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

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Ceyhan Nehri

The city you see on the other side is Turkey’s fifth most populated city, Adana. There is an American Air Base minutes away from this city. It is kind of arid, dusty, and dingy compared to what most Americans are used to, so most of them think Adana is a terrible place. I, however, love it. Where else can you get some of the best food in the world for cheap while watching people drag 100ft long bundles of rebar down the street in the middle of traffic while an old man squats in the median to relieve himself? It feels like a different planet, but there are hidden gems all over the place.

Ceyhan-3516-2

Ceyhan-3525

Golden Oldie

It is hard not to miss all of the exploring of ancient relics in Turkey such as Anavarza Kalesi. Me and a friend hit this one early in the morning and quickly climbed to the top to witness a vividly golden sunrise without a soul in sight. I am always fascinated at the thought of ancient times and how this place must have looked. It is hard to find information about reliable dating for this site because it is just so damn ancient and the area has changed hands so many times that it is difficult to ascertain the age. The amazing thing is that this castle has a sprawling city remains below that has yet to ever be excavated even to this day!

Altın Kalesi

Glowering

So I grew tired of paying WordPress an annual  fee to edit my theme CSS, so I finally reverted to a free theme that allowed me to change the background and header. I have quickly put together my own haphazard header and background, but I think I am partial to a lighter background for viewing photos, so I will probably change that in the future. The only problem is that I cannot change the color of the text, so the background might have to remain dark so the text remains readable. I also do not understand why every theme they have leaves a huge amount of unused space on the edge of each column??? I want to display and view pictures as large as possible!

Warp Zone

Tonight is kind of sad since it may be the last time that I ever make it into the city of Adana before I leave for Japan. A lot of good times were had the first time I lived here since it is where I met, dated, and married my wife. Adana feels like such a foreign land compared to any other place I have ever been and I really love it. The crazy shit you see people do here is always entertaining as well! Anyways, me and my buddy found this bridge underpass and used my SB-600 light to create the shadow of me and then painted the scene with green and blue LED key chain lights.

Warp Zone

Kenko

Got away from the lair full of evil homework for a little while on Sunday. Turned out to be very rainy and foggy at the castle we had visited. Wasn’t very conducive for taking good landscape or architectural shots, so I put on 32mm of Kenko macro tubes and took a couple of shots.. I was mostly just happy to get out of the house and away from schoolwork for a while!

Fli

Points of Interest

Every time I jump on any highway in Turkey and get a little ways out from where I live, I am constantly seeing things on the side of the road that are truly interesting from a photographic standpoint. Things like old abandoned buildings, odd animals all alone in the middle of nowhere, vast expanses of crops planted in a perfectly straight row leading towards the horizon, you name it. Usually we are in such a hurry that we just blast on by. We did make one stop for this interesting tree all alone out in a vibrant field with the Taurus mountain range lining the background. This spot is about an hours drive from Cappadocia.

Turkey Tree

Zümrüt Resort

Mt. Erciyes is a bit of a weird resort compared to what I am use to in the States. Each group of chairlifts and rope tows are owned by different people, so even though you can see 5 or 6 lifts nearby, you have to choose which one or two that you would like to ride and pay for a pass that is only good for a specific lift or two. Doppelmayr! How I have missed you!

Doppelmayr

I was having a lot of fun skiing for the 2nd time in 7 years. Last year I felt like a disaster, but this year was different for some reason. I think it might be the kebabs and sahlep? Anyways, I didn’t care to get my camera equipment until near the end of the day, so it was getting pretty dark by the time I started to shoot. You can also kind of see the runs that were pretty much 50/50 rock snow, not the pure snow like found on the K-12, but.. If something gets in your way, turn.

Evening Freeze

For the last run I locked my 50mm on and loaded my SB-600 and tried to get some shots of my friends as they were trying to breakout of beaterdom. It would have been nice to have my 70-200 to get in a bit closer, but I was a little weary of breaking my leg on a rock, smashing my head into the dirt, and having 50 pounds of camera reconstruct my face. Here is Dean showing me the dangers I speak of.

Truth

I can’t even see his upper body in this shot!

Shredding the Gnar

Erciyes Dağı Yeni Yıl

Took a little New Years break ski trip up north to Mt. Erciyes, a big 3,916 metre stratovolcano that can be seen from Cappadocia. When we arrived at night, it was extremely bright out due to the full moon, which I hear was a blue moon. Me and one of my friends eschewed the New Years festivities at the deluxe hotel that we had booked and decided to enjoy the blisteringly cold night air with our cameras.

Erciyes Dağı

I pulled out my handy LED key chain light to graffiti the mountain with a New Years declaration about some girl I know named Amber who should have been there to partake in the lovely wind chill with her husband!

New Years Declaration

These long exposures were really fun to play around with my flash as well. Me and my friend would hold my SB-600 flash and fire off the test flash a couple of times at each other while strategically hiding the flash unit from view of the camera to create some neat effects. Too bad my retarded ass kept moving around between flashes so that I look like a fragmented apparition!

Erciyes Dağı-2980

Combined, neither me or my friend had enough common sense to at least dress up warm enough to stay out in the cold for very long, a damn shame because the views were simply amazing. After about an hour and a half, our tennis shoes became the weakest link and we had to quick pack everything up and head back to a warm car to try and regain feeling in our feet. While packing up we noticed our gear was extremely frosted over.

