Sunday, December 21, 2008

46\52: Rise Above This
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Well its been a bit over a month since my last blog post. The weather outside is now cold, cloudy... blah. The lack of daylight is really putting a cramp on my photography. During the summer I enjoy getting out and shooting in the evening sun. But now, i get out of work at 5pm and its already almost dark! Im still chugging away on my 52 Week Project. This shot is my self portrait from week 46. We're just 5 days from Christmas now. Can't believe how fast the year has gone. Doesn't even really feel like it. This year Emily and I are heading out to her parents house in Odessa Texas for the big day. Should be fun since she has a large family and they'll all be there. I'll try to get more pics posted here on the blog and some more interesting, up to date information. Just not a lot going on right now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Victory
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Dun Got Hitched!
Well for those that didn't know, I got married on Oct.25th to my long time girlfriend Emily. The very next day we headed off to Miami to hop on a Carnival Cruise ship headed to the Carribean. We made stops at The Grand Turks, Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Isles, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Puerto Rico. We were definitley ready to come home. So now were back and I'm slowly but surely getting our pictures up. I'll be sure to post a full link when they're up.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Under Pressure
So there I am. Driving down country roads, not sure what I'm looking for. Eyes scanning every driveway, cow pasture and dirt road. It was Saturday night and time to get my weekly self portrait done. I knew Sunday would be too busy to get out and take a good one. Besides, this particular Saturday evening the lighting was perfect. A setting sun and clear blue sky was creating that "magic hour" photographers love. As I head farther from home, looking to come across something I had not seen before, my light and my hopes were fading. Suddenly, to my right, I see a wide open freshly cut hay field. This field wasn't empty before and wasn't very accessible. But it was now. I drive past it and quickly turn into the next road. I whip my car around and head back to the tractor trail leading to the field. I get parked, take out all my camera gear and get things setup. I fired off about 10 to 15 shots of what I wanted to use for this weeks self portrait. But the sun was now low on the horizon and this was such a great spot. I wanted to get a little more out of it. So I took my camera off its mini-tripod, put on my aviator shades and began holding the my 30D with 10mm wide angle out at arms reach and snapping away.

Later that night at home while editing, I came across this pic. It reflected the horizon and setting sun perfectly from my sun glasses. It looked ok in color. But then I thought, how would this look if i converted it to B&W and did some cross processing on it? Did some tweaking in Lightroom 2, then imported it into CS3 where I ran it through a film simulator called Exposure 2. This adds the true contrast (darks and lights) and grain of the film brand you select. I tried a few choices and settled on one. I think it was Kodak T-Max P3200. I liked the deep blacks and semi-rough grain. While I did not use this as my selfie of the week, i was really happy with how it came out.

See more of my shots over at

Thursday, October 02, 2008

34\52: Looking Ahead
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Looking Ahead
Well its October now and less than one month till the big day, October 25th! Which for those that do not know, is mine and Emily's wedding day! Its fast approaching and we're finalizing all the details. I never knew there would be this much to do for this event. Mainly its been Emily, working every night and weekend to make sure its all perfect. She's very organized. I offer to help but there's not a lot I can do. I feel like Im just along for the ride! haha So, I'll sit here on the shore of the lake, and just look ahead at whats to come. For our honeymoon, we're going on a very nice cruise. Im really looking forward to it and it should be a blast. I am amazed I was able to talk Emily into going on a cruise. hehe She gets easily sea sick, so this could go well or not so well. But at least she's willing to try! What a little trooper!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

31\52: WHAT?!
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Java and a Camera
With time running out for my week 31 self portrait shot, i stopped... frustrated, at a local Star Bucks. I never leave my camera bag in my car so I threw it on my shoulder and walked in. I figured I could have a drink and quietly think about where a good location for a shot would be. I walked up to the counter and ordered a Chi Tea. Not my normal drink, but at the time it sounded better than coffee. I took a seat at a 2 chair table in the back, put my Lowepro 200 camera bag on the table and began pondering. There were a 3 guys at the table next to me, college students holding a study session. One of them asked me where I got my bag. I told him and soon learned he was into photography also. Cool stuff. I always enjoy meeting other lens-heads. I began to chat with the guys and gave one of them my card. They checked out my shots and we talked about camera gear. It was at that time i figured this was as good a time as any to take out the camera and get a selfie for the week. So this stop gave me my pic of the week and a new photography buddy/contact. A win-win.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

30 Weeks and Rolling
Just 2 hours before my "deadline" for getting my weekly self portrait posted, I got it done. This was actually a picture I took Saturday evening but didn't do anything with it until Sunday passed. Just in case I was able to take a better one. Ever do that? Anyhow, not much in the way of creativity for this week in the actual shot. I was able to take a pretty straight forward, looking at the camera SP and turn it into something half interesting I believe.

