Thursday, July 31, 2008

Safety Harbor Marina

I'm still experimenting with HDR processing of my photos and I thought I'd compare them side-by-side to see which I like better. The photo on the left of Safety Harbor Marina at sunset is HDR, while the one on the right was processed normally in PhotoShop.

Both were from the same shot, both exposed in RAW format. The difference is with the HDR photo, I put the camera on a tripod and created 3 shots: 1 normal exposure, 1 underexposed by 2 stops and the other 1 overexposed by 2 stops. The normally processed photo was the middle shot with no over or under exposure.

I'm still trying to decide which way I prefer. I guess HDR has its place, maybe for architecture and interior work. I'll just have to keep playing with it until I can make up my mind.

Any comments?

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Fountain at the Safety Harbor Marina

Safety Harbor, Florida has some of the most amazing fountains in so many areas of the city. This one is at the entrance to the Safety Harbor Marina and it's my attempt at HDR photography.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is used mainly for contrasty scenes to be able to produce more range. A normally exposed photo would either blow out the highlights (turn them white with no detail) or burn the shadows (turn them black with no detail). In this case, detail is shown in both the highlights and in the shadows.

HDR is created by taking 3 or more photos of the same subject using different exposures. The first photo is exposed normally, the next photo is exposed to show detail in the highlights while letting the shadows burn out and another photo is exposed for the shadows allowing the highlights to loose all detail. The result is what you see here.

This particular photo was processed using Photomatix, a software used solely to create HDR images during post processing.

If you like my work and would like to see more, please visit my website by clicking here.

I also appreciate any and all comments about either my blog and/or my website.

Thanks for looking,

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Every Monday evening, my meetup groups has a social meeting at the Safety Harbor Marina in Safety Harbor, FL.

Safety Harbor is one of the most pet friendly towns I've ever been in. The owner of this cute little dog walks her dog in the park nearly every Monday evening.

I had the pleasure of photographing her a couple Mondays ago, and her owner graciously let me post her photo. Isn't she the cutest little pooch?

If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of it, please visit my website by clicking here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Magnolia Blossom

If you have never smelled the sweet fragrance of a Southern Magnolia tree, then you've been missing out on something very special.

I found this tree growing in a church yard right next to the dumpster. In the summer in Florida, a dumpster can get pretty rancid smelling within a day or two. The Magnolia blossoms completely hid the smell of the rotting trash in the dumpster. It's the closest I've ever been to a dumpster in the summer.

Besides not having a sickening odor, the dumpster was painted beautifully. This church is not only beautiful, but the grounds around it were kept nice and trim and it was magnificently landscaped. Check out the photo of the dumpster! I've seen a few painted trash cans in my day, but never anything as well done as this.

If you like my work and would like to see more, please visit my website by clicking here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cumulominbus Cloudscape

Florida has some of the most amazing clouds. This one was shot a few weeks ago in Safety Harbor, FL at the marina.

Cloudscapes are pretty easy to capture. All you do is meter for the sky, watch your histogram to be sure you don't overexpose, and there you have it. Sunsets and sunrises are captured the same way.

Sometimes I might underexposed by 1 stop for sunsets and sunrises to get more saturation in the colors.

I also shoot just clouds to use to sandwich with another photo when it's overcast with gray skies. Blending the images, if done right creates a beautiful photo from a dull gray day. The added benefit is that the overcast sky has a softer, more diffused light and saturates the colors, so by blending, I get the best of both worlds.

If you like my work and would like to see more, visit my website here.

Until next time,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Eastern Black Swallowtail

Eastern Black Swallowtail captured at the Safety Harbor Marina park in Safety Harbor, FL.

Eastern Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes asterius) can be found in open meadows east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to the Gulf, southwest to Arizona from Spring to Fall. The Caterpillar eats foliage of plants in the carrot family, including wild and cultivated carrot, celery, and parsley. This common eastern swallowtail flies low, alighting on clover and cultivated flowers. Its caterpillars are sometimes garden pests.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Bowling Ball House

Late Monday afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting the Whimsey House, or as it's known among the citizens of Safety Harbor, FL as the "Bowling Ball House".

The Bowling Ball House, featured in Home and Garden Magazine and the book, Weird Florida, is owned by 2 artists, Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda.

"Safety Harbor, Florida - Bowling Ball Art Museum. There is a multi-colored house with more than 300 bowling balls lining the flower beds and bordering the house -- there is a bottle wall around the cactus garden, gardens of blue bottles on stakes, a zoo of funny sculpture animals called the Whimzoo. Several artcars often park in the parkingpit. There is a a colorful and ornately decorated gazebo and crabtrap buoy ornaments hanging from the gingerbread eaves. There's also a Bowling ball Art Museum that has 80 artistically manipulated bowling balls -- everything from corked, beaded and feathered ones to larger sculptures incorporating the ball somehow -- created and donated from artists from all over the country. Also a favorite golden ball was photographed with a bunch of celebrities -- Roy Rogers, Muhammed Ali, Bob Dole, John Denver. Overall, it's a fun and magical place that makes everybody who visits smile. [Whimz1, 03/04/1999]"

This is one of the strangest homes I can honestly say that I've ever seen. It's something that has to be seen to be believed. If you ever travel to the Tampa Bay area, be sure to visit this house. You won't regret it.

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