Little Hiroo

Just some interesting street art I found walking around Hiroo, very near Shibuya, or at least I think that is where I was.

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Ōsanbashi Pier

I was packing for a badass trip to the Sangre de Cristo mountains for some paragliding, hiking, and photography when my wife gets a call on the phone. Time to go back to work. The bastards! We had a good 6 or 7 week run of no work, so I can’t really complain. Anyways I am taking out my frustrations on Lightroom. These were all taken at the Port of Yokohama on the Ōsanbashi Pier.

I have no idea who the hell Jack is or why that is there. It must be some kind of conspiracy against Jack Daniels for making liquor that tastes like ass.

Timpanooke Trail

Last week we took what I thought would be a grand paragliding odyssey to Utah, Wyoming, and maybe Colorado. We first went to the Point of the Mountain and quickly became demoralized due to our lack of skills in high wind and having to learn around a huge amount of people while trying not to cause collisions between others. So failing that, we thought it would be nice to go up American Fork Canyon and hike Timp from the Timpanooke Trail. I’ve hiked from the Aspen Grove side more times than I can remember, but only once from the Timpanooke side, which is also the prettier, but longer trail.

Timpanooke Panorama

Anyways, we were only able to make it just under 3/4’s of the way from the peak due to thin snow bridges with no alternate way around them. I’ve never been stopped by snow before on the Aspen Grove side, but I guess there are very limited spots to ascend on the Timpanooke side. I don’t even care about the peak, but I was super bummed as I really wanted to show Amber Emerald Lake and get some pictures from there; one of the prettiest spots on the planet if you ask me. Here is a shot near the end of the trail for us looking back towards the backside of Alta and Snowbird. Yeah, I grew up just a few minutes drive from here near Aspen Grove. This makes me miss it!

Timpanooke Corn Panorama

The full sized panorama’s can be found by clicking on the pictures and going to the larger sizes in flickr, these small sized shots really blow..

Bear Butte

Boy do I have a crazy job.. I worked one hour last month, but stayed on call and made full wages. This month I have worked 1 hour, but basically not on call, just prepared to work within 48 hours of notification if things suddenly get real busy around here. So we have been taking a few trips to here and there and remodeling our house, mostly painting every square inch of it. Last week we did a little backpacking in the Black Hills and also took a trip to Bear Butte.

In the background is Bear Butte and that is Bear Butte Lake in the foreground. It is basically a few minutes out of Sturgis, SD. You should have seen the view 10 minutes before I took this shot when the sun was not behind the clouds! Oh well, still kind of pretty.

The rain follows me whenever I dare sleep in a tent, and the night we spent at the lake was no exception. Luckily, despite a terrible forecast, the weather held out for us to quick climb the Butte, mostly scouting the paragliding possibilities, which look to be beyond my abilities and I would guess not allowed anyways. Here is the view towards the Black Hills. It is a stitched pano and the grass and trees look kind of harsh and I cannot figure out why. Oh well.

And here is the view from the other side, which I think is looking towards the nothingness of North Dakota? I guess the butte is sacred for the local Indians, so they tie up a pinch of tobacco into a bit of cloth and hang them in trees, everywhere. I personally think it looks pretty trashy to see that hanging from the few trees that remain on the mountains, but it is still a neat spot to visit.

Red Cliffs

This shot was taken only a few minutes drive from my parents place in St. George, Utah. It is called Red Cliffs Recreational Area. The area is usually devoid of any type of crowds and has a great slot canyon hike with a flowing stream in the spring months. We hiked up out of the canyon and on top of a nearby mesa when I captured this shot.

Vicinity

This week I processed my shots like a machine. Just going through a set at a time. Well a walk through ODaiba always yields a huge collection of shots, so there is not a lot of variety going on around here at the moment. It is about a 5 minute walk to each one of these spots from that psychotic-light-show-escalator-tunnel deal in my last post.