D90 Stress Test

Modern gear is pretty damn awesome though; it all kept working so well, we had no idea it was all coated with frost until I happened to shine my LED on it. I think we were too preoccupied running in place and hopping around in circles like Indians for warmth! We headed out again the following night since this night was so amazing, but the 2nd time was so windy that we could not steady our tripods enough to take any sharp shots with such long exposures. I guess I’ll just have to go back again!

Frosty the Tripod

Psychedelic Mosaic

I think I need to purchase about 200 of these psychedelic glass-mosaic cups and strategically arrange them out of the depth of field of any photo I take to make for some interesting bokeh arrangements.. What else could I possibly do with 200 cups when not using them for photography purposes? I only have so much change after the hobby of photography robbed me of everything that I am worth!

Psychedelic Mosaic

Sunspot

I was never quite sure how nature photographers were able to catch fast moving animals with their zoom lenses. I still have yet to look that up, but I am guess the answer is something like single servo focus and Nikon’s 3D tracking which is pretty much the mode that chooses the focus point for you. I always shot in single servo, single point focus where I choose the focus point since letting the camera pick out a point sounds kind of sketchy at best. When I was on top of the Galata Tower in Istanbul there were a lot of Seagulls flying around and I thought it would be fun to try and get a shot.

I just could not get a sharp shot using my old single point method and was missing a lot of shots just trying to get the focus point onto a fast moving gull. I decided to give 3D tracking a try with continuous servo… I was actually amazed, but it was quickly locking onto the gulls and getting a lot of sharp shots. I just wished I had a bit more reach, but I did get a shot that I ended up liking. It wasn’t one of the typical shots, but one that I thought would be terrible as I was shooting since the sun was right behind the bird, alas, here it is.

Sunspot

ps- stupid wingtip! Why oh why did I cut you off???

Hagia Sophia

It has been a real important week for work and I haven’t really felt like working on anything that takes brain power when I come home, but tonight I finally decided to keep a couple of synapses in my cerebral cortex active for long enough to work on some shots. I had been wanting to post some shots from the Hagia Sophia for a while now, and now here are some architectural shots from what I think is the coolest site to see in Istanbul. This one was taken from our hotel very early in the morning. It is easy to wake up early in Istanbul if you stay near the 2 major mosques.. It sounds like 10 loud speakers are pointed at your window for 5am prayer!

Hagia Sophia

I was kind of dissapointed by two things when I walked into the Hagia Sophia. One, the massive scaffolding was still there 2 and a half years later after my last visit. Two, I was not allowed to climb up it! The restoration process is very time consuming from what I have read. I also have read that the dome is so massive that there has been a lot of problems in the past with shifting and movement of the dome itself and the walls that are supporting it. I think right now they are just working on restoring the mosaics on the ceiling.

Distraction

I was messing around in Lightroom and came up with an alternate version of this scene. I kind of like the darker feel to it and enjoy the different perspective compared to the shot above, so here it is..

Alternate Distraction

Perv Shots

Perv shots sell… or so I am told. I am an equal opportunity photographer and just because some ladies happened to find themselves into a mildly interesting frame that I attempted to capture with my camera is no reason to discriminate and not take the shot and/or post online.. Right? This first one was taken at the Topkapı Palace when me and a buddy found an empty pool beside a walkway and some interesting lighting. We tried and tried to get some interesting shots, but the human subjects were not cooperating. This one was one of the few decent shots, but I had to crop a whole lot out to make it interesting.

Reflection

This next one I saw these two walking up to the window and my photography senses started to tingle, but I had my 14-24 wide angle lens on and didn’t want to run up about 3 feet behind these ladies to get the shot; so I dropped my bag on the floor and rushed to switch out my lens, fired off two shots as fast as I could while still kneeling, then they walked away. This scene had massive amounts of dynamic range so I had to do a lot of work in Photoshop after trying to compress that range. I ended up trying black and white which helped the grain take on a more film-like look.

Unfair Advantage

Istanbul the II

I had a three-day weekend and headed up to Istanbul for the 1st time in over three years. The first time I went with a good friend and my wife whom I was just beginning to date at the time. We had an amazing time and I would easily say that Istanbul is only 2nd to Prague when it comes to big cities. If I was offered a job there that could support me and my wife, I would take it in a second and I am sure my wife would probably back me up on that statement as well.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), completed in 1616… Not even the coolest mosque in Istanbul. I should have a few acceptable shots of the coolest that I will post on the blog sooner than later.

Sultan Ahmed Sunrise

And this is inside of the Sultan Ahmed. I didn’t bring a tripod so I had to hand hold and crank up the ISO to 4000 for this 5XP DRI shot @ f2.8. The corners are out of focus, but usually high ISO shots will turn out extremely noisy as the HDR and DRI process seems to amplify every little spec of noise. I was highly impressed with the results this D700 is turning out at such high ISO though.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Here I am trying to trying to venture out and take shots with human subjects in them for a change. Of course, Istanbul has all types of people since it is the gateway to Europe. I really dig the Middle Eastern dress that you find, but I am typically most shy about taking pictures of those who are wearing that kind of traditional dress for some reason. I’ll have to steal a few from behind I guess.

Waiting

And 2 guards that were stationed at the entrance of the Topkapı Palace. I knew they wouldn’t care if I took their picture because they were unflinching statues until they were called out of their pose. I didn’t see them blink, instead they had a guy go up to their faces with a tissue to wipe away what was most likely crumbling stone out of the eyelids that were a result from such seriousness.

My Gun

These two were good. I have never seen such an intense pose held so well that you wouldn’t be able to tell if they were wax figures or not.

Stoneman

Lots more to come. I am excited to go through and start processing the rest of my shots!