Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eye on the Prize!

All the games in Gattiland dispense tickets and at the end of the day the tickets can be redeemed at the Goodie Store! A hard days work and a little luck might just yield a plastic pig or a paper whistle! :-)

Photo shot with my Canon 40D and 17-85 Canon zoom. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > Crop > Duplcate layer > High Pass > Sharpening > reduce file to low res for "Charles Schwabb Effect" treatment which is > Filter- Stylize- Diffuse Anisotropic > Curves adjustment to adjust contrast > Filter- Sharpen- Smart Sharpen > Filter- Blur- Surface Blur.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Gattiland Adventures

...and so this light travels around the oval and as it goes under you you jump! If you clear the light enough times to earn the letters J A C K P O T then you win the accumulated amount of JACKPOT tickets!

Photo taken with my Canon 40D and Canon EFS 17-85mm zoom lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > Crop > High Pass Sharpening > Merge Visable > Palette Knife Filter @ 75% > Merge Visable > Camera Distortion Filter Vignette

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Air Hockey

Air Hockey is one of Emma's favorite games at Gattiland!

Photo taken with my Canon 40D and Canon 17-85 zoom lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > Composite layer (don't tell anyone but the puck wasn't actually in this particular shot) > High Pass Sharpening with Hard Light

Monday, July 28, 2008


This weekend our family went to Gattiland at the local Gatti's Pizza. The game room is always fun and this time I took my camera along. I thought these guys looked a little scared or worried?

But what would they be scared or worried about? Hummm...

Both shots taken with my Canon 40D and EF-S17-85 Canon zoom. Post-processing: Top Photo - Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Duplicate Layer in Overlay Blending Mode @ 51%. Bottom Photo - Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Duplicate Layer in Overlay Blending Mode @ 100% > Vignetting layer

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This shot is from the BAPC (Bay Area Photo Club) field trip this weekend. These flowers were hanging over the sidewalk and I liked the way the sun was shining through!

Shot with my Canon 40D and Canon 17-85mm IS lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Duplicate Overylay layer @ 100% > Lens Distortion Vignette run twice with mask over upper right hand corner to preserve the light source.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

BAPC Field Trip

Today the Bay Area Photo Club had a field trip to Westheimer area near downtown Houston. This was an afternoon outing and members shot, among other things, cityscapes of downtown. Here are a couple I took that I liked:

The above photo was taken with my Canon 40D and Canon 17-85mm IS lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Duplicate layer blended with Hard Light @ 33% Opacity > Virtual Photographer "Fall Colors" Filter at 60%.

The above photo was taken with my Canon 40D and Canon 17-85mm IS lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Duplicate layer blended with Hard Light > Vignetting Layer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

BAPC Outing to HMFA

This past Tuesday the Bay Area Photo Club visited the Print Room of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts by special arrangement of Mr. Will Michels (pictured above). This was a wonderful experience as it offered club members the opportunity to see prints of many famous photographs taken by many different photographers. Pictured below two club members look over a print (donated to the museum by the Target Collection) of "Buzz" Aldrin taken by Neil Armstrong on the moon!

Both photos above were taken with my Canon 40D and Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. Post processing on both photographs: Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Vignetting using the CS3 Camera Distortion filter. In addition I applied a Bleach Bypass action in CS3 to the top photo.

Trap Shooting

Here is the last photo I wanted to post from this past weekend's trip to the Texas City Gun Range. This is another pic of Mark from the Bay Area Photo Club. Photo taken with Canon 40D and Canon 100-400mm zoom. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Dulplicate Layer in Overlay mode @ 70% > Curves Adjustment > Merge Layers > Virtual Photographer "Dramatic" Filter at 65%

Thursday, July 24, 2008


"Bouldering" is rock climbing on boulders or low cliffs. This guy is hanging on under an artificial outcropping at Stone Moves in League City, Texas!

Shot with my Canon XTi and Lensbaby 3G.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rock Climbing

I had a chance to visit an indoor rock climbing facility in League City, Texas this weekend called Stone Moves. It's a very large facility with artificial climbing surfaces built into the walls that simulate actual cliff faces. Rock climbers pactice here - photographers stay on the ground!

The photo was shot with my Canan 40D and 17-55 IS f/2.8 Canon zoom lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 High Pass Sharpening > > Virtual Photographer Anvil Filter at 69% Opacity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beat the Heat!

One of the best ways to beat Houston's summertime heat is playing in the water hose.

It's good for the grass!

Fun for the kids!

And fun to photograph!

