Downtown St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis in the heart of the Midwest. Here you see our Arch, Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals), the Mississippi River, Eads Bridge and more. A helicopter was the source of this photo. I prepared for several days for a 20 minute ride by watching videos, checking my camera and talking to my friends that arranged the flight. Tips: make sure the doors are off, use as a wide lens, use a high ISO for a fast shutter speed, don’t take anything you do not need and buckle in tight!

Go back!

If there is a particular subject that  you like, I suggest you go back multiple times to photograph it. The more you study a subject, the better your understanding of how to photograph it.

One of my favorite subjects is a suspension bridge in St. Louis’ Forest Park. Below is a series ranging from 2008 to 2016. Things that have changed are my cameras and software. Some of the angles are different and the overall vision of the subject. Notice the distant shot in 2008 and the closeup in 2016. Which do you think is best?

forest-park-suspension-bridge-1
Summer 2016

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Northwoods Eagles

As mentioned in my previous post, if you missed the Eagles in St. Louis (Alton area), travel up to Wisconsin and catch-up with them there. Studies show that most of them live in Vilas and Oneida counties, many on Lake Minocqua. This photo was taken on the grounds of The Pointe Hotel and Suites where there is a dead tree they like to use to keep watch on the lake. Photographing these birds you will need a telephoto lens of 300mm or more. Also use anti-shake features that is available on all of the new cameras.

New HDR Tutorial

Many of the photos on this blog were created using a process called HDR, where multiple photos taken at different exposures, are combined to make one showing a wider light spectrum. Here is a link to my new free tutorial to show how this is done: https://greatriversimaging.com/hdr/

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The Castle at Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka (25 of 1)

Here is another view of the “Castle” at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. This was actually a large mansion on a bluff overlooking a beautiful valley in the Missouri Ozarks. The man who designed it never lived to see it completed. Due to his sudden death, the property was never properly maintained and the home eventually was destroyed by fire.

This is a very large building and directly behind me is a steep bluff so getting far enough away to get the whole facade in the photo is almost impossible. Also to catch the drama of the lighting from the sunset meant capturing the scene from the dark side of the building. To counter these issues, I used a 10mm wide angle lens and took 5 shots of the right side of the building at different exposures and 5 shots of the left side of the building. Each of these 5 photos were combined in Lightroom using its HDR function. Then the results were combined in Lightroom again using its Panorama function. These results were then edited in Photomatix.

So, you want to buy a new camera….

 

City Garden (33 of 1)
This is a three shot photo take with a Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 17-50mm lens at 17mm. The three photos were combined in Lightroom into a HDR Photo. Other specs on this photo: ISO 1000, average exposure: 5 sec., f7.1. A tripod was used and no flash.

By: Ted Engler

Are you thinking about taking better photos? Perhaps you have been using an iPhone camera or other cellphone device and want to produce something more interesting. If you want outstanding photos, there are two things that you need to do: 1. Invest the money in equipment and software and 2. Invest the time needed take the photos and process them.

You will need higher end cameras and software. Using digital cameras eliminates the need for an investment in film. However, you will need to invest in software needed for processing the photos and spend time learning to use that software. Entry level Nikon cameras cost about $450 and go up to $750 for the higher end entry level camera (if you are wondering, the highest pro level DSLR is the Nikon D5 at $6,500. Other types of cameras go far above that). Here is a link for Nikon’s entry level cameras. I also suggest you look at Cannon, Pentax and Olympus.

In the Nikon category, I would suggest the D5500 at $750 ($1,050 with lens). This will give you some great options that the D3XXXs do not have. Continue reading

Using Flickr to improve your photography

If you are looking for a way to see what other photographers are doing or are looking for feedback on your photos, I would suggest using a service called Flickr (flickr.com). Flickr is a great place to show off your photos for friends to see, get feedback and find other great photographers.

You can find the type of photographers that may be of interest to you. This includes style, subjects or location. I have a particular area of the country I like to visit and follow photographers from there. You can “follow” particular photographers but they do not have to “follow” you back to be able to see their work. The more people you follow, the more people that will follow you and see your work.

People that follow you will be able to rate your work by either clicking a favorite star or by commenting. Flickr is able to rate your photos by numerous methods including “interestingness.” This is a combination of views, favorites and comments received by your photo over a period of time.

Minocqua Boathouses-30

According to Flickr, the above photo is my most interesting photo. To find this little house on the lake, I used Flickr to show me photos taken in Star Lake, Wisconsin. Others had visited this location and taken this photo so I was able to find it on a map so I could find this hidden treasure. An overcast Fall day made for an interesting scene.

Click here to see my Flickr site

Click here to find out more about this structure

Click “Photography Tips” above for more suggestions.

 

 

iPhone 6s Camera Review

I just recently upgraded my iPhone to an iPhone 6s and thought I would post a few pictures taken with its camera. Overall these are great photos. Below you will find a few shots taken from a walk around the neighborhood and then processed in Lightroom.

Oakbrook Forest (9 of 9)

The camera is basically a “point and shoot” type. You can zoom from the screen and select screen size: square or panorama. Neat additional features are video, slow-motion, time lapse and geo-tagging. Also the camera has exposure control and image stabilization. On the downside, there are no lens selections and exposure control is limited. Also, the only file format is jpg, no RAW mode. Internal  HDR is also a feature.   Above is a hibiscus flower from my backyard. Note the detail and great color.

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Circus Flora

Circus Flora is a one ring circus  that has been entertaining St. Louisans for about 30 years. A circus can offer a lot of interesting photo opportunities but there are issues:

  • You may not be able to get close to the action
  • There are a lot of live animals and people performing dangerous acts on high wires and other devices: no flash allowed, not even the focus assist light
  • You may not be close enough to use a flash even if you were allowed to use the flash
  • It is pretty dark in there
  • There is a lot of movement

On thing you have going for you is that a circus is a show and there are spotlights and other forms of nice lighting. Here is what I used on this photo: I turned the (light) metering to spot to take advantage of the circus’ special lighting effects; turned my ISO up to 2000; opened my aperture as much as possible (in this case f5) and used a telephoto lens. As always I shoot in RAW to allow more light for post processing.

Sunset at Big Cedar

Photos taken during the “golden hour” (about 20 min before/after sunrise/sunset) can provide the perfect lighting for photography. This deck at Big Cedar Lodge, near Branson, MO, reflects sunlight a few minutes after sunset.

Photo taken with a Nikon D90 and a Nikon 18 – 105mm lens. Settings: f5, 18mm, 1/30th second, ISO 500.

Big Cedar Lodge