The Mountains Call Me Once Again ...

Autumn in Shenandoah National Park - Sperryville, Virginia
So I must go ....

Spoonbill Reflections

Spoonbill Reflections
Roseate Spoonbills - Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve

I am honored that my spoonbill image which I took earlier this year at Ding Darling NWR was one of the winning entries selected in the 2010 Ding Darling NWR Photo Contest.  It will hang along with the other winning entries at the Education Center at the park.  The spoonbill was my nemesis bird for so many years, but it is no more. Let's hope the upcoming year will be just as productive in avian photography for me especially here in Florida.

A Day on the Miami River

I've lived my entire life in Miami and have crossed the Miami River more times than I can imagine. However, it was only a few weeks ago at the invitation of fellow photographer Jim Winters of Nikon Miami that I had the opportunity to do what I've been dying to do for many years,  float upstream on the Miami River.  We started at Bayside Marketplace marina and entered the river at its mouth in Downtown Miami between Brickell Key and Bayfront Park and floated all the way to the fork where it divides between Miami Springs/Hialeah and the lakes by Miami International Airport.  I definately want to do this again one day and continue all the way into Hialeah next time.  In any event, I've compiled a nine minute montage of images and video from the Miami River from that morning boat ride as well with some images I've taken at sunrise and sunset from the Second Avenue Bridge and the South Miami Bridges.  The river has some really interesting drawbridges and overpasses which cannot be appreciated unless you see them from the river.  So without further adieu,  let it roll on the Miami River.

My Newest Photo Processing Tool - Nik HDR Efx Pro

Sunrise on the Miami River from South Miami Avenue Bridge
Miami River & Metrorail Overpass
Just downloaded the newest Nik Photoshop Plug in to add to my collection, Nik HDR Efx Pro. From what I've seen so far, this program makes a nice addition to the Nik collection which I use extensively in my photo processing: Nik Color Efx Pro, Nik Viveza II, and Nik Silver Efx Pro. I've been using HDR in my work for several years now, relying exclusively on Photomatix Pro.   

My early observations are that this is a great addition to your photo processing tools; especially for landscape photographers. It has the same features and control panel as Color Effects Pro and Viveza II, using the upoint technology which makes editing and tweaking your images a breeze.  I also found that its HDR engine is much faster than Photomatix Pro especially when  working in 64bit on my Mac Pro.

Like the newest version of Photomatix Pro,  Nik HDR Efx Pro, has the ability to save your own presets and comes with a lot of presets to work with.  I have noticed that while the preloaded presets are good as a starting point, I found myself having to do a lot of tweaking to the settings to get the look I was looking for.  I did find that I had to really work the settings to avoid the haloing that one tends to get in HDR work. I hate it personally, but the Nik software's structure settings on the control points or on the whole image make getting rid of the haloing pretty easy.  I also found that the Nik program tends to make cleaner HDR's as well when compared to Photomatix pro.

The two images posted here were both done with the Nik software.  The top image is a 3 image HDR which I exported into Nik HDR Efx Pro out of Lightroom using the cityscape setting as a base and then making adjustments in the control panel.  The second image is not a true HDR,  but a single image faux HDR again exported from the raw file out of Lightroom using the artistic base setting and some tweaking.  On both images, I did add a pass of vibrance/warmth in Nik Color Efx Pro to kick it up a notch, so to say, and a pass of noise reduction.

As I said, it will take me a while to get the feel for this program. I'm quite adept at working with Photomatix Pro and will still use it depending on the look I'm going for. But now that my Nik collection is complete and now able to work in 64 bit on my Mac,  I may find myself finally moving permanently to PS CS 5 from CS4 which I still have been using since most of my Nik plug ins were still only working in 32 bit until the most recent updates. See you out in the field, infidels.

Miami's 10/10/10 Sunrise

South Miami Avenue Bridge
Today is 10/10/10.  What a better way to celebrate this once in a lifetime occurrence than to get up at crack of dawn to see and photograph the sunrise in downtown Miami along the Miami River.  Here's the view from the South Miami Avenue Bridge.

"There's beauty in the silver singing river, There's beauty in the sunrise in the sky, But none of these and nothing else can match the beauty, That I remember in my true love's eyes."  -- Bob Dylan

A Day on the River

12th Avenue Bridge - Miami, Florida
Coming soon, my photo essay from my day riding up the Miami River from the mouth of the river up to the airport.  Something I've wanted to do for years but never done even though I've lived in Miami all my life.  Here's a taste of what I saw. This is the 12th Avenue Bridge which crosses the Miami River. Most folks drive over it every day while getting to and from the Justice Building.  It's a different view from below, however.  The Miami River has an interesting history and much ignored by folks, except of course for those who live and work on the river. 

"In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time." — Leonardo da Vinci

First Day of October 2010

Shohola Falls Pennsylvania
"This existence of ours is as transient as Autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is a flash of lightning in the sky. Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain. "
-- Buddha