Don't fret, it's just Charles Ford's photography blog.

Archive for July, 2011

Fiery Sky


A fiery sunset behind one of the bridge towers in downtown Wichita.   Some people think the design of this pedestrian suspension bridge  was overdone, overpowering the site with it’s tall dual towers.   I find it pleasing and a favorite photographic subject that I am drawn to again and again.  If nothing else, I know it looks very interesting  in the fog, or with a spectacular sunset behind it.

Summer Afternoon


Sure, it looks peaceful, and it was.  The sky was finally looking interesting on Sunday afternoon so I took off for the country.  That sounds more photographer-ish than the truth, which is that this is taken at a local county park which I believe is within the city limits of Wichita.   What this photo cannot convey is the searing heat during which it was taken.  What we are left with then, is a tranquil summer scene, minus the heat.  This is a three exposure HDR, processed in Photomatix and Lightroom as is my custom.   I am putting this location in my hip pocket for future use, it should be a nice spot for anything happening in the sky to the north or northeast.  This is one of those photos that I think looks better the larger you are viewing it.  Please feel free to click for the jumbo version.

Sunset On The Little Arkansas River


You are looking at the very end of the Little Arkansas river in the heart of Wichita, where it flows into the Arkansas (sometimes called the Big Arkansas) river.  There is a small elevation drop you can see on the left side of the frame as the little river drops into the main river.   The ducks and geese were happy this particular evening because they got to enjoy a rain shower.  Blackbear Bosin’s Keeper of The Plains can be seen here, viewed head on.  This is a three exposure HDR processed in Photomatix Pro and Lightroom.

Clearing Storm At Sunset


Here’s another clearing storm HDR image, taken closer to sunset than the one I posted last week.  This one has a more ominous feel to it I think, again showing the lower than normal Arkansas river and the Exploration Place science building.   It was a waiting game, killing time as the sun slowly moved behind the last line of clouds.    There’s some crepuscular ray action going on here, and that figure just below the sun is the well known Keeper of the Plains sculpture by Blackbear Bosin.

Hey Guys – It’s Raining!

Happy Geese In The Rain


Another in my epic ‘Happy Bird’ series…well I guess two images do not really a series make…but I digress.   Taken within minutes of last week’s “Happy Duck In The Rain”, these geese seemed both happy and surprised at the rain.  We are in drought conditions in Wichita and this shower was a wonderful little anomaly.   I would also like to state that no geese had to be paid off for this one, they were happy to pose during the shower.  I was using my vehicle as shelter and shooting out the open window.

Sunset Tree

Peaceful Tree

This is a lovely little tree on the bank of the Arkansas River near downtown Wichita.  I fussed around it for about a half hour, trying to figure out what made it so appealing, and how to shoot it.  I think this straight-on, square cropped,  backlit HDR approach ended up being my favorite.

Rising Goose

This one’s for a certain blogger in Webster, NY.   I slipped the goose five bucks and he agreed to pose.

Actually, I believe he was enjoying the rain shower and perhaps shaking off excess moisture.  Couldn’t figure out how to crop this one and follow the old rule of thirds, so once again we have a rule violation from yours truly.

Clearing Storm #52

Nothing says Wichita like Exploration Place and the Arkansas River.  A brief and welcome rain shower had just passed, and the clouds were breaking up as sunset approached.  The part of the puzzle usually missing, which is me actually being there with camera and tripod ready, was miraculously present on this occasion and much feverish HDR bracketing mayhem ensued.   The river is extremely low at the moment, so sandbars normally under water are now visible.   I’m not sure if a full river would have improved this image or not.

By the way, would it be a mistake to admit that Clearing Storm #1 through #51 do not actually exist?

Happy Duck In The Rain

This is something I like to call “Happy Duck In The Rain” .  Hey, it is what it is, I am a simple guy.

Wichita is experiencing a period of intense heat and drought.   Last Saturday we had a record breaking  scorcher at 111 degrees.   Tuesday evening I had noticed the sky was looking interesting, so I set out downtown to the river area.   As I parked a brief but potent little rain shower erupted, much to the delight of the ducks and geese in the area.   I waited the rain out, and the sky got interesting again.  More on that later.


