A Hawk! No wait, a Sunset!

So the family and I were riding home after a competitive game of disc golf at a local park, when I glanced at a field we were passing and I noticed a very large Red Tailed Hawk sitting on a hay bale.

We turned around, and I thought I would get out of the car down the road some and walk to a tree line to see if I could get a shot of the hawk. Well, we stopped a little closer than I wanted and as soon as I made it to the edge of the road, the hawk flew away. I believe he was watching me as soon as the car stopped! I continued on to the tree line to see if could find where he flew to but I saw him soaring far away.

By now, 10-15 minutes had passed and, as I began to head back to the car (where my wife and kids were waiting), I noticed the sky was really taking shape to produce a nice sunset. I convinced them we needed to stay a few more minutes, and this is the result:

I had to get one more as we drove away!

Even got a couple of the family:

This Week at the Lake – 29/52

Click the panorama above to view the full size!! Maybe not the most exciting pano ever but I spent a lot of time on it. It’s full size is about 8.5 feet long (over 30,000 pixels) and consists of 15 vertical images. The file size for the full size image 1.83 gigs! It was too large for my computer to blend in photoshop, so I had to create two panoramas using photoshops “automerge” and then manually blend those two together. Now, if only I could find someone to print an 8.5′ long photo…..

This was taken Wednesday evening. I had to shake things up a bit and visit at a different time. It’s amazing how different you can see things when the light is different. By stopping by Wednesday evening, I also lucked out and caught the harvest moon:

I feel like I was rushed taking these as it was really getting dark at this point. Radnor Lake closes at “dark” so I wanted to be sure I was back at my car before someone else considered it “dark”. After these shots, I headed quickly back to the parking lot – only to see that there were still probably 20-25 cars there. I guess I could have stayed a little while longer….

Other shots with the Wednesday evening light:

I also visited during my lunch break on Monday and Wednesday, here is the result of those trips:

Not sure what type of bird this is but I sat and watched him catch bugs, he was very fast.

And that’s it for the week!

Thanks for looking!

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How I Did It – Part 5

I have another RFI as we call it in the construction industry, or a Request For Information. Someone asked how I processed a particular image, so I promised a tutorial – so here go…..

In this tutorial, I’ll show every step I took to turn this:

into this:


Obviously, this one is an HDR image. Unlike some of my other tutorials, there is really not much processing involved after photomatix. The only difference here (and it’s an important one) is the number of exposures used. For this shot, I used 5 exposures instead of my normal 3. The reason for this is the huge difference in light from the inside of the hotel room and the outside sunrise.

The 5 exposures I used were (-4, -2, 0, +2, +4)
Here are those 4 images:





You can see how the images gradually get brighter and end up encompassing the entire range of the scene. These 5 RAW images were then loaded into Photomatix. I use Photomatix for all of my HDR’s. If you are interested in buying Photomatix, use the coupon code “malcolmphoto” for a 15% discount! It’s already at a great price ($99) and even better with the discount.

Once Photomatix created the HDR image, I tonemapped using the Details Enhancer option:

On a side note – My Detail Enhancer settings are available to be viewed for EVERY photo in My HDR set on Flickr – here’s how

On the photo page, click on the top right where it tells what type of camera was used:

That will take you to the images “exif” info:

Scroll down, and you will see a section that looks like this:
These are the Photomatix settings, they are automatically embedded in the files information. Cool huh? So now you know…..

Back to the image in question, here we are starting in Photoshop CS2:

The first thing I always do it a “Levels” adjustment layer:

Then a “Curves” adjustment layer:

And then I use Imagenomic for noise:

Here is the final result:

And that’s all there is to it for this one! Piece of cake!

Now go out and shoot some HDR and let me know how they turn out!

See all my other tutorials HERE

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Thanks for looking! I hope you found this helpful. Please ask questions if you have them, I’ll try by best to answer.

If you want to know “How I Did It” for any photo on my flickr photostream, leave me a comment on this page or send me an email. I’ll be glad to make it my next “How I Did It” entry!

Also, as I mentioned in my first How I did It post, here are some helpful links for learning more about HDR:
Stuck in Customs
HDR Exposed
HDR (a flickr group)
Tutorial Collection at My First HDR flickr group

Helpful links for learning more about Photoshop:
Photoshop Support Group
Photoshop Tutorials by Allan Gengler
Actions by Allan Gengler
CoffeeShop Actions

This Week at the Lake – 28/52

A very quiet week at the lake this week. Not much going on…..

A couple weeks ago I tried a lake scape with textures added. The more I looked at it the more I really liked it. So, I thought I’d try it again. The above shot was taken on a beautiful morning when the mist was rising from the lake. I’ve applied 3 textures that I’ve downloaded from various places over the internet (mainly flickr). Unfortunately I can’t remember where I got them as I’ve had them in a folder for over a year now.

Here are the rest of the shots from this week:
The epic battle between hawk and black bird continues! If you saw last week I posted a shot of a hawk chasing a black bird. I saw a similar scene early Monday morning. Again there were several black birds and one hawk and again it was hard to tell who was chasing who! I’m hoping I can get close enough to get a good shot of this happening.

