expose for this amount of time, you start to track their movement throughout the sky!

Mom and Meredith (this is my favorite shirt of Mer's)

Annual Laguna Beach family picture!

Cadillac Farm - Amarillo, TX

This place in Amarillo was a little creepy.  Ten cars, the front halves buried in the ground, right by the side of the highway and people just come and spray paint on them every day.

That’s it!  Thanks for checking in.


Lightning Over the State Capitol

lightning over the state capitol 40 sec. exposure

I was pretty pumped to get my first lightning picture and couldn’t have asked for a cooler place to get it!  Set my tripod up and did a 30 sec. exposure and got extremely lucky!