Snowy Rough Rider

The Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, Arizona has several Western-themed sculptures on the grounds.  A couple of days ago I posted a shot of one of them, and today I’ve processed another one.  This is the Buckey O’Neill Monument dedicated to the Rough Riders.  Buckey O’Neill was the true archetype of the American cowboy.  There’s a nice article about him on Wikipedia, where you’ll find, for instance, that he was played by Sam Elliot in the TNT movie Rough Riders.

The statue is not Buckey, but Buckey was a member of the Rough Riders and was killed in action in 1898 in the war against the Spanish.  Teddy Roosevelt wrote about the death of O’Neill: “The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged”.

The statue, designed and created by Solon Borglum, was erected in Prescott in 1907.  It was seen in the movie Billy Jack in the Korean martial art scene.

The HDR image below was created from three hand-held bracketed photos.  I used Photomatix to merge the photos, and then used Paintshop Photo Pro X3 and Topaz Adjust / DeNoise to post-process.  It’s challenging to work with the dark sculpture against the lighter sky and snow, but hopefully I didn’t butcher this one too badly….I like it anyway!

Snowy Rough Rider

Glendale Public Safety Memorial – in HDR

From my postings of the past few days, you might get the idea that downtown Glendale is a hell-hole of urban blight, and nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s actually a quite pleasant, quaint little downtown area with a family-friendly vibe, lots of character, and an abundance of community activities and festivals that draw crowds from all over the Valley.

In the past year, this memorial was erected in downtown near the Civic Center to pay tribute to the firefighters and police officers from Glendale who lost their lives in the line of duty.  It’s a striking sculpture depicting the men and women captured in a flame while performing their duties.  I shot some hand-held brackets to use for HDR processing.  Probably would have been better with a tripod, but here’s what I got.  These were processed using Photomatix v4, Topaz Adjust/DeNoise, and Paintshop Pro X3:

Glendale Public Safety Memorial 001

Glendale Public Safety Memorial 002

Glendale Public Safety Memorial 003

Big Bugs in Downtown Phoenix

Sunday was my birthday, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend several hours with my camera and tripod in downtown Phoenix.  The hubby went along with me, and he carried my backpack with extra lenses and assorted paraphernalia, leaving me free to climb stairs and low concrete walls to get the shots I wanted.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t choose to shoot downtown in the middle of the day since the shadows can be so harsh.  But I knew I was going to process these shots as HDR’s, so I decided to take advantage of a beautiful, if still warm, autumn day when downtown was pretty much deserted.

I took about 55-60 bracketed series, and I’ve just started going through them, but these three images are going to be some of my favorites, I can already tell.  These bronze sculptures are located on the plaza of the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center.  According to their official website, the sculptures were created by Tom Otterness and they include:

Three large, whimsical bronze sculptures of desert creatures, enlarged to human scale. The creatures include a millipede with a hat and shoes; a walking stick in high heels, and a scorpion holding two small men in top hats tugging at a bag of money. Accompanying sculptural elements of people, scaled down to Lilliputian dimensions, interact with the creatures. The sculptures are set in a unique water-harvesting garden at the public plaza located near the southeast entrance of the North Building.

Each of these images was created from a bracketed series of three photos (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) taken with my Nikon D5000 and the kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6) at F/13.  I used Photomatix Pro v3 to produce the HDR image, and then post-processed in Paintshop Pro X3 to tweak the brightness and contrast, and I used the Curves tool to modify the color balance slightly.  I like the way that the HDR process accentuates the variations in the shades of bronze on the sculptures, especially on the millipede.  My biggest disappointment was on the scorpion–once again I have a little flare spot in the middle of the picture.  I need to figure out where that’s coming from so I can get rid of it.

Downtown Phoenix 001

Downtown Phoenix 002

Downtown Phoenix 003

The majority of the other images that i took are architectural in nature, and I’ll be posting them in the next few days and weeks.

This coming weekend we’re planning a trip into Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona to check out the fall color (if there is any yet).  I’m looking forward to getting my camera out in some cooler weather–it was over 90° in downtown Phoenix when these shots were taken yesterday.  Way too hot for late October!!

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