time lapse sound bites grill sedona az

Time lapse Photography – Sound Bites Grill & Snoopy Rock

aka – Snoopy Goes to Sleep

I get to spend quite a bit of time at Sound Bites Grill, being the house photographer. So I am very familiar with the view. And as many times as I see the sun set on the red rocks I am always amazed at how each sunset differs from the one before. On this day with no clouds to help I decided to concentrate on the comic feature built into the red rocks a Charles Schultz character called Snoopy.

Snoopy Rock Time Lapse Video

The initial images were captured with the Lumix GX8 with a 35-100mm f2.8 Vario lens. The settings were for an image captured every 3 seconds. The video was processed in-camera in the GX8 to 4K video with playback speed at 12 frames per second. I had previously processed the 916 images into a 4K 24 fps video and felt it was too fast.

One problem that I wasn’t aware of during capture (cause I was having dinner at the bar) was there were some very severe wind gusts shaking the camera. That’s not a good way to view video. Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 to the rescue. Opened the file in Premiere Pro then added the graphics and music. Even more important used the Warp feature to examine and fix the shaky wind buffeted footage to rock steady. Also added a slight Ken Burns effect zooming slowly into the image featuring Snoopy that is possible because of the 4K size files that still leaves you plenty of quality on an HD timeline.

As an added benefit to shooting time lapses there are individual images to choose from to create stills from the same scene. Here’s one with just a bit more color correction in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop.

snoopy rock at sunset sedona, arizonaSnoopy Rock still photo at sunset.

I’m really enjoying the ease with which time lapse videos can be made with the Lumix cameras. You don’t need to take the subsequent video into and additional processing program but that enables the addition of information and flourishes depending on your final output.

barry lopez book

Barry Lopez – Learning to See

I saw this chapter posted on another web site and I am looking forward to getting a copy of this to read the rest of this National Bestseller

barry lopez book coverBarry Lopez book About This Life – Journeys on the Threshold of Memory

“The… event occurred around the first serious choice I made as a photographer to concentrate on a limited subject. The subject was always light, but I wanted to explore a single form, which turned out to be the flow of water in creeks and rivers near my home. I photographed in every season, when the water was high in February and March, when it was low in August, when it was transparent in July, when it was an opaque jade in December. In 1980 I began to photograph moving water in moonlight, exposures of twenty-five or thirty minutes. These images suffered from reciprocity failure – the color balance in them collapsed – but they also recorded something extraordinary, a pattern of flow we cannot actually see. They revealed the organizing principle logicians would one day call a strange attractor.
The streaming of water around a rock is one of the most complex motions of which human beings are aware. The change from a laminar, more or less uniform flow to turbulent flow around a single rock is so abstruse a transition mathematically that even the most sophisticated Cray computer cannot make it through to a satisfactory description.
Aesthetically, of course, no such difficulty exists. The eye dotes on the shift, delights in the scintillating sheeting, the roll-off of light around a rock, like hair responding to the stroke of a brush. Sometimes I photographed the flow of water in sunshine at 1/2000 of a second and then later I’d photograph the same rock in moonlight. Putting the photos side by side, I could see something hidden beneath the dazzle of the high-speed image that compared with our renderings of the Milky Way from space: the random pin-dot infernos of our own and every other sun form a spiraling, geometrical shape motionless to our eyes. In the moonlit photographs, the stray streaks from errant water splashes were eliminated (in light that weak, they occur too quickly to be recorded); what was etched on the film instead were orderly, fundamental lines of flow, created by particle after illuminated particle of gleaming water, as if each were a tracer bullet.

(Years later, reading Chaos, James Gleick’s lucid report on chaos theory, I would sit bolt upright in my chair. What I’d photographed was the deep pattern in turbulence, the clothing, as it were, of the strange attractor.)

– Barry Lopez, “Learning to See,” chapter 13 in About This Life

scottsdale museum of contemporary arts pt2

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts part 2

In a post a couple days ago I talked about an art installation at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and how it moved me and made me sad…

Well, there was another installation there that saved me from spiraling too far down into the depths. It was Bruce Munro’s Ferryman’s Crossing.

When I first walked in to the Crossing I thought, “WTH??? It’s a bunch of CD’s on the floor…

ferryman's crossing at smocaFirst look at Ferryman’s Crossing

And despite my initial reaction I decided to spend some time checking it out. Glad I did.

The CD’s are tilted in two directions with lights flashing down from the ceiling from different angles, timings and places. This is not an environment you want to be in if you are epileptic but strangely enough it is a very calming place to be. There are large expanses of concrete receiving the reflections bounced off of the cleverly placed CD’s.

Sounds of a stream with birdsong and wildlife are piped in while the reflected lights play as a dance upon the walls. The longer you stay in the art the more you see. Yes I said in the art. You can walk as though on the banks of the stream. As in Joseph’s Coat from the bible many colors appear among the CD’s while the soft reflections play upon the walls.

Here’s a short video to give you a feel for the movement within the art.

Maybe it’s because I consider myself a ‘child of the water’ and enjoy all kinds of water I felt more at home here the longer I inhabited the space.

