A foggy December morning along the river in downtown Wichita, Ks. That’s the science center called Exploration Place in the background.
OK, actually it’s Windmill, singular, and fog…and the tree is more prominent than the windmill. But Windmills In The Mist sounded better.
Taken before all the leaves fell from the trees at Sedgwick County Park, Wichita, Ks. I was shooting fall color but this has had an infrared style filter applied in post processing. I think this was one of the filters built into Lightroom. The color version is nice too, but the leaves here were still mostly green, so I got out of hand with the filter thing.
This is a scene from one of the less attractive sides of Wichita. Grain elevators are a common sight here, as they are all across the plains. I also seem to be obsessed with old water towers that look like rockets on the launch pad. This particular one has been bedeviling me for years, this is the first time I actually stopped to photograph it. The clouds were interesting on this day, so I stopped for a grand total of about 90 seconds to grab a few frames. (This involved parking at the side of a busy street in not the greatest area of town. ) It’s an HDR, monochrome conversion with a little extra post processing.
This is the rather impressive and often photographed JC Nichols fountain in Kansas City, Mo. This was one of my favorite images from a recent visit, although I fear this is one of those “it REALLY looks better when you see it large” images.
Might as well finish out the week with another cool hood ornament. This one is from a 1941 Pontiac, on display at the Black Top Nationals in Wichita.
On Memorial Day my wife and I headed out to search the countryside for interesting barns or other scenes to photograph. We stumbled across a beautiful Memorial Day display at the cemetery in Benton, Ks., which I posted an image of on Monday. We did find a barn, but the sky was not particularly interesting. We ended up eating a little picnic lunch at Lake Afton, which is a few miles from Wichita. As I looked up at the underside of the wooden shelter we were under, I thought…wow that looks kind of interesting. I took a bracketed set, put it through Photomatix, then back into Lightroom for level tweaks and a monochrome conversion. A totally unexpected subject, and turned out to be one of my favorites of our little trip.
Another day has begun as the sun rises above the Atlantic as viewed from near the Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. HDR strikes again! I suspect trying to achieve this “old school” with neutral density grad filters or darkroom voodoo would have been quite a bit more difficult. I am quite fond of this crop. It occurs to me that if I were the devious sort and had a lot of time on my hands, this could become a nice moon over the water type shot. Is replacing the sun with the moon against the photo rulebook? Will the photo purists come visit in their black helicopters? I’m probably already on their watch list. I doubt I have the skills necessary to pull of a celestial object swap convincingly anyhow. Let’s just forget I mentioned it.
Good old downtown Wichita, Kansas on the Arkansas River. This is a three exposure HDR, processed in Photomatix and Lightroom. I couldn’t get the color temperature to look right to me, but low and behold, I think it worked better as a black and white anyway.
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.
This image is a few years old now, captured in the Toklat River area of Denali National Park, Alaska. This is as far as my wife and I made it into the park on the bus system. My intention was to then work our way back to the park entrance on the buses, getting off quite a lot for photography along the way. Turns out we only got out of the return bus once. Apparently there was some spousal apprehension that a grizzly might come walking out of the underbrush and have us for lunch. Anyhow, seeing as though although unlikely, it could happen, I chose not to make too big a fuss. I liked the semi-abstract nature of the composition in this monochrome conversion. This is one of those ‘photos I like, but…’ situations where I never got any good feedback from the family audience however.
This is another of Wichita’s downtown landmarks, which I have posted images of before. The Keeper of the Plains by native American sculptor Blackbear Bosin. This is a three exposure HDR tonemapped in Photomatix, followed by a Lightroom monochrome conversion, and layering in Photoshop Elements to retain some color in the Keeper. It sounds so convoluted when I write it out, but it is not all that sophisticated. This vantage point could benefit from raising the camera position 15 or 20 feet higher, but that’s impractical here, at least without jockeying a very tall step ladder around, which I suspect the city would frown upon.
Actually this is sculpture of sorts by artist Steve Murillo called “Solar Calendar”. Made of limestone pillars, my understanding is that at local noon on the first day of each season, the sun will shine through a metal ring atop the appropriate pillar and illuminate a colored glass stone embedded in the ground in the center of the array. I had never visited the stones before, as it slowly came into view through the mists I couldn’t help but think of Stonehenge. Interesting and clever work by Steve Murillo, and a somewhat unusual point of interest for our main park near the center of Wichita.
