Business Park in NE Indy

We’re enjoying some special off-site training this week.  Although we’re still in Indianapolis, all of us consultants are staying at a different hotel in a different part of town.  For those familiar with the area, we’re up at Keystone at the Crossing.  In addition to the mall and several restaurants, there are numerous large hotels and big office buildings.  We were actually here two weeks ago when the weather was nicer.

I think that even office buildings and parking lots can look cool under the right conditions.

The above building is where we’re doing our training.  We’re on the 9th floor but not at the time this picture was taken.  ;-)

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Snow in the Clouds

Well, I can’t do it.  I can’t decide between the two images in this post.

Both were taken seconds apart from each other as I passed over the Cascade Mountain Range while inside a plane on approach into Sea-Tac Airport (did that count as a run-on sentence?).  I almost just wrote that it was a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest, but then I realized it wasn’t sunny at all.  One of the aspects of both these images is that there is thick cloud cover.  It was sunny up where I was at the time, but when I landed it was the same old grey and rainy Seattle I know and I love (at least, in a soggy way).

Being in a moving airplane, shooting out of a tiny window, you’ll perhaps understand why my opportunities for careful composition were somewhat limited.  I shoot what I can, and I got these two images.  I think they’re both okay, but if you had to pick one or the other, which one would it be?  Before you answer, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll mention that I’ve already posed the question to my photography forum of choice.  The responses were one-sided; there was only one choice.  They like the first one better.

By “first” I mean that I posted the image on top first in my original forum post.  I think I actually took that picture after the one that follows it.  So from now on “first” means “the one on top”.

So everyone thinks the first one is the better image.  Not one person even hinted at the notion that the second one might be stronger.  As you might have guessed, I’m a tad partial to the second one.  I think it’s because of the clouds in the upper part of the frame.  I like the undulations and layers of luminosity.  Layers of Luminosity – maybe that will be the name of my band.

Anyway, what do you think?  Do you, like everyone else, like the first image better, or is there anything about the second one you find redeeming in any way?

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Some Recent Sunrises

Here’s how things looked from my back deck at around 7:00 this morning:

Here’s the same sunrise from just a few minutes earlier, when the sky was darker and even more vibrant:

I wonder what the people in that plane were seeing as they were coming in for a landing at Sea-Tac airport.  As luck would have it, today’s was the second spectacular sunrise in a row.  Here’s how it looked yesterday morning:

I’m not sure where that contrail is coming from because Sea-Tac is camera-left in this image, but it makes a good point of interest in my opinion.

So, I got two good sunrises in as many days.  Here’s another one from just two weeks ago, taken a little later during the event:

My Island might be filled with weirdos, and it’s a pain to get to the airport, but I guess I’ve got a pretty good view.  I can’t say that I wake up to this every day because usually the cloud-cover is so thick, there is no view at all.  It’s how I pictured the town in The Mist.  But there is always a chance that I’ll be working at my computer before dawn and look over to see something like the above.  And, while we’re at it, here’s one more:

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Shooting HDR with the Sony NEX-7

Inspired by my most recent trip to New Orleans, during which the Sony NEX-7 was my near-constant companion, I finally decided to write up a tutorial on shooting for HDR using this camera.  The NEX-7 combines the ability to have up to 3 EV spacing between shots with intelligent auto-ISO functionality.  This means that shooting multiple exposures for HDR hand-held (at least in fairly decent light) is a real option.

Of course you still can mount the Sony NEX-7 on a tripod and shoot in any lighting conditions, but the size and weight of this 24 megapixel mirrorless system makes it such a good walking-around camera that it would be a shame to burden oneself with extra gear.  Today’s HDR software is pretty good at aligning images too, so a little bit of movement between frames is no longer a huge issue.

There’s also the fact that this camera makes it very easy to change between shooting exposure brackets to single images.  There’s hardly any thought or effort involved when going back and forth.   In my opinion, the Sony NEX-7 is an excellent tool for HDR work.

Please check out the new menu option above under the High Dynamic Range drop-down.  Or you can simply follow this link to Shooting HDR with the Sony NEX-7.

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New Orleans in 2014

Two years ago I went to New Orleans for a business conference.  Although we were kept busy during the mornings and afternoons, I still saw and experienced enough of the city to realize that this is a wonderful, magical place.  Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to return to that city strictly for a vacation.  Friends and family had a hard time understanding that I wasn’t going there for Mardi Gras, I wouldn’t be drinking or partying in any way and I had no relatives to visit.  They wondered what else there is to do in New Orleans.  There is plenty to see and do.

There are the above-ground cemeteries.

There’s the French Quarter during the day:

And there’s the French Quarter at night:

Of course, there’s quite a bit more to see and do and hear and taste.  The food in New Orleans is incredible.  We didn’t have a bad meal.  I think it’s kind of a big deal for someone who lives in Seattle to say that the seafood (and coffee) from another city is excellent.  But that’s the truth.

The food, the coffee, the sights, the music and the people are what make New Orleans so special.  You’ll be seeing a few more posts here about this most recent trip so stay tuned.

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