Des Moines @ Night

Re-post June 2011

I drove into Des Moines tonight for a meeting and thought I would capture some pictures.  Des Moines is one of my favorite cities.  Since graduating in 2005 from Des Moines University there has been a significant amount of renovation to the downtown area.  I love the architecture and it’s always a great place to take pictures.

Iowa’s State Capitol sits on the east side of downtown (immediately behind me in this picture).  There is a lot of sidewalks and landscape to its west.  It also sits up high in comparison to the remaining downtown which allows for some great cityscapes.  Also, I love how Locust street ends in front of the capitol thus allowing for a unique perspective.

This shot was taken at dusk using my Leica M9 and 90mm summarit-m.  As Leica owners know, summarit is considered their “affordable” lens (most would disagree).  Anyway, I’ve been very happy with its sharpness and have taken many great pictures with it.


The Abandoned School

Re-post from July 2011

A few days ago I decided to travel the local country side to look for interesting structures to take pictures of.  It was in the middle of the afternoon and is typically the worst time to take pictures because the sun light causes very harsh shadows and typically the camera cannot compensate for the amount of exposure.  Besides HDR photography there are other ways to fix this problem.  One way is to use a neutral density filter.

Neutral density filters are either colorless or grey and reduce and/or modify the intensity of light without harming color rendition.  This allows photographers to shoot in situations that typically wouldn’t allow them.  These filters come in different intensities, which allow for different shooting techniques.

I recently purchased B+W ND 3.0 at B & H Photo for my Leica 21mm Elmarit lens.  It allows me to shoot in very bright light, thus allowing proper exposure.  It can also be used to create a time lapse picture which shows the motion of clouds or objects in front of it.  As I was driving around I came across this old school (built in 1896) that appeared to be on its last leg.  You can see in the pic, the motion of the clouds in this 4 second exposure.

Man on a bike

I don’t typically discuss my post-processing but today I thought I would mention a few programs that I routinely use.  I store all my pictures in Apple’s Aperture 3.  Most who read this blog are probably familiar with it or know of it.  It’s basically a program to easily store and file all your pictures (i.e. library).  You can also make adjustments to your pictures without making permanent changes.  Most, use Adobe’s Lightroom or the casual photographer will use iPhoto. I’ve used all 3 and iPhoto is definitely more for enthusiast..  Lightroom and Aperture are very similar and I really wouldn’t say one is better than the other.

I use Adobe Photoshop 5 or more recently 6.0 (beta).  I use this when needing to make more complicated fixes or needing to layer my pictures.

Last, I routinely use Nik Software’s Silver Efex 2 and Color Efex 4.  Both allow very controlled and  unique changes and I highly recommend both.

I’ve posted a prior shot of this guy with cars flying by him.  This is just one shot when he was patiently waiting for traffic to clear long enough for him to go.  This shot was edited with Aperture 3, Photoshop 6, and Nik Software Color Efex 4.

Here’s the previous post.

ISO 160 1/30 f/1.4 50mm summilux

On the go

Recently I purchased Leica’s new 21mm super elmar.  All I can say is WOW!  The sharpness and minimal distortion is phenomenal.  Last, I love using “zone focusing“.  I just set my aperture and shooting distance and I’m ready to go.  If you set your aperture to f/8 (has to be a sunny day) and shooting distance to 5 feet, anything beyond 3 feet will be in focus.

This shot was taken from the hip.  This guy was definitely on the go.

ISO 160 1/250 f/8 21mm super elmar

Essence of Cool

Repost: 8.13.2011

One of the goals of a photographer is to try to get a three dimenional feel of there pictures.  In this pic, which is probably my favorite street shot while visiting Chicago, I tried to capture this.  The subject is framed by two bystanders in the foreground which help draw you into the subject.  The lady and and cars in the background add depth to the pic.