Archive for category Skylines

Back in the Saddle

Charlottesville downtown mall photography

I said I would share why I have been away from photography. The short version is that I had prostate cancer and surgery in November 2013. Please visit my new blog Dead Man Walking to find out the whole story. I now have a passion to help other men going through PCa, so please share!

Back to photography now!

It has been too long since I have felt like shooting. Fortunately, a friend needs some images for his new business site. (Thanks, Sean!) I started capturing some Charlottesville downtown mall photography last night. Thanks to my wife and dog who endured a too-late evening!

Charlottesville downtown mall photography - nTelos Wireless Pavilion.

Charlottesville downtown mall – nTelos Wireless Pavilion.





Charlottesville downtown mall photography at dusk - The Downtown Grille

Charlottesville downtown mall photography at dusk – The Downtown Grille

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Art Exhibit

SpringHill Suites ArtNight Invitation

SpringHill Suites ArtNight Invitation

SpringHill Suites Art Exhibit

I have been shooting panoramic cityscapes for a little more than a year. Actually, that is not accurate. I shot 4 panos during all of 2011 and only began capturing cityscapes again in March of this year. The summer haze clears when the fall weather cools off, but, for some reason, I failed to start shooting panos again then, and I wasted about 6 months of “good” weather!

I began shooting again in balmy(?) March, when wind gusts of 50 mph and temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s are common on building roof tops. (I will not fail to shoot during fall this year!)

But I digress from the purpose of this post.

4' and 6' panoramic prints at Digital Picture, Inc. for ArtNight

4′ and 6′ panoramic prints at Digital Picture, Inc. for ArtNight

In March I began trying to secure new locations from which to photograph. Mike Hinks, GM of SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Atlanta Buckhead, was kind enough to allow me access to his hotel, mostly because Mike Giamundo, GM of the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead, also allowed me on his roof.

Long story short, Mike Hinks saw some of my work and invited me to participate in this year’s SpringHill Suites ArtNight, their annual art exhibit. So for the last several weeks I have been editing 29 images, and last week, Owen Thompson (Digital Picture, Inc.) began printing (3) 4 foot and (3) 6 foot prints that will be displayed in the Boardroom that night. These prints will be for sale and 10% will be donated to the SpringHill Suites charity:  Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, our local hospital).

If you are around Buckhead this Thursday, May 10th, from 5-8pm, please be my guest at this worthy event. Donna and I are out of town, but David Brown, a photographer friend, will be filling in for me. Light hors d’oeruvres will be served, and complimentary parking will be provided by the hotel. (Free parking in Buckhead? When does that happen?!)

Me, an artist? Whoddathunkit?



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Sunset Panoramic from Buckhead Loop

Sunset Panoramic from Buckhead Loop

I have a lot of great sunrise and sunset panoramic images of Buckhead, but I have been missing one of the great views; that from Buckhead Loop looking southeast. Fortunately, that changed this month, and I was granted access to the roof of SpringHill Suites by Marriott. On the shoot day the weather was perfect, the General Manager was very agreeable, and his maintenance man Rob was extremely helpful in getting me up as high on the roof as possible.

Sunset panoramic photography:  the process

Sunset panoramic photography involves capturing several individual photos that will be “stitched” together in software to make a larger image. Photographing sunset panoramics is different than normal daylight panos…  the light just before and after sunset changes very quickly. To get a final image that looks correct, I try to avoid making more than one pan of the camera (tilting it up, and making another pan to catch the tops of buildings takes too long, and the light changes too quickly). For this shoot 24mm was the optimal focal length. I began with my 24-70mm/2.8 lens but eventually switched to the 14-24mm/2.8, a proven great lens, since I might have wanted to shoot a wider angle than 24mm (I didn’t ). Once I had my Nodal Ninja Ultimate M1-L panoramic head levelled, I just waited for the light to become magic.

Since I shoot tethered to my laptop, I constantly judge the histogram and check for over exposed areas in FastPictureViewer Pro. For nighttime shots, I strive to do 2 things:  1) get the most vibrant colors possible while still having separation between the buildings and the sky, and 2) get some great streaking car lights. For this location, the vibrancy is pretty good in the last 2 images, but the car lights are overexposed due to the brightness of the lights at the intersection and the shopping center parking lot. To keep from overexposing those areas I was limited to 2.5 seconds exposure… not nearly long enough to record light streaks from the cars.

Because of my location on the roof, once I was up there, I was stuck for the duration of the shoot! That was over 4 hours!! (I included the extra “!” for the condition of my bladder at the end of the shoot.)

Sunset panoramic photography:  fast changing light

Sunset – 1 hour 10 minutes

Sunset + 11 minutes

Sunset + 20 minutes

Sunset + 25 minutes. Exposure:  2.5 seconds, f/13, ISO 200, Nikon 14-24mm lens at 24mm. 9 images captured angle of view of about 270 degrees (this image is cropped).

 To view larger images of these shots click one these thumbnails:  .

The last 2 weeks have been very productive. I have lined up several new unique locations and have shot several sunrise and sunset panos. I hope to get some more posts up soon, but for now please see some of these new shots in my panoramic portfolio.


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