Flashback Friday: August 6th, 2008

On this date I took some photos for a dog agility class and saw this little guy outside the building where the classes are held.

Not the most exciting picture but it was one I took on this date. Have to have some boring flashback Fridays too right?

What is Flashback Friday? Have a look at my first flashback Friday post for more information. http://www.kmillerphoto.com/flashback-friday-first-edition/

Posted in Animals, Flashback Friday Tagged |

Flashback Friday: March 2, 2010

I used to have to drive over two hours to get to work along a long stretch of road down the middle of Indiana. I’d always have my camera with me and there would always be another barn or field I could stop and take a picture of.

Today’s flashback is to March 2, 2010 and is a picture of one of those barns I drove past many times on that commute.

Posted in Flashback Friday, HDR Tagged , , , , , , |

Flashback Friday: March 27, 2009

This flashback Friday is a little late but at least it is still Friday.

Today’s date is March 27, 2009. (Special bonus of two pictures)

Bonus image! 🙂

Here’s a couple shots from a shot trip to Chicago with some family that was in town. It was a fun little visit but still a little cold in the windy city.

Posted in Cityscape, Flashback Friday, HDR Tagged |

Flashback Friday: 09/07/2009 – Sleeping Bear Dunes

Hey gang,

Today’s flashback is to September 7th, 2009.

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I never said that all the images in the flashback series were going to be good shots. I’d probably put this image as a ‘so-so’ type of category. This shot was from a little getaway up to Traverse City Michigan with some friends. We then went out to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National park.

This sand dune was huge and and a steep decline right into Lake Michigan. As you can see from the image people would run, fall, and roll down the dune to the waters edge and then make the hike back up the dune. I had too much camera gear to make the trip down to the water myself. 🙂

Thanks for checking out this weeks flashback.

Posted in Flashback Friday, HDR, Landscape Tagged |

Flashback Friday! (First Edition)

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d start a new weekly posting called Flashback Friday. On Friday of each week I will randomly generate a date from the past 7 years or so. I’ll then look though my photo archive and will choose a picture from or close to the randomly generated date to share for my weekly post. The photo will be one that I haven’t previously shared online or done any work on. I thought this would be a fun way to revisit some of my older photos and give me the opportunity to share them once again.

With that said.. here is the first random date for Flashback Friday. July 1st, 2008.

This was taken in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is an HDR image of one of the many canals throughout the city. It was fun to look at these images and recall our trip to Amsterdam and Europe but also hard to believe so much time has already passed since we were there.

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Posted in Flashback Friday, HDR, Landscape Tagged , , , , , |

I’m Still Here

Hey everyone.

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything new to my site or blog. It’s not that I haven’t been taking any photos but that I tend to fall asleep at my computer as I’m editing them. I thought I’d write a quick post to let everyone know I’m still around and that I plan on posting more often.

I’d like to share a time-lapse video I did over the last year of my little girl. She’s one of the reasons my site updates have been few and far between. Since she was born I took a daily photo of her and then put it into this little video clip.

It’s hard to believe that she’s already past the year mark. Hope you enjoyed the video. Check back later as I promise to start posting more often. 🙂

Posted in Portrait, Time-Lapse Tagged |

Chicago From Above

Man o man has it been way too long since I’ve last posted anything. Not sure I really have any excuses besides that time goes by way to fast.

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to take a helicopter flight around Chicago to get some aerial shots. Probably not something I’d be able to do just for fun normally but I had a Groupon deal that made it a little more affordable to take. The company that took me up was called Bachman Aero (http://www.bachmanaero.com/). It was quite the experience to see such a beautiful city from the open door of a helicopter. The only downside was that by taking all of the photos it was hard to be able to just sit back and enjoy the ride and view. A quick hour later and 32 GB of photos the flight was over and I wanted to do it again. 🙂

Here’s the helicopter we went up in.

Here are some of the shots I was able to capture during this time. I still have a lot more to still go though so I might add to this post later. Below I’ll also post some of the things I was glad I did before the flight and some of the things I wish I had done differently.

And a B&W version:

As far as tips, pointers, or things I wish I did differently?

  • One is that I wish I just slowed down a little. Taken a little more time to compose my shots. The helicopter never stopped so I just kept shooting as fast as I could.
  • Next time I’d like to try to get some more detailed shots. I was too blown away with everything that I mainly just took wide shots. For example.. you can see a concert going on in the park. It would have been fun to get some zoomed in/detailed shots of that. Another is that we flew pretty close to the Willis tower. It would have been fun to get a closeup shot of those glass views with people in them. ect ect
  • Next time I’ll try to be more vocal to the pilot. There were some shots I wanted to get but didn’t mention it to the pilot as we were flying around. One of which is that it would have been nice to have a shot of Solider Field. A lot of this was due to having so much going on I just spaced it. The pilot would have been more then happy to have done these for me.

Some things I’m glad I did?

  • I’m glad I took a smaller bag. There wasn’t much room and my big Thinktank bag would have been a hassle
  • Glad I took multiple lenses. I ended up taking a 70-200 2.8 IS, 28-75 2.8 Tamron, and 10-20 sigma. I didn’t really think I’d use the sigma much but ended up using it quite a bit. We got a lot closer to the city then I thought we would. Didn’t use the 70-200 much for that same reason but should have to get those better detailed shots I talked about above. I didn’t find changing lenses was a problem and was just darn sure of my hold while changing them. I never let the camera strap off my neck and had my bag straps wrapped around my leg.
  • Glad I took a lot of memory cards. I usually just shoot with two 8 GB cards but just had purchased another 16 GB card last week just to be safe. I ended up filling up all of the 16 GB card, one of the 8 GB cards and half of the other.
  • Glad I bracketed my shots. I did this for a couple reasons. One was to be able to try some HDR images which didn’t really work out since we were moving the whole time, and the other reason was just to play it safe. I’m also able to use those different exposures to do some exposure blending. While bracketing I was shooting in manual mode and with it being sunset the lighting variance was pretty extreme. I also shot in Av mode to be able to get the fastest shutter speed while keeping the aperture pretty wide open.
  • Glad I took the flight.