Taken with my Canon 40D and Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. Post-processing: Photoshop CS3 Duplicate layer in Overlay blend mode at 33% opacity >> Merge Layer >> Virtual Photographer Blue Tone filter at 20%.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shooting Details

Details from this weekend's trip to the Texas City Gun Range. Shot with my Canon 40D and 100-400mm Canon Zoom. Post-processing was minimal on these (Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Frame from CS3 action: Old Toy Camera by Smaragd).

Sunday, July 20, 2008


There was no wind blowing down at the Texas City Dike when I went there to photograph this weekend (and therefore no kite or wind surfers to photograph) so I stopped by the Texas City Gun Range and took some shots of the Skeet and Trap Shooting going on there.

Although I didn't know it at the time I took the shot the subject of this photo turned out to be Mark, a fellow Bay Area Photo Club member!

This was taken around noon so the lighting was harsh. In post-processing I pushed the photo even more toward high key (Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Virtual Photographer High Key Filter > Vignette layer).

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I took this photo at a gallery opening for my brother-in-laws art exhibit last week. I thought the conversation between these two looked fairly intense so I tried to emphasize the intensity with my post processing (Photoshop CS3 > High Pass Sharpening > Crop > Virtual Photographer Character filter > Virtual Photographer Trendsetter filter (50% Opacity)).

Friday, July 18, 2008


The next monthly assignment for the Bay Area Photo Club ( is "Abstraction". I've looked at a few definitions and examples of Abstractions on the Internet and I'm still not confident I get it. Certainly an abstraction has to be abstract and to me that means something not easily recognizable for what it is or possibly something easily recognizable as multiple things. This photo is of a stone column taken at a restaurant I ate at last night. I took the shot with my Lensbaby which blurred everything except the center of the shot. I didn't feel the shot was abstract out of the camera so I created a hard mix blend layer in Photoshop CS3 to help with the Abstraction process. I'm not that sure yet if I like how the pic turned out all that much, but I think I do. Also I'm not sure that using Photoshop to assist in the creation of the abstraction would be looked upon favorably by the club's judges on presentation night...but I have to start somewhere. I would really appreciate any comments about the photo itself or about it's applicability to the assignment!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to Kitesurfing

Here are the remaining kitesurfing shots from last weekend that I plan to post. I really enjoy the whole experience of photographing the kitesurfers at Texas City Dike a lot. I could easily return to the Dike this weekend for more but I want to keep my photography (and the posts to my blog) fresh so my plan is to move on to something different for a while. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pics!

I have noticed that I have at least one photo of every kitesurfer I have photographed in this exact pose. I assume that this position is somewhat restful, at least for the off arm. :-)

I love this shot because of the matching angles of the kitesurfer's board and the windsurfer's sail in the background.

A note about location: All of the kitesurfing shot's I have posted are taken from the levee rather than the Dike itself (it all makes up the Texas City Dike Recreational Area). The very distant buildings you see in the background of this shot are located on Galveston Island. The dike itself is between me and Galveston Island but is very difficult to see in this low resolution photo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


My daughter is an actor (that's not her in the above photo which is from Center Stage Theater's 2008 production of "The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet"). She performs in local community theaters in whatever age appropriate roles she can get (she started at age 8 and is now 12). Currently she is associated with Center Stage Theater in Deer Park, Texas. Since I routinely showed up to photograph all of Emma's performances the directors of the theater asked me to be their "official photographer". Sometimes I photograph at rehearsals and sometimes during live performances. Either way there are special challenges involving lighting and composition. The most difficult challenge in theatrical photography is dealing with the lighting (especially in a live performance). In my experience the lighting is generally low key which is pretty much the main reason I upgraded from the Canon XTi to the Canon 40D (advertising promised considerable improvement in graininess over the XTi at any given ISO). I would like to be able to use my 50mm f/1.4 lens for this job but in practice it is usually just too long (especially on a crop camera) for shooting in the tight quarters of small community theater's. My solution was to purchase the Canon 18-55mm f/2.8 IS lens and so far this lens on the 40D has worked out well. Since I shoot a lot of theatrical photographs I plan on occasionally posting a few here. I hope you enjoy them.

The above photograph is from Center Stage Theater's 2008 production of "Ives a la Carte".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Trapeze Work!

Same kitesurfer as in yesterday's post but doing a different trick!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trapeze Artist

I don't know the official name of the part of a kitesurfing rig you hold on to but this shot made me think that "trapeze" might be appropriate! I'll have to ask one of the surfers next time I'm at Texas City Dike.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back at the Dike!

We'll...I seem to have become obsessed with shooting the kitesurfers down at the Texas City Dike! :-) I spent a total for 4 or 5 hours in the water this weekend so this weeks posts will be weighted heavily toward more windsurfing shots. I'll try to keep some variety in the shots I post so you don't get bored!
One thing to keep in mind when viewing this shot is that the water where this shot is taken is somewhere between 12" and 24" deep. That's it! Not nearly deep enough for me to feel comfortable hanging upside down over! Perhaps this is why this kid was wearing a helmet rather than a cap like most everyone else?

