105 Photos - Aug 6, 2012
Photo: Three wise men

Another redux from an old photo taken so many moons ago in an abandoned mill with +Bob Lussier. The concept framing within the frame is really important to me and I love implementing it when it makes sense. Initially, the horizontal ceiling beams really attracted me but when I had my camera through the doorway, there was far less impact.

Once I incorporated the vertical lines of the doorway, I noticed a much clearer flow of directionality. It was further complemented by the beams that reached out towards the vanishing point.Photo: The pitfalls of urban exploration

Earlier today, +Todd Sipes, +Dan Hughes, and I visited this abandoned hotel in Byron. As soon as we approached it, I knew we would be burning several hours here. It was so ridiculously target-rich and it was also very easy to get lost in thought while exploring. There was just so much to take in.

However, if you aren't paying extra sharp attention to your surroundings, you can end up falling through the floor... literally. It's not uncommon for the structural integrity of the floors and surfaces to be bare bones and ready to break through with the wrong step.

In this case, the entire drainage route from the top of the building through the bottom floor was exposed and it would have been more than easy to fall through if I wasn't paying extra close attention.

All in all, the three of us had a great time and managed to get some cool photos without losing any limbs which is actually saying a lot for the three of us. :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: A Fisheye HDR of some tagged up trains taken under I93 (adjacent to the Zakim Bridge) in Boston, MAPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Easily my favorite UrbEx location to date

Ahhhh, Belchertown State School. I'll never forget first walking into this auditorium with my good ol' comrade, +Bob Lussier. Our jaws dropped, we looked at each other, and just nodded. We killed hours here like it was minutes. This is a 27-exposure tone-mapped HDR shifted pano image taken with my trusty 17mm T/S lens. I took it back in 2010. Bob and I made subsequent visits here - some more fruitful than others, but none were as fun or as memorable as this first time. While I'm surrounded with a lifetime of amazing things to shoot here in PDX, this location in Massachusetts will always have a fond parking space in my heart. Le sigh.

I also wanted to share this shot as part of +Lisa Donchak's #halloweekend  madness.

Google Maps Location Info
42.275025, -72.415123 

In terms of processing
The tone-mapping for these brackets was done in Photomatix Pro. Stitching of the three panels was done with Autopano Giga.

This is a combo of Gum Bichromate, Thermopylae and Return of the King, all blended in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.2

#blogPhoto: Photo: Oh. You'd like more from Belchertown?

Well far be it from me to deny you. :)

After last night's post from the main auditorium of Belchertown State School, I heard the call of my grunge muse and went on a processing kick. Here is another image from one of the adjacent hallways. As you can see, there is good reason for why this is one of my favorite places on earth. :)

I went heavy with the adjustment brush in Lightroom to dodge and burn a path in the ground - you can see it begin in the lower left of the frame and the creep through the frame. This sort of artistic freedom with digital photography is so wonderful because it allows the photographer to add elements to the story beyond what was originally there. Simple yet effective.

Tossing this in for #Halloweekend , curated by +Lisa Donchak.

Google Maps Location Info
42.275025, -72.415123 

In terms of processing
The tone-mapping for these brackets was done in Photomatix Pro.

Global effects added were Urban Sickness and Charge More Glow. I selectively masked in Thermopylae and Cyberpunk on certain areas of the wall. All done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.2.

#blog  Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Missing home

Today is the first day of the PhotoPlus Expo in my hometown, New York City. Normally, I'd be right there with my +onOne Software colleagues, presenting and greeting people at our booth on the expo floor. I even had my flight booked and everything.

Unfortunately, priorities are priorities and I had to stay back in Oregon to finish recording the rest of the product videos supporting next week's launch of Perfect Photo Suite 7. Humbug! I love going on the road with my coworkers - they are some of the best and funniest people I know... and the fact that they're defiling my home without me is a bit of a bummer. This is the longest stretch that I've gone without visiting my family.

On the plus side, Suite 7 has turned out freaking awesome!. We had our first release candidate build drop on Sunday and our final RC build drops tonight. Pending any catastrophic, show-stopping bugs, we're good to launch by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week!

I'll leave you with this shot taken from one of my last trips to NYC. It's from the underbelly of Grand Central Terminal. My man, +Chris Robins worked his magic and got a crew of us access down there to shoot. It seems fitting since I feel like I am about to get crushed by a train car any day now. :)

Google Maps Location Info
40.75284, -73.97719

In terms of processing
This is a nine exposure tone-mapped HDR image - done in Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 3. It's a combo of Grunge, Blue Dawn, and a touch of Urban Sickness.

#blogPhoto: I stopped in my tracks when I saw an abstract shape of an urban skyline in the break of the wood flooring. This is a stylized HDR - the intention was to bring out a post-apocalyptic emotion.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: On Aggressive Framing

Ahh yes - the Corn Patrol. Always a crowd pleaser. :)

If there is one thing that causes me to stop in my tracks as I'm flipping through images on the Internet, it is aggressive framing. It's taking something or someone and presenting them in such a drastically unorthodox way that your attention is immediately grabbed. It is something that I try to achieve with every. single. image. Period. Aggressive [read: unique] framing rates right up there as one of the most tools in a photographer's utility belt.

One of the ways that I find myself getting these sorts of comps is by turning on my camera's Live View mode, holding the tripod out in front of me, and walking around the area that I want to shoot. I live and die by my camera's Live View. Sure, it chews up batteries exponentially faster but it's worth its weight in gold.

I also find that using ultra-wide angle lenses does wonders in achieving these types of aggressive comps - but in all fairness, YMMV. Some shots work better with longer lenses. It's up to you, fair photographer, to determine what the ideal pairing is. For this shot, I knew that my Canon 14mm prime lens was the right glass for the job. After +Nicole S. Young finished getting her frames, I swooped in to get mine and we volleyed off of each other until every angle of this car was captured. :)

So next time you're out with your camera, give yourself a few extra moments to think about what you're about to shoot and, more importantly, how you're about to shoot it.

Google Maps Location Info
41°24'6" N 97°3'55" W

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image processed Photomatix Pro.

Stylization consisted of masking in Blue Dawn  and Tonal Contrast onto the hood of the car, along with Cyberpunk onto the front grill. I painted in Golden Hour Enhancer onto the headlamps and Green Enhancer on the surrounding grass. I finished things off with Rich Glow to add punchy contrast. All done in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: On Getting Low

Oh man, the G+ post withdrawal was getting too much for me. :) Sorry for being MIA over the past few days - this week is just one of those crazy times as we prep for Photoshop World Vegas next week. Suffice it to say that we've got some amazing things planned at the +onOne Software booth. If you're going, please say HI!