I did think to try and push the envelope of my creativity to see what I might capture with my camera. So in addition to the ‘straight’ images I photographed here are a few from my experimental foray. I looked for slightly different images to tell the story of this art piece.

smoca images from ferrymans crossingZooming the lens slightly during capture led to the electric colors and patterns

smoca art instalation imageRotating the lens and moving during capture…

Images were captured with the Lumix LX100 camera. To make the colors appear richer I set an underexposure of approximately 2 stops. Slight processing and enhancing with Adobe Camera Raw using the highlight and shadow sliders…

Sometimes we need to spend time in a place before it begins to share it’s innermost secrets with us.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

sunday photo art quote 2/7

Photo Art Quote for Sunday Thinking

Writing this Photo Art Quote post for the blog used to be a bit of a chore… But I find more and more, this time of thinking about art and how it works for our business, and health, and state of mind for creating has been quite interesting. It has forced me to think about the creation process in all areas of art, not just photography. How all artists including photographers become and stay creative.

Which brings us to today’s conversation. The quote is from New York writer Michael Kanin who won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and wrote comedy material for comics, actors and movies. Obviously successful but seems to have found the day-to-day part of the job a chore…

michael kanin quote“I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.”  Michael Kanin

This quote caught my attention because there are times when working on a photo project I just want to toss it out and go on to something new. It usually turns out that these become the finished images that show the most depth and of which I am most proud to have completed. Don’t get me wrong. I love photography! But there are occasions when the work that’s necessary to bring a project to fruition seems like it will go on forever. Of course, there are times when you have yo know when to quit when enough is enough. But when is that?

Our society has become a ‘I want it now!’ creature. Things come to us at the speed of the Internet. (which is really, really FAST! A search on the word ‘photography’ gave this result – About 979,000,000 results (0.66 seconds) ) We have access to more information than ever before and I find that to be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the access to material and the ability to learn new things is incredible and I embrace it. And, I believe it to be a curse for the exact same reason. It can be difficult to concentrate on a single project when so many ideas are clamoring for attention.

Digital has made it easier than ever to create. The question becomes is it just ‘good enough’ and it’s time to move on? Or can we delve deeper to create something of more lasting value?

I suppose it’s a question for the ages and one we should probably revisit with regularity.

So do you labor enough to take your images to the next level? Or is an image ‘good enough’?

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

hdr imaging try it

HDR Imaging

It’s pretty amazing how far the new HDR software from Macphun called AuroraHDR has come. Layers are now available within. An interface that’s pretty straightforward but with lots of control available in many different areas of manipulation.

One of the things I find I really like is the ability to get the most out of the dynamic range in the scene… and still have a very realistic image rather than one that screams HDR!!!!! And, even better presets that will get you close to the final look you want.

I pulled a set of three images from Butchart Gardens in Victoria British Columbia near Vancouver, Canada and thought I’d see how the software worked with these older files from the Leica D-Lux 4 point and shoot camera.

hdr bushart gardensNatural preset.

hdr imageA bit more ‘tooth’ in this preset. I like what it did to the greenery but not so much the sky. Could be combined with the image above or processed with layers in Aurora to clean up sky area.

hdr black and white photoBlack and white preset… Not bad. No extra processing.

You can be as subtle or as outrageous in your processing as you would like. Shooting multiple images to expand your density range? Try out the program. I think you’ll like it.

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob

PS – Get some extra goodies if you buy before February is over 99 bucks for the program and 90 bucks in bonuses. And always a 30 day money back guarantee… Click on the banner for more info.

aurorahdr software

scottsdale museum of contemporary art


Down in Scottsdale yesterday to meet up with some photographers and deliver a family portrait. I stopped by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and was reminded of how powerful art can be. I had no idea what was on display but just thought I’d get a quick lift.

Wow! A different experience awaited me within those walls.

Betye Sarr has been creating art about the black experience in the United States for over 60 years. And it was a poignant reminder of how terrible we were as a people. Even to having a constant ‘put in your place’ language that started with children. One piece especially moved me deep to the core.

It was very simple.

A dress hanging from the ceiling.

Hemmed with offending words suspended above a small child’s chair with a small framed portrait of a black child.

Two spotlights.

A corner.

betye sarr loss of innocence‘A loss of innocence.’

detail loos of innocence betye sarrDetail

detail loss of innocenceFrom ‘Loss of Innocence’ Dress detail showing the repetitive words hemmed into the dress – Tar Baby, Niggerbaby and Pickaninny.

I was moved.

From the SMOCA Description of Betye’s Show

There is a touch of alchemy to Betye Saar’s artwork: transforming the simple and mundane into powerful art. Since the 1960s, her compelling, astute and expressive works reflect on African- American identity, spirituality and the inter-connectedness between different cultures. This timely retrospective brings together recent work as well as historical pieces created over her six decade long career… more

I wonder if I will ever be able to create art that moves people as much as this installation moved me.I think we as photographers can find inspiration from many different places..

How about you? Where do you find inspiration??

