The Crossing

The Leica M9 is not only known for its great color pics, it’s probably better known for its black and white images.  I have to admit, the M9 does a phenomenal job of creating black and white pics.  It’s hard to describe what it is but the M9 just has that extra touch when creating these type of images.  I don’t routinely shoot in black and white while using the camera.  I shoot in raw (uncompressed picture format) and then edit it with Niks Software Silver Efex Pro 2.  If you like monochrome images, this is the software to purchase.  I have owned just the aperture plugin and now own the Photoshop CS5 plugin and prefer having the Photoshop plugin because it just makes a new layer instead of altering the original pic like it does in Aperture.

Soon after purchasing my black M9 (I have not moved on to the M9-P) I traveled to Cleveland for a conference and on my way home I stopped and shot a few pics.  This pic, originally in color was edited in Silver Efex Pro 2.  Let me know what you think?

Leica M9-P (chrome) unboxed

I finally received it, the new Leica M9-P in chrome. I purchased it at Dale Photo but you can also pre-order at Amazon.com and be notified when it’s in stock at B & H Photo. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are no internal changes, just cosmetic changes to the body consisting of removal of the front “red dot” and “Leica” logo and placement of an engraved logo on top, a leatherette grip, and a new sapphire anti-reflective LCD cover. I originally chose the black Leica M9 only because there were no chrome available but I was fortunate to get one this time. Personally, even though not as “stealthy” as the black M9-P, the chrome is much more retro and has a more classic look.

Below are pictures from the unboxing.

I hope to have some pics up in a few days taken with the new M9-P but right now here is another picture of my beautiful wife and daughter at our recent trip to the Drive-In to watch Harry Potter (definitely see the admiration my daughter has for her mother in this pic).

Old Interior

Last winter I visited the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Automobile Museum in Auburn, IN. It’s located at the original headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Company.  From the outside it looked like a good size building but I never imagined the amount of cars they had.  I’m not a motor head but enjoyed my time looking at their collection.  It’s definitely a place to visit if you enjoy looking at old cars.  I snapped many pics and thought this one in black & white with a little noise worked well.

Old Xavier Church

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography has gained a lot of interest in photography.  HDR Photography is where you take multiple exposures of a image and then stack them on top of one another to create one picture.  By doing this you create an image that often times is very similar to what our eyes see.  Most digital cameras can do this by using the auto bracketing function.  For best results you need to use at least 3 exposures.  If you are shooting in very bright or low light then you often times need to use 5, 7, or 9 exposures.  Unfortunately, you typically need a semi-pro or pro dSLR to do this.

After you take the pictures, you then need software to stack the pictures on one another.  The best way I’ve found is using Photomatix or you can use Photoshop CS 5.  If you want to see some great HDR pictures you need to check out Trey Ratcliff at Stuck in Customs.  He does phenomenal work and has many tutorials.

My wife grew up outside a very small town in Southern Illinois called St. Francisville (well known for the scariest bridge to cross in Southern Illinois/Indiana).  In March, we were there for my wife’s baby shower.  There is a very old Catholic church that sits down town.  I decided to take a 7 exposure HDR pic using my Leica M9.  Most of the time when shooting in HDR you want to create a color image, I think in this case monochrome works very well.

Mother’s Love

Lately, with work I have not had much time to write or upload pictures to my blog. I’m not going to complain because I enjoy working and most of all enjoy helping others.

I don’t like taking “canned” pictures. I prefer when my subjects are not looking into the camera and focusing on whatever task at hand. Personally, I think this makes the moment much more memorable and can often allow the viewer to imagine what the subject is feeling or remind them of a similar time. Also, I enjoy capturing many of these moments in monochrome. Again, I think this adds a much more memorable, and long lasting touch.

Below is a picture of my beautiful wife and now 8 week old girl. You can see enjoyment in my wife’s eyes when looking down at her cherished little one. Even though you can’t see my daughters face, you can imagine that she is showing affection back to her mother. I think the monochrome and vignetting assist in this “real life” portrayal.

Faith

Up until our move last year to Fort Wayne we would make the trip from Cleveland to Illinois a couple times a year to visit family. We always took a shortcut on US Highway 20 that would allows us get on I-69 in Angola, IN. I must have never paid much attention to my surroundings because on each of these trips we would pass this old white church that set off the main road about 1/4 of a mile. One afternoon, while driving back to Cleveland after preparing for our move to Fort Wayne, I noticed the large white church. I pulled over and liked its simple architecture and its weathered look.

Recently, the caretakers found me and commented on a picture I took of Powers Church on flickr (they said it was one of their favorites). Anyway, I never realized the importance of this church to the local community until I read a few articles about it. It was built around 1875 for less than $2000 by one of the original settlers in the area, the Powers family. At one time it set unused for over 20 years.

If you want to read more information about the church, you can find great articles in the USA Today and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Also, there is information on wikipedia.

Below are a few pictures I took, including the picture the caretakers liked.

Red Door

Last fall a friend of mine asked for me to take a few family pics of them at a local park.  As I was leaving I came upon a large red barn.  The barn was sitting on a 7 foot stone block base.  The doors were weathered and really stood out because of the surrounding stone.  Here is one of those doors.

P.S.  Recently, I got invited to google+, a new social networking site by google.  I think most would agree there is a lot of potential.  You can see more about google+ here.  Also, you can find my google profile here.

Abandoned Crossing

If you haven’t noticed I have an interest in railroad tracks. Probably, most photographers do. I think a lot of it has to do with the rust, age, and symmetry of these structures. They often, can make a boring landscape interesting. I also like taking pics of railroad signs. This one was taken on a small dirt road. As you can probably tell, it was not often used therefore there was no need to change the sign.

Our Future @ 4 weeks

One of my first posts on this site was titled “Our Future”.  Another photographer recommended trying to take the same picture monthly (eventually putting clothes on her) so that we can watch her grow.  Definitely, at one month she has filled out, in comparison to her original pic.  She has a lot of room to grow before she even comes close to filling the couch cushion, let alone the length of our couch.

Click on the picture to see a larger version and also see a comparison shot.

Have a Happy 4th of July weekend everybody!!!

 

Mesmerize

A couple years ago, we were visiting with my sister-in-law and family and I was randomly snapping pics. This was one of those random shots. It’s funny how sometimes at the most unexpected times, a great shot will appear.