This one might be a bit funky for some as it is the Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge as seen though a bunch of windows. Deal with it!

A perv-spy shot of a happy couple on a dock. Luckily she was more interested in him rather than some jackass perv-spy gaijin. I seem to usually take a series of 2-3 shots like this and one of them always ends with a person glaring at me once they realized I stole their sole through my camera sensor. Not this time!

And some oh so exciting railing with completely original camera tilt thrown in. I am also post dating this post as I write this on Saturday and tomorrow I am leaving on vacation to Montana for awhile. Hopefully I bring back some shots from there to vary up this blog a little bit.

The Light Show

Wow, over a year since my last post. My original excuse last year was that I was too busy with training at my job to take or process shots. Then during the last 2 months I have barely worked any hours at all and had more free time than I have ever had. Still didn’t take or process shots. Oh well, here we go again..

So here we are on Odaiba Island just outside of Tokyo. When you see this unique building with a giant sphere overhead, you’ve come to the right place for a light show once the sun has set. In fact, I see this spot on TV quite a bit, most recently the Black Eyed Peas used it as a backdrop for their “Just Can’t Get Enough” music video.

Just below the bay side of the building there is a wicked escalator that puts on a rather interesting, yet oddly psychotic light show.

I had shot this little area quite a bit while I was in Japan, but it was kind of challenging to get any usable shots as the lights change so often that it seems to wash out the highlights if you capture more than one color on the same neon tube. I had to bump up the ISO so my exposures were not too long and just hope my timing was synced to the color changes. I’m sure others have been able to provide much better examples!

Can’t Miss February

My wife is here in Nebraska with me now and I have been busy finding a house to purchase while finishing up my job training and thus kicking photography to the curb for the time being. For some reason I didn’t want my archives on this site to skip the month of February, so I will quick upload a shot I worked on a while back that I thought was only so so before I jump into bed for my midnight shift. This shot is looking off into the Cappadocia horizon with little rock churches strewn about with Mt. Erciyes looming in the background. I believe this stitch is from about three or four shots as well.

Cappadocia Sunset

Gotemba Project

Last May we took a quick trip over to the Hakone area to go to this crazy onsen that has everything from a coffee bath, a wine bath, sake bath, and a pool you dip your feet into and let little fish nibble off your top layer of skin. We also were able to see another side of Fuji I had not seen before once we reached the Gotemba area. The city of Gotemba has got one hell of a view! I took these shots from their shrine, which was also nearby an awesome camp spot we found that was cheap and had a pretty amazing view of Fuji as well. I think I actually enjoyed the Gotemba area a bit more than Hakone, which is probably blasphemous to even say as so many people love Hakone, but that is the problem.. So many people in Hakone!

Gotemba Project

Peeking Fuji

Skybrant

Of course, every time I go through my shots of Japan I miss it quite a bit, but it is easy to forget that during the spring time when I took these shots I had the worst allergies of my life! I could barely sleep at night for over a month during our last year there. I guess that is the price exacted by Mother Japan for so much amazing photography potential.

Bradley Lake

Our first stop on our road trip from Idaho to Georgia was Teton National Park. We quick pitched our tent to secure a camping spot then took off down the road for a hike to Bradley Lake. We didn’t know it at the time, but this blue sky during the hike was the last we would see until we were almost in Georgia. The rain began a couple of minutes before we reached the car and then it turned into what felt like a full on monsoon. Breaking the tent down in the morning was fun using the break-down-the-tent-while-still-inside-of-it-leaving-the-rain-fly-for-last technique. This place is definitely needing further attention from me in the future.

Eight Shot Pano. Full size can be found HERE in all of its glory.

[Group 1]-Tetons-106_Tetons-114-9 images

Spiderer

I am pretty sure this is in no way a unique shot as about 5 million people have probably stood beneath this sculpture with camera pointed towards the sky, but this is my take. I used a 7 shot DRI for the sky and HDR for the sculpture and building. I cheated a little bit and cloned out a small amount of some random building on the bottom left side of the shot.