As for this shot, my man, +Ricardo Lagos, was standing right next to me as we entered this cozy room. We were both on high alert, just in case someone decided to shank us... you know, for sport. But as soon as +Michael Bonocore showed up, we knew that we'd be safe. He loves vagrants.

I honestly feel that the lower perspective here makes the shot. I don't think it'd be nearly as impactful had I taken it at eye level and it's something to consider - especially if you shooting in a familiar scene, like a hallway or living room, etc.

Google Maps Location Info
37.733431, -122.506542 

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure #HDR  image, tone-mapped using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was achieved by combining a tiny bit of Havana, Arkham, and Grunge Glow - all within Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: Just wanted to share a quick image taken this weekend with +Ricardo Lagos and +Michael Bonocore in San Francisco. This is the first of many #UrbEx   #HDR  images to come from this location.

A huge thanks to Ricardo and Mike for offering to act as a human shield if anyone tried to shank us.Photo: On Being Influenced By Cinema

Is it me, or does this bus look like it should be a character in the next Cars series? I'm not the biggest movie buff out there but if there is one thing I love about seeing certain flicks, it's how the cinematography has an influence on my stylization. Whether it's subliminal or in your face, a lot of movies that I watch tend to have some sort of visual editing that plays into my own sensibilities.

The key is to truly be able to tap into that. I always try to keep that in the forefront of my mind as soon as I detect certain visually pleasing elements in a movie, TV show, or commercial. It's not enough to know that you're piqued by something you just saw - you need to be able to audit that. Ask yourself Why do I find this visually pleasing? It's in that very answer that you'll begin to expand on how you stylize your own images.

Google Maps Location Info
39.1560, -122.1476

In terms of processing
I started off by tone-mapping seven exposures to create this #HDR  image.

Next, I sent it to Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. I applied the Havana effect to the sky to give it that bright blue look. I also applied Just Enough Darkness, Return of the King, Tonal Contrast, and Deep Forest Glow to the bus.

I applied a small amount of blur in FocalPoint 2 in order to help separate the bus from the background (you can see it to the right of the bus).

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: On Juxtaposing Everyday Life

For most people who live in densely populated urban areas, I suspect that this is a very familiar scene. As someone who was born and raised in New York City, I instantly stopped in my tracks as I saw this bus sitting there with its door ajar. It was so familiar that I almost reached into my pocket to pull out my bus pass. There was something very comforting about it, despite the actual condition of the bus and the horse of mosquitos taking turns syphoning my precious life blood.

It was this familiar mental image that caused me to frame up this shot accordingly. I really enjoyed overlaying a mental image of something that I am very familiar with on top of the actual scene. This bus restoration yard in Williams, CA really did bring it home for me and I want to thank +Thomas Hawk for orchestrating our access. And a big thanks to +Ricardo Lagos for driving almost six hours for this shot, along with +Amy Heiden, +Michael Bonocore, +Julia Peterson and +Jonathan Goody for being such awesome collaborators. And a final thanks to those disgusting spiders for not biting off a piece of my flesh.

Google Maps Location Info
39.1560, -122.1476

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure #HDR  tone-mapped image using Photomatix Pro. The seven exposures were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III and I used my Canon 17mm T/S lens with it.

Stylization was achieved by combining Hollywood Glow, Green Enhancer, and Urban Sickness to the image and masking in Grunge onto the bus itself - all within Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Next, I selectively recreated a shallow depth of field just beyond the bus using FocalPoint 2, also by onOne.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1Photo: On Shooting Off-angle

If there is one tendency that I try to break, it's to shoot subjects head-on. I don't know what it is - maybe it's my affinity for architecture - but I always default to setting my camera so that it's facing directly straight to whatever I'm about to shoot. And, in some cases, that is the appropriate framing choice.

But, I find that, more often than not, shooting subjects at an angle can offer a very dramatic and visually pleasing alternative for the viewer. In the case with this image, my attention was originally grabbed by this bus in the foreground, with its windshield missing. It goes without saying that it has a lot of character. But then, I was attracted to the bus next to it, with its arching overhang. And then the yellow bus beyond it. You get my drift.

So, by setting my tripod on an angle, I was able to retain all of the elements of the first bus while also including other attractive elements. And, I'd wager that the image is more compelling as a whole because of this angle. So, when you're out shooting, take an extra minute or two and navigate around whatever it is you're shooting. It'll likely pay off.

Google Maps Location Info
39.1560, -122.1476

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image, processed in Photomatix Pro. Because of the drastic tonal range in the scene, tone-mapping was critical.

As far as stylization, I wanted to change the tone of the warm sunlight and was able to achieve that with Urban Sickness. Next, I added some Havana to the yellow bus in the background, as well as Green Enhancer to the weeds in the foreground. Tonal Contrast was masked in on all of the buses. All done in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: On Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

From Episode 20 of +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration - http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode20/

Photography is inherently a solitary pursuit. Even when you're surrounded by fellow photographers, the journey you take and the experiences you gain every time you fire off an exposure is very much shared with only you and your camera. No one has the same direct access to your mind as you do and, as such, your personal creative process wholly rests on you. To paraphrase the Rifleman's Creed:

This is my camera. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My camera is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Now let's segue over to night photography and, more specifically, light painting. In terms of my overall experience in light painting photography, I fall right there at the very novice level. I have never really spent much time or effort learning it, so when I found out that I would be joining a cadre of fellow photographers at some random bus restoration yard in California to shoot thru the night, I figured that I'd have a lot of failed exposures as I fumbled through by myself, trying to make sense out of it all.

And then there is my friend, +Amy Heiden, who is a wonderfully talented photographer and knows a thing or two about painting with light for night photography. She showed me the true wonders of in-the-field collaboration. Everything from sharing creative concepts to optimal exposure settings to how to best use color gels with our flashlights. Throughout the shoot, Amy was totally selfless in her willingness to share. She shared her lights, her gels, her knowledge and even her water (it was about 100-degrees Fahrenheit at sunset).

There was one point when Amy was constructing her own shot using a green gelled flashlight. My rendition of the shot she was constructing is displayed right below. I walked on over, set down my tripod, and watched her work. After a few shots, I joined in and began introducing my bare white flashlight to help fill in certain areas. Without any effort at all, we began dancing around each other, taking turns filling in different parts of the scene, helping each other get our respective exposures.

