Among other things, 6th St east of I-35 has its fill of bars. Not as many as 6th St west of 35 and – I think I’m right about this – probably not as nice. I don’t know what it’s like inside this place here and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out. Can’t say I trust bars with no windows. Plus, I’ve stayed in a hotel called the Shangri-La in Singapore a long time ago and I doubt this place is as nice as that was. I could be very wrong though and I guess that will just have to stay a mystery to me. But, I did like how the name was lit with the arrow pointing towards the door.
This is an HDR but I masked in the -2EV bracket to emphasize the lit up name of the place. Plus, I did a little dodging and burning as well. Is it too much? Let me know and thanks for dropping by.
Downtown Austin is pretty well known for it’s party area located on 6th street. There are bars galore! It’s basically a mini New Orleans – a place where tourists and University of Texas students go to get their drink on. I’m sure some locals go down there as well, but not like the tourists and the students. All of this is located right downtown, west of Interstate 35. The east side of 35, on the other hand, is not as nice. In fact it is rather run down and is pretty much the Compton/South Chicago-like side of Austin. Portions of it are starting to become gentrified though and some hip shops are popping-up. One of them is the 6th Street Cool Store. From what I understand, it sells a great variety of beers – something which makes me a fan already – and apparently the proprietors are very friendly. I have never been inside, but I plan on going in some time. It’s located on the side of town where I work and I thought it was time to get a shot of it. I think I will have to get shots of other sites as well because there are some pretty interesting things going on with the east side. I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by.
I went to the Riverwalk down in San Antonio last weekend for something to do. However, it was the middle of the day and I kind of thought that any shots I would take down there would be of rather snapshot-ish quality. Oh maybe I could’ve gone indoors somewhere, but I didn’t have too much time and it was so nice outside that going indoors wasn’t really a good option. So, I came up with a plan… I got this plan from the Sky Mall catalogs that you see on airplanes in the seat-backs. They have these photo collages that spell out college names made up of shots of regular objects found throughout the various campuses. So I thought, why not try this on the Riverwalk? This is my attempt at that and I made a little poster out of it using some techniques from Scott Kelby and a few of my own. What do you think? Can you tell what is spells?
Morning traffic in Austin is a nightmare, or better yet, a “morningmare”! It’s the worst. The quicker you can get a jump on it, the better. For that reason, I get on the road pretty early so I can beat most of it. However, the rate that the city is growing, the traffic seems to get busier earlier and earlier. Many years ago, Austin thought one way to combat the traffic woes was to put in an upper-deck on the expressway going through downtown that would have not off-ramps so drivers could take that option to help speed through. It doesn’t seem to really help anymore. But, just off the decks on the southbound side of I-35 near 38 1/2 street lies a new office building which went up and has an 8-level parking garage. It’s free to go into and it has a great view of the decks. That’s where I took this 7-shot panorama.
If you know what you are doing and have the right gear, panoramas can be pretty easy and fun. For me, not so much. But, I did learn a lot about panoramas after taking and processing this photo. It still needs a little work, but for me, I think it works. The things I learned are as follows:
1. To take a proper panorama, one must know the “nodal point” of the lens of choice. The nodal point is basically the area “inside the lens where the light paths cross before being focused onto a film plane.” That point is where you want the actual camera to pivot from while you take your shots for a panorama. That way, when it’s time to stitch your shots together, the stitching software can blend the shots together as accurately as possible. Otherwise, you will get some wild and unfortunate problems from stitching to distortion (other than normal pano distortion, that is). Also, to figure out the nodal point, you will need a proper head and/or bracket for your tripod.
2. If you can’t use a tripod or even if you have a tripod and not the right head or bracket, you can still take a decent panorama, but be prepared to fix a lot of stitching issues and perspective/distortion problems. I ran into a lot of those with this shot, but a photographer out there named Klaus Herrmann, aka Farbspiel, who takes some great vertical panoramas (or vertoramas), has some great processing techniques that were invaluable. His distortion correction video was a big help! I learned a lot from that video and I also learned a lot from his “making of” videos. However, if you watch those, be prepared to pause and play quite often because his techniques are quite extensive and he speeds up the vids about 10 times as fast as normal! However, you can still get a lot out of them! Those “making of” videos really helped me fix stitching problems.
3. To take a good panorama, put your camera in portrait orientation, meter the main subject in the pano with your camera, note the camera’s aperture and shutter settings, switch to manual mode and input those setting accordingly. Then take all the shots to compose the pano with those settings. That way, you won’t have any blending problems in post-processing.
I guess those are the main things I’ve learned. I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for visiting!
This is a vertorama (aka a vertical panorama) of I-35 in downtown Austin. It’s comprised of 5 landscape-oriented shots stitched together in Photoshop to make an almost 180 degree vertical view of what one would see if standing on one of the cross bridges. I think I could’ve captured this with a fish-eye lens as well, but alas, I don’t have one. Lastly, I was hoping to make this an HDR, but I think this turned out nicely without.
There’s a parking garage at 9th and Lavaca which affords one a great view of the Texas capitol. It’s a great angle for a morning shot because the sun rises in the background. I was hoping for that on this day, but instead the weather decided to be misty and drizzly. I’m glad it was because I think I’m happier with this shot than I would have been had it been a clear day!
You know, sometimes you can find the best picture opportunities at your own house. Of course, sometimes you have to have the right gear, but still… I took this shot outside our back window where we have a bird feeder hanging from one of our oak trees. We get a lot of sparrows, doves, grackles and blue jays that like to eat from it. We get the occasional squirrel that we have to chase away, too! Those guys are gluttons! Anyway, we also get these pretty red breasted house finches. I always wanted to get a shot of one of them, so today I thought I would give it a try. To get this shot I really needed a super long lens so I could get some great detail. Instead, I used my 28-300 racked all the way out and then I cropped the heck out of it so the bird would be most obvious in picture.