I had an image from my foggy morning photo session awhile back that I never quite knew what to do with.  It was the reflection of trees in a mirror smooth pond.   It occurred to me that I could try something along the lines I remember Ken Bello  doing on his blog , a mirror image.   A reflected view of the reflection, on top of the reflection.   That’s not confusing at all!  Sometimes I think this  pursuit of photography is all done with smoke and mirrors anyway, I suppose this is my tribute to that concept.

Foggy Bridge Revisted

This is one of my favorite foggy morning images, with some major manipulation.   It started as a photograph, I don’t know what it is now.   I like it though, and am curious if it appeals to anyone else.  Here’s a link back to the original black and white conversion.

Happy July 5th

As regular readers will know, we had a brush fire, well I guess a “fence/brush fire” on Saturday caused by fireworks.  Sunday night was relatively calm, but Monday night, the fourth, was crazy.   It seems every year I see more and more big fireworks inside the city of Wichita.   Since none of them were going off right next door this time, I was able to actually enjoy it.   When I saw the moon setting in the west with some fireworks in front of it, the light bulb over my head went off and I ran inside for the Nikon D700 and tripod.

The illicit neighborhood fireworks launchers were much less reliable than a professional show, so it was a hit and miss situation.  By the time the folks to the west got their act together, the moon had gone behind the trees, so I only got a couple of  keepers there.   There were other shenanigans in the general area and I had a grand time running around trying to get something good.  Happy fifth of July to everybody who survived the fireworks this year.

Hey, let's shoot some fireworks at the neighbors!



Fireworks In The West, Over The Tiny Looking Moon.



Fireworks and Moon.



Fireworks to the East



As a technical note, this little informal fireworks photo session allowed me to see first hand the mind boggling excellence of Lightroom 3’s new and improved noise reduction capability.  Really amazing.


The Warped Prism is a photo blog, but I have no great photos for this post.  Instead, a little story about a bit of excitement we had last night.  It has been extremely hot and dry in south central Kansas, so fire danger is high.  My wife has in the past thought me a little nutty for being so worried about fireworks in the neighborhood starting a fire.   (In the past I have gone as far as standing outside with the hose, spraying down the roof.)   Don’t get me wrong.  I like fireworks.  In fact, for several years my family would put on quite a show down at Table Rock Lake in Missouri.   My neighbors did not take the precautions we did (apparently).

Around 11:45pm I heard another barrage of fireworks.  From my own fireworks days, it sounded to me like a big brick of “Saturn Rockets” (or “Saturn Missles – I can never remember).  I was thinking, that’s kind of crazy for a residential neighborhood, those things fly all over.   Anyhow, a couple minutes later I thought I would take a peek out back just in case.  Sure enough, there was  a nice blaze going along the back wire  fence, right under the main wooden power pole.   As the wife called 911, I tried to reach the fire (unsuccessfully) with my garden hose.   Fortunately the fire department (and police) showed up soon after and put it out.  The actual fire was over on the far side of the back wire fence, it burned the back neighbors brush pile (not the “fireworks neighbors”) and a section of adjacent wood fence.

I want everyone to know that as I was fumbling to attach a section of hose, in the dark, I was thinking….” I wish I had a camera”.   “Could I run in the house to grab the camera?”   But there was a raging fire so I did not go in for the camera.  No photos exist of the actual fire.  Pretty sad.  I could have easily grabbed my little Canon at least before running out the back door.   I flunked this real world test in photojournalism!

All I have to offer is the following, after the fire itself was out.


Fire Truck Number 7 Lights Up the Neighborhood


The Morning After~Peeking Over the Back Fence


Evidence! Found Elsewhere In The Yard


On the remote chance someone from the Wichita Police or Fire Department is reading this, you have my sincere thanks.   The response time was amazingly quick, and you guys (and ladies) were total pros.

I hope tonight is a little less exciting, I will have my hose ready, and perhaps a camera in my pocket.