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – images were captured with the Lumix LX100. I call this sweet little camera the ‘Pro’s point & shoot’. Solid magnesium body, all necessary exposure controls available on the outside on click stop dials. 24-75mm f1.7-f2.8 Leica lens.

miller and the other sinners

Miller and the Other Sinners Band

Take an electric guitar. Acoustic guitar. A bass guitar. A small sax… and a large one. Throw in someone who knows how to play the drums. Add in a voice that is pure magic and the namesake of the band. And what do you get?

A really good time listening to Southern Soul!

A sweet blend of blues/gospel/americana/r&b with a splash a cayenne pepper.

Saturday night Miller and the Other Sinners performed at Sound Bites Grill and I had the fun job of photographing them for the ‘SBG Wall of Fame’. This group really rocked the house with a bluesy sound that had everyone bouncing in their seats.

miller & the others band photoSound Bites Grill Wall of Fame image for Miller and the Other Sinners

I used two cameras for the event.

I used the Lumix GH4 with a 35-100mm Vario f2.8 lens for the individual band member captures. I generally shoot at ISO 3200 in aperture priority with a minus 2/3rds of a stop exposure compensation in RAW. This will generally get me an exposure between 1/60th & 1/100 of a second. Taking the images into Adobe Camera Raw with just a little push up of the shadows slider and a reduction of the highlights I am able to get the entire dynamic range of the scene.

The second camera is the Lumix GX8 with a wide f2.8 12-35mm Vario zoom. These images are of the whole band and used for press releases and marketing.  Same basic settings on the camera. A great feature of shooting with these cameras is the Live View function as you are seeing the image as it is being captured so it’s easy to make tweaks to the settings before firing the shutter.


Marketing images are created in color but I specifically do the BW conversion myself so the best quality will be printed rather than someone at the publication just pushing the greyscale button. NIK Silver FX Pro 2 is the go-to software plug-in.

Knowing how the images are going to be used dictates how images are processed. I always try to create the best image file for the job at hand. Remember to ask questions in order to be able to provide the best product.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob


sunday photo/art quote 1/30

Sunday Photo/Art Quote

Sometimes I think I am.

Sometimes I think I’m not.

An artist that is…

I’ll bet it’s the same for you and I think today’s quote might help us understand better whether we are… or not.

nizer quote“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” – Louis Nizer

Am I a laborer, a craftsman or an artist?

At any one time I am one of the three. I suppose it depends on the task at hand. I always aspire to be an artist but at the very least I hope to be a solid craftsman when I make my photographs and artistic images. Sometimes I am just a laborer. And I then try to either elevate the work on the next go ’round or not to perform that particular job again.

How much of yourself do you put into your work?

Laborer? Craftsman? Artist? Which are you??

And why do you think so?

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

Louis Nizer practiced law (successfully) for the rich and famous. In addition he wrote, spoke and advised some of the most powerful people in the world… Here’s another quote that you might not know where it came from and is attributed to Nizer, “When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.”

hdr software

HDR Software

HDR. High Dynamic Range. AKA how to jam a whole lot of light into an image the way our eye would see the scene. I’ve always been a fan. As a matter of fact I was one of the first authors to teach this when I was making videos for Software Cinema. I showed how to use this process to make landscapes and real estate scenes look their best.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a catchy name for it. Nor did I design a software program or cause others to do so on my behalf that did most of the heavy lifting for the HDR process either… Oh well.

coca cola building hdr photographFive image sequence, handheld, processed in Aurora HDR software.

Even though there have been many iterations of HDR software it’s been a while since there was a new player with a different interface that included many new possible settings in and easy to understand interface and, wait for it, layers too! The new software is called Aurora and was designed by HDR travel image specialist Trey working in conjunction with Mcphun Software.

I was given the software to play with… And, I like it!

Atlanta weston hotelAnother 5 image handheld bracket using Aurora HDR software

atl weston hotel at sunset photoSame image as above processed differently from same exposures.

It gives you the ability to totally go HDR berserkers! Or, create a very natural scene with full dynamic range. Or somewhere in between so you can have the best of all worlds. An artistic, realistic representation of a scene that DOESN’T SCREAM HDR!!

All images were captured with the Panasonic Lumix GH4

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – At this time Aurora is only available for the MAC platform at the moment

time lapse imaging usa trade show opening

PPA’s Imaging USA Trade Show Opening Time Lapse

The Imaging USA trade show put on by Professional Photographers of America is always a popular part of attending the annual convention, especially the first day…

This was captured hand held with the Lumix GH4 and the 7-14mm Lumix Vario f4 lens at the bottom of the escalator in the Georgia World Congress Convention Center. Time lapse was processed in camera. Then it was downloaded to Adobe Premiere Pro for some massaging. Video was smoothed out. A little color correction was applied due to the extreme lighting conditions. Titles, slides and music finished off the video.

Thanks to Eric Miller for the use of the music!

Time Lapse Video captured at Imaging USA in Atlanta, Georgia January 2016

Time Lapse can be a great way to tell a story ’cause that’s a pile of people!! Approximately 560 images, with a frame fired every 3 seconds, were captured and combined. Output at 12 frames per second in 4K video.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – See you at Imaging USA in San Antonio next year??