Tokyo-6208And7more_tonemapped

Crowd Sourcing

More, more, and even more shots from the photography goldmine known as Shibuya Crossing. It is quite entertaining to browse through my shots from this location. A lot of them are not fit for posting, but the expressions on random strangers faces will keep me from ever discarding the files into the bit shredder. When I am shooting, I never realize how many people glance at me with my camera then become extremely shy or timid and look down towards the ground or towards their side  with a big awkward smile. Sometimes I come across a pair of fashionistas that are eager to get themselves into a shot to hopefully one day be acknowledged for their chic taste in seasonal wardrobe.

 

The Lineup
So first you have the lineup between each succession of lights. This is were I begin my offensive planning and the other team begins their defensive posturing. I plot my victims and they plot their evasive actions, strategic placement behind others to block my view, and funny faces to be made.

 

Heightened Senses
My coach usually pulls up on his bike beside me and gives me some helpful advice, like pretending to take a picture of the street light above me, then quickly moving in for the capture kill when they least expect it. Thanks coach!

 

The Weave
Some of them are tricky and can generally work strategic placement to their advantage. This is when you have to bump up the ISO, open up that aperture, and “snipe the gaps” as coach likes to call it.

 

Conflicted?
Here is a perfect implementation of the photographer distracted by the street ligh.. not! technique. She never had a chance, caught out in the open.

 

Wind Through Her Hair
Yes, I see you back there running with ear muffs.. You have bested me with strategic placement behind random stranger, but random stranger has wind blowing through long flowing hair. I win this time!

My Congregation

This post leads into the last shot I posted of the city. I took a couple of steps back and snapped off some shots of the other people enjoying the observation deck. There are usually quite a few people with DSLR’s pressed up against the glass, trying to find the right angle to eliminate glare from the sun and building lights while avoiding the atrocity I call window smudges! I messed around a bit in Lightroom to convert it to black and white, then just exported the unaltered shot into Nik Softwares Silver Efex Pro. This program is just amazing for black and white conversions. I don’t think any other software is quite a match for it! I thought my Lightroom version was looking pretty good, but Silver Efex Pro just seems to know something I do not and bested me and my Lightroom sliders.

My Congregation

Wind Chill

Yesterday was quite a blizzard here in Alliance. I think it is the most snow I have had at any place I have lived since I left Utah. I definitely enjoy the hell out of it too, I wish I had a snow mobile, a snow cat, or skis and a mountain, but it was fun enough driving around the last two days busting on through drifts in my truck. I headed out east for about 35 miles to explore a little bit and look for some shots. It was really, really, really cold with the wind chill! It was actually painful on exposed skin within seconds in the area I took the shot of the do not pass sign. Also got a better shot of the trains. They were parked up and down the tracks today with no one in them. I think they picked up everyone and sent them back home in a van for New Years.

East-3604

Dead Heads

Anyways, in the next day or two I have a haphazard tutorial on my HDR/DRI process that I should be able to post. I was going to post a write up on these shots as well, but my HDR and DRI versions sucked pretty bad. These are just regular shots. *Edit, figured out why my bracketed shots sucked.. Was shooting at 800 ISO all day.. Nikon needs to make an option that resets the ISO to 200 after cycling the camera on and off for tards like myself!

BNSF

I have seen some wicked sunsets here in the Alliance area and thought it would be nice to get out of the house today and try and get a shot of a train while the colors were just right. I had seen a spot about 10 minutes out of town that I thought would be nice and saw this train leaving the yard as I was heading out. I was surprised at how little time I had to get my tripod set up and get the camera on a gimble, these things move faster than they look I guess. The clouds were not playing nice as they blocked the sun and left a very gray scene. The only shots that were okay were once it passed me and I turned the other direction facing towards the sun. This is actually the back of the train, the locomotive pushes on it.

Bringing Up the Rear