It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I can remember as a photographer. In my particular career, I spend all of my efforts sharing my knowledge and experiences around photography here with all of you. In this case, it was so nice to be on the receiving end of such insight and I instantly knew that it would be the driving force for this week's episode.

So, next time you're out with other photographers, take stock of who they are and how collaboration amongst each other can truly enrich your experiences and images.

Google Maps Location Info
39.1560, -122.1476

In terms of processing
Check out Episode 20 of Perfect Inspiration to see a video of how I processed this image from start to finish:

http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode20/Photo: On Becoming BFFs With Distortion

It's really hard to put into words just how massive this nuclear cooling tower really is. Unless you've actually had the chance to stand inside of one, words just won't cut it... and images even fall a bit short. The echo that is produced from this concrete cylinder is every bit as amazing as its size and grandeur.

One of my main goals was to figure out how to convey the enormity of this structure in an image. The answer was via distortion and I had just the piece of glass for it - The Funk Buster - aka the Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. This lens packs a punch like nobody's business and it did exactly what I hoped it would when I placed it in between two of the main support beams holding up this concrete tube.

The only thing missing was an object to help convey a true sense of scale, but considering the severe amount of distortion already included, I felt it wasn't very necessary. Suffice it to say that those two concrete slabs in the rear center of the chamber were massive in their own respect.

So there you have it - distortion. Something we work so hard to avoid, prevent and mitigate. It's the one thing that truly made this shot special and helped me fit every bit of the cooling chamber into the frame. Maybe it's time you made friends with poor, neglected Distortion, too. :)

A huge thanks again to my man, +Brian Bonham, for making this shoot possible.

Google Maps Location Info
46.95930, -123.47504

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was dominated by Urban Sickness, which contributed to the whole "nuclear" feel of the shot. I also masked in some Tonal Contrast onto the concrete slabs and added some Deep Forest Glow to boost the contrast.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: I've got nuclear reactors on my mind.

I think +Amy Heiden and +Brian Bonham can feel it, too.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° WPhoto: On Separation of Foreground & Background

For a full before/after of this image and a video walkthrough of how I processed it, check out this week's episode of +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration - http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

The problem with fitting so much delicious goodness into a single frame is that it becomes very easy to get lost in everything. When you're shooting at a small aperture, say anywhere from f/8 - f/16, you're going to have pretty much everything in focus. Depending on how you compose your image and what is in your frame, this can lead to a relatively flat looking shot. However, even in those situations, I find that I'm more likely to shoot with a smaller aperture and get everything in focus because I know that I have tools to simulate shallow depth of field after the fact.

So, in the case with this image of this burnt down structure in Portland, OR, the original image is totally in focus from the foreground all the way to the back wall. However, because the foreground facade was the star of the show, I decided to apply a subtle amount of FocalPoint to render the background slightly out of focus. This instantly helps bring the wall to life and gives the image a 3D feel. But, I always have the insurance of having the entire image in focus should I want to go a different route down the line. It's just something to consider when you're shooting and framing up what your image is going to be.

Google Maps Location Info
45.51119, -122.66353

In terms of processing
See the full video walkthrough of how I edited this image over here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

#HDR  Photo: A Healthy Dose Of Gamma Rays

The day started off bleakly... and I'm not even talking about the rain. As soon as we pulled up to sign our waivers at the Satsop Nuclear Facility, we were told to expect very limited and fleeting access to the cooler parts of the area. Bummed and dejected, my bard of photographers were, I tell ya. I'd never seen +Amy Heiden wimper like that before. Even +Brian Bonham and +Jeffrey Yen sprouted some tears. +Arno Jenkins, still recovering from his shoulder surgery, popped about five vicodins, and told everyone to man up. He's so surly like that. +Joe Azure and +Tressa Crozier were so seemingly preoccupied that they didn't even see the massive cooling towers to their right. All the while, +Nicole S. Young and +Christopher Germano decided to take the law into their own hands and hatched a plan to climb to the top of the cooling tower for some yodeling competition.

And then our guide told us that we'd actually be ok with having access to all the areas we had hoped to see. The rest of the day was, in actuality, rather tame compared to what could have happened had we not been given sufficient access.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° W

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was a combo of Fashion Passion (my new fave), Arkham, Hollywood Intensity and Tonal Contrast. All done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.2.Photo: Tripod Yoga

That's what I call it when I flex and contort my precious +Really Right Stuff TVC-24 sticks in order to position my camera in certain ways. While my photography bard was a few stories above me photographing the top of the reactor core, I decided to have some fisheye fun. In order to get the shot that I wanted, I needed to balance my camera in such a way that it was leaning over the set of stairs that I was standing on. Only the fisheye lens could give me the specific look that I was going for and because it has just about a 180-degree field of view, I really had to push my tripod into a pretty precarious position.

Thankfully, I was able to walk away with camera, tripod, and images in hand and unscathed. Just another example of doing what ya gotta do to get the shots that your mind's eye sees.

Google Maps Location Info
46.9598° N, 123.4696° W

In terms of processing
Tone-mapping on seven exposures here using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was a combination of Vecchio masked on the stairs and Cross Process Blue masked on the background. Tonal Contrast was applied globally.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.2.

#HDR   #blog  Photo: Photo: Dusty, faded memories

Sometimes, that's all you have left.Photo: Ways and Means

What can I say? I can’t get enough of my own personal 2010 classic rewind. I’ve been spending a lot of time digging through the older folders not so much to scavenge, but more to see where I’ve come as a photographer. Make no mistake – there are plenty of my images that make me cringe when I look back at them. What was I thinking? Who would process so extremely? Why was I so compelled to tilt the lens on every. single. shot.?

But this is good. Cathartic. Chicken soup for the photographer’s soul. You need to audit yourself. Take stock of where you came from to try and figure out a route for where you are going… or at least would like to be going. Ultimately, there is no easy way. You still need to go out and find the images. You need to spend time molding that clay, as it were, into whatever it is that lets you feel comfortable calling your shot yours. We all have our heinous shots. But it’s so important to remember that at one time, these were real gems to you. Right, wrong, or indifferent – style is fluid and it’s ok to let it change.

Google Maps Location Info
42.27510, -72.41515 

In terms of processing
I’m not even going to lie. I don’t remember what I did to this image. It was processed back in 2010, likely in PhotoTools 2.6 (predecessor to Perfect Effects 4 by onOne Software). What I do know is that there is Thermopylae on those panels there. Likely Cyberpunk on the junk on the ground. Can’t remember much else. Maybe Just Enough Darkness? That sounds about right. :)Photo: Trick or Treat?