I think I like the intensity of this shot and the clear focus I was able to accidentally get right on my eye. While shooting at f1.8 the depth of field is so short that if I missed my eye with the focus point, the picture would be useless to me. My face also looks rougher than it actually is. Geeze, its getting worse the more I look at this pic. Oh well.

This is actually the third self portrait taken in this chair, which is my computer desk chair. Hence the lighting to my right is from my computer monitors. I thought it put out a nice glow for a self portrait. I have a decently creative idea for my Week 31 shot, next week. I just hope everything works out and I can get what Im looking for. Man, I can't believe Im on week 30 already. These weeks are just rolling by!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 29
Well this is my Week 29 shot of my 52 Week self portrait project. I'll have to admit this turned out to be one of my top shots so far. Also it was up there creativity-wise. This photo is actually a single exposure. I took it by setting my camera on the tripod and on manual at f5.6 with a 6 second exposure, ISO 200. I then stood in 3 places holding my Canon 580EX II flash and manually firing it each time I moved to a different spot. It took me about 4 tries to get the look in each flash that I wanted. But when i saw this one I knew I had my shot of the week.
A Day at the Races
This past Saturday turned out to be a busy one! I packed up my photo gear, met up with my buddy Beau and headed down to watch our friend JB's kid (Hunter) race in a dirt bike cross country event. He was racing in the 65cc class, which I believe still lists him as a "Pee Wee" class rider. But they were still pretty fast. Hunters friend and fellow racer ended up taking 1st place, while Hunter managed to get into 4th place at the finish. Earning him a trophy for the ride home! Right before Hunters race was the really little guys, the 50cc class. These kids were so small, their helmets made them look like bubble heads. I shot many pictures at both races. Each race being 10 laps and lasting about 25 minutes, came home with somewhere around 600 pictures to go through! I started editing them and had most up before bedtime. You can find a few on my flickr gallery at .

I was supposed to go shoot a womens roller derby match later that night. But after being in the sun all day I was exhausted. I showed, ate dinner and just wanted to lay around and watch TV. Drained. There's another roller derby match in a few weeks which I hope to go to as I think it would make for some great action shots.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

King Clown
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
North Texas State Fair
So with the NTSF starting last night, I was excited to give my new f2.8 lens a real test. A fair/rodeo is traditionally a very tough event to photograph because of the poor lighting and fast action. I got to the rodeo grounds just after it started and found a seat as close as I could to the arena. I mounted my 200mm lens, set the aperture to f2.8 and started out with ISO1600 in hopes of keeping grain to a minimum. After the first few shots it was clear to me I would need ISO3200 to get a decently bright exposure. Thank goodness the Canon 30D has decent low grain performance at high ISO. I can also fix it up in Photoshop during post processing with grain removal.

Now for those who know me, I am about as far from 'country western' as you can get. Sitting in the stands I felt like a round peg trying to get into a square hole. I was wearing cargo shorts, t-shirt and running shoes and I was surrounded by cowboy hats with cow manure covered cowboy boots. Oh well, I was out for some good action shots. Although I was reminded of where I was when the lady one row in front of me turned around to towards her cowboy friend and screamed, "gimme the Copenhagen!". Im sorry, I am just not used to seeing women as for/use chewing tobacco. Just odd. Anyhow the event was up and running and I started snapping away. I managed to get a few keepers, but it was a 15 to 1 bad/good ratio. Because of the low lighting my average shutter speed was around 1/60 to 1/80 of a sec. Which caused some unwanted motion blur. Overall a good evening for some unusual action shots.

Monday, August 11, 2008

27\52: Just Me
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
When Big Plans Fall Through
Week 27 of my 52 week project shot was really kind of anti-climactic for me. I had all these ideas to do for this weeks shot, but they all fell through. So there I sit, almost out of time for getting my shot posted for the week. I turned on all the lights in the kitchen, set the camera on the tripod and just looked at the 50mm and fired a few shots. I got this one which i see as a good SP of my strange looking face. haha I guess I'll have to save my "cool ideas" for next week. But I am proud of myself for not missing any weeks yet. Ive come close, posting some weeks shots in the last hours of Sunday night. I consider a self portrait week to be Monday morning through Sunday at midnight. Well now at Week 27 I am over half way through my 52 week project. What I thought would be very tough and frustrating has been fairly easy and pretty fun. Before this project started, I HATED being in front of the camera and was content being the unseen photographer. Now, ehh.... I don't mind it as much. Taking a self portrait gives me the control to always get a shot I like. Preventing me from looking like a total dork. Well... for the most part. Anyhow, 27 weeks down, 25 weeks to go. They are really flying by now!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

