Spring Means Bluebonnets

Field of Flowers

Spring means bluebonnets in Texas hill country.

It’s been maybe 4-5 years since I traveled into the hill country in search of those quintessential blue harbingers of a Texas spring.

Bluebonnet Scene

One day, last week, a co-worker emailed to tell me she had driven to Chappell Hill and then on to Washington-on-the-Brazos to view the wildflowers.  She said the color display was amazing.

Red Yellow Blue and Green

So on my next Friday off, I took my cameras and myself on a little drive along Hwy 290 to Chappell Hill to see the color for myself.

The Long Dirt Road

Field of Bluebonnets

The Road Up The Hill

Springtime in the Hill Country

Golden

Becky and the Field of Gold

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Filed under flowers, Landscape, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas

Becky in a Field of Gold

Yesterday, I drove out toward Texas hill country to capture some images of the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other wildflowers – like this field of gold wildflowers (whose name I need to look up).  It was a beautiful day and I managed to get some great shots, more of which will be in a future post.

Becky and the Field of Gold

If you are currently in the southeast/central part of Texas, drive Hwy 290 over to Chappell Hill and then take 1155 from there toward Washington-on-the-Brazos state park to see some lovely carpets of blue, red, and yellow covering the fields as well as much smaller spots of scenery.

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“Super Close-Up” Shots in a National Park

The National Parks Traveler just published my latest article in their photography column.  It’s titled “Photography in the National Parks:  Make it a Macro Kind of Day” and deals with getting super close-ups using a macro lens or a macro-type gizmo.  It’s a short, fun article.  Check it out!

Forest Floor Colors

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Meet Kyle & Adrienne

Kyle and Adrienne - Color

Hello everybody! I know, long time, no post. I’ve been a busy gal. I’m getting ready for a late April 2014 return trip to Big Bend National Park.  I’ve also been  putting together my packing list for my August Alaska 2014 trip, and I just purchased a plane ticket for an October visit to Hawaii where I have a reservation for 4 days at Volcano House in Volcanoes National Park. On top of that, I am trying to get into better (waaaayyyy better) shape in order to do the hikes I want for all of these trips. And, I admit, it’s been a little “dry”, photographically, since my last post.

A week ago, however, I traveled north and west of Houston to a lovely home for some engagement photos with Kyle and Adrienne. I’d been hired to photograph their June wedding and Adrienne told me her mother wanted an engagement photo session.

The day dawned overcast with a few sprinkles; the photos were supposed to be taken in Adrienne’s parents’ backyard garden. We’d scheduled a time of 11:30AM, so I knew the light would be flat, but I figured we’d still get some great shots and I’d bring along some fun umbrellas as props to keep the couple dry if it rained. As soon as I parked my car in front of their home, the sun came out; an auspicious omen.

I used my Canon 5D Mk III and Canon 1DX. I placed the Canon 85mm f1.2L lens on the Mk III and the Canon 24-70mm L II lens on the 1DX. I brought along my flash, too, which was good since several of the settings were interior shots. For those of you who have been following my posts for awhile, you know that I generally eschew flash because I simply don’t like it. I did use it for a couple of shots, but I also used just the ambient lighting and increased the ISO to compensate for the low light.

Below are some sample images from the morning’s session.

Multiple Kyles and Adriennes

Multiple Kyles and Adriennes - Garden Closeup

I’m starting to get the hang of this multiple-shots-in-one-image thing and thought it would be a fun trick for a couple of images.

Kyle and Adrien Azaleas - Color

The pink azaleas perfectly matched Adrienne’s sundress.

Kyle and Adrienne - Yucca - Original

Adrienne and Kyle - Tree BW

Among the many images taken, I also made sure to get some poses that might make for a nice photo to put into the engagement section of the newspaper.

Kyle and Adrien at Piano

This image was taken using a high ISO and the ambient light.  I chose to keep it the golden color of the interior lighting.  That beautiful charcoal drawing in the background was done by Adrienne’s mother.

Kyle and Adrien at Piano - Vignette

This image was captured using a flash.  I processed the image in Photoshop then applied some presets from OnOne’s Perfect Effects to soften and create a bit of a glow to the scene.

Kyle and Adrienne Stairs

Once again, I used only the ambient light and a high ISO to capture this image.  Then, I added a very little bit of vignetting to focus the eye more on the subjects.

Kyle and Adrienne On Stairs

I used a flash for this image, then cropped it a little more tightly around  the couple.

All-in-all, it was a fun morning and I’m glad I was able to meet the couple prior to their wedding.  By the end of my hour with Kyle and Adrienne, we were all feeling more relaxed in each other’s company.  Engagement photos are a fun way to introduce the photographer to the prospective bride and groom, discuss what kind of images they have in mind, and get everybody comfortable with each other.

If you would like to see more images taken on this day, click on this link.

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The Essential Guide for Spring, 2014

The National Parks Traveler has published their Essential Guide for Spring 2014.  I have a nice little spring photography article in the guide along with a couple of photos I captured during a 2012 visit to Mt. Rainier National Park on my April birthday.  Click on this link to check out the Spring Guide!

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Photography in the National Parks – Telling A Story With Your Photos

For those of you who may not know, I am a contributing writer and photographer to the National Parks Traveler website.  I share space with another photographer and every month, we each have an article published to this website’s Photography in the National Parks column.

My latest article has just been published and it deals with telling a story.  I suppose it’s a sort of “fluff” story, but it  does make a point and it’s something that can be applied by you readers, bloggers, and anybody who captures images in a national park either with a smartphone, point & shoot, or film / digital SLR.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Blogging, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Texas, Travel

Low-Light Photography and A Night at the Museum

Cyborg Rex

The Cyborg Carnivore – that light looks like a laser eye

I am not a big partier.  I used to go out more during  my college days, but that was eons ago and I would now much rather do something sans crowds….unless, of course, it’s an interesting venue and I can tote along my camera.

My company’s 2014 Employee Appreciation Party  was held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  With the exception of a few exhibits, we had the entire place to ourselves.   I couldn’t refuse the photo ops, now, could I?

Greg Hills Talk

The Dance Floor and The Welcome Speech

I knew the light would be low or bright only in spots, but I did not want to take along a flash because I did not want to ruin the ambience that available light bestows.  Flash would have created shadows and would have destroyed any of the neat available-light colors seen in these photos.

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #1

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #2

Hall Of The Dinosaurs #3

The shots above are of the Paleo Hall, where tables and food stations were set between the skeletons of pre-historic denizens

So, I set the ISO high – varying it between 1000 and 2500 on my Canon 1DX and used my Canon 24-70mm version II lens.  The shutter speed was between 1/40 and 1/60 and the f-stop was set to 4.

I applied what  is called  the “spray and pray” method of image capture (I’d never heard this before until just recently).  It means you hold down on that shutter button, clicking away  (the “spray” part) and “pray” that one of the images comes out the way you want it.  I’ll go with that.  It’s always worked for me in the past and I have plenty of memory cards.

The View From My Table

A View of the Dance Floor from My Table

The Foucault Pendulum

Foucault’s Pendulum

Hall Of The Egyptians

Hall of the Egyptians

The Paleo Hallway

The Paleo Hallway

Ready To Do Battle

Face Off!

Stegasaurus

Spotlight on the Stegosaurus

Triceratops

My Favorite Dinosaur:  The Triceratops

I applied noise-reduction software to all of these images because the high ISO settings required elimination of the inherent grainy look.

Becky And Friend_H5T7981

Me and A Friend

I joke that someday, when I become a famously-recognized (and wealthy) photographer, I will rent this museum’s Paleo Hall for a reception.  Winking smile

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