I remember trying to set up for this shot. It took for freaking ever. When you’re trying to align your camera in a very precise way, your eyes start playing tricks with your mind. I had my 17mm Tilt Shift lens on and it was really important that the front element was perfectly flush with the door. I wanted the lines to be sharp and straight. No deviation whatsoever. And I thought I got it. I really did. Unfortunately, I was off by just a little bit. Back when I took the shot in 2010, I would have been more irritated to process it. Maybe that’s why I waited two years. With Lightroom 4, I was able to fix up the alignment aberration in no time. It’s nice to have the right tools for the right job.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Nab some tasty delights when you’re off trick-or-treatin’!

Google Maps Location Info
42.27480, -72.41504 

In terms of processing
This is a nine exposure HDR image tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software. I applied a heavy dose of Urban Sickness in the room through the door. I also applied a Multiply-blended version of the Havana effect onto the door to help set it apart. Global additions of Tonal Contrast and a tiny bit of Rich Glow to round it off.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.2.Photo: On The Lambda

I was pretty freaking stoked to see the Lambda symbol tagged on this gigantic concrete slab. Partly because it's a key symbol from my favorite video game franchise of all time - Half Life - but mostly because this concrete slab stood within an even more gigantic nuclear cooling chamber. This is the scene that +Brian Bonham shot in and around all day yesterday. It was one of the more fun shoots that I've been on in recent memory.

I ended up using my Canon 15mm Fisheye lens for about 60% of the day (the 17mm T/S lens took the remaining 40%). Because this cooling chamber was so freaking massive, I needed glass that would give me flexibility in fitting all of this goodness into the frame. The radial distortion was simply icing on the cake, as all of the images here began taking on warped, sci-fi looks.

I have plenty more images to share from this great location - stay tuned!

Google Maps Location Info
46.95930, -123.47504

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image using Photomatix Pro. Tone-mapping was critical here as there was very dim light inside the cooling chamber compared to the brighter light outside.

Next, I masked out the flat grey sky visible through the top of the chamber and dropped in a stock sky layer found in the Backgrounds Library of Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 by +onOne Software. Then, I applied a radial blur to that sky layer in Photoshop CS6 to convey a sense of movement.

Stylization was achieved by masking Fashion Passion onto the concrete slab, Cyberpunk onto the cooling chamber, and Thermopylae onto the visible portion of dirt on the ground.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.Photo: And now back to your regularly scheduled programming

After nearly two weeks of posting pictures from Cambodia, I thought it'd be nice to return back to some stomping grounds of grunge. I remember taking this image back in 2010 (from Wilkes-Barre, PA) because I was trying to get in and out of the area as quickly as possible. There were routine patrols going on and cameras were everywhere. Because effective use of time was critical, I made sure to have the fisheye lens on, camera docked on my tripod and settings locked in. All I had to do was drive up, verify focus and camera settings and get the brackets. I really only had one shot at this and am glad that it worked out! I love how the fisheye distorts the stacks.

Google Maps Location Info
41.2457, -75.8810

In terms of processing
Unfortunately, I don't remember what I did to process this image. I know it predates Perfect Effects so it was likely edited in PhotoTools 2.6, +onOne Software.

#blog  Photo: Small Details. Big Story.

As seen on this week's episode of onOne Software's Perfect Inspiration - http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode36/

I love turning back to the images from my very first visit to Belchertown State School in Belchertown, MA. There was so much there to shoot and it was really easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of detail. Originally, I started with ultra-wide shots, cramming in as much as I could. There was just an overload of cool things to nab. I did that for the first two hours or so. I'd set up an image with my wide lens, bracket, and move on. I'd try head on perspectives, angled perspectives, and at varying heights. Ultimately, I ended up with a lot of the same type of image and none really conveyed a story about this decrepit place that I was standing in.

After a few hours, I got the initial enchantment out of my system. I started looking more closely at things. It wasn't so much about the entire room. Rather, I started noticing etches on doors and patterns in peeling paint. It quickly became very clear to me that I didn't need to include tons of detail to give the viewer a sense of what it felt like to stand there. Rather, I just needed to find the right details to help concentrate the enormity of the scene.

I think this particular image is my favorite from the entire shoot. I remember seeing those claw marks on the key lock and it sent shivers through me. That, combined with the peeling paint, told a better story than any wide shot that I walked away with from that trip.

Google Maps Location Info
42.27480, -72.41504 

In terms of processing
Watch the entire workflow video of how I achieved the look for this image here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode36/

#blog  Photo: Salida

The office at onOne Software is very quiet this week. It's really nice, actually, because the overall reprieve from meetings and such because I've been able to catch up on creating a lot of new videos. I also spent this afternoon working on a new series that I'll kick off at some point in early 2013. It's all about the old images redux.

This is an image taken in 2010 while sneaking into random buildings in NYC. I stumbled onto this wonderfully decrepit staircase and elevator. Everything about it was sinister. I ended up reworking it today and wanted to share it along. I look forward to sharing more revitalized images in the coming weeks and months.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

I masked Cyberpunk and Blue Dawn onto the staircase while masking in Thermopylae onto the hallway and elevator. I also added a bit of Grunge Goddess. All done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3.

#blog  Photo: The Best Seat In The House

I went digging through the 2010 Archives last night and stumbled onto this little piece from Belchertown State School that never got edited. It's interesting, too, because in those situations I relate it to aging a fine ale for a long time. There is something great about letting an image wait until you've attained the right knowledge and are in the right frame of mind to really give it the attention that it deserves.

Google Maps Location Info
42.275025, -72.415123 

In terms of processing
This is a nine exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro. I applied Urban Sickness as the base effect here because I like the greenish cross processed look that it provided. I also applied Soft Light blends of Return of the King and Havana to add the right amount of contrast and color saturation. All done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3

#blog  Photo: Grab the mop 'n bucket

I decided to reprocess an oldie but goodie from 2010 and change things up with a grungy UrbEx scene. I nabbed this shot on my first visit to this mill with my friend back east, +Bob Lussier. I do miss my outings with him very much.

The important lesson about this point is that it's ok to interact with your environment to make your shot. Originally, this image was framed without the bucket. As I looked through the viewfinder, I liked the overall composition but it was missing a focal point. I needed and anchor for your eye to start and end at. I saw a bucket behind me, arranged it as you see it, and took the shot. In my opinion, the bucket is what makes the shot mine.

