Thursday, June 23, 2011

High dynamic range imaging

How about that phone blog entry?  I guess I should not do that because that camera is not a Canon camera.  Oh well.  Once again, I am running around trying to do ten things at once and nothing is getting done, as it should be.  So I might as well put up a quick blog entry.  HDR - High Dynamic Range imaging.  This is badass!!  I did mine with Adobe’s Photoshop but there are other software programs out there.  I will never try them though, I have Photoshop, part of my CS5 package.  I took these shots back on November 5th in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district after attending an art show at Bordello’s Bar (I think they are closed now).  Put the camera on the tripod and shot a bunch of different shots (ISO, F-stop, shutter speed, etc.).  However, I did not try this until a few days ago.  I kept putting it off because…  Life.  So I finally did the HDR and HOT TAMALES!!!  This is incredible!  Oh, I shot this all with my Canon Rebel XS using the 18-55mm lens:

These first shots are just samples of the different types of shots I took.  I took at least 25 different shots of the same thing.  I did not use them all but I wanted a big variety to choose from.
This shot was using just one photo with Photoshop.  After you open your photo, you click ‘image’ on the menu bar at the top.  Go down the pull down menu to ‘adjustments’ then go down that menu to HDR toning.  You can make one of these.  And this is cool – I love doing this.
This is the 'one' photo it was made from.
But that one photo deal pales in comparison to using three or more to create this surrealistic awesome looking shot!!  I absolutely love this stuff!  How do you do it?  Just hit the Adobe link and the video on the site will walk you through.  Too easy!  Now I am going to have to shoot a model with the intent of doing this layered HDR affect.  Too cool.  Ok, I need to go get my kids – bye.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm sitting here at my mechanics place, Sal's in Fontana getting my AC fixed. Just the trials and tribulations of life. Of course I wish I was shooting photos. But its almost noon so obviously I wouldn't be shooting. Well this is going to be a while so I better grab my camera and take a walk - just in case.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It is still cool looking to me

Tuesday (June 14) I was at school (California State University, San Bernardino) taking two final exams.  I have another final tomorrow, Thursday.  After that, the spring quarter for 2011 is over for me.  I will not be back in school until September.  Want to guess what my major is?  We will save that for another blog.  On my way back to my minivan, (yeah, that’s what I drive and I like it) I was popping off the camera left and right.  I actually walked around the campus for a short while and took some shots for the sake of taking some shots.  I will show you that later.  OK, on my way back to the van I was taking photos.  At the van, I shot these because I thought the effect was cool.  And I am using my Canon PowerShot A540, my veteran point and shoot since 2007.

This is the stop sign next to where I am parked.  It is interesting all by itself with its graffiti and bird droppings.  However, it is only important in this set as a reference though.

Now this is the reflection shot – cool is it not?  You see my A540 too.  And that devilishly handsome gent in the red t-shirt that looks like Denzel Washington is me.  Oh, have you noticed the red theme?  Look how you can see the inside of the van and the parking lot.  You can see the “POTS” sign too.  This looks like something done in Photoshop but it is not.  I just thought this was so cool.

Here is another reflection shot with a lot of sky.  In the top sky portion, you still see inside the van.  Man, this was an awesome concept.  I am sure there is a name for this somewhere and the Annie Leibovitz, Steve Szabo, Ansel Adams and or so on have all done famous ‘something, something’ shots like this one – I just never heard of it.  It is still cool looking to me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Goodbye, Grandma

My grandma passed away on March 09, 2011.  She had turned 90 a few months before.  My grandma was a central figure in all of my life - a close second to only my mom.  Here passing affected me more than I realized; she meant more to me than I was aware and I was aware she meant a lot.  As a kid, I spent as much time with my grandma as I did with my mom.  My grandma was always there for me – no matter how bad I screwed up.  My grandma stood up for me even to my mom – who I believe was my grandma’s best friend, her oldest daughter.  The two of them, at least to me, seemed to have a special connection that appeared to be a bit deeper than that of my uncles and aunts – my grandma’s other children.  My grandma whipped my butt too when she knew I needed it.  My grandma patched me up more times than I can remember as I was a rough and tumble little boy; hardheaded is the first word that comes to mind.  My grandma advised me on anything I asked – even if she did not know a thing about it.  My grandma consoled me whenever she saw that I needed it – I never asked to be consoled.  My grandma stood up to me too in defense of my kids – and I backed down.  She also advised me on how I disciplined them – to make sure I was not too heavy handed.  She grew up in a time when ‘heavy handed’ was the only way to raise children but she knew things others did not know.  As I said, I backed down.  I never said a word in anger to my grandma – never.  It did not matter how angry I might have been.  I loved her so much, respected her just as much, and trusted her judgment beyond reproach.  My grandma had slowed down a bit in her twilight years.  Her memory was not what it used to be.  Her wit was not as sharp.  Her attention was not always with us.  I think all that had gone before her were calling her.  My grandfather, my great uncles, great aunts, and others.  I think they were reaching out to her letting her know that her shift in our family was coming to a close.  That is what I think when she was not with us from time to time.  One of my biggest fears during my 20 years in the Army was that I would not get back home in time to spend some time with my grandma.  I was lucky; since 2006, we have all lived together.  I was with my grandma almost every morning and every evening since then.  I was lucky; my kids, whom I had late in life, got to know their great grandma intimately.  I was lucky; my grandma and I went to see Al Green together, just the two of us, in December of 2006.  He was one of her favorites.  I was lucky; my grandma and I got to ride out to the casinos together, just the two of us, on a couple of occasions.  A few others, my mom was with us too.  We never won much if any but we had a lot of fun.  I was lucky; I got to see my grandma and she me a few days before she passed.  I was lucky; I knew my grandma.  However, my grandma really knew me – in ways I could never know her.  My grandma has gone to join the pantheons of my family and to take her rightful place among them.  Without them, without my grandma – I would not exist.  Worse, nor would my children.  So, I just wanted to say goodbye one more time to my grandma because she was – still is – that important to me.  Goodbye grandma.

