Thursday, January 29, 2009

This was the first shot I ever posted on Flickr. I had been shooting for a while, but didn't really think much about posting them online. So i uploaded it back in 2006, but didn't post it to any groups or even name it. Not till a flickr friend (Greasy_Peach) saw it and liked it, that I thought maybe its a decent shot after all. Lately its been getting more traffic and now that I look back I really did catch a cool moment while in Puerta Vallarta Mexico that evening.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Judgement Day

Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
So, about 3 weeks ago I took a few pieces of my framed work to an artists Open Call at a local consignment gallery. I'd never done anything like this and thought it would be a good experience to get some feed back, see how I compare to other "real" artists and in the process maybe get my work displayed somewhere... besides Flickr. :-)

I took 3 pieces into the Open Call and the gallery owners looked at each and took pictures to take to actual judges. They then told everyone who attended we would receive word on who was chosen in about a weeks time. Well, almost 3 weeks passed and no word. By this time I had just figured I wasn't one of the artists chosen and began preparing which pieces I would show at the next Open Call. But I thought I would send the gallery an email just asking if it was ok to use any of my original pieces in the next Open Call as well. The reply I got back was very unexpected.

From the email reply:
I didn't want to say anything last night until I was able this morning to confirm the jury's decision in regards to your artwork. Congratulations!! The jury loved your work and they have recommended we invite you to show in our gallery. "

Well this just blew me away! The photo attached to this post is one I brought to the Open Call. Its one of my favorites and will be in the show. My work will be on display in the gallery with all the other artists March 1st through May 31st. I'll post more details later as I learn more. But getting this news made my day. Its a first for me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winding Down

This is my Week 51 shot of the 52 Week Self Portrait project. Its hard to believe I have just one shot left before Im done. Hard to believe a year has already passed. I looked back over the collection of self portrait shots ive created this past year and feel overall happy with my work. I joined this project because I normally HATE being in front of the camera. I always felt im not a very photogenic person. So I thought forcing myself in front of the camera would not only help me get over that, but also improve my creative thought process for portrait shooting. I do believe it has succeeded on both fronts. And ive learned quite a bit about various photographic techniques along the way. Not to mention, made some good photography friends and contacts. So.... one week left. I have a plan for this final upcoming shot. I hope I can make it happen. Its going to take some planning and a little luck. But if I can pull it off, it will be a great way to end my 52 Week project. Stay tuned.....

The Hydrant

The Hydrant
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
This past Saturday night I was bored around the house, so despite the cold weather I grabbed my camera bag and headed out into the downtown area of Denton. I found myself at the Hydrant coffee house. I walked in and ordered a medium coffee. It was then that I heard music coming from upstairs. So up I went. There was a band warming up to play, so I grabbed a seat at the back and got settled. As they started to play I thought it might make for a few good shots. So i pulled the camera out of my bag, attached the 10mm wide angle lens and took a few pictures as they played. A couple times the guys in the band (I can't remember the bands name off hand) looked over at me to see what I was up to. But never said anything. I finished my coffee and packed up and began walking the night again. Once I got home and unloaded the shots into Lightroom, it became clear these would look best in black & white. You can see these and more shots over at

Friday, January 23, 2009

People in My Life Project Keeps Rollin...

Im stll shooting photo's for my "People in My Life" project. This past week I got to shoot some quick portraits of my good friends Michael and his wife Cheryl. I took both their portraits outside a Texas Roadhouse steak house, in the parking lot. I shot them with a 50mm prime lens at f2.0, ISO800. Since I shoot in RAW format I was able to adjust the white balance nicely and boost the saturation and shadows a bit in Lightroom 2, to put some nice well balanced lighting on their faces for the shot. The 50mm lens also gave me some nice background blur (Bokeh), to help them stand out in the shot.

NTPC at the MPAC

NTPC at the MPAC
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
I recently joined the North Texas Photography Club. Great group and a knowledgeable teacher. They hold meetups once a month covering a wide range of photography topics. I look forward to going to many of these and hopefully learning a lot. This photo was from my first meeting with them. We covered off-camera lighting and indoor architecture shots. Great learning experience!

Getting Close

50\52: One Day........
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Can't believe its already week 50 of my 52 Week Self Portrait project! I want these last 2 weeks to be good shots. Pressure is on. I never thought id actually make it through this thing, getting my picture in every single week. I turned to various events around me for motivation on each weeks shots. Had to get creative. But ive managed this far. Finish strong, I must! This shot was taken just messing around and with some creative post processing, i decided to go with it. Came out alright me finks. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Challenge!