I know photographers who have this odd code where they won't allow themselves to interact with their environment. Outside of photojournalism, I'm not sure why that invisible deterrent should be placed on oneself. It's akin to photographers who feel that the only worthy photo is the one that is SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera). The bottom line is that you're the photographer creating your photo. If you're not journaling an event or being paid by someone else for that particular image, do whatever you want to make it yours.

Google Maps Location Info
42.70707, -71.15262

In terms of processing
This is a mildly tone-mapped HDR image using nine brackets and Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 4 by +onOne Software. I combined a Soft Light blend of Blue Dawn and a touch of Urban Sickness to give it that blue/green cross processed look. I also masked in some Tonal Contrast on the floor.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3.

#blog  Photo: A Return To Basics

Yesterday was a most delightful day spent returning back to my roots of shooting good ol' grunge and UrbEx brackets with the great +Amy Heiden. Between the general wackiness and hilarity that usually accompanies hanging with any member of our crazy bard coupled with the euphoria of walking down totally ravaged hallways of forgotten buildings, I can say that it was the perfect way to settle down before preparing for a 2.5 week sojourn in Australia ( we leave TOMORROW!!! )

For this image, I put my camera a special tripod yoga position certainly fit for its own caption on +Trey Ratcliff's Camerasutra t-shirt (http://store.stuckincustoms.com/gear/camera-sutra). By letting the camera dangle over the rail with my Funk Buster 15mm Fisheye lens on, I was able to accentuate the natural curviness of this stairwell. Funkalicious!

In terms of processing
The first step was to tone-map this HDR image using Photomatix Pro. You wouldn't be able to see anything outside of those windows without this process. Plain and simple.

Very easy stuff here from here. I simply applied one of +Nicole S. Young's Retro Film Lightroom 4 presets (http://store.nicolesy.com/products-page/all-products/retro-film/) and adjusted to taste. :)

I then brought the image into +onOne Software FocalPoint 2 to render the very bottom floor just slightly out of focus to give the illusion of depth.

Click to view larger or to purchase a print of this image: http://portfolio.brianmatiash.com/Photography/urbandon/27709381_NpNHbT#!i=2380026930&k=PfRpczt&lb=1&s=A

#blog  Photo: Down We Go

Maybe it's the general chaos that you can find on an UrbEx shoot but I think all of it lends to how I see while I roam these hallways. +Amy Heiden was off in another corridor doing her thing while I held a crazy session of +Really Right Stuff Tripod Yoga. I distinctly remember the position of this one and it would certainly be fit for its own spot on +Trey Ratcliff's Camerasutra T-shirt (http://store.stuckincustoms.com/gear/camera-sutra).

I intentionally had my Canon 14mm f/2.8L II lens on to bring an exaggerated amount of distortion here. Because I had the camera pivoted downward, I felt that the enlargement of the skewed vertical and horizontal lines really led to helping the viewer's eye roam through the frame. See. Distortion really can be our friends. :)

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image. I stylized using split-toning in Lightroom 4.3. All final touches were also applied in Lightroom.

#blog  Photo: Sad Loo

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of having a foreground element within a landscape/seascape photo. This anchor serves as a start and end point for the viewer's eyes and gives them a place to rest. The same principle is held true for this sort of UrbEx scene. When +Amy Heiden and I broke off to make our images here, it became immediately apparent that there would be a lot of chaos going on.

Now, chaos without rhyme or reason is exactly that - chaotic. However, when there is methodology and intent, controlled chaos can be represented beautifully in photo. This loo is a perfect example. There is oh-so-much going on here and it'd be supremely easy to get lost in everything. However, I noticed the frowny face on the center stall door and used it as my focal point, placing it dead center in the frame. Couple that with appropriate stylization/vignetting and you now have a point of focus. Your eye will naturally go to the sharpest and brightest part of the frame and then explore beyond that.

So next time you find yourself photographing chaos,
remain calm and find your methodology.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro. I stylized using a split-tone in Lightroom 4.3's Develop module and then refined to taste.

#blog  Photo: Beauty and Decay

This is a full-res JPEG so zoom in and enjoy!

I swear I live for this sort of stuff. One of the things I'm looking forward to most about moving down to the Bay Area is living closer to fellow UrBex shooters like +Amy Heiden and +Todd Sipes, to name a few. I had an opportunity to go on an UrbEx shoot with these two clowns last weekend but bailed because I went into depleted energy mode after my first week at Google. No worries, I leave for San Francisco tomorrow for good. Opportunities will return and all will be well.

In the meantime, here is a shot I nabbed at a positively awesome mill located in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Oh man, I would love to go back to this place.

#googleplusphotos   #blog  Photo: Depth and dimension

One of my favorite ways to entice a viewer to explore an image like this one is by adding depth and dimension. If you'll notice here, none of the actual surfaces or facades are parallel to the front element of the lens. I was very deliberate in using geometry and perspective to give the viewer a sense of direction. With this particular angle, I was able to take advantage of leading lines to draw the eyes through the first doorway. Before even taking the brackets, I opened up that door in the background to give the viewer one final turn to consider.

It's something that you should always try to keep in the forefront of your mind when you're out shooting. The name of the game is to engage your viewers and aside from what you actually capture, a huge component to making it compelling is how you capture it.

#GooglePlusPhotos   #blog  Photo: Dark Corners

I'm finally getting around to sharing this shot from an abandoned fort in Massachusetts. They one thing I remember most from this visit was how much it paid off to take a day away from the office and go mid-week. I got here about two hour before sunset and had the entire place to myself.

For this particular image, I used my Canon 15mm Funk Buster FIsheye lens to bring a majority of the right wall into the frame. The byproduct was this really cool curve that was created with the hallway onto the opposite doorway. It was way more effective of a composition to the alternate head-on one that I had just shot prior.

#GooglePlusPhotos   #blog  Photo: The Study

It felt really, really good to get out with my camera and tripod yesterday. The weather was amazing in San Francisco but the sky was a solid blue, so having an opportunity to shoot some derelict interiors was exactly what the doctor ordered. The fun was compounded because I was with +Amy Heiden and +Todd Sipes, so laughter was not a problem.