Here’s the glass stone at the center…
Fog + Playground Equipment = Interesting. Who would have thought? I’m beginning to think that if I had run across a ham sandwich in the fog, it too would have looked compelling.
One of Wichita’s notable sites is native American sculptor Blackbear Bosin’s 1974 “The Keeper of the Plains”, which sits at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers in downtown Wichita. A few years ago this area had a major facelift, the statue was elevated on a much higher rock base, and two rather spectacular (by Wichita standards anyway) suspension bridges for pedestrians were erected. The statue area is now easily accessible from either side of the rivers. I like photographing the Keeper, but had never gotten the chance to shoot it in the fog.
I was trying to think a little more outside-the-box creatively on this one. A little less conventional you might say.
It would be hard for me to understate how exciting it was to photograph in this dense fog, which is a fairly unusual happening in my hometown. The ethereal quality the fog imparts to otherwise ordinary scenes was remarkable. The stable lighting allows one to concentrate on composition. Another fundamental truth of photographing in fog is that your physical distance to the subject matter becomes very important. The closer the subject, the more details are revealed, and vice versa. No zoom lens is going to make that distant tree obscured in the fog any clearer. If you want it clearer, you’ve got to move closer. This was as much fun as I’ve ever had photographing anything. Ever. I hope it happens again soon!
Two more foggy images. I neglected to mention earlier in the week that the black and white conversion was done using Lightroom. I also just noticed, the day after posting, that my image sizing was a little off, cropping off the right edge of these photos a little due to my wordpress theme limitations. Darn it! I have fixed that, a day late.
Even man made objects can be made to look extraordinary by the fog. I remember photographing this bridge during a summer photography class back around 1980 or so. That time it was in bright sun to illustrate the concept of contrast for a class assignment. This time it was a little different, this scene is probably as London-like as you’re ever likely to see in Wichita, Kansas.
Something of a miracle happened yesterday morning in Wichita, we had another dense fog. Since it was a weekend, I was able to venture out with my ‘real’ camera and shoot with no time pressure. It was creatively rewarding, but it was also just plain fun. Wichita sits at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers, which under the right circumstances can provide a nice foreground water refection. I shot, and shot, until I couldn’t shoot anymore. Instead of burning off into sunlight, this fog hung on a long time and was followed by thunderstorms. I am hereby designating this as ‘ fog week’ at the Warped Prism, at the end of which anybody who is reading this will probably be tired of bare trees in the fog.
This is a color photo, nature herself did the monochrome conversion on this one. I usually prefer a deep contrast in my black and white images, but a lighter airy feel seems better for this one. An icy winter fog was over the partially frozen lake, but the ducks and geese seemed to be coping just fine. This image is an example of what you can achieve with a point and shoot camera, it was an early test of my little Canon S90. This is a sophisticated ‘point and shoot’, but I don’t recall doing anything special here, I probably chose the f-stop, focused, composed, and clicked. You don’t have to have a big old dSLR (although they sure are nice.)
I was fortunate enough to spend Saturday in my wife’s hometown of Belleville, Ks. photographing my lovely nieces and assorted family members. At one location, off in a field in the distance, I spotted an interesting abandoned stone house that was falling apart. (I think this was probably a circa early 1900’s farmhouse at one time anyway.) I’m always a sucker for abandoned buildings and architectural details, so this was a moth-to-the-flame type situation. My primary mission in Belleville was portrait photography, but my brother-in-law was kind enough to drive me over to the stone house for a quick (under ten minutes) photo session. So what do you do when confronted with an interesting subject, but under mid-day harsh sunlight and an uninteresting sky, and a time limit? Why you just wing it of course. (Then do some monochrome conversions when you get back home and hope you got something worth keeping-that’s what I did anyway.) I’m not sure how successful I was, but thought it might make for a mildly interesting post. I’ve filed this location away as somewhere that would be worthwhile re-visiting in more dramatic lighting conditions-or even at night. I can’t believe my wife never told me about this house.
~Just a final quick note, it looks to me like these particular photos benefit quite a bit when viewed at the larger size you should get when clicking on the photo. ~
I was kicking myself later on the image above. If I had been thinking clearly I would have centered a single distant tree in the window opening. Dang it.