Hope you enjoy the shots!

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Posted in Cityscape Tagged |

Touchdown Jesus Before/After

Hi all,

Here’s another quick before/after of a shot I took this last weekend on the campus of Notre Dame University. My wife was kind enough to let me escape our colicky two month old and get out to take some evening shots.

This shot is of the library on campus that is more famously know as “Touchdown Jesus”. It received the name from the mosaicked wall that looms over the nearby football stadium mirroring the raised arms of a referee signifying a touchdown. Please forgive me for not getting the before/after shots to line up. I did some cropping to the original image and wasn’t able to get them exact.


I actually used 9 different images to create this HDR shot. After aligning them using Photomatix I opened it up in Photoshop to enhance the image some more. I probably pushed it a little too far but kind of liked the contrast of colors between the warm glow of the sunset and the cool blue sky on the other end of the horizon. For those interested here are some of the plugin’s and steps I took for this image.

Nik color efex: Tonal contrast, Pro contrast
OnOne Phototools: Color boost (Cranked it way up) and then masked out the building since it was over saturated, sharpen
Photoshop: Level corrections. New layer with screen blend mode on building to lighten it a little. New layer with multiply blend mode to create a vignette.

Once again here is the final image.. for now. 🙂

It was a beautiful spring evening on campus and I’ll probably post more images from this outing later. A spring storm had just gone though a couple hours earlier which gave everything a nice refreshing feel and look to it. Here is one other shot from the outing of the Basilica on campus.

Posted in Before & After, Cityscape, HDR Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

How to: Candy Drops

Hey everyone,

I took this shot this last weekend and I thought I’d go through the setup and steps I took to produce it. I originally saw a shot similar to this on a photography forum called “Canon Digital Photography Forum” aka POTN which I usually browse on a daily basis.

Here’s my final image once again.

This shot is actually 3 different shots that have been merged or staked on each other. I used a process called focus stacking which I’ll explain a little later on what exactly that is. But first Let me first go over my setup for this shot.

Sorry it’s not the best quality since I had to use my phone to take the picture. I labeled the key items in the shot. I used a LumoPro LP160 flash fired at 1/2 power into the softbox. I also used the Yongnuo rf-602 trigger system to be able to fire my flash remotely.

The glass I used I took from a picture frame and treated it with Rain-x. Rain-x helped the water bead up better to get more distinct drops. I then just put it on the two chairs and tried to make it level as possible. Once level I took the spray bottle and sprayed the glass. One other thing to note that’s not included in the picture is that I ended up putting a white sheet of paper down over the black box top to make it blend a little better. I filled the bowl with Skittles Crazy Cores that I bought at the store for this shot. I chose the skittles since they had a lot of bright colors which I thought would make for a better image.

If you shoot a lot of macro shots one thing that can be hard to control is the depth of field of the shot. It was a little hard to get what I wanted in the shot in focus while keeping a nice blur to the background. So I decided to try a technique know as focus stacking. As mentioned above the picture is actually 3 different images merged together using a program called Zerene stacker. I’m currently only using the demo period of the software but I like what it was able to do.

I manually focused at the far end of the focus range and made a slight focus adjustment for each shot to get the range I wanted. Each time I made a change of focus a different part of the image was in focus. Here’s my 3 individual shots.

Shot 1:

Shot 2:

Shot 3:

I opened the resulting image in Photoshop and did a few minor changes like levels adjustments and sharpening. It was quite fun playing around to create this image and plan on trying some other items in place of the candy dish. If anyone else gives this a shot I’d love to see what you come up with. Feel free to post a link to you image in the comments.

Hope you liked it. Let me know if you have any questions.

Inspired by Northwest Dad and Hyuni’s photos which I first saw on the forum mentioned above:

Posted in How to, Macro, Off Camera Flash Tagged |

Morning Grazing Before/After

Hi all,

It has been a while since I did a before/after of one of my pictures so I though I’d throw one up that I was working on last night. The image was taken last June but I stumbled across it this week when I was looking for some images to enter into a photo contest that had the theme “horses”. During a visit to Utah last summer we stayed in Park City. I woke up early one morning to get some sunrise pictures of Deer Creek Reservoir with Mount Timpanogos in the background. On the way back to Park City I drove though some of the farm lands of Heber Valley. I pulled off the side of the road as I saw these horses grazing in a field as the sun first was breaking though the clouds. The mist/fog was still pretty heavy as it was a cooler morning and had even been raining the night before. It looked so peaceful so I took the shot.

So here it is. A before/after of the morning grazing.


Here is just the final image

This shot is a HDR image which is comprised of 3 different shots that are then overlayed on each other to bring the exposures of each different image into a single shot. This more accurately displays the range of light in a scene then the camera is able to do on it’s own. The before picture is the image exposed to the setting the camera said would be the correct exposure. I then took two more pictures with exposures too bright and too dark to capture the full range of light. Below are the underexposed and over exposed images I took along with the correctly exposed shot.

Two stops overexposed:

And two stops underexposed:

After combining the images using a program called Photomatix I did further retouching work in Photoshop CS5.

Posted in Before & After, HDR, Landscape Tagged |