Often times, I preach about the importance of knowing how to match up your environment to the glass you should use. When I walk into a new place, I'll look around to see if there are any dominant characteristics that would lend themselves to the scene. If there are, my next line of thought is whether I have a lens that can accentuate, exploit, or embellish them. In this case, with the crazy radial nature of the ceiling, and the fact that the entire room was a freaking circle, I knew that the Canon 15mm Funk Buster Fisheye lens was up to bat. I took two series of bracketed images - one metering for the dark interior and one metering for the bright light through the skylight.

Tone-mapping was done using +Nik Photography HDR Efex Pro 2 and stylization was achieved mostly with cross-processing using Color Efex Pro 4. Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.

#GooglePlusPhotos   #blog  Photo: The Miscellany Of The Abandoned

One of the coolest things about shooting in abandoned locations is getting to see the relics, trinkets and memories left for no one, or anyone, to find. Everything from work log books to photo slides to high school year books. Moments of lives just left to the elements.

#GooglePlusPhotosPhoto: I say hallelujah!

+Nicole S. Young and I scoped out this broke-down church for days via +Google Maps before actually heading out. And even with all of that planning, we still got turned around a few times. I'm also still somewhat amazed at the deftness of ticks. Despite jeans, socks, sneakers and full-sleeved shirts, I had a number of the nasties chomping on me. Lil bastards.

In any case, by the time we found this gem just outside of Lincoln, NE, we only had about 45 minutes before we lost the majority of our light. We certainly made the most of the time we had but I wouldn't mind making our way back there with more light and a few canisters of napalm.

#GooglePlusPhotos  Photo: There's no such thing as too mundane

I'll be the first to admit that I've uttered the phrase, There's nothing to shoot here, on more than one occasion. I arrive somewhere and resign myself to twiddling my thumbs. But the fact of the matter is that there usually is plenty to photograph in most any location. You just have to remove that toxic thought of There's nothing to shoot here from your mind and focus on the minutia. I find that some of the most compelling imagery involves minutia and little abstract things that get so easily overlooked.

#GooglePlusPhotos   #blog  Photo: The Art of Abandonment

I had an absolutely wonderful time traipsing around from abandoned structure to abandoned structure with my cohorts, +Dan Hughes, +Amy Heiden, and +Todd Sipes. The day was a veritable boot camp of exercises for anyone who fancies themselves an UrbEx photographer.

During the shoots, I had a wonderful conversation with Amy and Todd about how divergent our senses are here. What appeals to Amy and Todd couldn't be farther from what appeals to me. It's something that I'll elaborate on in a future post. For now, enjoy a bit of hard time.

#GooglePlusPhotosPhoto: We're All Mad Here

This is an uber full-res JPEG - zoom in and take a swim

This was the first stop that +Amy Heiden, +Todd Sipes, +Dan Hughes and I made yesterday as we hopped from one forgotten structure to the next. Some were hits, other were misses. Whenever I find myself inside of structures as massive as this abandoned pool house, the first thing I begin hunting for is a  compelling foreground element. It's so easy for the viewer's eyes to get lost in all of the detail - especially when the environment is so target rich.

My goal was to convey the grandeur of this room and so I positioned myself on one end of the pool. I saw this quasi-completed phrase painted on the ground and knew that I had my foreground anchor. From here, the eyes have a starting point and a resting point. It's also why I made that sector brighter and more saturated than the rest of the scene. It'll pull you in and send you off.

This image itself is actually 21 bracketed photos (3 sets of 7 exposures) that were tone mapped and then stitched together. I used my Canon 17mm Tilt Shift lens and shifted from left to center to right, getting my bracketed images. This was absolutely critical in order to get the detail in the skylights above while also capturing the darker shadow areas.

Stylization was achieved using one of +Nicole S. Young's Nuclear Grunge Lightroom 4 presets (http://store.nicolesy.com/).

#GooglePlusPhotosPhoto: The Sun Shines On All

Last night, I had the pleasure of returning back to shooting an old love of mine, the ol' abandonment photography. I was part of a cadre of fellow explorers who all their parts in making the hours spent there fun and collaborative. A big thanks to +Todd Sipes, +Amy Heiden, +Natalia Stone, +Michael Bonocore, +Dan Hughes, +Sara Schneider, +Mike Rosati, +Chris McClanahan, Chelsea, and Nate for the great time.

This is a seven exposure HDR image. It'd be pretty difficult to capture the interior details while also bringing in that sunburst without tone-mapping. I stylized using a bit of cross-processing, tonal contrast, and a glow with Color Efex Pro 4, part of the Nik Collection by Google.Photo: The Sleep Study

I'm off to some sleep clinic in Mountain View tonight to see why I'm always so freaking tired. Lethargy has been something that has plagued me for many years. Despite getting more than adequate sleep, I almost always wake up exhausted. So it's time to take matters head on.

Of course, there is a part of me that imagines that this will be the scene of me walking into my sleeping chamber. In reality, it's an old 2009 redux of some storage room I snuck into in NYC.

Stylization comes courtesy of Nik Color Efex Pro 4.Photo: Split The Difference

Alas, it's a Monday after a long and relaxing holiday weekend. I figured I'd kick off the work week with a grungy HDR photo of an abandoned stockade. I roamed these halls several months ago with +Amy Heiden, +Todd Sipes, and +Dan Hughes and I'm looking forward to doing it again soon.Photo: Rob + Karen Forever

Oh man, I sure do love the smell of fresh, new photos to edit. Before yesterday's shoot with +Karen Hutton, +Joe Dolister and +Nicole S. Young, it had been quite a while since I carved out time to go shooting.

Now, in my head, the only thing that would truly complete this photo would be if both Rob and Karen were here and +Alan Shapiro was there to photograph them. But, alas, that wasn't in the cards. Still, this seemingly endless path of did offer up a bunch of very cool compositions that I'm looking forward to sharing.Photo: Our house is a very, very, very fine house

Yesterday, +Karen Hutton and +Joe Dolister perfectly played the roles of host and tour guide for +Nicole S. Young and me. We started the day off with a hike up Eagle Rock for a beautiful, panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. Despite the lack of clouds, there were some beautiful sights to take it.

After that, we continued on for another 90 minutes to the Hope Valley area, where we spent a few hours photographing a trio of abandoned houses sitting in an overrun field. It was a perfect alternative to shooting outside with a cloudless sky. I have a bunch of interior shots that I'm really excited to share but for now, I wanted to share one of the exterior facade photos I took just as the sun decided to retire for the day.

