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Balloon Fiesta 2014: A Photo Essay and Time Lapse

On Saturday, October 11, 2014 I had the opportunity to head down from Santa Fe to view and photograph the dawn patrol and mass ascension of hot air balloons at the 2014 Albuquerque, New Mexico Balloon Fiesta.

I headed down with my colleague Christine Hauber. The alarm went off at 3:15am so we could leave Santa Fe at 4am and make the 45 minute trip down to Albuquerque.

It was a good thing we left so early. We were able to park very close to the gate and had plenty of time to get our bearings set before the dawn patrol went up. Watching the news that evening we learned that traffic jams later in the morning prevented many people from getting down to the Fiesta and they even had to close the exit for a while due to the traffic.

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Chasing storms yields two windmills

Yesterday I was out in Northeastern New Mexico to be ready to photograph possible severe storms that were forecasted in the area and the weather didn’t disappoint.

Two Windmills and a Thunderstorm

“Two Windmills and a Thunderstorm”
New Mexico
(Click on above photo for a larger view & to purchase prints)

The photo above was photographed after two back-to-back powerful storms brought rain, wind, and hail (and almost a tornado) to an area along I25 north of Las Vegas, NM.

With my colleague Christine Hauber driving her Kia Rio (not the typical storm chasing car mind you) with me in the passenger seat monitoring radar using my favorite weather app RadarScope, I was safely able to put us in position to photograph the storms and avoid the nearly golfball sized hail that had fallen in the area.

Once the storms passed we were treated to spectacular light with the thunderstorm slowly rolling away. We were lucky to find this scene with two windmills and the thunderstorm behind them before the magical light weakened, allowing me to create my favorite photo from our storm chasing adventures that day.

Here are some snapshots and video of the storm from my iphone:

We drove almost an hour and a half to catch up with this slow moving storm as it crossed I25 just north of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Almost all northbound traffic stopped and pulled over as the storm was crossing. There was some slight rotation in the clouds but the rotation never materialized into a tornado. Had it, I would have been in perfect position.

We drove almost an hour and a half to catch up with this slow moving storm as it crossed I25 just north of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Almost all northbound traffic stopped and pulled over as the storm was crossing. There was some slight rotation in the clouds but the rotation never materialized into a tornado. Had it, I would have been in perfect position.

 

Hail and heavy rain made for a noisy drive along the frontage road heading south next to I25

Hail reached nearly golf ball size - fortunately this hail fell shortly before we drove into the area.

Hail reached nearly golf ball size – fortunately this hail fell shortly before we drove into the area.

 

Earlier we had seen a snowplow out - this is the reason why as hail covers I25 southbound north of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Earlier we had seen a snowplow out – this is the reason why as hail covers I25 southbound north of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

 

Photo Details

Details on my Two Windmills and a Thunderstorm photo above:

Photographed hand-held with my Sony a7R, Metabones III adapter, and a Canon 70-200mm lens at ISO 125, 1/250 at f13. The RAW file was processed in Capture One Pro and further enhanced in Perfect Photo Suite 8.

Suess Photo Textures and Backgrounds nears release

I am almost ready to launch my new set of Suess Photo Textures & Backgrounds.

Later this week you will be able to purchase and download up to 162 high resolution photo textures and backgrounds from a collection of photos I have been working on for the last four years.

There will be over 50 cloud backgrounds and over 100 textures to choose from in 7 different sets. Each texture and background image was photographed and enhanced/optimized by myself so that you are working with a great looking texture or background “right out of the box”. Files range from 6,000px to 7,500px in the longest dimension – some of the highest resolution textures available online!

Take a look and see what Christine Hauber did with one of her black and white infra-red photographs and a stone texture from Stone Set 1.

ChristineStoneTree

Christine created a wonderfully toned final photo by starting with an infra-red black and white image. She used Stone-02 in the Stones Set 1 texture collection. She used it twice, flipping one of the layers. She modified layer opacities and blend modes until she got the look she wanted. A final vignette and soft edges were added and all of the work was done using Perfect Photo Suite.

Here are the textures in Stone Set 1:

Stone Set 1

Stone Set 1

Follow this blog for news later this week when you can purchase this and other photo textures & background sets.

Coming Soon: Suess Photo Textures & Backgrounds

Coming Soon!! Here is a screen grab from a draft page on my website giving a sneak peek to a new photo product I will be releasing next week: my very own Suess Photo Textures & Backgrounds.

Coming Soon - over 125 photo textures and backgrounds packaged in 6 sets.

Coming Soon – over 125 photo textures and backgrounds packaged in 6 sets.

These high-resolution photos will be perfect for your texture blending and sky replacement and will work great in Photoshop or my favorite, Perfect Photo Suite 8 from onOne.

Over 160 photo textures and backgrounds, sized from 6,000px to 7,500px in the longest dimension and packaged in 7 sets will be available for sale next week on my website, where you will be able to purchase and immediately download them.

I will also be announcing a new affiliate program where you can earn money selling my photo textures and other items – details on that are here.

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter and/or blog posts – links on the right – so you can be the first to order them once they are announced. I will have special introductory pricing during the launch!

One of my photos featured during Crated launch in SOHO NY

Very cool to see one of my photos of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah featured during Crated‘s launch in their SOHO, NYC gallery at the Soho Arthouse on 138 Sullivan ST.

Crated is a new place on the web for photographers and artists to sell their work.

You can check out my gallery on Crated here and purchase posters, canvas, and framed prints.

The making of my blood moon lunar eclipse photo Part 2 of 2

This is part 2 of how I photographed the blood moon lunar eclipse on April 15th.
For info on how I photographed it with camera settings visit part 1. Here in part 2 I talk about how I enhanced it on the computer.

Following the 5 hours or so of sleep I got after photographing the lunar eclipse till 2:45 in the morning I began to create the final image on my 15″ MacBook Pro laptop.

The saguaro cactus scene that was photographed with my Sony a7 and Sony FE 35mm f2.8 lens was processed in the RAW converter Capture One Pro.

Looking at a before and after photo of the enhancements made in Capture One Pro.

Looking at a before and after photo of the enhancements made in Capture One Pro.

In the above screen shot you can see a before (bottom photo) and an after photo in C1. I made a number of slight tonal adjustments and color/saturation adjustments. I also corrected the perspective of the photo to remove distortion brought on by the wide angle lens, and corrected some lens vignetting. Notice the shadow detail I was able to bring out of the original photo. I have found I can pull out a great deal of shadow detail from the Sony a7/a7R cameras and Capture One Pro.

I exported the processed file as a tiff file to my computer, then opened it up in Perfect Layers in Perfect Photo Suite 8. While Perfect Photo can be opened as a plugin from Photoshop, I prefer to use it as a standalone program.

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