Hayley and I just got back from a trip we took visiting Lindsay, Dustin, Ethan, and Elliot. Initially, the thought was we would go to New York, quickly see some of the sites, and then move on to Delaware where her sister’s family is located. What a surprise it was for us when we found out we were also getting to spend a night in D.C. with Lindsay, Dustin, and the boys! Of course, I brought my camera and it was by my side the entire time. Here are some of the pictures from the trip:
I was lucky to have Hayley as my beautiful photog. model for the trip. One of MANY snaps taken as the subway was passing by, the flag and reflection were sheer luck:
I snapped this while he was waiting to cross the street. If you haven’t been to Times Square, let me be the 5 millionth person to tell you it’s amazing:
On top of 30 rock, facing the Empire State Building:
Hayley and another American flag. There’s a connection there. She’s an American. I talked her into posing while the people passed by at the busy station. I don’t know if the couple leaning on each other in the background was trying to get in on the action, but I thought it turned out pretty cool. One second exposure is what got the blurred movement for everyone else:
This may just look like a snapshot to everyone, and maybe it is, but this was super difficult to acheive! (just ask Blake and Elyse). I didn’t have my tripod with me so my camera was resting on a building ledge, remote shutter. This couldn’t be taken with a normal flash as the city in the background would be washed out. I had to set it to rear flash to capture the city in a long exposure and then the camera would fire the flash for the foreground after. Basically, it was a long exposure and everyone had to stand really still for like 15 sec.
Yes, that’s the camera remote in my hand. What of it?:
NYC Panorama. My first try at a pan:
Possibly the biggest bubble I’ve ever seen…oh and I’ve seen some bubbles!:
Here’s me, trying to avoid holding a camera at the normal height for taking pictures because it’s usually not the best point of view. For this shot, I actually set my camera on the ground, focused on the leaves, and set the camera to F4 for a super fast exposure, as I was wanting to blur everything but the foreground:
Maybe…no probably…no definitely the cutest little guy ever:
Arlington National Cemetery is an absolute must see:
Not only was the feeling of the place one to remember, we also got unbelievable fall colors to go along with it. I really loved this place:
On the ground once again, as I didn’t have my tripod. This took about 20 shots to achieve. The end result is still technically underexposed but I like it that way. I got some pretty weird looks from people walking by as all 6’4″ of me was sprawled out on my stomach trying to get this picture to work:
This picture doesn’t do it justice. You can tell from the picture above how big the statue is compared to the people walking up to it. This picture was really underexposed but I did it on purpose because I wanted everything dark except Abe. I used photoshop to dodge the statue and words while burning the corners to try and make the whole thing stand out:
World War II memorial:
Well, that’s that. We had an absolute blast and I’m extremely thankful that Dustin and Lindsay allowed us the visit while making us feel really special by planning a visit to D.C. for all of us. Hopefully we’ll get to go back again someday and spend more time in both NY and DC as they are both amazing places to visit.
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!