Week 49
Packed up the camera gear and headed out Sunday afternoon looking for a good place to shoot my Week 49 photo for the 52 Week Challenge. But I didn't want this weeks to just be another click and shoot. It had to be a bit more interesting. After driving around most of Denton county for about 40 minutes, I found myself back in the old town square area. i stopped by Jupiter house for a tasty beverage and sat out side pondering what I could do for the shot I needed. I thought about the equipment i brought along with me. I was sick of driving so I began to look at what was right in front of me. The Courthouse! Now, the Old Denton Courthouse has shown up in pictures a 1,000 times. Ive even used it in what seems like a dozen of my own. So I had to give it a new spin. As I stood on the large steps going up the West side i looked at the large arches and the big pillars and remembered I had brought my 10mm wide angle. I had an idea! Got the tripod setup in a minute and fired off a few shots. When i saw this one, I knew I had gotten one worth keeping. I packed up and headed home.

Once I got the RAW file imported into Lightroom 2 I began toying with various presets and colors. Then I remembered I had been wanting to attempt that "Dave Hill" look in one of my shots. So after desaturating the colors and exposure a bit , I exported to Photoshop CS3 where I have the LucisArt 3 plugin. After a few minutes of playing with the sliders, I knew i was onto something. This was the final product, I was happy with it. I think its quite the eye catching shot and a pretty cool effect.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

People in My Life

My Latest Project
This is portrait #1 of the "People In My Life" project I've recently started. My goal is to improve my portrait shooting, creativity and editing. While at the same time, involve the people around me in my daily life with my passion for photography. I have no idea how many people my lens will capture for this project. But I plan on carrying it through most of 2009. Should be interesting for me, as to how creative I can get with my shots and how I'll be able to see myself improve. And it will also be interesting for those who follow my photo's on flickr, as they get to read fun facts about those around me. Stay tuned, many more folks to come!

Victory Park, Dallas Texas

After wanting to get down to Victory Park at the American Airlines Center for about the past 2 years, I finally had my chance this past Saturday night. We headed down to Craig and Bex for dinner. After words we decided to go downtown so I could get some shots. I was wise enough to plan ahead and bring my tripod and gear. As soon as we walked into Victory Park, I knew this was the shot I wanted! I setup my tripod and camera and began firing off dozens of auto-bracketed shots. I had already planned on making an HDR shot out of this. Because of the bright giant LCD TV's and the dark sky and other areas, HDR is the best way to show this place off. I was also thankful for spring like warm weather here in early January... and that the security walking around didn't seem to mind me setting up my tripod. As soon as i came home I wanted to get to my editing. I merged the shots, tonemapped them with Photomatix Pro, then exported the shot to Photoshop CS3. I then used one of the original exposures to mask out area's that were too bright and used an original lighter shot to mask out the areas too dark. Also to get rid of any ISO/HDR noise in the image. Finally some light un-sharpen mask and a once over with LucisArt 3 and... done! I think it came out pretty good.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

47\52: Some Things Are Worth the Wait

Mouth Watering Goodness!
I took this picture last week for my week 47 shot in my 52 Week self portrait project. Emily was still visiting her parents for Christmas holiday, so I was home alone. She's not a fan of sushi... at all... so this was my opportunity to treat myself! I headed down to the local sushi shop called The Avocado and ordered one of my favorite rolls called the Hawaiian Roll. It has salmon and yellowtail on each roll and is soooooooo good! I brought it home and it took every ounce of my will power to resist eating it while I setup my camera and tripod. But after this shot was taken.... nom, nom, nom, nom... gone. Good stuff! Coincidentally Im about to head out for lunch today to meet my long time friend Sylvia for a sushi lunch. Yessss!

The World is Our Toy

The World is Our Toy
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
I Can Tilt... AND Shift!
So I decided to give a try at a popular new photography editing technique going around these days. Its called Tilt-Shift and its designed to take a photo and render its subjects into an almost toy like appearance. It works best with a shot taken from high above, where the subjects are already fairly small. I went through my archived images and came across this shot I took back in 2007 while in Venice at the Piazza San Marco square. I followed some easy instructions, then did some tweaking of my own in Photoshop and came up with this result. I think it came out pretty good actually. Im adding this to my creative vault of use on other shots which I may find not very exciting in their current "as is" state. If you're interested in giving this technique a try, follow the link below and see what you can do. Its really pretty easy and a lot of fun to "toy" with. haha The key is picking the right shot to use it on.