This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro and stylized in Color Efex Pro 4, part of the Nik Collection by Google.Photo: A sense of scale

As I was standing here, trying out different compositional techniques to portray this amazing, abandoned train tunnel, the one thought that kept going through my mind was, how can I best convey a sense of scale? After all, it is through scale that we can best give the viewer a frame of comparison. It wasn't until I saw +Nicole S. Young and Kodak standing at the far end of this expanse that I knew I had found my mark.

Of course, an alternative would simply be to say, this place is farking gigantic. :)Photo: Burrowed

This was the first set of bracketed photos that I took when +Karen Hutton and +Joe Dolister brought +Nicole S. Young and me to this beautifully ornate abandoned train tunnel. My initial instinct was to plot down right in the center of the tunnel and take a head-on shot. When I looked through the Live View, though, the whole image immediately felt flat. There wasn't anything really drawing me through the frame and for a scene as texture-rich as this one, that is a critical goal to have.

So, by shifting the camera over more to the left (but not quite hugging the wall), I was able to introduce some leading lines to help draw the eyes through the frame. This little visual trick was also supplemented with specific stylization techniques to brighten key areas and darken others, further helping out my goal.

I used my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 17mm T/S lens to grab the frames, tone-mapped using Photomatix Pro and stylized using Color Efex Pro 4, part of the Nik Collection by Google.Photo: Up the stairs and to the left

Here is another photo from my recent shoot at this abandoned hotel with +Todd Sipes and +Dan Hughes. We had the entire place to ourselves, which was really nice because it gave each of us plenty of space and time to scout before going nuts with the exposures. One of the first things that Todd did once we arrived was to  simply pile his gear in a corner. I'm sure part of it was due to wanting to cool off from that mile-long walk under the blazing sun but I'm sure it was mostly because he wanted to get the lay of the land.

After taking a few photos for myself, I decided to join Todd as we roamed from corridor to corridor on each of the three floors. Doing so gave me a hitlist of photos that I really wanted to get and it gave me time to think about which lens(es) would be best used to get the photos I was envisioning. In this case, I knew that my Canon 15mm Funkbuster fisheye lens would be perfectly suited to accentuate the natural curve of the banister and stairs.

#AutoEnhance  Photo: The Proving Grounds

On Saturday night, +Todd Sipes, +Mike Rosati, +minda vermazen and I found ourselves at this ridiculous military proving ground. To say that this place was amazing would be a major understatement. An entire city built for tactical practices used my the military as well as local SWAT and Police forces. Getting here was a bit grueling but there is no question that it was worth it, especially when you've got great company with you.

We were exceptionally fortunate to have a perfect combo of fast moving, wispy clouds to add some texture to the brilliantly clear starry sky. A huge h/t to Mike for offering up the gelled strobes for added dimension.Photo: A way out

This past Saturday, +Todd Sipes and I returned to this stockade to find some new photos that we may have missed on our previous visit. All in all, the shoot went smoothly but we did have a moment or two when we thought we were going to get ambushed by some tweaked out meth heads. Fortunately, it was just some squirrels or birds scurrying around. :)

This was my favorite photo from the shoot simply because of the great light and shadow play. Normally, I really dislike shooting in broad daylight but when you find yourself in the confines of an abandoned prison block, it can be your best friend. :)Photo: The plan was always to escape

I couldn't help it. I've been on a kick with editing photos from my trip to this stockade with +Todd Sipes. I mentioned in an earlier post that this was my second time visiting the stockade. During my first visit, I shot almost exclusively with my Canon 17mm T/S lens. It was great and all but this time, I wanted to challenge myself to use a longer lens for the purpose of utilizing lens compression. After the first few shots I took, I immediately started seeing this place in a different way and it directly lead me to take this sort of photo that wouldn't have nearly the impact with an UWA lens.Photo: Running on fumes

Here's another photo from my recent shoot at a military proving ground with +Todd Sipes, +Mike Rosati and +minda vermazen. It goes without saying that having a good foreground element is critical to aid in forming a compelling photo. What's just as important, though, is the placement of that element. In an ideal world, I would have taken that gas pump, flipped it horizontally and placed it on the opposing lower corner. Doing that would have let me play off of the dominant leading lines of the garage in the background. However, I'm pretty sure that pump was fastened pretty securely so that was out of the question. :)

Light painting is a combo of Mike popping off his strobe inside the garage and me drawing on the pump in front of me.Photo: Irradiated

And now for something a bit darker on this Wednesday morning. This is an image taken just outside of the main reactor room at the Satsop Nuclear Facility south of Seattle, WA. I was joined by some awesome people that day as we all meandered around this huge facility, shooting to our hearts' content.

For this particular image, I wanted to really draw focus to the entry portal and accentuated a glowing pathway from it to a nearby corridor. It was my little way of telling a story that is more for the imagination than anything else. Overall, this is a 7-exposure tone-mapped HDR image that was stylized almost exclusively in Lightroom.

#HulkSmash  Photo: You May Leave

I nabbed this on my second visit to these stockades with my good bud, +Todd Sipes. On my first visit, I was drawn to capturing the entire locale using a UWA lens and decided to challenge myself this time by only using telephoto glass. What I found was that the compression introduced added a lot of interesting elements to the shot and let me focus on telling my story a different way. Definitely something that everyone should consider.

Other than that, I hope y'all have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

#AutoEnhance  Photo: Happy birthday, +Todd Sipes!

I felt that it would only be fitting to share an abandoned scene in celebration of my bud, Todd's, birthday. Toddy is a great dude who has a huge passion for Urban Exploration and even runs a killer community on the matter here on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/communities/118010045683344777640).

So, here's a photo I took several years ago of an abandoned 'T' train found under a highway in Boston, MA.

#AutoEnhance  Photo: Mayday

Yesterday, +Todd Sipes, +Amy Heiden and I visited a decommissioned Naval fuel depot. It was a figurative breath of fresh air to be able to focus on our photography and less on being caught due to Todd's #winning  task of actually securing permission to roam the facilities.

This photo is obviously highly texturized - something that I've been experimenting with a lot recently. This room was also actually pitch black but I was able to bring it to life with some light painting - something else that I'm trying to do more of.

#AutoEnhance  Photo: It's safer with the light

I took this photo many moons ago with +Bob Lussier, a MA-based photographer and close friend who I greatly miss shooting with.

My initial take of this scene was just beyond the pole but I felt that, despite the beautiful symmetry, there was a lot of emptiness in the middle of the frame. When I saw how ornate this control box was, I know that I had found my anchor.