There are 3 deer in this shot – none of them showing their head!

The background is awesome!

And that’s it for the week!

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Tennessee Titans Vs. Oakland Raiders

I was able to go to the Season Opener at LP Field this past Sunday! I’m a big Titans fan and always jump at an opportunity to go to a game. Of course…. I’ve got to bring the camera!

Here are some sports/action shots from our AWESOME seats….

This was the opening play for the Titans offense, an option that Vince Young kept

This is Vince Young throwing a 56 yard pass to Nate Washington for a Touchdown!

I liked all the action in this…Even got the ball in the air

The Hand off – They’ll be doing this a lot this year!

Here is Chris Johnson at the beginning of his 76 yard touchdown run!

Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell can’t handle the snap!

Look at that gap! Chris Johnson on a 4 yard touchdown run.

Of course, I’ve also got some “non-action” shots….

Defensive coach Chuck Cecil

Where’s Waldo?

The Titans looked great for a 38-13 win!

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Thanks for looking!

Not Your Normal Zoo Photos……

We went to the Nashville Zoo again. It’s tough getting shots of Zoo animals that look really good, so here are my zoo photos!

I happened to be at the right place during the bird show…

The Nashville Zoo’s newest exhibit – Pink Flamingos

As always, here are a couple of the kids:

Thanks for looking!

This Week at the Lake – 27/52

It was tough getting anything decent this week. It seemed to be cloudy the entire week making it dark along the trails. My camera doesn’t do too well in dark conditions and I ended up with dozens of blurry images this week. It’s also getting too dark for my early morning trips. The sun doesn’t seem to come over the hills until 7:15 or so, by 7:30 I should be back at the car to get ready for work.

Here are this weeks best shots:

I liked the idea for this but I think the deer is too far away

This is heavily cropped but it was so cool to watch I wanted to share it. This hawk and about 5 black birds were going at it for a while. Was the hawk trying to eat a black bird or were the black birds trying to get the hawk to leave? Most of the time, I couldn’t even tell who was chasing who! At the time of this shot, it’s clear that the hawk is chasing the black bird. But shortly after this, the hawk landed on a log and another black bird came down and provoked the hawk. None of the chases ever lasted very long as the hawk gave up the chase quickly and easily. Very fun to watch, wish I could have gotten closer but this was all happening on the other side of the lake!

spotted this owl Friday evening. I set up the tripod without scaring him off, and fired off a few shots. While taking these shots it really started raining. Not much rain was making it to me under the trees but I didn’t want my gear sitting out any longer.

Bad formation! But pretty cool photo with the added textures…

Thanks for looking!

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The Murfreesboro Greenway

My latest photo walk was on the greenway that runs throughout Murfreesboro. The trail follows the Stones River, along roads, through parks…. All over town. We parked at the General Bragg Trailhead (1540 W. College St.) and only walked for a mile or so.

Here is what I got along the way…

Thanks for looking!

This Week at the Lake – 26/52

The half way point!
It’s hard to believe that I’m half way through this project. These weeks have been flying by but I know I’ve got the hardest weeks coming up. I think I’ll be fine into November but then – who knows! I’m not a fan of winter at all and I always have a hard time finding interesting things to shoot in the dead of winter.

This week was great, the weather has turned pretty mild (at least compared to the 100+ degree days).

The shot above was taken early Monday morning
Here are the rest in chronological order:
After getting the lead shot, I noticed this deer all the way across the lake. I applied some textures for a vintage feel.

More texture fun!

The “baby” deer are getting so big! I can’t help but think this is the same deer as seen in Week 19 and Week 15. They were all taken in the same area and I frequently see a doe and a fawn in that area.

A lakescape taken in the middle of the day, this is the same spot as Week 15‘s sunrise

Another from this spot, in black and white

I don’t know who was lucky enough to get to go out on a canoe on Wednesday morning. Typically, canoes are not allowed. One of the canoes had a park ranger in it.

There are 4 really good “lakescape” spots around Radnor Lake. I’ve posted shots from all the other views before but I think this is the first week from this spot. The lead shot is also from this vantage point, just very different days! Also, this shot marks one of the extremely rare instances where I processed the shot in both HDR and Non-HDR and preferred the Non-HDR version! This shot was inspired by this shot by flickr contact abennett23. I’ve been looking for a while now for the best location and timing to get something similar to his.

These little birds have made several appearances through out the weeks. Probably because they will come so close to you if you are quiet and still

Thanks for looking!

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Oaklands Historic House

Recently, the company I work for has started a competition for all the employees. We are all wearing pedometers and reporting how many steps we take each day. The competition is sponsored by our health insurance company.

So, in an effort to get more steps each day, I’ve been visiting more places around town and walking around with my camera. One of those places was the Oaklands Historic House. The house is closed in the evenings but we were able to walk around the grounds and get shots of the exterior.

None of these shots actually show the house so if you are interested, here is a shot of the house I got earlier this year

Oaklands Historic Mansion

More info on the house can be found HERE

Thanks for looking!