I did not take this photo.  I wasn't born.  I'm not sure if my mom was born for that matter.  I think my grandma was in her early twenties - I think.
Another photo I did not take.  I was born but only about 7 years old.  This was in 1969.  Pictured are my grandfather and grandmother.  I miss them both.
And another photo I did not snap.  I believe this was taken in the late eighties or early nineties.  My grandparents again.  They are now together again.
I took this shot.  This is my grandma and one of her many great grandchildren - this one is my youngest child.  We were at the Dallas County Fair in October of 2006.
Ok, it is my camera but I did not press the shutter release.  We were heading to see Al Green at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prarie, TX (I think it's the Verizon Theater now).  This was in December of 2006.  Just me and grandma hittin' the streets!
At our Christmas party in December of 2007.  My big cousins (my mom's first cousin which make them my first cousins, once removed but I just say 'big' cousins) in the background.  We had a lot of fun.
We were in Las Vegas in September of 2008 and that's my grandma and on of my little cousins (you know what I mean) and another cousin in the foreground.
This was taken in September 2009 and my youngest and grandma were discussing matters of national importance.  It was catching the president and his cabinet locked in debate of some very important matter.
Both of my girls with grandma and her new snuggy birthday gift in December 2009.  I love this picture.  This is how I remember my grandma.

Veola McGrew – Dec 23, 1920 – Mar 09, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Victor Valley, CA

So I am driving around trying to scout out the area for photo shoots because I am new here.  Here being Victorville, CA.  I had been in Fontana for almost a year and just relocated to Victorville here in the VictorValley.  I had been driving around a few places, doing my ‘drive by shooting’ with my camera, when it occurs to me that the area was poised to blow up before the great economic meltdown of 2008 – The Great Recession as it is known in the financial world.  I say that because you can see signs of development that simply stopped.  So many places were in that predicament all over the country.  But why were people coming to Victor Valley in the first place?  The place gets crazy hot in the summer (it sits in the Mojave Desert) and crazy cold, with snow, in the winter.  In the winter, people do get “snowed in” up here when the CHP closes the Cajon Pass on I-15 – that means you are cut off from getting down below into San Bernardino/Riverside Metro and on to LA.  Well, you could always reverse direction and head to Vegas I guess.  But aside from being a place to stop and eat on your way to and from Las Vegas, why would people want to live out here?  I only came because it was cheap relative to many other areas in So Cal.  Nevertheless, the place was growing before the Great Recession.  Median house prices were above $350K back then.  I believe there is something more going on here than meets the eye.  Clearly, I am going to have to learn more.  But look for yourself:

I was out next to Mojave Narrows Regional Park on June 2 looking for interesting places to do a photo shoot.  Look at those mountains in the background.  California is full of impressive geography if you just pause to look.  I shot these with my Canon PowerShot A540 – still working my old faithful.
With my PowerShot A540 in hand on June 4, I was driving around way out in the far parts of Apple Valley (yeah, the “far parts”) and saw this abandoned place. Definitely, the ‘Hills Have Eyes’kind of stuff going on here. Oh, they filmed part of that movie out here. Makes you say hmm…

Yesterday, June 9, while driving to school (Cal State San Bernardino in North San Bernardino) on I-15, I observed how the smog was held at bay by the mountains as I drove through the Cajon Pass.  I know, what’s worse – texting and driving or shooting and driving?  It’s not as hard as it looks when you have a CanonPowerShot S5 IS with its “High-resolution 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD for easy shooting at any angle”.  Was that a plug or what?  They should hire me.
This last shot I took with the PowerShot S5 too.  I was just cruising the streets in Victorville hunting for places to shoot.  I just like how I caught the sun in this shot.  I shot this today, June 10, 2011.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Imagine the world without cameras – what a strange place it would be.  No photographs.  No films or videos.  Painters, sketch artist, and the like would be highly sought after in this commercial world we live in.  Well, that was a random thought for the sake of thinking about something that does not matter because there are cameras – quadrillions of them!  They are on everything – your phone, the ATM machine, your computer, traffic intersection, the grocery store, police cars, racecars, and that is not counting the cameras that are just cameras you hold in your hand.  Wow, I love cameras!  I love photographs even more.  One of the subjects I like photographing are flowers:

This is a photograph that has been ‘rendered’ in Photoshop.  What do you think?  I do not know the names of these flowers but that is no reason not to shoot them.  I shot this with my Canon PowerShot S5 IS.  For an older camera, it works really well.
Does this photo look familiar?  It is the background photo for my blog.  I shot this back in February in Rancho Cucamonga.  I shot this one and the previous shot that day chilly day.  More Photoshop work.  I shot this with my S5 IS too and took liberty with Photoshop.
I shot this shot in my aunt’s back yard in Fontana while these annuals were blooming in April.  Then I did some creative stuff with Photoshop to create this.  I should print and frame some of this stuff and sell it at show.  I shot this one with my Canon Rebel XS using the 18-55mm lens.
I took this shot in Texas last year.  I have this thing for these wild sunflowers.  At least I know the name of this one.  These things are really weeds – they grow just about anywhere.  No Photoshop here save for the watermark.  The affect was done with my PowerShot S5 IS shooting in the color accent mode.  Cool, huh?

Here is another shot taken with my Rebel XS.  I took this in Las Vegas last year.  Again, some Photoshop work and it looks like a painting.

Ok, I will be back.