12\52: Suburban Drone
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Getting Explored!
I just checked Flickr Scout and found I now have 9 images which have made their Explore ranking at some point! Most are in the mid 100's to 400's but still. For those that do not know, Flickr has some secret formula for selecting what they consider the best 500 images each day out of the thousands and thousands uploaded. I used to think it was solely based on how many view the picture got and how many people "faved" the picture. But then one of my pics made Explore that had zero faves (people who saved it as a favorite) and very few views. So it kind of blew that theory out of the water. Either way im happy to see a few get in there. Its some type of photography goal to work towards and seeing a few get in there tells me im taking better pictures as time progresses. I suppose its a bit of a yard stick to judge how I've improved. I know I've gotten more creative with my shots, developed a better eye for composing a picture and massively increased my photoshop skills over what they were this time last year. I credit a lot of this to the 52 Week Project I started a few weeks back. Its really been a big help in getting me out with my camera, taking pics and trying new things. So, im up to 9 Explored images at this point. Hopefully more to come!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sun Block
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Sun Block
With my Tuesday night soccer season over for a few weeks, I took the evening to drive around some local back roads. I had success finding an interesting location for my last 52 Week shot, so I thought why not grab the camera and take advantage of the setting sun.

I drove down a country road for a couple miles and a gravel road to the right caught my eye. It was too late to make the turn so I kept going for a bit till I could turn around. I came back to the road and it was another gravel drive leading up to a natural gas pump station. There's a lot of those in this area of North Texas. But instead of the area being surrounded by crops, it was surrounded by a huge sunflower field. I immediately knew I had a nice find and needed to start snapping as the sun was dropping fast. I began walking through the sunflower field shooting randomly. It was as I turned around to work my way back out that I noticed this flower blocking the sun from my eyes. I snapped the shot and thought, "this one might be a keeper"! Just then i noticed almost every other flower around me was occupied by a large furry yellow jacket. Suddenly I felt panic flow through me. I ran from the field, jumped in my car, rolled up the windows and turn the air conditioning on (hey its like 100F here!). Bee's/Wasp/Hornets are one of my biggest fears. My cryptonite.

Hhmm... perhaps a future self portrait idea could be opening its doors here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
This past Wednesday I set out to get off the main roads and find solitude. More specifically, find a remote...wide open location to get rural shots for my stock photography work.

I called up my friend Beau who lived in the area and headed out with my gear. It was about 7pm and we were about to hit that "magic hour" for some great agriculture type shots. Beau guided me down some back roads thinking a field like this would be what I wanted. As soon as i saw it, I said "perfect!". We pulled off the road, setup the tripod and camera. But as soon as I got setup, large clouds rolled in and totally blocked out the sun. Things became very gray and muted. That golden sunset lighting I wanted, was gone. Bummer. So rather than try to submit them to the stock agency, I toyed with them in Lightroom and Photoshop to give me at least some creative shots to post on my Flickr page.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I can't believe im almost to the half way point of my 52 Week Project already! Seems like just last week I was sitting in my backyard trying to figure out a self portrait that didn't make me look stupid for my first shot of the project. Well, im 25 pictures into it. I have some good, some bad and a few stand-outs. This weeks I feel is one of those stand outs. Which is funny because when I took this, I didn't really even consider it a usable, quality shot. It was one of the final snaps I took before the light got too dark and I had to pack it in. Im looking to my left, off camera at traffic on the nearby road to see who was slowing down to have a look at me. Although this place was pretty tucked away and hidden from the main road. They would have had to go very slow to see me down this little gravel road leading to a natural gas well in the middle of a Milo field.

A bit of info on the processing. In Lightroom, I cropped it into a bit of a movie-wide screen look. It just seemed right, given my expression and the location. I then gave it a slight vignetting to darken the outside, putting the focus on the subject.... me. After that I applied a Lomo filter preset. Which gave it that green-ish hue. I saved as a full sized TIFF file and exported it over to CS3. From there I gave it a light Smart Sharpen and then applied a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer. I picked a light orange-ish brown color, which created that fire in the sky look behind me. As soon as I saw the result, I said... thats its, im done! Flatten layers, resize, save-as, shoot to Flickr.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another 52 Week Project self portrait. This one taken at the Denton Air show in June. It was good times.
This is week 23 of my 52 Week Self Portrait Project. A combination of boredom, a weird hat and sleeplessness helped me create this odd shot. I figure i might as well use the help of Flickr to add to my blog.

Monday, March 10, 2008


For those who occasionally check back here, I am alive. Ive neglected my blog for quite sometime now. It's just that I've been so busy over at I have gotten much more into photography the past year or so and Flickr is a much better tool for daily posting with photo's. Although I do plan to integrate this blog, my Flickr page and the original in the coming months. I will be rebuilding my portal!!