Friday Foto – Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

Here’s another image I shot this week on the dry lake bed at Elephant Butte Lake State Park near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The exposed gray branches, lit by the midday sun, contrast nicely with the dark brown sand and work really well for black and white processing.

ElephantButteSP_20181024_030 bw

Click on the photo to view larger on my Flickr site.

Feels good to be exploring the world with my Nikon 700 again. This was minimally processed in Paint Shop Pro X9.

I’m planning to post here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for as long as I’m inspired to do so. You can also see my earlier stuff on my Flickr page.

 

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Cool Chair

Continuing my series of images from the abandoned Black Canyon Greyhound Park in Black Canyon City, Arizona:

Decided to go with a black-and-white image for this evening’s post.  I was a little torn, because this chair is actually pink, but it’s pretty faded.  I decided that the monochrome gave a better “feel” of the shot:

Cool Chair
HDR created from five bracketed photos processed in Photomatix v4. Post-processing in Paintshop Photo Pro X3, using Topaz Adjust / DeNoise.

This shot was taken where the old restaurant used to be.  I like the little details like the sink drain sitting in the windowsill, right next to that wicked shard of glass.  If you’re interested in seeing more shots from this location, check out my posts from the past four days!

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:

Facebook at ZannWalker Photography
Twitter @suzanne_hight
My Official Website at http://zannwalker.com

Watchmen – Black Canyon Greyhound Park

Urbex isn’t my favorite kind of photography, but there’s something eerily fun about going into an old abandoned space and documenting what’s been left behind.

Today I spent several hours with a couple of photographers who are also co-workers, exploring the abandoned greyhound racing track in Black Canyon City, Arizona.  Surprisingly, there are no fences and no warning signs to keep people out, so we had free run of the place.

First of all, let me just say that this is no place for kids, so don’t go dragging your children out here to play.  There’s broken glass–lots of it.  Huge shards of it.  And of course there’s lots of nasty bird and rodent droppings around.  But if you’re careful and you wear good thick-soled shoes, you get rewarded with some great urbex photography, especially if you’re into HDR.

The grandstands are still mostly intact, with brightly colored red, yellow and orange seats, which face toward the west making them very colorful as the sun sets.  The remainder of the facility is pretty much gutted, with quite a bit of broken floor tiles, graffiti, and some interesting bits of debris scattered around.  There’s even a metal staircase on the outside of the building that leads up to the roof to where the pressboxes are located.  There’s the abandoned restaurant as well as the “paddocks” for the dogs, and another building that has an old office with paperwork still scattered about.  Very cool.

I didn’t get home until after dark, and then the hubby and I went out for a light dinner, so I didn’t get to look at my shots until late tonight.  I think I got some good ones!  Some of them will definitely be candidates for color processing, but some are just perfect for a gritty black-and-white treatment–which brings us to the first posting from today’s photoshoot:

Watchmen

This was taken in what I believe was the restaurant or snack-bar area, judging by all the tables and chairs thrown about, as well as the adjoining kitchen area. It’s a five-exposure HDR processed in Photomatix, and then post-processed in Paintshop Photo Pro X3, with Topaz Adjust. I decided to go with black-and-white, and I actually added some grain to the shot to play up the gritty environment.

Can’t wait to start processing some of the other shots, and it will be interesting to see what my two cohorts come up with. Always fun to see different interpretations of the same scene. Stay tuned!

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:
Facebook at ZannWalker Photography
Twitter @suzanne_hight
My Official Website at http://zannwalker.com

Take-out

Really late post tonight, but I wanted to get this one out there.

I took this shot a couple of weeks ago on our light rail photo crawl. It’s a candid that I took with my 28-300mm zoom lens at one of the train stops. I love the facial expressions, but I wasn’t all that excited about the background.

So tonight I ran it through my usual workflow…Topaz Adjust (popped the details), DeNoise, then back into Paintshop Photo Pro X3 for some adjustment layers (levels and saturation), until I got an image that I was almost satisfied with. Almost, but not quite. The more I looked at it, the more I decided that the color was actually distracting from the facial expressions. So I decided to desaturate it, and go with black and white.

Since I had already popped the details in Topaz and saturated the colors earlier, the black and white seemed to come out better than any that I’ve tried previously. Maybe a new wrinkle in the workflow?

Anyway, here’s “Take-out”:

Take-out
Shot with a Nikon D700, 28-300mm zoom @ 300mm, F/9, 1/320s, ISO 200

I went to the AZ Photographers Group happy hour and photo shoot at the Vintage Lounge in Tempe tonight. They had a small shooting area set up, and a couple of local models were available for us to photograph using a couple of strobe lights that were set up. I still don’t have a transceiver to trigger flashes and strobes remotely, so I was using my flash on-camera. I wasn’t real excited about any of the shots that I took, but it was fun and educational to see how it’s done and to compare notes on equipment.

BFF’s in B&W

One of the great things about telecommuting twice a week is that I get to go outside several times a day and just walk around the block to get some fresh air and exercise.  Today I made a point of carrying my camera with me each time I went outside.  My neighborhood is not at all photogenic, but you never know what you might come across.

On my last stroll of the day, I came across these kids playing in the street (it’s not a busy street, mind you).  And I heard:

“Hey, I’ve seen her before!”

“She’s got a camera!”

“She’s a photo-graffer.” (She said this as two separate words, “photo” and “graffer”.)

“Hey, you can take our picture!!”

So, I did.  Normally I hesitant about taking pictures of kids, because in today’s society one’s intentions can be completely misinterpreted.  But with the parents close by and no objections, I got the shot.  And it’s a rather good one, I think!

Friends 01

Tomorrow, it’s back to the HDR stuff…I promise!

Bike Night on Veterans Day at Westgate

I got a tweet from my Westgate feed late this afternoon advertising Bike Night…tonight.  Wish they would give us a little more advance notice about these things, but that’s another subject.  Bike Night is a monthly family-friendly gathering of local motorcycle enthusiasts at the Westgate entertainment complex in Glendale.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a little practice shooting handheld shots under fairly low lighting conditions.

Since today is also Veterans Day, the gathering had quite a patriotic theme to it.  They had a live band, several speakers from the military and first responders, and a flag from Ground Zero on display.  There was the playing of the National Anthem, “America the Beautiful”, and of course, Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud To Be An American”.   There was a mini-parade of motorcycles carrying flags through the crowd which drew a big response from everyone as well.

Click on the images below to view LARGE on black:

Bike Night on Veterans Day 001

We wandered around through the crowd and the parked motorcycles and I took about fifty shots. I had the camera set to Monochrome and RAW+Fine, so I got a black-and-white JPG and a raw file with all the color information. Sometimes I just like the black-and-white shots better, especially since I was shooting at a fairly high ISO (around 2000 most of the time), with a wide open aperture. I really need to start saving up my money for a fast lens.

Bike Night on Veterans Day 002

These shots are SOOC (straight out of the camera) JPG’s. Honestly, I’m happy with these just the way they are. However, I’m going to be spending some time playing around with the entire set from tonight’s shoot over the weekend. I got some really nice close-up shots of the bikes with the colorful reflection of the lights that really need the color processing to do them justice. But I wanted to throw these out there just to give you an idea of what the evening was like.

Bike Night on Veterans Day 003

Wow, it’s almost 10:00PM already! Guess I’d better close up the darkroom before I’m tempted to start working on these shots!