#AutoEnhance  Photo: Collision

The way I see it, this photo was over three years in the making. I never really did anything with it since I first exposed it back in April 2010 and it wasn't until the other evening when I sat down, came across it and had that bit of inspiration. In a way, I'm sort of glad that it took this long to get here.Photo: *Booooo! Happy #Halloween *

I don't have any creepy portrait shots at hand so I'm opting to move onto a creepy doorway and hall instead. I'll leave it to your capable minds to imagine a crazy, scary zombie walking towards you.

Insert zombie moan herePhoto: She'll run

Nothing a little elbow grease and a mop couldn't make better here. :) I hope you're all enjoying your Fridays and here's to a great weekend!Photo: HDRSoft releases Photomatix 5!

I've used just about every tone-mapping product out there in the years that I've incorporated HDR with my photography. Ultimately, I've always found the results that Photomatix produces to be most favorable for me. Whenever anyone asks me which product they should use for tone-mapping, I always recommend that they download the trial installers of each, run the same sets of brackets through 'em, and make an educated decision as to which fits best. It's also important to note that you don't have to use just one! There are times when HDR Efex Pro by Nik suits my needs for a particular photo.

In any case, HDRSoft announced a big update to their popular Photomatix product line with v5. You can learn more over at their site: http://www.hdrsoft.com/. This photo was tone-mapped with Photomatix and then stylized using Nik Color Efex Pro 4. I took it on a recent urbex shoot with +Todd Sipes and +Dan Hughes.Photo: What once was and what now is

I was in the mood to grunge it up a bit with today's post and harked back to an image of an abandoned mill near Lawrence, MA, taken in 2010 with my good bud, +Bob Lussier. We'd head out to these locations on random weekends and have the entire area pretty much to ourselves, making it really easy to take our time and experiment with finding different compositions. I certainly have some very fond memories of roaming around and within these buildings.Photo: Stay and play

During our stay on the Big Island of Hawaii last December, the innkeepers of the B&B that we stayed at played an important role in helping us find off-the-beaten-path and lesser-touristed areas to photograph. One such location was an abandoned mill that was mostly empty save for a cool, rusted out desk (that photo will come out in a few days) and this tire swing. The juxtaposition of something so seemingly safe and friendly set in such an opposite location was too good to pass up.

Processing was pretty straight forward. I masked in an exposure for the window on top of the exposure for the rest of the scene in Photoshop. That took no time as it was pretty straight forward. Next, I stylized the image with a custom preset that I built in +Nik Photography Analog Efex Pro to give it the look that you see. Finally, to give the tire a 3D feel, as if it's popping off of the background, I used +onOne Software FocalPoint 2.1. While other products, including those by onOne, have tilt-shift effects, none come close to FocalPoint. It's a shame it was discontinued.

Purchase this print: http://goo.gl/ZHKexmPhoto: UrbEx and HDR of yore

I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent more than a passing minute tone-mapping an HDR image or stylizing an UrbEx (Urban Exploration) photo. It has been even longer since the last time I went on an UrbEx shoot. I think it was with my buddy, +Todd Sipes, but I can’t remember. I’m sure he’d know better than me at this point. While my life has been dominated with the natural landscapes and waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest, I have to admit that I sure do miss the sound of my camera rifling off a bunch of brackets in a dingy hallways of an abandoned school or office building. There is a real art to UrbEx photography and I’m lucky to know two truly talented photographers who take it way more seriously than I ever did, the aforementioned Todd and +Amy Heiden. I’ve gone on several UrbEx shoots with them and always had a blast. If anything, what I find most intriguing about this genre of photography and exploration is the stark contrast that it has when compared to photographing a waterfall or a vista. But, then again, that’s why I love photography so much. On one day, I could be climbing through a broken window into an asbestos-laden hallways (with a respirator on) and the next day, I could be standing at the base of a gigantic waterfall. Both offer me tremendous satisfaction and help get my creative juices flowing.

#UrbEx   #HDR   #Abandoned   #School  Photo: The Sony FE 16-35mm F4 vs The Sun

Over the past few days, as I started sharing photos taken with the not-yet-released Sony FE 16-35mm F4 lens, one of the most common questions asked was, “What do sunbursts look like with it?”

Well, ask and ye shall receive. I had an opportunity to test the lens out earlier this afternoon, while taking in some long overdue UrbEx shooting in the remote town of Cisco, UT. I only had a few minutes to test this out because a wave of cloud rolled through pretty quickly and blocked me from photographing the sun directly. However, as you can see, the Sony FE 16-35mm F4 does quite well with producing a very pleasing sunburst. I had the lens on my Sony A7r and set to f/10. I’m sure it’d be even more defined at f/14 – f/16. I bracketed three exposures at a 2-stop increments and tone-mapped using Photomatix Pro. I then applied a VSCO preset in Lightroom for some stylization.

Source with more info & links: http://bit.ly/1s6hBnI

‪#‎Cisco‬, ‪#‎Sony‬, ‪#‎SonyFE1635‬, ‪#‎Sunburst‬, ‪#‎UrbEx‬, ‪#‎VSCOCam‬, ‪#‎HDR‬, ‪#‎SonyA7r‬, ‪#‎Utah‬Photo: Detroit: The City of UrbEx

I’m still reeling from the past three days in Detroit. Never in my life have I seen such an extensive and accessible assortment of schools, churches, factories, and hospitals in this concentrated of an area. For the urban explorer, it really is a playground at a large-city scale. In the course of this weekend, we ended up visiting 11 sites, each offering its own sacrifices to the UrbEx lords. Fortunately, we all made it through without incident, except for my knee, which I landed on after climbing onto some loose rock. I’m still going through the collection of photos taken but rest assured that there are some really cool ones coming. I’m already counting the days when I plan on returning this summer, during the warmer temps and longer days. This particular photo was taken on our last day, in an abandoned church. I found that stairwells were my favorite subject matter on this trip and will be exploring more of those down the line.

This is a five-exposure bracket set taken at 2-stop increments with the +Sony a7II and FE 16-35mm lens. For this trip, I took my smaller +Really Right Stuff TQC-14/BH-30 tripod and angled it down at this aggressive angle. I created a 32-bit HDR image from these five brackets and tone-mapped them using Photoshop and Lightroom. Stylization was done with a custom preset that I built in +onOne's Perfect Effects 9.

Source with more info & links: http://brians.photos/1stSYQ4

#Detroit, #Sonya7II, #SonyAlpha, #UrbEx, #HDR