There was a nice crowd of kitesurfers on Saturday and I liked this shot and some of the other shots I took from a wider angle that let me see evidence of a few other surfers in the shot!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coastal Scenes

I took these shots along I45 as I approaced Galveston Island a couple of weeks ago. I have always liked the view out over the marsh grass looking toward Galveston Bay. This time it was early in the morning and I thought the shots came out a little flat so I pushed the envelope with some post-processing techniques I don't usually use (Photoshop CS3 Color Dodge and Color Burn Blending Modes). I hope I didn't go to far! :-)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Last Soccer Shots

Here are the last two of my soccer shots (for now)! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Soccer!

Here are a couple of more shots from the soccer game I photographed last week. All of the shots I post from this shoot were photographed with my Canon 40D and my 100-400 Canon zoom. Post-processing (in CS3) includes high pass sharpening, a duplicate layer in overlay mode, a blur layer to help soften the background, and a vignette layer. I hope you like them!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Serious Soccer

I stopped to watch and photograph a soccer game going on at our local soccer fields here in Clear Lake last week. These guys were not a part of an organized league but the players were obviously taking the game very seriously. I'm not a big soccer fan and don't watch it a lot but I could tell the players were serious by how hard they contested shots and defended their respective goals. In a sport that to my untrained eye involves a lot of standing around these guys seemed to be always moving. I had fun watching and photographing the game and definitely plan on keeping my eye open for another game!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Watch for Details

Today's entry is a reminder to myself to watch for details. Often a detail portion of a larger object will make a very interesting shot. I like these close-up shots because to me they leave a little more to the imagination. I took this photo a couple of weekends ago in Galveston using my Canon XTi equiped with my Lensbaby 3G.

In this particular setting a wider shot of the entire umbrella would have introduced a lot of distracting background clutter without adding any additional interest to the shot. I'm happy with how this one turned out.

Lesson Learned: Watch for Details


Daughters! You gotta love 'em!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Denton Air Show

A few weeks ago I happened to be in Denton, Texas on the same day as their annual air show at the airport. I wasn't able to attend at the time of the actual flight portion on the air show but I did enjoy some of the fixed exhibits.

I especially liked the helicopters (sorry but I don't know what type they were) and put together this study from shots taken with my Canon XTi equipped with my Lensbaby 3G.

The sepia toning and aging I did were courtesy of "Virtual Photographer" which is a nifty piece of freeware available for download.

I really like the vintage treatment for these photographs because of the subject matter. I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Here is another fireworks shot from last night. I have a lot shots of the individial fireworks exploding but I like this shot because it best represents the entire scene. This shot is a composite of two shots. The upper firework was originally a seperate "firework only" shot. I felt like I needed to add it to give a better idea of what the scene was really like. The wide angle perspective on the lens I used (17-85mm) compressed the scene vertically (I was shooting in portrait orientation, 28mm, f/4.5, 1/20 sec, ISO 1600) and made it look like the fireworks were very low in the sky. The addition of the upper firework really makes the shot feel more real to me! I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

We watch fireworks from a strip shopping center parking lot near our home every year. The shopping center has an ice cream store and the ice scream, like the location, has become a family tradition for us. The shot above was taken tonight. I'll post a few more tomorrow.

Yesterday I went back down to the Texas City Dike and took more shots of the kite surfers. I followed my own advice from my post two days ago and got closer to my subjects this time. I wore my bathing suit and waded out into the water in order to get closer. A benefit to this approach is that I was more visible and the the surfers were able to see I was serious about taking photos and several made sure to come near me occasionally in order to help out. This worked out really well and I was able to meet some new friends in the process. Here are a few of the photos from yesterday's shoot:

This last one is composite of eight separate shots assembled with Photoshop CS3. It will really be too small here to appreciate but I think you can get an idea of what I have done.

All of the shots at the Texas City Dike were taken with my Canon 40D and 100-400mm Canon zoom lens.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Big Fish

Yesterday I posted photos of two fairly common sights one might see at the Texas City Dike. Today's photos, from the same trip to the Dike this past weekend, are of a less common site. This guy is a 676 pound Tiger Shark! Although this is the by far the biggest fish I have ever seen I understand that it is no where near the Texas record which is over 1,000 pounds. The shark was caught during a week long fishing tournament based at the Texas City Dike. I asked the guy updating the tournament's leader board where it was caught and he said "in the water!". I might as well have asked the shark!

Photos taken with a Canon 40D, 100-400mm zoom lens. HDR conversion was made using the most excellent Photomatix!