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Saturday
Mar092013

Barr Mansion

At blue hour, I snuck away from shooting a wedding with a friend to get a shot of the Barr Mansion.  All the wedding guests were at the reception hall behind the mansion.  You can see the lights from it through the porch on the left.  I love wrap-around porches like these.  

I shot five exposures bracketed and masked parts of the images from various exposures to achieve this image.  For example, the windows are from the darkest exposure. The lawn and sky are from the brightest exposure since I shot this after sunset.  In escence, I manually pieced together a high dynamic range (HDR) exposure.  I had first tried using HDR software to create the image, but was not happy with the results, so I scapped it and began masking the image.  I'm glad I did.  

Photograph ©2013 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.



Friday
Dec212012

How to shoot Silhouettes

I was hired by a friend to shoot some portraits as well as a couple of silhouettes of her kids. The silhouettes will be printed on a cloth that will then be use in an upholstery project--pretty cool. Read on below to learn how I shot these silhouettes.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Basically, everything I did in this lighting setup was to get light onto the background and to avoid getting light anywhere else.

Setup: White foamcore was placed about 15' behind the subject to minimize light bleed onto the subject. The foamcore was lit at a 45° angle from camera right using a Speedotron head with a 7" gridded reflector. I used a grid on the small reflector to narrow the beam of light tightly onto the foamcore background and keep the light from illuminating the room. A black panel was placed on the opposite side of the foamcore to absorb the reflected light off of the foamcore, again, to minimize light bleed onto the subject. 

Image shot at ƒ/9 at 1/250 sec.  I should add that I under exposed the image a bit and later de-vignetted and increased the contrast in post to get a pure white. If you shoot the background to be pure white in camera, then you will lose contrast around the edges of the silhouette.

 


 

Monday
Dec102012

Prada Marfa

Stopped off at Prada Marfa druing my West Texas road trip.  I was trying to shoot the structure with a weird vibe, but I didn't quite get the vibe I was after.  I thought I'd post this image anyway.

Prada Marfa at twilight. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

Friday
Dec072012

Lockhart, Texas

My friend, Andy and I recently visited Lockhart, Texas, the county seat for Caldwell county.  First order of business was to enjoy some fantastic barbecue. Our first stop was Black's Barbecue and they didn't disappoint. We were also treated to a personal tour of the pits by pit master Kent Black (see photos below).  Kent shared with us the history and origins of Black’s Barbecue.  We learned everything from the kind of wood they used to the smoke the meats (Post Oak aged no less than a year) to how the restaurant began. If you’re in central Texas and enjoy good BBQ, Black's definitely worth a visit (as I'm sure are the many other fine barbecue establishments in Lockhart).

After the great lunch at Black's, we set off exploring the town.  I found Lockhart to be a beautiful town full of wonderful people.  Kent was just the first of many friendly folks we encountered that day.  Everyone was very welcoming.  The bailiff unlocked the courtroom for us to go in and photograph.  A gentleman at the First Christian Church unlocked the church so we could photograph inside as he told us about the history of the renovations.  The folks at the library invited us to come back for a Dickens celebration in December.  A shopkeeper at a local 50's style soda fountain chatted with us about the recent Formula 1 races in Austin.  Everywhere I turned, friendly and welcoming folks wanted to share what they knew and welcome us into their world.  Never before have I felt so welcomed by so many strangers in one day.  Anyway, Andy and I stuck around for twilight to photograph the courthouse all lit up and with a vivid blue sky.  I'm glad we did. 

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.An interesting aside, directly behind me as I took this picture is a row of storefronts.  One of them is a tiny barbershop with a spinning barber pole outside the door.  I learned from the barber that this barbershop has been in continuous operation, as a barbershop, since before the current courthouse was built in 1898.  

Here is a corner view of the courthouse during the day.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.This is the view when you walk into the courtroom on the second floor.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.This is the view from the bench looking back.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.One more view from the back-left corner of the courtroom.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Here is Black's Barbecue pit master, Kent Black, showing me a brisket ready to be cut and served.

Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Some beef ribs are being placed on the cutting board next to sausages, brisket, turkey and pork spare ribs.

Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

We had a great time in Lockhart and look forward to going back and for more BBQ.  

Tuesday
Nov272012

Sotol Vista Aerial Perspective

Today I'm sharing a sunset view from Sotol Vista in Big Bend National Park.  There weren't many interesting clouds in the sky that evening, so I used a longer focal length to study the distant mountains and emphasize the aerial perspective.  Yes, there's a name for the decreasing contrast as the distance increases.  Click on the image to see a larger version.  

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

It occurred to me as I'm writing this post that there's a lesson to be learned here.  Just because you've photographed somewhere before, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't return to that same location to photograph again.  You can always see the same thing in a different light (literally and figuratively).  Below is an image I shot last year when there were some interesting clouds to catch the fading twilight light.  Both of these images were shot from the same spot about one year apart.  Look closely to the left of center in the image below and you'll see the mountain ridges found in the image above.  

Photograph ©2011 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

Have you ever come back to the same location to photograph again?  How was the subsequent session different for you?  Share your thoughts below.